Big projects, small details: who you gonna call? Phil Wardmarks consultant Roland Hemming’s 25 years in the industry
YOURS IS the Earth, according to Rudyard Kipling, “If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you”. By this token Roland Hemming, consultant and audio project veteran of one or two head-losing bonanzas including The Millennum Dome and The Olympic Games, is
Hemming leads a training session for Avitas
running the planet – except that his characteristic modesty would never let on. Instead, let the final success of those and many other achievements speak for themselves.
Hemming started on the bottom rung, in the warehouse, making tea and coiling cable. As a MIDI-generation music technology enthusiast, he
spotted the potential of this digital interface to sync up pro-audio and other devices in a show context. Once TP had merged with Vari-Lite, colleague Richard Bleasdale was writing software for MIDI control of the Vari-Lite Artisan desk via Atari laptops, and the two of them began to develop multi- device control programming way ahead of its time. Hemming’s program ‘Theatre Sequencer’, in fact, drew something of a cult following among those who knew IRCAM’s Max protocol – now a mainstay of object-based multimedia composition, looping and sequencing. It’s typical of Hemming’s
apparent gift for beckoning the zeitgeist. At the same time as cracking the sub-atomic minutiae, his solution may well turn out to be some kind of macro that the industry was waiting for. Having done it, Hemming is then in a logical position to lead rather than follow, which is why assembling
Hemming with business partner Lauren Rogers
teams has been as much a forte as programming code. Seeing the job ad and
interviewing successfully, the Millennium Dome project was a deep end into which he threw
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