Total Production

PLASA Preview 2011

On 11-14 September, PLASA 2011 will showcase new innovations from the audio, video, lighting and staging sectors of the live event and entertainment industries. We take a brief look at the launch highlights so far...


Stand 1-H6

Marking the British console company's third completely new console design in a year, Cadac Holdings is launching its new flagship digital live production console, the CDC Eight, at PLASA 2011.
   Specified for high end sound touring and fixed installation applications, the circa £45K console boasts a "high agility" user interface, accessed via two 24 inch 16:10 high definition LCD touch screens; a further centre located 6-inch LCD touch screen accesses the system control and automation. Combined with a far less menu dependent operating system than other digital consoles, the CDC Eight is promoted as "exceptionally smart, nimble and intuitive in operation".
   The CDC Eight features a high I/O count for a desk at this price point, offering 128 input channels - expandable to 256 - and a standard 48 outputs. Two frame sizes offer 16 or 32 faders. Built upon the company's latest generation proprietary DSP mix platform, processing power - as the name implies - is delivered by eight 32/40-bit floating-point SHARC processors.
   A wide dynamic range, low noise mic pre-amp, specially developed ultra-low distortion EQ filters and analogue emulating compressor algorithms, 24-bit / 96kHz Delta-Sigma AD/DA converters, and advanced EQ algorithms, using proportional-Q techniques, combine "to deliver a classic 'Cadac sound' signal chain, that sonically outperforms consoles several times the price".
   To be unveiled at a media launch event on the Cadac stand (1H 6), at 1pm on the opening day of the show, the CDC Eight is billed as "Cadac's killer sound touring console," by sales development manager Vincenzo Borrelli. "What really sets it apart - aside from the classic CADAC sound quality - is the user interface, which is truly of its time and totally intuitive to any audio engineer."
   Simultaneously, Cadac is branding its digital product range with the common CDC prefix; thus, the DM1600, launched at Prolight+Sound this year, is renamed the CDC Four. The 'small format' digital production console shares the same proprietary DSP genealogy, and many of the same signal chain features, as its larger CDC Eight sibling.

Stand 1-F36

Funktion-One says that in order to keep pace with the huge success and high demand of the recently introduced Resolution 3, it has enhanced its production with a new set of tooling for the mid high wave guides. The company says: "This new tooling created the opportunity to refine the technology, taking the product to a new level".
   This has also given rise to the new stand-alone R3SH which has been used to great acclaim in venues as diverse as the National Theatre, for Danny Boyle's production of Frankenstein, and to the main room at Space Ibiza. The development further underlines Funktion One's stance that good loudspeakers are in no way genre specific and are suitable for all audio applications.
   Demonstrations of Funktion-One's full range of products will be taking place throughout the show in the company's demonstration room, in the Permanent Press Office, near the Terrace Restaurant on the Mezzanine level, where for many years audio enthusiasts from around the world have joined the team for an informal and informative time, listening to both the familiar and the unfamiliar, "through crystal clear Funktion One loudspeakers and engaging in interesting audio conversation".

Red Square Audio
Audio Stand 1-L39

Red Square Audio is to launch tri-wi, and audio/DMX wireless system designed to replace inconvenient, expensive and risk-prone cabling, indoors or outdoors, with a high performance wireless system that allows users to remove cable headaches without compromising signal quality.
   The system permits wireless transfer of both audio and DMX signals with just one system comprising a tri-Wi Tx transmitter and tri-Wi Rx receiver. A tri-Wi Rp repeater can be added between Tx and Rx for even longer distances, while a tri-Wi Plus Pack Beam Antenna Kit is optional.
   Offering "excellent audio and DMX quality", the system's headline specifications include analogue or digital audio input and/or DMX512; stereo audio transmission in CD quality 48kHz, 16bit; DMX transmission of all 512 channels at 24 frames per second; and both audio and DMX data processed without compression.
   Quoted latencies are 12ms audio and 44ms DMX, independent of transmission range. Digital wireless transmission of data is within the 5GHz wave band, giving freedom from interference from Bluetooth and WLAN signals. Typical transmission distances between transmitter and receiver are >800m (Standard System) and >2.3km (PlusPack System).
   Security is tap proof transmission provided by IEEE 802.11i compliant, and encryption and authentication with IEEE 802.1X.

Sound Technology
Stand 1-E21

Sound Technology will premiere AKG's new flagship DMS 700 V2 digital wireless microphone system at PLASA 2011. With 512-bit encryption, ultra-low latency and the new DPT700 bodypack, DMS700 V2 offers artists and engineers "absolute confidence in performance with a reliable, easy-to- use wireless component".
   The DMS 700 V2 improves the link quality and increases the working range of the transmitters and receivers to allow for more freedom in arranging anything from lecture halls in universities to houses of worship and live performances on tour to broadcast operations, says the company.
   Already compatible with the future-proof Channel 38, DMS700 v2 is now available pre-loaded with UK-specific frequency presets. In addition, DMS700 v2 is now also available with a hand-held transmitter featuring AKG's premium D7 dynamic capsule delivering open sound across all frequencies akin to a condenser mic but with the powerful resonance of a dynamic mic.
   Users with the original DMS 700 wireless system can easily update their units through a software and hardware update. The free software update includes the 512- bit encryption,, AES-EBU output and 0.5ms improved latency, improved link quality and range improvements and output gain menu with a bargraph and ability to deactivate autolock.
   Wolfgang Fritz, product marketing manager - tour sound, AKG comments, "The new AKG DMS 700 V2 is the next step in AKG's pursuit of the perfect, flawless audio signal transmission. It offers the audio professional ease of use, quick set-up and reliable operation in this demanding industry, even in the most challenging environments."



Stand 1-C17

Coolux will be showing its latest version of the Pandoras Box Server, along with the Pandoras Box Player and Sensor Link, as well as its award winning Widget Designer PRO.
    Pandoras Box Server is a turnkey solution that, says Coolux, perfectly unites state-of-the-art rendering technology with intuitive media control, offering "the best high performance link between projection and digital image compositing". The latest version, on show at PLASA 2011, offers users an unprecedented amount of creative freedom for real-time media control.
    Pandoras Box Players offer the ideal, cost-effective software solution for all video professionals with multi-media requirements in smaller projects. 2/4 video layers and 4/8 graphic layers are available to be programmed and arranged quickly and easily. The Pandoras Box Manager redefines real-time media editing and playback control. This standalone software allows synchronization and remote network control of all Pandoras Box playback products. The latest version offers the perfect software solution for warping and playing out full-HD video content in a variety of scenarios. The award winning Pandoras Box Sensor Link is a versatile tool used for tracking of scenic objects and much more.   
    Finally, the Coolux Widget Designer PRO custom control interface creation tool, based on visual node programming, which allows users to route and set up almost any possible control scenario, will also be on show. The product won the Product Award in the 'Audio and Media Technology' category at this year's Showtech exhibition in Berlin, where the jury was impressed by the "innovative character and practical use of the Widget Designer".
    Another key factor in the jury's decision was the mobile flexibility the Widget Designer offers its users. Whether theatre specific, or event technology related in general - anything that needs to be controlled and/or visually customised can benefit from the Widget Designer's programming interface. The option to create one's own touchscreen controls was another factor the judges found to be commendable and future oriented. Since its first release in 2009, says Coolux, the Widget Designer PRO has become ever more popular and is being used in a large variety of show control scenarios worldwide.

Green Hippo
Stand 1-G6

PLASA 2011 sees the launch of several new and improved Hippotizer features including LiveMask, VideoMapper, Ki-HNet support for PixelMapper and a new and improved DMX component.
All features are available on all products in the range starting from the HippoCritter, the mobile HippoPortamus, the powerful yet compact GrassHopper or the flagship product, Hippotizer HD.
   Extending the already extensive toolset that encompasses drag and drop media management, intuitive Timeline programming, a host of effects and video processing tools and many more, these new components are vital in today's creative scenic video environment.
   VideoMapper allows any part of a video output to be sent to an LED tile anywhere on stage, regardless of the complexity of the LED wall controller. It features full RBG colour correction per LED tile as well as scaling and rotation. Different mapping configurations allow the operator to switch, lend or morph between creative designs on the fly.
   Another video tool from the Green Hippo collection is Live Mask, a feature that allows output areas to be masked off, by simply drawing directly onto a Layer or Master to mask out any unwanted projection to fit the set. The vector based drawing tool allows the mask to be moulded around any shape and then be saved in the extensive library for later use. The feature also includes a variable blur, allowing edges to be easily feathered, a feature essential on many productions.
   For lighting console-based users, Green Hippo has also introduced DMX2, which it terms "a milestone improvement" on the original and highly utilised DMX component. With all the additional features now available in Hippotizer, users no longer have to limit what they are able to control. Operators can choose what parameters they want to control on which channels and completely customise their DMX profiles with Green Hippo's personality editor. "Want to control advanced colour on layer 8? All effects parameters within your master? All of this and much more is now possible with DMX2," states Green Hippo.
   PixelMapping has also been enhanced with the launch of tier2 Ki-Net functionality. Colour Kinetics devices are not only controllable directly from Hippotizers (eliminating the need for any intermediate interfaces) but also support auto discovery launched with 3.1, which allows simple mapping of CK fixtures. Power supplies and devices are detected and the users simply need to drag and drop those onto the output grid to map them. This feature is also supported by the latest generation ArtNet devices.
   Green Hippo's booth will also feature a demonstration of what its Special Projects team have put together, that demonstrates how they can help put designers on the map of building projection.

CreateLED Electronics
Stand  1-K43

CreateLED Electronics Co. Ltd will be showing a range of its latest professional LED video solutions for multiple indoor and outdoor applications and LCD video walls, including advertising display solutions, media and entertainment events and sports screen solutions across the globe.
   The new products include standard indoor and outdoor LED displays, LED billboards, the Air Led-VP 2011 series and LCD video wall. The company's high resolution displays include the AL3-B indoor LED which offers a 3mm pixel pitch in a black-faced/body SMD LED Panel featuring what the company describes as a "revolutionary' black LED, with colour uniformity technology, fanless design and high contrast ratio, ideal for extremely close viewing distances and designed for easy configuration and maintenance, adding that its light weight (12kg per panel) and sleek design make it particularly suitable for networked digital signage.
   The CreateLED daylight LED video screen is available in almost any size and unlimited configurations. The company says its high quality waterproof LED panels, with a brightness of 5600 nits and 10mm pixel pitch, ensure an excellent viewing experience even under direct sunlight, while a wide viewing angle of 140 degrees guarantees perfect images to every member of an audience.
   CreateLED's CX-MLCD-46-AA05 LCD Video Splicing Display, designed for state of the art video signage applications including sports arenas, has a pixel pitch of 0.7455(H) by 0.7455(V) and measures 25.65mm(W) by 579.65(H) by 58.53(D), and has a brightness of 450 nits.



Stand 1-F18

Exhibiting its growing range of stage lighting control products, Avolites is bringing its expansive Titan Range and the production launch of the Sapphire Touch to PLASA.
    Employing the newest technology available, the Sapphire Touch has undergone significant aesthetic enhancements. It combines twin multi-touch screens with 45 motorized touch sensitive faders and an Optical trackball with Z axis ring, affording designers faster control of complex fixtures.
    Avolites will also be adding the Titan Mobile, which is ideal for designers on the move. The lightweight console brings the company’s experience and quality to an affordable level and has been used on tour with the likes of Fat Boy Slim and Groove Armada.
These latest innovations incorporate Avolites' fully integrated Titan Operating System, enabling the user to achieve every element of their design and streamline their creativity.
    At PLASA, Avolites will raise the bar in lighting control when it exhibits the new Titan V5 software. V5 offers the ability to quickly create complex graphic effects on fixture arrays via its Pixel Mapping function. The future release of Titan V6 will expand system capabilities up to 64 DMX Universes.

Martin Professional
Stand 1-F44

Martin Professional will be exhibiting the latest addition to its P3 System Controller family for LED screens. The P3-200 System Controller combines all the celebrated features of Martin's advanced P3-100 video signal controller yet adds SD-SDI, HD-SDI and 3G-SDI input capability for optimized use in TV/broadcast environments.
    The P3-200 retains all the advantages of the P3-100 System Controller like built-in scaling and de-interlacing, multiple video protocol and resolution support, built-in graphical user interface, and direct DMX control of brightness, color, pixelmapping and more. It works with all Martin LED display systems (LC Series with P3 Upgrade Kit, LC Plus Series and EC Series) and is software and showfile compatible with the P3-100 System Controller.
    Putting LDs and operators fully in control, Martin P3 controllers allow full integration with lighting control via DMX512. Users can finally treat LED screens like lighting instruments with direct cue-by-cue control of brightness, image rotation and position and color temperature. P3 System Controllers give full control over the video signal before the image is displayed on screen, and all at 16-bit color depth per color for perfect image quality without artifacts.

Clay Paky
Stand 1-E36

PLASA will host a range of international launches of Clay Paky products and show débuts. Over at Stand 1-E36, Clay Paky’s Alpha Spot QWO 800 makes its first international appearance at the show, featuring the latest MSR Platinum lamp - an 800W light source that produces an intense sparkling light, brighter even than older 1200W lamps. The GlowUp portable, battery-powered uplight for events and exhibition will also be making is first international appearance. This luminaire is designed to remove the logistical headache of running cables at events - dramatically reducing set-up time, while saving money and improving safety.
    Clay Paky's third international debutante, Igloo, offers complete protection against rain, heat and ice for moving lights in outdoor installations.
    Whenever moving lights are installed outdoors - either permanently for architectural applications or during temporary events and festivals - protecting such sensitive equipment against the elements becomes essential. The Igloo was created for exactly this purpose - a tough, sturdy enclosure that offers complete protection against rain and humidity, and maintains a perfect working temperature for fixtures, even in hot or sub-zero conditions.
    Clay Paky has added a chrome-finished version of the Sharpy to its range, with a brilliant mirror finish that adds glamour and makes lights less intrusive.
Sharpy Chrome's shiny finish makes it discreet on stage, in sets and interiors, and ideal for TV studios, showrooms, fairs, conference rooms and at industrial presentations.
    Described as the world's first cable-free, quick-connect LED wall, Mirage QC, Clay Paky's new semi-transparent LED display, features an innovative and patented mounting and connection system that makes LED walls of all sizes even safer and quicker to install.
    IP65-protected for outdoor use, the Mirage QC is made for touring applications demanding the simplest possible installation. The final new product announcement from Clay Paky is the high-tech Roxter flight case range, offering tougher protection as an essential tool for protecting lighting fixtures from the rigours of shipping and touring.



Stand 1-H33

PLASA 2011 show will see the launch of Daktronics' newly revised Pro Series controllers with the popular Vortek Classic hoist. The new 3-part cueing feature of the controller allows the powerful Pro Series VAC control system the ability to execute multiple moves simultaneously from multiple cueing sequences.
    "For the first time since Daktronics has been at the London show, we'll be able to demonstrate our easy-to-use, yet complex controller with our popular Vortek Classic hoist," said Operations Manager Dave Rossi, who will be at the show along with Ivan Del Rio, Project Manager for Europe and Middle East. "We're excited to show what our multi-cueing feature brings to the sophisticated, demanding performance requirements of today's stage."
    PLASA participants will have opportunity to experience the intuitive, touch screen controls whether operating a full-sized or wired handheld VAC controller. The dead man switch is another new feature now standard on all VAC controllers.

Stand 1-G40

Prolyte Group says its brand manager Eric Laanstra frequently received enquiries for a smaller truss with a higher loading capacity and has masterminded a solution. With his team of engineer, he has designed the H40R truss, a rectangular standard H40 truss with a programme of specifications based on the H30V, H40V and S36R truss.
    The H40R has three-sided webbing. The thicker braces on the bottom side allow easy mounting of automated luminaires/moving heads and central loading, reducing the torsion effect resulting from one-sided loading in standard trusses.
    The spigot orientation follows that of the S series truss, allowing easy assembly while the truss is still on the floor. The H40R measures 339mm high by 239mm wide. The diagonals are placed to allow room for a 30D truss to rest on the bottom chords.
    The loading rate is comparable to the H40V, taking into account that, due to the three-sided webbing, lateral forces are limited. The H40R is available in three standard lengths of one, two and three metres, plus a box-corner.

Backstage Academy
Stand 2-N38

The Backstage Academy's new fast-track foundation degree in Live Events Production, set to be delivered at its training facility in Wakefield, is going through the final validation stages with the University of Bolton - and details will be available in full at PLASA 2011.
    The 15 month foundation degree, which The Backstage Academy says is the only one of its kind, focuses on the artistic, creative and practical use of technology for live events and will be delivered in partnership with the University of Bolton.
    According to Creative & Cultural Skills, the Sector Skills Council for creative and cultural industries, by 2017 there will be a need for 30,000 skilled backstage and offstage technical theatre staff to support live events. The Backstage Academy is aiming to train students who can help meet this demand.
    Students will gain hands-on experience at The Backstage Academy thanks to its base at the LS-Live Studios in South Kirkby, Wakefield. LS-Live is one of the largest purpose-built rehearsal facilities in Europe and has hosted some of the world's biggest music stars, including Lady Gaga, Elbow, Kylie, Genesis and Robbie Williams.
    The course, which begins in November, will include modules on lighting, sound, staging and live visuals, as well as production design and specialist skills such as handling lasers and using 3D technologies.
    In addition to gaining a foundation degree, students who successfully complete the intensive fast-track course will acquire relevant industry accredited qualifications, like the Event Safety Passport and the Powered Access Licence (PAL).
    Tuition will predominantly take place at LS-Live's new state-of-the-art facility adjoining the rehearsal studio, which includes an Apple Authorised Training Suite, modern classrooms and a 3D viewing suite.