No mystery, but very magical: Lennon AV bus prepares to tour Europe

Yoko Ono Lennon prepares to declare the new Lennon Bus Europe officially open [Image credit: Mark McNulty]

Yoko Ono Lennon declares the new Lennon Bus Europe officially open [Image credit: Mark McNulty]

Launched 16 years ago, the original John Lennon Educational Tour Bus has given thousands of young people across the US the opportunity to get hands-on with the latest AV gear and create their own video, broadcast and music projects. Now it has a European counterpart, made possible through the generosity of some of the biggest names in professional AV – among them Avid, NewTek, Sony and Vitec.

Accompanied by considerable media fanfare, the vehicle was officially unveiled during an event at Museum of Liverpool on 8 May, attended by Lennon’s artistic collaborator and widow, Yoko Ono Lennon.

“The educational bus is a huge success in the USA,” said Ono Lennon, “but John would have been extra-thrilled that it is now launching in Europe, starting in Liverpool, his home town.”

Available for request visits to schools, colleges and trade shows, the new vehicle packs a lot of high-end possibilities onto a 12-metre-long Mercedes-Benz chassis. Not only there are extensive HD video facilities, there are two music recording studios and an acoustic isolation room. In addition, the ‘Peace Deck’ roof-top terrace and pop-outs can accommodate performances and the creation of interview and other online content. All artistic projects created on the bus will be available for viewing on the website.

Sony Professional Solutions Europe provided studio integration for a vehicle whose video set-up could rival many an immobile facility. Sony equipment is much in evidence, too, and includes NEX-FS700 cinematic camera kits, DSLR camera kits, compact NEX camera kits, field production audio kits, TRIMASTER EL OLED video monitors and more.

Vitec Group brands’ involvement has been similarly crucial, yielding: a Sachtler FSB fluid head and tripod; a Vinten Vision blue pan-and-tilt head and tripod; Petrol Bags photographers’ back packs and a 4K video bag; Anton/Bauer DIONIC batteries, chargers and a Gold Mount for Sony’s NEX-700; six 1×1 panels, three Miniplus and three Croma camera fixtures, and a Sola ENG flight kit from Litepanels; and a Lennon Bus-branded Q-Ball robotic camera head from Camera Corps.

Avid is also well-presented, providing a wealth of audio and video software including Pro Tools|HD Native and Pro Tools|HDX DAWs, Sibelius music composition and notation software, Media Composer nonlinear video editing systems, and Artist Series control surfaces.

NewTek (TriCaster 855) and Gibson are among the star suppliers [Image: SVG]

NewTek (TriCaster 855) and Gibson are among the star suppliers [Image: SVG]

Meanwhile, a 24-channel, multi-camera TriCaster 855 production system gives the user a capacity for up to eight cameras, plus five digital media players for video clips, graphics and titles, and two network channels for sharing video and audio from the bus’s Mac devices.

Lennon Bus Europe boasts not one, but two fully-equipped, 5.1-capable recording studios, each featuring an identical Genelec complement of comprising five 8240A bi-amplified DSP two-way loudspeaker monitoring monitors and two 7260A active DSP subwoofers, used in conjunction with two AD9200A analogue to digital converters. In addition to the interior monitoring systems, students have access to two larger 8050A wideband bi-amplified monitoring systems for outdoor monitoring and performance.

Audio-Technica microphones and headphones, an SSL mixer and mic-pres, and Clear-Com comms systems are also part of the spec, along with MI gear from Gibson, Epiphone and Roland.

After its high-profile launch in Lennon’s hometown, the Lennon Educational Tour Bus makes its next scheduled stop at the Yoko Ono Lennon-curated Meltdown Festival at the Southbank Centre, beginning on 14 June.

“I’m so thrilled that the Educational Tour Bus will be situated at Meltdown,” said Ono Lennon. “All kids who are interested in making music and learning how to use instruments in the recording studio should come and make use of this freebie!”

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