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Archive for Month: January 2019

ETC’S Motorised Rigging Systems in SA

ApexPro, the local distributor of Electronic Theatre Control’s full range of lighting, control and automation technologies, recently hosted a brace of launches featuring ETC’s motorised rigging systems in Johannesburg and Cape Town. Nils Becker, the global ETC rigging products manager, spoke with ETECH during the Johannesburg leg of the launch, held at The University of Johannesburg in October.

ETC has been a global leader in the design and manufacture of lighting and rigging technologies for the theatre, film and television studio environments for more than 40 years, and has a well-established reputation for innovation, responsiveness and outstanding customer service. ApexPro, the distribution arm of Prosound, has a long-standing relationship with ETC, having distributed the company’s lighting and control systems for a number of years. With the rapid adoption of automated staging technology in theatres across the globe, ApexPro decided to invite Becker to introduce ETC’s innovative range of stage automation solutions to the South African market.

NEW POSSIBILITIES

In 2009, ETC introduced the Prodigy range of automation solutions: a new class of over-stage machinery systems that were custom-designed to meet the needs of medium-sized theatres, studios and corporate venues.  According to Becker, ETC’s Prodigy family enables smaller venues to access to motorised staging technology that, as little as a decade ago, was only accessible to the world’s largest and most affluent professional venues.

Prodigy hoists are built around a groundbreaking sloped drum, which makes for a smaller, lighter machine that fits into more places and requires less structural support. There are a variety of models, each of which can be installed in a number of configurations, with a slender design that enables close line-set placement.

All Prodigy hoists use ETC’s unique compression-tube technology, which allows the system to be connected to a structure with fewer brackets, independent of the loft-line placement. This technology cancels out the lateral forces usually created by traditional rigging systems, meaning it can reduce new-installation costs and allow for retrofits in spaces not traditionally designed for stage-machinery systems.

SIMPLICITY DELIVERS RESULTS

The Prodigy system requires an extremely simple infrastructure, as each hoist needs just one cable for power and one for control. A package of 24 machines only requires a single Cat5e cable to connect the hoists to the controller. Prodigy can include a low-profile cable-management system that cleanly hides cabling, as well as pantographs or traditional power options. They accommodate many circuits of power, including emergency circuits, and can contain DMX or network-based data communication.

ETC’s automation controllers deliver high functionality at an affordable price and have been designed with the end-user in mind. From the most basic QuickTouch series to the flagship Foundation controller, the user interface features easy-to-understand displays, such as current weight and position. Also, the system offers a range of installed and remote options to fit the specific requirements of the particular venue, enabling the end-user to execute set changes efficiently and effectively.

SAFETY STANDARDS

ETC’s commitment to safety means that operational safety is a priority of the design and everything in the load path is engineered in terms of a ten-to-one safety factor. The ETC Prodigy hoist has built-in sensors that constantly track, test and log information, such as distance travelled and weight load errors. Every model includes a slack-line sensor and load cell displaying the real-time weight, coupled with an intelligent profiling technology; each motor will instantly halt when it unexpectedly encounters an obstacle in its path.

“In response to increasing awareness about the importance of safety and risk reduction in the workplace, there is a growing aversion among universities, professional theatres and corporate venues to placing people on ladders and within fly rails to access equipment. As a result, there is a growing demand for affordable motorised rigging systems that make it possible for equipment to be lowered and adjusted, which is exactly what the ETC Prodigy range allows,” says Becker.

SCALABILITY

“One of the most important features of the Prodigy family is that it offers venues a highly scalable and customisable solution, that is easy to install and cost-effective to maintain. Also, the system is highly flexible and can be implemented in phases. A venue may invest in just two or three hoists to start with and add to the system as the need arises over the years. As a result, the capital cost of changing from a counter-weight to a motorised system can be managed over a number of fiscal cycles,” Becker concludes.

ETC’s Prodigy offers a package that is user-friendly, affordable to install and increases both the functionality and safety of flying equipment. The Prodigy family promises better access to your flown systems from an approachable interface, thereby making your venue safer and more efficient.

Kindly visit www.etcconnect.com/Products/Rigging-Systems for more information about ETC’s innovative motorised rigging solutions.

ETC lights leading news channel Al Arabiya, 24/7

For over 10 years, an ETC Eos Classic has been used to light the broadcast studio of leading TV news channel Al Arabiya, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week live on air without any technical faults.

Al Arabiya is the chief news station in the Middle East, based in Dubai. ETC dealer, Oasis Enterprises has been in partnership with Al Arabiya since 2008, supplying and installing technical equipment to the TV channel. The news studio commented positively on the relationship with Oasis Enterprises, remarking that their ‘reliability and support’ influenced the decision to choose ETC for their broadcast studio: “They offer us a great service and are always available whenever we need them,” comments the Head of News Resources, Mahmoud Issa.

This year, Al Arabiya was upgraded to ETC’s flagship lighting control desk Eos Ti, bringing the latest technology and most powerful hardware to the broadcast studios. “As our channel runs 24/7, it is crucial that there are no errors with lighting, vision mixers or consoles. We need to be equipped with the best and ETC’s Eos console is one of the best so far,” remarks Mahmoud Issa.

The TV company is also equipped with ETC dimmer racks, Eos Remote Processor Units and lighting fixtures – Source Four LED Series 2 Lustr Daylight HD and Source Four jr luminaires. “The Eos family software platform and the Lustr Series 2 output perform extremely well. We are very happy to have them in our studios and look forward to investing in more in the future,” commented Safwan Harcouss, Lighting Manager at Al Arabiya.

ETC’s signature Eos lighting console was the ultimate choice for Al Arabiya for several reasons. The product’s features were key: the Eos operating system’s powerful magic sheets conveniently allows the TV company to coordinate multiple studios at a time and the built-in blind mode makes it easy and practical to work with. The training offered by Oasis Enterprises to staff at Al Arabiya was also extremely valuable and beneficial for the new employees that the firm regularly hires.

Going forwards, the TV company plans to network the entire building that they are currently in, using the Eos Ti control desk. The team will set up the desk in ‘The Gallery’, a central space in the broadcasting area, ensuring ultimate lighting control across all studios.  

“As the console is in constant use for the 24-hour news channel, the reliability of the system is crucial,” commented Karim Abdel Massih, Lighting Systems Manager at Oasis Enterprises. “Al Arabiya is live on air around-the-clock so it can be challenging from a maintenance perspective, however, ETC’s equipment continues to deliver at a high standard.”

Symetrix ramps up for growth with new owners

Mark and Rachelle Graham bring over 30 years audio industry experience to the team.

Creators of high-performance digital audio processing solutions Symetrix has announced that Mark and Rachelle Graham have joined the team as the new owners of the business.

Mark Graham brings over 30 years of audio industry experience to the team, filling the CEO role.

“This is an exciting opportunity for us,” he said. “We have admired Symetrix, both the company and the people, for a long time. I’m really looking forward to building on the successful foundation built over the past four decades and maintaining the rock-solid reputation of the company.”

Symetrix’s current owner, Julia Ogden, has been considering a change in ownership of the company for some time after 32 years with Symetrix. “I knew I could never sell this business unless it was to the right people. It had to be someone who cared about the business and all the exceptional people who work here, and our business partners around the globe,” she said. “I was looking for continuity and an alliance with the same high standards and core values that sets Symetrix apart from the crowd. I believe the Graham’s are the perfect fit.”

Mark Graham was CEO of LOUD Technologies for the last eight years. Before that, he was the president of Crown Audio, a Harman company. His industry experience includes working for Hewlett Packard in their test and measurement division and owning his own audio contracting business. “Mark has a depth of industry experience and engineering expertise that is exactly the right background to accelerate the growth trajectory of the company, especially with his laser-focus on continuing to deliver innovative products,” Ogden explained.

Rachelle Graham has been a marketing manager for several large organisations including Agilent Technologies, the University of Kansas and BioServe Space Technologies, one of NASA’s Commercial Space Centers.

Symetrix is poised to launch several new products in the next couple of months: “The launch of our new products will move ahead seamlessly. We’ve put a lot of thought into how to make the transition as smooth as possible so that none of our deadlines slip. We will assure that Symetrix customers continue to experience the benefit of our ease of doing business, award-winning customer service and tech support, and products that provide the solutions and reliability they have come to expect from Symetrix,” added Ogden.

Symetrix will remain at the same location, and all employees will be retained. Julia Ogden will continue to work for the company throughout a transition period and will also serve on the company’s board of directors going forward.