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31st March, 2015

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RES delivers invaluable technical solutions for All Time Low at Wembley

26th March, 2015

London-based technical solutions company Realtime Environment Systems (RES) has supplied Ai media servers and tech know-how to All Time Low’s major Wembley show.

The pop punksters’ first UK arena headliner ‘One Night in London with All Time Low’ sold out in a matter of weeks. RES was brought on board by Video Design and the band’s Camera Director Richard Shipman to supply two Ai S4 Media Servers as well as set up lighting designer Jeff Maker’s Avolites Sapphire Touch lighting console to trigger media and effects from the Ai.

“We spent two days programming and re-encoding the media to ensure Jeff had a wide range of control over the Ai S4 Media Server from his Avolites console,” says RES Managing Director Mark Calvert.

“The server played back a 1920 x 512 AIM super stream media and Ai effects library without the need for time code as the show was mixed live. Media management is always a critical milestone in delivery and by using the AIM super stream codec we maximised the performance of the media playback.”

Maker and the video team worked in collaboration to deliver an eclectic mix of visuals that included animations of the bands logos and some vintage film footage mixed with live camera work of the band and audience.

Calvert and fellow Ai technician Ben Stern were tasked with the pre-visualisation of the content using a combination of Ai and Capture during a number of programming days at Avolites Media.

The company also supplied a hot-backup Ai System and HDSDI Capture for the camera feed, which was displayed on the upstage LED wall, mixed downstream by Richard Shipman.

“I want to say a big thank you to Mark and Ben and all at Avolites and RES for their commitment, enthusiasm and obvious love for the business,” says Shipman. “The Ai performed perfectly and the support from RES was great. I look forward to many more instances of working together in the near future.”

All Time Low now embark upon their ‘Future Hearts’ tour around the USA, before several festival performances this summer.


Avolites to reveal the awesome full feature set of Titan V9 at Prolight + Sound

26th March, 2015

Avolites is powering up its latest consoles, dimmers and media servers for possibly the company’s biggest ever presence at Prolight + Sound Frankfurt, on stand D40, Level 0, Hall 11.

On stand, visitors can experience the incredible capabilities of Avolites Titan V9, new networking functionality, and display of the revolutionary Autoblend feature of Ai.

Autoblend distinctly sets 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.

In Titan V9, expect to see a multitude of new features, including the amazing new Key Frame Shapes, providing the capability to create spectacular effects from scratch; Align – effortlessly copy values from existing fixtures to new fixture groups, either in a recurring pattern or a smooth fade; RGBW and ARGB colour mixing and Pixel Mapping – get maximum punch and more accurate colours from your LED fixtures, thanks to new, four-channel pixel mapping and colour mixing; New Theatrical Functions – Titan now supports MIDI Show Control, and many more useful options.

Get hands-on with Avolites’ latest consoles to experience Multi User Networking: Connect multiple consoles together to work collaboratively or independently on the same show. A show can have multiple users, each with their own User Settings, Handle Worlds and Selected Key Profiles.

Products on stand include: Tiger Touch II networked with Multiuser, Sapphire System with EX4, Quartz + Mobile Wing, Tiger Touch II + Fader Wing, Sapphire Media with EX8/S8, Titan Mobile, Quartz with S6 server, and dimmers.

Avolites’ intuitive, live, hands-on Sapphire media controller show control surface won the first ever Prolight + Sound International Press Award (PIPA) for Best Video/Projection Control at last year’s show.

Avolites’ MD Steve Warren and Sales Director Koy Neminathan will give a presentation of the awesome features of Ai and Titan and on the Avolites stand on Wednesday 15 April at 3pm.

Avolites’ Dutch distributor, Fairlight, will be represented by Menno Appelhof on the Avolites stand, along with Sébastien Caplot from Dimatec France, and Elson de Lucas Gallardo from Brazil. Avolites will be exhibiting adjacent to longstanding friend and partner, Trendco, which is on stand B41A.

Winner of Philips Strand Lighting competition is revealed

18th March, 2015

The winner of the Philips Strand Lighting upcycling competition has been announced. Paul Nulty Lighting Design (PNLD) scooped the prize for team effort ‘Anamorphosis’, which saw the colleagues turn a vintage Patt 23 theatre lantern into a deconstructed art piece.

PNLD was revealed as the winner at The Society of Light and Lighting Fresnel Lecture, which took place at the Royal Institution of Great Britain (Ri) last week. Philips was chief sponsor of the event, alongside support from the IALD. Following the talk, Philips’ Lighting Application Design Lead and competition judge Mike Simpson announced that PNLD’s design had come out on top.

On the winning entry, Simpson says: “It was a difficult decision as the other finalists were fantastic, however ‘Anamorphosis’ was a very deserving winner.

“Many lighting designers will have grown up with the Patt 23 and spent hours lovingly maintaining it and taking it apart, so to see its deconstruction in PNLD’s design brings back those memories. I think it’s very appropriate when celebrating an iconic spotlight to be able to look inside and consider how the original design has stood the test of time.”

Launched at the end of last year to celebrate the iconic brand’s centenary, the Strand Lighting competition garnered much interest from lighting designers and artists worldwide. Over 90 people registered their interest and 175 were following the Pinterest inspiration board.

The prototypes of the winning design and two finalists were built by Howard Eaton Lighting and displayed at the Ri for attendees of The Fresnel Lecture to view.

“Being short listed and having ‘Anamorphosis’ made was amazing enough, but to then be invited to the Royal Institution and have our design declared the winner in the historic building was a real honour,” says Karen Smart, PNLD team leader for the project. “The team couldn’t be prouder, it’s an amazing feeling and a moment we will all remember for a very long time.”

The Fresnel Lecture marked 200 years since Augustin Fresnel discovered his Wave Theory of Light and coincided with the UNESCO International Year of Light. Peter Phillipson of the SLL gave the lecture, with a guest appearance from Dr. Bryson Gore. The event was fully booked with Society of Light and Lighting patron HRH Prince Andrew also in attendance.

Follow Philips Entertainment on Facebook and Twitter to stay up to date with further competitions, events and the latest product news.

RES provides technical know-how to the ambitious ‘Mexico dome’ installation in London

12th March, 2015

London-based creative technology expert Realtime Environment Systems Ltd (RES) has provided the media server know-how in collaboration with LM Productions and Mapp3D Producciones for a ‘full dome’ installation celebrating Mexican culture.

The temporary 25m white dome was constructed at Potter’s Fields Park on London’s Southbank for two weeks as part of the official ‘Year of Mexico in the UK’ celebrations. Inside, the Mexican Tourism Board pop-up featured a huge projection mapped dome, where images of the country’s rich cultural and natural heritage swirled above visitors’ heads.

RES’s Mark Calvert worked closely with LM Productions’ Tim Kingsmill and Stephen Harvey to supply an Avolites Ai EX8 Pro 2 media server running the latest software – Ai V8 – which features the powerful new Autoblend feature. This feature uses a camera-based warp and blend tool set, allowing multiple projectors to blend images for projection.

“This was an ambitious project, using six Barco 20,000 Lumen projectors and the EX8 Ai server running the latest software tool set to drive the seamless visual content and blend it onto the inside of the large dome above the heads of visitors,” says Calvert. “The projectors were positioned all the way around the periphery of the inside of the dome, cross-projecting to the opposite side of the dome to create a very large, single seamless image. We were very pleased LM Productions came to RES for the system purchase and we look forward to working with their team in the near future.”

Stephen Harvey, owner of LM Productions, comments: “After looking in the marketplace for the next generation media server and visualizer we went for the Ai EX8 Pro 2. The first project was quite a complex full dome mapping project on a 25m dome and I have to say the blends were really amazing. Having used a number of high quality media servers over the years, Ai really stood head and shoulders above the others and we look forward to working on some amazing projects using the new Ai servers.”

Tim Kingsmill, LM Productions’ Production Manager adds: “The Autoblend software not only makes the set up a lot quicker but the end result is simply outstanding. I have worked on a number of dome projects with 360 Degree projection but the immersive feeling you get when the blends are this good is incredible.”

The Mexico dome installation was open from 25 February until 11 March 2015. RES also adds special thanks to Phil Mayer, who helped with the installation on site.

Avolites is proud to support Roundabout – 2015 Theatre Building of the Year

12th March, 2015

Avolites is delighted to have provided lighting control to Paines Plough’s Roundabout as it wins Theatre Building of the Year at the 2015 Stage Awards. The touring pop-up theatre features lighting controlled via an Avolites Sapphire Touch console running Titan Version 9.

The structure, described as “one of the most exciting new spaces in the country” was praised for its unique portability by the judges. Roundabout shares the honour with The Everyman in Liverpool.

The Roundabout is one of the first venues to utilise Titan Version 9, having had close involvement with the Avolites team. Lighting designers Emma Chapman and Howard Eaton specified Avolites for the installation, with Howard particularly keen on Titan for its Pixel Mapping ability.

Avolites Technical Director, JB Toby and Lead Software Developer, Oliver Waits had close involvement with the Roundabout team, developing software specifically for Paines Plough’s use, as well as providing access to Avolites’ existing control platforms.

“We initially supported Roundabout with an early version of Titan V9 to program the new Howard Eaton Lighting fixtures and stage configuration,” says Toby. “These features are now fully integrated into the software, which will be released in April.”

Titan V9 fully supports RGBW pixel mapping, and also new fixtures with cool and warm white LEDs (WWCW Fixtures), through the use of the colour picker and pixel mapper. It also comes with a whole host of theatre specific functions, including MIDI Show Control, which allows the show to be run by the stage manager using Q-lab.

Expansions to Titan’s tracking now make it possible to track changes forwards and backwards. Cue lists now offer cue-only changes, and you can filter data in cue view to show only relevant information. There are also lots of new theatre syntax shortcuts.

Theatre-in-the-round is considered a highly engaging way to stage plays, bringing the audience into the heart of the action. However, there are few suitable venues for this style of performance in the UK.

The Roundabout is a fully transportable theatre-in-the-round, seating 168 people, which can be ‘flat-packed’ for deployment in a range of locations, anywhere that can house it, both indoor and outdoor.

The travelling auditorium means it can now be experienced anywhere there is space – including village halls, schools, warehouses and parks. The structure was unveiled at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2014 and has since toured the UK with an ensemble of actors, hosting a range of productions and featuring an ensemble of actors.

The newly crowned Theatre Building Of The Year will be back out on tour around the UK in 2015.


Award winning designers of Paines Plough’s pop up venue to talk at UK Theatre’s Touring Symposium 2015

12th March, 2015

Award winning theatre designer Lucy Osborne and internationally acclaimed lighting designer Emma Chapman of Studio Three Sixty, will join James Grieve, joint artistic director of Paines Plough, and Gavin Green of Charcoalblue theatre consultancy at the UK Theatre’s Touring Symposium 2015 to discuss Paines Plough’s award winning, pop-up Roundabout Theatre.

Commissioned by Paines Plough’s artistic directors James Grieve and George Perrin, Roundabout is an intimate, dynamic and socially democratic space. Conceived as a portable venue, Roundabout enables the forward-looking theatre company to take their own brand of production anywhere they want and maintain their own strong production values without a large technical staff.

Designed and delivered by a collective headed up by Osborne and Chapman alongside special effects and lighting designer Howard Eaton, the technical and space planning consultation came from Charcoalblue and acoustics consultation from Gillieron Scott Acoustic Design.

The team will discuss how the concept for the venue evolved from the early artistic ideas and ambitions of Paines Plough’s creative team to its ultimate realisation by the design and build team.

Launched last August, Roundabout has already ‘popped up’ at the Edinburgh Festival and will soon appear at the Brighton Festival, amongst others. In January this year the venue was awarded The Stage Award’s Theatre Building of the Year 2015, an accolade it now shares with the Liverpool Everyman, a project for which Charcoalblue also provided its theatre consultancy services.

“The aim was to create a venue with remarkable versatility that works straight out of the box,” explains Chapman. “With integral lighting and sound systems Roundabout offers Paines Plough the flexibility of using a broad range of pre-programmed lighting and sound setups or enables them to programme their own bespoke effects as part of a detailed design process.”

“Scenic elements and props are kept to a minimum,” continues Osborne. “The focus is on the actor in the centre of the space, and most importantly the writing. The architecture of the round enables each member of the audience to tune into the reaction of the people around them: it’s a true democracy.”

James Grieve, Artistic Director Paines Plough is delighted: “We wanted a portable theatre that would flat pack into a lorry and pop-up in a day. Most people said it was impossible. But Emma and Lucy said ‘let’s make it possible’. Through their creativity, tenacity and passion for the project they somehow turned our wildest dreams into a successful reality.”

To book a place at this event and hear more about Roundabout alongside many other fascinating sessions, please download the booking form here, call 020 7557 6708 or email


Charcoalblue’s inspired new seating is just the ticket as The Hard Problem opens at the Dorfman

12th March, 2015

The National Theatre’s newly transformed Dorfman Theatre opened for the first time in its seated format last month with Tom Stoppard’s The Hard Problem. More seats than ever before are available for the show, following the regeneration of the theatre by architects Haworth Tompkins and theatre consultants Charcoalblue.

The improvements mean that an extra 27,000 people each year can gain access to what are often sold-out performances in the Dorfman, formerly the Cottesloe. In total, up to 130 more seats are available for each performance of The Hard Problem thanks to innovative seat designs and layout changes developed by Charcoalblue.

“By placing each row of the pit seating on an individual elevator, we have reinstated the original shallow rake format and made it possible to change from this to steep rake or flat floor quickly”, says Alex Wardle from Charcoalblue. “We have also improved seat comfort, capacity and sightlines. To achieve this, we had to tweak the internal layout of the theatre, moving the control room up one level and moving the staircases out, to create space for a second row of seating”.

Paddy Dillon, from Haworth Tompkins, continues: “Charcoalblue came up with this brilliant concept that we could go from raked seating to flat floor, and instead of retracting them in a bleacher at the back of the room, we could fold them into the floor itself. Charcoalblue took technologies that existed before – stage elevators, seating that folds back into boxes – and put them together. That was a brilliant move because the theatre can quickly be configured into three different formats.”

The redeveloped theatre now has added flexibility, more comfortable seating, energy-efficient displacement ventilation and a larger foyer. The renovations are part of the ongoing £80 million NT Future project.

The new seating system enables the auditorium to be used for learning activities during the day when it would otherwise be empty. The elevators were built and installed by Delstar Engineering; the seating by Race Furniture. Although folding seats already existed on the market, the Dorfman seats had to fold into a tight space and allow airflow through the pedestal. This involved careful engineering and extensive prototyping.

Paddy Dillon continues: “Since we were making new seats, of course we were going to make them more comfortable. Charcoalblue did a huge amount of work looking at seat widths, staggering of seats to optimise sightlines, comfort and flexibility.”

Charcoalblue also designed strapontin seats, which fold out into the aisle until the user stands up. “As far as we know, this is the first time strapontin seating has been installed in a British theatre,” Alex continues. “It’s fairly common in European theatres, and adds 10 seats in the best part of the house.”

Charcoalblue also worked with electrical engineers Atelier Ten to specify new houselighting, choosing GDS and RVA LED fixtures which were installed by Northern Light. The technical walkways were extended to include storage space, which has speeded up rigging operations.

NT Technical Manager Chris McDougall comments: “With Haworth Tompkins and Charcoalblue you felt like you had the best theatrical knowledge base – they’ve worked on some of the best theatres in the country and I had utter trust in the fact they were theatre people: they understand theatre. This made the whole process a lot easier.”

Tom Stoppard’s The Hard Problem runs until 27 May 2015 at the Dorfman, directed by Nicholas Hytner, and will be broadcast to cinemas internationally by National Theatre Live on 16 April.

Watch a video of the team behind the transformation discussing the project via the Charcoalblue website (click top right, under ‘news’).

Showline SL NITRO 510C is ‘LED strobe of choice’ for You Me At Six

12th March, 2015

Lighting designer Louis Oliver of Okulus has used an array of Showline SL NITRO 510C fixtures as part of his colour-rich and punchy lighting design for You Me At Six’s UK arena tour.

Specifying 29 of the powerful LED units from Zig Zag Lighting, Oliver rigged 18 on spines of truss in the air. Eleven of the strobes also made up his floor package upstage, where they lined the bottom of the vast video screen.

“I really like the SL NITRO 510C, it’s my LED strobe of choice,” says Oliver. “My design for this show was very video-heavy, however the units held their own against the 58′ wide 20′ deep video wall, as well as the other lighting in the rig.”

Oliver’s design was based on the band’s previous touring campaign for the ‘Cavalier Youth’ album. However he magnified it for the arena run, commissioning the slick video content from Pablo Beckett of Bryte Design and specifying the Showline strobes.

“After using the SL NITRO 510C on the Chvrches design last year we knew that they would be perfect for the You Me At Six arena tour,” continues Oliver. “I employed them as both a powerful wash at points and a super bright punchy strobe at others.”

The Showline SL NITRO 510C is a cutting edge RGB & W LED strobe luminaire that delivers intense bursts of coloured and white light and dynamic effects. The tightly packed array of high power LEDs ensures maximum output.

You Me At Six can be caught at several festivals this summer, including Slam Dunk and Isle of Wight.


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