installationreport Roland Hemming inside the Olympic Stadium
Daniel Green FOH & Studio Engineer / Co-Producer
himself – with relish. “They wanted the Renaissance audio man, but got someone personable with a reasonable grounding in lots of things,” he recalls. “They didn’t want a product-obsessed touring engineer. This was a management job.” Immediately after the Dome, and the safe dispersal of hardware back into the industry as legacy plant, Hemming entered into a relatively short-lived installation partnership that failed to satisfy his exacting demands – despite initial success supplying entertainment technology in turnkey packages and a notable early score at the revamped Wembley Stadium. The subsequent formation of RH Consulting was almost accidental, Hemming claims today.
BRAND OF THE FREE In the true spirit of consultancy, Hemming is robustly brand-agnostic. Only rarely does he venture into a public display of product development, as when his contribution to Harman’s HiQnet communications protocol helped it onto the market with a very considered seal of approval. More than anything, it’s the process that engages him. “Installation has become even less
flexible,” he says. “The industry is tied up in red tape and stymied by the whole process, from the construction industry onwards. Some of the procedures are good, some of them bad, but the whole thing it has to go through is just so slow. The so-called flexibility of portable
“Installation has become even less flexible. The industry is tied up in red tape and stymied by the whole process, from the construction industry onwards. Some of the procedures are good, some of them bad, but the whole thing it has to go through is just so slow”
“I left that partnership fairly demoralised,” he admits, “and in that state you do re-evaluate your own worth very carefully. Your confidence is eroded, but I had a bit of money set aside and didn’t have to rush into the next job.
“I took some time off and starting calling people and having lunch – not to ask for work, but literally to find out what I should do! There was some good stuff on the CV, so where did I sit in the world of pro audio? After that the phone just started to ring, as people came back to me seeking some corroborative advice for themselves. After about six months I took on Lauren [Rogers], whom I’d known at the previous partnership – and here we are seven years on. The consultancy has just built and built…
systems being ‘installed’ in multipurpose venues is just a minor design detail: you can ‘network’ a building to accommodate lots of input points, but the software doesn’t really exist to make it work well. There are isolated examples of ‘smart’ buildings, if you like, but there are too many issues facing the practical application of networking technology that this industry has not yet solved.” Pointing to the new software package
Audio Architect, the developers at Harman Professional may say with some justification that big steps in that direction are being taken – and Hemming, once a HiQnet acolyte, would not disagree. “It’s just that there are working practices and other influences that technology alone cannot overcome,” he says. “Some of them come from within the industry and
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