In the wake of the disasters at the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington, DC, a wide range of entertainment technology industry companies and individuals have pitched in to help with the relief effort.
On the afternoon of Tuesday, September 11, Musco Lighting received a call from the NYPD requesting the use of its mobile lighting trucks. The portable lighting trucks are normally used for sporting events and four trucks happened to be staged near New York City for the college football season. Musco had provided lighting trucks for the bombing of the Federal Building in Oklahoma City and were on the police department's list of vendors.
According to Musco spokesperson Diane Crookham-Johnson, four trucks were dispatched immediately with a fifth coming in from its Iowa headquarters. The company also has two trucks at the Pentagon site. Normally, the trucks operate with one technician per truck, but due to the length of time they will be on-site, they have extra crew standing by. “The crews are currently on a two-days-on, one-day-off rotation,” says Crookham-Johnson. “The trucks will remain until released by the New York Office of Emergency Management. They are planning on at least two months at this point.” Firefighters were concerned about working at night on the site, but the lights have aided the search-and-rescue mission by providing near daytime amounts of light at ground zero.
Another story of people in our industry pitching in comes from Charlie Libin, a DP/grip who, along with David Skutch of Luminaria Ltd., have been volunteering to help with the lighting at the World Trade Center site. When the rescuers were having trouble seeing into the crater they obtained 12 Arri Ruby-7 fixtures from Camera Service Center. The Ruby-7 consists of six PAR-64 lamps in a ring and one PAR-64 lamp in the middle. They are focusable to direct the light where needed and have aided the ongoing search-and-rescue efforts.
When officials from New York City's government realized that they needed more room for the NYC Family Assistance Center, which started out at the armory on Lexington Avenue, they settled on the UnConvention Center located at Pier 94, at 55th Street and the West Side Highway. At 125,000 sq. ft., it is three and a half times larger than the armory and better suited to the families that were searching for loved ones. Ken Longert of KL Productions, a production company based at the piers that provides lighting, staging, and sound equipment for trade shows, jumped into action supporting the city's efforts.
“On Wednesday, the city wanted to use Pier 94 as a morgue and asked us to put up drapes and lights to create a welcoming place for the families,” explains Longert. “On Thursday they changed their minds and asked us to help in the construction of the Family Assistance Center. We set up more lighting, staging, we ran a lot of power drops all over the space. There was very little power here when this was a pier, and we have added a lot of power distribution to support the trade shows. Since the pier is 900' long, we have a lot of very long feeder cable and portable distribution to put power where it is needed.”
Longert and a crew of 30 technicians worked around the clock to get Pier 94 ready for the new guests. They worked in conjunction with Verizon and Time Warner to provide phone and Internet access. “There are hundreds of computers as well as a cafeteria for catering hot meals for the families,” says Longert. His crew set up a pier-wide sound system with three zones for announcements. One of the poignant features is a long plywood wall at the entrance to the center with a small roof that is covered with fliers and photos of missing loved ones. A quick trip to an electrical supply house later and Longert's crew had set up weatherproof floodlighting along the wall.
Individuals from the entertainment industry have been contributing in other ways as well. Herrick Goldman, a New York City-based lighting designer, also happens to be a trained EMT. He was working a call when the tragedy was unfolding. Goldman went immediately to Chelsea Piers, where the city was staging ambulances, to volunteer his services. He and a crew of 50 off-duty firemen took over a dark soundstage and were told to convert it into a hospital. “My first reaction was those eight mercury vapors aren't going to cut it,” says Goldman, who subsequently ran back the three blocks to the job site and took some 2kW fresnels and power distribution in a hamper back to the soundstage. “In five minutes the Local 52 crew and I got it up and running.” With some supplemental lighting from the Law & Order lighting package, they turned a darkened sound stage into a makeshift hospital.
“I ended up working there as an EMT until 9pm that night, dealing with coordination of volunteers,” says Goldman. There, 300 doctors, nurses, and medics manned over 100 fully functional operating tables. Sadly, there have only been a handful of patients. “It was incredible to see all of the volunteers coming out of the woodwork willing to pitch in and do anything necessary. It makes me proud to be a citizen of this city and this country,” sums up Goldman.
TRACOMAN ACQUIRES CONTROLLING INTEREST IN COEMAR
Tracoman Inc., a Stanton Group subsidiary and professional lighting distributor in North and South America, and Coemar SpA, manufacturer of automated lighting fixtures based in Castelgoffredo, Italy, have announced an agreement in principle whereby Tracoman will acquire a controlling interest in Coemar.
The agreement will allow the current management of Coemar to run its operations while Tracoman will provide the expertise to enhance the companies' marketing, distribution, and research-and-development capabilities needed for growth.
BIG APPLE LIGHTS MAKES AGREEMENT WITH IATSE LOCAL ONE
In a move which could have a significant effect on the New York professional lighting market, Big Apple Lights Corp. will affiliate with IATSE Local One, the theatrical stage employees union, in New York City.
Big Apple Lights is a full-service entertainment industry lighting rental and sales shop supplying equipment to the Off and Off Off Broadway communities and has long been popular with lighting designers from those markets. Now, with the IA agreement, it will be able to supply Broadway shows and other union-staffed events. Big Apple Production Services, a new division of Big Apple Lights, provides complete staffing and labor for events and productions and will provide comprehensive equipment packages as well.
VARI-LITE ASSEMBLES SALES AND MARKETING TEAM
With a renewed focus on product sales and the establishment of a worldwide dealer network, Vari-Lite Inc. has hired three lighting industry veterans to fill vital positions as regional sales managers. Craig Burross, Sean Hoey, and John McDowell will play key roles as Vari-Lite increases sales and creates new dealer relationships. Vari-Lite also announced the hiring of Eric Van Steenburg as marketing communications manager to support its new sales and marketing programs.
“All these guys have a successful history of growing the lighting manufacturing business,” Schacherl said. “They know what it takes to be a major player in entertainment lighting. Combining Vari-Lite's great brand with the experience of these exceptional sales managers will help continue the company's commitment to quality customer service and support.”
ESTA MARKET RESEARCH PROGRAM ENTERS YEAR TWO
The second quarter results from the ESTA Market Research Program for Manufacturers are due in a few weeks' time. Comments on the first quarter and historical reports from some of the 48 participating companies included: “Incredibly valuable information,” “This report has challenged some of our most basic assumptions about the marketplace,” “It's making us rethink how we are spending our advertising and marketing resources,” and “The market for this product is larger than we had thought.”
There had previously been no information on the size of various product sectors within the entertainment technology industry, forcing manufacturers to guess at the size of the market for their product and their company's market share. ESTA felt the time was finally ripe for this collection of data. “Particularly in a difficult economy, this program is a valuable tool for manufacturers that gives them the information they need to best utilize their precious resources,” says Lori Rubinstein, executive director of ESTA. “They can effectively plan their expenditures for marketing, advertising, trade shows, and research and development.”
One of the most valuable aspects of the report is tracking growth throughout the year with the same group of companies; new participants are accepted into the program only once each year. If a manufacturer is interested in participating in the 2002 program, the signup period has begun and will last through December 31, 2001.
Participation is open to manufacturers from around the world and only participating companies have access to the reports. ESTA membership is not a prerequisite to participate in the program. Participants must meet the following criteria: (1) they are the manufacturer of a product that is included in the survey, or (2) they are the exclusive or primary entry point of a product into the marketplace for a manufacturer that does not wish to participate in the survey.
The report is divided into the following geographical areas: United States, North/Central America, South America, Europe, Middle East/Africa, and Asia/Pacific Rim. For the 2002 program, ESTA is looking to add truss to the program which currently includes the following product categories: moving lights, fixed luminaires, followspots, lamps, dimmers, control and networking, and fog/haze machines.
In order to maintain complete confidentiality for all participants, an independent accounting firm located in Canada collects, compiles, and disseminates all data. No one outside of the accounting firm ever sees an individual company's numbers and all raw data is destroyed 120 days after publication of the report.
For additional information about the ESTA Market Research Program for Manufacturers, including a list of participating companies, call Lori Rubinstein at 212-244-1505 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rubinstein sums up the program: “One of the best analogies came from a French manufacturer, who said: ‘I do not like to be in a dark room without a flashlight. This is the flashlight.’”
MARTIN HIRES INTERNATIONAL ARCHITECTURAL LIGHTING SALES DIRECTOR
Martin Professional has hired Gorm Teichert as international sales director for the company's architectural segment. Teichert starts November 1, at Martin's headquarters in Aarhus, Denmark.
Teichert was previously managing director for German architectural lighting company Erco, a job that most recently took him to England for several years.