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Archive for November, 2015

Avolites Titan and Ai celebrate a ‘Fineline’ festivals year

30th November, 2015

UK – Bristol-based entertainment lighting hire and event production specialist Fineline Lighting is celebrating an amazing 2015 using Avolites Titan consoles, dimmers, Ai servers and TitanNet Processors on some of Europe’s biggest festivals.

More than 17,000 people flocked to Devon’s Somersault Festival in July for a five-day musical extravaganza. Fineline provided lighting for four main music performance areas at the festival, including the 15-metre wide Main Stage.

The production lighting rig was designed by Fineline’s Stuart England, and based around the requirements of the various headliners, an eclectic and interesting line up of Bombay Bicycle Club, Laura Marlin and The Staves. “The house lighting desk was an Avolites Sapphire Touch and all the dimming was Avolites,” says England.

At Cornwall’s Eden Project, Fineline provided the production lighting for the 2015 Eden Sessions – seven high profile concerts with a diverse line up including Elton John, Paolo Nutini, Paloma Faith, Motorhead, The Stranglers, Spandau Ballet and Ben Howard.

With a team led by Fineline’s Rob Sangwell, another Avolites Sapphire Touch was used as the house console, with all Avolites dimming and DMX buffering.

During the incredible Glastonbury Festival, Fineline Lighting, which has been closely involved with Glastonbury over the last 24 years, supplied lighting equipment including a wealth of Avolites consoles and dimming racks for the Acoustic, Astrolabe Theatre, Cabaret and Circus venues, as well as Silver Hayes’ Wow Stage.

Designed by Sangwell and England, the Acoustic stage featured performers such as The Proclaimers and the Moody Blues, with control coming from an Avolites Tiger Touch II plus wing, and ART2000 dimmers powering the generics.

The Astrolabe Theatre featured a line-up of performers spanning dance and physical theatre. Lighting was handled by Hal Himsworth, with a Pearl Expert Pro providing control, plus ART2000 dimming throughout. Dimmers were also used in the Cabaret tent with Wingnut controlling lighting.

Heading overseas, Fineline also specified Avolites Sapphire Touch consoles for Croatia’s Dimensions Festival. “This was a no-brainer,” says England. “With the need to control lighting, video and LED more was better – the number of faders allowed for more options and easy control of it all in a busking situation. The desks were set up in multi-user mode allowing LD Nic Ayres control off the entire rig and Will Dale to manage the LED and Video from a tech point and also back up.”

Pixel Mapping featured heavily on the Dimensions festival – 2 x TNPs were used to expand the DMX outputs from the Sapphire Touch consoles to allow full control of the 65m LED tape spread over 13 universes. This was laid out in four triangles getting smaller as they went further upstage.

In addition, Fineline specified an Avolites Infinity EX8 server, to “create an immersive lighting and video package,” says England. “They wanted to surround the crowd with lights and video creating a continuous effect.” The EX8 was chosen to backup Fineline’s own EX4, allowing control of the 40m2 of video laid out in 4 x 2m wide by 10m high towers.

Also in Croatia, Fineline supplied the Outlook Festival with yet more Avolites equipment. 2x Sapphire Touch consoles running in multi user/backup mode controlled 48 ways of Avolites dimming, an EX4 media server and 48 moving lights using Avolites DMX buffers. 60m2 of video was spread across the stage hung in multiple columns of various sizes.

“The Ai EX4 was a breeze to map the video on to so many various sized columns,” England explains. “Different layers were set up to allow control of selected screens to add an extra depth to the video.”

Fineline celebrated its 25th year in 2015. It was founded by Darren Wring in 1990 as a lighting rental and touring company and expanded in 2004 to include a manufacturing facility for bespoke staging and scenic elements. Current MD Rob Sangwell joined in 2002 and managed the production lighting and rigging aspects of Fineline until 2011 when he purchased the company with a view to focusing more on the rigging and lighting production.

England concludes: “I really like Avolites kit and the company itself. They really get involved and listen to the end user. Fineline has always been a strong backer of Avo, and this just keeps growing. They’re a nice bunch of people who are always there to help and when you do need support its always there any time of the day.

“Kit wise, we, and our customers, find it very simple to use Avolites. With minimal training we can create something backed by a lot of power. I find all the layouts very easy and simple. We work our kit hard during the year and it just keeps going. The servers were bought because we liked them and again they are very simple to set up and use but very, very powerful.

“We look forward to working with Avolites in 2016!”

XLNT CyberHoist II automates huge Par Can rig for Kanye West

29th November, 2015

USA –  XLNT’s CyberHoist II system has automated an incredible 415-strong Par Can rig on hip hop giant Kanye West’s headlining set at Arizona’s Summer Ends festival.

Over 28,000 revellers descended on Tempe Beach Park for the four-day event, with West bringing it to a close on the Sunday evening. The rapper performed on the East Stage under a spectacular, moving array of 360 Par 64 lamps and 55 ETC Source Four Par lamps. The motion of the rig was controlled by a 17-hoist CyberHoist II system.

Leading technical supplier Creative Backstage supplied full production for the stage, led by Project Manager John Garberson. The CyberHoist system was supported by CyberHoist North America.

“We worked closely alongside Kanye’s creative team to make his old school stage lighting vision come to life,” explains Garberson. “As they had used the CyberHoist II system on previous shows, including this year’s Glastonbury festival in the UK, it was the ideal solution for the automation.”

The SIL3 (Safety Integrity Level 3) compliant CyberHoist II motion control system was pre-programmed to cues to automate the 32ft by 42ft rig and create the set’s main looks, which included rising the front of the grid to expose the entire array of lights then later rising the back to create a different perspective.

“It was my first time using the system, and I was very impressed with the pre-programming of cues and the variable speed of the motors,” continues Garberson.

The CyberHoist II enables a show designer to create precise, complex 2D and 3D movements at variable speed (up to 30 m/min. = 100 ft/min), with multiple actuators in single, group or subgroup formations.

“I really liked the fast connection from the hoist to the control panel, which was set up on a laptop. It made everything run very smoothly,” says Garberson.

Summer Ends festival took place at the end of September 2015

Avolites Tiger Touch II controls ‘cinematic’ lighting for Suede

28th November, 2015

UK – Lighting designer Jip Nipius controlled the lighting for a special ‘cinematic’ two-part show by English rockers Suede at London’s Roundhouse in November using an Avolites Tiger Touch II for the first time.

Nipius has been working with Suede since the late 1990s and was asked to create a lighting design to complement the band’s ‘experiential’ new shows, which were performed to launch a brand new concept album and short film.

For the first half of the show, lead singer Brett Anderson and his bandmates performed behind a partially transparent screen, onto which their movie – a ‘dark and dramatic tale of love and despair’ – was projected. For the second half, the screen was pulled up to reveal the group as they played a selection of the now legendary Suede classics.

Avolites’ exclusive Netherlands distributor Fairlight supplied the Tiger Touch II to Keylight’s Gary Yates after inviting him and Nipius for a demo of the console at his Bemmel studios.

“I was immediately impressed with the Tiger Touch II’s generous 20 faders, 10 macros and large, bright screen, which meant I didn’t have to take an expansion wing with me and I could take the entire console to London as check in luggage!” says Nipius. “The console was just what I was looking for, control wise – the touch screen handles nicely and is very responsive. Graphically, it’s great, with the premade gobo and position pictograms.
Avolites Suede Roundhouse_LD Jim Nipius2 ©“The software is also full of fantastic features. I like to use organic visuals like slow random colour, intensity or beam changes and Key Frame Shapes in Titan V9 is a great tool for that.”

Now boasting a 100% brighter screen, increased processing power, and faster graphics engine, the Tiger Touch II is the most specified Titan console.

To achieve his looks, Nipius used the house rig, which consists of fixtures including Clay Paky Alpha Spot QWO 800ST, Robe DLF Wash, Martin Mac 2000 Profile, and Source 4 15/30.

Avolites appointed Fairlight as their sole distributor for the Netherlands in May 2014.

‘Night Thoughts’ is Suede’s seventh studio album and is due to be released in January 2016. The accompanying film, which was shown at the Roundhouse gigs, is directed by Roger Sargent.

Triple E tracks help revive Le Lido Paris

13th November, 2015

France – The curtains have reopened in style at Paris’s legendary Le Lido cabaret venue carried by Triple E tracks and motors.

The famous Lido on the Champs-Élysées closed at the end of 2014 for renovation, which included remodelling the ceiling and installing new track systems. The venue now boasts a brand new show created by Dragone, the cultural creation company founded by Italian-Belgian theatre director Franco Dragone, who also directed the show.

Blackout France was commissioned to design and install the track systems and motors. The works echoed Triple E and Blackout’s collaboration twelve years ago, where a series of Chaintrack and Erail solutions were installed and remained until last year. New systems were required this time because of changes to the ceiling following the discovery of Asbestos.

“We got the call from Dragone in the summer of 2014, saying they wanted us to renew the track systems and motors,” says Blackout’s Dominic Peissel. “We have a strong working relationship with Triple E and so of course we went straight to them!”

Inside Le Lido, the main front of house (FOH) curtain is made from a metal woven chainmail fabric that runs on Chaintrack. The secondary FOH curtain is sequined blue velour and hangs from a ‘Chaintrack hybrid’, called ChainRail which as the name suggests is Chaintrack with Erail beneath it using the chain system to drive the Erail track. The curtains on this track stack conventionally whereas the chain mail curtain which needs to stay completely flat at all times doubles back on itself when offstage.

Further tracks were employed to provide versatile curtaining for the two side boxes for the show caller and DJ, which are revealed after the main show. Strips of Chaintrack UHMW were used to create circular tracks to fit the new layout in the venue, another variation unique to Le Lido is a rearfold system developed for the chain driven Erail tracks.

“There were a few tracks that we had to invent, using Triple E’s parts, for this project,” Peissel continues. “For instance, the main Chaintrack holding the metal curtain stacks in a very small area, so that all had to be thought about and designed. We needed to rethink the manual override, as well as some circular tracks just using the Chaintrack extrusion. Thankfully, Triple E’s MD David Edelstein and our own installation engineer Richard Viollet who both worked on the original installation in 2000 were on hand to ensure we could make it all work!

Because of the complexity of the ceiling structure it was decided to build a laser profiled steel template with all of the track fixing holes pre-cut. This fabrication was welded to the roof structure in advance of the main installation and subsequently made the process of attaching the tracks much easier. The Chaintrack system has been used around the world since its introduction fifteen years ago. It consists of a machined UHMW section which carries the upper portion of a 3/8” duplex roller chain. The UHMW is inserted into an aluminium profile designed by and exclusively extruded for Triple E.

SURVEY DRAWING“The lead time for this project was incredibly tight, but thanks to our great working relationship with Triple E, Blackout was able to deliver,” says Peissel. “In addition, it is repeat business which obviously proves that the material that we put in there twelve years ago was good. I can honestly say that the tracks were still in good working order after all this time!”

Triple E has worked with Blackout France on many large and unusual projects around the world for more than 25 years.

“We don’t often get the opportunity to repeat projects like this and it was pleasing to note that the systems we removed showed very little signs of wear after over five thousand shows and around 50 thousand open / close cycles. It’s testament to the robustness and reliability of our products that they were still in smooth working order after all this time,” says David Edelstein. “We’re proud that Triple E’s track systems are providing a steadfast, simple to use solution for Dragone’s new show and are helping continue the legendary Lido’s entertainment.”

Each Le Lido show features singers and dancers, which always include the famous Bluebell Girls. Two shows are run every day of the week.


Avolites Arena console 001 now in stock at Fineline Lighting

5th November, 2015

UK – Bristol-based full service event lighting and rigging hire facility Fineline Lighting has become the proud owner of Avolites’ latest console, Arena, model #001.

Avolites has been offering end users and partners sneak previews of its live control focused Arena console since April, when it launched the desk at Prolight + Sound in Frankfurt. Arena is designed for festivals, theatres and anywhere that a larger control surface is required. It combines the popular interface of the Tiger Touch II with 30 additional Playback faders and expanded live control options and features.

Fineline MD Rob Sangwell first discovered Arena even earlier, at Avolites MD Steve Warren’s birthday party in March.

“I was immediately impressed with Arena’s inbuilt network switch, built in optical output for long runs, the fact that it’s future proof due to optical out, loads of faders, additional screen for Titan V9’s amazing Key Frame Shapes and fixture attribute editor, eight standard DMX universes straight out the back and built in UPS,” says Sangwell. “This console fits our range of control kit, filling the gap between the Tiger Touch, the Pearl Expert and the Sapphire Touch.

“Arena is a good mid-size console with a good feature set for our type of work. This, coupled with the excellent after sales backup we get from Avolites made it an obvious choice. A good proportion of our customers and crew prefer Avolites and I think they are going to love this console. We’re thrilled that we have model #001 on offer – the very first commercially-ready Arena in existence!”

Alongside Arena’s main display, a second touch screen provides an additional workspace window, also labelling the adjacent macro buttons and rotary pots. These fully assignable playback encoder pots allow intuitive control of channels and effects. The six LCD screens display electronic legends for 30 faders, for speedy access to all your playbacks, fixtures and palettes.

A new optical output means the Arena is equipped for fibre connections, with no signal loss over long distances, from front of house to the stage – essential in large and outdoor venues. Offering seamless multi user compatibility, the Arena can be used as master, back-up or extra programming surface, considerably cutting programming time by allowing multiple Titan programmers to work simultaneously, before the main console takes charge.

Arena is capable of processing 16 DMX universes, with eight physical DMX outputs, and this can be further expanded with Titan Net Processors for up to 64 universes. It also offers MIDI in and headphone out on the console as well as a 7-band Audio Trigger functionality.

“We intend to use this on our festival shows, such as Glastonbury, the Eden sessions, Outlook Festival and many more,” Sangwell continues. “The large control surface is great for programming especially if you’re using some of the more advanced features, plus it’s really good for busking too. The optical out is also a good feature for this market due to the sometime long runs to FOH.

“Additionally, the console will work well as the house desk when visiting acts are bringing their own control as the built in networking facilities will make the network plug up easier with less kit needed out front. Also, as a bonus, the larger control surface will also allow for easier manipulation of the multiple layers of our Ai media servers.”

Steve Warren comments: “We couldn’t be happier that the Arena has created so much excitement and received such positive reviews from our targeted lighting designer focus group. Arena takes Avolites’ live control to even higher levels, following on from industry successes and milestones like the Pearl and Expert consoles. Arena guarantees that Lighting Designers are given all the live control that they need and deserve. And we’re delighted that long-time Avolites partner Fineline Lighting has Arena model #001 in its stock, ready for use by its loyal clients on some of the biggest festivals in the UK.”


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