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Archive for January, 2015

Avolites appoints Improve as its new Dutch Digital Media Reseller

29th January, 2015

Lighting and visual control expert Avolites has appointed South Holland-based Improve as its new Digital Media Reseller in The Netherlands.

The announcement comes just weeks before Avolites and Improve team up at the Amsterdam tradeshow Integrated Systems Europe (ISE) to exhibit Avolites’ range of control consoles and servers and unveil the incredible new features of its new Ai V8 software.

In May 2014, Avolites appointed Fairlight as its sole distributor for The Netherlands, and they will also be represented at ISE by Menno Appelhof, who will be on the Avolites stand. Improve will act as Avolites’ exclusive Dutch dealer.

Improve’s core business is the design and implementation of integrated lighting and video concepts for the corporate and cultural events market, sourcing industry-leading control consoles and media servers push the boundaries of what can be achieved.

Improve’s Antoinette Wijffels comments: “Improve is proud to announce that it has become an Avolites dealer. Improve is impressed by the quality and growing functionality Avolites media products are offering. For instance, with the latest Ai V8 software, 3D multimedia really gets a great boost. In the pre-production and production phases it is easy to show to the customer the event in 3D from every conceivable point of view, which makes the process of creation much easier and much better. Thanks to Ai, the step from virtual reality to real life show is really easy to make. We believe our toolset is greatly enhanced by teaming up with Avolites and we look forward to working more closely with the Avolites team and products.”

Avolites MD Steve Warren comments: “We’re delighted to have a brilliantly proactive dealer in Improve as part of the Avolites network, as our new reselling, training and support partner for digital lighting control. They join Fairlight, our sole distributor in this territory, to share the task of expanding our presence in the Netherlands, and boosting our training and support infrastructure for the Dutch market.

“We chose Improve due to their vast knowledge and experience of the media server market, as well as their commitment to fantastic support and training in the Dutch market. Improve’s longstanding reputation is unquestioned.”

ISE will mark the official start of Improve’s status as Avolites Dutch Digital Media Reseller, with Improve exhibiting Avolites Ai range on its stand, 8-L395. Avolites will also be on its own stand, 8-K300 at ISE, which runs from 10-12 February at the Amsterdam RAI.

Avolites unveils Ai V8’s revolutionary ‘Autoblend’ feature at ISE Amsterdam

21st January, 2015

Avolites is heading to Amsterdam’s Integrated Systems Europe tradeshow this February to exhibit its range of control consoles and servers and unveil the incredible new features of its new Ai V8 software.

The Avolites team will be on stand 8-K300 at ISE, which runs from 10-12 February at the Amsterdam RAI. Also exhibiting Avolites’ range of products will be Avolites’ new Dutch dealer, Improve, which will be on stand 8-L395.

Running on Avolites’ industry-leading range of Ai media servers, the new V8 software includes the revolutionary new Autoblend feature, distinctly setting Ai apart from the competition by allowing blending of large projection surfaces using multiple projectors. In addition, there is a brand new Surface Modelling page for the creation of editable 3D sets, and performance is hugely improved, with render engine optimisation offering 50% increased video throughput. Compositing high-resolution background layers with low-resolution foreground layers is also much improved.

“We are incredibly excited by the increased functionality of Ai version 8,” says Steve Warren, Avolites MD. “Word of mouth has been spreading like wildfire through our visual community of the revolutionary camera blend, easy LED Mapping and 3D modelling and visualisation capabilities of V8. The new and simplified Ai user interface has brought a stampede of new users to Ai and we’re excited to exhibit it at ISE.”

Improve’s Antoinette Wijffels comments: “Improve is proud to become an Avolites dealer – we are impressed by the quality and growing functionality Avolites’ media products are offering, especially with V8. At ISE, Improve will show its ‘Wonder Cabinet’, a mix of 3D projection and effects, where you can see how shows are created and how the Ai V8 media server makes things possible. Improve has also designed the Commercial Solutions Theatre at ISE, where one can see Ai at work. If you visit the Commercial Solutions Theatre on stand 8M-370, our team will be happy to answer any questions.”

Alongside Avolites’ Ai range, the company will also be exhibiting the compact-yet-powerful Quartz lighting console, running Titan V8, which makes its Continental European debut. Measuring only 42.5cm wide at a weight of just 8kg, the compact console comes complete with on-board processing and a bright, vibrant 12.1″ screen and is aimed at the touring market.Avolites is on stand 8-K300 at ISE from 10-12 February at the Amsterdam RAI. Improve is on stand 8-L395.

Avolites Ai “works like a charm” for Rodrigo y Gabriela

20th January, 2015

A combination of geometrically and historically inspired projections make for a striking backdrop for Rodrigo y Gabriela’s latest tour, in support of new album ‘9 Dead Alive’. The duo’s Multimedia Designer, Krisjanis Berzins operates the show using Ai Version 8 – Bondi, running from a Software Licence Key.

The Mexican acoustic guitar duo returned to tour the UK this winter, having taken to the iconic Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury in the summer. Using two screen fixtures, their show employs Ai to run 4-6 layers per fixture, made up of 1-2 footage layers plus 4 live camera layers which can be source switched to use up to 8 cameras at a time.

Berzins’ design took inspiration from the new album, for which each song is dedicated to someone with significant legacy in human history. “We had built animations for these as well as some extra geometry based content for the older tracks,” he explains.

Content was created by a freelance team of animators/modellers and other creative heads, mostly Dublin-based, directed by Berzins. He notes that, “each track is chopped up in smaller sections and they are all carefully built in separate sections overlying each other with extended out-handles, to be triggered live.”

The show is particularly suited to live triggering due to the duo’s dynamic style, with ever-changing tempo. Further to this, the band have recently abandoned the notion of a set-list, with audience requests making up a part of the set, making timecoding impossible.

“When we started looking into the next step in projection for the tour it was obvious our previous system would not be up to the task and we needed something more powerful,” says Berzins. “Specifically, we needed a system that would be fundamentally a 3D engine.

“After playing around with Ai, it quickly became clear that it was the closest to what we were after. Ai also turned out to be very cost effective and the best option for future-proofing the tour, with a very strong support team behind it too.”

The tour recently switched to Version 8, with Berzins noticing some massive improvements in the latest version of the Ai software. “The speed bumps have been ironed out, and it feels more stable. The usability improvements are certainly a big step forward. The speed of the mapping process is much quicker now – crucial for a touring 3D mapped show.

“Ai worked like a charm. I am excited about the future of Ai and having some time off touring to play with the Salvation framework while experimenting with some new concepts and ideas.

“There is nothing else in the media server market that allows the level of tinkering with generative visuals and interactivity that can be achieved with Ai’s Salvation. And this is exactly where, among other things, I will be investing a lot of my personal time in the near future.”

Avolites appoints Music & Lights as new Italian distributor

15th January, 2015

Avolites has announced that its industry-leading range of lighting and Ai video and multimedia control technologies will be distributed in Italy by Music & Lights.

The deal has been welcomed by both companies.

“We are confident that the appointment Music & Lights as our distributor is our most effective step to ensure our continued growth in the Italian market,” says Avolites Managing Director, Steve Warren. “We are extremely impressed with the potential of Music & Lights and CEO Fabio Sorabella’s highly effective team are enthusiastic, dynamic and focused on growth.”

Warren’s words are echoed by Avolites Sales Director, Koy Neminathan: “Music & Lights have proved that they are capable of providing excellent service training and support, both pre and post-sale. Avolites have invested in the development of new and unique features for both lighting and video control and it is of the upmost importance that we work with the most capable partners to support our customers. Avolites products allow our customers to achieve the very best returns on their investment and a partner as strong and experienced as Music & Lights will benefit all of Avolites Italian users. We are proud to be working together!”

Fabio Sorabella comments: “We are extremely excited to carry a prestigious brand such as Avolites, which will perfectly complement our existing solutions aimed at the professional AVL market. Music & Lights knows that Avolites provides extremely powerful and cutting edge technologies, while maintaining accessibility. The control philosophy is highly intuitive, a characteristic for which Avolites products have become popular and famous worldwide.”

Music & Lights will hold the entire range of Avolites lighting consoles and dimming control as well as Avolites Ai Video and multimedia servers and software.

Since 1990, Music & Lights has become a reference company in the field of audio, video and lighting technology. Professionalism and motivation have allowed Music & Lights to claim themselves as the leader in their sectors and markets.

Created in 1978, with headquarters in Park Royal London, Avolites has emerged as the market leader for professional lighting and video control technologies.

In 2011, Avolites created the division Avolites Media, designing and manufacturing the video control products under the “Ai” brand of media servers and video controllers. The multi-award winning Avolites Ai media servers immediately impressed the industry by controlling “the world’s largest landscape video display” at the London 2012 Olympics opening and closing ceremonies and going on to control the unique “volumetric LED display” at the Sochi Winter Olympics.

Avolites Releases feature-rich Ai Version 8

15th January, 2015

Having won awards from Live Design, PLASA and Prolight & Sound for their products and innovation, Avolites could be forgiven for simply tweaking some minor features in their Ai software. Rather than rest on their laurels, though, they have introduced a host of new features and improvements for latest iteration, Version 8, which they’re describing as “everything you always wanted” in a media server.

Ai servers combine 36 years of engineering design and world-class show production experience in a unique “production based workflow”. Building on their initial success, Avolites Ai V8 is the result of a feature rich development programme lead by intensive user feedback.

Dave Green, Lead Developer for Ai explains: “We’ve spent twelve months listening carefully to what our users felt they needed from Ai V8. The results of this programme are illustrated in an impressive feature set and a more unified workspace that delivers ‘everything you always wanted in a media server.”

Distinctly setting itself apart from the competition, V8 introduces the revolutionary new camera based warp and blend feature, allowing users to blend large projection surfaces with multiple projectors to be visually perfect, as well as a brand new Surface Modelling page, for the creation of editable 3D sets.

Performance in Ai V8 has been massively improved, with optimisation of the render engine offering around a 50% improvement in video throughput using the AiM Superstream codec. Performance whilst live compositing high resolution background layers with low resolution foreground layers has also been much improved.

It is now easier to track the performance of your Ai system, thanks to the introduction of Performance Units. The user interface displays a power bar indicating the load that the system is under. As you add more layers and outputs, this power bar depletes according to the system capabilities.

“We are so excited by the increased functionality of Ai version 8,” says Steve Warren, Avolites MD. “Word of mouth has been spreading like wildfire through our visual community of the revolutionary camera blend, easy LED Mapping and 3D modelling and visualisation capabilities of V8. The new and simplified Ai user interface has brought a stampede of new users to Ai and of course we welcome them all.”

Other impressive features offered in V8 are seen in the Output Configuration Page, where the user can easily configure all parameters of outputs using a unique UI for each fixture by dragging a region on the input canvas then placing it on the output, with fine control over positon, orientation and scale.

The industry’s leading video mapping tools have been refined even further with an improved user interface for the mapping editor, and a new modular LED configuration page makes the mapping of DMX controlled multi-cell lighting fixtures a breeze. Users will also experience the new customisable effects feature, new to V8. The brand new effects system (SVFX) lets the user create their own effects and add them into the system.

All these features and many more allow the award winning Ai media servers to enable breath-taking visual environments. To experience Ai V8 for yourself, visit www.avolitesmedia.com

Triple E Unitrack charms Cinderella at De Montfort Hall, Leicester

15th January, 2015

Triple E has emerged as the prince charming of equipment engineered for entertainment this Christmas as Cinderella opens at De Montfort Hall, Leicester using 192m of strong and beautiful Unitrack (well it sure ain’t ugly, sister.)

De Montfort Hall bills Cinderella as ‘bigger, better and more of a spectacle than ever before’.

The concert hall has no fly tower and in the theatrical format, with a false proscenium, has a seating capacity of 1,490. It is generally a receiving house and in more than 20 years this is the Hall’s second year of producing a Pantomime.

Jim O’Mahoney is the Hall’s Principal Technician and technical godfather.

“As we have no flying we needed to hang 19 separate cloths over 14 x 16M swipe tracks,” says Jim. “These are all hand swiped other than two roped tab tracks. We have no wing space for the down pulleys.

“We already have a large quantity of Triple E track in house and wished to augment it, as we find that Triple E products offer a very reliable system. We rarely get issues with bobbins catching or jumping, whether it’s heavy set, stiff thick cloth or the lightest of gauze.”

To achieve this, Jim invested in 192m of Triple E’s robust, versatile and easy-to-use Unitrack from Flint Hire & Supply. Flints has been selling Triple E products since EEE was formed 30 years ago.

“Another problem we needed to overcome as a non-flying venue is the difference in heights of the hired in cloths,” Jim continues. “Most of the tracks are flown off trussing, which can share up to three tracks. We use a variety of drop arms and underslung bars to level out height differences. Triple E is very robust and has a level of in built rigidity greater than other systems I have previously used.”

This production of Cinderella was exclusively written and directed for De Montfort Hall by Leicester’s Susie McKenna, Artistic Director at Hackney Empire. Carly Thoms plays the title role of Cinderella, with CBeebies’ presenter Alex Winters as the loveable Buttons, and Goodness Gracious Me’s Kulvinder Ghir as Baron Hardup.

“We’ve been using Triple E for years, and are always impressed by the incredible technical support – should we need it – in this day and age,” Jim concludes.

Cinderella opened on Saturday 13 December and runs until Sunday 4 January 2015.

Procom announced as official UAE Philips distributor

15th January, 2015

Leading Dubai-based equipment distributor Procom ME has been named as the exclusive Philips supplier for UAE in a move to further expand its offering to the high profile Middle Eastern market.

UAE is an ever-evolving landscape of innovation and construction, with many new projects under development from universities to theatres and hotels, all of which generate strong demand for professional lighting.

“We are confident Philips will have a significant share of the new-build market, for several reasons,” says Procom’s Business Development Manager Rami Harfouch. “It is a highly recognized brand name, and its catalogue of high quality products is extensive, with a strong LED offering which meets the increasing requirement for energy-saving solutions. Philips also has strong local support in terms of design, commissioning and servicing of the equipment and Procom is excited to be a part of it.”

Established in 2009, Procom quickly rose to become a leading professional lighting, audio, video and rigging supplier, stocking Philips Selecon, Strand Lighting and Showline among other industry-leading brands. The company has now won exclusive Philips distributorship for UAE.

“Being Philips’ official UAE distributor is a great opportunity for Procom and a challenge at the same time,” says Procom’s Business Development Manager Rami Harfouch. “But we are ready to rise to it, for example we have been enhancing our operation with dedicated staff to support the product lines in sales and for technical back up in our service centers.”

The new official distributorship with Philips means the company will hold a wider range of SeleconStrand Lighting and Showline stock. This will facilitate faster delivery within UAE of units as well as spare parts and will allow customers to get hands-on with the fixtures in the Procom showroom. Philips will gain further reach to Procom’s extensive web of clients, to whom Procom will also offer design consultation.

“There has always been a high demand within our client base for Philips products,” continues Harfouch. “This is because the Philips brand has stayed true to its reputation of providing reliable equipment with practical features. It has evolved wisely by adding certain specifications that meet the changing needs of the market without compromising on quality. Its products feature energy saving and heat control properties and are often lightweight, compact and multi-functional while still being affordable. Furthermore, with it being such a universal brand, most technical professionals in the region are familiar with Selecon and Strand Lighting technology and are able to operate various models easily or with little training.”

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