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Archive for January 11th, 2013

Advanced Systems Group, Autodesk Present ‘Smoke 2013’ Event

EMERYVILLE, CALIF. – Advanced Systems Group (ASG), a leading West Coast video and film integration firm and Autodesk Silver Partner, and Autodesk will present “Smoke 2013,” a presentation highlighting the new professional video editing and visual effects software, on Tuesday, Jan. 22, at the Autodesk Gallery in San Francisco. Registration opens at 6 p.m., with a demo by Dean Schirm, Autodesk solutions engineer, from 7-8 p.m. A discussion and Q&A will follow until 9 p.m. Food and beverages will be served.

“Autodesk Smoke 2013 combines editing and effects in one affordable Mac application, which can improve post-production efficiencies and workflows,” said Dave Van Hoy, president, Advanced Systems Group. “This event allows the San Francisco post community to see Smoke in action, ask questions in a relaxed atmosphere, and really see if this application is right for their operations.”

Registration is free, but space is limited. For registration or more information, please visit http://autodesksmoke2013asgjan22.eventbrite.com.

About ASG:

Advanced Systems Group LLC of Emeryville, Calif., with offices in the Bay Area and Southern California, has provided engineering, systems, integration, support and training to the broadcast, film, creative, and corporate video markets since 1997. With unmatched experience in Apple-based newsroom systems, shared storage, archiving, editing, finishing, and VFX systems, ASG has become one of largest installers of post production and shared storage systems on the West Coast. The ASG team is highly focused on customer success, and has installed and supported more than 185 SANs, production, and post production systems over the last six years. For more information, visit www.asgllc.com or call 510-654-8300.

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Rick Wakeman Tours South America With DPA Microphones

DPA Microphones were present in abundance at the Gran Rex Theatre in Buenos Aires when world-renowned keyboardist and composer Rick Wakeman played two concerts featuring his best-selling albums Journey to the Centre of the Earth and The Six Wives of Henry VIII.

The concerts were the culmination of a South American tour that also included six band-only shows in Brazil, Chile and Argentina. The final two sell-out concerts in Buenos Aires involved two different full orchestral shows, complete with a five-piece rock band, a choir, narration and solo singers.

Front of House sound engineer and co-production manager Ian Barfoot, who has worked with Rich Wakeman on numerous occasions since 1985, was given the task of specifying the audio equipment for the tour.

“The two orchestral concerts in Buenos Aires involved more than 90 channels, of which more a third used DPA microphones,” Ian Barfoot says. “Although some of the equipment I wanted was not available in South America, I did insist on DPA microphones, especially for the orchestra. I used DPA IMK4060 Instrument Microphones for the harp and all the high strings such as violas and violins, while for the cello and bass we used DPA d:vote™ 4099 Instrument Microphones. We needed so many – over 30 in total – that we couldn’t source them all locally and had to ship the majority of them with us from the UK.”

For this tour, Barfoot and his co-production manager Erik Jordan also specified DPA’s d:facto™ Vocal Microphone, which was used by the two main vocalists Ashley Holt and Cecilia Barba.

“The DPA d:facto Vocal Microphones were supplied by DPA’s UK distributor Sound Network, who I often work with and always get great service from,” Barfoot says. “The d:factos were simply great and didn’t give us a moment’s trouble. They are very honest microphones and, to my ears, quite uncoloured. They don’t suffer from proximity effect and they coped just as well with the restrained orchestral shows as they did with the full-on band shows, which were very old school Rock and Roll. Once the monitor engineers got used to them, they were more than happy to use them in stage wedges. During the last two orchestral shows the delicate and highly accurate nature of the microphones could be fully appreciated by the singers and the band as, to assist me, they switched to In Ear Monitoring to keep the stage levels down to a minimum.”

Barfoot adds that Rick Wakeman’s long-time vocalist Ashley Holt was especially pleased with the DPA d:facto’s performance.

“He was a little reluctant to use one at first because it was ‘different’ and not what he was ‘used to’, but after a couple of rehearsals he became a firm fan and I think he was hoping that Santa Claus would deliver one to him on Christmas morning.”

As a firm fan of DPA microphones, Ian Barfoot says he always insists on having a good selection available for every show he does because they consistently deliver a great sound and are also incredibly durable, especially on tour.

“In an ideal world I would have liked a few DPA 2011 twin diaphragm cardioid microphones to scatter around these orchestral shows, but as I couldn’t source them locally we managed with what we had,” he says. “Making sure the strings are properly covered is always my main concern with orchestral shows, but as we were using DPA IMK 4060s on those I knew I wouldn’t have any problems.”

-ends-

Editors’ information:
DPA Microphones is the leading Danish Professional Audio manufacturer of high quality condenser microphones and microphone solutions for professional applications in studio, broadcast, theatre, video/film and sound reinforcement environments. All DPA microphones and components are manufactured at the company’s purpose-built factory in Denmark.
For more information on DPA Microphones, please visit www.dpamicrophones.com

Kraftwerk relies on WATCHOUT for Stereoscopic 3D and Live interactivity

German electro pop pioneers, Kraftwerk will use the dynamic interactive and 3D features of Dataton WATCHOUT™ multi-image and presentation software, for all on-stage digital scenography at their hotly anticipated tours and concerts’ programme throughout 2013.

Formed in 1970, Kraftwerk began using Stereoscopic 3D for the MoMA concerts and ”Way out West” Swedish Rock Festival in Spring 2012.

WATCHOUT manages projected 3D content on a large stage backdrop creating a powerful abstract presence in front of audiences wearing polarized 3D glasses. Two more WATCHOUT channels feed the flanking LED screens. To create the lighting effects on the four oversized illuminated keyboards, a Pixel-gate LED video controller uses an additional DVI output from the main screen using the WATCHOUT “Tier” feature. The main timeline in WATCHOUT is chasing timecode from Kraftwerk synthesizers (MTC converted into SMPTE). The Kraftwerk synthesizers are also used for live visual interaction controlled via MIDI commands.

The new features of WATCHOUT version 5 enable live manipulation of content. Media objects can be positioned, rotated and moved in 3D in real-time from external control systems, musical instruments, lighting consoles, mobile devices and sensors to control on-screen elements such as images, video, Stereoscopic 3D movies and live feeds as required.

Fredrik Svahnberg, Marketing Director at Dataton says: “Kraftwerk are known for their use of bold graphics and colours. They are using our technology in a very easy to use, yet powerful way to engage audiences around the world. We’re looking forward to seeing Kraftwerk use the new 3D, interactive and dynamic media streaming features of WATCHOUT in 2013 and beyond.”

Kraftwerk at upcoming Dusseldorf and London concerts

Several upcoming Kraftwerk concerts will incorporate Stereoscopic 3D effects as well as 3D sound.

Kraftwerk’s first performance in Düsseldorf, Germany since 1991, performances called 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 are taking place at the Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen Museum, first from January 11 – 13, then 16 – 20. Like the MoMA shows, Kraftwerk will play one album per date and will be accompanied by 3D visuals, which actually involve audiences. Running alongside the performance programme, a photo exhibition, Kraftwerk, runs from January 11 at the Forum Nordrhein-Westfalen Museum.

In London, Kraftwerk will perform at Tate Modern’s cavernous Turbine Hall for eight nights, first from February 6-9, then 11-14, and are their first live London performances since 2004. The band will perform one studio album in full on each night and combine it with visual backdrops, including interactive 3D projections and animation.

The Kraftwerk concert line-up can be found here: http://www.kraftwerk.com/concerts/index-concerts.html.

Photography credit: © Kraftwerk

Sound Image Upgrades Audio System at Atlanta’s Historical Tabernacle With HARMAN’s JBL VTX Line Arrays

NORTHRIDGE, California – Sound Image of Escondido, California has dramatically improved the house PA system at the Tabernacle in Atlanta with an upgrade to HARMAN’s JBL VTX line arrays. While the venue, constructed as a Baptist church in 1910, posed a variety of acoustic challenges, Sound Image’s expert application of the VTX system has created a listening experience on par with Atlanta’s most prestigious venues.

Known informally as “The Tabby,” the Tabernacle has a seating capacity of 2,600 people and has changed very little from a structural standpoint in its 100-plus years. The Tabernacle features an open, standing-room space on the ground level, with three balconies at different levels.

According to Billy Lindsey, House FOH Engineer at the Tabernacle, the design of the venue creates a visually striking but sonically challenging environment. “Since it was built as a church, the Tabernacle was architecturally designed to amplify preachers, so you can talk from the stage and be heard well into the balconies,” he said. “Take that, add modern music and the stage volumes that some musicians can achieve, and you get a rough idea of what the acoustics are like.”

For the main PA system, Richard Davis of Sound Image and his team installed 24 VTX V25 fullsize line array elements (12 per side), with 12 S28 arrayable subwoofers (six per side), with left-right hangs of three VERTEC® VT4886 subcompact line array elements each for out fill. Crown IT12000HD amplifiers power the system, which also features dbx DriveRack 4800 processing. HARMAN HiQnet System Architect™ was employed for system configuration and monitoring.

The third floor of the Tabernacle also features a VIP lounge called The Room that features a main PA system of four VRX932LA Constant Curvature loudspeakers and two VRX918S subwoofers per side.

Davis noted that he had not heard the VTX system prior to the installation at the Atlanta Tabernacle, and pointed out that it’s a perfect fit for the venue. “When I tuned the PA for the room, I didn’t even have to touch the high end,” he said. “It was pretty much right there from the downbeat.”

“With the VTX system, you don’t have to struggle to get above the resonance of the room,” Lindsey said. “These boxes can also go really low and easily go all the way out to 16K.”

In addition, Lindsey noted the advantages of the Crown IT12000HD amplifiers, which feature the OmniDriveHD™ DSP engine (co-developed with HARMAN’s BSS), specifically optimized for fast and efficient audio processing. “What’s great is everything is in those amplifiers, they have the architecture in the amps all ready to go, which is amazing,” Lindsey said. “We have four amp racks—two at house left and two at house right—and each one has a rack with eight amps per side and four zones, with a secondary amp rack handling the front fills and subs.”

“If I had to measure the level improvement of VTX over the previous system on a scale of one to 10, I’d go with a 12,” Lindsey concluded. “The high-frequency intelligibility, what you really need to cut through the muck, is incredible. And the turnkey package of VTX with Crown I-TechHD is a hip combination. I can comfortably say the Tabernacle is now the best-sounding room in Atlanta.”

For more information on Sound Image, please visit www.sound-image.com

For more information on the Tabernacle, please visit www.tabernacleatl.com

HARMAN (www.harman.com) designs, manufactures and markets a wide range of audio and infotainment solutions for the automotive, consumer and professional markets — supported by 15 leading brands, including AKG®, Harman Kardon®, Infinity®, JBL®, Lexicon® and Mark Levinson®. The Company is admired by audiophiles across multiple generations and supports leading professional entertainers and the venues where they perform. More than 25 million automobiles on the road today are equipped with HARMAN audio and infotainment systems. HARMAN has a workforce of about 13,900 people across the Americas, Europe and Asia, and reported net sales of $4.4 billion for year ended June 30, 2012.

Renkus-Heinz Appoints Scott Leslie to President’s Post

Foothill Ranch, CA, January 2013… Renkus-Heinz is pleased to announce the appointment of Scott Leslie to the position of President.

Leslie comes to Renkus-Heinz from JBL Professional, where he served as Vice President of Engineering. His deep industry background includes stints at a wide range of technology leaders including Sun Microsystems, Tektronix, and Altec Lansing. Leslie is also founder of Evidant Corporation, providers of Business Intelligence for IT solutions, where he has held executive level positions since 2002.

Leslie joins Renkus-Heinz as the company is experiencing unprecedented growth. Despite the economic downturn, Renkus-Heinz has seen a substantial surge in sales and has significantly grown its engineering staff. Leslie’s new position will see him spearheading the company’s continued expansion, working closely with company founder and Chairman Harro Heinz.

“Scott brings with him a wealth of experience in business and marketing, combined with a deep understanding of today’s complex technologies,” said Harro Heinz. “He is the ideal person to assume this position at a very exciting time for us.”

“Renkus-Heinz is one of our industry’s legendary success stories, built on innovation and great leadership,” added Leslie. “My new position represents the opportunity to bring together everything I’ve learned throughout my career, to bring Renkus-Heinz to an even greater level of success.”

###

Headquartered in Foothill Ranch, California, Renkus-Heinz, Inc. is the worldwide leader in the design and manufacture of audio operations networks, digitally steerable arrays, powered and non-powered loudspeakers, system specific electronics and fully integrated Reference Point Array systems.

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Recording The Unique Film Sound Of Les Miserables with DPA Microphones

DPA Microphones played an integral part in recording the audio for the film version of the hit musical Les Miserables, which features an all-star cast including Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway, Samantha Barks and Sacha Baron Cohen.

Nominated for nine BAFTA Awards, including one for Sound, Les Miserables used an innovative technique that involved recording vocals live on set with the cast singing to a live piano accompaniment played to them through earpieces. The orchestra was recorded later in post-production, with the musicians taking their lead from the performances of the cast.

This break with tradition enabled the director Tom Hooper to create a truly emotive experience for audiences watching the film. Production Sound Mixer Simon Hayes, who was responsible for capturing the film’s entire audio content, says it was a truly unique way of working and one that would not have been possible without exceptional microphones, in particular DPA 4071 lavalier microphones.

”When judging different lavaliers I had always considered the differences in sound between various brands of lavalier to be a matter of taste rather than a clear cut situation of one brand being superior,” Hayes says. ”That was until I listened to a DPA up against the competition. In my opinion the DPA is better, more open sounding, less chesty and sounds more like a boom mic than any other lavaliers I have heard.”

Hayes had 50 DPA 4071 lavalier microphones at his disposal during the filming of Les Miserables, all of which were supplied by Richmond Films in conjunction with DPA’s UK distributor Sound Network.

“Normally when I am recording a film I prioritise boom mics, especially if the scene is being shot with a single camera. But with Les Miserables, Tom wanted all the angles covered from all sides to capture the perfect performance. This meant we couldn’t rely so heavily on the booms because the wider angle coverage would stop them getting close enough. Our solution was to come at the recording from a different angle and make lavalier microphones our priority.”

Abbey Road engineers checked the sound quality of the DPA 4071 lavaliers to make sure they were the best choice for vocals. Hayes says they were impressed with the results.

“We tested various models and found the DPAs were clearly the best. In fact nothing else came close. The sound quality, frequency response and dynamic range were easily good enough to master and they were able to handle very high SPL levels from vocals without sounding harsh as they approach their maximum SPL. I have never heard a vocal make them square off, yet such is their dynamic range and sensitivity that they can faithfully reproduce even the smallest ‘breathed’ vocal.”

With Abbey Road happy with his choice of lavalier, Simon Hayes’ next task was finding a way of using them that gave the best sound but still allowed them to remain invisible to audiences.

“We collaborated with the costume designers to conceal cables within the clothes and to disguise microphones that were positioned on the outside of the costumes,” he says. “DPA’s mini concealers allowed us to mount them perfectly so they were virtually undetectable. This solved the problem of clothing rustle and, on the rare occasions when they were in shot, we were able to paint them out afterward using post production techniques.”

Le Miserables took 15 weeks to shoot and an additional seven weeks were spent rehearsing with all the actors miked up so that the audio could be sent to Abbey Road for feedback. Simon Hayes says he is delighted with the sound and believes what was achieved wouldn’t have been possible without the DPA lavaliers.

“They are the only lavaliers that could cope with what we were trying to do,” he says. “Apart from their exceptional audio quality and dynamic range, they were also incredibly durable and gave us no problems, not even when we got them soaking wet during the scenes we shot in the rain. We simply swapped them around and dried them out with a hair drier before using them for the next take.

“Normally I record dialogue, not music, so this was a very different kind of project for me, but I absolutely loved it. Lots of people thought what we did wouldn’t be possible, but we pulled it off and I am very proud of what we achieved.”

-ends-

Editors’ information:
DPA Microphones is the leading Danish Professional Audio manufacturer of high quality condenser microphones and microphone solutions for professional applications in studio, broadcast, theatre, video/film and sound reinforcement environments. All DPA microphones and components are manufactured at the company’s purpose-built factory in Denmark.
For more information on DPA Microphones, please visit www.dpamicrophones.com

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