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Archive for December, 2013

Richard Martin Lighting Invests in Philips Showline SL NITRO 510s

12th December, 2013

UK – London-based moving light specialist Richard Martin Lighting has made a major investment in Showline’s cutting-edge SL NITRO 510 LED strobes. The company – which recently celebrated 30 years of working on projects including Top of the Pops, Children in Need, and Comic Relief – says it purchased the SL NITRO 510 luminaires predominantly to meet demand for a versatile fixture designed to create a striking visual impact for TV and rock and roll.

“The output that the SL NITRO 510 can achieve means they can create dynamic and dramatic lighting for applications such as live music – their punchy and bright strobe effects are perfect for upbeat songs, for instance,” says Richard Martin Lighting’s Gemma Jaques. “They can also be integrated into set pieces and would be great for game shows. The possibilities are there, and we’re sure that our customers are going to love them.”

The company first came into contact with the SL NITRO 510 at PLASA Focus 2013 in Leeds, where they were keen to discover the latest LED strobe technology.

“We like to remain at the forefront of the lighting industry, and when we saw the NITROs we could immediately see that this unit reflects the advances in LED innovation and design,” continues Steve Wells, Operations Manager at Richard Martin Lighting. “The strobe effect is hugely popular so these seemed like the ideal fixture to enhance our existing range. And of course the wealth of other attractions: low power consumption means they comply with TV’s green policies; the six-cell control zones offer huge flexibility, including pixel mapping. The fact that you could potentially use a strobe light as audience lighting is something new altogether! The versatility of these fixtures means that they are also well placed for corporate and rock and roll touring so we are excited to see how our end users will chose to use them.”

Exhibited at industry shows around the world since its launch at Frankfurt’s Prolight + Sound in April 2013, the SL NITRO 510 has proved a big hit with entertainment lighting designers, offering intense bursts of light and dynamic effects via more than 1,300 high-powered LEDs, which ensures maximum output and even distribution of light.

“We are delighted Richard Martin Lighting has invested in the SL NITRO 510 and we are looking forward to seeing them used on a diverse range of projects. The great thing about the SL NITRO 510 is that it’s great deal more versatile than any other strobe currently on the market,” says Martin Palmer, Vari-Lite and Showline product manager EMEA. “It uses less power than traditional strobes, yet is extremely bright at over 68,000 lumens. Its six programmable zones allow designers to create a multitude of looks. As Steve Wells points out the luminaire can also be used as an intense light source as it possesses the unusual ability of a continuous duty cycle which means the LEDs can be on at full for almost unlimited amounts of time without any loss in output.”

Along with their outstanding output capabilities, SL NITRO 510 luminaires also include a built-in quick-connect system that allows them to easily connect together in both horizontal and vertical orientations. The connection pins lock fixtures together while maintaining a perfect pixel pitch alignment of each fixture’s six programmable zones.

Winchester’s Chesil Theatre Invests in Philips Selecon LED Technology

11th December, 2013

UK – Winchester’s 75-seat Chesil Theatre has invested in Philips Selecon’s PLprofile1s, PLfresnel1s, and PLcyc1s in an upgrade to LED following an extensive shootout comparing results with its existing tungsten rig.

The Chesil Theatre, home of the 150-year-old Winchester Dramatic Society and housed in a superb medieval building, has installed 3x PLprofile1s, 5x PLfresnel1s, and 5x PLcyc1s to reduce power consumption and simplify colour changing and control.

Peter Vincent, Lighting Manager at the Chesil Theatre, specified the LED Selecon fixtures.

“The theatre has a good conventional lighting rig of about 70 lanterns, built up over many years,” says Peter. “Selecon’s PL range was a logical next step to replace some stock, and complement others. For us, they behave like proper theatrical lanterns with a common RGBW engine, user interface, and dimming curve.”

However, they also offer the venue many other benefits: “We can now achieve such a wide range of colours which can be selected and changed instantly from the lighting desk. We can therefore spend more time getting the focusing right and can adjust this without the need for gloves as they run almost stone cold! They are also energy efficient and use no more than about 130W with all four colours full on. Not only that we can use the same unit for multiple roles in the same production simply by using a different colour and intensity.”Peter and his team were spurred to invest in the Selecon PL range following new pricing levels recently announced by Philips Entertainment on its PLprofile1s, PLfresnel1s, and PLcyc1s, making the range available at prices more associated with their conventional counterparts.

“The new Philips initiative on these LED fixtures is a hugely ambitious initiative,” Philips’ senior sales manager Grant Bales-Smith says. “Our aim is to bring future pricing levels forward and offer them to our customers today – and we’re thrilled that smaller theatres such as The Chesil can now benefit from our industry-leading LED technology.”

As soon as the new equipment arrived the Chesil Theatre invited its five in-house experienced LDs, and 10 representatives from six theatres in the region to an LED workshop to demo its new Selecon fixtures.

“The workshop was a practical session: a briefing about what the Chesil was planning to do with the new fixtures and why, then a rigging, focusing and experimentation session,” explains Peter. “Everyone was surprised just how good the intensity and quality of face lighting from the Selecon fixtures was. When using them in all the likely positions in our theatre, they worked exceptionally well and met – or exceeded – expectations.”

Philips Entertainment’s Amber Etra and Bill Richards were at the workshop, to demo the fixtures and answer any questions.

“The Chesil Theatre is a wonderful space and the PL1 theatrical series enables the team to expand the colour range within their designs while still using fixtures that offer the same characteristics of a cyc, Fresnel and profile such as using barndoors and shutter cuts,” says Amber Etra. “In particular, the cyc lights are able to light such a large part of the space which enables the team to change the mood of a piece with fewer fixtures but still with a great quality of light. Independent events such as the Chesil’s workshop really allow technical teams to discover how they can move forward with Selecon LED.”

The Chesil Theatre’s programme runs from classics to new writing, tragedy to farce, historical to experimental. In December, it is showing Noel Coward’s Present Laughter.

Charcoalblue Consults on Technical and Design Aspects of London’s fun-filled new Jewish Community Centre – JW3

11th December, 2013

UK- Designed to create an inclusive gateway to all things Jewish, London’s brand new £12 million Jewish Community Centre – JW3 – has opened its doors to offer a wealth of cultural and entertainment spaces – including a Performance Hall designed collaboratively by the project’s architects, Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands and theatre consultants Charcoalblue.

Modern, forward thinking and fun, the 268-seat Performance Hall has been created to provide a reconfigurable space for larger events and functions. Charcoalblue’s head of technical design, Paul Franklin, advised on the design and fit out of the performance hall and oversaw the works on site during construction.

“The Performance Hall is a flexible, multi-function room, capable of hosting a wide range of events, including drama, dance, live music – both amplified and acoustic – as well as film and ‘NT live’ type events, lectures and workshops,” explains Franklin.

“It will also cater for flat floor events such as functions, exhibitions, book weeks etc. Seating can be configured over two levels, stage (ground) level and gallery. The gallery connects the Hall to the mezzanine level of the building and contains two rows of seating as well as providing a home for the technical control position.”

The Jewish Centre reports that over 4,500 people have streamed through its doors every week since opening. Having already hosted a wide range of jazz, hip hop, comedy, theatre, talks, school assemblies, parents’ evenings, dance and more in the main Hall alone, Raymond Simonson, Chief Executive of JW3 says he is delighted with the outcome: “Charcoalblue has been amazingly supportive throughout the project. To be honest, I don’t know how we would have done it without them. We were inspired and excited by their ideas and the subsequent development of the project itself. We could not be more fortunate in having such a magnificent community centre building designed and built by such an accomplished team. My job now is to ensure that what goes on inside the building is just as exceptional in terms of creativity, quality and variety as it looks outwardly.”

An uncluttered and resilient space, the Hall offers mainly end-stage and flat-floor formats. Charcoalblue delivered this by specifying a combination of a retractable seating system and loose seating, which allows for a variety of formats, audience capacities and stage sizes.

“All the systems that Charcoalblue has designed are specified to ensure not only that professional standards are met, but also that they are also easy to use for the less experienced. The Performance Hall is there to provide a well-equipped and safe space that can cater to all kinds of end user, whether professional or amateur, and enable them all to create an event to be proud of,” continues Franklin.

The Performance Hall sits alongside offices, cafes and dance and art studios. There is also a fully HD-ready cinema, for which Charcoalblue specified technical systems and designed the seating arrangements, along with the building wide, fully integrated paging systems.

Promising to be an exciting place for anyone to visit, the JW3 says that through a programme of events it aims to transform the lives of the tens of thousands of Jews who live in and around London. Its programme is already jam-packed with more than 1,300 events scheduled for the opening three months and is currently boasting celebrity appearances from the likes of Kevin Spacey, Nicholas Hytner, Ruby Wax, and Zoë Wanamaker.

PRG helps keep Micky Flanagan In The Game

10th December, 2013

PRG helps keep Micky Flanagan In The Game    

UK – Production Resource Group (PRG) worked with the production team for popular cockney comic, Micky Flanagan, to upscale his summer theatre show – ‘Back in the Game’. Equally successful as an arena tour, the show impressively sold out at 35 UK arenas, including three shows at London’s Wembley Arena and seven at The O2.

Although not involved with the Theatre Tour the PRG team quickly responded to the increased lighting, rigging and crew requirements, while helping to maintain some of the intimacy and atmosphere of the original theatre show.

Production Manager Adam Scott called on Scottie Sanderson and his team, to help ensure the tour design would work within the budget and could be managed within the time restrictions as he explains: “Micky’s show escalated almost overnight. He started the year with a 90+ date theatre tour using local production, but that quickly ramped up to an autumn arena tour. We were keen to ensure that the stage environment was familiar to the artist, just on a larger scale, and didn’t detract from the act. Scottie and his team knew exactly what was required to meet the demands of the show and lighting designer – Dave ‘Snakey’ Farmer of THC Design – along with the artist and promoter. The wealth of knowledge and experience PRG offered proved crucial in getting it right on a number of levels.”

With audience capacities ranging from 5,000 to 15,000, the show design also had to be flexible and scalable. This meant the design had to be precision planned from the off. “Dave modelled the show in WYSWIYG,” continues Adam. “We produced renders and drawings early in the design and production planning stage so we could ensure we had the right balance of staging and IMAG screen size. The artist took a strong interest in the look of the show. He was particularly keen to ensure that the view of stage and artist was clear from all areas of the arena and that no-one felt they were in an inferior seat.”

Dave ‘Snakey’ Farmer, continues: “PRG was challenged with providing a show with high production values that met our budget and time constraints. The opening brief was fairly loose as this is the first time Micky has stepped into arena touring. We needed to guide the artist on scaling up the theatre production. PRG was there every step of the way.”

PRG supplied all the motor rigging for the lighting, sound and video equipment. Kit was spec’d in conjunction with tour rigger Seth Cook, which ultimately made for a much more efficient system. It also saved valuable truck space, as there were not three separate departments all carrying their own rigging equipment. To save further truck space, PRG suggested using a stacking truss system. “The truss was really easy to use, worked well with the video hanging limitations as there is little bracing on the underside of the truss and saved us considerable space on tour,” confirms Snakey. “Everything has gone exactly to plan with PRG, from the communications with the office, the prep of the kit, pre-tour, and the excellent touring technician that PRG supplied in the shape of Simon ‘Boff’ Howarth and it’s been hugely reassuring to know we had the PRG support out on the road!”

PRG also supplied a lighting solution that comprised: PRG’s own Best Boy 4000 Spots, Sharpys and Alpha Spot HPE 700s, and Impression X4 LEDs.

“From our point of view, it was an absolute pleasure to work on this project,” explains PRG’s Senior Account Manager, Scottie Sanderson. “Nothing was ever an issue and even though budgets ultimately decide the end result. Snakey was receptive to substitutions or practical solutions. We never had to “nickel and dime” on any aspect. Adam knows what he wants. Relationships and trust figure highly on his agenda – you can tell that from the staff he surrounds himself with.

“Snakey suggested a few options for his dream tech team, and we were delighted that Boff was available. In fact we signed off on this project several months in advance of the tour – a rare luxury indeed. PRG prides itself not only in the volume and quality of equipment it stocks, but the vast support network within the company to ensure a show is never at risk. Combine that with the skilled and experienced freelance crew, who strive to live up to and even go beyond client expectation, and it means that PRG can offer an invaluable service to all its clients.”

Micky Flanagan’s ‘Back in the Game’ tour finished at the Brighton Centre in December, after more than 130 shows.

Avolites Tiger Touch Pro is Right on Target for Bastille World Tour

9th December, 2013

UK – Lighting designer Will Dart is using the rapid response Avolites Tiger Touch Pro to control his cinematic lighting concept for Indie rock band Bastille on their worldwide ‘Bad Blood’ tour.

Scaled up from the spring and festival tour, Dart is using the Tiger Touch Pro console in conjunction with the Avolites Titan7 software to control a mix of cue to cue lighting states and moody live effects. Dart uses frontprojection onto an upstage backdrop screen augmented by wing drapes, which double up as both projection and up-lighting surfaces to give the show design a deep, moody feel.

“The brief we had from the band was to create a mix tungsten effect lighting and video projection,” explains Dart. “The original concept was to have something quite theatrical and cinematic going on behind the band. We’ve used a lot of footage from the band’s music videos and these images are what provided the inspiration and concept for the shows lighting design.”

Dart is no stranger to Avolites having used the original Tiger Touch in a series of tours earlier in the year including the Dappy UK tour, Don Broco UK tour and the Bastille spring UK tour and festivals. “We used the Tiger Touch on previous tours and it worked so well that I now spec Avolites desks for most shows,” continues Dart, “On this tour we are visiting much bigger venues 1500 – 5000 capacity (earlier in the year we were going into venues of 300 to 2000). For both we needed a console that could handle the varying sized lighting rigs and different types of fixtures, which is exactly what the Tiger Touch Pro does.”

The Tiger Touch Pro also enables Dart to add in flashes of strobe and blinder effects on the fly. For Dart, it’s the sheer plug and playability of the Tiger Touch that keeps him specing it on jobs.

“We don’t always have a lot of time to set up,” explains Dart. “We need to get data out to the rig as quick as possible to test that everything works. The quicker this happens the more time I get to program the rig; there is no messing around with all the internal, nitty gritty bits. This gives me much more creative freedom – you could just get this console out of the box and it would work, straight off the bat.”

The Tiger Touch Pro balances its powerful software capabilities with its small, lightweight exterior. 20 submasters, separately paged as two banks of 10, and a further 20 macro or executer buttons allow fingertip control of the Titan7 operating system. Outputting up to 16 individual DMX universes with an expandability of up to 64 DMX universes, using the Titan Net Processor, means the desk offers a huge range of control channel options and shares the processing load of your show.

“The user interface is fantastic as it designed so nothing is ever more than a click away,’ continues Dart. “When you are in the middle of the show you don’t want to have to think about how do I get to that window or access that feature, instead it’s just there in front of you, which is great when you are doing a lot of on-the-fly programming in a live situation such as this.”

Koy Neminathan, Avolites Sales Director adds: “We are delighted that Will has chosen to use the Avolites Tiger Touch Pro and that it has achieved exactly what it was designed to deliver – a fast intuitive interface that enables show scalability, the ability to swap out fixture types and brands easily, programming and operation on the fly or cue to cue and all on a reliable and robust platform. Will has done a fantastic job on the design and we look forward to supporting him further with the scaled up version of the tour next year.”

One Big Star invests in Vari-Lite VLX3 Washes for sell-out Bryan Ferry Tour

9th December, 2013

UK – Live music lighting designer Rod Clay is making good use of the colour rendering technology of Philips Vari-Lite’s VLX3 LED Wash luminaires to provide key light for Bryan Ferry during his ‘An Evening with Bryan Ferry’ tour.

Ferry remains the ideal combination of mystery man and rock star and Clay’s flattering and restrained lighting palette artfully reflects this. Conjuring up an intimate, smoky jazz club feel on the show’s opening, half way through he seamlessly segues into dynamic concert style lighting backed by bright video imagery.

Clay’s fixture palette, supplied by technical and creative production company One Big Star, includes Philips Vari-Lite VLX3 Washes for front, face and key lighting and Philips Selecon Rama Fresnels make up much of the cross lighting floor package.

Clay discusses: “We wanted a tungsten/jazzy feel for the opening of the show so that’s why we went with Philips Selecon Rama Fresnels for side lighting and, new for me, 12 of the Philips Vari-Lite VLX3s, which provide key, face and front light. This kept things simple and worked in some old-school glamour.”

Initially One Big Star was only providing the floor package but the tour grew into a slightly larger festival version and then into a full production package for the autumn /winter tour. This led the company to invest in the Philips Vari-Lite VLX3 Wash luminaires.

“OneBigStar has been with me all the way. In fact the company has made quite a considerable investment to keep me happy and their support has been invaluable! The VLX3 Wash is great for a show like this,” says Clay. “The fixture combines all the benefits of LED technology with the best of Philips Vari-Lite traditional intelligent luminaires. Colours and intensity are excellent and the range of white colour temperatures is particularly useful for front and key light. In addition, the fact that we can dispense with dimmers and associated cable saves the tour money and energy – including time loading in and out – plus of course space in both the venue and the truck.”

From OneBigStar’s perspective, the new Vari-Lite equipment is a welcome addition to its equipment arsenal. Operations Director Steve Yeardsley explains, “When it comes to buying new kit what drives our decision is the diversity of the projects we work on – everything from corporate launches and events to rock and roll touring. The kit has to be as useful on one as it is on the other. The Vari-Lite VLX3 Wash is relatively small for a moving head. It delivers fantastic output from its three 120-watt RGBW LED chipsets. It’s up to three times the efficacy of comparable tungsten sources and offers more than 6,000 lumens of white light output. Its zoom range from 15 to 55 degrees and its smooth, silent, and accurate movement make the VLX3 Wash ideal for use front of house and overhead. Touring them means less dimmers, less power used and less cabling and weight so, for us, they are a win, win all round.”

Martin Palmer, Vari-Lite and Showline product manager for EMEA adds: “We were delighted to see One Big Star invest in the VLX3 Washes for this tour. Rod Clay’s lighting is subtle and theatrical. He needed a luminaire that would emulate traditional tungsten fixtures. The luminaires dynamic CRI provides a white range between approximately 3000 and 9000 Kelvin making it ideal for the job. In addition the VLX3 Wash behaves like familiar arc or tungsten luminaire, delivering seamless colour mixing, but without the inherent associated costs and inefficiencies.”

Having performed 21 shows around the UK including the five-Star reviewed performance at The Royal Albert Hall, Ferry, his band and The Bryan Ferry Orchestra, performed an extra UK date at the Shepherds Bush Empire in aid of the Disasters Emergency Committee Philippines Typhoon Appeal. The tour has now moved on to do dates in the Ukraine.

Philips Showline SL PAR 150 ZOOM on Seven Brides for Seven Brothers Tour

9th December, 2013

UK – Lighting designer Nick Richings has specified Showline’s high-output SL PAR 150 ZOOM luminaires to create a ‘jolly’, bright wash for the current hit musical tour of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.

Richings – who has 25 years’ experience working in theatre lighting in the West End and Broadway on hit shows including La Cage Aux Folles and Starlight Express – is utilising 36 of the SL PAR 150 ZOOM luminaires to wash the stage in the traditionally bright musical colours.

“The SL PAR 150 ZOOMs have only recently come onto the market so this is the first time I have ever used them and I’m really impressed with the light output,” says Richings. “The lens is great – they go nice and narrow, and they offer really good colour mixing. The warm and cool whites are also surprisingly good.”

Richings is using the die-cast aluminum LED SL PAR 150 ZOOM luminaires – which feature nine homogenized RGBW LEDs to produce over 3200 lumens of output as pipe ends, to wash across the stage to give colour and key. He says he required a robust par style fixture for the eight-month tour, which is promising ‘colourful costumes, fabulous sets, special effects and high energy performances.’

“We only have a one-day get in for each of the venues on this tour, so I needed something that could be focused easily, and would be reliable and rugged,” continues Richings. “The SL PAR 150 ZOOMs are doing great on all of those things.”

Entertainment lighting specialist, White Light, has supplied the entire touring lighting package, including the SL PAR 150 ZOOM luminaires. The tour visits theatres across the UK including Glasgow’s King’s Theatre, the Bristol Hippodrome, and the Liverpool Empire.

“We really feel strongly that the Showline SL PAR 150 ZOOM luminaires are versatile enough to invest in for future stock,” says White Light’s Hire & Technical Director, Dave Isherwood. “They are competitively priced, and were readily available for the quick turnaround required for the Seven Brides for Seven Brothers tour. Once they return to our hire stock, the Showline units will offer LDs a flexible LED fixture at a reasonable cost and will be suitable across the wide spectrum of work that we service including theatre, touring shows, corporate dry hire, and events.”

Designed to illuminate a variety of applications, such as stages, buildings, clubs, landscapes or other entertainment and architectural elements, the SL PAR 150 ZOOM luminaire provides designers with an impressive array of uniform colour.

Martin Palmer, Vari*Lite and Showline Product Manager for EMEA comments: “We are delighted that White Light saw fit to invest in the SL PAR 150 ZOOM. As Dave says they are incredibly robust and incredibly bright. Not only that the manual ZOOM provides a beam angle ranging from 15 to 70 degrees. This makes them an extremely flexible fixture and a natural LED replacement for conventional PAR fixtures.”

Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, directed and choreographed by Patti Colombo, will tour the UK until May 2014.

Philips Vari-Lite Provides Key Fixtures for Huge Latvian Festival

9th December, 2013

Latvia – Challenged with lighting a huge concert featuring 20,000 performers celebrating Latvian culture in an open air space, lighting designer Normunds Bļasāns felt he could only achieve his vision by specifying Philips Vari-Lite’s high-output VL3015LT Spots, VL3500 and VL3000 Washes.

Local rental house and production company NA Stage & Light supplied 20 VL3015LT Spot luminaires, 16 VL3000 Washes, and 24 VL3500 Wash fixtures for the massive 25th Latvian Song and Dance Festival, which drew an audience of more than 40,000. The event celebrates Latvian music, dance, art, and culture and took place in the capital Riga’s Song Festival at the Open Air Stage – Mezaparks.

“Our job was to light up the open air stage, which had more than 20,000 singers and dancers taking part – a huge space,” says NA Stage & Light’s Ritvars Sakals. “16 VL3015LT Spots were rigged at the rear of the stage to bring dramatic backlight to centre stage, highlight some specific performance areas and give colour and texture to the background. We also had a further four rigged side of stage for cross and key light. The VL3000s were all used to wash the back of the stage and the VL3500s rigged at the sides to wash the central areas. We knew with a stage this big that only these Vari-Lites could provide the output and effects that we needed.”

Lighting designer and co-founder of NA Stage & Light, Bļasāns continues: “I’ve been using Vari-Lite for more than fifteen years, and for me there are no other fixtures that can compete in the entertainment market. The light output, colour, and optics are incredible – I use them whenever I can!”

Philips Entertainment’s Martin Palmer adds: “The VL3015LT features a zoom range of 6° to 60° allowing for use in a multitude of applications from stadiums to theatres. This made them a fantastic solution for major events in large spaces, and perfect for the Riga Song Festival at the huge open air stage in Mezaparks.

“The VL3015LT utilises a 1500W double-ended short arc lamp which offers an unprecedented output. Featuring 10:1 zoom optics, CYM colour mixing, variable CTO wheel, two five-position colour wheels, three gobo/effects wheels, a beam size iris, and separate dimmer and ultra-fast strobe mechanisms which makes it an excellent all round workhorse and effects luminaire.”

Additionally, the luminaire contains an independent rotating and indexing three-facet prism as well as an independent frost glass.

The VL3000 and VL3500 Washes are also incredibly bright, with both luminaires featuring superior colour and beam control. Additionally, the versatile VL3500 Wash offers the VARI*BRITE mode, which can be engaged to offer a tight column of remarkably intense light.

The week-long Latvian Song and Dance Festival – which happens every five years – brings together local choirs and folk artists to explore and present the richness and diversity of Latvian culture.  The Song and Dance Festival has become a kind of pilgrimage for the Latvian nation, where groups, large and small, from all over Latvia and from abroad, gather to participate in this ongoing cultural event.

The next Festival is scheduled for 2018.


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