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News in pictures 29 September 2010

PR lights up Mexican bicentennial; High profile at San Francisco Opera and Ballet; Alcons shines in Sydney Theatre; CCS hits jackpot at Arizona casino

It’s not every day a country celebrates a bicentennial — and when Mexico started planning its celebration to mark 200 years since its independence from Spain (and 100 years since the revolution), Sebastian Corkidi’s event staging company, Simply Professional, was at the centre of activity.

Specialists in producing outdoor events on a large scale, the company was commissioned to provide the technical infrastructure for the massive $60 million government-run event at the imposing Zocalo main square in Mexico City. This featured a breathtaking display of aerial acrobatics, fireworks, rock music and parades, attended by tens of thousands of people.

Having worked with PR Lighting fixtures for the past six years, Corkidi knew that lighting designer Victor Zapatero would find everything he needed to bring the concept to life.

Surrounded by famous buildings, it was to colour wash the iconic cathedral — that formed the backdrop to the stage at the North end — that Zapatero turned to 24 of PR Lighting’s architectural favourites, the Century Color 2500. Using the long-life MSA2500 DE lamp, rated at 2,000 hours, they were able to flood the cathedral with colour over a long duty cycle. The Century Colors were supplemented by 40 of PR Lighting’s compact and versatile Design 150 Pros — which are also IP65-rated for outdoor use. Vacuum plated dichroic colour filters produced rich saturated colours, and the CYM colour mixing system had the ability to deliver an almost infinite range of colours.

Simply Professional also provided the production lighting on two stages, where in addition to the 200 acrobats, there were performances by other celebrities, including chart-topping Tigres del Norte.

As longtime and extensive users of Robert Juliat Profile spots, it could have been expected that the San Francisco Opera and Ballet would become the first US installation for Robert Juliat’s motorised Victor followspots with RJNET electronics.

“When the Opera was remodeled and seismically upgraded in 1996, we purchased 172 Profiles, then the Opera bought a few HMI Profiles and the Ballet added two more. The Victor followspots are our most recent purchase,” says Jim Caudle, technician for the San Francisco Ballet.

“The building is shared by both companies which have consecutive seasons: the Opera runs May through December and the Ballet December through May. There are permanent followspot positions for both companies and the Victors remain in place for both seasons.”

Caudle notes that the Opera and Ballet’s previous followspots “didn’t have the punch of the Victors and were a little unbalanced. The dousers also gave us problems and wouldn’t run smoothly. But everything in the Victors is smooth, clean, balanced and precise. We love them. I particularly like having the DMX controls on the douser. And Robert Juliat optics are the best we’ve ever used: very flat fields and very even.”

Located on the banks of the Parramatta River, the Riverside Theatre in Parramatta, Sydney, is a three-level space with proscenium arch and a capacity of 760. A very adaptable space, it is used principally for drama, comedy and musical theatre, and a flexible audio solution was needed for its refit.

Installed by Sydney-based Loud And Clear, the Alcons system was chosen after a full day shootout with several other systems in front of an advisory panel selected by the theatre management, which consisted of a number of experienced audio engineers and consultants.

The system comprises eight LR14 ultra-compact pro-ribbon line-array modules and three LR14B double 12in bandpass line-array bass systems flown in one central array with two BF302 Mk2 double 15in stacked subwoofers. The system is powered by ALC2 and ALC4 amplified loudspeaker controllers with DDP digital drive processors.

“The brief was to replace the centre cluster of the existing system with a full-range, high-quality system, with coverage to 98% of house,” says Loud And Clear’s David Betterridge. “With the wide horizontal dispersion of the Alcons LR14/120 pro-ribbon loudspeakers, we nailed the coverage easily and their incredible fidelity caught the listening panel’s attention immediately.”

Utilising an extensive array of JBL Control Contractor loudspeakers, audiovisual integration firm CCS Presentation Systems recently completed the audio system installation at Talking Stick Resort, located in Scottsdale, Arizona.

CCS was tasked with ensuring each sound “zone” of the 240,000sqft of gaming, 50,000sqft, 22-room conference centre and 13,000sqft spa, was perfectly equipped and able to overcome multiple surface types, ceiling heights and the noise of more than 800 slot machines and eager customers filling the areas. Concentrating mainly on the casino floor, conference centre and other common areas, CSS concluded JBL offered the ideal solutions for the variety of challenging acoustic environments.

“When we initially examined the different rooms and surfaces, we thought we would have to go with several vendors to make it all come alive,” said Rod Andrewson, manager of engineering, CCS Presentation Systems. “However, during the design process, we realised JBL had a speaker for each of the necessary casino applications, which were all more economical and allowed us to meet the Sound Pressure Level requirements. We were able to produce the SPL more efficiently with less equipment.”

In more than 100 zones, CCS installed a total of 1,131 JBL Control Contractor speakers.