PLASA Announces 2012 PLASA Award for Innovation Winners

by Jacob Coakley

 

Roger Harpum, Meyer Sound sales manager for UK And Ireland, (right) accepts the Gottelier Award in recognition of John Meyer (the founder of Meyer Sound) and his as one of the pioneers of the modern sound reinforcement industry
Roger Harpum, Meyer Sound sales manager for UK And Ireland, (right) accepts the Gottelier Award in recognition of John Meyer (the founder of Meyer Sound) and his as one of the pioneers of the modern sound reinforcement industry

Across the pond at Earl’s Court in London, the PLASA show has manufacturers showing off their new gear. While most of the gear is aimed more for the rock ‘n’ roll and live event industry, the technology that gets used there eventually filters into theatre—or theatre techs get jobs in the rock ‘n’ roll world. Either way, cool new gear! PLASA recognized eight new products with the Award for Innovation this year: Stageco for the Arena Lift, Digital & Future Technologies for the Super Twofer, Tait Technologies for the Pixel Tablet, Avolites for the Sapphire Media Infinity Video Control System, Harman International for the JBL VTX V25 Line Array with D2 Dual-Diaphragm Driver Technology, Martin Professional for the MAC Viper Profile, CAST Group's BlackTrax won a prestigious Gold Innovation Award. ETC was given the Award for Sustainability for the LED Source Four. Also receiving an award for a lifetime of developing innovative products was John Meyer, founder of Meyer Sound. PLASA honored him with the Gottelier Award for his pioneering work in sound reinforcement.

2012 PLASA Awards for Innovation Announced

The PLASA Awards for Innovation, sponsored by AED Rent and Lighting&Sound, were presented at the PLASA Show in London yesterday evening, along with the announcement of the prestigious Gottelier Award.

During the show's opening two days, 47 products were judged 'live' in front of a crowd of show visitors and camera crew by an independent panel of expert judges who toured the show floor to view each product presentation.

John Meyer of iconic pro audio brand Meyer Sound was honoured with this year's Gottelier Award in recognition of his life as one of the pioneers of the modern sound reinforcement industry.

Eight Awards for Innovation were presented - including a final Gold Award for Innovation - along with a special Award for Sustainability.

Nominees are asked to demonstrate a new style of thinking, an improvement in technical practice, an aid to safety, energy-saving or sustainability benefits, or new technology, materials or techniques.

The eight PLASA Awards for Innovation went to:

Stageco for the Arena Lift - of which the judges said: "It's very safe and saves a lot of time. Increases options for touring shows and lets more shows play more venues. Very well thought through and very well implemented."

Digital & Future Technologies for the Super Twofer. The judges commented: "Why hasn't this been done before? It's a game changer. It's packaged really well, so they're instantly useful."

Tait Technologies for the Pixel Tablet. The judges said of this: "It's absolutely stunning. It's the ultimate in audience participation."

Avolites for the Sapphire Media Infinity Video Control System - of which the judges said: "It's the first integrated video control surface dedicated to video. It's well thought through and well designed."

Robe for the Robin DLF Wash. The judges comment on this was: "It's an LED wash light that behaves like a traditional Fresnel. It will fit straight into the lighting tool box and we can use it. The internal barn doors are exceptional. Beautiful colour mixing, looks like a generic wash light - but it's LED."

Harman International for the JBL VTX V25 Line Array with D2 Dual-Diaphragm Driver Technology. "It addresses a lot of the traditional problems with loudspeakers by addressing the problems at the driver engineering level," the judges said.

Martin Professional for the MAC Viper Profile - the judges said of this: "It's a new benchmark for automated lighting spots."

The final PLASA Award for Innovation was given for a product which the judges felt to be worthy of Gold Award Status. The judges said of CAST Group's BlackTrax: "The level of integration with other tools and the potential for applications across the industry is incredible."

And the final trophy this year - the Award for Sustainability went to ETC - for the Source Four LED. This, the judges said, "enables us to put professional quality stage lighting into naturally ventilated spaces. It has a highly efficient optical system and you can reuse existing lens stock."

The judges considered this year's crop of products to be particularly strong, and found themselves with the difficult task of reducing an initial shortlist of 19 leading contenders down to the final list of trophy winners. Among those which didn't make the final cut were four products which the judges felt deserved a special Commendation: these were Sennheiser's 9000 Series digital wireless radio microphone system; Shure's ULX-D digital wireless radio microphone system; the Wentex Pipe & Drape System from Highlite International, and the d3 Designer from d3 Technologies.

Chair of the judging panel is Richard Cadena, PLASA Media's technical editor. Assisting Richard were acoustic consultant at Audio Improvement Services, Jim Cousins; theatre consultant Paul Franklin of Charcoalblue; production manager Ola Melzig; Creative Technology project manager Gerry Francke; freelance writer, Steve Moles; rental lighting director and director of Hologramica, Liz Berry; theatre consultant for Akukon, Tapio Ilomaki; managing director of TM Audio, Marc Kocks; lighting designer Ben M Rogers; video and lighting programmer Cat West; Ed Manwaring of EM Communications; Mats Karlsson of Video Equipment Rentals, and specialist electrical engineer, Nick Read.