Latest Issue - November 2014
This issue is dominated by our report from the PLASA Show. This year's show was a success on a number of levels, not least in the sense of reinvigoration stemming from its refocused strategy. Exhibitor reaction to PLASA's plans for the show in 2015 and beyond was so positive that the sales team managed to achieve an 80% rebook for next year, before the show had even closed its doors. In our December issue, we'll be talking to the PLASA Events team in more detail about those plans.
It's no secret that the PLASA show has struggled in recent years, in particular to maintain its audio exhibitor base and its international visitor draw in the face of competition from mainland Europe. At the same time, its performance has been thrown into stark relief by the shining light of PLASA's regional Focus event in Leeds, universally agreed to be among the very best of trade show models. The announcement in 2012 of the London show's intended move to ExCeL for 2013 didn't help either - the often bilious reaction to that decision served as a reminder of just how much people really do dislike change. True, PLASA's not in West London any more, but I estimate that by 2016 people will be dealing with that (on the basis that, back in the 90s, it took about that many years for people to stop complaining about what a dump Earls Court was).
There are still genuine concerns, of course. Often these concerns are constructively raised by those who genuinely want to see PLASA succeed, and that feedback is helping the PLASA team to shape the show's future strategy. Much of the less constructive type of comment is from people who don't want it to succeed, and in those cases we should question their motives. But, if we ignore the sniping and, worse, the wild rumour-mongering (don't be silly now, no-one got a free stand), and look objectively at the plans for the show for 2015 and beyond, there is plenty to be enthusiastic about. And if you're involved in this industry, that should strike you as good news.
Also in this issue: Steve Moles reports on the production for German superstar band PUR, who played their 'PUR & Friends' show at the Veltins Arena in Gelsenkirchen in September. We have a report on the sound design for a production of Carmen Jones which took place in Cuba, and which turned out to be the last work of sound designer Neil MacDonald, who sadly passed away soon afterwards, following a long illness. On the tech front, Mike Wood assesses the Rogue R2 Spot moving head from Chauvet, while Richard Cadena looks at Green Hippo's latest Hippotizer software and new hardware packages in Video Matters, and discusses self-terminating lighting fixtures in Technology Focus. There's plenty more, too including our regular contributions in Audio File, Classic Gear, Tools from Beyond and Second Fix . . . enjoy.
LSi is ABC Audited.
The PLASA Awards for Innovation, sponsored by LSi magazine, were presented at PLASA 2014 on Tuesday 7 October, revealing the most ground-breaking products of the show . . .
Phil Ward, Steve Moles, Kate Lyon, Richard Cadena, Claire Beeson and Lee Baldock bring you all the news and product launches from the show floor of PLASA 2014 . . .
Steve Moles reports from the Veltins Arena in Gelsenkirchen, Germany, as German band PUR and friends take to the stage . . .
The product up for review this month is the Chauvet Professional Rogue R2 Spot. A number of companies have produced this class of unit using a combination of a white only LED source coupled with dichroic filters for colour change . . .
For a few years now I've heard a number of people say that you don't need to terminate DMX data links any longer because "all the fixtures are self-terminating these days." When I hear that, I always ask, which fixtures in particular are self-terminating? The answer I usually get is, "I don't know." Sometimes the answer is XYZ product, in which case I will go online, look up the XYZ website, download the user manual, and point to the part that says: "Be sure to terminate your data run."
A look at some of the lighting and sound solutions for this sporting event for injured servicemen and women . . .
Staging Carmen Jones in Havana's Old Harbour called for high quality sound reproduction with some special requirements
Lee Baldock profiles the Italian lighting manufacturer with its sights set on further international growth . . .
The new show Tumble, hosted by Alex Jones on BBC1, came to a show-stopping end of series in September and lighting rental specialist Aurora was there to light the way, with GSL Power providing the power distribution . . .
This year, Triple E celebrates its 30th anniversary. Back in 1984, David Edelstein's company emerged on a mission to smooth and ease theatre curtain and scenery track systems, changing that sector for the better, forever. LSi caught up with him to celebrate . . .
Open Control Architecture is an alliance with a difference, as Phil Ward discovers . . .
Claire Beeson finds out how PLASA becoming an associate member of JAMES could benefit the industry at large . . .
20 Years Ago . . . LSi November 1994
"In a telling sign of the times, an anonymous PLASA Show visitor had written a letter of complaint about certain PLASA exhibitors' use of "eroticism and sexual temptation" to sell their lighting products. "This kind of thing may be acceptable in some Soho backstreet bars, but at the world's leading sound and light exhibition?" said the 'disgusted and disappointed' visitor. "Come on please," he added, "We want to see lights, not tights.""
10 Years Ago . . . LSi November 2004
"Our November 2004 issue was dominated by the raging controversy over Color Kinetics' US patents covering LED technology - which, among other things, gave them the rights to the control of colour-changing LEDs via pulse width modulation (PWM) - a method that had demonstrably been common since the 1970s. The LED Alliance was formed, led by the bulldog-spirited Brett Kingstone of Florida-based Super Vision International, and the UK's Wayne Howell, founder of Artistic Licence, calling on the industry for prior art on colour mixing."
This month: Where There's Muck . . .
"Like so many elements of today's sound reinforcement systems, it's helpful if the various component parts can be adapted like this to all kinds of situations. This is also true of consoles, digital or analogue, although it's a very different proposition to scale a mixing desk up or down."
This month: Strand Half Lights
"We see it all the time, now: the virtual cutaway, the 3D rendering, the view inside the product created by trick photography or Photoshop or just full-on CGI. If we're masters enough of 3D CAD we can view any product we model from any angle, even from the inside out. But what did you do to show the workings before the age of Photoshop? Easy. You took your product, and you cut it in half . . ."
This month: Sound engineer Nahuel Gutierrez
"When I was a kid the father of my best friend was a sound engineer for an artist called Manu Chao. He used to take us to shows all the time. He also worked at a legendary venue in Madrid called Revolver. We use to roller skate while bands where sound-checking there. So from an early age I knew of this little world of ours, full of characters."
This month: New Tube Map
"Sometimes, it takes just a little change to make you see something in a whole new way. To make such a change to something often declared a timeless masterpiece of graphic design is a brave step. But the results are dramatic: Mark Noad's New London Tube Map literally makes you see London in a whole new way."
This month: Dealing with builders
"With just two weeks to go whole walls are moved for no apparent reason. The floor they laid takes seven days to dry and they didn't feel the need to tell you. All this before you get to play power cut roulette."
This month: Hippotizer V4 Making a Splash
"When a manufacturer launches with fanfare and the software version jumps a whole number as opposed to a decimal place, you can expect a big leap. So what's all the noise about?"
This month: Chris Henry talks to Jonny Milmer, head of lighting at Imagination . . .
"I love being involved in creative discussions - I sit there as a lighting designer but I see myself as a creative in a team of creative people fundamentally coming up with the concept for a show."
"I had a eureka moment: I don't want to be working in the middle of the night for somebody else - if I'm going to do that it should be for me, so why don't I produce pin hinges? Every theatre in the country needs them."
David Edelstein discusses the roots of Triple E (Thirty Years on Track)
"Hey, I'm flying eight tons less PA than last time we played here, and it sounds eight times better."
Frank Müller, system tech for Pur, talks to Steve Moles at Veltins Arena. (On Tour)
"Having not been at PLASA since it left Earls Court, it was great to return. The Audio Village atmosphere is very conducive to business."
Praise for PLASA 2014 from Yamaha's Karl Christmas (PLASA 2014 Review)
Inside our Next Issue . . .
On Tour: Black Stone Cherry • TF: d&b's D80 • Gypsy, Chichester Festival Theatre • Profile: Dry Hire Lighting • BBC's Children In Need • Edinburgh's Botanical Gardens