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Archive for July 5th, 2013

Ireland’s Production House Uses Riedel RockNet for Derry-Londonderry’s 2013 City of Culture Finale

LONDON — July 4, 2013 — Riedel Communications, provider of pioneering real-time video, audio, data, and communications networks, today announced that Production House, Ireland’s leading supplier of professional audio systems, used an extensive RockNet real-time audio network to support the finale of “The Return of Colmcille” — a landmark production of the 2013 City of Culture celebrations in Derry-Londonderry. Produced by outdoor arts experts Walk the Plank, “The Return of Colmcille” culminated in a battle between the city’s founder, Saint Colmcille and the legendary Loch Ness Monster on the River Foyle. The Riedel fiber network facilitated audio distribution during the impressive finale.

“We chose Riedel RockNet for this historic event because it offers reliability, flexibility, and ease-of-setup, as well as a redundant ring topology,” said Niall Lewis, director, Production House. “The system worked perfectly, sounded great, gave us all the flexibility we needed, and enabled us to adapt quickly to last-minute production changes.”

Scripted by Frank Cottrell Boyce, writer of the 2012 London Games opening ceremony, the show was the centerpiece of Derry-Londonderry’s time as the UK City of Culture, and the arrival of the monster on the river marked the end of an ambitious 30 hours of performance across the city. Thousands of spectators gathered by the river to watch the battle, which featured flames and fireworks accompanied by original music composed for the special event.

Riedel’s RockNet audio distribution consisted of RockNet output modules at each of the 20 PA stacks along the river and on the city’s Peace Bridge, as well as four analog input boxes and an output box at the control position. With this configuration, the production team was able to deliver an individual signal — time-aligned via GPS to the monster boat as it progressed down the river — to the appropriate PA stack to create a continuous sound experience. For the pre-show event, which drew 20,000 people, Production House was able to reassign PA stack outputs to ensure optimal coverage, simply by redistributing the audio signal to the various RockNet output modules. The intuitive RockWorks software enabled this critical redistribution capability by providing flexible routing options within the RockNet network.

The RockNet system supported communications between the audio engineer, sound designer, and RF technician. Production House also used the RockNet system to distribute four different timecode feeds for the show caller and the pyrotechnicians at various locations, including the main firing site 1.2 km from the beginning of the monster boat’s voyage. Signals were sent to the RF transmission location, and audio and timecode were sent to the monster boat via a 1- watt wireless link.

Further information about Riedel and the company’s products is available at www.riedel.net.

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About Production House (PHG)
Production House // Litton Lane are Ireland’s leading providers of professional audio systems specialising in concert touring, outdoor events, and festivals. With warehouses in Belfast and Dublin, we are able to service our local market and markets further afield due to our location to major transport hubs. We carry the latest in loudspeaker, console, and amplifier technology but also maintain a stock of analogue desk and dynamics. Along with our extensive equipment stock we have a great team of people; from Sales and Operations staff through to our experienced Sound and Systems Engineers, we are able to offer a superb service and audio package. For more information go to www.productionhouse.net

About Walk the Plank
Walk the Plank are outdoor arts experts, who create powerful events with mass appeal. From international stage to village square, our team of experts develop remarkable moments that enrich the lives of our audience through shared experience – encouraging a sense of place, a feeling of pride, and well-being. We empower artists and communities through creative development, transforming people and the places in which they live through opportunities to engage with accessible, artistic excellence. Walk the Plank created the opening and closing ceremonies of Liverpool’s European Capital of Culture year in 2008 and opening ceremony of Turku’s 2011 European Capital of Culture in Finland.
www.walktheplank.co.uk

About Riedel Communications
Riedel Communications designs, manufactures, and distributes pioneering real-time video, audio, data, and communications networks for broadcast, pro audio, event, sports, theater, and security applications. The company also provides rental services for radio and intercom systems, event IT solutions, fiber backbones, and wireless signal transmission systems that scale easily for events of any size, anywhere in the world. Founded in 1987, the company now employs more than 400 people at 11 locations in Europe, Asia, Australia, and the Americas.

Photo Link: www.wallstcom.com/Riedel/Colmcille.zip
Photo Caption: “The Return of Colmcille,” Showdown on the Foyle, created by Walk the Plank. Images by Rich Kenworthy

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Alicia Keys Sets The World On Fire With DiGiCo & Clair Global

With over 50 international dates on the horizon in support of her latest outing Girl on Fire, Grammy award winning artist Alicia Keys has surrounded herself with an adept team of engineers with support from Clair Global and DiGiCo mixing systems. With a total of five SD racks (two for FOH, two for monitors, and one for opening artist, Miguel), they’re also carrying a pair of SD10s (one at FOH and monitor world) to handle the eight-member band including the headliner. Newly positioned at FOH is Tim Colvard, who took over the European leg of the tour. Although Colvard’s employed DiGiCo consoles for many of his clients international tours, this was his first time on an SD10 (as well as his debut outing with both the artist and with Clair Global). He joins Clair FOH tech Randy Weinholtz and monitor mixmaster Antonio Luna for the already-in- progress global tour.

The challenge of a one-day rehearsal prior to his first live show could’ve been cause for a bit of nail-biting. However, Colvard’s extensive previous hands-on experience on an SD7 with Madonna, Usher and others lent itself to getting up and running quickly on the new console and Keys’ eight-piece outfit, comprised of keys, bass, drums, guitar, and a trio of background singers.

“A phone conversation with Alicia convinced me that she really cares about her sound,” says Colvard. “And being intrigued by her music made joining an already-in-progress tour an easy decision. With Alicia having one of the most powerful and dynamic voices in the industry, DiGiCo’s dynamic EQ really came in handy for smoothing everything out, especially when she’s really belting it out in the high-end. Also, I’m maximizing all of the dynamic compression available on the SD10 for all of the Pro Tools channels.

“It is also important for me to use snapshots, which I time to run consecutively. This allows me to do certain mutes on the piano, particularly when it goes down the lift in the middle of the song and gets disconnected, as well as for other microphones in different parts at the stage. Using these features gives me more time to mix instead of trying to remember what inputs should be muted or un-muted.”

Colvard’s also carrying a rack of external effects, including a TC Electronic 2290, TC D2, Eventide H3000 ES, a couple of Yamaha 990s and a Lexicon 960L, which gives him “a variety to cover most algorithms needed to do duplicate the album effects.”

“We love the flexibility of the SD10 desk,” adds Weinholtz. “The dynamic EQ is really nice and having the ability to create a fader bank of multiple input/outputs, and whatever your brain can think of, is great.”

But perhaps the most interesting aspect of the tour’s audio specs is Antonio Luna’s employment of an Aviom personal monitor mixing system—typically found in House of Worship, theatre and studio settings primarily, but not so much in touring. Luna’s using this in tandem with his SD10 to allow the band to customize and control their own individualized monitoring needs.

“The Aviom has been pretty cool,” he says. “I didn’t think I’d ever use it again after Aerosmith in 2009 but the musical director wanted to and so we figured out a way to incorporate it and it’s been working well since day one. I’m able to send 16 sends to the primary band members, who are all able to mix themselves, which means I get left alone to mix the three background vocalists and the singer. The band doesn’t ask me for anything during the show, so I can concentrate 100% on the artist. I would assume there are other engineers out there using Aviom, although I just don’t know anyone off-hand who’s doing it. It’s definitely made my job easier and I’m still able to deliver quality mixes to the band via that source. The band seems really happy with it, and if they’re happy I’m happy.”

Concentrating on Alicia, Luna keeps the effects to a minimum, relying mostly on the internal effects, with the exception of a TC Electronics M4000 plug-in via AES at 96kHz. “That reverb sounds really good on her vocal and we really like it. But everything else I’m using with her is internal. I find I use a lot of compression on her vocals. She has a lot of dynamic range, so I need to take that down a little bit to make it fit when she’s singing loud or soft. Because she’s primarily a piano player, the mix is very important. The piano can easily get lost or washed out if you have too much vocal or too much ambient sound. So the vocal and piano are the important parts of the mix, and the rest follows those two key elements. I make sure I can always hear the vocal and the piano, and if I can always hear the vocal and the piano, with the band fitting in nicely underneath, we’re going to have a great day!”

They’re also tracking 80 inputs on Nuendo at monitor world and FOH and 80 channels of Pro Tools to split off the stage racks.

Another technological advance on the tour is the use of a Signal Hound RF Spectrum Analyzer. “When we were deciding the gear spec, Scott Evans introduced me to the product and we decided to get one for the tour,” says Luna. “We’re getting really good results and the manufacturer has been fantastic. They’re excited for the feedback because apparently no one in our industry is using it, so it’s kinda cool to be breaking new ground like that.”

Both the artist and management have been happy with the production, both onstage and off…. And are verbal about it. “We’re getting a lot of compliments,” Luna offers, “and a couple of shows ago Alicia said it sounded wonderful at soundcheck… I’m not used to getting that kind of positive feedback from artists, so it’s refreshing, especially coming from Alicia, because she’s such an awesome talent.

“Other than that I’m really grateful that I’ve got a good relationship with the vendors, not just with sound company, Clair Global, but with DiGiCo as well,” continues Luna. “It’s a killer combination for service. I feel confident that no matter where I am in the world, if I need something, it’s going to happen. Thanks to both Clair and DiGiCo for helping me out on this tour… it’s very been appreciated.”

“In today’s touring industry where cost of gear and truck and rack space are ongoing issues,” adds Colvard, “it’s important to have a console that can solve many of these challenges, the DiGiCo SD10 meets all of the needs for getting on the road—from the sonics of the sound to the dynamic EQ, dynamic multi-band compression overdrive [DiGiTubes] and delay on channels, to its great gates and ducking capabilities. Having these tools makes the selection of DiGiCo consoles live an easy choice for me.”

Photo Credit Tim Colvard: Kathy Beer

Red TX Records In Norway With St. Olaf Choir

The St. Olaf Choir, the premier choral ensemble from St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota, USA, has marked its centenary by recording a classical concert at Nidaros Cathedral in Trondheim, Norway.

This two-day recording in June 2013 was captured for broadcast and subsequent DVD and Blu-ray release by UK audio for broadcast specialists Red TX in conjunction with Visions/NEP.

The St. Olaf Choir is the pioneer a cappella choir in the USA and has long set the standard for choral excellence. Consisting of 75 mixed voices, the choir is made up of full-time undergraduate students who rehearse five days a week, in addition to completing a full schedule of academic studies.

Since 1990, the choir has been conducted by Anton Armstrong, and every year it undertakes an annual tour that enables it to bring its artistry and message to thousands of people around the world. To date the choir has completed 15 international tours and performed for capacity audiences in the major concert halls of Norway, France, South Korea, New Zealand, Australia, New York City, Washington, D.C., Chicago, Los Angeles, Dallas, and the Twin Cities.

The choir’s most recent visit to Norway allowed St. Olaf to continue a long standing relationship with the country, which dates back to 1874 when St. Olaf College was founded by a group of Norwegian-American immigrants, led by Pastor Bernt Julius Muus. The college and its choir are named after the king and patron saint of Norway, Olaf II Haraldsson.

The last time the choir visited Norway was in 2005, during the country’s Centennial celebrating 100 years of independence from Sweden. On that occasion the St. Olaf Choir joined the St. Olaf Orchestra and the St. Olaf Band for a three-week tour of Norway, during which the ensembles performed jointly in Oslo, Bergen, Molde, Stiklestad and Trondheim and presented additional concerts throughout the country. In December of that year a television special titled A St. Olaf Christmas in Norway was broadcast nationally on PBS in the USA and was released on DVD.

Based on the success of this PBS broadcast, it was decided that the choir’s centennial tour to Norway in 2013 would be an excellent catalyst for recording another special in Trondheim. This concert special was the finale of the St. Olaf Choir’s three-week performing tour of Norway, to honour the anniversary of the choir’s first tour to Norway 100 years ago under the direction of its very first conductor, F. Melius Cristiansen. It also gave St. Olaf a great opportunity to continue its relationship with the musicians at the cathedral, especially the Nidarosdomens Jentekor and their conductor, Anita Brevik.

To capture the audio for the recording, Red TX drove its large Red II music recording truck to Trondheim – a journey that took three days and involved travelling through France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany and Denmark before finally reaching Norway.

Jeffrey O’Donnell, St. Olaf’s Director of Broadcast/Media Services and audio producer for this project, says: “Red TX was recommended by Visions/NEP and although this is the first time we have worked with the company, we were very impressed by their professional approach to what was a complex project. We’ve been delivering audio in 5.1 since the previous Trondheim program in 2005 and Red TX was more than able to accommodate this requirement. I’m very grateful to Red TX for an amazing job well done – and to Visions for connecting us together in the first place!”

O’Donnell adds that with every recording project he undertakes with the choir, his goal is always to ensure a choral blend and balance between the voice parts (soprano, alto, tenor, bass) and clear diction. He also aims to capture a sense of the space and performing environment, achieve a warm yet uncolored sound and ensure that no individual voice dominates the choral texture.

“For this particular recording, we were dealing with two choirs – St. Olaf Choir and the jenktekor (Girls’ Choir) of Nidaros Cathedral – performing individually and as a combined ensemble,” O’Donnell adds. “We also had a string quartet, piano, Hardanger fiddle, and organ. We faced a particular challenge in providing enough microphone coverage to capture this sound while still doing our best to avoid having microphones and stands appear in the camera shots.”

In consultation with Jeffrey O’Donnell, Red TX’s director Tim Summerhayes suggested a selection of microphones. DPA Microphone’s UK distributor Sound Network was able to supply most of the microphones he needed, with the rest made up from Schoeps and AKG.

“We used Schoeps MK2 systems, suspended at a height of about four meters, to capture the two choirs and the congregation,” Tim Summerhayes explains. “We also suspended DPA mobile 5100 surround microphones at about six meters in the centre of the performance area to give the impression of the size of the choir and of the cathedral. For the brass quartet, we used two DPA 3521s compact mics on DPA’s ORTF mic mount. The clarity was very impressive and blended into the mix seamlessly. For the piano, we opted for a pair of AKG 414s.”

Despite the complexities of this project, both O’Donnell and Summerhayes were delighted with the recording, which went very smoothly. The audio is now being mixed and post produced in the USA by Twin Cities Public Television (TPT), which co-produced the project.

Catherine Allan, Executive Producer from TPT, says: “Editing will take place in August and September and we aim to air the program, which currently has a working title of A St. Olaf Christmas in Norway, on PBS stations nationwide during December 2013. The program will be a one hour Christmas special and there will also be an extended DVD and Blu-ray release, made by St. Olaf. We hope that NRK will purchase the special for broadcast and we will be seeking additional distribution.”

The St. Olaf Choir’s ever-expanding discography now features 27 discs following the 2011 release of Great Hymns of Faith Vol. III. Other recordings released in recent years include the first two volumes of Great Hymns of Faith, Charles Ives: The Celestial Country, My Soul’s Been Anchored in the Lord, The Spirituals of William L. Dawson, and Advance Australia Fair. All recordings are available through St. Olaf Records at www.stolafrecords.com.

-ends-

About Red TX:
Red TX provides a comprehensive concert recording and broadcast service to the music and television industries. The company has state-of-the-art mobile recording facilities and can handle projects of any size or complexity. As well as recording audio for broadcast, the company also records live music events for subsequent release on CD or DVD. It is headed by Ian Dyckhoff and Tim Summerhayes, both of whom have extensive experience in delivering high-quality audio for broadcast. www.red-tx.com

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