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Archive for June, 2014

Philips Vari-Lite VL3500 Wash FX luminaires deliver mesmerising lighting for The 1975

24th June, 2014

Critically-acclaimed indie pop four-piece The 1975 have been driving fans wild on their world tour, including a sold out show at London’s majestic Royal Albert Hall where the power and brightness of 12 Philips Vari-Lite VL3500 Wash FX luminaires provided spectacular illumination for the Manchester-born boys.

Show and lighting designer Tobias Rylander, of design house Seven Design Works, worked alongside lighting designer Darren Purves to specify the VL3500 Wash FX luminaires which complemented the remarkably physical design’s clean lines and epic style aerial projection. This concept was inspired by Rylander’s passion for architecture and art, particularly the artist Anthony McCall, who is renowned for his work with forced perspective, glass and prisms and bouncing light off of reflective surfaces.

“The band had a very distinct graphic design in the album artwork,” explains Rylander. “They also like everything to be in black and white and their logo is this strict square which they use everywhere. When it came to building the concept I just began to layer what they wanted and play around with forced perspective and dimensions, creating graphic aerial projections with lines and squares.”

Rylander specified the VL3500 Wash FX for its intensely bright 70,000 lumens output, which performed in harmony with the projection. It can also be used as a spot when the luminaire’s VARI*BRITE mode is engaged, which works in conjunction with its internal zoomable optics system to offer a tight column of remarkably intense light from almost any zoom position.

“The VL3500 Wash FX is an extremely dynamic luminaire. It was the workhorse of the rig and the only moving light I used in this tour as it also performs brilliantly as a spot,” explains Rylander. “The VL3500 Wash FX consistently delivered at different intensities and zooms which worked perfectly to not ‘over-shine’ the projection aspect whilst still being the ideal intensely bright wash.”

Rylander’s design seamlessly blended lighting and video to produce an edgy and distinctive show that suited the band’s alternative aesthetic. The moody and architectural design comprised of breath taking aerial projection and video content, sharp geometric shapes and silhouettes, which continuously morphed from organic dripping content to sharp solid structures, heightened by the VL3500 Wash FX’s open rotating FX pattern wheel effects system and interchangeable front lens system. “The effects features of the VL3500 Wash FX make it stand out over other wash lights and I really like the ‘cat eye’ lens,” continues Rylander.

Striking and undulating lines were produced through moving gobos and five on-stage projectors and two at FOH, with the projectors placed behind the LED video frame creating a framed tunnel perspective that gave depth to the stage. Looks created went from single light on one person to dynamic almost physical lighting and frenzied strobing with the power of the VL3500 Wash FX adding a gritty evocative atmosphere to the sometimes chilled, sometimes energetic look.

The 1975 are on a fast track to super-stardom, with a plethora of global headline shows scheduled to come later in the year, including exciting performances at several festivals this summer such as Glastonbury and Benicassim.

Philips Selecon PL LED range is focus of future lighting at Youth Theatre seminar

24th June, 2014

The next generation of South African theatre lighting designers have got hands on with Philips Selecon’s industry-leading PL range of LED luminaires as part of a two-day seminar focusing on the future of LED technology at The Savoy theatre in Adcockvale.

Dave Whitehouse of Philips Selecon dealer DWR Distribution used Philips Selecon PLcyc1, PLfresnel1, PLprofile1 and PLprofile4 luminaires to demonstrate the advantages of Selecon’s latest LED technology for modern theatre lighting design. Attendees were aged between 15-25 and part of The Performing Arts Network of South Africa’s (PANSA) Youth Theatre Project in the Eastern Cape province. Whitehouse was joined by David Limbert, Production Manager at AV company Magnetic Storm, for the seminar. Together, they demonstrated to the potential new generation of lighting designers the innovative Philips Selecon LED luminaires.

“All the attendees were incredibly enthusiastic about seeing the fantastic Philips Selecon luminaires in action, which was truly inspiring,” says Dave Whitehouse. “They really soaked up a lot of technical information about LED technology, and were amazed at what could be achieved with the Philips Selecon luminaires. In particular, attendees were excited by the fact that Selecon LED technology alleviates the need for filters for colour changing and make controlling multiple beams extremely easy.”

The Philips Selecon PLprofile1 and PLprofile4 LED luminaires mitigate the need to change lamps or colour filters and have an incredibly easy-to-use interface which made the luminaires all the more accessible to the excited young audience.

The attendees also learnt how the Philips Selecon PLfresnel1 LED luminaires use a combination of LED source technology combined with a traditional Fresnel lens to deliver industry benchmark quality without the compromising performance of spreader lenses. The PLfresnel1 was also an ideal reference point for those attendees interested in theatrical lighting, as it is a luminaire perfectly suited to the theatre environment, producing an adjustable cone of light with a soft edge which is easily blended with adjacent beams to provide even illumination.

To demonstrate the broad range of Selecon technology, Whitehouse and Limbert also exhibited the PLcyc1 LED luminaire, which combines the use of LED source technology with a properly shaped asymmetrical reflector to deliver consistent light distribution. In addition, each luminaire can replace the equivalent of a traditional four colour 1000W per circuit cyc luminaire and with the convenient powercon power system, the PLcyc1 can light a typical cyclorama with a single 10A non-dim circuit.

On the future of Selecon LED technology, Whitehouse comments: “The Philips Selecon range is really taking off in South Africa. We have sold the Philips Selecon PLcyc1 LED luminaire to such theatres as The Johannesburg Civic Theatre, The Lyric and the Welkom Ernest Oppenheimer Theatre. Other customers very happy with their Philips Selecon LED purchases are Red Pepper studios and The Venue Melrose Arch amongst others.”

The PANSA Youth Theatre Project puts on an extensive calendar of exciting workshops and aims to support youth development and create awareness, training young people in the various aspects and disciplines in the performing arts.

INTERN POST: 5E introduce Aurelie!

19th June, 2014

During the first month at The Fifth Estate, I have improve my skills as Executive Assistant. I have learnt about the people who I work with, what they do, how they do it and why.

I have also learnt about our main clients, assisted at the meetings, take some notes, did expenses broadsheet, audio transcription and did press cutting for repair our clients in press articles and  the lighting designers’s comments.

Read all these articles permitted me to understand the importance of the Technology Entertainment and the role that the company playing in this sector.

This first work experience is a great opportunity for me to improve myself and it’s will also be a great things on my CV to have did an international stage.

I hope, that I will do more things on the next weeks.

INTERN POST: My Last Hours

19th June, 2014

I am writing these words because soon I would have finished my internship in “The Fifth Estate”. I remember when I started 3 months ago and I was so nervous. It was my first experience abroad living with a host family so, I had no idea about what my future would hold me.

I started the first days of the internship and I really started to like the type of company that “The Fifth Estate” is. I like the people in it, I like the work environment and I like my iMac 27”. During all these months I have learnt a lot of important things: I have improved my knowledge in video edition (Final Cut Pro X) and also I have had the pleasure of editing photos of really important concerts and festivals. I have to say that I really love what I have done here.

Now I am a bit sad because I don’t know if I am going to come back here again, but everything I have learnt I will apply to my daily life. Now I really want to go back to my place with my family, my girlfriend, my friends, but also I am sad to leave here this wonderful experience. I hope that maybe in the future we will keep in contact.

Thanks for bringing me this really important experience.




Avolites Expert Pro controls live visuals at rooftop club WHITE Dubai

19th June, 2014

Exclusive rooftop bar WHITE Dubai has invested in an Avolites Expert Pro and Touch Wing as part of the club’s state-of-the-art entertainment technology system.

WHITE Dubai is a large open-air venue and caters to the Middle East’s partying elite. The club, which is located above the city’s famous Meydan Racecourse, offers guests the latest in live audio-visual technology, aiming to immerse guests in visual environments that vary from event to event.

Dubai-based professional lighting, sound, video and rigging company Procom ME worked with concept designers Addmind, the creative brains behind WHITE Beirut, to design and supply the club’s impressive video and lighting package.

“Many visit WHITE Dubai to experience the distinctive live lighting, sound and video display,” explains Rami Harfouch, Business Development Manager at Procom ME. “So synchronisation, originality and avoiding repetition are challenging but crucial considerations when choosing equipment. Our decision to use the Avolites Expert Pro as the club’s in-house desk was based in part on the console’s large number of submasters. These allow the club’s resident lighting operator to create countless mixes which are deliberately orchestrated to accommodate the club’s diverse event and music styles.”

In order to cater for such a wide range of events WHITE Dubai is the proud owner of a wide arsenal of lighting equipment including various moving head fixtures, washes, beams, LED equipment, screens and lasers all of which are controlled live by the Avolites Expert Pro and Touch Wing.

“With such a large amount of elements to control, the addition of the easy-to-connect Touch Wing means the lighting operator has even faster, easier access to the different components of the mixer,” says George Germanos, Technical Manager at Procom ME. “This is particularly important for a live operated show at WHITE Dubai.”

Despite the huge feature set of the Expert Pro and Touch Wing, both pieces of equipment are designed to be lightweight, which is important for clubs where equipment is not installed and in use all year round.

“The Expert Pro and the Touch Wing are both portable,” continues Germanos. “This is a very convenient feature for clubs that need to seasonally close or relocate, like WHITE Dubai during the hot summer months.”

In addition to the technological benefits of Avolites products, Harfouch also cites Avolites’ customer support as a key component in working with the Avolites brand.

“Club managers often have no time to spare for dealing with technical matters such as lighting control troubleshoots and breakdowns,” explains Harfouch. “Avolites’ commitment to training and supporting its users makes Avolites the console of choice for club professionals. In the Middle East, Procom, the long-standing Avolites partner, offers round the clock support, even after hours. With Avolites you are guaranteed top quality machinery and a fantastic technical support team that will be reliably available in case of troubleshoots.”

As part of Procom ME’s offering as official Avolites partner in the Middle-East the company regularly organises Avolites training sessions on product and software updates providing a solid safety net for Avolites users in the region.

WHITE Dubai has already hosted the likes of Jason Derulo and Berlin DJ/Producer Thomas Gold, with many more big names scheduled for the 2014 season.

Kilowatt AV uses Avolites Ai Media server to power South Africa’s first choreographed 3D video-mapping experience

16th June, 2014

South African equipment rental and technical support house Kilowatt AV recently invested in the Avolites Ai Media Server EX series to power the country’s first-ever choreographed 3D video-mapping experience.

The event, for global car manufacturer Nissan, integrated live dance with 3D virtual mapping technology to create a show that demonstrated the blurring of lines between human and virtual arts.

“Our scenic team designed a 24m wide 3D stage set that required the Ai Media Server to power three 14K HD Christie Projectors, which covered the area,” explains Dillon Jearey, chief executive officer for Kilowatt AV. “The biggest challenge for us was that the deadline between content load-in and show production was incredibly tight. Thankfully, the Ai proved itself to be extremely versatile and reliable, handling the fast-tracked programming schedule with speed and ease.”

The equipment was supplied to Kilowatt AV by DWR Distribution, South African distributor for Avolites Media and its sister company Avolites. “The new Ai Media server EX series brings huge added value to ownership,” explains Managing Director Duncan Riley. “It features third generation PCI Express motherboards and graphics cards, as well as a front panel touch screen that displays the Ai Visualiser. It also has internal EDIT management and Dual Preview and 8 HD Projection outputs.”

“With the Ai you get a comprehensive feature set and an incredible amount of processing power for your money,” agrees Jearey. “Before anything else, Kilowatt AV is a business and for us finding products with impressive capability that also matches their financial payback is crucial. The Ai Media Server is absolutely one of those products.”

Kilowatt AV’s decision to invest in the Avolites Media technology has been spurred by the company’s recent success and expansion into the South African projection-mapping market. This expansion has also seen Jearey acquire a personal stake in Cape Town-based animation outfit Lucan Visuals.

“Projection mapping is often misunderstood and incorrectly sold in South Africa,” explains Jearey. “Kilowatt AV has been aware of this for some time now and we have realised that fantastic quality content is required to complement the technical equipment solution. LUCAN is a studio of incredible animation talent and we believe that synergies with us and other technical support companies will elevate the quality of mapping productions implemented in the market. Having LUCAN as a supplier gives us access to 6 of the continent’s most talented up and coming animators and being able to offer a total solution gives us increased control and service levels for our clients.

“We invested in the Ai Media Server to complement and show off high quality content. Now we can provide our clients with a full video mapping service equal to that of any European production house. In addition, we can demonstrate what can be achieved when you combine high-quality content and state of the art technology. Plus, we can offer realistic prices and turnaround times.”

Technical support is also important to Jearey, who cites that the friendly, helpful efficiency of the Avolites Media technical support team alongside the excellent customer service from DWR were a key influencer in their purchasing decision.

“For the Nissan event we had an 18hr load in,” explains Jearey. “We were still new to the server and working our way around the system. Thankfully the Avolites Media support team were always available on the end of the phone. We made around three or four phone calls during the project and they provided all the backup and support we needed – even when they were out of hours!”

Kilowatt AV is one of very few technical houses in South Africa able to provide a full service video mapping and digital content operation that incorporates everything from creative content production to equipment hire.


Avolites Media delivers the power to drive challenging Coldplay show

12th June, 2014

Coldplay recently held an intimate secret show to mark the release of their album ‘Ghost Stories,’ to the delight of the 800 lucky fans in attendance at Sony Studios Los Angeles. The spectacular event, recorded for a TV special and album bonus DVD, saw the band play a very special set, including a recital of the new album in its entirety for the first time.

Expertly directed by Ben Miles of Mixed Emotions London and engineered by Phil Haynes with Phil Johnston as Lead Projectionist both working for XL Video, the show featured 32 unique outputs from only 5 live Avolites Media Ai S8 systems. These, connected to a total of 46 Panasonic 20k projectors, and coupled with 3 floating backup servers, created a stunning visual environment.

“Avolites Media were very proud to supply our servers to XL Video for use on this special project,” stated Avolites Media MD Steve Warren. “With such a demanding number of outputs used, we are convinced that Ai was the best choice.”

Visuals of the Aurora Borealis moving beautifully across ‘A Sky Full of Stars’ accompanied the song of the same title, and second single from ‘Ghost Stories.’ These created the illusion that the 8-sided set was within a zoetrope. As Video Director Ben Miles recalls: “I used an overhead mini-cam with a fish-eye lens which I then fed at 1920×1080 into the Ai inputs. Using some custom effects I treated and tiled the image before spinning it around and across the projection system. This was a big look for the show which we used to great effect.”

With 8x S8 servers, all with dual HD inputs, the team had up to 80x 1080 HD SDI feeds to monitor and distribute.

“We needed a versatile system like Ai with enough power to handle the huge amounts of data on the bus while still giving us the level of creativity and design tools we’re used to.,” continues Miles. “Without this direct HD SDI output we would have had to convert all of the normal DVI server outputs into SDI adding frame delay or convert them all to fibre which would have added a big cost to the systems signal distribution. Using the S8 was a massive money and time saver.”

Originally planned to take the form of a tour, the size and shape of the venue changed a number of times, and with it, the projection requirements.

“A large amount of pre-production was necessary in order to get the show off the ground. The projection system actually ended up dictating a lot of the direction of the project, and the Ai system was a great help managing this. The band wanted the show to be big visually, but wanted to maintain the intimacy of a smaller venue rather than the stadiums in which the band would usually perform.”

“Using Ai was essential for pre-production projection mapping, allowing us to conduct this outside of the venue. The pre-visualisation of Ai was key to the success of the project.”

Follow the link before to see an exclusive behind the scenes video of the unique and intimate event:

Video Director – Ben Miles (

Visuals – Bison (


Philips Selecon provides ‘amazing’ LED upgrade for prime time TV studio Red Pepper

12th June, 2014

Award-winning set designer Michael Gill recently worked alongside lighting designers Joshua Cutts and Francois van der Merwe on South African TV studio Red Pepper’s ambitious upgrade project, specifying the remarkable LED technology of Philips Selecon Studio Panels, SPX Zoomspot and PLcyc1 luminaires for three new prime time game shows.

Red Pepper’s CEO Cecil Barry and facilities manager Marius Maritz joined forces with Gill, Cutts and van der Merwe to come up with a revolutionised set design and optimised LED lighting rig, including 14 x Philips Selecon Studio Panels, 6 x Philips Selecon PLcyc1 luminaires and 8 x Philips Selecon SPX Zoomspot luminaires, supplied by DWR Distribution, for their studios in Linden, Melville and Braamfontein.

“I was very surprised with the Philips Selecon Studio Panels,” said Maritz. “They perfectly lit the entire virtual rig, which is 112sqm², and are amazing. I don’t think we need any other lights for chroma key (green screen), and as a plus, the fixtures have variable colour temperature correction.”

The Philips Selecon Studio Panel’s variable colour temperature works from 2700K up to 6000K using a mixture of amber and white LEDs. In addition it is ideal for studio and location lighting as it can be easily transported around for a broad range of uses, and can be powered on location by the camera alone. It is also highly intuitive and easy to use, with three onboard buttons and a wheel, enabling the user to quickly adjust the colour temperature and dimming intensity.

The Red Pepper upgrade project began in 2013 when the studios gained a new client, Connect, who planned to produce the three new game shows, Bounce, Ka Ching and Cula Sibone, to be aired during prime time from Monday to Thursday on the Mzansi Magic and Mzansi Wethu Channel. Red Pepper therefore needed a cutting-edge LED rig to deliver fantastic quality lighting for the new shows and so turned to the versatile and powerful Philips Selecon PLcyc1 and SPX Zoomspot luminaires.

“The game show lighting needed vibrant and energetic colours which I achieved through the Philips Selecon PLcyc1 luminaires’ simple but effective colour mixing,” says Cutts.  “I use them daily to flood certain confined areas of the set with their powerful, colour changing wash.”

The Philips Selecon PLcyc1 LED luminaire seamlessly blends washes of colour on cycloramas up to 5m high. Using LED source technology combined with a properly shaped asymmetrical reflector, the PLcyc1 delivers consistent light distribution without the compromising performance of vertical or horizontal spreader lenses. The PLcyc1 also delivers on Philips Selecon’s promise of LED Lighting through the fact that each luminaire can replace the equivalent of a traditional four colour 500W per circuit cyc luminaire, and with the convenient powercon power system, the PLcyc1 can light a typical cyclorama with a single 10A non-dim circuit. In addition, The PLcyc1 is highly intuitive, with an on-board LCD menu system for setup, control and addressing. This offers all configuration options with a few button presses, allowing for full productivity.

Red Pepper is also benefitting from the efficiency and power of the Philips Selecon SPX Zoomspot, which delivers 63% more light than the current industry benchmark without compromising on definition.

“The bright crisp light of the Philips Selecon SPX Zoomspot luminaires is fantastic,” continues Cutts. “They also have a very even and clean edge of focus so I prefer them when it comes to lighting for camera. They’re used for special effects on the contestant lecterns, and, again because of our confined space, I need a profile to shutter off set elements and other contestants, which is where the SPX Zoomspot never lets me down.”

Alongside the Philips Selecon SPX Zoomspot luminaire’s sharp shutter cut and excellent edge control, it has an adjustable beam range of 15°-35° and 25°-50° and allows the user to simply alter from smooth and flat for gobo projection to high intensity peak for stage washes. In addition, the LED luminaire boasts highly intuitive familiar controls, compartmentalised heat management system and a two-plane shutter design ensuring the same focus on all four shutters.

“Like always, the Philips Selecon luminaires are classy and well-manufactured, so I am always comfortable having them on my productions for Red Pepper,” concludes Cutts.

The Technical Theatre Awards Announces Nominees as Voting Opens

12th June, 2014

The Technical Theatre Awards, which celebrates the outstanding achievements of people working behind the scenes, has announced the nominees for this year’s event as voting officially opens.

Sixty-three individuals and venues are nominated across 18 awards covering all disciplines of technical theatre, ranging from achievements in Stage Management to Scenic Artistry, Wardrobe to Make-up & Wigs.

TTA creator Ian Taylor announced the opening of voting for the awards at the ABTT Theatre Show on Wednesday 11 June, taking to the Philips Entertainment stand at 13:15 to celebrate with gathered guests and press. To cast your vote, visit

According to the organisers, more than 1000 people have voted in the first 24hrs of voting going live.

The winners will be announced at a special ceremony on Monday 6 October, during PLASA London at ExCel (time/stand TBC).

The TTAs debuted at PLASA 2013 at London’s ExCel to credit the often unsung heroes working backstage to make theatre magic happen. This year’s awards promise to be ‘bigger, better, and brighter’, and have already attracted incredible support from some of the biggest names and companies in the industry, including Philips Entertainment, PRG, and Triple E, all of which are sponsoring awards again in 2014.

“We’re excited that the TTA Awards has grown so quickly and we’re able to recognise the achievements of so many talented individuals and companies,” says Taylor. “But of course, who goes on to win awards is up to the industry, and we’re thrilled to announce that voting is now open via the website. Your support for the TTAs is much appreciated – I think it’s important to recognise and acknowledge the diverse talents of backstage workers in all their guises, and this is an ideal opportunity for everyone in the industry to do just that.”

A selection of awards are still available for sponsorship. To find out more, email Ian Taylor at

For a full list of nominees and awards, visit

Click image below to view video


Screen Shot 2014-06-12 at 17.11.27

Philips Strand Lighting 250ML ‘super efficient’ Control Console saves the day for Stark Films

10th June, 2014

For 26 years, Stark Films has been one of South Africa’s leading independent television production companies and skilled resident lighting designer Chris Gardner has recently turned to the efficiency and reliability of the Philips Strand Lighting 250ML Control Console for the studio’s much-needed upgrade.

Stark Films is home to several popular long-running South African drama series such as ‘Generations’ and ‘Binneland’. Highly experienced LD Chris Gardner has worked on Binneland for nine years, alongside numerous other high-profile Stark Films productions. When the time came to upgrade the studio’s lighting control system to match its state-of-the-art complex, Gardner turned to the Philips Strand Lighting 250ML Control Console after receiving rave reviews about the desk from Travis Yeatman, LD for Ultra Music Festival.

“The time came when we desperately needed to upgrade our system,” explains Gardner. “DWR Distribution came to the rescue, with Dave Whitehouse delivering the Strand Lighting 250ML console and installing it before a show started the following morning. It was immediately apparent how super efficient and easy-to-use the Strand Lighting 250ML console is and how simple it would be to create and store Submasters, which was such a relief.”

The incredibly intuitive and easy-to-use Strand Lighting 250ML console provides designers with intelligent fixture control and can control 250 channels for dimmers and 30 automated luminaires for moving lights and LEDs. Looks can be stored as either Submasters for easy access or cues for traditional theatre playback.

“After only five to ten minutes of training we went from full system failure to a full 12 hour uninterrupted day in a busy soap opera studio, thanks to the Strand Lighting 250ML console,” continues Gardner. “We programmed 49 key sets into the system, each with two or three lighting states, with minimal effort or reading. This efficiency was amazing as we had no time for complications or trouble!”

The Philips Strand Lighting 250ML Control Console merges the world of conventional dimmer/channel control using traditional Command Line operation with an easy-to-use interface for attributed fixtures, using a colour LCD screen that has ten soft keys and four attribute encoders. In addition, the console has an intuitive effects engine, 2 DMX ports with 1,024 outputs and Cue Playback with A/B Faders and Load/Go buttons, making it a highly useful and productive tool.

“Our lighting system is pretty straightforward and designed to run efficiently with minimal room for error,” concludes Gardner. “The Strand Lighting 250ML Control Console therefore fits straight in as it’s an extremely reliable and professional desk. Coupled with DWR’s excellent after-sales service we are confident in our purchase decision.”


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