All the industry news as it breaks
All the industry news as it breaks
Caroline Moss here, I’m editor of Pro AVL Asia, and this is our new regular rolling newsfeed to bring you all the latest industry announcements concerning Covid-19. As the situation changes, we hope to include your voices and updates wherever you are in the world, and the measures you’re implementing. Please get in touch here and one of us will get back to you so we can add your stories to this platform.
6 April 2020
Recognising the need for churchgoers to continue attending a weekly services in some form at these times, Williams AV has launched a new FM+ package it’s calling the Worship Communication System. Comprising the Williams AV FM+ transmitter, the system enables people to listen to services on their own smart phone or tablet, supporting up to 150 connected listeners within a 200-foot range. www.williamsav.com
Allen & Heath is announcing an installation webinar on 7 April to introduce the new AHM-6 audio matrix processor supported by an ecosystem of scalable I/O, control and Dante solutions. Details here: https://register.gotowebinar.com/rt/3548154115401609996
In response to an increase in mobile game streaming as people the world over lock down, NDI, part of the Vizrt Group, is making its new NDI|HX Capture for iOS and NDI|HX Camera for iOS applications free for a 60-day period. These applications, used in conjunction with the free NDI Tools software, enable the creation of content from a mobile game or live video in broadcast quality. Both apps are available from the Apple iOS App Store. www.vizrtgroup.com
More free stuff: Adamson has launched an ongoing series of free educational webinars for current and potential partners and end users. The Adamson Education Webinar Series addresses ongoing challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic while focussing on partner education for 2020. www.adamson.com
Matrox has announces a complimentary 90-day trial of the Matrox Maevex 6020 Remote Recorder to assist businesses and academic institutions in their transition to remote working and learning platforms. This plug-and-play encoder/recorder enables multi-channel live streaming and video recording, requiring a one-time setup and configuration to get online from any location.
1 April 2020
The news that industry trade magazine Pro Sound News Europe has ceased publishing was met with sadness here at Blank Canvas. It was on this title I learned my journalistic trade three decades ago (gulp!) and also brought myself, Richard Lawn and Sue Gould together. Who would have thought we’d still be a happy working team 25 years later? PSNEurope kept the industry informed for 34 years and we offer our commiserations to Future and the PSNEurope team for what must have been a painful decision to make.
Every day brings more announcements of online training and other virtual initiatives. Amid the bad news flooding in on a daily basis, it’s becoming apparent that more and more companies and individuals are using this enforced isolation and inactivity for online training, webinars and creativity.
Powersoft’s online training sessions conducted by industry players examine how the manufacturer’s solutions have been used in various applications including live events and permanent installations. Visit https://www.powersoft-audio.com/en/educational/online-training-eng
Harman Professional Solutions is offering its Harman Pro University Learning Sessions, a series of webinars including Industry Expert workshops led by audio and lighting professionals, and Harman Expert webinars led by the company’s product specialists: https://pro.harman.com/lp/learning-sessions
And videowall control systems manufacturer VuWall is offering free project design services, including conceptual drawings and block diagrams, to AV and IT integrators and consultants at www.vuwall.com
30 March 2020
Good morning, another week, another slew of developments as companies the world over transition to remote working and the power of the internet to keep everyone connected. But there are some industry initiatives happening in the real world too, and our top story today comes from veteran touring production company Clair Global. The US-headquartered live event and touring production giant has announced it’s teaming up with Mountain Productions to help communities and government officials by providing IT, networking and communications services for temporary disaster relief structures. Clair’s turnkey solutions and custom designs are being integrated into Mountain’s large-scale temporary hospitals and disaster relief centres. Clair’s services include LAN/Wi-Fi-based connectivity, pre-built mobile office setups, network security and monitoring, and push-to-talk mobile voice communication. Find out more at www.mtnemergencyservices.com
Another company now offering free online training is Meyer Sound. The sessions are being streamed live on Zoom. Visit https://forms.gle/ja5Z2YQTKgvMCuV16 to be invited; sessions, are limited to 300 participants each.
Audient is flagging up a series of podcasts recorded by producer Kevin Paul in conversation with leading songwriters, producers, mixers and engineers including Alan Moulder, Catherine Marks and Gareth Jones. Paul used Audient’s iD44 MixBus audio interface, some Audio-Technica microphones and a laptop to record. The MixBus series can be found at www.kpmixbus.com
Some companies were already doing virtual product launches and demos back in those halcyon days pre-self isolation. This includes speaker manufacturer EM Acoustics and spatial reinforcement and performance tracking specialist Out Board Electronics, who teamed up in early March at London rehearsal studio Sarm Music Bank to demo EM’s Halo-B medium format line array and Out Board’s HardCore FGPA processing for the TiMaxSoundHub and TiMax TrackerD4 stagetracking system. The livestreamed event attracted a mix of sound designers, rental companies and engineers.
And in other news from the virtual world, last week it was announced that James Blunt performed at the Elbphilharmonie hall in Hamburg to an audience of … no one. Not in the actually venue anyway; the concert was live streamed to his fans in a move that’s becoming commonplace. If you’re working on any live stream productions, please get in touch here.
27 March 2020
Big heartfelt mention this morning to all the factories in Italy who’ve temporarily stopped production on government orders. We’ve been hearing from some of them around the country, and a spokesperson from dBTechnologies issued this positive message:
‘Our thoughts and solidarity go to all the companies and workers that form both Italian and global economic fabrics, with particular attention to entrepreneurs and professionals of the live entertainment industry, who were the first to be affected by the suspension of events throughout the countries. Finally, we feel like thanking dBTechnologies users who have been keeping in touch by sending photos and videos of the beautiful projects they have done with the support of our audio systems; watching your images online and collecting your comments fills us with joy, pride and perseverance. Soon we will get back in the game by your side, with the same energy and passion that has always defined our company; offering you support, new challenges and innovations for the audio world, a domain we love and in which we have been working with dedication and inventiveness for decades.’ www.dbtechnologies.com
Elsewhere, factories from a range of industries are repurposing to produce medical equipment. US manufacturer of portable and installed AV equipment, Sound Devices, is playing its part by producing the FS-1 face shield for healthcare workers. ‘Out of all the products we’ve produced, I may be most proud of the FS-1,’ said the company’s Matt Anderson. ‘We started a crash programme this past Monday morning after hearing about shortages on the news – our salespeople called regional hospitals, and indeed there is an acute shortage. Due to the incredibly hard work and long hours put in by many at our Reedsburg plant, we have just shipped out the first several hundred of these. We are ramping up quickly to produce thousands per day.’ www.sounddevices.com
The AES Nashville Section is offering assistance to educators who suddenly need to learn about teaching remotely as schools and colleges transition to online education. The AES Nashville’s Jill Courtney and Michael Hanson, both educators themselves, have written a paper called Redesigning Audio Learning Spaces Quickly for Online Teaching. ‘This solution can help a lot of people migrate numerous audio classes to an online format with quality audio held sacred to its core mission,’ Courtney concluded in the document. The study is available for immediate download at https://jillcourtneymusic.wixsite.com/jillcourtney/articles
Like many companies, Yamaha is stepping up its online resources. The company has long been creating education programmes for users in live and installed audio, and the videos are consolidated under the Audioversity banner. Videos can be found on the manufacturer’s YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL3rjqgoqj7LJiMb3lPVvIXYSAwVdXSGHK
LED manufacturer Astera has launched the Astera Academy to provide webinars and online support, available here: www.astera-led.com/academy
In China, CCTV manufacturer Dahua is telling of how it came up with the idea of thermal imaging, scanning crowds with thermal cameras to identify people with fevers. The company built and installed the solution in high traffic areas around China, including Shanghai railway station. www.dahuasecurity.com
And finally, the UK press is reporting that during the lockdown in London, the iconic zebra crossing outside Abbey Road Studios, where the Beatles recorded and used the crossing for the cover of their eponymous album, is being repainted by the local council, taking advantage of the quiet streets.
25 March 2020
Good morning. The biggest announcement in the last 24 hours is the decision by the International Olympic Committee to postpone the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games, scheduled to go ahead this summer. While this is an enormous blow to athletes and sporting bodies the world over, it also has huge ramifications for the AV industry, which has been working on everything from venue construction, PA and broadcast systems, opening and closing ceremonies and new broadcast standards in conjunction with NHK. Having witnessed the palpable excitement that’s been building in recent years at the annual InterBee show, my heart goes out to all of those who must be reeling from this crushing but inevitable blow. If you’d like to share your story with us about moving forward in these difficult times, please get in touch here
Speaking of moving forward, there are early signs that businesses in China are making plans to start reopening after two months’ isolation enforcement in some regions. China has taken this extremely seriously and, by implementing strict lockdown, seems to have halted the initial outbreak. The world will be watching to see how the country goes forward.
More freebies today include an offer from VuWall, which is making its VuWall2 software download available, gratis. This can be used for quick creation of temporary emergency videowall control centres and accelerated information and delivery times. www.vuwall.com
And a positive tale from Europe: German audio, lighting and AV conferencing specialist Neumann&Müller (www.neumannmueller.com) had been planning a two-day event for a client in Denmark since January, and managed to convert it into a digital live event, staging the planned conference, plus several small workshops, in a temporary studio. We are expecting more and more creative solutions to dilemmas such as this, so please share yours with us here
24 March 2020
As we go into lockdown here in the UK, the Blank Canvas team is now working remotely to bring you the breaking news – and there’s a lot of it. Industry press releases are flooding into our inboxes, with customer service and supply chain assurances and updates. The industry is adapting as we learn to live in these new, unfamiliar circumstances. There’s a flicker of good news starting to come in from China, which we’ll share with you later in the week. And our own good news is that general manager Richard Lawn is safely back from his travels this morning.
To the wider news – as more and more people are confined to home, manufacturers are responding with online webinars and training. This now includes Avolites, which will be hosting a series of online learning sessions and talks with industry professionals. More at www.avolites.com and on the Avolites Facebook page. Martin Audio has launched a series of weekly webinars to help technicians stay abreast of the latest technology, and will also be hiring freelance professionals as guest speakers; visit www.martin-audio.com/training. Meanwhile, video production software company NewTek has created NewTek.TV which launches on 17 April and aims to fill the gap created by tradeshow cancellations to host live demos, expert advice, technology news and product support. www.newtek.com
One of my favourite stories this morning comes from the Sharjah Performing Arts Academy, which is reporting a 300% increase in applications from 25 countries compared to 15 last year. In just the last two weeks, more than 40 applicants have used the online audition and interview process as the academy continues its global search for talented students despite the closure of educational institutes and social distancing. www.spaa.ae
Missing those pro audio factory visits? Don’t fear – Fulcrum Acoustic is offering a digital factory tour from its Massachusetts premises, giving an overview of the loudspeaker manufacturing processes from start to finish. The tour can be found at www.youtube.com/watch?v=MPhdrXy_7oA
DPA Microphones has created a useful guide to hygienic microphone use, which everyone should be paying close attention to once live shows, recording and broadcasts resume. It can be found, together with a host of other useful resources, at www.dpamicrophones.com/mic-university
And more free stuff is appearing, to help the industry keep functioning while decreasing the financial burden. For creators suddenly forced into remote working, Avid is offering a limited number of temporary licences for its creative products to media enterprise and educational institutions; www.avid.com. Keeping it fun, Moog is offering a free synthesiser app – the Minimoog Model D iOs app – which can be found at the Apple App Store.
23 March 2020
Welcome to another week of news updates to keep you informed of what’s happening throughout the audio, video and lighting industries in these unprecedented times.
AVIXA is also opening its online training catalogue to all AV professionals, regardless of membership level, waiving online access fees until 12 June and allowing full access to its online training. Users can learn new topics, work toward CTS certification or earn CTS‑RUs even while working from home.
A newly created Facebook group aims to connect AV professionals to help each other through the crisis. www.facebook.com/groups/844955695999581 is dedicated to networking between industry professionals whose livelihoods have been impacted by the cancellations of tours, productions and the resulting layoffs throughout the AV community. From job postings and barter offerings to aid resources, humanitarian assistance and helpful tips, the group is a place for pooling resources and helping each other. ‘Our industry is the original gig economy, and a great many of us who live tour to tour and paycheck to paycheck have been hit hard by the shutdown, right at the beginning of peak touring season,’ said David Rahn, North American sales manager for Alcons Audio and a co-founder of the group. ‘Whether it’s a temporary job or a heads-up about financial assistance, sharing our connections and our collective knowledge can only be a good thing.’
Creative Technology UK is dedicating the processing capacity of its media servers to scientific research to fight Covid-19 and is urging other AV companies to do the same. Ordinarily, the company’s servers deliver live events to clients but now it’s joined up with the Folding@Home project run by Stanford University, setting up a server farm to support the project. Researchers from all over the world can use the capacity of Creative Technology’s media servers to draw, calculate and analyse complex formulas and graphics in the global fight against Covid-19. Folding@Home is a distributed computing project for disease research to understand how coronaviruses interact with the human ACE2 receptor required for viral entry into human host cells, and how researchers might be able to interfere with them through the design of new therapeutic antibodies or small molecules that might disrupt their interaction. Several other NEP Group companies have also joined the project including Screenworks, Univate and Bexel. Researchers are apparently in need of high-spec graphic processing units to help – use the Creative Technology group number 240907 to contribute your capacity to the team. www.ct-group.com
The Telos Alliance is offering 10% off products that enable remote broadcasts from 19 March – 15 April. Products include Axia SoftSurface, all versions of IP-Tablet virtual radio software and the Telos Z/IP ONE IP broadcast codec. Broadcasters can contact their dealer to order and receive the 10% discount. www.telosalliance.com
Until 15 May, ETC is offering free access to its online classes on LearningStage. Online resources range from basic concepts to advanced training for console users, lighting designers and technicians. ETC is promising more online resources in the coming weeks to help lighting professionals keep learning and stay connected. www.etcconnect.com
20 March 2020
First up is yet another tradeshow cancellation – this time PLASA Focus Leeds. This industry event in the north of England has established itself as an important regional UK show for the production industry, and there will no doubt be much disappointment that it won’t return until 11–12 May 2021. In the meantime PLASA stresses that it’s full steam ahead with preparations for the London show from 6–8 September. More details at www.plasashow.com
Turning to more positive action, Sennheiser is one of many companies taking entertainment online in the wake of cancelled tours and gigs. Sennheiser’s #DontStopTheMusic campaign aims to entertain the millions of people whose world has just got much smaller by streaming concerts on its Instagram account broadcast via IGTV (Instagram TV). It kicked off with DJ Mousse T on 19 March, and further dates will be announced at www.sennheiser.com/anniversary
Barix is helping out the house of worship sector by upgrading its Instreamer ICE Audio-over-IP encoder with a simple streaming service designed for speed and ease of installation. Houses of worship can to install the solution themselves, adding a button websites to enable online streaming, literally bringing the word of god into homes around the world. ‘We usually have to charge something for the streaming to cover our expenses and this is usually US$40 per month,’ said Manuel Merki, Barix's head of marketing. ‘But we decided to offer the Instreamer ICE with streaming included for the next six months to help the community to cope with the current situation. If you need more than a playing audio stream on your website, use the Barix Instreamer with the streaming service of your choice. Barix devices are open to use with any other service.’ www.barix.com
Announcements of online training initiatives continue apace, some of the latest being from Blackbird, which is hosting what it’s dubbed the Virtual pre-NAM 2020. The video company will be offering 30-minute personal video production demonstrations and 45-minute masterclasses on 25–26 March and you can find more info at www.blackbird.video/events
Lightware (www.lightware.com) is giving an overview of HDMI 2.0, Lightware solutions, advanced EDID management and troubleshooting and diagnostics tools at 2pm Eastern Time today.
Bose is the latest manufacturer to announce its staff have cut down on all non-essential travel and are working remotely where possible, while its global warehouse locations, repair and support centres remain operational. Online product and project review meetings are available via telephone, email and videoconferencing. www.bose.com
Meanwhile, Danley is asking clients and contacts to get in touch via email as many of its staff are now working from home. ‘We have now implemented measures to ensure the health and welfare of all our employees,’ said Jeff Pulliam, general manager at Danley Sound Labs. ‘However, as Danley builds its products in low-density production facilities in Georgia and North Carolina, we have the capability of providing many of our products during this unprecedented time. Our OS, GO2 and Nano lines are readily available. Wooden products will take a little longer.’ www.danleysoundlabs.com
Data and analytics company GlobalData has commented on the timely nature of an agreement between Australian fibre and network solutions provider Vocus, which has entered into a partnership with unified communications platform vendor Zoom Video Communications. This is the first carrier partnership Zoom has entered into in Australia at a time where demand for its services has seen an addition of 2.22 million active monthly users so far this year, more than for the whole of 2019. For those of you who haven’t yet encountered Zoom (and believe me, you will), its cloud-based video communications platform is increasingly being used to host everything from online conferences and board meetings to webinars to distance learning and training and, increasingly, things like remote working, yoga classes and other activities that people can’t currently attend. www.globaldata.com
Imagine Communications, whose solutions media companies to make and monetise TV, is assuring clients that it’s taking social distancing very seriously by offering remote support, and doesn’t foresee any product supply issues. www.imaginecommunications.com
Helping to keeping the world informed is Bannister Lake, which is making Covid-19 data available to its broadcast and digital signage customers via its Community data aggregation service, which collects data from credible public sources such as the World Health Organization and John Hopkins University. This gets ingested into the company’s Chameleon data aggregation and management solution. It has also developed a world map-based web widget illustrating the extent of the outbreak. www.bannisterlake.com