Marketing, PR, Content Production, Branding

The Fifth Estate

Archive for February, 2013

The 2013 Knight of Illumination Awards Launches

28th February, 2013

UK – The Knight of Illumination Awards 2013 for outstanding achievements in lighting design has launched with an appeal for submissions.

The annual KOI Awards, which this year celebrates its sixth anniversary, is now accepting submissions from lighting designers working in the UK for exceptional lighting design in the sectors of TV, Theatre, and new for this year: Concert Touring and Events (previously titled ‘Rock’).

“The KOI Awards is the premier industry event that celebrates the outstanding creative achievements of lighting designers working on productions in the UK,” says KOI’s Concert Touring and Events Award Chair person Sarah Rushton-Read. “Over the last six years we’ve forged closer ties between the world of lighting design and the lighting industry as a whole and provided a platform for really great lighting design to be recognized and celebrated by the whole industry.”

Organised by the STLD, ALD and Clay Paky, the KOI Awards has embraced a number of changes this year to better reflect the diverse talent and applications of the lighting design community. In addition to the Rock sector being renamed ‘Concert Touring & Events’, each sector will now contain a new category as follows: Video Graphic Display (For TV), Video Electronic Content (For Concert Touring And Events) And Projection Design (For Theatre).

“There has been an explosion of truly impressive creativity and artistry within the field of video, and it is now becoming an integrated part of visual design. With this in mind, it was a logical step to include this new category in each of our sectors,” comments Durham Marenghi, KOI Awards coordinator.

Each sector will be assessed by its own panel of industry experts and breaks down into the following categories:

Television category includes awards for: Drama; Light Entertainment; Small Studio; Events and Video Graphic Display.

Concert Touring And Events (previously Rock) includes awards for: Concert Touring Stage; Concert Touring Arena; Live Events and Video Electronic Content.

Theatre category includes awards for: Dance; Opera; Play; Musicals and Projection Design

Finally the Enrico Caironi Award For Lifetime Recognition will be presented to an individual who has made an outstanding impact on the industry. Previous winners include lighting designer Richard Pilbrow in 2011 and in 2012, Bryan Leitch. The category is named in recognition of former Clay Paky commercial director Enrico Caironi (1947 – 2011), whose inspiration and enthusiasm created and subsequently shaped the Knight Of Illumination Awards.

Submissions are open until the end of July, and the awards will be announced at a glittering ceremony in central London on 6 October 2013.

More information can be found at the KOI 2013 website –

Philips Vari-Lite Provides Watertight Solution for Orfeo Ed Euridice

28th February, 2013

Netherlands – Philips Vari-Lite luminaires have been specified by lighting designer Marc Heinz for Utrechtse Spelen’s stunning portrayal of Christoph Willibald von Gluck’s opera, Orfeo ed Euridice. Directed by Jos Thie, Orfeo ed Euridice was performed at the former home of the late queen Juliana – the stunning Soestdijk palace,Utrecht, Holland.

Staged on water, the set comprises a ‘floating’ orchestra pit, the stage and a system of underwater catwalks. Although Heinz has designed for a number of large-scale operas performed in stadiums and arenas across Europe, working on water in a protected area presented a number of never experienced before challenges.

“We worked closely with ecologists to ensure the natural environment wasn’t damaged by the production in anyway. In terms of the lighting we worked under very stringent rules. Our nighttime working hours were rigorously regulated. I was asked not to hit certain areas with the light – not even reflections from the water.”

Heinz chose to specify Philips Vari-Lite VL3500 Wash and VL3500Q Spot luminaires as the backbone of his lighting rig.

“I wanted everything hidden from view, so that the audience could feel the magic of the opera and it’s setting without distraction,” explains Heinz. “This meant positioning luminaires in some quite unusual locations – for example, some of the VL3500Q Spots were positioned with the lens almost parallel with the water.”

In addition once a decision was made about the position of a fixture it had to be committed to 100%, there were no opportunities to change your mind. This added further pressure on Heinz when deciding where to position the fixtures themselves.

“Every decision was absolute and completely irreversible,” says Heinz. “Everything you put in or under the water couldn’t be changed or replaced once positioned. All equipment would be outdoors for almost two months and the Dutch summers are not really known for their hours of sunshine. What I required was the best reliability available. That’s why I decided to use VARI-LITE for this particular project. Their reliability, output and color mixing made them the ideal fixtures to achieve our artistic goals for this performance. But also for theatre, events and TV, I appreciate these qualities very much.”

As a leading designer and manufacturer of premiere automated lighting systems, Philips Vari-Lite provides equipment and services to the entertainment industry, serving such markets as concert touring, theatre, television, film, cruise lines, houses-of-worship, and corporate events. VARI*LITE automated lighting systems are available through a worldwide network of independent professional dealers. For more information, visit

Philips Vari-Lite fixtures on tour with Jennifer Lopez

28th February, 2013

World – Celebrated lighting designer Sean Burke is taking Europe by storm with dramatic Vari-Lite powered lighting on Jennifer Lopez’s world tour.

Burke – who has designed lighting for many of the world’s biggest stars including Seal, Miley Cyrus, The Cranberries – has created an energetic and dramatic design using a battery of VL3500 Wash FX and VL3000 Spot luminaires supplied by US Vari-Lite dealer Upstaging.

“The lighting workhorses for this show are definitely the wash lights,” says Burke. “I’ve been using the VL3500 Wash fixtures for a while now and I really like them. They’re extremely flexible fixtures and do something that no other lights on the market can do.”

Aside from Lopez’s band and dancers, the huge stage measuring 62’ wide x 48’ deep is filled with a backdrop of powerful LED video screens.

“The VL3500 Wash fixtures are the perfect weapon to combat high-powered video walls, but now when I add in the FX unit I get two bangs for my buck,” continues Burke. “I have the ability to use gobo patterns in addition to a really wide wash that’s incredibly bright and can zoom down into a pencil beam. It’s an incredible fixture.”

Burke also required a powerful spot luminaire to complement the VL3500 Wash FX, and that’s where the VL3000 Spots step in.

“The VL3000 Spots are extremely versatile fixtures. The bright beams go from narrow to wide with consistently smooth operation and are the perfect complement to the VL3500 Wash FX. Plus, it makes it easier on the crew when all the lights in the rig are consistent. Given that the VL3500 Wash FX and VL3000 Spot do everything I required for this show, there was no need to mix them up with other fixtures.”

Lopez’s world tour began in Panama in July, and traveled through South America before landing in Europe at the end of September. The European dates, which visit almost every major country including Spain, Italy, Germany, France, and the UK – for a show at London’s O2 Arena and Manchester Arena on 22 / 23 October respectively – run until the end of November, then transferring to South East Asia and finishing in Australia in December.

David March, director of European Sales for Philips Vari-Lite says, “Thanks to Sean for specifying Vari-Lite to be part of his awesome looking show design which is so well supported by Upstaging of course. Again, we hear from so many top LD’s such as Sean, that the VL3500 Wash FX delivers 100% on shows of this size partnered along with the VL3000 Spot, this winning combination continues to define the standard for concert lighting designs across the World’.

As a leading designer and manufacturer of premiere automated lighting systems, Philips Vari-Lite provides equipment and services to the entertainment industry, serving such markets as concert touring, theatre, television, film, cruise lines, houses-of-worship, and corporate events. VARI*LITE automated lighting systems are available through a worldwide network of independent professional dealers. For more information, visit

MIDAS PRO Series Delivers Angelic Sound in Nigeria

28th February, 2013

Nigeria — Lagos based sound and lighting company Solution Media and Infotech has invested in its second MIDAS PRO live audio mixing console in less than a year from local MIDAS Distributor, NMK Electronics. The investment was made in order to deliver the total sound solution for Africa’s biggest gospel music festival, The Experience Lagos 2012.

The PRO3, which was purchased at PALME 2011, was used on monitors while the PRO9, purchased at PALME 2012, took care of FOH. The event was attended by nearly 300,000 people and saw acts including: Don Moen, Israel Houghton, Fred Hammond, Deitrick Haddon and many more deliver searingly sharp performances.

MIDAS PRO3 and PRO9 used on South Africa’s biggest gospel music fest
“We purchased the PRO9 as a natural progression from the PRO3, which we’d bought the year before.” explains Bamishile Dipo, Sound Engineer from Solution Media and Infotech Ltd. “We decided on the PRO9 because the PRO3 had so totally met the expectation of our sound team in terms of the quality of its sound and its unique features and durability,”

In house engineer for the show, Ralph Rivera, who flew in especially from the US and was faced with the challenging task of kicking off the show at 7pm on Friday evening and seeing it through until 6am on Saturday.

“The festival featured multiple sound engineers on both Monitors and FOH. We needed a console that any mix engineer could find their way around easily, even at first use,” continues Dipo. “In addition the event could not afford for the console to crash in the middle of the 12 hour show. MIDAS consoles have always proved themselves to be extremely stable and efficient and there was no point in time when any of the redundancy features kicked in.”

Chicco Hiranandani, MIDAS business development manager for distributor NMK Electronics comments: “Bamishile Dipo and his team have become frequent visitors to Dubai. They had purchased the PRO3 at PALME 2011 and then they saw the PRO9 at PALME 2012. Bamishile was keen to use both consoles for the show.”

Hiranandani also provided on site support during the rehearsals and the actual show. “My task was to provide support to the engineers from the US as majority of them were using the consoles for the first time. The show ran for almost 12 hours without a hitch and all the engineers were able to focus on their task. A major reason for this is the way the consoles are laid out physically. Although digital they have an analogue layout making it very natural for engineers to adopt a fluid workflow that soon becomes second nature.”

Both consoles performed well in the hot, bright, and dusty conditions. “The daylight screen is a wonderful feature of the console especially in the bright sunshine of an outside festival,” concludes Bamishile.

Charcoalblue is lead sponsor of Theatre Management Association Conference

28th February, 2013

UK – Creative thinkers, theatre design consultancy Charcoalblue is supporting the Theatrical Management Association’s industry leading Touring Symposium by announcing lead sponsorship for the next three years.

Charcoalblue – respected as the UK’s most exciting and innovative theatre design consultants – will kick off sponsorship this spring as the TMA’s Touring Symposium takes place at the Congress Centre in central London on Wednesday 6th March.

The TMA’s premier annual event has established itself as the key forum for debate on the development of the UK touring industry. It provides a unique opportunity for venue managers, producers and directors to discuss and determine the environment and practical operation of their sector. Last year’s Symposium attracted a record breaking 238 delegates from all over the UK.

“The TMA is delighted to have secured a three-year partnership with Charcoalblue,” says David Brownlee, General Manager of the Theatrical Management Association. “The sponsorship provided will ensure that the Touring Symposium can continue to offer a forum for those working in the arts to come together to share best-practice, listen to the advice and experience of key industry speakers as well as network and do business. Through providing this sponsorship, Charcoalblue has ensured that the Symposium remains affordable, accessible and provides value for money. The TMA looks forward to working with one of the UK’s leading theatre design consultants in developing this popular event still further in the coming years.”

Managing partner for Charcoalblue Andy Hayles continues: “Having attended previously, I have always been impressed by the quality of the event, the excellent speakers relating first-hand experience and the robust and often entertaining input from the delegates. I’m delighted that we have the opportunity to support the conference, to further demonstrate our commitment to theatre in the UK and to share a great day of thinking and debate.”

This year’s speakers include representatives from The Audience Agency, Arts Council England and environmental consultants Julie’s Bicycle.

MIDAS’ Norwegian Distributor AVAB CAC celebrates fifty PRO2 Sales

28th February, 2013

Norway – MIDAS’ long time Norwegian distribution partner AVAB CAC is celebrating its fiftieth sale of the MIDAS PRO2 and PRO2C consoles in just 12 months.

Although most of the consoles have been sold to rentals companies AVAB CAC has also seen a number go direct to end users, including concert venues, theatres and even individual sound engineers.

“It’s good to see engineers investing in their own personal consoles,” says Asle Nilsen, head of Audio sales at AVAB CAC. “The ability to use the same showfile on all MIDAS Console models, combined with the new G2 software, makes the PRO2C an extremely powerful control platform in a conveniently small frame.”

Nilsen is also impressed by the PRO2s’ capability: “A total of 64 input channels have routing to 27 mix buses, which comprise 16 user-configurable aux buses,” he explains. “These mix buses can be mixes, subgroups or mix minus groups, and the 8 matrix buses. The Matrix buses can source from inputs as well as groups and can be used as additional auxes (monitor mix and FX sends). In addition to this, there is a ‘virtual’ matrix mixer available in the onboard FX rack, which expands this even further. All buses can be linked as stereo pairs – except obviously the MONO bus! All audio paths can be routed to multiple destinations and the console format can be reconfigured live on a scene-by-scene basis. For a small console it just gives the engineer so much more capability!”

But MIDAS’ PRO2 success isn’t just contained to Norway – the PRO2C is seeing impressive sales worldwide. MIDAS Brand Development Manager, Richard Ferriday comments: “When we launched PRO2/C, we knew that we were offering a fantastic package – the major concept of the PRO2 and PRO2C is to take the audio quality, performance and values of the top end MIDAS XL8 and make them available at a price point below the general mixing console average. Despite being the smallest and least expensive MIDAS digital consoles when launched, the PRO2 and PRO2C represent a quantum leap forward for digital mixing.

“However, we didn’t anticipate the speed with which the industry has embraced the innovative, unique workflow and advanced navigation features. In just 12 months the PRO2/C has become the fastest selling MIDAS console to date, with worldwide sales now well into four figures.”

This year the PRO2/C picked up the prestigious MIPA (Musikmesse International Press Award) for Live Mixing Desk at Prolight + Sound 2012. MIPAs are presented to the best products released during the previous year as voted for by more than 100 extremely insightful international audio and music magazines.

Radlett Centre Smoothes Autumn Season with Triple E Track System

28th February, 2013

UK – Hertfordshire’s Radlett Centre is smoothly gearing itself up for a busy autumn season after investing in a Unitrack system from pioneering entertainment engineers at Triple E.

The venue – which provides theatre, art and music, and kids’ entertainment in affluent Radlett – upgraded to Triple E’s UNITRACK following seven years of using outdated standard theatre tracks.

“The tracks we were using were bolted together with small nuts and bolts making them time consuming to change and move, the bobbins tended to get jammed in the joints and the whole thing was pretty unreliable,” says the Radlett Centre’s Myles Robinson. “I instantly saw the benefits of the Triple E track design: quick to assemble and dismantle, quick to move the entire track using G clamps to rig it rather than fixed bolts as with our old track; the joints are less of an issue due to the sturdy spigots that join the track sections, bobbins are far better quality and more heavy duty spreading the weight of the cloths more evenly across the two bobbin wheels, the end pulleys are of a higher quality and more reliable, and the actual wipe action is a lot smoother and the whole system seems to create less friction than our previous tracks so operating is easier.”

With a jam-packed autumn season approaching, with shows ranging from legendary singer Elkie Brooks celebrating 50 years in the business to a performance of Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest, ease of use (and no curtain jamming) is at the forefront of The Radlett Centre’s requirements.

“We use the tracks almost continually for a variety of cloths and haven’t come up against any problems” continues Robinson. “I am incredibly happy with the product and wouldn’t choose to go back to the old system at all.”

Triple E’s Unitrack system was launched in 1988 to provide the industry with a unique fabricated ‘I’ beam. The simple one bolt and four spigot jointing system forms the heart of Unitrack to facilitate a ‘jam free’ running surface. Ball raced runners and nylon pulley sheaves add further to the smooth, silent operation.

”I am delighted that we have another happy Unitrack user, says Triple E managing director, David Edelstein. “Since its launch, Unitrack has been making life easier for theatre technicians worldwide with its simple rugged construction, ease of use silent operation and long life.”

Turbosound Flex Array rocks Nairobi Rock Fest

28th February, 2013

Africa — The TURBOSOUND Flex Array loudspeaker system has helped to make the fourth annual Nairobi Rock Fest a storming success. The festival, which takes place in the Kenyan capital, was headlined by African rockers Skinflint.

“Flex Array has become a firm favourite for us here in Kenya as it allows our engineers and guest engineers to concentrate on getting bands to sound right, and not have to spend time setting up the front of house. It delivers no compromises on punch and clarity — especially vocals — and everyone who attends functions when we are in the chair comments on how powerful and clear the sound is,” comments Ed Williams of EdTheMix, TURBOSOUND distributor and local hire supplier for the region. “We deployed four TFA-600H three-way mid/highs a side; over three TSW-218 dual 18″ subwoofers. The trusty TQ-445s provided apron fill, while stage monitors comprised six TMW-115 switchable passive/bi-amped coaxial wedges powered by RACKDP-50s, all supported and managed over BVNet and fronted with our LMS-D26 controllers. For drum monitors we use the powered Milan M15S and M18S — they sound great and drummers here love the set-up. This was the first outing for the Milan series, and in spite of the much lower price we were so impressed on hearing it that we now have three systems in our inventory.”

Martin Reid, head of Marketing for TURBOSOUND, said “Our continued relationship with EdTheMix is proving to be very fruitful and it’s always great to see TURBOSOUND equipment being used on such exciting festivals as the Nairobi Rock Fest. Flex Array in particular has proven itself to be very adaptable to the varied types of events that Ed and his team are so proficient at supporting. We hope to see our systems continuing to support artistic talent in Africa.”

The event showcased some of the finest hard rock acts in Kenya and beyond, including Rock of Ages, Last Year’s Tragedy and headliners Skinflint, who described the event on their Facebook page as ‘ . . . one of the most devastating shows known to mankind . . . an incredible festival!’

MIDAS PRO1 brings Digital Beauty to Panto in Durban

28th February, 2013

South Africa – A MIDAS PRO1, supplied and installed by South African MIDAS Partner Prosound, ensured one of Durban’s most prominent theatres went digital just in time for its fast moving Christmas production – Beauty and the Beast.

“The city’s Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre hosts some of South Africa’s biggest arts events including the Durban International Film Festival and Poetry Africa festivals,” explains Ryan Selby of Prosound. “We installed a MIDAS PRO1 to ensure that this particular Panto’s scene changes, many of which have to happen almost instantaneously, will work. These would have been unachievable with the venue’s previous desk.”

The move marks the first time Beauty and the Beast sound designer Megan Levy, of DarkHorse Productions, had used a PRO1. With only three days to familiarise herself with the console she was a bit apprehensive. However, after only 20 minutes Megan was comfortably programming the show. “I haven’t looked back! Now in the third week of our run, I can say it really is a pleasure to use,” she comments. “The desk responds exceptionally fast, which is critical, especially in the opening number. I’ve also been impressed by the audio quality in general and the automation has greatly simplified the operation of an otherwise complex show. Coming from an ‘old-school’ analogue background, the PRO1 has proved to be the most ‘theatre friendly’ digital console I have used so far.”

Prosound’s Ryan Selby also provided on-site training and support as Megan familiarized herself with the console. She reports that she has been delighted with the quality of the back up and service: “The Prosound staff have been fantastic and super supportive throughout and I would like to thank Ryan, Lee, Andre and Chris for getting the desk here and sorted for me. I would also like to say a very BIG thank you to Mark Malherbe for answering all the phone calls and for taking time out from his own busy ‘CGA’ set up to give me the Midas PRO1 ‘crash course’ and mostly for making this all happen!”

Beauty and the Beast runs until 6 January 2013 at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre in Durban.

LD Chris Bushell chooses Avolites’ Sapphire Touch for dazzling Florence & the Machine tour

28th February, 2013

UK – Avolites top of the range Sapphire Touch lighting console is the control and programming tool of choice for lighting designer Chris Bushell, currently touring with Florence & the Machine.

Bushell, who was this year shortlisted for the much-coveted Knight of Illumination Award for lighting design, took the Sapphire Touch out on the summer’s festival circuit, where he dazzled audiences with his stunning, art deco inspired design.

“I’ve always used Avolites consoles and the new software just keeps getting better and better,” comments Bushell “I started out on a Pearl a fair few years ago. I’ve tried many other consoles along the way but kept returning to Avo. I then used a Diamond 4. I was particularly thrilled when that platform was effectively put into a Tiger Touch. So much so that I bought a console of my very own!

“Although much more compact, the Tiger Touch still has the unmistakable “live” Avo quality that other desks lack. Not only that Avo has found ways of making these consoles do what all other desks do, but in an easier and more intuitive way.”

The Sapphire Touch is a new step for Bushell, who until the festival season was working with his own Tiger Touch. “I program and operate visually not mathematically,” explains Bushell. “I’m not interested in punching numbers into a desk. The Avolites consoles enable me to quickly and simply achieve what I want, whatever the nature of the job. I asked to take the Sapphire out for some festivals as the dual screen and extra playbacks really lend themselves to that fast paced environment.”

On the festival circuit Bushell doesn’t always have the luxury of programming the night before or even the morning before doors! The simplistic functionality of the Sapphire Touch mixed with a bigger, more versatile platform offers Bushell everything he needed during an often frantic 30-minute changeover, where he’s invariably seeing things for the first time.

“The Sapphire Touch is expansive workspace area can be crucial for shows featuring complex and structural lighting design concepts such as Chris’s design for Florence & the Machine,” explains Koy Neminathan, sales director for Avolites Ltd. “In particular the Sapphire Touch offers the easy to access Quicksketch freehand tool, which enables Chris to keep control of his design in the challenging festival environment.”

Something that has also proven invaluable for Bushell is the ability to easily transpose the programmed show from the arenas to the festival circuit as he explains: “The Titan software allows me to visually map the rig out on the screen of my console. In comparison to everyone else – who might be squinting at festival plots and trying to cross reference fixture numbers – this makes the process of copying, pasting and cloning fixtures on any Avo console a doddle”

Bushell used the Sapphire Touch for Florence and the Machine at a number of festivals during the summer including the bands appearance at Tennent’s Vital in Belfast on 22nd August, playing just before headliners Stone Roses. She then made appearances at Reading on 25th and Leeds on 26th, before making a huge impression at Bestival on 7th September. Florence and the Machine continue to tour in the US in October before returning to Europe and finally the UK where the tour will culminate at the O2 in Dublin on 12th December.


01273 660784

12-14 The High Street,