protocol - IATSE Local 346

protocol - IATSE Local 346
Stage lighting and
the environment:
Results from a year-long study
plus training and events at
PLASA Technical Standards updates and 16
The ESTA Foundation Seminars and Training
sessions offered during LDI2013
2013 Rock Our World Awards— 30
Learn more about this year’s finalists
PLASA Members’ Choice Product Awards 67
FALL 2013
AV Services
Houses of Worship
Party and Event Rental
Clubs, Pubs and Bars
Karaoke Bars
It’s simple really: if you use LED fixtures,
the Stage CL is the console for you.
If you’re running a small lighting rig in a venue, as a rental, or in a retail space, you’ve probably
upgraded to LED lights. Why? Because modern LEDs can produce any color without the need
for filters, so you can produce fantastic combinations of colors with just a few lights.
- Best Overall
Lighting Product
- Best Conventional
Lighting Console
Sounds great, but you’ve probably noticed that when it comes to choosing a control console
most of the ones available either aren’t designed to control color and intensity or are way more
complicated (and expensive) than required.
This is why Jands have created the Stage CL.
North American Sales: A.C. Lighting Inc.
22 ND - 24TH NOVEMBER 2013
Made for LEDs
Rock Our
Learn who wins the 2013 Rock Our World
Awards at the PLASA Cocktail and Awards
Reception, November 21 from 5:30 - 7:30 p.m.,
at the LVH Hotel. 30
Stage lighting and the environment:
Results from a year-long study 18
PLASA Members’ Choice
Product Award nominees 67
2013 Rock Our World Awards 30
PLASA Focus: Austin—
It’s not weird 78
Smarter buildings for performance
technology and infrastructure 40
Entech 2013:
What’s up Down Under? 82
Continuous improvement at
Rosco—A work in progress 46
PLASA London:
Success at Royal Victoria Dock 86
Developing a security program 56
The PLASA Rigging Conference:
Learning through a lively debate 92
The Long Reach Long Riders received a warm
welcome on their visit to ETC in Middleton, WI
and a full tour by CEO Fred Foster. 74
On the Cover:
in every issue
Upcoming Industry Events
Nurturing a customer relationship is worth
the long-term investment
Television Lighting Consistency Index – TLCI
BGA’s Greener Lighting Framework Initiative
Questions about Key Performance Indicators
and employees on long-term deployment
When does a standard become a millstone?
Raising the bar with ETCP
IATSE shows support for Behind the Scenes
at all levels
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Fisher Dachs Associates, in collaboration with
Seattle Repertory Theatre, gathered 20112012 season data that would help inform
environmental decision-making about stage
lighting. Top row: Marya Sea Kaminski and
Suzanne Bouchard in Clybourne Park, 2012,
Photo: Alan Alabastro; Nick Garrison in I Am
My Own Wife, 2012, Photo: Chris Bennion;
Michael Patten, Anastasia Higham, Peter A.
Jacobs, Elizabeth Raetz, and Gretchen Krich in
Circle Mirror Transformation, 2011, Photo: Chris
Bennion; and Lorenzo Pisoni in Humor Abuse,
2011, Photo: Chris Bennion. Second row: Linda
Gehringer in How to Write a New Book for the
Bible, 2012, Photo: Kevin Berne; Alban Dennis
and Linda K. Morris in Sylvia, 2011, Photo: Chris
Bennion; Mari Nelson and Linda K. Morris in
Sylvia, 2011, Photo: Chris Bennion; and Basil
Harris and Montana von Fliss in Or, 2012, Photo:
Chris Bennion. Third row: Montana von Fliss
and Kirsten Potter in Or, 2012, Photo: Chris
Bennion; Lorenzo Pisoni in Humor Abuse, 2011,
Photo: Chris Bennion; Kim Staunton and Teagle
F. Bougere in Clybourne Park, 2012, Photo: Alan
Alabastro; and Nick Garrison in I Am My Own
Wife, 2012, Photo: Chris Bennion. Fourth row:
Anastasia Higham in Circle Mirror Transformation,
2011, Photo: Chris Bennion; Aaron Blakeley, Tyler
Pierce, Linda Gehringer, and Leo Marks in How
to Write a New Book for the Bible, 2012, Photo:
Kevin Berne; Denis Arndt in Red, 2012, Photo:
Chris Bennion; Connor Toms and Denis Arndt in
Red, 2012, Photo: Chris Bennion. 18
Publisher’s Note
Hello and welcome to the Fall 2013 issue of
Protocol. As always, congratulations to Beverly
Inglesby, Karl Ruling, and team. Thanks to Katie
Oman for sharing the Fisher Dachs and Seattle
Repertory Theatre collaborative year-long
research study on stage lighting power usage
in “Stage Lighting and the Environment.” This
issue’s cover article is jam-packed with their
findings and is an industry-wide must-read.
Check out another great article from Larry
Tedford, David Wilts, and Robert Young at Arup who bring us “Smarter
Buildings for Performance Technology and Infrastructure.” Learn about linking
different building systems capable of exchanging data to improve the user’s
experience as well as the operational and energy efficiency of the venue.
Karl Ruling has logged some miles to bring you reports from Australia’s
Entech, PLASA Focus: Austin, and the PLASA London show. He highlights
each event’s unique character, professional development programming,
networking opportunities, and news from the show floor.
In addition, Protocol showcases key events during the upcoming LDI.
Read about the Rock Our World Award finalists and the PLASA Cocktail
and Awards Reception on the eve of LDI, how to participate in the voting
for the Members’ Choice Product Awards on the LDI show floor, and
PLASA seminars and training offerings available during LDI.
It’s all here with the regular columns, reports, and feature articles.
We hope you enjoy your hard
copy, online at
protocolonline, or on your smartphone
or tablet. Follow us on Facebook to
receive regular updates along the
Jacqueline Tien, Publisher
way! See you at LDI and PLASA Focus:
[email protected]
Nashville February 18-19, 2014!
Senior Technical Editor
Karl G. Ruling
Art Director
John J. Scott
+1 212 244 1505 ext. 716
[email protected]
[email protected]
Technical Editor
Richard Cadena
[email protected]
Beverly Inglesby
+1 503 291 5143
[email protected]
Advertisements appearing in
Protocol are the sole responsibility
of the advertiser. The views
expressed are not necessarily
those of PLASA or Protocol.
[email protected]
Editorial Assistant
Breyanna Knoll
[email protected]
Beverly Inglesby
John T. McGraw
[email protected]
Beverly Inglesby
Governing Body:
Ed Pagett,
Vice Chair
Bill Groener,
4 Wall
Matthew Griffiths
CEO and Director of Events
Lori Rubinstein
Director of Membership, Skills,
and Standards
Shane McGreevy
COO and Finance Director
Jacqueline Tien
Director of Media, Sales and Marketing
Martin Hawthorn,
Steve Terry, ETC
At Large Members
Duncan Bell,
Autograph Sound
Scott Hoyt,
Heartland Scenic Studio
North American Office:
630 Ninth Avenue, Suite 609
New York, NY 10036, [email protected]
+1 212 244 1505
Fax: +1 212 244 1502
Karl Ruling
Technical Standards Manager
Meredith Moseley-Bennett
Certification Manager
Kacey Coffin
Membership Manager
Harry Box
PERG Council Manager
Frances Thompson
Operations Manager, Events
Katie McCulloh
Marketing Executive
Photo: Brian Rice, courtesy of Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts
Jacqueline Tien
European Office:
Redoubt House, 1 Edward Road
Eastbourne, BN23 8AS, United Kingdom, [email protected]
+44 13 23 52 41 20
Fax: +44 13 23 52 41 21
Ron Bonner
Technical Resources Manager
Norah Phillips
Membership Manager
Michele Enright
Qualifications Project Manager
Jen Barratt
Marketing Manager
John T. McGraw
Eddie Raymond,
IATSE Local 16
John Simpson,
White Light
Regional Board:
Eddie Raymond,
IATSE Local 16
Vice Chair
Bill Groener,
4 Wall
Scott Hoyt,
Heartland Scenic Studio
Dinna Myers,
Musson Theatrical
Production Advantage
Fred Mikeska,
A.C. Lighting
Tracey Cosgrove,
Rosco Laboratories
Professional Services
Jules Lauve,
Theatre Projects
Rental Company
Marc Stephens,
MPS Studios Dallas
Brian Lawlor,
Ed Condit
PLASA European
Regional Board:
Ed Pagett, Panalux
Vice Chair
Duncan Bell,
Autograph Sound
Martin Hawthorn,
Matt Lloyd,
Global Design
Malcolm Burlow,
Peter James,
Shure Distribution UK
Lee Dennison,
Sound by Design
Production Services
Mark Surtees,
Outback Rigging
Professional Services
Adam Blaxill,
Stage Electrics
Rental Company
Noreen O’Riordan,
Entec Sound and Light
Steve Macluskie,
Ed Manwaring
Production Services
Evan Williams,
Riverview Systems
PLASA is the lead professional trade association representing the worldwide entertainment technology,
event, and installation industries. With just under 1,200 members worldwide, it represents one of the
largest trade communities in the sector. The association provides advisory services to its members and
a wide variety of programs in the areas of education, business resources, member promotion, reduced
costs on business services, and credit information. Key programs in North America include the ANSIaccredited Technical Standards Program; the Entertainment Technician Certification Program, which
certifies entertainment electricians, arena riggers, and theatre riggers; the Market Research Program for
Manufacturers, which provides quarterly data on market size and share; and the Business Peer Group
Advisory Program. In the UK, PLASA leads the development of qualifications and is an effective political
lobbyist on industry issues.
As the cast crowds the stage for a bow, the audience
rises to their feet giving a thunderous round of applause,
calling for an encore.
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PLASA also runs successful media and events divisions, responsible for the industry-leading magazines
Lighting&Sound America, Protocol, and Lighting&Sound International, and major business exhibitions
and events for the sector, including the PLASA Show in London and regional PLASA Focus events and
industry-related conferences.
© 2013 Professional Lighting and Sound Association. All rights reserved. $3.00 per issue.
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“My favorite Rosco color is
GAM 841, Diamond Blue.”
Cindy Limauro, a designer for theatre, opera, dance, and architecture,
chooses GAM 841 because of its versatility. “Diamond Blue blends nicely
color, it provides a perfect contrast to warm torch or candle lit scenes,
sculpting the actors and set pieces. I love it as a sidelight! ”
In this production of The Magic Flute, GAM 841 creates a beautiful
Cindy Limauro is a Design Partner at C & C Lighting and a
Professor of Lighting Design at Carnegie Mellon University
in the Schools of Drama and Architecture. She is a member
of the International Association of Lighting Designers
(IALD) and was named a Fellow of the Institute by USITT for
Outstanding Contribution to the Theatre.
NA Directions
Update as the end of my first
three-year term nears
free from our website. This has resulted in a proliferation of the
standards tenfold throughout previous years. We are also exploring
ways to make the standards writing process more internationally
collaborative to help unify industry standards where possible and, at
the very least, not contradict each other.
The Entertainment Technician Certification Program continues
to grow on all fronts. At the time of this writing, there have been
1,516 certifications issued. In addition to the growth of certified
technicians, both entertainment and event insurance companies
and venues have recognized the value of the program by offering
discounted insurance rates and requiring ETCP Certified
technicians in many venues. These are signs that the program is
gaining the recognition we hoped it would.
The launch of the Focus events in North America to date have
taught us many lessons on how, when, and where these new events
work best as well as how to attract both exhibitors and audiences.
These are the key metrics to having a successful and profitable show.
The latest show is going on in Austin as this is being written. It is
our second trip to Austin and looks to be a great show with more
programming and more attendees than ever.
Our PLASA Media division continues to shine as evidence
of quality service to the members of PLASA as well as to the
entertainment community. Technical articles, business articles,
exposes of people, events, shows, and equipment fill the pages with
interesting and illuminating information. Our team of writers and
editors prove time and again that they are in touch with the real
It has been a great ride so far. I wish to extend my thanks to the
many staff people with whom I get to interact and who help run the
association. Also to the many board members, group leaders, and
volunteers from whom I garner great inspiration. Finally, thanks
to the members for hanging in there for the last three years and for
being the best of the best.
I am looking forward to the possibility of another three years of
serving the association, and I have great faith that we will thrive. Q
WHEN LOOKING TO THE FUTURE, it is usually best to review
where you’ve been, where you are, where you plan to be, and how
you arrived at your current place in time. As the end of my first term
as chair of the North American Regional Board draws near, it’s time
to look back at the last three years and ahead to the future.
It has been an exciting and busy three years. Going into the
merger of PLASA and ESTA, we were all well aware that there would
be many things to discover and address as we moved forward.
Primarily, what we discovered was that, while we share a good many
ideas and ideals, we needed a plan to help coalesce them into reality.
Surviving the worldwide recession we have all experienced in the
midst of this transition added to the pressures but certainly proved
that what we have is solid.
For the last year, the governing body and regional boards have
been working with John Stiernberg as facilitator to devise a fiveyear strategic plan, which was adopted by the regional boards and
governing body earlier this year. We are currently putting the final
touches on the operational plan that will begin the execution of
those strategies. This forward looking plan will strengthen our
association’s fiscal solvency but will also fulfill our mission to be
the worldwide voice of entertainment technologies. Our staff will
be configured to meet the needs of those goals and to play to the
strengths of each individual.
That’s the macro picture.
Through a . . . partnership with ProSight Specialty
Insurance PLASA’s American National Standards can now
be downloaded for free . . .
Edward L. Raymond is Chair of PLASA’s North America n Reg i o n a l Bo a r d .
Eddie is VP and Training Direc tor of IATSE Loc al 16 in S a n Fra n c i sc o. He a l so
serves as a member of the ETCP Certific ation Counc il an d i s P r esi d en t o f t h e
San Mateo County Labor Counc il.
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The “micro” picture (although that moniker belies the size and
complexity of the picture) is that our North American Regional
initiatives are healthy and growing.
Our Technical Standards Program has been the source
of information for many entities looking to improve safety
in the entertainment world, particularly in manufacturing
and entertainment and events staging. Through a novel and
unprecedented partnership with ProSight Specialty Insurance,
PLASA’s American National Standards can now be downloaded for
EU Directions
Technology enhances business if it
improves the customer experience
We have one chance to impress and one chance
to impart information in a client-friendly way
I WILL BE THE FIRST TO ADMIT that as I get older, I am
increasingly intolerant (and grumpy) when my computer doesn’t
work as it’s supposed to.
I remember vividly back in 1984 when the first PC arrived in
the office—a Xerox machine. It sounds bizarre now, but we had no
idea what to do with it or, more importantly, what it would do for
us. Only with hindsight can I say that it marked a turning point
in business life. The incomprehensibly abbreviated Telex on paper
rolls was soon to disappear. Almost as fast as the ink itself faded, the
sound of a fax machine would become a nostalgic mobile ring tone
and email would replace conversation!
But while the PC (and the Mac to be “PC”—no pun intended)
has revolutionized business, it’s the internet that has driven the
“immediacy” of business today with access to unprecedented
volumes of information as obscure as you can imagine, just a click
away. As a result, we have become totally dependent on this instant
communication and information exchange, and the increasingly
seamless and intuitive integration of its presentation.
So why do so many websites (the shop front of any business)
pay little attention to the customer experience when we know that
anything that impedes speed and efficiency will cause high page
abandonment rates and low visitor-to-lead conversion?
The following points are the most annoying apparently and what
not to do when designing your website.
QMisleading “Contact Us”
Clicking on a “Contact Us” link, only to see an email form pop
up! You expect to open a page that shows a physical address, phone
number, etc. or the link should be labeled as Email Us, not Contact Us.
QDisabled backward navigation
If the “Back” button is disabled once you enter a site, it is
annoying to have to remember and retype the address of the
previous site.
QBlanking out an entire data entry form due to one small error
When an input error occurs, the site should try to save as much of
the other valid input as possible—and that includes the “Would you
like all our partners and related companies to bombard you with
e-mails?” tick box where you previously selected “No, thanks”!
QHaving to guess at formatting of dates, phone numbers, or
zip codes
Should there be a space in the zip code, do you use “+” or “00”
for international telephone numbers, what items are case sensitive
(particularly when auto-correction now tries to take over and change
your formatting automatically), a simple instruction is all that’s needed.
QIncompatibility with non-computer devices
Your web page is likely to be accessed by smartphones and iPads
as well as computers, so make sure your pages can still be used by
them. In particular, if you use drop-down lists, be sure that every
item on that list can be chosen via the phone.
QPop-up ads
Pop-ups are seriously annoying. Convert visitors into leads
with well-written content and compelling offers, not interruptive
QPlaying multimedia content when a page loads
Particularly music or commentary—everyone assumes you are
watching YouTube rather than working.
QUnintelligible “About Us” page
Explain what you do without business babble, just use the words
and phrases common to the general population.
QThe worst offender: Not knowing what to do
This is the worst offender—when you land on a site, and you can’t
figure out how it works.
PLASA members are not immune to these mistakes; I have visited
a number of member sites that would drive any prospective client
mad with frustration. So in these lean times, what we should learn
is that we have one chance to impress and one chance to impart
information in a client friendly way—so let’s all go back to our
respective websites and take an objective look at how they perform.
Now, I better check out too! Q
Put battery-powered motion
anywhere imaginable.
bidirectional rf link with constant status monitoring
heartbeat safety system ensures safe shutdown
rackmount transmitters interface with automation
handheld transmitters are intuitive & light weight
Multi-axis applications
- differential (tank)
- drive & steer
- 4-wheel Mecanum
- easily
add lifters,
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[email protected]
Toll Free 866-258-4577
4/15/2013 4:24:05 PM
Looking Ahead
Upcoming industry events
Backstage Disney
November 18-24, Las Vegas—Celebrating its 26th year, LDI is
the leading trade show and conference for live design professionals
in North and South America. More than 8,000 attendees working
in theatre, concerts, houses of worship, corporate presentations,
clubs, theme parks, and any other live venue come to LDI from 72
countries to see the latest gear in action, refresh their knowledge,
and replenish their creativity. More than 350 exhibiting companies
provide attendees with live demos and the opportunity for faceto-face discussions about equipment including: lighting, sound,
projection, rigging, staging, and special effects. The LDI2013
schedule includes: Backstage Las Vegas, November 18-20;
LDInstitute, November 18-23; Projection Master Classes, November
20-21; LDInnovation & Technology Conference, November 21-23;
Concert Sound Master Classes, November 22-23; and LDI2013
exhibition, November 22-24.
December 3-4, Anaheim, CA—Take part in two days of in-depth
technical theme park training at Disneyland Park and Disney
California Adventure Park in Anaheim, and go behind the scenes
to learn how Disney magic is made! This training is for those
interested in how all the complex design and technology elements
come together in the challenging theme park environment, where
equipment is tested to the max for glitch-free operation. See the
shows and attractions, do backstage tours, and attend comprehensive,
detailed panel discussions that examine all aspects of the process
with the designers and technicians who turn pixie dust into some of
the world’s most technically advanced theme park innovation.
Live Design Master Classes
December, check dates and locations—Live Design offers three
Master Class opportunities in December at USC in Los Angeles.
These include: The TV Lighting Master Class, December 5-6.
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Daktronics is the leader in automated rigging for schools, auditoriums, professional theatres and worship facilities.
1-866-4VORTEK | [email protected] | DAKTRONICS.COM/RIGGING
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Looking Ahead
At a Glance
PLASA Focus: Nashville
November 18-24 | Las Vegas, NV
February 18-19 | Nashville, TN
Backstage Disney
Prolight + Sound
December 3-4 | Anaheim, CA
March 12-15 | Frankfurt, Germany
Live Design Master Classes
USITT 2014
December 5-10 | check specific dates and
March 26-29 | Fort Worth, TX
LDInstitute On The Road
December 11-13 | check specific dates and
August 13-17 | Ottawa, ON
5-8 OCTOBER 2014 - ExCeL
For all your lighting and production
needs trust the name that’s always
been Creative from the start.
October 5-8 | London, UK
PLASA 2014
DURA Power
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Looking Ahead
The second annual TVLMC brings creative consultant Jeff Ravitz
together with top TV lighting professionals to discuss the design
and practical challenges in all the various components of television,
from live events to sitcoms and beyond.
Next is the Concert Lighting Master Class, December 7-8.
The fourth annual CLMC presents the touring industry’s top
designers and programmers together to discuss lighting and
projection design challenges for the world of concerts with
creative consultant Jeff Ravitz.
Finally, December 9-10 will be the Electronic Dance Music
Master Class in a club setting at Avalon. The EDMMC is a
new event that will explore the artistic, technical, and practical
challenges of designing and programming for this burgeoning
musical phenomenon that is taking the world by storm. The
EDMMC features co-creative consultants Steve Lieberman and
Vello Virkhaus.
console programmers and lighting designers. Participants must
have a basic understanding of automated fixtures and DMX but
do not need to have previous experience with the grandMA range.
Learn how to work with automated fixtures using the grandMA
from console setup to playback, including advanced programming
techniques, tricks, and tools. Class limited to eight participants.
(7 ETCP renewal credits)
LDInstitute On The Road will also present TMB / Hippo
School, December 11-13 at TMB in San Fernando, CA. Created for
programmers and professional designers with video, lighting, and
production backgrounds, Hippo School provides participants with
everything required to set up and program a show. From timeline
programming and screen warping to automation integration and
VideoMapper LED and projection layout. To ensure focused handson training is achieved, class size is limited to two participants per
machine with a total of 12 participants; therefore, pre-registration is
necessary. (10.5 ETCP renewal credits)
LDInstitute On The Road
PLASA Focus: Nashville
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December 11-13, check locations—LDInstitute On The Road
presents A.C.T Lighting / MA Lighting grandMA2, Level Two
Training, December 11-12 (in conjunction with the Live Design
Master Classes described above) at A.C.T Lighting in Agoura Hills,
CA. The Level Two training on MA Lighting’s grandMA2 console
is full-blown, two-day programmer training aimed at experienced
February 18-19, Nashville—The essential entertainment
technology event for Tennessee and the surrounding states, this
is the second dedicated PLASA Focus for the region, bringing
people together to see the latest products, network, and learn.
This year, visitors can expect to see 60+ exhibitors showing the
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Looking Ahead
very latest theatre and live event production products. The show is
also an opportunity to meet with colleagues and to network with
the industry’s leading manufacturers, dealers, rental houses, and
production companies.
Running alongside PLASA Focus is the opportunity to take part
in the free Professional Development Program that brings worldclass professional knowledge to Nashville. The broad range of
seminars will have something for everyone. Register for your free
visitor badge today and receive regular updates.
PLASA members, regional dealers and production companies,
and series exhibitors enjoy substantially discounted space at all
PLASA Focus events. Each Focus event targets a unique regional
audience that typically does not travel longer distances to national
industry events. In addition, PLASA Focus limits the amount of
space exhibitors can utilize and provides a unique hard wall booth
package—including material handling, power, lighting, carpet, and
furniture—so each exhibitor enjoys a level playing field and a hasslefree, affordable exhibiting experience.
the products and services in the events sector. For four days, this
leading international trade fair becomes the meeting place for
exhibitors, trade visitors, wholesalers, retailers, and professional
users from all over the world. The major factors in the trade fair’s
success are the level of international participation and the extensive
spectrum of products and services on offer. Prolight + Sound
stands out because of the high levels of international participation
amongst exhibitors and visitors alike. Last year, 42,00 industry
professionals visited 900 exhibitors showcasing mobile sound
systems, microphones and effects, live sound, fixed installations,
studio technology, show and stage lighting, stage technology and
truss systems, contract installations, laser and lighting effects, as
well as media technology, systems integration, communications
technology, and visual communication.
March 26-29, Forth Worth, TX—Registration is underway
for USITT’s 2014 Annual Conference & Stage Expo. Exciting
programming has USITT expanding its footprint even beyond the
Fort Worth Convention Center and into the adjacent arena, where
several major sessions and Sound Lab will be held. “Our awardwinning participants this year will be a major draw,” said David
Grindle, USITT Executive Director, “so we want to be sure to have
enough space for those blockbuster sessions.”
Prolight + Sound
March 12-15, Frankfurt, Germany—As the leading international
fair of technologies and services for events, installation, and
production, Prolight + Sound is also the sector’s largest meeting
place. No other trade fair offers as comprehensive an overview of
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Looking Ahead
USITT is announcing its major award winners throughout the
fall, starting with Mitch Hefter, who shepherded USITT DMX 512
through its ANSI recertification and will receive a USITT Honorary
Lifetime Member Award. Hefter is extremely involved in the
standards work of USITT and PLASA and was a founding member
of the PLASA (formerly ESTA) Technical Standards Committee.
Sessions on sustainability, emerging technology in both broad
strokes and specific applications, and much more will be offered in
Fort Worth from March 26-29. Stage Expo, which will run March
27-29, is gaining exhibitors and is on track to be the largest ever.
USITT is working with the Omni (headquarters hotel) and
the Hilton to ensure that all sessions and meetings can be
accommodated. The Omni is across the street from the Convention
Center where Stage Expo will be held, and the nearby Hilton is
closest to events to be held in the arena. Q
In a sidebar on page 49 to the “Stage Ventilation: Clearing the
Heat and Smoke” article in the Summer 2013 issue of Protocol,
the permission to reproduce NFPA material and registered
trademark information was omitted in error. You will see the
complete sidebar details reprinted below. ~ Editor
Labeled and Listed
There is frequently confusion and misuse of the terms Labeled
and Listed. These are the official NFPA definitions:
3.2.4 Labeled. Equipment or materials to which has been
attached a label, symbol, or other identifying mark of an
organization that is acceptable to the authority having jurisdiction
and concerned with product evaluation, that maintains periodic
inspection of production of labeled equipment or materials, and
by whose labeling the manufacturer indicates compliance with
appropriate standards or performance in a specified manner.
This duo packs more punch!
LVH Entertainment Systems of Oxnard, CA
Stage Equipment (TSE) /9+¶V VWURQJ
Knock Out).
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3.2.5 Listed. Equipment, materials, or services included in a list
published by an organization that is acceptable to the authority
having jurisdiction and concerned with evaluation of products
or services, that maintains periodic inspection of production of
listed equipment or materials or periodic evaluation of services,
and whose listing states that either the equipment, material,
or service meets appropriate designated standards or has been
tested and found suitable for a specified purpose.
Reprinted with permission from NFPA 101®-2012, Life Safety
Code® Handbook, Copyright © 2011, National Fire Protection
Association, Quincy, MA. This reprinted material is not the
complete and official position of the NFPA on the referenced
subject, which is represented only by the standard in its entirety.
Life Safety Code® and 101® are registered trademarks of the
National Fire Protection Association, Quincy, MA.
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Looking Ahead | PLASA Seminars at LDI2013
PLASA Technical Standards updates and The ESTA Foundation
seminars and training sessions offered during LDI2013
The worldwide voice of
entertainment technologies
These sessions take you to the heart and soul of entertainment technology,
where the industry’s unsung heroes work on issues essential to setting
standards for safety and getting the job done correctly, no matter what the
challenge. Join members of PLASA’s Technical Standards Working Groups
for a series of provocative panels. Free to all PLASA members with a PLASA
sticker on their badge and open to all LDInnovation & Technology badge and
ticket holders.
Focusing on the merger
P01 • Standard Procedure: Rigging
Friday, November 22, 9:00 – 10:30 a.m.
1.5 ETCP renewal credits
Now that the PLASA ANSI-approved technical standards for the
entertainment industry are available for no cost, anyone can download them.
Rigging expert Bill Sapsis presents a brief guide for riggers, flymen, and
electricians on how to start using them.
Saturday, November 23, 9:00 – 10:30 a.m.
1.5 ETCP renewal credits
The National Electrical Code (NEC) now requires Short Circuit Current Rating
(SCCR) labels for all electrical control enclosures. These labels help ensure a
safe operation environment in the case of a downstream electrical fault. This
session will identify the legal requirements, introduce calculation methods,
and provide an opportunity for hands-on calculation examples of Short
Circuit Current Ratings.
Moderator: Mitch Hefter
Panelists: Ken Vannice, Ken Vannice LLC ; Dan Lisowski, University of
P06 • Rescue Planning
Saturday, November 23, 11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
P02 • ACN/RDM: Latest Developments in the
Alphabet Soup of Advanced Protocols
Friday, November 22, 11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
.75 ETCP renewal credits
ACN and RDM are standards, but these standards regularly undergo revision.
Furthermore, manufacturers can and do develop their own ways of using the
protocols—some published and some not. The session will describe how the
standards are being revised and some of the proprietary EPIs and PIDs that
have been developed.
Panelists: Maya Nigrosh, ETC; Philip Nye, Acuity Brands; Peter Willis,
Howard Eaton Lighting Ltd.
P03 • Technical Standards Un-Shrouded
Friday, November 22, 1:30 – 3:00 p.m.
.75 ETCP renewal credits
So, you’ve heard of standards before, but you’re unsure what they are,
where they came from, who uses them, how to use them, or where to get
them. PLASA’s Technical Standards Program has been at the forefront of
entertainment industry standards in the US since its inception in 1994. Learn
about who, what, where, why, and how of technical standards here, including
how you can get involved.
Moderator: Erin Grabe, PLASA
Panelists: Karl Ruling, PLASA; Jerry Gorrell, Theatre Safety Programs;
Tim Hansen, Oasis Stage Werks; Larry Schoeneman, DesignLab Chicago;
Mitch Hefter
P04 • 21st-Century DMX
Friday, November 22, 3:30 – 5:00 p.m.
.75 ETCP renewal credits
The DMX we use today is still very much what it was when USITT originally
developed it and when PLASA published it as an American National Standard.
However, PLASA’s Technical Standards Program has written standards that
support adding features to the DMX data stream, transporting the data via
alternate methods, and even including IEEE 802 data within the data stream.
This session will cover all the wonders that keep this protocol the industry
Moderators: Maya Nigrosh, ETC; and Sang-Kyu Lim, ETRI
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P05 • Tom Swift and His Electric Bomb; or
Understanding Short Circuit Current Ratings
1.5 ETCP renewal credits
Personal fall protection systems can save a worker from serious injury
or death, but there must be a way to lower the worker down safely. The
length of time a person can hang in a fall arrest harness without medical
complications is short. “Call the fire department,” is rarely a viable option.
What do you do? This session will explain.
Presented by: Bill Sapsis, Sapsis Rigging; Eric Rouse, Penn State
P07 • Fog: Being Clear About Too Much
Saturday, November 23, 1:30 – 3:00 p.m.
.75 ETCP renewal credits
This session will teach you how to use fog and smoke effects together with
the standards that were written for them. This session will highlight the safe
use of fog, ways to analyze your fog usage, and measures you can take to
ensure your effects are within safe limits for all exposed. PLASA Technical
Standards Manager Karl Ruling leads this discussion with panelist Brad
Dittmer, co-chairperson of the Fog and Smoke Working Group; Larry
Schoeneman, DesignLab Chicago; and Nathan Kahn, Look Solutions.
P08 • Compulsively Lying Light Meters: How E1.48
Aims to Reform Them
Saturday, November 23, 3:30 – 5:00 p.m.
.75 ETCP renewal credits
Most light meters use the CIE 1924 luminous efficiency function, which is
inaccurate at the red and blue ends of the spectrum—right where many
LED luminaires emit most of their power—thus, the meters seriously
under-report the output of LED luminaires. The proposed American National
Standard, E1.48 - 201x, A Recommended Luminous Efficiency Function for
Stage and Studio Luminaire Photometry, specifies a more accurate function,
which should be incorporated into new light meters and can be used with
spectrometers right now. The session will feature a demonstration of the
importance of using the right luminous efficiency function for accurate
Presented by: Karl Ruling, PLASA; Mike Wood, Mike Wood Consulting
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Looking Ahead | PLASA Seminars at LDI2013
The ESTA Foundation courses at LDI2013
These two courses are part of the 2013 LDInstitute and presented in
association with The ESTA Foundation. Both carry ETCP renewal credits for
certified riggers and electricians.
L28 • Entertainment Rigging Fundamentals
Wednesday – Thursday, November 20 – 21,
9:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
14 ETCP renewal credits
$595 early registration ($695 after October 18)
Class Limit: 40
[email protected] course
Participants must bring a copy of Jay O. Glerum’s Stage Rigging Handbook,
Third Edition, a pad of paper, pencil, and hand-held calculator. This is a
two-day, in-depth course taught by ETCP certified rigger Eric Rouse of
Penn State, covering the essentials of entertainment rigging applications for
theatres, concert halls, studios, churches, and schools.
Target Audience: Anyone who wants to learn the essentials of stage rigging.
Session highlights:
The physics of rigging
Hardware selection and application
Counterweight system operation procedures
Arena rigging techniques
How to calculate multiple loads on beams properly.
Bridle calculations
Using truss and chain hoists properly
How to read truss load charts.
How to inspect our hardware.
Design factors in entertainment
Wire rope and fiber rope selection and use
Proper fall protection techniques
Eric Rouse teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in scenic
technology, rigging, automation, and CAD drafting for entertainment at
Penn State University where he is the head of the BFA and MFA programs
in Scenic Technology. Eric is a Level One CM hoist technician, a SPRAT
rope access technician, an ETCP Certified Rigger-Theatre, ETCP Recognized
Trainer, and a member of USITT.
live events
video mapping
L30 • Entertainment Electrics, Intermediate Level 2
Wednesday, November 20, 9:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
7 ETCP renewal credits
$395 early registration ($495 after October 18); lunch included
Practical applications of entertainment electricity for working techs and
sparkys. Topics include practical electrical safety, proper setup of electrical
connections, voltage and continuity testing, power factor problem solving,
harmonics and their consequences, proper grounding and grounding testing,
ground loops and solutions, and more.
Target Audience: Working electricians, technicians, specifiers, engineers, and
anyone seeking a better understanding of electricity and power distribution
in the field. Some knowledge of basic math and electricity is helpful.
Session highlights:
How power distros are wired to their supply.
How voltages are generated and what their levels should be.
Why tools are considered personal protective equipment.
How current and temperature can affect a power system.
What to look for in terms of power quality.
Why certain practices are considered more safe.
How voltage, current, temperature, and other aspects affect the reliability
of a system.
pixel mapping
projection mapping
Taught by: Richard Cadena, ETCP Recognized Trainer
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Stage lighting and the environment:
Results from a year-long study
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EVER SINCE WE BEGAN paying attention
to ecological sustainability, stage lighting
has seemed like a big environmental villain.
Its offenses are many: hundreds of highwattage luminaires for every show suggest
exorbitant energy consumption. Inefficient
tungsten lamps emit a lot of heat relative
to the amount of light they produce
and drive up air conditioning loads.
This vilification has been compounded
by proposed regulations barring the
production of general service incandescent
lamps, perpetuating the idea that stage
lighting represents an environmental
threat. As theatres and other performing
arts venues have intensified their interest
in environmental impact reduction, stage
lighting has come under increasing scrutiny.
Despite these concerns, little data exists
regarding the environmental impact of
stage lighting for the theatre. Most theatre
electrical systems are not sub-metered, and
those that are rarely isolate the stage lighting
to allow accurate power tracking. (If anyone
is sub-metering their stage lighting, please
contact me!) Close attention to energy
consumption is uncommon in American
cultural buildings. In the UK and the rest
of Europe, cultural facilities are subject to
more environmental scrutiny, but definitive
measurements for performance lighting
alone are hard to come by. As a result, the
actual power use of stage lighting is largely
unknown, and it remains an environmental
Up to now, most efforts toward reducing
stage lighting’s energy demand have been
focused on switching from incandescent
to higher-efficacy sources. Engineering
advances have brought LED stage lighting
products to the marketplace, and the energy
savings they offer is used to justify their
high initial cost. Although LEDs have only
recently been applied to white front lighting,
they have a long track record of success
in applications where deeply colored gels
reduce the transmission of incandescent
light to a tiny fraction of its output. Their
ability to emit highly saturated colored light
without loss of luminous efficacy makes
them attractive options for deep washes and
accents. By and large, however, LED stage
lighting luminaires remain very expensive,
and little comparative data exists regarding
luminaire efficiency or heat output that
would allow us to compare them directly to
conventional incandescent products.
These ranged from no-brainers (setting
the printers and copiers to double-sided)
to costly systems upgrades that could
reap thousands of dollars in annual utility
savings (replacement of aging air handling
units). To examine the environmental effects
of the stage lighting, we had to find a way to
measure the energy it consumes.
Because sub-metering the stage lighting
power feeds was impractical, we used the
FocusTrack database to measure the stage
lighting energy use over the season’s eight
productions in SRT’s two spaces: the 250seat Leo Kreielsheimer Theatre and the 850seat Bagley Wright Theatre. The FocusTrack
software, designed by Rob Halliday, records
rig and cue input from the control console
as well as other information such as focus
The data support a case against
eliminating tungsten lamps in the
name of ecological sustainability.
A study to gather
power use data
Theatre planning and design firm Fisher
Dachs Associates, in collaboration with
Seattle Repertory Theatre (SRT), conceived
a project to gather data that would help
inform environmental decision-making
about stage lighting. It was a part of a
larger study to identify a range of projects
that would help the organization address
ecological sustainability in achievable ways.
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areas, lamp use, and gobo and color data.
Rob helped us optimize it to use the cue
timing, channel levels, and rig data to
calculate the electricity use for each cue and
then for the entire performance.
As the season progressed, SRT’s lighting
department recorded detailed show data
and tabulated the hours spent in focus and
rehearsal onstage. We extrapolated each
show’s energy use throughout the number
of performances and rehearsals and used
that data to estimate the use during tech
and onstage rehearsal. Although the data are
Power Use (kilowatts)
How to Write a New Book for the Bible
I Am My Own Wife
Clybourne Park
Chart 1 – Production power profile: Seattle Rep 2011-12 season
Results illustrate
energy realities
The data offer a number of insights, both
for individual shows and the season as a
whole. At the study’s outset, given stage
lighting’s reputation for energy-guzzling,
we had some expectations about the results.
First, we thought that energy use for the
season would be so high that we’d be able to
show how important it is to pay attention to
the environmental impact of stage lighting.
Second, we thought we’d get measurements
that would help us calculate the payback
period for LED stage lights. Third, we
thought we might be able to justify
replacing existing equipment with LEDs on
the basis of utility cost savings alone. Turns
out, it wasn’t quite that easy!
Chart 1 above illustrates the stage lighting
power use for six of the eight shows in
the 2011 – 2012 season (for the first two
productions, Humor Abuse and Circle Mirror
Transformation, integrating cue-tracking
was still in progress).
It’s not only neat to look at but gives us a
holistic representation of the power use for
these productions. Perhaps most obvious
is the enormous variability in power
energy use chart, they show up only as brief
spikes and don’t come near rivaling many
other high-powered cues. Examining the
shows’ periods of highest energy demand
(in excess of 75 kW), we find that these
are mostly cues where incandescent cyc
washes were used at high intensities,
and often with deeply saturated gel. This
suggests that to reduce overall stage lighting
energy use, higher-efficiency cyc lighting
may be a good place to start. LED cyc
luminaires are not new to the market, and
although they remain costly as compared
with incandescent strips, the lamp life is
much longer, color media are not required
even for highly saturated washes, and the
dynamic color-control of the luminaires is
attractive to designers.
consumption between shows and from
cue to cue. Though this variability might
not come as much of a surprise to lighting
designers, it’s a valuable illustration of
how much power consumption can vary
even between productions of similar size
and genre. The vast majority of the shows’
power demands fall below 40 kW—only
around 20% of the average total connected
load and likely much less heat than the
building’s HVAC systems were originally
designed to handle. See Chart 2 for a
comparison of each show’s possible versus
actual power use.
Further, conventional wisdom suggests
that the curtain call will typically be the
highest-energy cue in a given show. Though
they are easily identifiable in the overall
Power Use per Performance (kilowatt-hours)
not the result of direct power metering, we
believe they nevertheless give an accurate
idea of energy consumption.
Total Possible Power Use
Actual Power Use
I Am My How to Write a New
Own Wife Book for the Bible
Clybourne Park
Circle Mirror
Humor Abuse
Chart 2 – Possible vs. actual power use
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Power Use (kilowatts)
Comparing the power demand of these
highest-energy cues also shows the large
disparity between the power available and
what is actually used. One might guess
that the peak power draw for a particular
Total Connected Load
production will be a large percentage of the
Peak Cue
total connected load. In SRT’s 2011 – 2012
season, only Clybourne Park’s brightest cue
used more than half of the total connected
load, and the other shows used an average of
30% less as shown on Chart 3.
In the US, the economic implications of
the availability of power in a building are
I Am My
How to Write a New
Clybourne Park
confined mostly to new construction where
Own Wife
Book for the Bible
reduced load forecasts might allow savings
Chart 3 – Total connected load vs. maximum power draw
in the cost of electrical supply systems; we
pay for power as we use it. However, in
UK and other parts of Europe, building
lobbies are relatively small, and there is
be $0.19 or $0.20 per kWh—a $5,000
owners and operators pay not only for the
no restaurant on site. Thus, the building
bill for the season would still remain
kilowatt-hours they use but also an annual
can’t be characterized as an energy hog that
insignificant relative to the rest of the
payment per megawatt of available power.
would make the stage lighting power use
building’s energy costs. It should be noted
In this case, an understanding of how power that Seattle Rep’s facilities are pretty typical look small by comparison. This only serves
feeds can be minimized without affecting
to underscore the insignificance of stage
for a regional theatre; the two theatres and
designers’ artistic options could have
lighting’s contribution to the total.
their stages make up a large portion of
important financial implications.
Taking into account the energy use of
the building, and while it houses scenic,
Examining the power use totals for the
cooling systems that counteract heat gains
costume, office, and rehearsal spaces, the
entire season yielded the
from the stage lighting
biggest surprises. While we
is a bit more difficult.
Stage Lighting
expected to discover that
Ignoring quiescent loads,
SRT was spending a fortune
the complexities of stage
Hot Water
each year on electricity for
and auditorium cooling
stage lighting, the total power
zones, and issues of thermal
used by the stage lighting
storage in maintaining
for the entire season came
comfort conditions, we can
out to just under 25,000
examine the sensible heat
kWh. Not only does this
from stage lighting on the
amount to less than $1,600
basis of its wattage alone.
(using Seattle’s commercial
If, theoretically, cooling
power rate of about $0.065
systems are always on during
per kWh), but it also makes
performances due to the
up only 2% of SRT’s annual
heat loads imposed by the
Building Lighting
energy bill. Cutting the stage
presence of an audience,
lighting power demand by
we can assume that any
75% (a possibility offered by
reduction in heat from the
Plug Loads &
an all-LED rig) would not
stage lighting will result in
Terminal Units
amount to an institutionally
a parallel reduction in the
significant cost savings. In
work required of the cooling
locations where power is
system. During tech and
more costly—in and around
rehearsal, in the audience’s
Chart 4 – Seattle Rep annual energy cost profile
*source: McKinstry Energy Audit 2010
New York City the rate can
absence, the cooling systems
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might not be engaged at all, and energy from
the stage lighting would actually reduce the
work required of the heating systems.
If the cooling systems’ load resulting
from the stage lighting systems during
performances was reduced by 75%
throughout SRT’s 2011 – 2012 season
(again using theoretical all-LED rigs), it
might save about 34m Btu over the season,
about 40% of the heat loads imposed by a
conventional rig. The cost implications of
these hypothetical savings are impossible
to ascertain in the case of SRT because
they use a central chilled-water cooling
system that is shared throughout the Seattle
Center campus. Further, Seattle’s climate
is relatively mild, so work required of the
cooling systems will be far less than in
hotter, more humid climates. The small
cost of the entire season’s stage lighting
electricity use suggests that a partial
reduction in cooling demand will not make
a significant cost difference in the annual
energy bills.
HVAC systems with very low air velocities
(and therefore large ducts), this space can
add significantly to building volume and
therefore drive many other costs higher. A
close examination of the Rep’s data shows
that the median peak cue power is only
about 30% of the total connected load,
and the brightest cues last for an average
duration of less than one minute, while the
vast majority of every show is spent drawing
much less power than the peak. This
suggests that the stage lighting systems may
be generating less heat than the building
HVAC systems were designed to handle.
Further data monitoring of stage lighting
may inform more precise systems design
and capital cost savings for new buildings
and systems.
In new construction, these savings, along
with the possibility of reducing dimmer
Changes in
stage lighting
sources in
existing buildings
ought to be made
on the basis of
artistic objectives,
not energy
However, the data does suggest that for a
new building, significant capital cost savings
could result from a reduction in the peak
capacity of cooling systems, and therefore
the physical size of those systems and the
related space devoted to air supply and
return. In performance halls requiring quiet
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capacity, could be enough to justify the
cost of LED lighting equipment to outfit
a new space. In spaces where the lighting
is always on or where it drives a large
cooling demand, such as broadcast spaces
or concert halls, the payback equation
may also favor using very-high-efficacy
light sources. However, in existing theatres
with existing systems, a large investment
in high-efficiency stage lighting appears
to have little chance of saving enough
energy to pay for itself in a reasonable
period. Taking into account cost savings
from reduced lamp failure and gel use can
improve prospects considerably, especially
for cyc lighting, but saving energy through
investing in high-efficiency sources is likely
to be much more effective off-stage than
on-. It would appear that theatres should
invest in high-efficiency stage lighting
equipment on the basis of benefits it offers
to designers for color-control and quality
of light.
So where do we
go from here?
These findings need corroboration from
other studies before solid conclusions can
be drawn. However, the study does help
set a direction for deeper inquiry into
stage lighting’s ecological profile. First, the
data support a case against eliminating
tungsten lamps in the name of ecological
sustainability. While higher-efficacy
sources will offer energy savings in certain
applications (especially saturated color
washes), a total switch to non-incandescent
sources just won’t make that much of a
dent in a theatre’s energy consumption. It
would be better to replace lobby, shop, and
circulation space lighting to reap the energy
and cost savings and to worry more about
patron transportation, waste management,
building systems, and other more
formidable environmental foes. Changes in
stage lighting sources in existing buildings
ought to be made on the basis of artistic
objectives, not energy savings.
Of course we may find, with further
analysis, that new facilities with all-LED
rigs may be able to reduce the size of their
air handling systems, and thus see capital
building and equipment cost savings
significant enough to justify the cost of the
luminaires. Likewise, in applications where
access to power is a problem, or where
energy costs make up a bigger portion of the
total costs of production, it may be possible
to make the case for a more reasonable
payback period on an energy-efficient
lighting investment. However, relying on
energy use reduction from luminaire choice
alone may not register as more than a blip
on the annual utility bill.
The relative size of stage lighting’s
environmental impact frees us from
thinking of it as an ecological villain that we
have to hide from or apologize for. Theatres
around the world have made great strides in
reducing their energy use by simple building
• Hands-on training in
lighting, sound, projection,
media servers, and more
on the latest and
• Learn
greatest new equipment or
bru up your skills
for the current schedule
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held in locations
• Sessions
throughout the United States
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upgrades that don’t affect the work onstage.
In fact, prior to this study, SRT upgraded
almost all the architectural lighting
throughout the facility to use energyefficient lamps, resulting in an estimated
energy savings of more than 100,000
kWh, or about $6,000 per year. The Grand
Theatre in London, Ontario has changed
all of its building lights to LED or compact
fluorescent sources and has saved more than
CAD $30,000 annually since the upgrade.
The UK’s Glyndebourne Opera has altered
building lighting and controls, upgraded
its air handling systems, and trained staff
to minimize energy consumption, with
the goal of reducing carbon emissions by
70% and getting most of its power from
a new wind turbine. If theatres and other
entertainment venues continue to engage
ecological sustainability and begin to
actively monitor and manage their energy
consumption, we as an industry will have all
the more data upon which to base informed
decisions in the future. Q
Katie Oman is a Senior
Consultant with Arts
Consulting Group,
a leading provider
of management and
planning servic es for the
c ultural sec tor. She is
a spec ialist in strategic
fac ilities planning, with
an emphasis on sustainable development for
arts and heritage. Katie’s approac h c ombines
deep tec hnic al expertise in the c omplexities
of c ultural buildings with se n si t i v i t y t o t h e
unique needs, values, and asp i ra t i o n s o f
c ultural organiz ations. She i s a L E E D- a c c r ed i t ed
professional and a Certified Su st a i n a b l e Bu i l d i n g
Advisor. Prior to joining ACG, Ka t i e wa s a p r o j ec t
manager with Fisher Dac hs A sso c i a t es, a t h ea t r e
planning and design firm. Sh e h o l d s a BA i n
Arc hitec ture from Princ eton Un i v er si t y a n d a
Master’s in Public History an d C u l t u ra l Her i t a g e
from Trinity College Dublin. Ka t i e l o v es d o g s,
c ooking, adaptive reuse, and G a n t t c h a r t s.
SRT 2011-2012 season, shows, and personnel
Humor Abuse
Bagley Wright Theatre
Director: Erica Schmidt
Lighting design: Ben Stanton
Circle Mirror Transformation
Bagley Wright Theatre
Director: Andrea Allen
Lighting design: Andrew Smith
Bagley Wright Theatre
Director: R. Hamilton Wright
Lighting design: L. B. Morse
How to Write a New Book
for the Bible
Bagley Wright Theatre
Director: Kent Nicholson
Lighting design: Alexander
Bagley Wright Theatre
Director: Richard E. T. White
Lighting Design: Robert Petersen
I Am My Own Wife
Leo K. Theatre
Director: Jerry Manning
Lighting design: Robert Aguilar
Leo K. Theatre
Director: Allison Narver
Lighting design: L. B. Morse
Clybourne Park
Bagley Wright Theatre
Director: Braden Abraham
Lighting design: L. B. Morse
Imaginative. Collaborative. Experienced.
Every theatre
construction project
is an intricate interplay
of people, plans,
technology, products
and specifications.
Our job? Making sure
it all comes together—
It’s what we love to do.
Theatre Equipment.
Illustrated by Olaf Hajek
Call us at 1.800.328.5519 or visit
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Out of the Wood
Television Lighting
Consistency Index – TLCI
WE’VE TALKED ABOUT color rendering
metrics in this column before (Winter
and Spring 2010 issues of Protocol). Those
discussions looked at the venerable Color
Rendering Index (CRI) and the newcomer
Color Quality Scale (CQS) and the pros
and cons of using them. Although these
metrics differ from each other, they have
one important point in common: They are
both metrics for the human eye and tell
you nothing at all about how a light source
might render colors on other sensors such
as those used in video or TV cameras or on
film stock.
All this makes the TV lighting
director or director of photography’s
job that much harder.
Why won’t CRI
and CQS do the job?
You might think that a light source with a
reasonable CRI or CQS value will render
colors well when using a video camera, but
that isn’t necessarily the case. The response
curves of video sensors vary significantly
from those of the human eye, and the
signals are then processed in a completely
different manner. Additionally, the human
eye (and the human brain) is very forgiving
and continually adjusts to make colors look
correct; video and film cameras have no
such mechanism and, in fact, are designed
to accurately reflect what they see and not
to alter colors. Figure 1 shows the response
curves of the cone cells in the human eye
while Figure 2 shows those for the detectors
in a camera using a CCD sensor. They are so
different that it shouldn’t be surprising that
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Figure 1 – Human eye color response curves
they see things differently. The CCD curves
are very similar to those used in standard
light and color meters—another reason why
such meters sometimes give results that don’t
match what we see.
Another problem with trying to use
existing color metrics such as CRI for video
cameras is that some of the test colors used
are outside the color gamut of the camera
and are thus invisible. For example, the
saturated red used for CRI R9 is outside the
gamut of a television camera and thus is not
a reasonable color to use to check camera
color rendering.
Television Lighting
Consistency Index
The Television Lighting Consistency Index
(TLCI) seeks to address these problems
and provide a color rendering metric
Figure 2 – CCD Camera response curves
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Out of the Wood | Television Lighting Consistency Index – TLCI
Figure 3 – ColorChecker test chart
Macbeth Color Test Chart).
As well as being very familiar to everyone
in the video world, this chart also contains
all we need in the first three rows of
patches (the grey scale in the bottom row
is irrelevant to color rendition). The first
row contains natural colors such as light
and dark skin tones, foliage, and sky, while
the second and third rows contain more
saturated colors that cover the entire gamut.
There is one oddity with this chart, given its
current use: the cyan patch at the end of the
third row is actually just outside the gamut
for television when illuminated at daylight
color temperatures. This is because the chart
was originally designed for photographic
use, and color film stock typically has a
wider color gamut. However, this errant cyan
doesn’t preclude the chart from this task.
Just to give an idea of the color rendering
problem we are talking about, Figure 4
shows a split chart where the top half of
each patch is illuminated with natural
daylight and the bottom half with a white
LED of the same color temperature. The
grey scale in the bottom row looks fine, but
you can see enormous differences in other
colors. In particular the first patch, dark skin
tone, is completely different and renders
much darker than it should.
Just like its CRI and CQS counterparts,
a TLCI evaluation doesn’t use a real test
chart and camera; instead, the colors on the
chart have been mathematically modeled
and the entire test can be run in software
from the captured spectrum of the test light
source. The software also contains a model
of a standard camera response created
from averaging many commercial cameras.
Figure 5 shows a block diagram of the
process with everything inside the colored
box being modeled in software.
for television and video cameras that is
analogous to the CRI and CQS with human
vision. The work on TLCI was started way
back in the early 1970s at the BBC in the
UK. However, the light sources in common
use then, apart from the odd fluorescent,
were mostly broad-band emitters, meaning
that the need for it wasn’t urgent and the
research lapsed. Recently, the introduction
of solid state lighting and, in particular,
LED light sources has spurred it back into
life. The rapid adoption of LED sources,
many of which aren’t that good at rendering
colors, means that such a metric is needed
now more than it has ever been! Alan
Roberts, who is also an ex-BBC research
engineer, has picked up the mantle and,
after a huge amount of work, has developed
TLCI to the point where it has been released
as a European Broadcasting Union (EBU)
recommendation. It is likely to become an
SMPTE standard that, I believe, will then be
adopted worldwide.
TLCI uses a methodology that is similar
to that of CRI and CQS in that it uses
a standard set of color test samples and
compares their appearance in the test light
source with that from a perfect black-body
light source or daylight, depending on the
color temperature. The choice of colors to
use was a simple one; the television industry
already widely uses the X-Rite ColorChecker
chart shown in Figure 3 as the standard for
camera line-up (previously known as the
Figure 4 – Daylight (top) versus white LED (bottom)
Figure 5 – TLCI process
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Out of the Wood | Television Lighting Consistency Index – TLCI
The first step in the process is calculating
the CCT (Correlated Color Temperature)
of the test light source spectrum, once this
is done a reference light source of the same
CCT is generated. The algorithm uses a
true Planckian black-body for CCT less
than 3,400 K, a daylight source for CCT
above 5,000 K, and a mixed illuminant
interpolated between the two for CCT
between 3,400 K and 5,000 K. This use of
different test sources matches the real world
use of lighting products where daylight and
tungsten (3,200 K) are the most common
CCTs used for shooting video.
The primary result from this process
is a single number, ranging from 0 – 100,
representing the TLCI of the test light
source. As with CRI and CQS, in general
the higher the number the better, with a
perfectly rendering light source having a
TLCI of 100. In practice, the scale is such
that any light source with a TLCI of 85 or
greater will likely be usable with a video
camera with little or no adjustment to the
camera. As we go down the scale, it is likely
that sources with TLCI between 50 and 85
will still be usable but will need correction
in the video chain setup to get acceptable
results. Finally, a source with TLCI below
50 may not be usable at all, even with
significant correction, particularly when
used on sensitive colors such as skin tones.
Single number metrics
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This is where CRI and CQS stop, with a
single number. Single number metrics have
a significant drawback in that the number
tells you the size of the color rendering
error, but it doesn’t tell you where that error
is. For example, if two lights each have the
same CQS of 80, it doesn’t mean they will
look the same. One light might be deficient
in the red while the other is deficient in the
blue. They both get the same CQS value
but will render colors very differently. TLCI
takes this a step further in its reporting
and, as well as the single TLCI metric, also
provides information on where the light
source is lacking and what correction might
be needed to make it useful. Figure 6 shows
Figure 6 – TLCI report for RGB LED
Figure 7 – TLCI report for phosphor white 5,600 K LED
an example of the full TLCI test report for
an RGB LED luminaire adjusted to produce
a nominal 3,200 K white.
There’s a lot of useful information here.
In the top left of the chart, you get the
calculated CCT of the light source, in this
case 3,324 K, and the distance it is from the
black body line (here +0.1) scaled such that
anything less than one is acceptable, as well
as the actual TLCI value itself. In this case,
with a TLCI value of 48, this would not be
a great light source for video or television
if it were used to illuminate performers or
color-critical costumes. Perhaps it would
be okay for scenery. Below those figures is
a representation of the ColorChecker chart
showing each patch with an outer band as
illuminated by the perfect reference light
source and an inner square as illuminated
by the test source. In this case, you can
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see that a number of color patches show
significant errors. At bottom right, we can
see the spectra of the reference light source,
in cyan, and the test light source, in black.
The three peaks of the RGB luminaire are
clearly visible in this example. Finally—and
very usefully for the user—the table in the
top right of the chart shows the estimated
correction that would have to be applied to
the video chain to bring the pictures into
broadcasting specification. In the example
shown in Figure 6, it would take a very
large amount of both hue and lightness
correction around the magenta/blue and
magenta/red area to bring the colors back
into line.
Figure 7 shows the same report for a
simple 5,600 K white LED. In this case,
the LED is phosphor converted with a
blue pump and a yellow phosphor which
Out of the Wood | Television Lighting Consistency Index – TLCI
combine to give the illusion of white to our
eye. The spectral plot shows that there is a
lot of missing energy in the cyan area and
that it tails off in the deep blue and deep red
compared to the daylight spectrum shown
behind. With a TLCI of only 43, this is a
marginal luminaire for television use, with
extreme correction needed in many areas of
the spectrum. Note again that the grey scale
looks just fine.
Finally, one more example just to prove
that LEDs can do a good job with TLCI:
Figure 8 shows a mix of multiple colors of
LEDs, including phosphor whites, which
has been optimized for TLCI. This time we
have a TLCI of 97, and almost no camera
correction would be needed.
I’ve tested many current LED products
for TLCI, and everything from 40 to the
high 90s is both possible and available on
the market. It’s very hard to predict which
products will have good TLCI and which
poor. By its very nature, in that it uses
the response of a camera rather than the
human eye, there is no connection with
what you or I see when we look at the light.
It is very possible, and not uncommon in
my experience, to have a luminaire that has
good CRI or CQS but poor TLCI or vice
versa. The only luminaire that is guaranteed
to perform well with both metrics is one
with close to a black body or true daylight
spectrum. Anything with a discontinuous
spectrum, missing wavelengths of light, will
inevitably look different to the eye and the
Figure 9 shows the results of some
of Alan Roberts’ tests. He measured 73
Television luminaire
matching factor
All this makes the TV lighting director or
director of photography’s job that much
harder. Those folks have always known that
you cannot use your eye to judge lighting,
and instead have to look through the
monitor and thus through the eye of the
camera. The use of LED sources with highly
discontinuous spectra just makes that rule
even more important.
Figure 8 – TLCI report for LED mix 5,600 K
luminaires for both CRI and TLCI and
then plotted the CRI and TLCI values
against one another. If there were any
kind of correlation, then we’d expect to
see a straight line joining these points
together. However, instead we see almost
no correlation at all. For example, look in
the pink band which shows luminaires with
a CRI value of approximately 80. We can
see that includes 14 luminaires, all with
roughly the same CRI, whereas those same
luminaires had TLCI values ranging from 45
– 95. This emphasizes the most critical point
I’m trying to make here: CRI and CQS, or
any other metric designed for the human
eye, are no help at all when it comes to
choosing luminaires for television or video.
Similarly, TLCI tells you nothing about how
a light will look to the eye.
You’d drive yourself insane trying to line up the camera to make good
pictures with this combination.
TLCI has one more trick up its sleeve
that should help with matching between
lights. As I mentioned earlier, a single metric
doesn’t help with understanding how two
lights compare with each other. If we have
two LED light sources that both have a TLCI
of 75, then we can be confident that we can
make either of them work well for a video
camera. However, what if we want to use
both of them at the same time? What do
we know about how one would look if the
Figure 9 – TLCI report for LED mix 5,600 K
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Out of the Wood | Television Lighting Consistency Index – TLCI
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Figure 10 – TLMF report for RGB versus RGBA LED mixes both at 3,200 K
camera is adjusted for the other? Will they
need the same correction or, perhaps, the
opposite? There is a new companion metric
to TLCI, the Television Luminaire Matching
Factor or TLMF. The TLMF allows you to
compare two different lights to each other,
rather than to a perfect reference, and
see if they will play well together. It also
allows you to add a gel in front of them, in
the virtual software world of course, and
then see how that alters the match. If the
TLCI is a tool for manufacturers to use in
designing a product for television use, then
TLMF is a tool for practitioners that allows
the prediction of real world mixing and
matching of different sources before getting
in the studio, when it is often too late to
change. I’ll just show a single example of
this, as I’m running out of space; Figure 10
shows the TLMF comparing an RGB LED
mixed to a 3,300 K white with an RGBA
LED also mixed to approximately 3,300 K
white. The RGBA on its own has a quite
respectable TLCI of 67, while the RGB is 48.
Either of them is usable on their own, but,
as is clear from the color checker chart, it
would be a mess if an attempt was made to
use them both at the same time! The TLMF
between them is only seven, which means
they are an appalling match for each other.
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You’d drive yourself insane trying to line up
the camera to make good pictures with this
TLCI and TLMF are brand new metrics
and in the early days of their adoption.
However, there is no doubt that they are
needed, and I expect all manufacturers will
have to make TLCI values available for their
products. What isn’t clear to me yet is how
useful the color correction values are going
to be in practice, as I suspect that it’s only
the single metric that will get published.
Next issue, I want to take an overview
look at all the options in color rendering
and try to pull all the strands together. Q
Credits: Many thanks to Alan Roberts and
the EBU for permission to reproduce data
and figures from documents. In particular
Figures 4, 5, and 9 are copyright and
courtesy of Alan Roberts.
Mike Wood runs Mike Wood C o n su l t i n g L L C,
whic h provides c onsulting s u p p o r t t o c o m p a n i es
within the entertainment indu st r y o n p r o d u c t
design, tec hnology strategy, R&D, st a n d a r d s, a n d
Intellec tual Property. A 35-y ea r v et era n o f t h e
entertainment tec hnology ind u st r y, M i ke i s t h e
Immediate Past Chair of the P L ASA G o v er n i n g
Body and Co-Chair of the Te c h n i c a l St a n d a r d s
Counc il. Mike c an be reac he d a t
[email protected] m .
Rock Our
2013 Rock Our World Awards
Learn more about this year’s finalists at the PLASA Cocktail and Awards Reception, Thursday,
November 21—and celebrate the innovations of our industry
product type or by user-assigned groups. The 20
pre-programmed effects are all customizable and
compatible with any luminaire. Customizable
attributes are accessed with a few on-screen
buttons and include intensity, speed,
fade, and color.
The AsteraTouch features a rechargeable
lithium ion battery and a screen of 1024 x 600 pixel
resolution. At just under 1.5 lb, the compact controller is
housed in durable silicone rubber. The German-based developer has
made the AsteraTouch firmware available for free on the Android
platform. Try it out at
members within the entertainment technology industry and
acknowledge the genius of both the creator of technology and
the designer or integrator who applies the technology in a realworld environment. Products, projects, global events, and cultural
institutions are included in entries received for the sixth annual
Rock Our World Awards. Narrowing it down to this impressive
set of eight finalists was not an easy feat. The exceptional group of
judges, drawn of the crème of the crop from the industry, certainly
has its work cut out for it in choosing this year’s winners. Rock Our
World award recipients will be revealed at the 2013 PLASA Cocktail
and Awards Reception, on the eve of the LDI2013 show, Thursday,
November 21, at the LVH Hotel.
And the 2013 Rock Our World finalists are...
dmXLAN v4 Software
ELC Lighting
Astera LED-Technology
ELC Lighting’s dmXLAN v4 software is a powerful tool for network
technicians working on large scale live events. It is used to configure
and monitor an Ethernet-based lighting network and also to
control and test luminaires, regardless of the brand of consoles and
luminaires being used. When the dmXLAN v4 is brought online
with the network, users have the power to check all addresses in
the rig, test lights individually, and also run a full parameter check
on each unit—all
without booting up
the main control
The software
is available for
Windows and Mac
OSX platforms.
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In the decorative wireless lighting industry, lights are often
controlled by either a DMX512 console or a small infrared remote
controller, similar to a television remote with an approximately
30' range. The AsteraTouch by Astera LED Technology can
communicate with an unlimited number of lights within a 1,000'
range. The portable 7" touchscreen display has a simple user
interface and operates on radio frequency control. Astera’s entire
product range will communicate seamlessly with the AsteraTouch,
and third-party DMX luminaires can be used with the addition of a
With the AsteraTouch, event designers have the ability to send
commands to any light within the venue from anywhere within
the venue. The AsteraTouch can control groups of lights, either by
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It offers a broad array of features, including triple universe
merge, extensive softpatching, full RDM command and feedback
functionality, and a DMX512 history view of each luminaire’s five
previous minutes of data. Users may import and export the patch
and are given the ability to print lists from the show file. In addition
to configuring network nodes and independently controlling and
testing automated luminaires, the software provides a real-time
window into the network: which universes are active, the output
DMX levels from the desk, and the DMX history view. Work in
dmXLAN v4 may be done concurrently on the network with the
console operator programming the main desk.
This latest edition of dmXLAN builds on the networkconfiguring power of the previous versions with a new user
interface and additional functionality that can save time in the
field by making it possible to immediately troubleshoot a light or
make a note to address the unit at a later time. The software is free
and available at
Gallagher Staging and Productions, Inc.
Gallagher Staging and Productions, Inc. has engineered the
GBLOCK: an innovative, multi-functional truss block and ballast
that can bolt directly to either 12" or 20.5" box truss on five out of
its six sides. The GBLOCK is intended for use with truss grids, truss
arches, and as dead weight for entertainment structures. Encased
in powder-coated steel to prevent chipping that could affect the
integrity of the ballast, the concrete and rebar core of this 36" cube
brings the total weight of each GBLOCK to an enormous 3,500 lb.
Truss bolted in four
horizontal directions
from the block easily
creates outriggers. Truss
bolted vertically creates
a tower. Gallagher has
made the GBLOCK
from two sides and has
enabled it to receive
screw jacks on the bottom plate for leveling purposes. The top plate
is constructed out of 5/8" steel, while the sides are constructed out
of 3/8" steel. All seams are 100% welded. Besides offering impressive
technical specifications, the sleek look of the block adds a nice touch
when clients are concerned with appearance.
The company’s namesake, Joe Gallagher, calls the GBLOCK a
“revolutionary ballast.” Visit to
see a multitude of example configurations. The GBLOCK affords a
level of flexibility and creativity previously unavailable with other
out-of-the-box products.
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TiMax2 SoundHub
and TiMax Tracker
Out Board
The TiMax2 SoundHub control software was designed by UK-based
company Out Board to provide sound designers with advanced
real-time audio show control for running live shows and events.
It also was designed to give system integrators and contractors
a comprehensive set of audio routing, mixing, processing, and
playback resources with remote control options. The native 16 x 16
programmable audio matrix is expandable up to 64 x 64 in a single
2U chassis but may be networked into larger systems. Each TiMax
SoundHub system incorporates a scaleable, multi-channel audio
matrix and mix engine to handle multiple sources and multiple
zones in a variety of performance and presentation AV installations.
With the TiMax Tracker (TT), users get a radar-controlled audio
and show control system that is able to track multiple performers
in 3D space. Using ultra-wideband (UWB) radio frequency
technology, miniature TT tags worn by a performer repeatedly send
signals to TT sensors mounted around the performance space. This
information is processed by the software platform, which renders an
animated image of the performers moving around the space. Output
data from tracked performers can then be used to auto-localize
each performer’s
audio within the
system on a real-time
basis. Adjustments
can be made to the
signal transmission
frequency for
performers who will be moving at differing speeds.
Robert Whittaker of Out Board recently used the TiMax2
SoundHub and TiMax Tracker together to achieve accurate and
fully automated vocal localization on a tour. His arena-scale,
source-oriented sound system design provided consistent results
across multiple arenas, each with different complex stage designs.
Following initial proof-of-concept trials, Out Board repeatedly
implemented a series of specially developed delay-calculations into
the TiMax2 system, based on CAD data for each venue. Application
in the various large-scale venues showcased this process as well as
the vocal intelligibility and clarity made possible by the TiMax2
SoundHub and the TiMax2 Tracker.
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PRG Mbox Extreme Media
Server as used on Oblivion
Production Resource Group
Armed with 11 Mbox Extreme media servers, PRG set to work on
solving a problem for the filming of Universal Pictures’ sci-fi movie
Oblivion. The issue was that cinematographer Claudio Miranda and
director Joe Kosinski wanted to get away from using blue screens by
filming many of the effects live on camera. The goal was to wrap a
screen around Darren Gilford’s futuristic Sky Tower set, where PRG
could project a sky onto a cyc, and Miranda could film in almost any
direction. Due to the highly reflective nature of the set, the number
of visual effects shots would have doubled had it been necessary to
remove all of the reflective surfaces for filming in front of a blue
screen. The cost of adding the reflections and the set back in during
post-production would have been significant.
The sky cyc was a seamless 494' wide by 42' tall painted-white
muslin drop, and 32 hours of 5K content were filmed atop a volcano
in Hawaii, above the clouds, by the production’s visual effects team
and pared down to 130 four-minute clips. The Mbox Extreme media
servers fed the content to 21 Barco FLM-HD20 20K projectors,
which filled 270° of the set with 62 synchronized layers of 1080p
video for a final resolution of 18,288 x 1,920 pixels. A similar rig
was also provided when the production was filming on the smaller
Cloud Tower control room set, which consisted of two Mbox media
servers and six Barco 20K projectors.
PRG project manager and media operator on the film, Zach
Alexander, used the Mbox Extreme media servers to duplicate the
video content used to fill the enormous screen and create a fully
blended image around the sets. The Mbox Extreme media servers
served up sunrise, full day, sunset, and night time looks whenever the
creative team needed them. The fact that the bounce from the screens
was bright enough to provide nearly 95% of the set lighting for most
scenes filmed on the Sky Tower was unexpected but welcome.
Royal Opera House Muscat
Theatre Projects Consultants
!$%& $%&'
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The Royal Opera House Muscat is changing the face of live
performance culture in Oman and the wider Middle East region
by introducing the local population to art forms previously not
established in that region, such as opera and western classical music.
It is also revolutionizing multiform theatre design. Since its official
opening in October of 2012, The Royal Opera House Muscat has
become a landmark building in the cityscape of Oman’s capital city.
At its heart lies a versatile, state-of-the-art auditorium that is
capable of seamlessly transforming from a proscenium theatre for
opera to an acoustically perfect symphonic concert hall at the touch
of a button. The room physically changes shape: walls move, the
ceiling is raised, and a 500-ton concert shell is moved into place
Opening Ceremony –
London 2012 Olympics
Many PLASA companies
on tracks. The shell
travels more than
55' during each
changeover and has a
full 30-ton Klais pipe
organ built into it.
In opera mode,
the auditorium
seats 1,100 audience
members. With a
traditional horseshoe shape, the room features a proscenium arch,
fly-tower, and orchestra pit. The stage is generously proportioned,
with side stages for scenery and sets associated with large-scale
opera. Using the automated stage engineering systems, the room
easily transforms into concert mode. In this format, the room
becomes a classical shoe-box concert hall with parallel side walls and
a high, flat ceiling. To make room for the concert shell, which is a
self-sufficient unit taking power and data over fiber optics when in
position, the stage proscenium lifts up through the lower grid.
Theatre Projects Consultants was responsible for the concept
design, theatre planning, theatre equipment specification, as well
as the architect and acoustic consultant selection that went into the
Royal Opera House Muscat project.
The opening and closing ceremonies of the London 2012 Olympic
Games saw the main Olympic stadium transformed into spectacular
“Isles of Wonder.” Every aspect of our industry was represented
in this impressive and prestigious event: sound, lighting, staging,
rigging, video, special effects, production management, and, perhaps
most significantly, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II parachuting into
the East London stadium.
So many PLASA
companies were
involved in this
event that it is
impossible to single
out any individual
effort. The strength
of the final result
is in the seamless
between those disciplines so as to present Danny Boyle’s vision to
the worldwide audience. James Bond, The Beatles, Mary Poppins,
and Mr. Bean all came together in a celebration of British history
and culture to provide a spectacular start to the London 2012
Olympic Games.
As London 2012 Chairman Seb Coe said in his speech at the
closing ceremony, “When our time came, Britain, we did it right.
Thank you.” The same can be said of all the PLASA members
involved: They did it right!
GCT (guy cable
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Outdoor ground support and roof structures used
in the entertainment industry often require some
type of guy cabling for stability. The guy cables are
designed to be under a specific amount of tension
to stabilize the structure. However, the materials
used in guy cabling systems are susceptible to
movement and stretch, which means that the
tension in each guy cable can change and must be monitored during
set up. Complex solutions exist to monitor guy cable tension, but
the TOMCAT GCT offers a simple solution.
The guy cable tensioner is designed to be inline and stay inline
with the guy cable. Made from a high-grade, tempered aluminum
alloy, the GCT has an internal thrust washer that is used to
determine the cable tension in the wire rope. A simple indicator line
on the device shows when a certain tension has been reached, with
fixed indicator lines at 150 lb, 250 lb, 400 lb, and 500 lb. Inspection
of the guy cables, and their tension, is as easy as walking around the
structure to check indicator line placement on each GCT. The GCT
has been engineered for a design load of 7,200 lb—which is the
breaking strength of 3/8" 7x19 steel cable at a design factor of two.
Winners from these eight unique and brilliant nominees will be
announced at the annual PLASA Cocktail and Awards Reception
held from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on November 21, at the LVH Hotel.
Help celebrate the Rock Our World Award finalists, winners, and
those who have made outstanding contributions to our industry
over the last year by attending. Q
Erin Grabe serves as PLASA’s Assistant Tec hnic al Stan d a r d s M a n a g er fo r
North Americ a.
The winners of the sixth annual Rock Our World Awards
will be announced and presented at the PLASA Cocktail
and Awards Reception on November 21 from 5:30 to 7:30
p.m. at the LVH Hotel.
To make your reservation, visit
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Shadow, Light, and Truth
BGA’s Greener Lighting Framework Initiative
(BGA) wants to make it easier for lighting
designers, specifiers, and end-users to make
informed choices about the products used to
light the stage. They are essentially working
to do for the lighting industry what nutrition
labels have done for the food industry, and
that is to provide product information that
might influence the decision making process.
Not only will it aid in design but also in
helping to make theatre greener because,
all things being equal, most people would
choose a greener product. The question is,
how can we be sure that all things are equal?
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The mission of BGA is to educate, motivate, and inspire the entire
theatre community and its patrons
to implement environmentally
friendlier practices.
Given the amount of data that goes into
decisions about which products to specify,
buy, or use, it’s a considerable task. But
in its short, five-year existence, the BGA
has overcome some great challenges. One
of their first objectives was to convince
Broadway shows to convert from using
disposable batteries in wireless microphones
to using rechargeable batteries. When
you consider how audio techs feel about
using rechargeable batteries for this
mission-critical technology, it’s quite an
accomplishment that almost a dozen
Broadway shows made the switch, and
that has kept hundreds of thousands of
spent batteries out of the landfill each year
(approximately 20 tons worth), with the
added benefit of saving each of the shows
thousands of dollars each year.
Another of BGA’s objectives was to
convince the Broadway shows to convert
from incandescent marquee lights to LED
or CFL light sources. Every Broadway
theatre made the switch, and now they are
saving an estimated 700 tons of carbon
dioxide each year.
The BGA has also helped convert
many shows from disposable water
bottles to reusable water bottles, provided
information to help shows switch to more
environmentally-friendly cleaning products,
and helped install bike racks and more
energy-efficient washers and dryers. They
also help theatres recycle material from
sets as well as recycling gels, and they have
offered workshops on sustainable design.
Other initiatives include the Binder Project,
where theatre professionals can borrow and
use binders free of charge (they are asked to
return them when they are done), the Green
Captain program, which helps place a BGA
liaison in each Broadway show. And four
times every year, they host an e-waste drive
or a textile drive, collecting hundreds of
pounds of materials for recycling.
They also work closely with the Natural
Resources Defense Council (NRDC) to
provide information about helping to make
the theatre greener. Last year, they cofounded the International Green Theatre
Alliance (IGTA) with UK-based Julie’s
Bicycle, and now they are working on
launching a Broadway Greening Advisor
with the NRDC, which is modeled after
their Greening Advisor for Professional
Sports Teams.
The mission of BGA is to educate, motivate,
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and inspire the entire theatre community and
its patrons to implement environmentally
friendlier practices. The Greener Lighting
Framework Initiative falls squarely into that
directive because lighting is one of the main
contributors to the carbon footprint of a show.
Lighting accounts for almost 20% of electricity
consumption in commercial buildings and
much more in theatres. About half of the
world’s electricity is generated by burning
fossil fuels, which releases carbon dioxide,
sulfur dioxide, arsenic, barium, beryllium,
cadmium, chromium, copper, lead, mercury,
molybdenum, nickel, radium, selenium,
vanadium, and zinc into the air. The sulfur
dioxide reacts with water to produce sulfuric
acid, which falls back to earth as acid rain. The
mercury released into the atmosphere is the
single largest unregulated source of that toxin.
A lot of thought typically goes into
selecting lighting instruments to light the
stage, but some of the primary deciding
factors include the quantity of light, quality
of light, and cost. Theatrical lighting
designers are notoriously critical of the
light they put on the stage, and rightfully so.
In order to evoke the right emotion, they
have to be able to control every aspect of
the light, especially the way it renders skin
tones, objects, set pieces, and costumes. If
skin tones look unnatural or out of place,
or if the colors on the set don’t support the
story, then it can pierce the veil of illusion
and alter the experience of the audience.
The same can be said of a number of other
factors, like multi-shadows or an unnatural
dimming curve. Designers also put a lot of
emphasis on getting just the right color from
a lighting instrument, so the color gamut is
Shadow, Light, and Truth | BGA’s Greener Lighting Framework Initiative
very important. The quality of light can also
vary over the life of the luminaire, so the
lumen maintenance and color maintenance
is a consideration as well.
The quantity of light is just as important
as the quality of light. If a particular
luminaire doesn’t deliver enough light to the
subject, then the quality of light is irrelevant.
Of course, the cost is often a major
consideration as well. But the price tag on a
piece of gear is only part of the equation; the
cost of ownership, which represents the cost
to own and operate the equipment over its
life, is another. Cost of ownership involves
estimating not only the life of the gear but
also evaluating the cost of electricity to use
it, the cost of labor to maintain it, and in
some cases, the cost of removing the heat it
produces by running the air conditioner. All
of these can vary depending on the situation,
including the cost of a kilowatt-hour of
electricity, local wages, and local climate.
There are also important environmental
considerations, like the content of toxins
like mercury and lithium, the embodied
energy or how much energy it takes to
produce the item, and whether or not the
manufacturer has an end-of-life plan for
recycling or reusing components.
The Greener Lighting Framework
Initiative is the first attempt to quantify as
much of this information as possible and
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Shadow, Light, and Truth | BGA’s Greener Lighting Framework Initiative
host it in an online database. Fortunately,
there are already industry standards for
measuring photometric data, so the BGA
doesn’t have to reinvent the wheel. The
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The goal of this initiative is
to create a central database with as
much information as necessary to
make better choices regarding the art
and science of lighting a show.
standards are ANSI E1.9 - 2007 (R2012):
Reporting Photometric Performance Data for
Luminaires Used in Entertainment Lighting
and ANSI E1.41 - 2012: Recommendations
for Measuring and Reporting Photometric
Performance Data for Entertainment
Luminaires Utilizing Solid State Light Sources.
Using these two standards as a starting point,
the Greener Lighting Framework builds
on them by adding additional data to be
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included in the database.
There are more than two dozen data
points in the Framework, some of which are
described below:
Lumen output at a given CCT – E1.9
defines total lumen output as, “The lumens
falling within the area of an iso-illuminance
diagram that is illuminated to a level of
3% of the peak illumination level and
above.” This, of course, implies that an isoilluminance diagram is included, as shown
in the illustration below, which also helps to
identify the half-peak lumens and the onetenth peak lumens. These help a lighting
designer understand how smooth or spotty
a luminaire’s output will be.
There are provisions in E1.9 for specific
types of luminaires, like luminaires with
variable lens angles, multiple lamp options,
adjustable candlepower distribution, etc.
Iso-illuminance plot with 6'
diameter field – Iso-illuminance plots
and photometric charts do a great job
of providing a lot of information in a
convenient format, but sometimes you just
want to see at a glance some numbers that
you’re familiar with, like the center beam
illuminance with a certain beam or field
diameter. By using a 6' diameter field as a
reference, it might be quick and easy for
manufacturers to supply the information.
Efficacy in lumens per watt (LPW) –
Efficacy is a measure of how efficiently one
form of energy is converted to another form
of energy. In this case, the electrical energy
supplying a luminaire is being converted
to light energy. By disclosing the LPW,
manufacturers can help designers, specifiers,
and buyers understand how efficient their
products are.
Quiescent load – In theatrical and stage
lighting, the lights are often turned on
but dimmed to black, so they’re still using
energy but not as much as if they were on
full. To help evaluate how much energy they
use when they are in black, the quiescent
load should be reported. It simply states
how many watts are used when the lamp is
off but the electronics are on.
Dimmer efficiency – If a dimmer is
normally used with a luminaire, then the
dimmer efficiency contributes to the overall
low power factor means that a device draws
more current than a similar device with
the same energy consumption but a higher
power factor. It also puts higher demands on
the utility to generate electricity and deliver
it to the load.
There are several other data points in
the Greener Lighting Framework, but due
to space considerations, not all of them are
explained here in detail. The goal of this
initiative is to create a central database with
as much information as necessary to make
better choices regarding the art and science
of lighting a show. Manufacturers are being
asked to supply information about their
products as a starting point to populate
the database. The BGA is asking them to
provide general information that can be
useful for getting some information at a
glance as well as more technical information
that is measurable and quantifiable.
The key to the success of the BGA
Greener Lighting Initiative is for
manufacturers to participate by providing
the requested information and for the
theatre community to get behind it by
using it. A request for information has
been sent to several manufacturers. If you
are a manufacturer and have not received
a request for information, please contact
me by emailing [email protected]
The official launch is planned for LDI in
November at the New Product Breakfast. To
monitor the status of the project, visit www. Q
Rich ard Cad en a
is Tec h n i c a l E d i t o r
of Lighting&Sound
International , a n d
Protocol . He i s a l so
an E TC P C er t i fi ed
Ent er t a i n m en t
Elec t r i c i a n a n d a n
ETCP Rec ogniz ed Trainer. Rich a r d i s t h e a u t h o r
of Electricity for the Entertainment Electrician
& Technician, Automated Lighting: the Art and
Science of Moving Light , an d Lighting Design for
Modern Houses of Worship .
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efficiency of the system.
Color Quality Scale – LEDs have become
very important in entertainment lighting,
and since they are narrow band emitters,
CRI may not fully describe how they render
color or it may give an incorrect assessment
of color rendering with LEDs. For that
reason, the Color Quality Scale is now
being used to better describe how well a
luminaire renders color. It’s similar to CRI
except it uses 15 standard colors that are
more saturated than those used to evaluate
CRI, and they are equally spaced around the
CIE 1976 L*a*b* color space. The method
for determining the CQS of a light source is
described in “The Color Quality Scale” by
Wendy Davis and Yoshi Ohno
Delta(u,v) – Delta(u,v) is a measure
of how far a light source deviates from a
black body radiator like an incandescent
lamp. In a way, it tells how much green or
magenta a light source has compared to an
incandescent source. The numbers u and v
quantify it in a measurable way.
Mercury and lithium content – Some
lamps contain mercury and some batteries
contain lithium, both of which are toxins.
Inclusion of this information helps the enduser to know how to properly dispose of
the items. Sometimes the mercury content
in a lamp is high enough that a spent lamp
is considered hazardous waste and must
be disposed of in a way that complies with
local government regulations.
Color gamut – The range of colors a
color-changing luminaire can produce
is very important in lighting design, and
it can be quantified by a plot of a CIE
chromaticity diagram. As per E1.41, the
CIE 1976 UCS chromaticity chart should
be used for this purpose.
Power factor – The power factor is a
measure of how much current a device
converts to real work, like producing light,
heat, sound, or motion, compared to how
much current it draws from the electrical
system. Some devices temporarily store
energy in the form of magnetic fields or
electrostatic fields. This energy is eventually
returned to the supply, but it represents
additional current drawn by the device. A
Smarter buildings for
performance technology
and infrastructure
and how do we make it smarter? In
performing arts buildings, how do we look
holistically at all of the building’s individual
parts and enable those parts to sustain the
arts venue in the broadest sense?
The concept of a “smart building” has
been around for quite some time. The
InfoComm Smart Building Task Force
defines creating a smart building as “A
process of conceiving, designing, constructing,
commissioning, and operating buildings,
which leverages technology to optimize the
goals and objectives of the built environment.”
Key to this definition is the leveraging of
technology. For a performing arts venue to
become a smart building, the design team,
construction team, and operations team all
need to collaborate together. The technology
must be leveraged, not only of the
production systems, but also of the building
systems, the administrative systems, the A/V
systems, and the front-of-house systems.
When these systems are communicating and
their functions are approached holistically,
the smarter building begins to emerge.
It’s all about the data
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The goal of a smart building design is
to measure, monitor, analyze, store, and
retrieve information from every dataenabled device in the building. Whether on
a converged network or on separate discrete
networks, data exchange between these
systems is essential. This requires a level of
integration and programming not found in
conventional buildings.
Having different production systems
work together is often a feat in itself. The
same challenge is true for getting the
building systems to share data and to work
as a single, unified system. The objective
is to link different systems capable of
exchanging data in order to improve the
user experience as well as the operational
and energy efficiency of the venue. As many
contractors have not dealt with this level
of interconnected systems and devices,
an Integrated Automation Specification
provides the necessary framework and
detailed methodology to make data
exchange happen.
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Building and facilities
management systems
Every building data system should
be considered for integration. HVAC
management systems, architectural lighting
control systems, AV systems, and more can
utilize open protocol data exchange. In new
venues, it’s easier to design a physical and
virtual infrastructure that reduces reliance
on analog and copper, and that means
moving toward unified digital and fiber.
In existing venues, lack of physical space,
circuitous pathways, and limited ability to
upgrade often means creative and hybrid
forms of both modalities.
More and more, buildings use a shared
IP local area network that connects and
allows data exchange between different
systems. This is typically called a “converged
IP network,” and there are many benefits
to taking this approach. Best practices
now require a high-bandwidth, multigigabit network connection between all of
the network switches via fiber, as well as
high-throughput UTP cabling to individual
endpoints. If a network is designed and
provisioned well, work accomplished on it
becomes invisible.
The building’s HVAC, lighting,
motorized shades, security, AV, and fire
alarm system all can be joined together
and work as a unified engine on a highbandwidth, low-latency converged
network. These systems can operate when
directed, automatically according to a
clock, or proactively, based upon preprogrammed conditional logic cues.
connectivity and communication can
transform the user experience.
Customization can be layered on
this awareness to store user preference
and recall optimized room conditions.
Pre-programmed room settings may be
recalled for a specific educator, conductor,
or director. The architectural light levels,
shades, room temperature settings, and
adjustable acoustics may be activated based
upon preferences that have been stored in
the system settings. Getting the rehearsal
space right for the talent to do his or her
best can take on a whole new dimension.
This awareness and customization
can be extended from support spaces to
primary venues. The box office system
knows how many tickets are sold as well
as an event start time. By using all of the
event information that is already available,
the following can happen:
QHVAC systems stay in overnight set-back
until one hour prior to curtain.
QThe HVAC system pre-cools the space
a couple of degrees below the desired
set-point based upon the anticipated
heat load of the event attendees (quantity
taken from the ticket sales data x 500 Btu
per person per hour).
QAll systems (HVAC, lighting, AV) are set to
turn off after the event ends in the calendar,
cross-referenced to the room’s occupancy
sensors (to preclude any early shut down).
• Once the event is over and the house is
empty, the occupancy sensor cues the
systems to power down and make the
house dark.
• HVAC goes to overnight set-back if
there are no further events in the space
that day.
• Lighting goes to emergency lighting/
minimal lighting mode.
• All AV, theatre, and production systems
are off.
By enabling building systems and
applications to share data, a new kind of
magic can happen.
Awareness and
A smarter building can detect presence and
respond. Occupancy sensors can do a lot
more than simply turn lights on and off.
They can also trigger set point changes for
thermostats, manage digital signage, and
communicate to an online calendar if a
conference room, classroom, or rehearsal
room is available. This “awareness”
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Production systems
Venue technology for production relies on
the power of making extraordinary things
happen in real-time. The real-time element
is crucial. Technology convergence has
been touted for a long time, but for theatre
systems, few really believe they should all
live on a fully converged network. The
production systems used—lighting, rigging,
communications, cue lights, A/V—all
have migrated over to an Ethernet-based
transport. These systems can all utilize a
physical data transport infrastructure and
harness the benefits of structured cabling
topology, and so are no different at first
glance. But unlike many other enterprise
networks, a venue’s production control and
communication capability is more likely to
be operationally, physically, and virtually
cordoned off, with a topology that might
be described as “physically and virtually
separate but mostly equal.”
Mission-critical delivery in theatres
is different than in banking, commerce,
hospitals, or any other risk-averse
commercial venue. Theatres fundamentally
rely on performer and technician plying
their trades in an artfully synchronized
way. So automation—something the digital
seers equate with efficiency—is more
like anticipatory intelligence in a theatre.
From an enterprise network perspective,
those automated elements in a theatre
are reliant on the entire production team
activating those safeguards. Given that
many production system networks are
separate, data exchange is essential. Not just
in synchronizing the movements of a lift
with an overhead batten or having the audio
system trigger a lighting cue but rather
data exchange on a whole building scale,
such that night mode on the performance
lighting system, backed up by the event
calendar and confirmed by occupancy
sensors, puts the HVAC system in night
mode as well.
Performance analytics can be harnessed
for production staff. System intelligence and
monitoring can manifest into error/fault
reports that become the next day’s work call
or aid in asset tracking/inventory control.
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not only grant access to the building but
also grant the appropriate level of access
to the appropriate production system.
Energy consumption monitoring, tied to the
production systems and the event calendar,
can provide more accurate costs for putting
on the show. From curtain up to curtain
down, the production systems generate
tremendous amounts of data. Moving
forward to use this data beyond the confines
of the stage and auditorium opens up a
whole new world of possibilities.
Front-of-house systems
Technology alone won’t entice people to
your venue anymore. Recent popular press
articles describe why many metropolitan
cafés now struggle with laptop hobos or
Wi-Fi squatters who buy one coffee and
stay all day. So, merely making it easy to be
connected with—and in—an arts venue
isn’t much of a strategy nowadays.
Audiences go to theatres and performance
venues because of a visceral experience
that home theatres, cafés, and community
centers can’t match. Many major
productions and performances are now
packaged as offline digital media and made
available for personal consumption. But
does it compare with being there, energized
by others sharing that experience in that
moment? The Pandora’s Box that social
media technology has opened is a desire
for individuals to have their say in molding
the shared experience to align with their
personal interests.
Front-of-house systems may present an
opportunity to blur the lines of separation
from back-of-house, at least with data
sharing. Some envision greater patron
engagement by taking almost everything
beyond the boundary of the performance
chamber and morphing it into a grander
production capability. This approach still
respects the FOH | BOH distinction during
the actual performance but can fuse and
expand it before and after the show. Just
as free Wi-Fi encourages people to linger
longer at their favorite café, digital outreach,
“Artistic Wi-Fi,” can open ways for the
audience to dig deeper, and they may want
to come back more and stay longer. Artistic
Wi-Fi could provide access to in-depth
artistic processes and enhance the overall
experience beyond the actual performance.
Audiences can start to glean more about
the production, the technology used, the
development of the artistic program, and
the excitement, challenges, and risks that
go along with making the venue tick.
Technology systems can activate a managed
virtual window into a world for those who
prefer self-curation and would like to feel
more involved—and yet not disturb or
disrupt the process.
The Metropolitan Opera House recently
took advantage of communicating to
the public and their patrons their plan
for extensive technology infrastructure
upgrades. In a March 2013 interactive
feature in the New York Times, 3D
animations and time lapse video
demonstrated how new operational control
systems would benefit artistic capability
through efficiencies that proportionally
scale with their productions. (View this
feature at
patron interaction can highlight distinctive
ways to activate new audiences and renew
the dedication of existing patrons.
intellectual property
There is potential to tap the equivalent
of intellectual property for a theatre—
the aggregated knowledge derived from
production asset management. For example,
archival recording of production sessions
and rehearsals is commonly done but rarely
captured in a way that allows retrieval of
contextual information later.
While simulcasts are more prevalent
in artistic settings than few would have
imagined just a few decades ago, a digitallycaptured performance doesn’t have to
represent the only residual value. Everything
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Push strategies for branding and patron
market demographic reach have been mined
extensively in the last 20 years. Having push
strategies appear like pull strategies is where
a venue can take it up a notch.
One way is to tap into analytics that
use statistical and predictive data mining
techniques. This could be done by capturing,
correlating, and analyzing meaningful data
from everything including online ticket sales,
subscription demographics, and concession/
merchandising tallies to inform new
strategies that have embedded intelligence.
Then the venue’s artistic offering can
encourage individual patron choice. This
can influence the artistic range, spur
unconventional or hybrid productions, and
make standard programming feel like special
programming to the beholder. In the same
way that sabermetrics statistical analysis
has influenced our national pastime (e.g.,
the recent motion picture Moneyball), the
inferences drawn from technology-derived
associated with the performance may be an
asset if captured, cataloged, and curated,
especially as this unique repository is built
up over time. There are parallels in the fine
arts world where the production elements
of great art collections—the recent Hopper
drawing exhibit at the Whitney Museum
of American Art as one example—start
to have significant enhancement value by
complementing the more typical assets. If
audiences are granted access in a controlled
way, the production and operations of a
theatre can become an artistic branding
element in its own right.
The Sydney Opera House offers some
compelling examples of virtual windows
into their productions via their Play video
portal (, and their
longstanding dedication to community
outreach through education is embodied in
the Digital Education Program (http://plasa.
me/zohbo). By using videoconferencing
technology, Sydney Opera House can reach
schools that may be too remote for direct
access and offer their unique arts education
content regardless of proximity.
The unification of operational data—
especially from production operations and
management—has inherent intelligence
embedded in it. Predictive repair and
replacement of technical equipment based
on failure rate analytics, securing and
tracking inventory and assets, and remote
management can streamline downtime and
reduce operating costs. Taking Building
Management Systems (BMS) out of the
realm of purely the building and applying
it to smarter production management will
almost certainly expand artistic capability.
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Provided, of course, that the data streams
are tapped and exchanged in purposeful
ways by stitching production skill to
specialized trend analysis.
There are parallels between the virtual
operation of a data network and the real
operations of an arts venue. In order
for data to be usefully exchanged and
exploited, all stakeholders must establish a
shared protocol as well. Only then can data
management strategies offer creative ways to
activate the entire venue. Q
Larry Ted fo rd i s a
c onsu l t a n t i n a c o u st i c s,
audio v i su a l sy st em s,
and ven u e p l a n n i n g , a n d
has wo r ked o n p r o j ec t s
worldwi d e. He c o - fo u n d ed
Arup’s Sa n Fra n c i sc o
Ac ous t i c s g r o u p i n 1998,
and f o u n d ed a n d l ed Ar u p ’s
Singapore Ac oustic s & Theat r e p ra c t i c e i n 2006.
He has been a design leader fo r a r t s p r o j ec t s
ac ross multiple disc iplines f o r 28 y ea r s a n d c a n
be reac hed at [email protected] r u p.c o m .
David Wilts i s a n
Assoc i a t e P r i n c i p a l a t Ar u p,
leading t h e Sm a r t Bu i l d i n g
c onsu l t i n g p ra c t i c e i n
the Am er i c a s a s wel l a s
the o v era l l c o n su l t i n g
prac tic e i n Ar u p ’s C h i c a g o
offic e. He b r i n g s m o r e
than 20 y ea r s o f d esi g n
and c onsulting experienc e in i n t eg ra t ed sm a r t
building tec hnology, HD broa d c a st fa c i l i t i es,
audiovisual, and multimedia sy st em s a s wel l a s
information c ommunic ations t ec h n o l o g y. Da v i d i s
Chair of InfoComm’s Smart Bu i l d i n g Ta sk Fo r c e,
whic h is working to develop b est p ra c t i c es a n d
fac ilitate c ollaboration withi n t h e d esi g n a n d
c onstruc tion industry. He c an b e r ea c h ed a t
[email protected] om.
Robe rt Yo u n g i s a Sen i o r
Consul t a n t a t Ar u p b a sed
in San Fra n c i sc o, wh er e
he lea d s t h e West C o a st
Theat r e C o n su l t i n g t ea m .
With m o r e t h a n 20 y ea r s o f
exper i en c e, Ro b er t h a s l ed
the th ea t r e p l a n n i n g a n d
tec hni c a l sy st em s d esi g n
for arts, educ ation, and c orpo ra t e p r o j ec t s. He
c an be reac hed at robert.y ou n g @ a r u p.c o m .
Arup is a multidisc iplinar y d esi g n fi r m a n d
offers IT, Smart Buildings, Ac o u st i c s, Au d i o v i su a l ,
and Theatre c onsulting servic es wo r l d wi d e.
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Continuous improvement at
Rosco—A work in progress
Rosco embraces Lean
IMPROVEMENT” is a hot topic these
days; typing the term in Google yields
25,000,000 results in .18 seconds! That’s a
lot of reading, writing, and researching.
Businesses around the world are working to
improve business processes, reduce errors,
and enhance the customer experience. So
where do you start when your company
decides that Continuous Improvement (CI)
is a good idea? The answer is simple: at
the top. Research shows that the #1 reason
that CI efforts fail is due to a lack of senior
management commitment to the effort.
Mark Engel, Rosco’s CEO, has a vision
of a culture of continuous improvement
at Rosco. This culture is being built every
day by Rosco employees around the world
using a variety of programs at all levels
of the company. Rosco has embraced the
Lean tools and practices as its primary CI
methodology. At its core, Lean embraces
respect for people and ensures that the
employees involved with the day-to-day
work are the primary drivers of change. This
tenant has been the basis for the programs
that have been introduced at Rosco over the
last five years.
I will talk about three initiatives currently
in use that have contributed directly to
Rosco’s successful adoption: Lean Projects,
The Lean Training Initiative, and The War
on Waste. Through the use of a variety of
projects, we are able to utilize our broad
employee base to target appropriate
activities and enjoy a wider participation
throughout the Rosco offices worldwide.
Lean projects
Rosco has done many Lean projects over
the years, but two have yielded unexpected
results. The first was our Swatchbook
production project. In 2011, Rosco found
itself overwhelmed by demand from dealers
and end-users the world over, resulting
in unacceptable delays in delivering
Swatchbooks. The average wait time was
more than a month, and the product was
often rationed to ensure distribution to
the broadest number of customers. This
department seemed a natural choice for
a Lean project. Working with our Lean
consultants, we chose a cross-functional team
and began our analysis of the current state of
production in the Swatchbook department.
We thought that we produced 480 books
per day; in reality, the number was closer to
350 with the first book coming off the line
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Figure 1 – Spaghetti Map of the Swatchbook department
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at 3:00 p.m. The goals of the project where
twofold: boost production to meet demand
and improve lead times by 65%.
Lean has a number of tools that can be
used to analyze a process. We employed the
Spaghetti Mapping tool, load balancing, and
a day-by-the-hour-board. After establishing
what our customer demand was, using
a calculation called Takt Time, we began
digging into the actual process. Spaghetti
Mapping is simple but very powerful. The
process is examined through the eyes (or
feet!) of someone walking through each
step in a process to see where there is wasted
motion or excessive movement. Figure 1
is the Spaghetti Map of the Swatchbook
manufacturing process. As you can see,
there was substantial opportunity for
improvement here!
Lean embraces
respect for people
and ensures that
the employees
involved with the
day-to-day work
are the primary
drivers of change.
Pull sets
Collate & drill
Figure 2 – Task assignments
(195 seconds to get the first article)
Armed with hard data about the process
as it really was versus what we thought
it was, we began to make changes. We
rearranged the fixtures in the department
to improve the work flow. We re-deployed
personnel to fall within our established
Takt Time and generated a day-by-thehour-board to track our daily output and
highlight problems as they arose.
Our revised Spaghetti Map (notice the
new fixture layout, too) in Figure 4 shows a
Figure 3 – Swatchbook tasks in seconds per task
We then looked at the various tasks that
made up the activity and found we had an
unbalanced process. There are seven tasks
associated with Swatchbook production:
pull sets, collate, drill, trim, inspect (QC),
peg, and cut. In the Lean world, each task
must be accomplished in less time than Takt
Time (customer demand). It was clear from
our data that we needed to level the work
load. This is accomplished either by adding
people to a larger task or combining smaller
tasks. Our current state had labor deployed
as seen in Figures 2 and 3.
Figure 4 – Revised process spaghetti map
FALL 2 0 1 3
much less congested work area as well as far
fewer steps for everyone.
Our new task assignments fall within our
Takt Time.
#1 & #2
Pull sets
Collate, drill,
trim & cut/box
#3 & #4
Figure 5 – Revised task assignment
(110 seconds to get first article)
We succeeded in meeting our goals and
discovered that the new process is more
robust than we had ever imagined it might
be. Below is a photo of our day-by-the hour
board, which illustrates our daily output. As
you can see, on this day we produced 1,091
books! Clearly, we will be able to supply
Swatchbooks when they are needed.
in our custom gobo process that have
assured we can meet increased customer
demand. Below are photos of the value
stream map (VSM) of the process with
opportunities and the Future State ideal.
Notice that our current state has 17 steps.
After the VSM project, the process was
trimmed to 11 steps.
Lean training
Rosco embarked on a worldwide Lean
training program for all its employees in
our fiscal year 2013. The goal was to make
sure that everyone learned the basic tenants
of the 5S system and became acquainted
with the 7 Wastes so that they would apply
them to their daily work life (a quick
overview of these tools can be found at
The program used a series of online training
Figure 6 – Revised task assignments vs. Takt time
FALL 2 0 1 3
Rosco maintains a dedicated
manufacturing plant for gobos and
dichroic glass in Round Rock, Texas. We
chose the Texas plant for our next project.
Our goal was to increase capacity to
assure we could accommodate projected
growth and to improve our information
flow with customers. To start, we created
a Value Stream Mapping (See the Summer
2013 issue of Protocol “BizQuestions” for
David Schraffenberger’s overview) project
to look for opportunities. Once identified,
we implemented a number of changes
FALL 2 0 1 3
Figure 7 – Day-by-the-hour board
Figure 8 – Current state
Front-loading Arbor
Figure 9 – Opportunities are identified by blue clouds with unneeded steps “X”ed for elimination
Rope Lock
This Award -Winning duo
gets rave reviews wherever
they perform!
“ W e were very impressed
with the rope lock and brick house arbor”,
says Williamson. “ The arbor itself is so logical
and so intuitive, that you go ‘Why were
they ever built any other way?’
Made in
the USA
Tim Williamson,
TD The Northern
Alberta Jubilee Auditorium
(Theatre Resource Directory 07-13)
Big enough to tackle any pr oject
Small enough to car e
Figure 10 – Ideal future state is outlined for implementation
1.800.553.2204 Winona, MN
FALL 2 0 1 3
Figure 11 – Work station in the Conversion department—before and after
videos with modules taught in a classroomtype setting for office personnel or viewed
individually for remote employees. The
classroom work was overseen by a group of
Lean champions that underwent extensive
individual training in the two disciplines.
Rosco had 66% of employees complete
the training with another 25% completing
75% or more of the sessions. We then asked
that people apply their new found abilities
to their individual work areas. We received
some impressive photos.
People even managed to have a little fun.
Lex in our Amsterdam office sent the photo
below to show how well he had learned to
apply the 5S methodology!
Figure 12 – “Lean comes to Amsterdam”
FALL 2 0 1 3
Training will continue during our current
fiscal year with additional levels of training
offered as well as multiple opportunities
to practice during upcoming projects. Our
Lean champions are learning how to run
their own projects, which will allow for
many more projects to be implemented
around the world, leading to better service
and support worldwide.
War on Waste
A new and powerful initiative was
implemented in February 2013. Rosco’s War
on Waste has proven to resonate throughout
the company. The program is simple:
Identify an opportunity for minimizing
waste, quantify it (either on your own or
with the help of your manager), and submit
it. Each quarter, Rosco presents gift cards to
the “winning” suggestions. The opportunity
does not have to generate massive savings;
the suggestions only have to be sustainable.
Andre, in our Conversion department,
realized that he could include more rolls
in each box while boxing Cinegel. His
suggestion is currently saving Rosco more
than $1,600 per year in corrugated boxes.
That’s a win for Rosco, the environment, and
our customers. Rob, in IT, realized that the
long distance bills between our US offices and
Toronto could be cut by not dialing our own
800 number. This change has provided an
annual savings of $2,500. Cindi, in Inventory
Control, determined that if we changed the
paper we use to print Swatchbook slip sheets
to a standard size, Rosco would save $3,000
per year. And finally, Chris, in accounting,
found a freight claim company that initiates
claims and works with all of our freight
providers to get the refunds we deserve but
Rosco had not had the manpower to address.
It is projected the company will save at least
$3,000 annually. In the first six months of the
program, Rosco employees have identified
more than $10,000 in annual savings.
The War on Waste is proving to be a very
profitable new program!
Continuous Improvement, as you can see,
FALL 2 0 1 3
takes many forms and requires commitment
from all levels of an organization to make
it successful. Top-down leadership is
absolutely necessary to assure it is part of
the organization’s overall strategy. There
must also be a commitment of funds and
manpower to make it work. At all other
levels, training and participation will ignite
enthusiasm for the process. Lean leaders
will be found in surprising places; these
employees embrace the concepts and inspire
their co-workers to “give it a try.”
We have heard a change in vocabulary
at Rosco. In the hallways one hears
“that’s not very Lean” and “We need to
fix this process.” We are embracing The
Ten Commandments of Lean, as taught
by the Gemba Academy, which provide
a framework for our thinking. The Ten
Commandments of Lean are:
QOpen your mind to change
QThink, “Yes, we can if …”
QAttack processes, not people
QSeek simple solutions
QIf it is broken, stop and fix it
QUse creativity, not capital
QProblems are opportunities in disguise
QFind the root cause of a problem, ask
“Why” five times
QUse the wisdom of many, not the
knowledge of one
QThere is no final destination; Lean is a
journey that does not end.
A very smart Lean consultant once asked
me a riddle that, to my mind, lays out
the proper mindset for any Continuous
Improvement effort. He asked, “How do
you eat an elephant?” The answer, of course,
is “one bite at a time.” Fortunately, our
management at Rosco has been satisfied
with that pace, and our CI program moves
forward. Q
Tracey Co sg ro ve i s
Direc to r o f Op era t i o n s a n d
Contin u o u s I m p r o v em en t
at Rosc o wh er e sh e h a s
worked fo r 17 y ea r s,
startin g a s t h e Pa i n t
Produc t M a n a g er. Tra c ey
rec eiv ed h er BFA fr o m
Emerso n C o l l eg e i n
Design and Tec hnic al Theatre a n d h a s a M a st er s
in Leadership and Strategic M a n a g em en t fr o m
Manhattanville College.
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FALL 2 0 1 3
Standards Watch
When does a standard become a millstone?
The testing procedures for
loudspeakers under EN54-24 have to
be conducted by a third party . . .
FALL 2 0 1 3
1 July 2013 saw the introduction of the
new Construction Product Regulations
(CPR). As a result, the EU construction
industry has undergone the most significant
change for a decade in the way in which
construction products are sold in Europe.
Under the new regulation, it will become
mandatory for manufacturers to apply CE
marking to any of their products that are
covered by a harmonised European standard
(hEN) or European Technical Assessment
(ETA). This has had a major change to the
industry, since affixing of CE marking under
the provisions of the existing Construction
Products Directive (CPD) wasn’t mandatory
in all states. Compliance to the CPD
was voluntary in the UK; prior to the
introduction of the CPR, there was little
point in affixing the CE mark to products
only sold to the UK market.
The CPR builds upon the CPD and
aims to break down technical barriers to
trade in construction products within
the European Economic Area (EEA). To
achieve this, the CPR provides for four
main elements: a system of harmonised
technical specifications; an agreed system
of conformity assessment for each product
family; a framework of notified bodies; and
CE marking of products.
An explanation of harmonised
technical specifications might be in order
here: A harmonised European Product
Standard (hENs) is established by the
European Committee for Standardisation
(CEN) and the European Committee
for Electrotechnical Standardisation
(CENELEC), and those harmonised
technical specification created for products
defines European Economic Area-wide
methods of assessing and declaring all
the performance characteristics required
by regulations in any member state.
Harmonised European Product Standards
affect the ability of construction products to
be shown to meet seven basic requirements
for construction works: mechanical
resistance and stability; safety in case of fire;
hygiene, health and environment; safety and
accessibility in use; protection against noise;
energy economy and heat retention; and
sustainable use of natural resources.
In the case of fire safety, the EN54
suite of standards is the suite of relevant
harmonised product standards. Companies
wishing to apply a CE mark to their fire
FALL 2 0 1 3
detection or fire alarm equipment will need
to apply those applicable standards to their
products from within the EN54 suite.
Passive loudspeaker manufacturers whose
equipment is used in the fire alarm industry
in voice alarm systems have been applying
part 24 for a few years now, but it has not
been easy for most manufacturers at all. The
testing procedures for loudspeakers under
EN54-24 have to be conducted by a third
party; the testing for this standard cannot be
carried out in-house by the manufacturer,
and self-certification documents cannot be
produced for those tests. The idea is that
use of third parties should give assurance
that all “reasonable steps” have been taken
to ensure the safety and performance of
a product. Testing bodies usually have
particular accreditations for particular
types of equipment under the terms of a
European Directive and are normally known
as Notified Bodies. However, when EN54-24
was introduced, the standard had jumped
the gun because aspects of the tests within
it were so radical, no one had the facilities
ready to carry them out.
WHEN IT THREATENS your company’s
very existence, bleeds you dry of cash, stifles
innovation, and restricts trade. These are
some of the viewpoints of those PLASA
members the Technical Resources Manager
at PLASA has spoken to on the eve of the
introduction of new legislation for the
construction sector.
EN 54 is a European standard with
27 parts that covers every aspect of the
manufacture of fire detection and fire
alarm systems, but one part, EN 54 part
24: Fire detection and fire alarm systems.
Voice alarms – Loudspeakers, has, it’s fair
to say, caused more anger and arguments
as to its effectiveness than any other
standard I can remember.
. . . there is a real risk that
innovation will suffer.
That was then; now the testing facilities
exist, but at what a price! The test cost (per
model range) is in the region of £15,000
for an internal fixture and £20,000 for a
fixture to be installed outside, and many
of the tests are for conditions that the
fixture would never be exposed to in the
environment in which it will be used. Then,
to top this off, after you have released a
Standards Watch | When does a standard become a millstone?
huge amount of cash £750,000 (yes, threequarters of a million pounds in the case
of one UK company) to then get wind of
some shady goings in the testing world
in which competitors may be spending
a whole lot less? This is just what some
loudspeaker manufacturers wishing to sell
their speakers into the voice alarm world
are faced with today.
We will also approach the UK
regulatory institutions to discuss the
allegations made regarding unfair
trade issues and the questionable
testing procedures.
I do think those members of the
committee that were responsible for the
content of BS EN 54-24 had honourable
intentions, and their aim was to produce a
standard that would only promote highquality equipment for voice alarm use.
There is no doubt that in a safety-critical
installation, only high-quality speakers that
are up to the job should be used.
However, some manufacturers I have
spoken to believe the opposite of this aim is
now unfolding with cheap inferior products
gaining questionable certification and a CE
mark while paying heavily discounted rates
to testing houses that do not adequately test
to the required standard. The only way to
prove these inadequate testing allegations
is to submit a speaker for testing, and I
have been told of a speaker that went for
testing with known faults that should have
failed the test, but to great surprise to the
manufacturer, it passed.
Of course, mistakes can happen, but
put that against the hard fact that some
tests are being completed within five to six
weeks while other test houses are taking
12 to 14 weeks to complete the same test.
The suspicion doesn’t stop there. Another
requirement of the BS EN 54-24 standard
is that the facility where the product is
made is visited by the test house at least
once every year. So it seems strange, or
perhaps consistent with this, to find that
a speaker made in Asia is on sale as being
manufactured in a country in the European
Union. This suggests that someone from
the test house is not visiting the actual
factory. It wouldn’t come as a surprise
to anyone, given that the practice is rife
in other areas of manufacture, if some
speakers finding their way onto the market
have a CE mark affixed to them have never
even seen the inside of a test house.
So what is the result of all this? Not
exactly an assurance of quality in a safetycritical environment if these allegations have
substance. Nor is there a level playing field
that EN 54-24 is meant to promote.
And whilst we are on the subject of level
playing fields, there is the problem that in
Poland the third-party testing requirement
has been interpreted to mean that speakers
tested outside Poland are expected to
undergo additional testing in a Polish test
house before a manufacturer will be able to
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FALL 2 0 1 3
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FALL 2 0 1 3
sell the equipment into Poland! This isn’t
strictly playing by the rules; conforming to
the hEN is a presumption of conformity to
the requirements of the CPR (or CPD prior
to July 1), no matter where the product is to
be sold within the EU. A Polish government
representative was left red-faced after her
presentation at the Railtex exhibition in
the UK on the wonderful opportunities
her country has to offer for UK businesses.
Someone in the audience set her straight
about this additional Polish requirement
and noted that it was in all probability a
restriction of trade and illegal in the EU.
As with most things in the manufacturing
world, the testing costs might not be equally
burdensome to all; the bigger players with
diverse product ranges can absorb the
massive testing costs, but for specialist
companies, it has been a hard slog. For
some, it was a step too far, and so they no
longer supply the voice alarm market. For
others, it has meant streamlining their
available products with sizable cash outlays
to certify their reduced ranges. Others will
make a massive investment to certify their
whole range and to continue to supply
high-end products and move on as normal.
With that said, does the palette of product
selection get smaller? According to those
manufacturers I have spoken to, without
doubt it does.
One thing that does seem clear to me is
that for all but the biggest companies, there
is a real risk that innovation will suffer.
Who but the hardiest or most cash-rich
would consider bringing out a new range
given the huge testing costs unless it had
all the bells and whistles on it to knock the
competition sideways?
Quite clearly something needs to be
done to level this uneven playing surface,
especially for the small and medium-sized
enterprises in this sector of the industry. In
the coming months, the PLASA Technical
Resources Office will investigate the revision
schedule for the BS EN 54-24 standard
in the hope of bringing up some of the
FALL 2 0 1 3
specific issues and, with the help of those
manufacturers who will have case studies
to call upon, be able to demonstrate to
the revision committee the short-comings
of the standard. We will also approach
the UK regulatory institutions to discuss
the allegations made regarding unfair
trade issues and the questionable testing
procedures. We’ll keep you posted on how
we get on. Q
Ro n Bo n n er ser v es
a s P L ASA’s Tec h n i c a l
Reso u r c es M a n a g er
a n d Sa fet y Ad v i ser.
Ro n j o i n ed P L ASA
t en y ea r s a g o a ft er
c a r eer s i n t h e Ro ya l
N a v y a n d a s a fi r e
fi g h t er i n L o n d o n . He
i s a c h a r t er ed m em b er
o f t h e I n st i t u t e o f
Oc c upational Safety and Hea l t h a n d a m em b er
of the International Institute o f Ri sk a n d Sa fet y
Color Wheel
Ultra Intuitive Control for RGB Installations
model: ColorWheel
technical data sheet
Color Wheel was developed in response to requests for a super simple
RGB (red, green, blue) controller. Several Doug Fleenor Design clients
are big in color mixing displays such as cove lighting, back-bar lighting,
under counter lighting, etc. They could not find a controller for certain
applications and asked us to design a device that is very simple to
understand and use.
Color Wheel has two user controls: An intensity wheel and a mode
button. When on, pressing the wheel turns the lights off. When off,
pressing the wheel turns the lights on (as does turning the wheel or
pressing the mode button). Upon turning the lights on, the red, green,
and blue indicators illuminate and the wheel controls intensity. In this
intensity mode, the red, green, and blue levels are adjusted
proportionally so the installation’s color does not change, only the
intensity of that color.
While in intensity mode, pressing the mode button places the Color
Wheel in red mode; only the red indicator is on and the wheel adjusts
only the reds. A second press of the mode button places the Color
Wheel in green mode; only the green indicator is on and the wheel adjusts only the greens. A third
press places the Color Wheel in blue mode; only the blue indicator is on and the wheel adjusts only the
blues. Pressing the mode button again returns the Color Wheel to intensity mode.
Four and five channel options are available for RGBW (red green blue white), RGBA (red green blue
amber), or RGBAW (red green blue amber white) installations. When four or five channel options are
enabled, the mode button cycles through additional modes and the center indicator (a tricolor LED)
changes to amber and white.
Two chase modes are provided. Pressing and holding the mode button cycles the controller through
three modes: the static mode described above, an RGB chase, and a CMY chase. When in RGB
chase, the indicators change to red-red-off and the installation fades through red, green, and blue.
When in CMY chase, the indicators change to off-blue-blue and the installation fades through cyan,
magenta, and yellow. While chasing, the wheel alternates between intensity and rate with each press
of the mode button. Chase mode and rate are preserved through a power outage.
Color Wheel is standard in black anodized machined aluminum. Colors are available by special order.
The Color Wheel is powered by a low voltage supply such as a doorbell transformer. The output signal
is DMX512A. Red is DMX channel 1, green is channel 2, and blue is channel 3.
Doug Fleenor Design, Inc.
396 Corbett Canyon Road
Arroyo Grande, CA 93420
(805) 481-9599 voice and FAX
(888) 4-DMX512 toll free (888) 436-9512
web site:
email: [email protected]
FALL 2 0 1 3
Developing a security program
AVAILABLE to help in developing a security
program for businesses. But like most, you
do not have the time or the experience to
go through these sources to develop a plan.
This article is intended to help you along the
path towards developing an effective plan to
prevent losses. To help you get started, ask
yourself three simple questions: How much
security is needed? What is the value of my
inventory? What are the crime statistics in
my area?
Before we begin talking about security
designs, let’s first begin with profiling your
bad guy for a second—and understand
them. If your asset is worth a lot, then the
bad guy is willing to risk a lot to get it.
Bad guys are like water. They will take the
path of least resistance. Having said that,
if thieves do flow like water, you need to
either build a dam or dig a canal to control
them. What I mean by that is to make your
security picture what we call in our industry
a “hard target.” Hard targets are undesirable
to the bad guy because you’ve either made
your property too much of a hassle for
them to bother with for what it’s worth to
them, or, you’ve made the risk of their being
caught too much of a certainty and they go
find someone else to rob. Now read that last
sentence again. I said “for what it’s worth to
them.” Not “you.” Understand that thieves
are business people too. They make the
same Return on Investment (ROI) decisions
business owners make. If you think of them
in this manner, you are well on your way of
developing the correct security mindset and
ready to design a sound security plan.
There are two thoughts you should
focus on: First is to develop your security
approach in an all-around manner, meaning
360-degrees of protection. All around
security is the approach and mindset that
you are protecting your assets from intrusion
in all directions: up, down, left, right, and
front, back. The next concept is defense
in depth. This concept considers applying
many overlapping layers of security—on top
of each other to strengthen your defenses.
the defenders point of view as well as the
thief ’s point of view. If you expend the
right amount of resources, you can create a
security zone equaling Fort Knox. However,
it is unpractical unless you are protecting
assets of equal value and theft risks as the
vaults of gold at Fort Knox. Your security
planning is a matter of evaluating the
Bad guys are like water. They will
take the path of least resistance.
This can be in the form of physical barriers
such as walls, windows, fences, locked doors,
gates, etc., as well as security aids such as
cameras, alarms, and thorough (in addition
to proactive) application of security policies
and procedures. The best security policies
and procedures are written down and
incorporated into daily practice by all people
working in the environment. It should also
provide a checks and balances system on all
people involved. But after established, they
must be enforced to ensure they are being
followed. A policy is ineffective if nobody is
following it. Security measures are seldom
convenient; and as a result, people often
times let them go to the wayside to save time
and hassle. Don’t fall into that trap! You are
making yourself vulnerable, and there is a
name for that: Victim!
When developing security plans and
polices, identify and evaluate the following:
Who, What, Where, When, Why, How?
Who am I protecting from? What am I
protecting? Where is it located? When is it
vulnerable? Why is it at risk? How would
someone take it?
Defending your assets is always a
balance between risks versus value from
FALL 2 0 1 3
amount of risk of loss you are willing to
accept versus the amount of resources you’re
able or willing to expend protecting it. Are
you willing to build Fort Knox to protect a
Rolex watch? I’m guessing not.
The next concept is: deter, deny, detect,
and delay. First, design your security
measures in a manner that deters a person
from wanting to attempt a theft. In other
words, make yourself a hard target. Next,
design your security measures in a manner
that detects and alerts you that someone is
attempting or intending to victimize you.
In most cases, this is an alarm system. But
don’t ignore internal threats from workers.
Policies and procedures play into this
concept as well. If a worker in a jewelry
store wants to take a piece of jewelry, they
could drop it into a trash can for now and
take out the trash later when they are off
camera. Next, your system design should
be built to deny opportunity of loss from
the bad guy—i.e. lock it up! Remember the
jewelry store example I just gave? In that
environment, it is important for a security
design feature to be developed that makes a
missing piece of jewelry easily and quickly
detected by others in the workplace to keep
that opportunity from being realistic and
successful to the thief. In doing so, you’ve
denied them the opportunity to accomplish
such a task. The final step is delay. If all
else fails in your security design and the
bad guy is still intent on breaking in and
robbing you, your system should have the
ability to delay them long enough that
police or security can arrive before they
can successfully make off with the loot. An
example of this is a time delay on a safe or
vault where it takes a specified amount of
time to unlock it. You may commonly find
this type of system design implemented
in banks and convenience stores. Another
example would be to make the locks on a
storage room very time-consuming to open
after the thief has tripped an alarm.
Get copies of the floor plans for your
office or building. If not available, then
your fire evacuation plan will work. If you
don’t have that, then sketch out your floor
plans yourself. Include the exterior of your
business as well as interior. Now with a
The best security policies and
procedures are written down and
incorporated into daily practice by all
people working in the environment.
notebook and your sketches in-hand, go
outside. Walk to the outer limits of your
property boundary and turn around. What
you are now looking at is the same first
view of your facility that the crooks have.
See it from their perspective. Walk all the
way around the outer perimeter observing
and taking notes. Once completed, move
in closer and walk the inner perimeter,
meaning that you’re still on the exterior of
your facility but walking along the walls of
your buildings and assets. As you’re doing
this look outward for vulnerabilities and
take notes. Notice windows, walls, and
doors. How about your roof? How is the
roof accessed? Is it from the inside of your
building by an access hatch, or a ladder
mounted on the outside? If you have a roof
access hatch, is it alarmed? Remember to
maintain 360-degrees and layered defenses.
Now go inside and walk the interior of
your facility. Note and observe what you
have in place. Notice alarms, cameras,
security screens, customer service counters,
people, etc. Do you have any false ceilings?
If yes, could someone remove a panel and
climb over a wall in a neighboring room
undetected? It is useless to spend a lot of
time and money building a secure store
room door if a person could just open a
ceiling panel and climb in from the office
next door. Don’t laugh; it happens. Do
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FALL 2 0 1 3
FALL 2 0 1 3
you see any exterior doors propped open
and unattended for ventilation? That is a
bad practice. If you have alarms, consider
where the alarms annunciate, who responds
to them, and how long that process takes.
Your physical security barriers should delay
the criminal as long as it takes for response
forces to arrive. If they have the ability
to enter, take the asset, and disappear off
property before anyone can arrive to capture
them, then you should evaluate what you
can do to either harden your facility or
speed up the detection and alerting process.
For closed circuit television (CCTV)
systems, know if the feeds are being
recorded and know how long the data is
stored on the system before data is lost.
Best practices indicate that your digital
video recorder (DVR) should store data for
at least 30 days before being overwritten.
That has liability reasons as well as security
ones. Where is the DVR located? Is it stored
onsite or offsite? Who has access to it? If
Your physical security barriers should
delay the criminal
as long as it takes
for response forces
to arrive.
onsite, could the criminal destroy it or take
it with them to prevent you from obtaining
evidence of their crime? Who is responsible
for reviewing and saving recordings? Do
they know how to operate the DVR to
successfully save recordings? Does it work,
and when was the last time the system was
serviced? As an additional note, “dummy
cameras” are not recommended.
Lastly, where do you turn to get assistance
FALL 2 0 1 3
and help? Your local law enforcement,
security consultants, security companies,
and private investigators will help you in
various ways. Security and investigative
practitioners will conduct vulnerability
assessments and provide you written
recommendations. You can also turn to
many security associations for assistance.
With this information, I hope you will start
to build an effective plan for protection
from losses at your business. Q
Edwa rd No rto n, a
Certif i ed P r o t ec t i o n
Professi o n a l wi t h
more t h a n 40 y ea r s o f
exper i en c e i n sec u r i t y
and inv est i g a t i o n s, i s
the o wn er a n d fo u n d er
of No r t o n C o n su l t i n g &
Investi g a t i o n s, a ser v i c edisabled, veteran-owned c om p a n y. E d i s a 30- y ea r
veteran of the US Air Forc e a n d wa s a su c c essfu l
manager with three major s ec u r i t y c o m p a n i es
and board c ertified in sec uri t y m a n a g em en t . He
c an be reac hed at [email protected] n c i .c o m o r o n l i n e a t
www.nortonc i.c om.
How do you safely manage
20,000 effects and
35 miles of cable to celebrate
a world-famous bridge?
Ask this team of ETCP Certified
Entertainment Electricians.
ETCP Certified Entertainment Electricians (left to right) David R. Hatch,
Scott Houghton, Mike Starobin, Patrick Ryan, John Lacey, and Jinx Kidd.
The 75th Anniversary of the Golden Gate Bridge culminated with a light and effects display that spanned six
square miles and bathed San Francisco Bay in color. A team of eight ETCP Certified Entertainment Electricians
and two ETCP Certified Riggers led the 75-person crew.
ETCP Certified Entertainment Riggers and Electricians are our industry’s most qualified, up-to-date entertainment
technicians. Hire them when you need effects that soar — but are firmly grounded in safety.
Special thanks to our top contributors and media partners:
Top contributors: IATSE, InfoComm, Live Nation, Production Resource
Group, and USITT.
Setting the stage for safety.
[email protected]
Media partners: Church Production; Facility Manager; IATSE;
Lighting&Sound America; Live Design; Pollstar; Projection, Lights and
Staging News; Protocol; Systems Contractor News; Technologies for
Worship; and Theatre Design & Technology.
FALL 2 0 1 3
Questions about Key Performance
Indicators and employees on
long-term deployment
Share your company’s and employees’ experiences with the Patient Protection and
Affordable Care Act—email David for next issue’s column
about how to identify the metrics that are appropriate to your
business strategy. The studies suggest that you view your company
from four perspectives: the financial perspective, the customer
perspective, the internal perspective, and the learning and growth
perspective. Companies that understand the impact of each of these
perspectives maintain a balanced view of the entire organization.
Viewing the company from the financial perspective identifies
what success looks like to the owner(s). A look from the customer
perspective tells us what we need to look like to our customers. The
internal perspective shows us what processes we need to master
to satisfy our customers. The learning and growth perspective
establishes how the organization needs to learn and improve to
achieve its vision.
Finding KPIs for your financial perspective is relatively easy.
You and your accountant should be able to settle on a few of the
standard business ratios. Make sure you keep your accountant in the
loop about your business plan. If your business plan involves selling
the business in the short term, you might consider the debt to equity
ratio more of a key indicator than the return on assets ratio. Both are
important but for different reasons.
Once we move out of the financial perspective and into the realm
of intangible assets, things get trickier. Customers’ perspective
measurements might include, for example, your ratings on customer
surveys. Internal perspective metrics might be a standard inventory
turns ratio. It might be more important to measure the ratio
between the technician-hours it takes to prep a dry rental and the
contract revenue.
The learning and growth perspective encompasses the most
intangible assets of all. This clustering of assets and activities
includes the treatment of human capital, information capital, and
organizational capital. A simple example of a key metric from the
learning and growth perspective of a company that does installation
or production services might be the total number of ETCP
certifications held by the employees. If the business model is more
slanted toward online retail sales, a key metric for this perspective
might be server down time. It all depends on your strategic plan.
FALL 2 0 1 3
How do I choose Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for my business?
KPIs should be directly related to your strategic goals. They need
to be quantifiable, not subjective. You should limit the number
of KPIs for your company to a manageable number or you risk
information overload, the gateway to inaction. Starting in the early
1990s, Robert S. Kaplan and David P. Norton wrote a series of
articles for the Harvard Business Review and a couple of books for
Harvard Business School Press. The pair focused on two concepts:
The Balanced Scorecard and Strategy Maps. Research the authors
or the subject matter, and you will find a wealth of information
FALL 2 0 1 3
BizQuestions | KPIs and long-term deployment
How do we deal with losing good employees that are members of the
National Guard or Reserves to long-term deployments?
This is a tough reality that many of us have had to contend with.
Employees who are members of our uniformed services tend to
be dependable, consistent, and well motivated workers. Shortterm mandatory training assignments aren’t, generally, a major
issue. When these valued employees are gone for months at a time,
however, we suffer significant disruption to our team’s productivity
and morale. The first thing you need to do is understand both
the employer and employee rights and responsibilities under the
Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights
Act (USERRA). Fortunately, there is a great resource available at
the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) website
( The site has a link to the legislation itself,
although that’s a pretty tough read. The employer FAQ page (http://
aspx) has the most concise and relevant information about rights
and responsibilities under the statute, so I recommend that as your
“getting started” page. Employers are generally given plenty of notice
that is, by its nature, confidential (i.e. a matter of national security).
Plan ahead as best you can for how you will cover the workload.
Have a well-thought-out message for your team about what they can
and cannot say. Make sure you have an open line of communication
with your service member before and after the deployment. It’s also
a good idea to put in place a way to exchange HR communications
with your service member’s spouse. The families of deployed service
members are going through a lot and need your support.
How are your company and its employees getting along with the
Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act?
Please send stories about your coping strategies from around the
association to [email protected] We are all moving onward
through the fog with this. Let’s compare notes! Q
David Schraffenberger is VP and General Manager of P r o d u c t i o n
Advantage, Inc . in Williston, VT. David is Past Presiden t o f t h e Ver m o n t /
New Hampshire Marketing Group and a member of the Bo a r d o f Tr u st ees
for IATSE Loc al 919. He is the dealer representative on t h e P L ASA N o r t h
Americ an Regional Board, ac tive in the PLASA Business Peer G r o u p,
and serves on the PLASA Business Resourc e Group. Dav i d c o m p l et ed h i s
undergraduate degree at Johnston State College in 2007 a n d r ec ei v ed
his MBA from Norwic h University in 2009. He welc ome s q u est i o n s a n d
c omments at Biz [email protected]
No matter where your business takes you …
there are always USITT
members nearby waiting
to make connections!
Part of what
makes us . . .
FALL 2 0 1 3
TSP News
Yardlong beans and standards
printer two weeks before All Hallow’s
Eve, Dia de los Muertos, Thanksgiving in
Canada—but it’s not that time yet. As I write
this, it is still late summer, and home-grown
crops are ripening. One of my neighbors has
yard-long beans dangling over her garden
fence, almost touching the ground on the
other side. When did they appear? I used to
walk by and admire her fig trees; the trees are
still there but eclipsed in glory by the beans,
which grew unnoticed by me.
Standards are like that, too: months,
years of waiting, no noticeable progress—
and then they’re done! We publish them,
but nobody seems to pay attention,
so much work for naught—and then
they’re cited in model codes by standards
developers far more famous than PLASA,
in regulations with legal weight, and people
are talking about them, reading them,
using them—all the things that the 190+
voting members of PLASA’s Technical
Standards Program work for to make the
entertainment industry safer, simpler, and
more profitable. Many of the TSP’s projects
recently have come to fruition, and many
more are ripening in the field.
ANSI E1.21 Adopted
in Kentucky Code
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In the Winter 2012 issue of Protocol, a TSP
News sidebar urged PLASA members to
promote our standards with local code
officials. Doing just that, Richard Nix,
Project Coordinator at Entertainment
Structures Group and resident of Kentucky,
met with Kentucky Building Commission
officials. The result is that on August 2,
2013, Kentucky Building Code was officially
adopted by legislature with a Section
430.16.2 that requires temporary roof
structures used in outdoor events to comply
with ANSI E1.21. A link to the full text
of the code and more information about
the Kentucky Department of Housing,
Buildings, and Construction is available at
ANSI E1.21
Referenced in the IFC
A proposal has been accepted to include
reference to ANSI E.21 – 2006 in Section
3105 of the International Fire Code
2015 edition. The submission was made
by Anne vonWeller representing Witt
Associates, one of the companies that
investigated the 2011 Indiana State Fair
stage collapse. The investigations of that
event by several companies found no
clear guidance in the national codes, no
regulatory oversight in Indiana, or any
voluntary compliance with ANSI E1.21
– 2006, Temporary Ground-Supported
Overhead Structures Used To Cover Stage
Areas and Support Equipment in the
Production of Outdoor Entertainment Events,
despite its having been published five years
previously. vonWeller thought that E1.21
would be more likely to be followed if local
code officials required compliance, and that
could be accomplished if it was referenced
FALL 2 0 1 3
in one of the widely adopted model codes
written by the International Code Council.
She wrote a proposal for the 2015 edition of
the International Fire Code, your Technical
Standards Manager endorsed it, and she
submitted it. It was offered for public
review and received no negative comments,
which means it will be included in the 2015
edition. The new edition of the IFC, when
it becomes available, will be listed at the
International Code Council’s online store at A similar proposal
has been submitted for NFPA 102.
Some people in the entertainment
industry have questioned why E1.21 should
be cited in the International Fire Code
rather than the International Building Code.
There are many reasons, one of which is
timing—the IFC revision cycle made it a
better candidate—but a better second reason
is that the IFC has elements of event safety
management in it, and an important part of
E1.21 is the Operations Management Plan,
an event safety management plan. To use a
portable outdoor roof safely, there has to be
a plan in place and followed to monitor the
weather and to take appropriate action when
severe weather is likely. Safety is not simply
a structure issue; it’s an issue of how the
structure is used, day to day. The IFC deals
with those kinds of issues, and fire inspectors
are used to asking about them. Furthermore,
municipal fire inspectors are used to doing
checks for special events at odd hours on
weekends and holidays, unlike the local
building inspector who is generally available
only during regular business hours.
TSP News | Yardlong beans and standards
A new E1.21
sooner or later
As I write this, the Rigging Working Group
is voting to accept a revised version of
E1.21 as an American National Standard.
The existing standard from 2006 is being
updated, and the scope has been expanded
to cover the design, manufacture, and use
of all the portable structures (not only
roofs) used to support scenery, lighting, and
sound equipment and to cover the stages in
the production of outdoor entertainment
events. The title is also being changed to
reflect the different scope; it will be called
“Entertainment Technology — Temporary
Structures Used for Technical Production
of Outdoor Entertainment Events.” If they
approve it, and the Technical Standards
Council and North American Executive
Committee concur, I should be filing a BSR9
form for final approval with ANSI before
the LDI2013 show.
ANSI approval on this standard may
take a bit longer than usual. Most of
the time, I can report no unresolved
public review comments to ANSI, but
with E1.21, we have one public review
commenter who continues to object. His
objections are unresolvable because he
doesn’t tell us exactly what requirements
are objectionable and what they should
be to satisfy him, and he frequently cites
events and regulations irrelevant to the
standard as arguments against the standard.
However, he is adamant and persistent.
ANSI doesn’t require us to please everyone,
but it does require us to try. I will have to
submit documentation showing reasonable
attempts to resolve objections. ANSI staff
will review that documentation, and that
extends the approval processing time.
National Standard. The Rigging Working
Group previously approved the acceptance
with the required supermajority, and with no
negative votes and no “Yes with comments”
votes that needed consideration. There are
no unresolved public review comments.
E1.6-4 is a standard for the portable
control systems that are used to control one
or more fixed-speed chain hoists. When
it is finally approved and published, we
will have all the parts of the E1.6 powered
rigging project done—at least, done until
it is time to reaffirm, revise, or withdraw
them. American National Standards are
required to be reviewed on a regular basis;
they are never fixed, immutable. American
National Standards older than ten years
don’t exist; ANSI withdraws the approval
if they are not revised or reaffirmed before
their tenth anniversary.
And a bit later
BSR E1.48, A Recommended Luminous
Efficiency Function for Stage and Studio
Demand More.
Next up:
Chain hoist control
Equipment, Expendables, Systems, and Rigging
for Entertainment and Architectural Lighting Since 1947.
…ˆV>}œÊUÊ>>ÃÊUÊi˜ÛiÀÊUʈ>“ˆÊUÊ iÜÊ9œÀŽ
866.502.2724 | [email protected]
FALL 2 0 1 3
Another ballot that is still open is the
Technical Standards Council’s ballot
to approve E1.6-4, Portable Control of
Fixed-Speed Electric Chain Hoists in the
Entertainment Industry, as an American
Luminaire Photometry, was offered for a
second public review and again received
one response, a “No with reasons.”
However, the reason is irrelevant to the
standard, so it is unlikely to result in the
Photometrics Working Group revising the
standard. If we don’t change it, it’s ready
for a final approval vote.
The public reviewer’s objection to the
standard is that it is difficult to accurately
measure light at the extreme ends of the
spectrum. While there may indeed be
technical difficulties in measuring the light
energy, these measurement problems would
be outside the scope of the standard. The
standard is for the function that is used
to convert those energy measurements to
lumens or other units that express perceived
brightness by humans. Indeed, the argument
that the difficulty of measuring light means
that our proposed V(λ) function should
not be applied is an argument that could be
offered with equal validity against applying
any V(λ) function, whether the CIE 1924
TSP News | Yardlong beans and standards
function, the CIE 2004 function, or any
other to light measurements. Fundamentally,
it’s an argument for the futility of measuring
light. We are unlikely to stop doing that, but
the Photometrics Working Group will decide
at its November meeting what the official
response will be.
Recently published
FALL 2 0 1 3
Two new standards have been published
recently: ANSI E1.6-2 – 2013, Entertainment
Technology — Design, Inspection, and
Maintenance of Electric Chain Hoists for the
Entertainment Industry, and ANSI E1.45 –
2013, Unidirectional Transport of IEEE 802
Data Frames Over ANSI E1.11 (DMX512-A).
ANSI E1.6-2 is for the electric chain
hoists that are often controlled by the
E1.6-4 controllers. It looks like a pretty
simple standard, saying some basic things
about how the hoists should be designed
and how often they should be inspected,
but the really important thing is that the
standard exists for electric chain hoists
used in the entertainment industry.
Without this standard, if an Authority
Having Jurisdiction in the United States
looks for a chain hoist standard, he’ll find
B30.16, Overhead Hoists (Underhung). That
standard, as is the case with all the B30
standards for hoists used in general industry
and construction, will tell you that the hoists
are not to be used for lifting people or for
lifting loads over people—never mind what
conservative design factors have been used,
redundant braking systems, or whatever—
and lifting people and loads over people
is just what we do in the entertainment
industry. There are European standards
that allow the use of hoists to lift loads over
people in some situations, and they are good
standards, but few US government officials
are going to consult a European standard if
an American one exists, and that is B30.16.
ANSI E1.6-2 gives the American AHJ an
alternative perspective for looking at hoists
that aren’t being used in factories.
ANSI E1.45 – 2013, Unidirectional
FALL 2 0 1 3
Transport of IEEE 802 data frames over ANSI
E1.11 (DMX512-A), defines a minimal
method to transport IEEE 802 data
frames unidirectionally over ANSI E1.11
physical links using an Alternate START
Code. The primary motivation is to allow
communication of 802 data to luminaires
over an ANSI E1.11 DMX512-A datalink
for data transmission by those luminaires
using Visible Light Communication, IEEE
802.15.7. However, this standard may be
used to transport any 802 data for any
purpose. The project was started at the
request of Control Protocols Working
Group members who are research staff
at the Electronic Telecommunications
Research Institute in South Korea. They see
an exciting future for VLC, but the data to
be transmitted from a luminaire needs to be
transported to the luminaire. This standard
describes how to do it on a DMX512-A
show lighting network.
ANSI E1.6-2 – 2013 and ANSI E1.45 – 2013
are now available for download at http://www.
TSP News | Yardlong beans and standards Free download
of these and other PLASA standards from
the PLASA website is made possible by the
sponsorship of Prosight Specialty Insurance.
The standards also are available for purchase
for $40 each from ANSI’s eStandards Store at
Never mind . . .
In the last issue of Protocol, we announced
a new project within the Control Protocols
Working Group: BSR E1.49, DMX512
Extensions for Architectural Lighting and
issued a call for people and companies with
a material interest in the project to become
involved. A similar call for participants was
published in ANSI’s Standards Action. No
one responded to either announcement.
At the TSP’s summer meetings, the E1.49
task group met and discussed the market
need for the standard and what it might
do that cannot already be done with ANSI
E1.11 (DMX512-A) or E1.20 (RDM). They
decided that there was little probability
of significant uptake of a new standard in
the architectural market, and very little, if
anything, that a new standard would be able
to do that can’t already be done with E1.11
and E1.20, perhaps with the addition of a
few new PIDs to E1.20. Accordingly, the
task group recommended that the project
be dropped. The Control Protocol Working
Group has voted to do so. The only thing
remaining to be done is to inform ANSI of
the abandonment of the project.
Ah well, the people in PLASA’s Technical
Standards Program have other things to
do—many other things. I think I’ll check
my garden to see how the habanero peppers
are coming along. Q
Karl G. Ruling is
PLASA’s Tec hnic al
Standards Manager.
He also serves as
Protocol ’s Senior
Tec hnic al Editor. He
c an be reac hed at
[email protected]
PLASA’s TSP works to maintain a balance of interest on
the working groups to help ensure that the standards
developed are for the benefit of everyone: the people
who make equipment, the people who sell or rent it,
the people who specify it, and the people who use it.
To do this, periodically the TSP issues a call for new
members in particular interest categories. At this time,
the following working groups are looking for voting
members in the noted interest categories to help
balance the interests in the working group.
Control Protocols: dealer/rental companies,
Electrical Power: dealer/rental companies, designers
Floors: dealer/rental companies, designers—and
anyone with a material interest or expertise in fall
Fog and Smoke: dealer/rental companies, designers,
Photometrics: dealer/rental companies, designers,
Rigging: designers
Stage Lifts: users, general interest
Voters in PLASA’s Technical Standards Program are
required to attend meetings and to vote on letter
ballots. Membership in PLASA is not a requirement
for participation in the PLASA Technical Standards
Program. More information about becoming involved in
the Technical Standards Program is available at http://
FALL 2 0 1 3
Call for members
Soft Sell
Nurturing a customer
relationship is worth
the long-term investment
QGet to know your clients; find out their wants and needs; look
FALL 2 0 1 3
“A sale is not something that you pursue, it is what happens to you
while you are immersed in serving your client.” ~ Anonymous
for ways to make their lives better; when they consider you an
asset (and not just a predator), you’re on the right path.
QProvide better, more consistent, and more timely service and
support than your competitors.
QUnder promise and over deliver.
QWhen you can, make it personal; find out what drives people
outside of their jobs; learn about their hobbies and interests
outside of work; ask about their families and remember and
recognize important events in their lives; this is not just
“good business” but can also be interesting and rewarding on
a social level.
QEntertainment (meals, sporting events, concerts, etc.) can be
very effective as long as it doesn’t feel like a setup for a onenight stand; always try to make the effort to know what they
like and tailor your efforts to their personal tastes.
Building a relationship with a client is not all that different than
dating. It takes time to get to know each other. No one wants to feel
like a target. No one wants to feel used and—most definitely—no
one wants to feel like a “one night stand.” Service, support, and
attention to detail are vitally important before, during, and after any
sales transaction. Take good care of your clients and they will reward
you with their loyalty, their patience, their friendship, and—oh
yeah—their purchase orders. To paraphrase an old cliché: It can take
a long time to build a strong relationship with a client, but it can be
destroyed in far less time through neglect, indifference, and lack of
service and support.
Finally, we all strive to find balance in our lives. We want to have
successful careers, and we want to work at jobs that reward us both
financially and emotionally. If your personal life is “in order” and
working well, it will have beneficial results on your sales efforts.
Conversely, a successful career based on service and support to your
clients can also do wonders for your personal life. Q
A WISE PERSON ONCE SAID to me that “if you’re a hammer,
then everything looks like a nail.” Building on that thought, “if
you’re a salesperson, then it must follow that everyone is a potential
customer.” This is very likely true but puts way too much emphasis
on the end result and not nearly enough focus on the process that it
takes to get there.
If there is one thing that most definitely sets off our radar and
makes us suspicious and wary, it would be the feeling that we have
bull’s-eyes painted on our backs and that we are the targets of an
over-eager salesperson whose only goal is to “bag an order.”
I don’t know about you, but the last thing that I want is for my
clients to feel suspicious or wary. I definitely don’t want them to feel
used or taken advantage of. I do, however, want them to feel that I
have their back, that I know and understand what they want and
need, and that my goal is to provide them with outstanding service
and support. If I can do that (and it’s not as easy as it sounds), then
an order will almost inevitably result, and I will have won not just
a customer for one transaction, but—hopefully—I am on a path to
build a lasting relationship built on mutual respect that will result in
multiple orders over a long period of time.
This takes a substantial effort. It requires a salesperson to know
and understand his or her clients at a fairly deep level. It takes
patience and perseverance. The initial cost (especially in terms of
time and energy) can be high, but the results can be outstanding.
These include: multiple orders over an extended period of time,
loyalty, fair and reasonable prices, patience and understanding when
things go wrong (and they will inevitably go wrong at some point),
understanding and consideration, and (if you’re really lucky) a
personal relationship built on service, trust, and—yes—friendship.
One common approach to a sale is to demonstrate to your client
that they will realize a substantial return on their investment (ROI)
in a reasonable period of time. As sales professionals, we need to
apply that same logic to our own efforts. Yes, it takes an investment
of time and money to build a strong, long-lasting relationship
with our clients. The initial cost can be significant, but the ongoing
maintenance can be less onerous, and the ROI on multiple orders
can be very, very profitable.
“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of
others.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi
Bill Groener is the General Manager for the Sy stems a n d Desi g n g r o u p
within 4Wall Entertainment Lighting. He is also a memb er o f t h e P L ASA
Governing Body and the Vic e Chair of PLASA operating i n N o r t h Am er i c a .
FALL 2 0 1 3
Eva Swan Award
PLASA North America’s most prestigious honor, the Eva Swan Award, is
presented only when there is an exceptional candidate who has:
• Devoted extraordinary efforts in time, expertise, and personal resources
• Been instrumental in shaping and promoting PLASA’s strategic direction
• Made major contributions to the realization of PLASA’s mission, goals,
and objectives
• Enhanced the value of membership for all
members’ choice
PLASA Members’
Choice Product
Award nominees
Mark your calendar for the annual PLASA
Cocktails and Awards Reception Thursday,
November 21 at the LVH Hotel
The 2013 PLASA Cocktail and Awards Reception, a key
networking event during LDI, will be held Thursday,
November 21 at the LVH Hotel (formerly the Las Vegas
Hilton). We will celebrate the 2013 Rock Our World Award
finalists (see the article on page 30) and winners along
with the many volunteers who have made outstanding
contributions to our association during 2013. With a 5:30 –
7:30 p.m. event time frame and low cost, the PLASA Cocktail
and Awards Reception allows for the inclusion of guests
and staff and the opportunity to make valuable industry
connections—with plenty of time to take clients to dinner.
Reserve your spot now at
While on the show floor at LDI, stop by the PLASA
booth 2251 to pick up your ballot for the PLASA Members’
Choice Product Awards. PLASA members may vote for their
favorite featured products highlighted on the LDI show floor.
(Exhibitors may not vote for their own products.) See ballot
for voting details; the deadline for returning ballots is 3:00
p.m. on Saturday, November 23. The 2013 winners will be
announced that evening during the annual LDI2013 Awards,
held on the show floor immediately after closing. Here are the
nominees at press time:
Previous Swan Award winners:
Bill Sapsis
Rick Rudolph
Tim Hansen
Mike Wood
Wally Blount
Bill Groener
Michael J. Garl
Paul Vincent
John T. McGraw
George Sabbi
Frank Stewart
Glenn Becker
Frank Stewart Volunteer
of the Year Award
This award is presented to an individual or a group of volunteers
in appreciation and recognition of their extraordinary effort and
outstanding service to PLASA North America during the previous year.
Previous Stewart Award winners:
Joe Champelli, Kim Corbett, Chris Kaiser, Michael Lichter, Jack Miller, Jim
Niesel, Pete Svitavsky, Harvey Sweet, and Steve Walker
Patrick Bash, John Bleich, David Boevers, Marcel Boulet, Eric Braun,
Olan Cottrill, Dan Culhane, Brad Dittmer, Jim Doherty, Russ Dusek, Tony
Galuppi, Kelly Green, Tom Heemskerk, Dan Houser, Glenn Hufford, Ed
Kish, Eric McAfee, Joseph McGeough, Brian Miller, Joe Mooneyham,
Walter Murphy, Mark O’Brien, Eric Rouse, Michael Reed, Stephen Rees,
Bill Sapsis, Peter Scheu, Loren Schreiber, Karen Seifried, and Gil Vinzant
Carly Barber, Leigh Blicher, Charlie Davidson, Tom Fletcher, Greg Meyers,
J.R. Reid, Marc Stephens, Scott Taylor, Mark Tye, and Mark Wofford
Scott Blair and Eric Johnson
Peter Willis
Bob Luther, Fred Mikeska, Dinna Myers, Eddie Raymond, David Taylor,
Steven Way, and Rich Wolpert
The Behind the Scenes Application for Assistance Review Committee
(whose identities must remain confidential due to the nature of their work)
Dan Antonuk, Ole Bystrup, Stuart Cotts, Flemming Jensen, Richard
Lawrence, Rick Leinen, Kevin Loewen, Alan Martello, Philip Nye, and
Yngve Sandboe
Ken Vannice
Scott Blair, Javid Butler, Milton Davis, Gary Douglas, Doug Fleenor, Bob
Goddard, Charles Reese, Tracy Underhill, and Peter Willis
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Rocky Paulson, Eddie Raymond, and Bill Sapsis
new cooling system allowing maximum power consumption at a
minimum noise level, integrated radio DMX512, and three-phase
stepper motors for rapid and precise movements.
Altman Lighting Inc., booth 1327
Spectra Cyc UV
A 100 W cyclorama/wall-wash luminaire using high output 365 nm
UV LED emitters. Blends the output via a patented LED lens and
reflector combination, which reduces pixelization from direct view.
On-board power supply allows for direct power and data input
which can be daisy chained through up to 20 units. Designed for
use on 6' – 8' centers, units can be linked side by side for greater
saturation of light. Compatible with both DMX512 and RDM
and comes with a library of pre-programmed fixed intensities and
various intensity effects. Units can be used for both floor and SkyCyc applications.
Darklight, booth 1563
Gantom iQ-R
The most compact and rugged recessed profile LED downlight on
the market. Easily adjustable and focusable. Imagine projecting
crystal clear menus onto restaurant tables with a push of a button!
Enttec Pty Ltd, booth 2312
Storm 24
A high-density device that allows the user to convert large amounts
of DMX-over-Ethernet data into DMX512 while keeping costs
under control. Easy to use with a web-based, user-friendly graphical
interface. The simplified display screen allows users to create a flow
chart easily, by dragging and dropping, making the whole process
easier to understand and manage. Supports multiple protocols,
including Art-Net-1, -2, and -3, sACN, and ESP. It has 24 DMX512
output ports on RJ45, one gigabit Ethernet port, and one RS232
input for profile selection via serial command.
Chauvet Professional, booth 1141
Nexus 4x4
The Nexus 4x4 has been enthusiastically specified in high profile
stage and tour designs including the Emmy winning The Voice
television show, the current Pitbull US Tour, the Billboard Music
awards, MTV Awards (including the entire backdrop for the Miley
Cyrus performance), the Orange Bowl stadium in Florida, the ANZ
Stadium in Australia, Justin Bieber and Taylor Swift (Z100 Jingle
Ball), Coachella, and Tiësto. The combination of COB technology,
super bright RGB LEDs, pixel-mapping, and a clever reflector design
delivers original visual impact.
ETC (Electronic Theatre Controls, Inc.), booth 1415
Source Four LED CYC adapter
Double duty with one luminaire. Attach the CYC adapter, and any
Source Four LED becomes a tool for lighting cycloramas. Switch
out the adapter, and the Source Four LED returns to use in other
positions, on or off stage. Use ETC’s Selador x7 Color System to add
drama to your backdrops.
Clear-Com, booth 718
Eclipse HX-Delta Matrix Intercom
The matrix intercom offers capabilities of larger matrices in a
compact 3RU frame for small theatres as well as large performing
art complexes. The system seamlessly integrates with IP-based
intercom software and digital wireless intercoms. It also delivers
many connectivity options to extend communications (Ethernet/IP,
AES, fiber, and more).
Johnson Systems, booth 112
J-PACK Relay Pack
Universal hi-power series of three- and six-channel relay packs rated
at a full 20 A per circuit. Designed for dry contact and/or DMX512
power control of LED luminaires, distributed commercial fluorescent
installations or any environment where fast, precise, high-power
control is demanded. They can be wall-mounted for permanent
installations, 19" rack mounted, pipe mounted, or used as portable
units. Long distance communication via DMX512 protocol lowers
electrical installation costs and allows for centralized control.
coolux GmbH/ International, booth 1825 and 2318
coolux Pandoras Box QUAD Server Version 5.5
Multiple outputs, real-time show controlling and 3D media
compositing are combined with groundbreaking next generation
features like “interactive content.” Users can now access HTML
pages and render them as so-called browser assets in order to make
them visible and to use them on graphics or video layers.
J. R. Clancy, booth 835
SceneControl 5000 Family of consoles
Superior programming capabilities and safety features with
advanced motion control software. Unlimited programming of
shows, complex cues, and synchronized groupings. Ability to
network several consoles for multi-users to control many stage
components. Safety algorithm restricts motion based on position,
digital inputs, or speed of adjacent elements. Optional: 3D
performer flying, SIL3 E-stop.
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Creative Stage Lighting – JB-Lighting, booth 1235
Sparx 7
A compact and extremely bright wash-light. Equipped with 19
multi-chip RGBW LEDs in the 15 W class, this luminaire builds on
the superior technology of the A8 and A12 wash-lights. Includes a
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now, it’s
Lex Products, booth 1153
PowerRAMP Crossover Cable Protector
With a 32,600 lb/axle rating, this innovative design brings distinct
advantages to the industry by delivering durability, safety, and
convenience. The quick mating and un-mating “slip notch” release
design is compatible with industry standard cable protectors. The
wide center channel will accommodate #2 AWG five-wire banded
assemblies with a completely closed lid. This makes the PowerRAMP
a great cable crossover for use at indoor and outdoor events,
performances, and photo/film shoots.
Lyntec, booth 1367
LynTec Remote Power Control Mobile (RPCM)
The intelligent mobile power distribution panel features switchgrade motorized circuit breakers for electrical protection and on/
off control within a single enclosure; branch circuit level current
monitoring to balance loads in real-time; and a built-in web server
to manage and control distribution on the network using browserenabled smart devices.
OSRAM, booth 641
KREIOS SL 3,200 K/60 W LED Set Light Fixture
LED luminaire for studio, theatre, and wash-light applications with
3,000 lumens, that equals the intensity of 250 W halogen unit using
only 60 W of power. OSRAM OSLON LEDs yield high CRI of 95.
Variable beam angle with broad dimming capability, this luminaire
includes a full line of accessories. Priced for an economical, energyefficient investment.
Production Resource Group (PRG), booth 1425
PRG Mbox Studio
A feature-rich software-only product designed to run on any
user-supplied Mac computer. Identical to the full Mbox in terms of
movie playback effects, transition functions, offering eight playback
layers, and a fully-functional pixelmapping toolset. Plays back SD
and HD content. Mbox Director software included for a consolefree graphical user interface.
Robert Juliat, booth 715
Variable White TIBO LED Profile Spotlight
2,700 K / 5,700 K color temperature compliments the three original
color temperature models (3,000 K, 4,000 K, and 6,500 K) for
additional flexibility in any situation where a small, quiet, and
efficient LED Profile is called for.
Bringing the world’s latest
entertainment technology to you
PLASA Focus is a new style of regional event that brings cutting edge
technology to a town near you.
Get your hands on the latest pro-audio, lighting, video and stage technologies
and learn about new techniques from the industry’s top talents.
The exhibition is free to attend and gives you free access to the PLASA
Professional Development Program - an un-beatable line-up of seminars,
product demos and training. Register today for your free ticket, and receive
the latest new product info direct to your inbox.
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Rose Brand, booth 1035
Jacquard fabric
Jacquard fabrication allows a designer to create fabric with intricate
custom patterns and imagery at a small required minimum yardage.
With Jacquard, artwork is not printed but digitally knitted into
the fabric itself. The result is a more luxurious look and feel than
ordinary fabric printing can produce.
Nashville, February 18-19, 2014
Darklight, booth 1563
Gantom iQx
The world’s smallest gobo projector with zoom and focus is now
DMX512 controllable. Users can create razor-sharp images in places
unreachable with traditional sources. Excellent for event signage and
special effects in low-light venues such as restaurants, bars, clubs,
and museums.
Apollo Design Technology, booth 1441
Little Focus 5 Wrench
Made from durable stainless steel, this wrench is a sleek, handy tool
for your focusing needs. Made from durable stainless steel, the Little
Focus 5 provides easy access to common bolt sizes found in the
industry, 3/4", 1/2", and 3/8" openings.
Enttec Pty Ltd, booth 2312
Pixie Driver
Available in 110 W, controlling up to 600 RGB LEDs, and 55 W,
driving up to 300 RGB LEDs, the Pixie has two five-pin XLR inputs
for 1024 DMX channels of control and up to four universes (110 W
version) via USB cable from a computer running a special utility.
Clear-Com, booth 718
RS-701 Analog Beltpack
Analog partyline beltpacks have an ergonomic, durable design
for everyday use. Its tough exteriors come with recessed tactile
controls and bright LED indicators. High headroom with lownoise audio enables delivery of crystal clear “Clear-Com Sound.”
RS-701 beltpack is equipped with XLR-connectors, making them
compatible with all Clear-Com partyline systems.
ETC (Electronic Theatre Controls, Inc.), booth 1415
Source Four Mini
A Source Four in projection, punch, and efficacy, the 9" Mini
is a serious lighting tool. 50 W tungsten/halogen MR16 lamp
for exceptional brightness. Crisp Source Four optics and image
projection. Bright even field. 19°, 26°, 36°, and 50° field angles. Uses
conventional accessories, including E-sized pattern holder and gelmedia frame.
coolux GmbH/ International, booth 1825 and 2318
Widget Designer PRO Version 4.5
This is a versatile software tool for creating, cross-connecting,
and controlling custom interactive AV experiences. It allows
programming non-specialists creative flexibility and control with a
very short learning curve.
Lex Products, booth 1153
EverGrip Molded Stagepin Connector
This revolutionary cULus Listed assembly uses patented EverGrip
encapsulating technology to resolve longtime industry problems
of damaged housings and ineffective strain reliefs. The proprietary
design uses a premold that bonds the cable and connector together
as well as an impact-resistant overmold that insulates while
providing an ergonomic gripping surface. The 100 A extensions are
available in 125 VAC and 250 VAC ratings while 60 A extensions are
available in 125 VAC.
Insurance Renewal
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Darklight, booth 1563
Nano Spot
No larger than a pen cap, this is one of the smallest and more
affordable LED spotlights on the market. Mountable anywhere with
tape or screw, easily adjustable swivel head gives full range of motion.
Excellent for back of stage and console lighting with zero glare. Q
All information provided above was submitted from the
manufacturers’ entry forms for the 2013 Members’ Choice Product
Awards. All product claims are those of the manufacturer and have
not been vetted for accuracy by PLASA or Protocol staff.
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PERG’s 2013 New York event
document and our data security documents are available at our
The Production Equipment Rental Group includes equipment
rental companies that serve the motion picture and television
production market. As PERG council manager, I am eager to
learn more about the issues faced by rental house owners. We are
always looking for good ideas about how PERG can promote our
member-companies and open to opportunities for positive change
in the industry. Please contact Harry Box at [email protected]
with your ideas. Q
LAST YEAR, at the end of October, just days before hurricane
Sandy swept up the Eastern coast, the Production Equipment Rental
Group (PERG) held a meeting at Abel Cine Tech that brought
together rental house owners from around the New York area. The
agenda for the evening was a general discussion of issues facing
the rental industry and some of the ways PLASA PERG has been
working to address them. Some of the topics discussed: rental terms
and conditions, the issue of client data returned on storage devices,
stolen equipment, the PLASA job board, rental software, benefits of
PLASA membership, and the good work of The ESTA Foundation’s
important charity, Behind the Scenes.
Harry C. Box has more than 20 y ea r s o f
experienc e in motion pic ture a n d t el ev i si o n ,
spec ializ ing in c inematograph y, c a m era , a n d
lighting. Harry is a member of t h e C i n em a t o g ra p h y
Guild and the Soc iety of Camera Op era t o r s a n d
is the author of the highly -re g a r d ed t ex t The Set
Lighting Technician’s Handbook (n o w i n i t s fo u r t h
edition). He serves as Counc il M a n a g er fo r t h e
PLASA Produc tion Equipment Ren t a l G r o u p.
We are always looking for good ideas about how
PERG can promote our member-companies and open to
opportunities for positive change in the industry.
This year PERG has decided to hold another event in New York—
this time with no agenda and, with any luck, no natural disasters. On
October 15, PLASA PERG members are joining forces with members
of the Association of Independent Commercial Producers (AICP)
to sponsor an Oktoberfest party. The party is the sponsors’ way of
saying “thank you” to their clients. The party is for members and by
invitation only. It is expected to be attended by folks from all corners
of the New York production scene and should be a great time.
Since the focus of this party will be brats and beer, I am leaving
my power point at home this time around. However, I feel dutybound to remind the membership about the ongoing programs that
are part of PLASA/PERG membership.
Theft of rental equipment is an ongoing problem in our
industry. We encourage any company who has experienced a
theft to report the items on the PLASA Missing Equipment List at
We are actively trying to build up use of the PLASA job
board. The job board is a great way to locate the kind of
specialized, dedicated talent you are looking for. Check it out at
PERG has developed documents to help rental houses with
common issues. The AICP/PLASA sample Terms and Conditions
ASPEC votes to join with PLASA
The Association of Studio
and Production Equipment
Companies (ASPEC) in the UK
voted at its September meeting
to begin
under the
umbrella as of
January 2014. ASPEC members
will become full members of
PLASA and will function as a
special interest group within
the association that continues
to focus on the needs of the
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film, television, and broadcast
community. ASPEC will be
working closely with PLASA’s
Production Equipment Rental
Group in North
and sharing
common rental
issues that affect all those
involved in the sector. One of
the first joint initiatives centers
on finding ways to combat the
significant increases recently
seen in theft and fraud.
Raising the bar with ETCP
iWeiss grows with ETCP
in 1985 (anyone remember 1985?), the
company’s installation department consisted
of two old timers who hung curtain track
and curtains. It seemed to me that the
prevailing attitude of the day was, “If it’s up
when we leave the theatre, it will stay up.” I
figured it was time to bring in fresh blood.
Our first dedicated rigging person knew
his stuff, but there was no ETCP in those days
so I decided to impose the following edict:
“Make sure you would allow your children
to work or perform on this stage.” That
certainly raised the bar, but we were far from
where I wanted us to be. The next step was to
begin to use outside engineers to review our
methodology. Looking back, I think we were
unknowingly heading in the direction where
ESTA would take a leading role.
With the hiring of Richard Parks in
2001, our rigging division really started
to grow. Richard came to iWeiss with
academic credentials as well as a good deal
of work related experience. As we tackled
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David Rosenberg, Richard Parks, and Jennifer
Tankleff at LDI
increasingly larger projects and went from
doing only manual rigging to automated
rigging, Richard set standards for the
hiring of project managers and crew. We
switched to domestic-rated hardware and
bought equipment only from recognized
manufacturers. We also began to send all
of our drawings out for engineering review
and did not install anything until those
drawings were stamped.
iWeiss Via Winches installed at Riverside
Church’s South Hall
Pipe Battens at the new DePaul University
Theatre School
When the ETCP program was
announced, Richard was in the first
graduating class. Our project managers
Lauren Duffy and Nick Belton received their
certification soon after joining our team, as
do all of our lead installers.
We are supportive of the efforts that
ESTA, now PLASA, has made to bring
standards to our industry, and we are
pleased to see that ETCP certification is now
a requirement on many jobs.
As iWeiss continues its growth with
our own Via line of automation products,
maintaining the standards that ETCP
brought to the industry is increasingly
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important. Our draftsman is now planning
to become certified. With the addition of
Russ Dusek to our team, we have someone
who served on the committee to develop
the second set of exam questions. We are
confident he will be of great help to raise
that bar even higher.
We applaud the efforts of all involved
in the birth and growth of the ETCP
program. Q
David Ro sen b erg i s
Presiden t o f i Wei ss a n d
respon si b l e fo r o v er seei n g
all c om p a n y b u si n ess,
though h e l ea v es d a y - t o day o p era t i o n s t o i Wei ss
Vic e P r esi d en t J en n i fer
Tankleff. Da v i d h a s r u n
the c o m p a n y fo r 28 y ea r s.
Prior, he had 15 y ears of prod u c t i o n a n d t o u r i n g
experienc e putting shows in t o m o r e t h a n 300
theaters in the United State s, C a n a d a , a n d
ETCP News | Raising the bar with ETCP
The maze of life—or, plan and prepare for an ETCP exam
By Richard Cadena
very good resources
for studying for the
ETCP test, and many
of them are free. Take
advantage of the
resources and read
as much as you can
about the subject
matter on the test.
LET’S SUPPOSE you were visually impaired and you were trying to negotiate
a maze. How far do you imagine you would get if the first time you bumped
into an obstacle, you gave up, and went home? On the other hand, what
if you were like Google maps, and every time you took a wrong turn, you
would say to yourself, “Recalculating...” and tried another route?
Life is nothing if not maze-like. We all run into obstacles, and we all bump
into walls. But not all of us give up and go home if we don’t find the
opening the first time. Those who have the ability to recalculate are the
ones who eventually find their way through the maze of life and conquer
their goals despite the obstacles.
QBelieve in Yourself.
As Walt Whitman
said, “Trust thyself;
every heart vibrates to that iron string.” The first step toward becoming
certified is to believe that you are capable of becoming certified. Visualize
yourself completing the perfect test with all the right answers. Picture
yourself opening an email telling you that you’ve passed the test. See
yourself opening a letter in the mail and finding an ETCP Certification
card with your name and picture on it, putting it in your wallet, and
carrying it everywhere you go. That first step is the easiest and the
hardest, and it’s non-negotiable.
As an ETCP Recognized Trainer, I’ve taught hundreds of classes, seminars,
and workshops, helping people like you to prepare for taking the test. If
there is one thing in common with those who have become certified—it is
that they don’t give up easily. Not everyone passes the test the first time
they take it. In fact, I would guess there are a good number of people who
have to take it more than once to pass. There is no shame in having to take
it again; the shame is in giving up and not taking it again. Those who retake
the test have the advantage of knowing what to expect, and they have the
benefit of knowing how best to prepare to retake it.
QEvaluate Your Strengths and Weaknesses. Before you can improve
your chances of success, you need to know what you know and what
you don’t know. I’ve been working on an evaluation for aspiring
entertainment electricians to help you figure out where you need work
and where you don’t. You can take the evaluation test free of charge at, but perhaps the best way to see if you are ready to
take the ETCP exams is to purchase the practice exams at
If you are preparing to take the test for the first time, the second time, or
the third time, here are some pointers:
QRead the ETCP Candidate Handbook. Download the ETCP Candidate
Handbook at and read it, especially the part about what
is on the test. Circle the parts that you are unfamiliar with or that you
think you need help with. Now you’ve got your roadmap to success. All
you have to do to conquer your goal is to focus on your weaknesses and
make them strengths.
Today, there are less than 400 ETCP certified entertainment electricians in
North America. How many entertainment electricians in North America are
uncertified? I don’t know, but I would estimate that number to be around
100,000, which means that if you are certified, you are in the top 1% or less
of your peer group. That’s an elite category and
something to aspire to. If you’re already certified,
congratulations on negotiating the maze of life.
If you are not yet certified, I’m certain there’s an
opening in a wall near you.
QTake the Practice Test. Go to (or
oc5ln), cough up $35, and take the ETCP practice test. It will be the best
$35 you’ve spent on yourself because taking it will give you a good idea
of what to expect when you take the real test.
QPut in some O.T. Jeanette Farmer, one of the subject matter experts
(SME) on the ETCP Entertainment Electrician’s exam used to be the
technical director at one of the Cirque du Soleil shows in Las Vegas. There
were around 60 techs in her chain of command, and when I asked how
they were all trained and kept current, she said Cirque asked them to put
in their “own time.” In other words, they were asked to read something
about their jobs for at least a few minutes every day. There are lots of
Richard Cadena is an ETCP Rec ogniz ed Trainer.
For more information about available training
opportunities, visit www.APTXL.c om.
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The ESTA Foundation News
Delegates at the IATSE 67th Quadrennial Convention held July 22 - 26, 2013, in Boston, MA.
IATSE shows support for
Behind the Scenes at all levels
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(IATSE) General Executive Board Meeting
in July in Boston, President Matthew D.
Loeb asked the board members to set an
example by approving a $25,000 donation
to Behind the Scenes. President Loeb told
the board, “Behind the Scenes supports
IATSE members in times of hardship and
need. We must stand behind this charity
so that it may continue its good work on
behalf of people working in our industry.”
The vote followed a brief video
presentation showing grant recipients
speaking about how Behind the Scenes
helped them at a particularly difficult time
in their lives. The board’s unanimous vote
set in motion a wave of support for the
charity from IATSE Locals and members
around the country.
Lori Rubinstein, who represented
Behind the Scenes at the board meeting
and the IATSE Quadrennial Convention
the following week, commented, “The
response was immediate and powerful.
Throughout the course of the convention,
many people came by to collect
information on Behind the Scenes so they
could take it to their home Locals to vote
on a donation. Many people also told me
they had a brother or sister in their Local
who was in need of assistance.”
Some Locals and regions voted on
donations during the convention while
others acted immediately upon returning
home as contributions began arriving
shortly afterward. Those Locals that
have already stepped up to follow the
International’s lead include United
Scenic Artists Local 829, Makeup Artists
& Hair Stylists Guild Local 706, Motion
Picture Costumers Local 705, and Florida
Studio Mechanics Local 477. Individual
members have also contributed generously,
sometimes in honor of or in memory of a
loved one.
Behind the Scenes is grateful to
President Loeb for his support and for
leading the way to ensure that Behind the
Scenes will be able to help all those who
come to us for assistance.
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Holiday cards available
at LDI and online
Get a jump on the holidays by picking up
your Behind the Scenes holiday cards at
booth 2251 or placing your order online at The
2013 cards were created by an impressive
array of all-star designers and young talent:
Kenneth Foy’s designs have been
seen around the world in theatre, opera,
dance, circus, and themed environments.
Highlights include Broadway productions
of Candida, Macbeth, Annie, and Gypsy;
Carmen, Madama Butterfly, and Pagliacci
for Houston Grand Opera and Porgy and
Bess for La Scala; production designer
for Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey
Circus; and numerous national and world
tours. Kenneth has been a member of the
Scenic Department of the Metropolitan
Opera for 25 years.
Anna Louizos has received Tony
nominations for The Mystery of Edwin
Drood, In the Heights, and High Fidelity.
Other Broadway credits include Avenue
The ESTA Foundation | IATSE shows support for Behind the Scenes at all levels
Q, White Christmas, All About Me, To Be
or Not To Be, Steel Magnolias, and the
currently running Cinderella. She has
also worked extensively Off Broadway
and in regional theatres around the
North America, including the Stratford
Shakespeare Festival, Dallas Theatre
Center, and the Ahmanson, and provided
art direction for Sex and the City.
Chris Nyfield is the Design Director/
Partner at Silent House Productions. Silent
House, the Los Angeles-based production
and design company, was formed in 2010
by award-winning designers Baz Halpin
and Chris Nyfield. Since its inception, Silent
House has been responsible for the design
and direction of some of the most successful
concert tours in recent years, some of which
include: Taylor Swift’s Speak Now and
RED, Katy Perry’s California Dreams tour,
Sade’s Sade Live!, and P!NK’s The Truth
About Love.
Melissa Pfeiffer is a junior at the Mount
Vernon Senior High School Fine Arts
Academy in Mount Vernon, IN. She has
participated in many art competitions and
shows at both regional and national levels.
Melissa’s career plans include working with
CITT honors BTS
The Canadian Institute for Theatre Technology bestowed their Honorary
Membership Award on Behind the Scenes at their 2013 Awards Banquet in Calgary,
Alberta on August 17. Bill Sapsis, pictured here with CITT Vice President Gerry van
Hezewyk, accepted the award on behalf of Behind the Scenes.
The 2013 LRLRs received a fire truck escort into Middleton, WI to visit ETC.
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The ESTA Foundation | IATSE shows support for Behind the Scenes at all levels
ILC Golf Outing raises funds for BTS
available. The boutique is a great place to
pick up holiday presents and support your
colleagues in need at the same time!
The LRLRs celebrate
10 years and
$400,000 raised
Intelligent Lighting Creations (ILC)
hosted their second annual Behind
the Scenes Golf Outing, held at the
Indian Lakes Resort on July 9, 2013.
With the help of more than 60 golfers
and additional reception attendees,
ILC was able to provide Behind the
Scenes with a donation of $5,500. Scott
Falbe, CEO of ILC presented the check
to David Saltiel, a member of The ESTA
Foundation’s Board of Directors.
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music in film, video, and graphic design.
Court Watson is a set and costume
designer whose work has been seen in opera
houses, theatres, and theme parks around
the world including Glimmerglass Festival,
Goodspeed Opera House, Shakespeare
Theatre, Salzburger Landestheatre,
Deutschestheater in Munich, Busch
Gardens, and SeaWorld. He is a two time
first place winner at the Southeastern
Theatre Conference and won the Barbizon
Prize at the Kennedy Center / American
College Theatre Festival.
Greg Williams of Positive Contrast is
a freelance photographer whose work has
been featured in numerous magazines,
In addition to ILC, many sponsors
showed their support including Lex
Products, Philips Vari-Lite, A.C.T
Lighting, Apollo Design, Vistage
International, Navigator Systems,
and Mahoney Designs. Additional
contributions were also made, as well
as donations of items for the silent
auction and raffle by Broadway in
Chicago, Chicago Shakespeare, Theatre
Seven of Chicago, Drury Lane, The NeoFuturists, and TC Furlong.
catalogs, and websites, as well as private
collections. He is a co-founder of the
Long Reach Long Riders annual charity
motorcycle ride to raise money for Behind
the Scenes and Broadway Cares/Equity
Fights AIDS.
Visit the BTS
Boutique at LDI
The BTS Boutique at LDI, in booth 2251,
will feature holiday cards, note cards,
polos, tanks, silk ties, and a USB-powered
ghostlight perfect for your laptop or lighting
or audio console. A new batch of Bob Scales’
popular handmade ghostlights will also be
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The Long Reach Long Riders celebrated
their 10th anniversary and more than
$400,000 raised for Behind the Scenes,
Broadway Cares/Equity Fights Aids, and the
Actors Fund of Canada with a ride in July
that saw them dip their toes in all five Great
Lakes. This was the largest group of riders
assembled to date, and, by all reports, they
were a well-oiled machine by the end of the
first day. Paul Vincent and Vincent Lighting
Systems hosted the kickoff dinner the night
before the ride started. Vincent Lighting
is the only company to run an ongoing
Workplace Giving Campaign for Behind the
Scenes where employees donate a percentage
of their earnings from every paycheck. One
of the highlights of the ride was the fire
truck escort into Middleton, WI arranged
by Patrick Stewart and the kazooers that
welcomed the riders to the ETC factory
where they were given the full tour by Fred
Foster, President of ETC. ETC has been a
major supporter of Behind the Scenes since
its inception, and this visit provided the
opportunity for the LRLRs and ETC to say
thank you to one another.
Include Behind the
Scenes in your
holiday giving
Many companies are choosing to make
donations to charity during the holidays as a
way to say thank you to their employees and
customers. What better way to pay tribute
than to support the charity dedicated
exclusively to assisting them in times of
crises? You can bring help and hope to those
dealing with serious illness and injury by
remembering Behind the Scenes in your
holiday giving this year. Q
Hot light. Cool source.
WIN T ER 2 0 1 3
AUSTIN | SEPTEMBER 10-11, 2013
PLASA Focus: Austin
It’s not weird
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“KEEP AUSTIN WEIRD” is the legend on
innumerable bumper stickers, T-shirts,
badges, and other items of Texan tchotchke.
Although about one and a half million bats
live under the Congress Avenue Bridge, I
don’t think Austin is weird, and definitely
PLASA Focus: Austin, held September
10 – 11 at the Palmer Events Center, was
not weird. It was a pleasant exposition:
a chance to attend some Professional
Development Program sessions featuring
local industry experts, talk to vendors and
local theatre/event folks, look at products,
and learn. PLASA Focus shows are not big
shows—they aren’t intended to be—but
this year’s PLASA Focus: Austin had the
second highest attendance among the five
PLASA Focus shows held so far in the USA.
The Professional Development Program
was particularly successful comparatively.
Usually around 30% of those preregistered
attend a session; this time, attendance was
about 50%—but Austin is a university town,
so attending class is part of the culture.
I attended four of the 15 sessions. All I
attended were given by industry experts who
also happen to be Austin locals. Mike Wood,
a Scouserati but now considered an old-timer
by Austinites for having been a resident
for 18 years, presented “Color rendering
metrics for Solid State Lighting. Is there a
pinch of salt large enough?” It was the best
explanation I have heard for why CRI doesn’t
work with LED lighting. Richard Cadena (an
Austinite for more than 35 years) moderated
“Remote Device Management (RDM) for
the Busy Technician,” with fellow Austinites
and RDM task group members Scott Blair
and Eric Johnson providing the technical
substance. Richard also interviewed audio
engineer Rich Davis for “Audio Engineering
for Live Performance.” (Davis lives in
Houston, a two-and-a-half-hour drive away,
but that’s almost local by Texas standards.) It
was a conversation about starting out in the
profession and current technical problems.
I had always appreciated cardioid subs for
the technical difficulty of what they do;
now I understand how important they are
for performers. Marc Stephens (another
Austinite, unless he wants to claim Dallas)
presented “The Current State of Technology
in the Motion Picture Industry—a Location
Production Overview,” which was a rundown
of about the last decade or so of digital
cameras and the shift from tape to solid-state
media. You can read about some of these
topics (TLCI is the topic of Mike Wood’s
column in this issue of Protocol), but I like to
watch the audience—who is paying attention,
what bits seem to be confusing or particularly
interesting—to better understand how the
topics affect our industry.
There were more sessions, of course, but
I wanted to spend time on the show floor
so people could talk to me about standards
and I could talk to people about just about
anything business-related. It wasn’t a large
floor—a person could blow through it
in 40 minutes—but the point of PLASA
Focus is for people to talk to people, to get
to know the vendors and their offerings.
I’m not really the audience for PLASA
Focus—getting to know the Texas dealers
won’t help me with a show back home in
Connecticut—but I had a good time talking
to people when they weren’t talking to
prospective customers.
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Marnie Styles of Ultratec Special Effects
and I talked about customer service and
the importance of fixing not only what the
customer is complaining about but also the
things that could become problems soon
after the immediate one is removed. Nobody
tests a fog machine before they absolutely
need it, so reliability is essential.
I wandered over to the Xtreme Structures
booth and started talking to Michael
Wells about Aten Reign, the James Turrell
installation at the Guggenheim Museum that
turns the rotunda into an enormous volume
filled with intensely hued artificial light
contrasting with a little disk of daylight at the
top. The volume is defined by a big smoothsurfaced structure in the middle of the
museum that looks like the finest plasterwork
you have ever seen. However, closer
inspection from the Guggenheim’s spiral
walkway reveals it is a knit fabric, supported
by a skeleton of aluminum box trusses. My
story was about spotting the trusses dimly
visible through the cloth; Michael’s was
revealing that the trusses were his.
Those were good conversations, but two
that fit together into a theme were ones I
had with Norman Wright of Group One
and Jeff Mateer of Apollo Design. Norman
was standing in the elektraLite end of
the Group One booth, lit by the intense
light from LED luminaires representing
what Norman described as “the families
of elektraLite.” If these are families, they
must be polygamists to account for all the
children. The families include the 1018 with
quadcolor or pentacolor LED modules,
the eyeBall with quadcolor or pentacolor
LED modules, or an array of four different
Mike Wood demonstrated in his talk on color
rendering metrics how badly CRI describes LED
The IATSE booth usually had a good crowd in it.
Julien Chevalier manned the Nicolaudie
America booth.
Rick and Adriana Hutton showed InLight
Gobos. The glass color gobos are made of
extremely thin layers of glass to avoid depthof-field problems.
Phil Spector was known for the “Wall of
Sound;” Elation can be known for the “Wall of
Michael Wells (left), Billy Phillips (back right),
Donna Deverell (right), and Heather Marie
Short (center front) were on hand to tell
people about what Xtreme Structures and
Fabrication can build.
The A.C.T Lighting booth had a riot of logos
to show some of the companies it represents,
including Clay Paky, GDS, MA Lighting, MDG,
Reel EFX, and Wireless Solution.
Paul Rabinovitz and Marnie Styles stopped
chatting long enough to pose for a picture in
the Ultratec Special Effects booth.
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monochrome modules, and the Dazer
in cool white, warm white, daylight,
RGB, RGBA, UV, variable white, and
“theatrical white” (a white made up of
a range of white LEDs). Then there are
the various lens combinations to vary
the beam widths. The interesting bit of
the conversation was about how Norman
designs and has these units manufactured
in Guangdong Province. There are many
Chinese companies making generic
luminaires that they will rebadge for
customers, but the elektraLite luminaires
are made for Group One to Norman’s
specifications. Guangdong is like a giant
hardware store, with almost whatever one
might need available just a bit down the
road, so it is relatively easy to assemble a
unique product line, although he did have
to source critical parts from overseas, such
as the lenses from Japan and LEDs from
the USA, Japan, and Taiwan. Norman
emphasized that excellent quality is
available if you write a tight specification,
hold your suppliers to it, and import parts
where necessary. The modular nature of
LED luminaires makes it relatively easy for
Group One to offer customized versions
for customers. Would you like Dazers that
only produce red light, as one theme park
did? No problem if you order a few score.
Jeff Mateer in the Apollo Design
Technology booth was showing two new
LED luminaires: the AP5 Can and the
AP7 Wash. The Can is an on/off whitelight unit that delivers 1150 lumens from
a single source with a 21 W input. The
Wash is a seven-module RGBW colorchanging unit that consumes 110 W
and is said to deliver 415 lux at 5 meters
with the standard 21° beam, 4268 lux
with the optional 7° beam. These units
are made by Apollo in Ft. Wayne, IN;
as President Joel Nichols explained in a
later phone conversation, Apollo has a
passion for making things. These are the
beginning of an Apollo-made, off-theshelf luminaire product line, but they are
also an introduction for Apollo’s custommanufacturing services. “Hey, we’ve got
an idea. Can you make it?” is what Apollo
wants to hear from prospective clients.
Make it in China, make it in the USA, or
make it somewhere else. There are advantages
and disadvantages to every option, but the
chances of success are greatly enhanced if
people are really committed to what they are
making. I talked to a lot of people at PLASA
Focus: Austin who are passionate about their
products. It was a pleasure to talk to them
and to see their latest offerings.
The next PLASA Focus will be in
Nashville at the Municipal Auditorium,
February 18 – 19, 2014. Check it out, see
some new equipment, learn some things,
and have good time meeting people. It’s free,
too! And definitely not weird. Q
PLASA Focus: Austin products and news
The following is a selective listing
of products and news, in addition to
those mentioned in “It’s Not Weird.”
scenic and lighting rental house
and also as a designer for exhibits,
theatre, and special events.
0energy Lighting
The FlexAray family of stage and
studio LED luminaires, available in
RGBAW, variable white, and static
white 3,200 K, 4,400 K, and 5,600 K.
All units have a proprietary reflector
and unique optic design. The line
is distributed by Creative Stage
Creative Stage Lighting
CSL is now a master reseller for High
End Systems.
A.C.T. Lighting
The GDS MobalTester is a portable
19-pin cable diagnostic tool that
checks continuity and connected
Aeson Event Technologies
The RPM Wash 720 is a 7 x 20 W
LED moving head featuring OSRAM
RGBW four-in-one LED sources.
Applied Electronics
The LA 12-25 mini-line-array tower
is hinged for easy loading and works
with many popular array designs.
Big House Sound
This Austin-based provider of live
sound gear is also a specialist in
audio, video, and lighting system
integration for commercial spaces.
Clients include 10,000 Maniacs and
ZZ Top.
CAST Software
BlackTrax is a tracking solution that
delivers precise positional data in real
time to controllers for automated/
robotic technologies.
Chauvet Lighting
The WELL Quad-M is a small,
lightweight, battery-powered wash
uplighter, featuring a single 20 W
RGBA LED. The Nexus 4x1 and Nexus
2x2 feature individual pixel control
for pixel-mapping options.
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CommuniLux Productions
Communilux offers services as a
d&b audiotechnik
The ArrayCalc is a simulation tool for
planning system configurations. It
calculates and displays the physical
parameters of up to 14 individual
arrays, including loading for rigging
Drape Kings (
The three-way inline hanger works
with standard and telescoping
uprights, allows for double fabric
layers and banner hanging, and
features a durable black powder-coat
Elation Professional
The TVL F1WW and TVL F1CW are
warm white (3,200 K) and cool
white (5,600 K) fresnels that use
100 W, 50,000-hour LED sources.
Both feature a DMX512-controllable
12° – 40° spot-flood and dimmer. The
Rayzor Q7 is the smallest and fastest
moving head LED wash/beam that
Elation Professional has introduced
to date.
Enttec Americas (
The Aleph 2 ET LED light bar comes
in four sizes and features six colormixing LEDS. Also shown was the
Aleph Matrix LED 20 mm-pitch pixel
panel, a 64-pixel tile designed for
indoor applications.
The impression X4S features seven
RGBW LEDs, each rated at 15 W, and
a 7° – 50° zoom range. It uses the
same optics as GLP’s impression X4.
The Volks/Licht Spot features a 300 W
RGB LED engine with smooth field
Group One (
Version 7 of the Avolites Sapphire
Touch lighting console software
features Titan Remote for fast and
simple fixture focusing. It also
supports RDM.
High End Systems
The Hog 4 family of control desks
includes the top-of-the-line Hog 4
console, the Full Boar 4 with the
same power in a smaller package, the
compact Road Hog 4, and the Nano
Hog 4. The latter uses the Road Hog 4
front panel as a control surface for a
laptop or PC.
InLight Gobos
The company will participate in The
Aurora Project, a free contemporary
art exhibition centered in the Dallas
Arts District.
Intelligent Lighting Services
The Canto 56 LED spotlight uses a
200 W LED engine and offers a 8°
– 22° variable beam angle; a large
side handle to control pan and tilt
movement; and DMX control for
remote operation.
InterAmerica Stage
Company news included notice of
a custom SkyDeck wire tension grid
installation for the Mary Moody
Northern Theatre at St. Edward’s
University in Austin.
James Thomas Engineering
The company reported being very,
very busy with custom truss projects
for clients such as The Smashing
Lex Products
EverGrip Motor Control Cables
use Lex’s overmold technology to
eliminate “spinners.” The cables
feature 7- and 14-pin Veamcompatible, quarter-turn motor
configuration connectors.
The Light Source
The LED Recessed Luminaire for
houselight applications is designed
for easy installation by building
electrical contractors.
Link USA (
The expanded line of DGlink
connectivity products, including the
DGlink Protocol Convertor (for MADI,
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EtherSound, and Dante), DGlink
Redundant Gigabit Media Switch
for Touring, and the DGlink CWDM
Optical Interface system, which is
capable of transporting up to eight
distinct networks via one redundant
fiber backbone.
Look Solutions USA
The Tiny S fogger is the latest version
of the Tiny series. The fluid reservoir
and battery fit into the machine, so
no external power cable or fluid tube
are needed.
Mainstage Theatrical Supply
Company news includes supplying
dimming and lighting control systems
to the Zachary Scott Theatre in
Martin Professional
RUSH is a line of affordable effects
lights. The RUSH MH 1 Profile is an
LED moving head with two gobo
wheels, two color wheels, and an
output of 3,600 lumens. The RUSH
MH 2 Wash features RGBW colormixing and a 20° fixed beam angle.
Mega-Lite (
The Baby Color Q70 is a quad-chip
color changing fixture less-than-5"square but using seven 10 W LEDs.
Morpheus Lights
Ayrton’s MagicPanel 602 is a moving
head modular LED luminaire that
displays media via the ArKaos
KlingNet protocol. It also can be
controlled via DMX512 and RDM.
The display is made up of 36 x 15W
RGBW modules fitted with 7° 45 mm
Navigator Systems
HireTrack NX, an SQL database for
fast queries using the company’s
graphical interface, was previewed.
Nicolaudie America
The Sunlite Suite 2 and Lumidesk
PC-based lighting controllers were
Ka rl G. Ru lin g i s PL ASA’s Technical
Standards Manager. He also serves as
Protocol ’s Seni o r Technical Editor. He can
b e reached at karl [email protected] org.
Robe (
The ROBIN Pointe is a dynamic beam,
spot, and wash fixture with a 280 W
Osram discharge lamp. Features include
a 5° – 20° zoom with full focus control,
variable frost, two separate prism
effects, rotating and static gobo wheels,
and built-in color wheels. The MiniMe is
a tiny video effects lighting unit. Colors,
gobos, and beam shapes are digitally
generated by the on-board micro-media
Lucinda Watson and Jason Waller were on-hand
to tell people about James Thomas Engineering
The Light Source booth was the brightest
booth at the show. ISO 800 was enough
to allow Eric and Joyce Von Fange to be
photographed with a 1/250 second shutter
0energy Lighting had a fully outfitted booth
this time, not just a few lights, as it had at
Stamford. David LaVigna and Lizzie Solms
were ready to demonstrate the versatility of
the FlexAray.
Anne Hunter showed glass gobos and the UV
MIRO Cube in the Rosco booth.
John Nemanich talked to interested people
about Lex Products’ power distribution
Jeff Mateer showed the new AP7 Wash colorchanging LED luminaire in the Apollo Design
Technology booth. The cylindrical housing is
machined from a billet of aluminum.
Norman Wright was brilliantly illuminated by
elektraLite LED luminaires in the Group One
Keith Bohn and Max Wilson were present to
represent Tomcat USA.
Rosco (
The MIRO Cube series of LED wash
lights consume 48 W and output more
than 3,000 lumens into a compact 4"
cube. Rosco now offers the GamColor
line of color filters.
Show Sage (
WATCHPAX, from Dataton, is a
solid-state media player tailored for
maximum performance with Dataton’s
WATCHOUT multi-display production
SHS Global (
The MagicPar range from TourPro
Lighting Solutions has 24 x 3 W RGB
LEDs and a 28° beam angle. Control
is via DMX512 or standalone with
static colors, auto programs, and sound
Stagecraft Institute of Las Vegas
Jonathan Deans and Anne Valentino
have joined the school’s board of
directors. Institute head Jane Childs
reported that 73 students completed
last summer’s course of study.
ProBurger couplers attach securely
to tubes and combine strength and
durability with a high degree of safety.
Also new was a media holder for the
Solaris Flare strobe.
Tomcat USA (
The guy cable tension gauge allows
simple, accurate setting and verification
of guy cable tension on outdoor
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Among the company’s upcoming
projects is work on the National
Museum of African-American History,
part of the Smithsonian Institute in
Washington, D.C.
The Robe stand was one of the most spectacular at Entech.
Entech 2013:
What’s up Down Under?
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ABOUT 17 YEARS AGO, Julius Grafton,
publisher of Connections magazine, invited
me to visit the show in Sydney, Australia
and to give a talk about standards. This year,
the invitation came via PLASA Events, but
the result was the same: I visited the Entech
trade show in Sydney, Australia and gave a
talk about standards. It was a delightful visit,
even more interesting and informative for
me than my last. While 17 years ago is pretty
far in the past, it gives me a context for
writing about Entech 2013.
Entech 2013 was held July 23 – 25 at
the Sydney Convention and Exhibition
Centre—the same venue in which Entech
1996 was held in April of that year. The
number of exhibitors back in ‘96 was
slightly more—more than 100 rather than
65—but the number of attendees this year
was an all-time high: 4,705 unique visitors
or 5,469 including revisits. The show was
held in conjunction with the SMPTE
Australia Conference and Exhibition, with
staging, sound, and lighting equipment
in the Entech hall, and video production
equipment and cameras—and drones and
piloted helicopters to carry cameras for
aerial shots—in the SMPTE hall. There was
a good buzz on the floor just about all the
time; my perennial joke about planning
in advance to cancel the last day because
nobody ever shows up on the last day simply
would not have made sense at Entech 2013.
The number of exhibitors belies the
number of companies’ products shown.
At Entech 2013, as was true in 1996, many
of the exhibitors are distributors of a wide
range of products, including well-known
global brands. However, some of the
distributors also had locally made products,
and there were a few manufacturers
exhibiting only their own products.
Looking for news, I spent most of my time
investigating native Australian products.
Mention “steel band hoist” to a rigging
aficionado and Germany comes to mind,
but they’re made in Australia, too. Harris
Movement Engineering showed the HME
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The Bose stand featured live performances
that drew a crowd, and usually resulted
in people staying after the performances
to learn about modular column speaker
ProBand Hoist, a studio hoist with a 3 m
lighting bar supported by four steel bands,
two on each end. A connector strip above
the bar offers distributed dimming with
Philips IGBT dimmers and Ethernet and
DMX512 ports. Jands also showed a steel
band lighting batten studio hoist: the SLX100. This is a German/Australian product
with ASM Steuerungstechnik providing
the two-band lifting engine and Jands
providing the chassis and 2.35 m lighting
bar. However, the hoist product with the red
NEW tag on the Jands stand was a wire rope
drum hoist with super-redundancy—dual
motors, dual gearboxes, dual brakes, dual
encoders: a complete drive system at each
end of the grooved drum—to satisfy some
authorities having jurisdiction in Australia
who insist on no single-point failure mode.
Amanda Adler, assistant to the PLASA CEO, was on the PLASA stand to tell visitors about what
PLASA is doing for the industry and the benefits that PLASA membership offers.
The second drive and braking system for the
new Jands hoist was hidden in the base of the
display stand. It was identical to the exposed
Its price was said to be competitive with
hoists having less redundancy.
The HME hoist documentation lists three
Australian standards for hoists and machine
safety; Framelock Structures beats that with
compliance claims for five national and
international standards for its Framelock
Barriers line of crowd control fencing, plus
a couple of Australian state regulations! The
barriers and fences are available in a range
of powder-coat colors, making it possible to
use the barriers to designate paths or special
areas at an event. The company also makes
a line of modular counters and countertops that attach to barriers to make food
service bars, T-shirt stands, ticket counters,
et cetera.
Good ideas are born in a pub. At least,
the napkin-sketch is part of the story of
Discgo, a mobile-device charger shown at
Entech. It’s a disk small enough to be carried
easily, but too large to fit into a pocket,
that can recharge two phones at once and
four phones before the Discgo itself has to
return to its charging station. Besides being
a benefit for a pub or club’s customers with
low-battery smart phones, the Discgo’s case
is a place for little static ads, and there is
a smart phone app that will list the venue
as a recharging station and run realtime promotions. A built-in 50 m alarm
discourages theft, and a paging feature helps
locate Discgos lost under banquettes. I saw
some in use at Entech, recharging phones
in exhibitor booths where no electric power
had been ordered.
Between the Discgo and PLASA booths
was a sound company proving that claves
can sound like rifle fire, but on the other side
of the PLASA booth, away from that noise,
was Classic Audio Designs, playing solo
jazz piano pieces to demonstrate the clarity
of their Grover Notting Principal Audio
Monitor speaker systems. I asked for some
literature and was given a CDROM with
an 88-page manual of setup instructions,
operational procedures, specifications, and
service data, and also an explanation of
the technologies applied, the philosophies
and values underpinning the product line,
a chapter on the benefits of music, and
material identified on the front page as “food
James Wheeler, head of staging, (foreground)
shows the powered rigging system on the grid
of the Sydney Opera House to Marti LoMonaco,
professor of theatre at Fairfield University, and
Bill Sapsis, President of Sapsis Rigging. The
tour of the backstage and mechanical areas of
the Opera House was arranged by James Niesel
of Arup. I’m behind the camera.
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for thought.” The Grover Notting Power
Plants (amplifiers) operate class AB with
linear power supplies and offer extremely
low distortion, very low noise, and “imagingfront to back depth, typical of a live
performance.” The speakers and amplifiers
are described as being for professional/
industrial application, but clearly they are
designed by and for audiophiles.
I could have spent almost my whole time
in seminars at Entech. In ‘96, there were 20
seminars; in ‘13, there were 43 running in
three concurrent tracks, starting an hour
before the trade show opened and ending
only an hour before it closed. The sessions I
The Jands Vista L5 is the top-of-the-line, latest
addition to the Jands Vista range of consoles
and control surfaces. The desk sports a 21"
pen-tablet LCD screen, 25 playbacks, a rotary
grand master, and a DBO button.
A visually busy trade show floor is not unusual,
but the booths in foreground were daylight-lit,
and there was still lots of color in the air.
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Regularly scheduled demonstrations in the
Jands booth drew crowds not so large as to
block the aisles, but large enough to signal
something important.
attended had fairly good audiences and gave
me an idea of what people are talking about
in Australia.
One of the sessions, “SWMSs RHAs JSAs
Inductions Cl,” touched on a topic I covered
in “Who Employs Temporary Workers” in
the last issue of Protocol. Shane Hodges,
Senior Worker Health and Safety Officer at
the Australian Film Television and Radio
School, recently wrote me to say that the
issues in that article are, for the most part,
now covered in recent Australian national
safety legislation. The responsibilities of all
parties are clearly defined. Granted, but the
way this has been done has resulted in the
cryptic acronyms in the session title. An
SWMS is a Safe Work Method Statement,
which is similar to a JSA, a Job Safety
Analysis, but for high-risk construction
work. High-risk construction work includes
work at heights of more than two meters;
demolition; temporary supports for
structural alterations; and any work that is
near electrical installations, among other
things. These are conditions that you will
often find in event or entertainment venues
that make working there be “high-risk
construction work.” The core of SWMS and
JSA is risk assessment and remediation,
which is fundamental to planning for
safety, but the formal process is rather
bureaucratic to people in show business,
and some attendees complained that the
safe work methods never made it from the
words on paper to the actual work. (More
information about JSAs and SWMSs is
available at
I remember in 1996 people saying they
wanted safe events and entertainment
work environments but not wanting to
be considered part of the construction
industry by the government. It seems that
now, in 2013, being considered part of the
construction industry has come to pass. I
won’t knock it if it results in work being
planned for safety, but it has resulted in
some strange licensing requirements. For
example, if you are a rigger on a trade show
load-in, you need to be a qualified rigger
for the construction industry (it’s all the
same to the government). To gain that
qualification, you need to demonstrate the
ability to raise and position tilt-up walls
and columns using a crane. This is a handy
skill if you assemble parking garages and
warehouses, but not so useful putting up a
trade show booth.
Another thread that ran through the
sessions and that stretches back to 1996 is
the call for people in the industry to work
together to promote safe work practices. In
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‘96, “Safety in the Performance Space” was
held at the Sydney Opera House the day
before Entech opened and resulted in the
formation of the Australian Entertainment
Industry Safety and Standards Association.
That organization is now gone, but the
Event Safety Alliance of Australia was
formed at Entech Connect in Melbourne
last year. This year ESAA had a session,
“Improving Event Safety in Australia,”
which was a plea to develop an Australian
version of the UK’s Event Safety Guide.
“Qualifications Update/Where to Now?”
also was a plea for people to collaborate on
creating a certification program specific for
the event/entertainment industry.
I heard a lot about “the tyranny of
distance” at Entech, usually in the context
of how far Australia and New Zealand are
from just about everywhere, but it also
applies within Australia. Australia is the sixth
largest country in the world by area, but it’s
the 55th in population. That is, Australia
has almost exactly the same land area as the
USA’s contiguous 48 states, but it has only
90% of the population Texas. There is lots
of space between population centers. It’s
difficult for an industry to come together
to address common problems and to speak
with a united voice to the government if
people have to travel long distances to meet.
Teleconferencing and social media are useful,
but some things are better discussed face-toface. People still need to get together to talk.
Entech Connect 2014 will provide
another chance for the Antipodean events
and entertainment industry to get together
to talk. The show will be held July 23 – 24 at
the Royal Exhibition Building in Melbourne
and will emphasize even more than Entech
2013 did education, networking, and on-site
training for pro audio, audiovisual, systems
integration, lighting, and staging. Perhaps I
won’t have to wait another 17 years to find
out what’s up Down Under. In which case,
I’ll see you there. Q
To read Karl Ruling’s 1996 Entech show
report, you’ll find it on page 50 of the
Aug/Sep 1996 issue of TCI: Theatre Crafts
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PLASA London:
Success at Royal Victoria Dock
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almost everyone at PLASA London 2013,
held October 6 – 9 at the ExCeL London
Exhibition and Convention Centre, was,
“How does the show seem to you?” I am
sure this is your first question, too, dear
reader. It’s a perennial trade show question,
but one asked more often this year, since for
the first time in more than two decades, the
PLASA show was not held at the Earls Court
Exhibition Centre. Short answer: Great! The
exhibition space was filled to the walls with
exhibitor booths, and the aisles were full of
visitors. More than 11,000 people (subject
to ABC audit) attended the show, with more
than 2,200 visitors coming from 84 countries
outside the UK. The show was busy, bright,
and clean. Now, the longer answer:
The new venue, ExCeL London, is a
modern exhibition center of about 100,000
square meters on the north side of Royal
Victoria Dock. It is organized into two
column-free, exhibition/event spaces of
about 44,000 square meters each, which
are divisible into smaller halls by movable
partitions. PLASA London used a large
portion of the south hall to create a main
exhibition space equal to that used at
Earls Court last year. Adjacent to the main
exhibition space, but separated by a wall,
was the 1,000-square-meter AudioLab
Arena. The Professional Development
Programme seminars and the Rigging
Conference were held in meeting rooms
south of the main exhibition hall, one floor
up, with windows and a balcony overlooking
the Royal Victoria Dock. The exhibition
space was a column-free rectangle, and
the seminar rooms were along a straight
hallway, with numbers identifying the
doors in addition to the signage made for
the event. The old Earls Court is roughly
triangular space, with a rectangular annex
at the back, zig-zagging hallways, and
named rooms in no apparent order—a
perfect place for getting lost, and I often did.
ExCeL was absolute clarity in comparison.
Everyone I spoke to felt the venue was a big
improvement over Earls Court.
The view of the Royal Victoria Dock from
ExCeL London.
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People were less happy with the location
and neighborhood, but I think the
objections were rationalizations for their
discomfort with things not being what
they were used to. Admittedly, the venue is
further from Heathrow airport, about 30
minutes additional travel time on public
transportation, but it’s a five minute cab
ride from City Airport. You could walk the
distance! The neighborhood immediately
outside ExCeL along Victoria Dock is
dominated by luxury apartments and
restaurants and hotels catering to ExCeL
visitors. Earls Court has more greasy spoons
(as Americans would say) nearby, but if
you wanted a good dinner with clients,
you usually had to get in a cab or the
Underground and go somewhere else. At
ExCeL, a good restaurant is in easy walking
distance, but if you want to get away, Canary
Wharf is nine minutes by the DLR line, and
Leicester Square 30 minutes by DLR and
Jubilee and Northern Underground. It was
quite possible to leave the show floor at the
end of the day, get something to eat, and
make a 7:30 curtain at a West End theatre. I
did and wasn’t rushed. Eventually, Victoria
Dock will be the new normal and the
refrain, “But my favorite restaurants are in
South Ken” will fade to inaudible.
There was an effort to better serve
The Professional Development Programme sessions were always full.
audio companies at PLASA London this
year, with the AudioLab Arena mentioned
above being a particularly good solution
to an old trade show problem: How do
you demonstrate speaker systems without
making a din on the show floor? Sponsored
by MediaLease and supported by Roland
as Technical Partner, the Arena was a
space next to the main hall for repetitively
scheduled demonstrations and “shoot-outs.”
The shoot-outs were simply the playing
of a snippet of music through one speaker
system, then through the next system in
the line, and so on until all had been heard,
and then starting the cycle over again with a
different music clip. No official pronounced
any system the winner; the listeners got to
judge for themselves. Sound vendors I talked
to liked it, and it helped me sort out which
of them I had to make a point of visiting on
the main show floor. Following are some
of those sound and other products I found
Flare Audio was one of the companies
participating in the AudioLab Arena. It
won a PLASA Award for Innovation for
the SB18C, an extremely compact bass
speaker with a boxy enclosure scarcely
larger than its single 18" driver. Nobody
showed me the magic inside, but I was told
there is a network of passages that allows
the enclosure to be about half the volume
of sealed designs while still offering flat
response, a maximum output level of 135
dB, and sensitivity of 105 dB.
QSC Audio won an Innovation Award
for the PLD and CXD Amplifier lines. The
lines each have three four-channel models
nominally rated at 400 W, 625 W, and
1,250 W per channel when driving 4 Ɵ
loads, but you easily can bridge them to
offer more power into fewer channels—up
to 4,250 W for the nominally rated 1,250 W
PLD4.5. The PLD line is designed for live
performance applications and will drive
loads as low as 1 Ɵ. The CXD line is for
permanent installations and has that same
load flexibility but also will drive 70 V and
100 V speaker lines. The amplifiers are a
mere two rack-units tall.
Line 6 won an Innovation Award for
the StageScape M20d, a small “smart
mixing system” that simplifies setting up
and operating a live sound reinforcement
system, particularly for musicians that
have to be their own audio technicians.
StageScape M20d uses a touchscreen with
a graphic representation of the stage, so
touching an image (e.g., the lead vocalist’s
mic) gives access to all the parameters for
that channel, but it also has an array of little
knobs for simply adjusting the volume of
an input. The StageScape M20d guides the
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user through the system setup and does
neat tricks such as automatically sensing
whether each of its 18 analog inputs is line
or microphone level. It also records in 24-bit
WAV format to an SD card, USB thumbdrive, or a computer—and it’s compact too,
with a footprint about as large as a laptop
computer, although thicker to allow for the
over two dozen analog and digital jacks.
I looked at several rigging products at
PLASA London. One was shown last year,
the Limpet, but I had missed its most
interesting feature: the climb-assist. It looks
a bit like a limpet mine, but it’s a hoist with
load-sensing and remote control. One use is
as a retractable lanyard. Set it to keep a slight
tension on a line attached to a fall arrest
harness, and the worker wearing the harness
can move about with the winch paying
out or rewinding as needed. If he falls, the
Limpet slows and stops his fall, and then by
remote control it can lower him down. More
interesting uses are as a 90% climb-assist or
a personnel hoist. The assist helps a person
climb tall ladders with little effort, but in
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The PLASA Innovation Awards committee was given a demonstration of
the features of the Altman Phoenix LED Ellipsoidal.
A.C. Lighting presented products from the over 200 brands it distributes,
including Christie Nitro, High End Systems, James Thomas Engineering,
Jands, Luminex, Philips, and SGM.
Companies along the south wall of the hall
took advantage of the 10 m high ceiling to
make tall booths.
Crowds in the AudioLab Arena listened to regularly scheduled demonstrations of large format and
club speaker systems.
total control of the rate and direction—and
with integral fall protection. The Limpet
can be used as a simple personnel hoist, too,
lifting up to 140 kg or lowering up to 280.
An uninterruptible power supply is available
that will run the Limpet for 40 minutes.
Stage Technologies showed the TipTow
Point Hoist, a compact single-line hoist
that can handle up to 250 kg loads. It has
features supporting incorporation into SIL
3 control systems: primary and secondary
position encoders and load-sensing by
drive-current monitoring and direct
measurement of the servo-motor’s torque
with a load cell. Of course it has dual brakes,
but the question of whether they should
be motor brakes or load brakes is rendered
moot by their being at the junction of the
motor and the lifting drum. There is no
gearbox; it is direct drive.
PLASA London is supported by Platinum
Sponsor Robe Lighting, Gold Sponsor
Martin Professional, and Silver Sponsor
Clay Paky, and those three major lighting
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companies were in big booths along the
back wall of the hall in reverse alphabetical
order. Clay Paky won an Innovation Award
and had the most buzz I heard of the three
in the hall with the A.Leda B-EYE K20. It’s
a multi-source LED automated luminaire,
available in color changing and various
white models, that allows control of the
individual beams. It reminded me a lot of
old disco centerpiece fixtures that moved
a compact filament lamp around behind a
lens array to create pulsating sprays of light
Roland had a live band to provide material for its audio and
video mixers.
Harman got top billing at the Martin booth.
PRG and TMB behind it had good traffic in their booths.
roughly synched to the beat of the music.
However, as Pio Nahum pointed out to me
at PLASA, the B-EYE effect is controllable: if
you find a pattern you like, you can have it
do it again and again—or change it.
Martin, now sporting the Harman name,
was a few booths to the west. It showed a
wide variety of products, but the news was
in the additions to the RUSH line of “costeffective” effects lights—additions so new
they aren’t yet on the Martin website and
had to be described by stickers applied to
Philip Taylor demonstrated the Limpet in the
Lift Turn Move (LTM) stand.
the back of the existing RUSH catalog. The
RUSH MH 4 Beam is a compact moving
head unit designed for mid-air beam effects.
The RUSH Multibeam 2 is two movable
bars of five RGBW LED modules each that
can be controlled to give moving, colored
fans of light. The PAR 2 RGBW Zoom is a
static luminaire using a dozen 10 W LED
modules but creating a homogenized beam
with controllable color, intensity, and zoom
from 10° – 60°.
Further west was Robe, also with a broad
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range of products, but the ones that I heard
people talking about were the Mini-Me
and the Cyclone. The Mini-Me was another
Innovation Award winner, described by
the judges as “the first to bring a new form
factor to digital luminaires.” That is, it’s
small. It’s a video projector moving head,
weighing only 6 kg, with a built-in digital
image library to which more can be added,
or you can drive it with live video. The
unit consumes 90 W and uses an RGB LED
engine to deliver an output “comparable
Josef Valchar holds Robe’s Mini-Me and its
PLASA Award for Innovation. In addition, an
honorable mention was awarded to Robe’s the
Pointe luminaire.
A PLASA Award for Innovation went to SGM
for the G-Spot LED held by Peter Johansen.
Lumen Radio’s Jessica Björk and Marcus Bengtsson with PLASA Award
for Innovation for SuperNova3.
Artistic Licence’s Fraser Connolly, Wayne Howell, and Karen Howell with
the PLASA Award for Innovation for the eSense. An honorable mention
was also awarded to Artistic Licence for the Art-Osc.
The PLD/CXD Amplifier from QSC Audio won a PLASA Award for
Innovation, shown here with Mark Bailey and Peter James.
A PLASA Award for Innovation went to Clay Paky for the A.Leda
B-EYE K20 shown with Francesco Romangnoli and Ben Saltzman. An
honorable mention went to Clay Paky’s Sharpy Wash 330.
with 2,500 ANSI lumen projectors.”
I saw the Cyclone at PLASA Focus: Austin
and thought, “Oh, a fan with lights,” but
conversations with fans of the fan at PLASA
got me to look at again. It’s a moving head
with a central fan surrounded by a ring
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Flare Audio’s Davies Robert holds the PLASA
Award for Innovation for the SB18C. An
honorable mention also went to Flare Audio
for the X5A.
of LEDs that can change color and zoom.
The fan function can be teamed with a fog
machine to put a column of fog into the light
beam, and the fan speed can be adjusted to
beat the fog into uniformity or to produce
lazy fog swirls in the beam of light. Fog fluid
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dealers might not like the idea, but perhaps
less fog will be needed if it is put where it can
do the most good: in the light rather than in
all the dark corners of a venue.
One effects company was showing a video
of an EDM crowd being blasted with jets of
Le Mark’s Dave Cartwright, PLASA CEO Matthew Griffiths, and Le
Mark’s Stewart Gibbons pose with two Brazilian dancers resting from
demonstrating Le Mark’s “Rio Cores,” a multi-color, under-surface
printed dance floor.
Steve Beeston with the PLASA Award for
Innovation for StageScape M20d by Line 6.
Chris “Chippa” Curran and Colin Waters with
the PLASA Award for Sustainability awarded to
TMB for the Solaris LED Flare.
liquid carbon dioxide. Who was checking
the carbon dioxide levels? Antari showed
a new fog machine, the W-715, designed
to produce jets like CO2 but without the
monitoring issues that go with that mildly
toxic asphyxiant. It’s designed to produce
bursts of fog 5 meters tall and a meter wide
that can last up to 20 seconds. The “waterbased” fluid evaporates rapidly, so the plume
The show floor before it erupts with the day’s activities.
of fog quickly disappears, just like a burst of
CO2. A new fluid piping system eliminates
fog burping from the machine after a shot,
so each shot is a clean new effect.
Of course there were some new nonautomated theatrical luminaires with
LED sources. Lites in the White Light
Distribution Zone had a white LED engine,
the HPLed, that fits into the back of an ETC
Source Four once the lamp cap and glass
ellipsoidal reflector are removed. There is
fresnel version, too. I had to visit the booth
several times before I found someone
there whom I could talk to comfortably
in English, and that person seemed to be
more interested in showing me the Phoenix
LED Ellipsoidal on the Altman stand. The
Phoenix unit shown was a 250 W LED
profile spotlight (there is really nothing
ellipsoidal about it, except the name)
available in RGBA, RGBW, and 3,000 K and
5,500 K white. I was told about a tunable
white version, too. The 250 W unit shown
was fan-cooled, but a 150 W unit without
a fan will be forthcoming. No photometric
data was available.
ETC is one of the few companies that
publishes comprehensive photometric
data for its luminaires, including isolux
diagrams and total lumen output, not just
V-charts with center illumination at various
distances. The company introduced the
Desire D22 at the show, a small unit about
21 cm long and weighing only 3 kg. The
22 refers to the number of LED modules
used. Versions offered include the Lustr+ for
complete range of color mixing using the
Seledor seven-color system, and fixed color
temperature white versions in daylight and
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tungsten color temperatures, and the Studio
HD with tunable white. The ETC spec
sheets I just praised are preliminary and
not complete for the D22, but field lumens
for the daylight version is about 2,858 and
about 2,168 for the tungsten version—not
bad for less than 60 W power consumption.
Macostar introduced a new 100 W white
LED 150 mm fresnel with a beam angle
adjustable from 11° – 55°. The spec sheet
only shows V charts for full spot and full
flood and center illumination at various
distances, for example, 275 lux at 11 meters.
When I insisted on knowing how much
light the unit put out, C.S. Wong, the head
of R&D for the company, opened his laptop
and pulled up a stamped report from an
independent testing lab. I can’t read much
Chinese, but the report clearly showed 3,554
lumens at 20°. If the information exists, why
not publish it? “The customers only want to
know about center lux,” C.S said. “Nobody
asks about lumens.” Dear reader, if you
want to know how much light a luminaire
produces, ask about the lumen output.
Center lux will only tell you about the bright
spot in the middle.
The products listed above are only a few
of those I found interesting at PLASA 2012.
Despite the move to digital media and my
culling of any product literature I wasn’t
seriously interested in, I carried a stack
of papers about 30 mm thick as carry-on
luggage when I went home. From that already
reduced stack, I have selected the above. If
you really want to know what was shown and
what people talked about at PLASA London,
you have to be there! Check it out: PLASA
London, 5 – 8 October 2014 at ExCeL. Q
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The PLASA Rigging Conference:
Learning through a lively debate
IT’S NOT EASY to produce an annual
symposium that’s based on a topic that
never changes. In this case, gravity. Or,
more precisely, the defiance thereof. After
a while, you would think there would be
little to discuss and conversations would
start repeating themselves. Well, the PLASA
Rigging Conference seems to have cleared
that obstacle. The fourth annual conference,
held in conjunction with the PLASA
London show at the ExCeL London, was
as interesting as the first one held on Earl’s
Court back in 2010.
This two-day event is designed to
bring together the rigging community to
discuss the issues, challenges, successes,
and failures that affect the entertainment
industry. More than 175 riggers, venue
managers, production managers,
manufacturers, and interested parties from
the UK, Ireland, other parts of Europe,
North America, Australia, South Africa,
and Singapore met to hobnob, debate, and,
of course, tell stories.
What they didn’t do is just as important.
Cristiano Giavedoni, of Kinesys,
mentioned at the beginning of his
presentation that there are two rules for
participating at this conference. First is
the ban on commercialism. If you have
a product or service to sell, do that on
the exhibit floor, not in the conference.
The second rule is no fighting. Everyone
abides by these rules. Heated discussions?
Sure. There’s even a muttered expletive
occasionally, but that’s about it. Egos are left
in the hallway, and the atmosphere inside is
one of conviviality and camaraderie. Who
says riggers can’t play nice?
Sunday afternoon was devoted to an
open forum, ostensibly for those who can’t
make it to the conference itself but would
like an opportunity to participate. Past years
have seen the conversation revolve around
liability and skill sets. This year we discussed
training and the concern that there may
not be enough young people entering the
industry to replace all the grey-hairs that are
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moving out. Michele Enright made some
interesting comments about the demise of
vocational schools in England that were
echoed by the US contingent.
On Monday morning, Robin Elias of
Unusual Rigging started us off on the right
foot with his keynote address. His onehour talk was littered with anecdotes and
stories of his life both in and out of the
rigging industry. Some of his PowerPoint
images were pretty funny too. The 10-ton
mechanical spider crawling up the outside
of a building was very cool. He also showed
some photos of an aerialist project that he
and I collaborated on last year as a run-up
to the London Olympics.
Tradition dictates that the conference be
liberally peppered with coffee breaks, and
this year was no exception. But this time
we got mugs! Previous years saw a bunch
of ham-handed rigger-types standing
around with cups and saucers. Now there’s
an image.
As before, the sessions were scheduled
Robin Elias of Unusual Rigging’s keynote address included diverse
stories about rigging from rock and roll and TV stunts.
Rigging, leading a session devoted to a
better understanding of the German VBG
standards. It’s no secret that there’s been
some concern over the spread of these
standards to regions outside Germany, and
if ever there was an opportunity during
this conference to break rule two described
above, this session was it. For the first couple
of minutes, it seemed we might be heading
down that road, but cooler heads prevailed.
By the end of the session, there was not only
a better understanding of the reasons the
VBG came into being but also, dare I say
it, even some agreement. The double brake
issue, however, remains a bit of a challenge.
Rinus Bakker of Rhino Rigs BV, Jeff Lowell
from Cirque du Soleil, and Oz Marsh of
Global Rigging took on panelist duties for
this session.
Tuesday led off with tea and coffee,
of course, followed by a session on the
Construction, Design, and Management
(CDM) regulations as proscribed by the
Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Gavin
Bull, an articulate representative from
the HSE, provided insight into how the
CDM regulations affect the entertainment
industry and how the industry can use the
CDM to simplify their relationship with
the HSE. Gavin knew what he was talking
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one at a time so all attendees could
participate in every session. Each
presentation was offered by a single speaker
with a three to five member panel of experts
who provided their opinions on the subject
and led the audience in the Q & A.
Cristiano Giavedoni was first up with
a session called “The Lost Islands. Four
Approaches to System Design.” Cristiano
has participated in all of these conferences,
and he is not without skills as a speaker.
His humor and insight made the subject
matter—designing automation controls
systems that do what you want them to do
and are truly safe to operate (a potentially
dry topic)—enormously entertaining. His
sketches are legendary, and once again he
did not disappoint the crowd. One of his
characters, Mario, (an iconic image of the
conference) took us on a tour of the Lost
Islands that was very informative and good
fun. Hans van der Moolen of XLNT, Alex
Hitchcock from Stage Technologies, and
Steve Colley of the Royal National Theatre
made up the panel.
After Mario had gone off to his island,
we had a talk from Ron Bonner, PLASA
Technical Resources Manager, outlining
the effort to turn CWA 15902 into an
EN Standard. Paul Rowlands of the
European Arenas Association then gave us
a description of that organization’s newly
revised document Guidance for Rigging in
European Arenas.
The final session of the day, “The
VBGeebies,” had Chris Böttger, of Tors
Robin Elias discussed many challenging jobs, including this aerialist
project that was part of the run-up to the London Olympics.
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about and showed a deep interest in the
entertainment industry, having worked in
the business during his school days. It’s not
often that I leave a session like this feeling
that it wasn’t a waste of time. However,
I actually learned something, and even
though the information was UK-specific,
it was downright enlightening. The very
capable panelists for this session were
Michael Anderson from Earls Court, Roger
Barrett of Star Events, Brian Cleary of
Sygma Safety Systems, and Abigail Matthews
from Momentum Engineering.
The final session of the morning was
all about truss. Specifically, what you
can and cannot do with it. Structural
engineer Malcolm Richards described the
elementary characteristics of aluminium
(aka aluminum) and the properties of
various truss shapes. This was a relatively
fundamental presentation and, quite
frankly, I was surprised by the number of
concerned looks I saw around the room as
some attendees realized they may have been
Scott Nacheman from Thornton Tomasetti presented a summary of the forensic study of the stage
roof structure that collapsed at the 2011 Indiana State Fair.
doing some things wrong for some time and
simply getting away with it. I guess it’s true
that no matter the age or the experience, it’s
always a good idea to go back to the basics
every once in a while. Nick Barnfield of
ShowQuip NZ, Marc Hendriks of Prolyte,
and Keith Bohn from Tomcat USA held
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forth as panelists for this session.
The afternoon session was arguably the
most anticipated session of the conference.
Scott Nacheman of Thornton Tomasetti,
Inc. offered a discussion on what actually
caused the structure collapse at the Indiana
State Fair in 2011. Thornton Tomasetti
people are entering the business—is also
a problem for the conference. Many of the
faces in the audience this year have been
there in the previous years, and they’re not
getting any younger. Just as the industry
must find a way to attract new practitioners,
the conference should also try to find a way
to bring new faces to the party.
That being said, the fourth annual
Rigging Conference will go down as one of
the more interesting and enjoyable ones. I’m
looking forward to seeing if next year can
follow suit. Q
put a thought-provoking spin on issues
that had come up in previous years. Chris
Higgs and the PLASA Events team are
to be congratulated on a job well done.
The continued success of this conference,
however, is dependent not only on the
topics presented but the caliber of the
attendees. One of the concerns regarding
the industry—the fact that fewer young
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conducted the official investigation of the
structural components of the tragedy, and
their report is an eye-opening account
of what happens when a support system
design is flawed from the very beginning.
The discussion then turned to some of the
standards, building codes, and regulations
that existed at the time of the accident and
what might be coming down the pike as a
result of it. It was a sobering session, to say
the least. Chris Cronin of Total Solutions
Group, Malcolm Richards, Tom Bilsen
from Stageco, and Gavin Bull were charged
with shepherding the group’s comments
and questions.
Another coffee break, and the usual
rush to the restroom, helped lighten up
the mood for the next and final session of
the conference. Mark Surtees led us in a
discussion/Q&A wrap up of the conference,
starting off with a talk about his formative
years and an incident involving the London
underground and a pair of pants. From
there, he segued into a reminder to us all
that even though bad things do occasionally
happen in the rigging world, for the most
part it’s a very safe, well run, and exciting
place to work and that we should all
take pride in what we’ve accomplished
throughout the past 50 years. Needless to
say, there weren’t any arguments. I sat on
the panel along with Nick Barnfield, Marc
Hendriks, and Gavin Bull.
As I mentioned at the beginning of
this piece, I was very pleasantly surprised
with the conference’s ability to find new
and interesting topics to discuss as well as
Bill S ap sis h a s b een
leading t h e c h a r g e a t
Sapsis Ri g g i n g , I n c . si n c e
1981. Bi l l i s t h e C h a i r
of the Ri g g i n g Wo r ki n g
Group, a m em b er o f t h e
ETCP C o u n c i l , a n d C h a i r o f
the Su b j ec t M a t t er E x p er t
c ommi t t ee fo r t h e E TC P
Rigging Certific ation. He is a fo u n d i n g m em b er o f
the Long Reac h Long Riders a n d wa s n a m ed t h e
rec ipient of the Eva Swan Awa r d i n 2010, P L ASA
North Americ a’s highest hon o r.
welcome new members
Aeson Event Technologies
Lakeland, FL, US
Flying By Foy Ltd
Hertfordshire, UK
Focusrite Audio
Engineering Ltd
High Wycombe
Buckinghamshire, UK
Foreground Display
Shenzhen, China
GTD Lighting Ltd
Guangzhou Guangdon
Province, China
HHB Communications Ltd
London, UK
Impact Products
Northamptonshire, UK
inoage GmbH
Dresden, Germany
Intelligent Lighting
Austin, TX, US
Janson Industries
Canton, OH, US
Line 6 UK Limited
Rugby Warwickshire, UK
Music & Lights S.r.l.
Itri, Italy
Norton Audio
media support
Sandhausen, Germany
On Event
Production Co Ltd
Nottinghamshire, UK
Pioneer Europe NV
(Multimedia Division)
South Ruislip
Middlesex UK
Plus 4 Audio Ltd
Chessington Surrey, UK
Production Support
Services Ltd
Worcestershire UK
PSCo Ltd
Reading Berkshire, UK
Realsound and Vision Ltd
Abingdon, Oxfordshire, UK
S+H Technical
Support Ltd
Ilfracombe Devon, UK
Shenzhen Uniview LED
Co Ltd
Shenzhen Baoan District,
Shock Solutions
Lenham Kent, UK
Sharjah United Arab
Smart AV UK Ltd
Harlow Essex, UK
Sony Europe Ltd
Weybridge Surrey, UK
Sound by Design Ltd
East Molesey Surrey, UK
Strictly FX
Wooddale, IL, US
IATSE Local 461
Niagara on the Lake,
ON Canada
University of
Huddersfield, Drama
Huddersfield West
Yorkshire UK
Five Arrows Leasing Ltd
Richmond upon Thames
Surrey, UK
Shepard Exposition
Atlanta, GA US
Laser Art Ltd
Crawley West Sussex, UK
TL Holdings Ltd
Auckland New Zealand
What does
do for you?
ĆFind the best in the
industry with the new
PLASA Job Board
ĆSave money
with Credit Card
ĆSpecial low fee
service for
International VAT
ĆMembers only pricing
on advertising and
Would you rather:
Spend two months scaling
the building to assign a DMX
address for each light?
-orSpend two hours and do it
while sitting across the street?
Save time and money with ANSI E1.20 Remote Device Management over DMX512.
Visit to learn more.
...and more
Renew or Join today
Burj Qatar
FALL 2 0 1 3
make life easier
+1 212.244.1505
[email protected]
+44 (0)1323 524120
[email protected]
PLASA Membership is a division of PLASA Ltd
FALL 2 0 1 3
Advertiser . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Page
Web Address
Goddard Design Co. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42
MDG Fog Generators, Ltd.. . . . . . . . . . .C4
Rose Brand . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43
A Theatre Project by Richard Pilbrow . . 73
Green Hippo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17
Mountain Productions Inc. . . . . . . . . . . 39
Secoa . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23
H&H Specialties, Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 60
Musique Xpress Lights, Inc.. . . . . . . . . . 17
Spotlight . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 94
InterAmerica Stage, Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . 64
Oasis Stage Werks. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 64
Stage Rigging, Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58
iWeiss Theatrical Solutions . . . . . . . . . . 21
Pathway Connectivity Inc.. . . . . . . . 32, 33
Taylor & Taylor Insurance . . . . . . . . . . . 38
[email protected]
J & M Special Effects . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 93
Peak Trading Corporation . . . . . . . . . . . 31
Theatre Projects Consultants . . . . . . . . . 4
J.R. Clancy. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51
PLASA Focus: Nashville. . . . . . . . . . . . . 69
Thern, Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49
Johnson Systems Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41
PLASA Technical Standards . . . . . . . . . . 96
Times Square Lighting. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57
LDI . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 85
PRISM Insurance. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38
[email protected]
TMB . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31
Lex Products Corp. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53
ProSight Specialty Insurance. . . . . . 65, 70
TSP Investors in Innovation. . . . . . . . . . 97
Light Source Inc., The . . . . . . . . . . . 15, 45
Pro-Tape & Specialties . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37
TSP Standards . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 96
Limelight Productions, Inc. . . . . . . . . . . 58
RC4 Wireless / Soundsculpture, Inc. . . . . 9
Ultratec Special Effects . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
Littlite LLC. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44
Robe Lighting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
Union Connector Company. . . . . . . . . . 48
Look Solutions USA, Ltd.. . . . . . . . . . . . 95
Robert Juliat USA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 54
USITT. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22, 61
LVH Entertainment Systems . . . . . . . . . 14
Rosco Laboratories . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
VER Sales, Inc.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .98, C3
A.C. Lighting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .C2
Altman Lighting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 77
Barbizon Lighting Company . . . . . . . . . 63
BMI Supply . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28
Chauvet. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29
City Theatrical, Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12,13
Creative Stage Lighting Co., Inc.. . . . . . 11
Daktronics. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
Doug Fleenor Design, Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . 55
Electronic Theatre Controls, Inc. . . . . . . 35
Entertainment Structures Group . . . . . . 14
ETCP Rigging/Electrician Certification. . 59
the magic and
it safe
Investors in
To learn more about advertising opportunities in future issues of Protocol, contact Beverly Inglesby at +1 503 291 5143 or [email protected]
Visit the PLASA website at for additional information.
INNOVATOR - $3,000-$9,999
LDI / Penton Business Media*
United States Institute for Theatre
Technology, Inc.*
ProSight Specialty Insurance
Rosco Laboratories
DEVELOPER - $1,000-$2,999
TRENDSETTER - $500-$999
INVESTOR - $100-$199
Boston Illumination Group, Inc.
Louis Bradfield
ELS / Entertainment Lighting Services
IATSE Local One
L.A. ProPoint, Inc.
Alan Rowe
AC Power Distribution, Inc.
Blue Planet Lighting, Inc.
Earl Girls, Inc.
Tony Giovannetti
Hot Springs Convention Center & Summit Arena
iWeiss Theatrical Solutions
Musique Xpress Lights, Inc.
Frank Stewart
Strohmeier Lighting Inc.
Syracuse Scenery & Stage Lighting Co., Inc.
Barbizon Lighting Company*
Creative Stage Lighting Co., Inc.
J&M Special Effects
MDG Fog Generators Ltd.
Oasis Stage Werks
Pathway Connectivity*
Stage Equipment & Lighting, Inc.
Doug Fleenor Design, Inc.
Entertainment Structures Group
Indianapolis Stage Sales & Rentals, Inc.
InterAmerica Stage, Inc.
John T. McGraw
Steve A. Walker & Associates
Vincent Lighting Systems
Ralph Weber
*Investor for over 15 years. List current as of 10/2013.
FALL 2 0 1 3
VISIONARY - $10,000 & UP
and sniff.
Can’t smell anything?
It’s the scent of an
MDG fog generator.
Because fog should be
seen, not smelled.
Creating better fog for 25 years
T 1-800-663-3020
Fog generators
(MAXAPS Series)
Haze generators
Low fog generators
(ICE FOG Series)
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