MA is the Only Way for Tom Willis
Posted on Thursday, August 31st, 2017
Tom Willis is a lighting designer for theatre and live performance, based in Melbourne, and he is a big fan of MA onPC. Not only does he own a number of onPC systems and devices, he also offers sales and support of the platform to his clients. In fact he has just sold two MA onPC command wings to a client!
A graduate of the Victorian College of the Arts, Tom works across a wide range of mediums including theatre, dance, cabaret and live events. After beginning professional life as a freelancer, Tom has slowly built up an inventory of equipment and a small network of employees and collaborators, all based out of his design studio located in Cheltenham, Victoria. And after many years of working with different consoles, MA2 is now very much his go-to platform.
“I do every show I can on MA,” he stated. “I’ve lit some pretty elaborate projects using my MA onPC command wing. Most of these projects have very tight time frames and the MA2 software has the best set of tools to be able to build and refine complex designs quickly. I work across a couple of different industries, mixing professional shows with a lot of school production work, but all of them need me to do my work in limited timeframes.
“MA is a complete platform and that’s what I love about it. It’s massively powerful, but scalable and very cost effective. I still own an original onPC 2-port node. It was the first piece of control gear that I ever purchased. Its eight years old and I still use it all the time on smaller shows.”
Recently Tom has set up a dedicated MA 3D visualisation studio to provide additional support for his clients.
“For example, I had a client from a large school who was doing an event at The Plenary Theatre @ MCEC,” explained Tom. “The proposed schedule was for a 4am load in, with rehearsals on stage at 8am and the event starting at midday. Using the pre-vis studio, we were able to discuss and develop design concepts and build a framework of the entire show days before actually getting in to the venue. It made the day itself go very smoothly with no stress and the show looked great.”
This year Tom did his first work for The Flying Fruit Fly Circus, who recently played at the Sydney Opera House using the in-house MA2 light console. The show is about to transfer to The Playhouse at the Arts Centre using a slightly different rig.
“We’ll use the pre-vis studio to reconfigure the show file for the new fixtures and check that everything will work properly before we actually get into the theatre,” added Tom. “Once again, it’s a very tight time frame with only four hours to focus and four hours to plot in a very different space”
Photographed is Tom’s custom MA onPC command wing unit currently out on a job. The setup includes a Dell Inspiron with 23inc touchscreen, an MA onPC command wing, Wireless Solutions W-DMX f2 transmitter and a custom Design Quintessence case with inbuilt height adjustable legs.
Tom plans on expanding his MA2 inventory in the coming months as demand for equipment increases.
“I’ve got plans to build a number of different sized systems that’ll cater to the needs of specific shows. The beauty of every system will be that it’s the same software regardless of whether I’m in a tiny 40 seat theatre or a 5000 seat arena. That’s what I love about MA2. The concepts don’t change, just like the concepts of good lighting don’t change. It doesn’t matter the size or scale of a project, the requirements are always the same. We need to be consistently supporting and empowering the performers on stage. That means working quickly and being reliable.”
High End SolaSpot Pro 1500s for SOH
Posted on Thursday, August 31st, 2017
The world-heritage listed jewel in Australia’s architectural crown that adorns Sydney’s Harbour needs no introduction. In one of the world’s iconic venues, visited by millions each year, the Sydney Opera House Concert Hall is the largest performance space. While it regularly hosts the Sydney Symphony and Australian Chamber Orchestra, the Hall presents a huge variety of events, from comedy to awards nights to corporate functions.
A need for flexibility, high demand leading to tight turnarounds, and a requirement to provide the highest quality results drive Head of Lighting Andrew Richards and his team to constantly improve their workflow and the tools they use. That’s why the Hall has installed four High End Systems SolaSpot Pro 1500s.
Replacing six traditional profile fixtures mounted in the followspot room, at the rear of the auditorium with a throw of 36 metres to the downstage edge, the SolaSpot Pro 1500s have been chosen for the huge range of looks they can provide, and their sheer power. “We needed some flexibility,” said Andrew Richards. “Instead of sending crew into the roof to refocus for every show, we wanted a moving light solution, and LED was the way to go. The reason we went for SolaSpot Pro 1500s was their brightness, their optics, and what they could deliver onto the stage from that distance.”
Putting out a more-than-respectable 20,000 lumens from their 400w LED engine, the SolaSpot Pro 1500s include framing shutters, CMY colour mixing, linear CTO, two gobo wheels, animation effects, a prism, an iris, frost, and an 8 to 45 degree zoom range. This gives the Concert Hall lighting crew a huge arsenal to deploy across their diverse range of gigs. “We might use them for a downstage wash, focus them onto flowers set side of stage, user the shutters and light banners, or highlight awards tables,” Andrew related. “It’s the flexibility that’s the big advantage for us.”
High End Systems are often praised for the consistency and quality of their colours across their range of fixtures, and the Pro 1500s are no exception. “We get some beautiful colours out of the SolaSpot Pro 1500s,” Andrew agreed. “Their colour saturation is fantastic. Having the ability to have these lights produce such great colour is another step in upgrading the Concert Hall to have full flexibility.”
Like all High End Systems products sold in Australia and New Zealand, the Concert Hall’s SolaSpot Pro 1500s are supported by importer and distributor Lexair Entertainment. “Lexair are absolutely brilliant,” said Andrew. “They are more than helpful, and wonderful to deal with. I hope we can work together more in the future.”
Perth’s Wesley College gets moving with LED
Posted on Wednesday, August 30th, 2017
South Perth’s Wesley College has been shaping young minds since 1923. Its Goatcher Auditorium, seating more than 300, has been serving the College’s needs since opening in 2008, and after nine years of constant use, it was time to refresh the lighting system and upgrade to LED. Alex Spartalis, Head of Lighting for the college, helped the school to install four High End Systems SolaSpot Pro 1000s and four Elation Platinum Sevens, giving them their first moving lights and first LED sources.
“I’ve used the SolaSpot Pro 1500s and was really happy with them,” said Alex. “They were too big for this use case, as the school needs fixtures that are a one-person lift. I was just as happy with the smaller SolaSpot Pro 1000s – they have good colour mixing, a good zoom, and they run extremely quietly, if not silently. They’ve got the output and colour the College needs, and it’s great to move away from lamps in a school environment because of the maintenance issues.”
With the profiles sorted, Alex turned to the wash. “I’ve used Elation’s Sixpars, and found them to be great products,” Alex continued. “The College wanted a really bright, affordable wash with really good colour mixing, so they decided to install four Elation Platinum Sevens. They have a great zoom range to cover the Goatcher Auditorium’s relatively large stage, and the UV is a great bonus. The kids always want to use UV effects, and previously we’d hire in 400W UV canons on a case-by-case basis, so it’s nice to not have to do that anymore.”
Alex rigged and installed the lights in a day, running power and data at the same time, but the fixtures won’t always be above the stage. “The SolaSpots are on the front bar and the Platinum Sevens on the middle bar, but they roam around as well,” explained Alex. “Wesley College runs events in different spaces around the campus; for example the end-of-year graduation is on the oval, so we intend to use them to service those events too.”
Both the SolaSpot Pro 1000s and Elation Platinum Sevens were provided by local dealer Evolution 512, Perth’s one-stop production equipment supplier, helmed by Sean McKernan. Evolution 512 are a Platinum Reseller for Lexair Entertainment, Australia and New Zealand Elation and High End Systems distributor. Like other high-profile installs in Perth, such as the Perth Concert Hall and Crown Casino, Wesley College will enjoy unparalleled support and service for their fixtures from Lexair for the duration of their working life.
Jam Productions grow with ShowPro
Posted on Tuesday, August 29th, 2017
Queensland’s Jam Productions recently invested in four ShowPro LED Fresnels, with manual zoom, and two Pharos LED Profiles. At the same time, twenty-four ShowPro Apollo battery-powered, outdoor-rated RGBW LED high-output uplights were also delivered.
“With LED fixtures becoming so good, especially the incandescent stuff, it was a no brainer for us,” said Justin Ogge, Production Manager at Jam Productions. “Being able to bypass dimmers altogether, it means we can just run DMX to the truss and we’re good to go. When I first saw the Pharos LED Profiles in action I was amazed and could not tell the difference between them and a standard Profile fixture.”
The Pharos is a compact LED profile with output comparable to 575W ellipsoidal reflector spotlights. As Jam Productions mainly work in the conference market, Justin says the Pharos is a must have piece of gear and further comments that it is a nice, warm fixture.
The ShowPro LED Fresnel also delivers warm-white LED power and is a great option for venues, theatres, studios and production companies looking to increase the versatility of their white light fixtures.
The photographs show the recent Aon Conference held at the Hilton Darwin where, despite the high roof and large stage, the ShowPro LED Fresnels and Pharos did an outstanding job.
Not to be outdone, the Apollo fixtures also looked stunning lighting the way to the event and uplighting trees at the alfresco dinner.
“In the corporate market you’re often uplighting trees or architecture in strange places where there is not a lot of power so the Apollo fixtures are ideal,” continued Justin. “We’re really impressed by their small infrared remote control which mean you don’t have to get down on your knees to change the colours! They’re also W-DMX capable, which I’ve always been a big fan of, so we bought a W-DMX Transmitter as well enabling us to talk to them from a console if required.”
Justin and his crew are very impressed by the amount of labour time saved with the Apollo fixtures – no more running cables all over the site!
Novatech welcome Barco UDX-4K32 laser projectors
Posted on Friday, August 25th, 2017
By utilising the lamp-free technology of laser projection, the focus shifts to reliable performance and breath taking 4K images. With brightness in excess of 30,000 lumens, the UDX-4K32 enhances the already high quality of the projection services that Novatech offers and increases the capability and creativity to bring our clients ideas to life.
The main features of the UDX-4K32 include:
– 4k resolution (3840 x 2400) which is nearly 4 times more pixels than that of HD
– Laser light source – for great reliability, longer running duration and decreased heat & noise
– Flexible light output up to 31,000 lumens to suit a variety of applications
– Variety of inputs including HDBaseT, HDMI, Quad SDI/HDSDI/dual SDI/6G/BarcoLink
– Compact size and weight
– Unmatched colour reproduction with constant brightness and consistency over time
Marcus Watt, head of video at Novatech commented “ Adding 4K projection to an event lifts the visual impact to another level. Couple this with custom created content and the amount of detail you can deliver is immense, due to the sheer number of pixels available, fine details spring to life on the screens. ”
Marcus continues to state that the benefit to clients include “The laser light source delivering unsurpassed colour reproduction and contrast levels and because there is no big, hot lamp this results in a much quieter and smaller projector than traditional models. Meaning you can now get a super bright projector positioned in places not previously practical, opening up a myriad of design possibilities for your event.”
We’re now able to move to a fully 4k workflow for our client from playback sources, to our switching and distribution platforms and now through to the projection itself. Utilising our Barco E2 presentation switcher, we can route, mix and switch a variety of 4K sources to a variety of 4k display devices bringing the very best clarity and visual outcome for our clients. The fleet of Barco UDX-4K32’s are available right now for hire across Australia from Novatech.
Lexair to distribute LDDE
Posted on Friday, August 25th, 2017
LDDE specialise in the Theatre and Studio lighting markets, and have held an exceptional reputation since its foundation nearly 30 years ago. Their products are all manufactured in the company’s home of Austria, and enjoy an excellent reputation in quality and performance.
“On the occasion of Prolight & Sound in Frankfurt in April 2017, first discussions were held with Lexair to offer LDDE products to an even larger audience in Australia and New Zealand” stated Peter Durstberger, International Sales Manager for LDDE. “I am pleased to have found a partner with Lexair, one of the top companies in its region. Together, we will be able to provide our customers with even better support in the future.”
Lexair are very excited to be launching with LDDE’s Nanopix CYC, their top of the line LED cyclight. Featuring an asymmetrical design and five colour LED engine the compact footprint of the Nanopix CYC provides a true replacement for conventional theatrical fixtures with an unrivalled throw of over 9 meters from a single fixture.
“We are very excited to bring the highly regarded LDDE into the Lexair family, rounding out our portfolio perfectly. LDDE complements our existing product range, giving us an even greater ability to offer complete lighting solutions to our customers” added Alex Mair, Managing Director for Lexair Entertainment.
Demo units of several LDDE models are on their way to Australia, so call Lexair for your first look at this innovative range.
Pro Light & Sound celebrate 25 years
Posted on Thursday, August 24th, 2017
Last week Pro Light & Sound celebrated their twenty-fifth anniversary at Aerial in South Wharf, inviting over 200 industry professionals along to the party. These included event stylists, producers, caterers and venue owners.
Lighting featured Claypaky HPE 700, ShowPro LED Trussmates, and Martin RUSH MH2 Wash along with PL&S’s custom ceiling installations and chandeliers.
“We also had eight of our old faithful Martin MAC250 Entours,” added Stav. “I still believe these to be the most versatile lights Martin has ever made for medium sized production companies. They have the best ROI, are feature rich and low powered with heaps of punch.”
Stav recalled that the company’s first venture into moving lights and atmospherics were the very first Martin 1004 Roboscans with the 2308 controller, together with Martin’s first smoke machines.
“It would seem that our evolution co-coincided with that of Martin – as the products developed and improved, Show Technology were there to help us build our inventory,” he said. “So over the years, we went from 218 to 918 Roboscans, we took shipment of the very first Martin MAC Entours that arrived in Australia, then moved up to the MAC700. Now we have a wide variety of our inventory almost exclusively from Show Technology; from the ShowPro range to Martin and Claypaky – and we could not be happier.”
Stav further commented that the Show Technology team have supported Pro Light & Sound from the very start. PL&S has worked with Show Technology as their business has evolved through the years, from supplying nightclubs and dance parties to large corporate events and celebrity functions.
“It’s been a long and eventful journey and Show Technology has always been there with product support, personnel and advice,” Stav remarked. “We owe much of where we are today to Show Technology and look forward to many more years to come.”
Keith Bradshaw from Show Technology helped celebrate the huge milestone where Stav also revealed the company’s new website.