Marketing, PR, Content Production, Branding

The Fifth Estate

Archive for October, 2016

Showfile Ltd announces a new contributor from the world of fine art

27th October, 2016

Showfile Limited, the distributor of digital scenery, video and still images for theatre projection and television chroma-key green screen, has announced the addition of artist and designer Nancy Wood as a major new content contributor.


Nancy’s work uses the viscosity of fluid acrylics and inks to attract or repel one another to create ever evolving patterns. The work is filmed in ultra-high resolution as it is made, to create stunningly beautiful morphing, looped video sequences. The finished work can also be used as still images.


Vince Herbert, managing director of Showfile, said: “We are delighted that Nancy has allowed her work to become part of the Showfile portfolio. Her unique style lends itself perfectly to our marketplace; her images, although abstract, have direct relationships to that of the natural world. In addition, their movement makes them ideal for backgrounds for television commercials as well as projection for theatre productions. We are offering high resolution stills of her work but also videos of her paintings as they were made, the morphing of which delivers something unique and very special.”


Nancy Wood said: “I never cease to be awestruck by the power of pigments to create a kaleidoscope of organic effects reminiscent of the evolution of nature.”


In 1996 Wood’s work moved towards more abstract themes. Her works were widely published and sold throughout the UK and have been featured in the Grand Designs television series, Elle Decoration magazine and there are five paintings on board Cunard’s Queen Victoria cruise ship. More recently Nancy began experimenting with pigment behaviour to capture compositions from the intricate patterns formed when pigment molecules interact.

Nancy’s work ‘Pigment Alchemy’ is being exhibited at London’s Store Street Gallery between the 19 October and 12 November 2016.


Showfile was established by Vince Herbert in 2010 to supply stock footage, video clips, loops, long filmed sequences and textures to theatre, television, content makers and events. In early 2016 it became a limited company in order to support its growing list of contributors and customers.

Lighting and video designers are invited to become part of Tupac Martir’s next big project – Lux Festival 2017, Colombia

21st October, 2016

Light magician and creative director, Tupac Martir, has announced his latest creative project – Lux Festival; a light and video showcase where the dynamic canvas for the adventurous event is the colonial architecture and cobbled streets and squares of the historic coastal town of Cartagena, Colombia.


Set to run from January 4th – 8th 2017, Lux Festival will feature designs from some of the most imaginative international theatre, concert touring and event lighting and video artists the world has to offer. There has been huge support from the local community and Cartagena’s Mayor Manuel Vicente Duque has extended his warm welcome to all the designers and expressed his excitement at raising the profile of the town and introducing the creative possibilities of lighting and video to the local community.


Curated by Martir, the festival’s mission is to deliver a diverse and inventive array of installations, exhibitions and mini events that transform the town and encourage the public to look at light for art’s sake: “Colombia is one of my favourite countries in the world,” Martir explains. “Being able to bring light and video as an art form, for it to be experienced by the people in Cartagena, is an amazing adventure and exploration. Especially with the diverse talent that we have invited to join us. It should be an incredible start to the year.”


Martir is keen that the event be open to designers at all stages of their careers, with all levels of experience, especially to those that would not ordinarily have the opportunity to get involved in a project of this scale.


To kick this off he has partnered with USITT (The United States Institute for Theatre Technology, Inc.) to offer its members the opportunity to submit a design for their own piece of three-dimensional living art. The chosen designs will breathe vibrant new life into the unique buildings and streets of Cartagena alongside the work of some of the world’s most respected designers.

“USITT is excited to partner with Tupac Martir and the Lux Festival,” says USITT Executive Director David Grindle. “We are delighted to offer our members the chance to show their work on the international stage and to get to work with someone like Tupac in one of the great cities of Colombia. The architecture of the old city will blend perfectly with the video mapping technology so that two worlds of art combine to create something astounding.”

Divided into professional and student categories, the competition is open to teams of up to two

people for each submission. From these entries a number of pieces will be selected to be installed as part of the festival, plus USITT will fund the winners’ travel to Cartagena for the event. Deadline for submissions is November 21st 2016


Visitors to LDI 2016 are invited to drop by the USITT booth #1977 on Friday 21st October at 12-noon to find out more.

Avolites Ai Infinity RX Server controls enhanced video scenery for DreamWorks’ ‘Madagascar Live!’

19th October, 2016

Dutch lighting designer Jan Kortbeek has selected a powerful Ai Infinity RX server from pioneering British manufacturer Avolites to control complex new media content for an updated version of the live musical theatre show of DreamWorks Animation’s cartoon blockbuster Madagascar.

Featuring the same four anthropomorphic heroes as the film franchise – Alex the lion, Marty the zebra, Gloria the hippo and Melman the giraffe – and a combination of real and video scenery, ‘Madagascar Live!’ was launched in the US in 2011 by Steven Spielberg’s DreamWorks. The animation studio’s first ever theatre production, the show is a family-friendly extravaganza that celebrates freedom, friendship and fending off the evil ‘Foosa’. Stage Entertainment Touring Productions brought the production from the States to the UK, Costa Rica, Panama, Ecuador, Columbia, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, and Peru. Following this, Istanbul Entertainment Group (IEG) transferred the production to Turkey, Dubai and Saudi Arabia.

Live Nation Entertainment has been involved since 2016. Together with IEG the production visited Singapore (April), Indonesia (May) and China (June to August). For these Far Eastern dates the production has been overhauled in terms of its visual aesthetics – with a significant increase in terms of projected video scenery.

Kortbeek has lit countless big production musicals, including Jesus Christ Superstar, Spring Awakening, West End Stars in Concert and Dora the Explorer. At the helm of his Utrecht-based company Lightwise, he was responsible for the new lighting design of Madagascar Live! – as well as supervising the production’s video team.

One of his main technical challenges was balancing the lighting with the projected scenery. Kortbeek also had to create a high definition back projection that was 14 metres wide by 7.5 metres high – with an initial maximum projection distance of only 3.5 metres. His projector system designer, Arjan Lamboo, recommended an edge blended four projector set-up – which led Kortbeek and his team to the Ai Infinity RX server, which The Netherlands-based equipment supplier Rent-All supplied.

“With the limited dark time on tour we were looking for a solution that provided a quality blend without requiring too much time,” explains Kortbeek. “The Ai Infinity RX is the only server – to our knowledge – that has an auto-blending feature built in. This amazing feature makes it possible to create a high quality blend in the shortest time possible. When you are on a tight schedule and challenging setup situations, it’s a really valuable asset.”

“With its eight SDI outputs, the server also provided us with enough outputs – meaning we didn’t have to use extra servers or additional hardware. Plus, the intuitive user interface also makes it easy to train touring technicians in how to use it.”

The Ai Infinity server from Avolites is the perfect choice for even the most demanding video projects. The RX4 and RX8 have programmable, EDID managed, WUXGA (1920 x 1200) outputs. Each is digitally amplified to provide a preview and production output over DVI.

In addition to the four or eight DVI output pairs, the back offers the following outlets: LTC timecode input, two gigabit network ports for connecting to ArtNET networks, MIDI in and out ports, four lines of DMX512, audio in and output, genlock (essential for TV projects) and two sync network connections to guarantee vertical sync across multiple systems.

The new video content and graphics for Madagascar Live’s Far Eastern tour were created by Marinus de Graaf, who has been designing artwork, sets and video graphics for theatre productions in the Netherlands for over 20 years. As a graphic designer he has also worked for several large amusement parks in The Netherlands and Belgium, designing visual themes for attractions and public spaces.

The show’s media content is 1920 x 1080 pixels and is distributed over SDI to four rear and two stacked front projectors. All the projectors are HDX 20K projectors from brand Belgian brand Barco. Roel Biemold programmed all the lights and video.


FIX8Group flies high at Turkmenistan brand new airport launch

19th October, 2016

Visual production expert FIX8Group successfully managed and delivered a complex projection and content management project for an event staged by Turkish construction group Polimeks for the Government of Turkmenistan to launch the country’s brand new, state of the art international airport.

FIX8Group sent in one of its top projection mapping teams for the unusual ten-day project, which culminated in a mixed media spectacular that centred around Turkmenistan culture and history. Held on 17th September at Ashgabat Stadium, the event was attended by more than 20,000 people.

Leading the team was FIX8Group’s media server engineer Nick Charalampidis who was accompanied by projects director/projectionist guru Paul Williams and media programmer Fraser Walker. Working closely with technical director Sedat Gunduz and creative director

Candas Sisman, FIX8 liaised with Turkey-based rental company Phantom Event Engineering and creative content creators NOHlab and Illusionist. FIX8Group’s responsibilities were to line up and blend the 40 high output stacked projectors in order to evenly cover the whole stadium floor, manage the content and media programming, and ensure the seamless delivery of the many graphical elements of the show.

 Prior to the team’s arrival at Ashgabat Stadium, Gunduz organised for the entire 104x70m projection area to be mapped out into a 2x2m grid, which was then marked out with small studs hammered into the floor. This helped the FIX8 team to pinpoint where each projection plate would start, end and blend. 

 “FIX8Group is my company of choice for these large scale projection projects,” says Gunduz. “I knew this would be a challenging project. Nick Charalampidis was kept extremely busy as the video and music content was constantly being updated throughout the production process. In total nearly 735GB of content had to be managed across 16 servers. As ever Nick managed to make sure every piece of content was encoded and ready for the ten-strong content design team to view on the system.”

To ensure high impact visuals FIX8 worked with forty 20,000 lumen Panasonic PT-DZ21k projectors, supplied by VER and Phantom Event Engineering, and these were arranged in 10 stacks of four. Williams and Walker worked from dusk ’til dawn over seven sessions to align and warp each output.

 At the control end of the system Charalampidis selected eight Hippotizer V3 HD i7 Media Servers to encode the huge variety of content: “I chose the rock solid workhorse Hippotizer V3 HD i7. We air freighted eight of our own units in a system that FIX8Group designed and built to handle 16 machines in total. Phantom then supplied eight back up machines, which I patched in on site. The whole system was controlled from a MA Lighting Grand MA2 Light console. We have invested a lot of time designing our own console profiles (GUI interfaces) and layouts in order to cover all possible requirements across both lighting and video enabling us to speedily adjust a lot of parameters at once. This came in very handy on this particular project.”

Charalampidis concludes: “We would like to say a massive thank you to the Phantom crew who, despite the small matter of a language barrier, worked tirelessly to help us in any way they could – the project would have not been possible without them. Throughout the ten days we were incorporating new content and music into the show – even after the final dress rehearsal. This meant we had to reprogram the entire show and all of its timecode offsets without seeing it again until the final performance. Nevertheless, the show looked stunning – so much so that the President of Turkmenistan asked if all the equipment could stay for another night as he wanted to ‘have another concert tomorrow’. Unfortunately, we had to decline as the next show was calling already!”

Avolites takes Latin America by storm

12th October, 2016

Avolites, the British manufacturer of intelligent media control solutions for the entertainment industry, is expanding into South and Central America – further to a significant sales and training tour in the region.


Avolites Sales Engineer Javier Pastor has just returned from a hugely successful, whistle-stop tour of seven countries in just four weeks. Following a rigorous schedule packed full of meetings, TV and radio appearances, presentations and training sessions, Pastor met with Avolites’ key audio-visual equipment distributors in each state: Integraled in Mexico, Layset in Peru, Rojo Audio e Iluminación in Bolivia, Estudio DJ in Paraguay, Sysdey in Uruguay, Valook in Chile and TSD Group in Argentina.


With over 50 deals already secured – including with the two main TV channels in Mexico, Televisa and TV Azteca – the company is keen to consolidate this impetus and grow sales in Latin America’s burgeoning market. Over the last five years the region’s economy has been relatively slow, but now there are definite shoots of growth. Accordingly, Avolites has put together a business plan to become Latin America’s leading lighting console brand within the next two years. All the 69 training modules of its fast and powerful lighting control interface – Titan – are currently being translated into Spanish, to support the many language options already available within the console.


“Festivals and music play an integral role in Latin American culture and our developments in Titan have also allowed us to grow in the Installation, Film & TV, and theatrical markets. When money becomes available, individuals and larger companies prioritise investment in entertainment technology – to enhance celebrations and carnivals. For Avolites, this presents a fantastic opportunity,” comments Pastor.


“Even though we had not previously undertaken any marketing or sales activities locally, Avolites was already a hugely respected and beloved brand in Central and South America. So word-of-mouth laid solid foundations for our tour.


“Our strategy is to conquer the market from the bottom up, doing a lot of work on the ground with the people distributing and using the products – and getting their feedback. That is the Avolites way. We base our product development around customer feedback and ideas when designing the next generation of an existing product or bringing out a new one.


“The training sessions we organised on our tour were a massive hit. I was blown away by the audiences’ palpable sense of excitement. In Mexico alone over one hundred audio-visual specialists came to hear first hand about the new and most pioneering features of the tenth and latest version of Titan – we plan to return to the region annually and build upon this incredible reaction to our products.”


Francisco Yañez Valdivia, Avolites’ recently appointed regional Sales Representative for Latin America, says, “On this visit to South and Central America, Avolites has demonstrated how important this continent is.


“The closeness between Avolites and its users and distributors is not something many brands enjoy. We are like a community of people who talk about our love of lighting. There is a community forming in social networks, mainly around the Facebook fan page Avolites en Español and the Instagram Avoliteslatino. It’s incredible to see how, day by day, more people are sharing their experiences, asking questions, sending photos and becoming part of our community.


“In terms of popular products here, undoubtedly, the Arena console is getting a lot of the attention – although the small and powerful Quartz is also desired by many users. The incredible control that the Sapphire Touch allows for live programming, with its two screens and the huge amount of motorised faders, is something else that always stands out.


“The video content designers and technicians who attended Javier’s presentations showed a lot of interest in how the Ai media servers and software, integrated with Titan control, can be used to create incredible visuals. From the feedback we received, we’re confident we are about to see a significant boost in demand for Ai in this region too.”


Koy Neminathan, Sales Director of Avolites says, “Having Javier based in the UK working alongside Francisco, who will reside in Chile but travel throughout South America, is a very positive set up for Avolites. We have always wanted a dedicated Spanish/Portuguese speaker ‘on the ground’ to assist our distributors in educating and supporting our users.”


Neminathan went on to state that, “Francisco brings a great wealth of knowledge and experience and he is already underway in visiting lighting designers and demonstrating the power of Titan and Ai.


“To say that I am excited is an understatement, because this marks another huge step in the right direction, in line with our strategy for South and Central America.”


01273 660784

12-14 The High Street,