Latest PLASA London sessions: audio as art, colour-changing lights, apprenticeships10 August 2015
With more of its seminar sessions finalised, PLASA London has revealed content that is both informative and a little out of the ordinary. From audio as art and colour changing lights, to safety – both electrical and aural – and the importance of apprenticeships, the event will cover key issues within entertainment technology.
“It’s art, not plant hire.” These words from Tony Andrews, founder of loudspeaker manufacturer Funktion One, will ring true with sound designers and engineers around the world. Having spent his life exploring the higher possibilities in audio, Andrews is well placed to discuss his statement further in the ‘audio moment’, the chosen subject for his Audio and Consciousness session at this year’s PLASA Show, where he will consider the difference between hearing and listening.
Turning to the world of lighting, Advanced Colour Control and Using OSC are two sessions hosted by lighting manufacturer ETC, aided by Dan Murfin and Sam Smallman of the National Theatre, which will address ETC’s work to improve control of colour-changing lights from the Eos Family lighting control system and how OSC (Open Sound Control) benefits ETC’s Cobalt and Eos Families respectively.
“Transitions often look artificial, or don’t fit with the rest of the rig,” said ETC’s Jeremy Roberts. “We’ll be explaining how our new tools include multiple user-selectable colour spaces (including CIE), gel-matching concepts, control of fade paths and transition curves, spectrum controls and relative colour offsets (e.g. make it warmer, it’s too green), as well as exposure of gel transmission information.”
“In Using OSC, we’ll show several examples of how OSC can help you create the perfect lighting and effect. Whether you are new to the family or an old pro, you will get some ideas for your next show,” added ETC’s Luke Delwiche.
With safety always high on the PLASA agenda, Safety for Temporary Electrical Installations – Implementing BS7909:2011 will be hosted by Phil Watts and will cover the safety of temporary electrical installations for the entertainments industry and who is responsible for them. Your Aural Toolkit: a Guide to Preserving your Hearing for Sound Professionals, hosted by post-doctoral researcher at the University of Leeds, Annie Jamieson, looks at how to take care of your hearing, a vital sense for working with sound and one we ignore at our peril.
“Managers at all levels need to understand these responsibilities and must be competent to deliver to the required standards, as the HSE take the view that ‘ignorance is no excuse’,” says Watts, who set up Ascot College, a City & Guilds Approved training centre, delivering electrical and H&S courses. “BS7909:2011 is an excellent Code of Practice designed to assist personnel at all levels in their attempts to deliver on ‘best practice’. The session will discuss areas of responsibility and outline the content and implementation of BS7909:2011.”
“Working in sound, your sense of hearing is your greatest asset,” says Jamieson. “But your work with sound has the potential to threaten it. In this session, I’ll be talking about how your hearing works and the ways it can be damaged by over-exposure to sound, as well as discussing hearing protection solution and practical advice and strategies.”
Embracing Apprenticeships is hosted by PSA general manager Andy Lenthall. “Although we all agree that the best way to learn is on the job, with a little classroom-based theory added in for good measure, the live production and event management sector hasn’t been well served by schemes delivering the relevant skill,” says Andy. “Last year, Government announced a new system for the development of apprenticeships, as well as ambitious targets for their delivery. Development is now firmly in the hands of employers, with PSA members working to develop an apprenticeship for Live Event Technicians alongside groups working with Rigging, Venue Technicians and Event management amongst others, although golf greenkeeping is a little off-radar. The project is in full swing so come along and find out more about training the next generation of top techs.”
“We’ve got a rich and varied programme at this year’s PLASA Show,” says PLASA show content manager Sophie Atkinson. “We’re covering topics that are vital for our industry and some that are more esoteric. Tony Andrews, for example, has contributed to many of our sessions over the years. He explores areas that stray away from the mainstream and grab attention, and are always incredibly popular, so make sure you register early!”