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News in pictures 4 May 2011

Arch passes screen test in Brussels; Lighting the birth of Frankenstein’s creature; tarm stages spectacular laser show in Dubai; QSC scores at Chelsea’s Under the Bridge

Boréal av du Progrès in Brussels, owned by the investment fund Deka-Immobilien Europa, is to become the headquarters of the retail and private banking arm of BNP Paribas Fortis.

In coordination with Conix, the architectural firm in charge of the complete renovation of the building, Arch has developed custom LED video tiles which look like the white tiles of the adjacent walls. The LED screen, measuring 11 meters long by 3 meters high, offers an extraordinary resolution of 1408 x 368 pixels, with more than 515,000 LEDs.

The challenge was to produce a white screen (when it is turned off) in order to respect the concept conceived by Conix but also to provide passive cooling to ensure total silence while in operation.

The talk of the town in London is the National Theatre’s dramatic new stage adaptation of Frankenstein, directed by Danny Boyle – the award-winning director of Trainspotting, Slumdog Millionaire and, next year, the opening of London’s 2012 Olympics. And the talk of the show is the spectacular lightbulb ceiling which greets audiences on their arrival into the theatre and then creates stunning images suggesting the industrial age and the power of electricity during the show.

Triangular in form, the ceiling consists of a mirrored surface below which hang just over 3100 assorted lightbulbs. Conceived by Boyle, set designer Mark Tildesley and lighting designer Bruno Poet it was intended to “represent the forces of electricity harnessed by Frankenstein, and to provide a dazzling light for the moment the creature is born and opens his eyes for the first time,” explains Poet.

Poet wanted the ability to control the bulbs as he would control an LED array, using pixel mapping and a media server to quickly create dynamic patterns and movement across the array rather than being limited to manually constructed chases. With real lightbulbs, this would mean a dimmer per bulb; an expensive proposition. “But I called Dave Isherwood at White Light for advice, and he was brilliant,” Poet recalls. Isherwood’s research led him to the NJD DPX12/4 twelve-way dimmer rack, dramatically cheaper than the other options he explored. While 3000 dimmers were still beyond the show’s budget, they stretched to 90 of the racks; just over 1000 dimmers. Poet and his team at the National, including Marc Williams, Paul McLeish and production managers Sacha Milroy and Richard Eustace, therefore “divided the ceiling into 1000 equally sized squares, pairing together whichever bulbs lay within each square.”

Education Without Borders 2011 opened on Dubai’s Burj Khalifa Island with a spectacular laser show in front of the world’s tallest building. Responding to an invitation from Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, more than 1,000 students from 130 countries attended a stupendous opening ceremony.

tarm Showlaser stages a spectacular laser show. Six high-power lasers and 60 precision deflecting mirrors transformed the open-air arena into a network of laser beams.

No fewer than 66 of QSC’s premium PowerLight 3 Class D amplifiers have been specified and installed in a new London live music venue — located at the Stamford Bridge stadium of premier football club Chelsea FC. This is the largest single complement of PL3s ever installed.

The 600-capacity Under The Bridge will specialise in hosting a wide range of music, including artist showcases, record launches and festivals.

Previously known as Purple Nightclub the new interior was created by Jim Cafarelli (of House of Blues fame) while the successful tender for the turnkey technology design and installation was submitted by XL Video’s Ian Woodall, in conjunction with Andrew Frengley of Matrix 9. Both men have worked together in the past, and both have extensive experience with QSC amplifiers over several generations, in both touring and installed applications.

Nevertheless, such was the expectation and attention to detail of a venue in which little expense has been spared, that QSC’s distributors, Shure Distribution UK, first needed to participate in a shoot-out against other leading brands.

Ian Woodall was unequivocal in his reasons for preferring QSC. “Knowing that there would five 42U drive racks, alongside other technical racks, in a combined space, we were concerned about the heat output — and it was the heat dissipation of the PL3s that firstly impressed,” confirmed the installer.

“In addition to the performance, the other key issue was that the PL3s are light weight — and that impacted heavily on the load-in.” In fact the contractors needed to have a special reinforced lift constructed to bring all the equipment in on site.

Driving the PA, monitor and surround loudspeakers is a combination of 23 x PL380 (2 x 4000W/2 ohms), 31 x PL340 (2 x 2000W/2ohms and 12 x PL325 (2 x 1250W/2 ohms).