Graham Whitehouse

Graham has recently taken on a role that will see him work across both Matrix and Anna Valley as the Group Asset Manager. Let’s see what Graham had to say about his new role…

Where you trained/studied
Studied for a BTEC HND in video production and media studies at the highly prestigious Dewsbury College of art and design

Where you previously worked
Blitz – Hire Co-ordinator
Bit of freelancing/Chalet Hosting/Mountain Bike Motorhome bum
PSAV/AVC

What your previous roles were
Blitz – Hire Co-ordinator – Assigning equipment, Booking crew etc.
PSAV/AVC – I was working at PSAV when the two companies merged. Eventually I took the lead on a project, to merge the two companies rental software and warehouse operations.

What you started doing at Matrix
Matrix brought me in as their Hire Manager. Day to day, I managed the warehouse staff as well as kit movements.

What you particularly like doing at Matrix and now Anna Valley also
I really enjoy getting to work with my fantastic colleagues at both bases, who help to create an environment which offers new challenges every day. I find this very fulfilling as I really enjoy coming up with solutions which are both creative and logical. It’s very satisfying to be able to work closely with the software we use to help us meet the needs of our clients, and to be heavily involved with improving our internal processes which enable us to do that.

As a bit of a nomad I also enjoy working between the two locations and adjusting my outlook to suit the particular quirks of each one.

How the role developed/changed to the new one
In my previous role I was solely based at Matrix, enabling their jobs to run as smoothly as possible. It has always been the long-term plan for me to progress into a role which encompasses both companies so that our individual processes and software can be aligned more closely. This will mean that we can continue to streamline how we work together.

What you would like to achieve in this new role
In a professional capacity, I would like to further review the software and the processes we use so that we can maximise our efficiency, therefore having even more time to devote to maintaining the wonderful customer service which we are known for.

In a personal capacity, I can’t wait to improve my coding skills! I’ve been reading an incredibly big book on this topic so after slogging through all of that, it will be great to apply my newfound knowledge!

Team Nomadic Numpties on the Mongol Rally

Fondly referred to as “our dynamic duo”, Henri and Turbo have returned from their epic fundraising mission. Henri is one of the freelance Project Managers at Matrix and Turbo is a well-known and well-respected Lighting Designer at TSL Lighting. Both of them agreed that they wanted to support an amazing charity, one that supports people in the events industry: BackupThe Technical Entertainment Charity was the perfect choice. This organisation provides financial support to industry technical professionals working in live events, theatre, TV and film.

Henri and Turbo chose to embark upon a challenge that would provide fantastic awareness for the charity and raise essential funds to support our event colleagues. The challenge itself is called the Mongol Rally, which would essentially see our dynamic duo renamed as “The Nomadic Numpties” and travel to Mongolia, in their very own Ferrari…also known as Poppy the Perodua.

We caught up with Henri and Turbo upon their return, this is their adventure…

Welcome back to UK soil – happy to be back?
Yes, we more than achieved what we wanted. We surprisingly managed to get Poppy and ourselves back in one piece and most importantly, we raised more than we ever thought possible for the BackUp charity. We had an absolutely epic time doing it!

Talk us through the planning process
It took us 6 months in total to plan everything, visas, vehicle import / export, carnets, equipment and second passports. Our Mongol Rally organisation spreadsheet is quite a sight to behold!

Prior to setting off, you managed to raise a lot of money, how did you do this?
We approached a number of clients and suppliers and told them of our adventure, we offered them an opportunity to support us and BackUp. This also provided a bit of advertising for each company – win win for both parties really. Each “headline sponsor” was a company or individual that had donated a chunk of cash, in return they had their logo emblazoned on Poppy.

With the headline sponsors and all the unbelievably generous donations prior to and during our adventure, we raised £500 for Cool Earth (the official Mongol Rally Charity) and £6,435 for BackUp, our chosen charity. If you didn’t think we’d make it back, and were hoping you’d never see us again…. bad luck!

The donation link is still active and you can continue to sponsor us here: https://backupchallengefundraiser.raisely.com/nomadicnumpties

So, talk us through the actual adventure
The Mongol Rally challenge starts in Kent, England and you end up at the Finish Line in Ulan Ude, Russia via any route you choose. Our route saw us travel through 24 different countries and cover more than 18,000miles. We travelled through: France, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Czech Republic, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey, Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Russia, Mongolia, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland.

How long did this take you?
We were on the road for 72 days. 55 of those, we camped out under the stars, satellites and occasionally rain. 

What was your favourite location and why?
Mongolia for the beautiful view and unbelievable wild life. Eagles swooping overhead, camels, horses and yaks in the roads. No roads (where there should be roads) meant we had a wonderful opportunity to choose our own destiny, every time you play the “where does this track go” game.

Any mishaps that happened along the way?
We were very lucky overall with Poppy (the car), no punctures or mechanical failures thank goodness. We invested in decent rally tyres prior to the start, a decision that definitely paid off in the long run, considering the 4000kms total of off-roading we did. I think two suspension replacements and three roof rack bodges/welds, were probably to be expected.

We also very nearly had all our documents and most importantly my treasured teddy bear stolen at the Russian/Mongolian border. This would’ve been a disaster, thankfully we managed to escape this, and our rally experience was able to continue.

Favourite part of the experience?
The privilege of meeting such a variety of people, we experienced so many different countries and cultures. Overland travel allows you to see a country and its scenery, at a completely different pace. I think the thing that surprised us the most, was the camaraderie between all the teams, the feeling of being supported by a network of strangers, all with the same crazy goal.

Least favourite part of the experience?
Nothing! Even when we were tired, stressed, filthy and lost, it was all part of the adventure and fun. We thought the border crossings would be the worst, but even our longest 8 hours from Iran to Turkmenistan was fine. You just find some shade, put your feet up, have a picnic of whatever random food you happen to have on board and listen to the Archers omnibus!

What you enjoyed the most when the experience finished?
It’s funny really, we both travel so much with work and never really miss much. However, after the Mongol Rally experience we definitely enjoyed cheese and tomato sandwiches, pork pies, fresh veg and salad. We also realised how complacent we are living in UK; we now appreciate the simple things most of us take for granted. Such as showers, running water and being able to walk around in socks without getting wet feet.

Is there anything you miss now it is over?
The freedom of life on the road, living hour to hour and knowing you have everything you need in Poppy.

 So, what is next for our dynamic duo…
I’m not sure anything will compare or beat the “motoring stupidity on a global scale’ that is the Mongol Rally. Once we’re settled back in to our normal lives, we may start work converting a Russian UAZ into a campervan, to continue our Nomadic Numpties adventures – watch this space 😉

Matrix UK Solutions provide video support on The Sri Lankan music show

Sunday 8 September 2019 –– 1600 fans eagerly descended on the Indigo at the O2 to enjoy theSri Lankan ‘pop’ music show. This amazing event, designed to provide an essence of Sri Lankan music was headed up by Palinda Samarasinghe from Lankan Imaginative & Foremost Events Ltd.

Ruary Macphie, Touring Project Manager from Matrix UK Solutions (Matrix) ensured the correct equipment was supplied to fully enhance and deliver the content on the show. Overseen by Ruary, the team performed a thorough pre-show check of all the show equipment, an opportunity to modify, prep and test the video equipment – this took place in the warehouse of parent company Anna Valley. At this stage, the team ingested the Sri Lankan filmed footage and programmed it to 55 tracks

Ruary comments “It is essential to pre-rig and thoroughly test show equipment – this takes place as a given for all our events. However, for this particular event the accuracy of the load and kit was paramount, we had an unbelievably tight load in schedule with very early sound checks taking place on the show day. There was no room for error, everything needed to rig perfectly. Thankfully everything went to plan, we were perfectly on-time for the sound boys.”

For the actual show Matrix supplied AV3 LED fed with a Green Hippo and video capture card allowing Indigo camera pictures to be put on the screen. The LED consisted of alarge 6m x 3m backscreen, hanging off trusses further downstage, equally spaced to provide a great visual effect were 6 pods (4 x 1m x 3m and 2 x .5m x 3m) using 3 x 4k Nova star processors.

Mike Flood, Matrix Leading LED Technician comments “This was an amazing event to work on. Thanks to the team all went to plan and the vibrancy of the Sri Lankan content looked unbelievably amazing on our LED screens”.

Latest Update from the science museum

The newly refurbished Smith Centre at the Science Museum has opened!
The recently refurbished Smith Centre at the Science Museum makes up four unique spaces, available for both daytime and evening hire. Among the original features is an open-plan courtyard area which can be enjoyed in conjunction with daytime hire of the Salon. The space is also enhanced with a range of hand-picked historical objects from the Science Museum collection, including a replica pressure suit from the last mission to the Moon and the stunning Electrical Engineering Workshop painting by Terence Cuneo.
Click here to find out more

5 new Medicine Galleries coming soon to the Science Museum!
Based on the collections of Sir Henry Wellcome and the Science Museum, the Medicine Galleries will celebrate one of the largest medical collections in the world. Opening November 2019, the Medicine Galleries will make up 5 uniquely themed spaces covering more than 3000m2. With over 3,000 extraordinary medical artefacts, spanning more than 500 years of history, guests can embark on a discovery of how all our lives have been transformed by medical research and practice!

Soyuz Return Exploring Space
On 28 May 2019, the Science Museum welcomed Tim Peake to officially unveil his Soyuz Capsule in a new permanent display in the Exploring Space gallery, launching the museum-wide Summer of Space programme to mark 50 years since the Apollo Moon missions.
Click here to find out more

Tomorrow’s World: New temporary exhibition ‘Driverless: Who is in control? has launches
The Science Museum have said goodbye to Superbugs: The fight for our lives. The Science Museum have a new exhibition, Driverless: Who is in control? It offers a unique glimpse into the AI-driven tech that could shape the habits, behaviour and society of tomorrow. Highlights include self-driving cars, autonomous flying drones and smart underwater vehicles.

Discount
Just so you are aware, we are offering a venue hire discount of 20% on IMAX Theatre bookings for all charities from now until January 2020.
Click here to find out more

2 year anniversary at Matrix…Ruary Macphie

Ruary Macphie is a well-known and greatly respected Video Director. During his career Ruary has worked with a variety of A-list artists. Two years ago, Ruary joined Matrix UK Solutions, get to know a bit more about our Touring Project Manager with our 2-minute wrap up….

Soooo, it’s your 2-year anniversary?
I have learnt a lot in my two years of being here at Matrix, working full time for a company is slightly different than constantly being on the road. It’s a good change, I like it, it’s great to work on and deliver a project with a consistent team. More importantly my family likes it – a far better work life balance!

 Do you feel you have achieved all you set out to, when you started at Matrix?
I do feel that we have achieved a large amount in a relatively small timeframe. Particularly the PPU and the significant investment with the SONY Camera channels. The PPU involved a lot of R&D and the end result has been amazing, it delivers above and beyond what we initially thought it was capable of doing.

We’ve worked with Robert Plant and Phil Collins, namely the US, New Zealand and Australian sections of Phil Collins latest “Not Dead Yet, Live” tour. Two huge names in live music – not a bad start.

 2 years on, what is the new target/game plan?
The target hasn’t changed, we will carry on trying to win music tours and become a company that Artists and their production management choose to work with.

How long have you been in the events industry?
30 years

Where did you receive your training?
I started from the bottom and have worked hard, really hard to achieve the position I have now. My grass roots were grafting in the warehouse, I then stepped up to become a Camera Technician at Samuelson Communications, W1.

Previous experience – quick overview?
With 30years under my belt, there is a lot to write about. However, I can proudly say I have delivered the following projects as a Camera Director…The Brits, Download Festival, V-Festival, Robbie Williams, Kylie, Phil Collins, Paramore, The Who, Coldplay, One Direction, Duran Duran…and many more.

As a Camera Operator, my experience includes…Sky Sports Football, Rugby, WTA Tennis and News AP CNN.

The best job you’ve delivered?
There isn’t really a “best job”, I love my job and want to deliver a great project – If the Client is happy, I’ve done what I set out to do.

The worst job you’ve delivered and why?
There isn’t one really. Obviously with the nature of live events, sometimes things don’t necessarily go according to plan but in the main, most issues are resolvable. Be honest with the management, artist and the team and there’s no reason for anyone to get upset.

What part of live events appeal to you the most?
The constant changing horizon – since starting in this industry 30yrs ago there have been a lot of changes. Technology never ceases to amaze me, the delivery you can achieve with such advances is limitless.

If you had a shopping list, what kit would you like to buy next?
D3 – definitely D3

What dream job did you want to do when you were younger?
Pilot, we all had that desire didn’t we as a young boy??

What would you tell your younger self if you could go back in time?
Listen to things. When you are younger you think you know it all, listen, people give you advice and you should take the time to absorb their knowledge and experience.

What are your plans, in terms of Touring for 2019?
We have won and will be delivering the Phil Collins European Stadium Tour this summer. Also, we are stepping up technically by introducing D3 to the show.

With regard to Touring generally, work on securing more events with some fantastic artists.

Matrix deliver bespoke LED Façade on MWC Barcelona 2019

MWC Barcelona is the largest mobile event in the world. Bringing together the latest innovation and leading-edge technology from more than 2,400 companies over four days; 25-28 February 2019. Attended by over 107,000 from more than 200 countries including almost 60% attendees of senior executive level or above.

Matrix have worked alongside GSMA for a number of years. A relationship that has seen Matrix advise, recommend and help deliver the best technical solutions, for many of GSMA’s large scale projects around the globe.

Working with GSMA and FIRA on MWC Barcelona. Matrix delivered the creative treatment to the façade of the main plenary structure – an immense space and construction was required to fulfill the brief, which included providing a total visual screening of the structure used to house the auditorium and the provision of an immersive entrance tunnel and audio system. In total Matrix designed, delivered and built a 35.5m x 7m LED wall using part of their stock inventory of 3.9mm Unilumin LED product, this was supported on a Layher scaffolding base and was fully wrapped in printed branding.

Working closely with the venue and Losberger DeBoer, Matrix not only completed all technical pre-production, but also worked on the structural specifications, this included some very specific engineering around the door portal and tunnel which combined traditional flown rigging along with custom fabricated steelwork.

The project itself included three artic trucks of technical equipment and the part-built engineered frame. When on-site a team of ten worked solidly for seven days to implement the install. When up and running over 100,000 visitors to MWC Barcelona were able to view a mix of content including messaging and program information as well as some commercial content from some of the show’s partners and exhibitors. Matrix provided both show operational crew and stand-by technicians. Everything was then removed over a two-day period.

Content was all handled byHippo v4 Boreal, switching via a Barco E2. The Matrix team worked closely with the client and the content agency, firstly providing data, pixel maps and advice on creation and design with both full screen and PIP content. Some of the content also included looping reels to ensure a specific time of day or a certain activity in the hall was as effectively displayed as possible.

Ben O’Shea, Matrix Projects Director comments “Initially the brief looked pretty straight forward…build a big LED wall. LED is second nature to Matrix. However, the engineering elements, due to the scale of the wall needed careful consideration and planning. Also working at MWC, the size and scale of the event and the congested nature of Hall 4 presented some unique logistical challenges. On-site the LED looked awesome, I’m really pleased with the design, execution and how amazing the content looked on it…look forward to do it all again in 2020”!

Our latest recruit…Jack Cunningham

Jack Cunningham has been delivering his role as Project Manager for a few weeks now so, we thought we’d get to know a bit more about our latest recruit with a 2-minute wrap up….

Hello Jack, how are you? Great thanks, life is really good at the moment.

Settling in well and getting used to the Matrix way? Yes, obviously some of the processes are different but in the main I’ve jumped in with both feet and am still afloat so that’s good!

How long have you been in the events industry? I have been in the industry for 8 years and have been working with events for 6 and a half

What was your training in?I went to the BRIT school for performing arts and studied Technical Theatre, covering everything backstage from technical video, audio and lighting to Stage Management

What dream job did you want to do when you were younger? Hard to say but I’m sure Astronaut was top of the list as a kid!

Previous experience?After finishing my course at the BRIT school, I worked with White Light for 7.5 years working across many areas of the business. I was the Manager of the audio and video departments for some time, before finishing as a Project Manager

The best job you’ve delivered? They all tend to blur into one, the more you do. I would say any job that goes off without issues is my best job.

The worst job you’ve delivered and why? It’s always the smaller jobs! When they are smaller, you think they are easier and perhaps you become a little complacent and can miss a simple detail. I definitely spend more time checking the small jobs because of this.

What part of live events appeal to you the most? I personally enjoy the variety. Never knowing what the next day brings is something that excites me, it just so happens the people you work with tend to be great too.

What would you tell your younger self if you could go back in time?Absorb as much as you can. When you first start in the industry it can be very daunting, but you have to get stuck in to learn and never stop asking questions.

What are your plans for 2019? I would like to finish the year knowing that I have accomplished enough to be proud of myself – that’s all I aim for.

Anna Valley and Matrix UK Solutions launch Graduate Trainee Scheme

LONDON – January 30, 2019– Anna Valley and Matrix UK Solutions are delighted to announce the launch of their Graduate Trainee Scheme. This joint offering is a fantastic opportunity for some of the next generation of project managers, engineers and technicians to gain invaluable hands-on experience, training and knowledge from two, firmly established, suppliers to the live event industry.

The paid positions on offer as part of the scheme will be tailored to individual candidates and include lengthy and advanced training options at both Anna Valley and Matrix.  The roles will include, but not be limited to, hands-on training and mentorship in pre-production and project management, equipment and warehouse operations and on-site delivery. The two-year placement also offers additional optional modules for candidates that would like to increase the length of their training.

Ideal candidates for the Graduate Trainee Scheme will have either completed a course related to the study of audio-visual, sound or video technology, or be due to finish these studies by the summer of 2019.  Entry is open immediately, interviews will commence in the spring and candidate placements will start in the summer of 2019.

“The best way to learn about AV technology is by working on real jobs, but it can be difficult for graduates to get an opportunity to do so, particularly on live event projects where you can’t afford to make mistakes,” said Anna Valley Technical Director, Peter Jones. “The Anna Valley and Matrix Graduate Trainee Scheme will offer a safe space for graduates to get the hands-on experience they need, under the guidance and supervision of some of the industry’s most experienced experts.  We’re excited to play a part in developing the next generation of AV talent.”

For more information click here

[email protected]

Phil Collins…Australia and New Zealand

Today, 18 January 2019 is the first show day of the Phil Collins “Not dead Yet, Live” world tour, in Australia and New Zealand. From 18 January – 6 February Phil Collins and his band will visit multiple locations in Australia and New Zealand; the concerts start in Brisbane and move onto Sydney, Adelaide, Perth and Melbourne. They then move onto Christchurch and Napier in New Zealand.

Team Matrix will continue to provide the same equipment as the American section of the tour late last year; seven camera package (including four of our Sony HSC 100 EFP cameras), PPU with Ross Carbonite Mixer, 460panels of 5.9mm LED controlled using a Catalyst Media server and projectors. This section of the world tour is largely similar to the previous shows in America, the only difference is that there is a mixture of indoor and outdoor shows.

We wish the entire tour team, Phil Collins and his band the best of luck on their first show and indeed the entire tour in Australia and New Zealand!

📸 Patrick Balls