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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.”

ETC and Avab head to JTSE 2018 with a special reveal

On November 27-28, ETC will be teaming up with Avab Transtechnik France at JTSE, and this year an exciting announcement will be made exclusively at the show. High End Systems will also be exhibiting at the annual tradeshow which takes place at Porte de la Chapelle in Paris.

Visitors to the stand – 140-141 / 162-163, Dock Pullman – will gain an overview of the product range including the latest innovations and lighting solutions by ETC and High End Systems. In Dock Eiffel, in-depth product presentations will also be available in JTSE’s Black Boxes, an area dedicated to demonstrating lighting equipment in optimal conditions.

Amongst the products on display and available for demonstrations are ETC’s Eos family of consoles – Eos Ti, Gio @5 and Ion Xe; ETC’s newly launched Relevé Spot fixture and High End Systems’ SolaFrame 3000, SolaFrame 750 fixtures and Hog 4-18 console.

Relevé Spot

The first member of a new product family for ETC – an automated fixture specifically designed for the theatre. The fixture boasts a calibrated four-colour additive mixing system and a unique Ani-gobo wheel which is paired with a dynamic customisable five-position rotating gobo wheel.

Eos

ETC’s Eos family of consoles brings award-winning colour tools and advanced, granular control of your whole rig. Flagship console Eos Ti, as well Gio @5 and Ion Xe will be available for demonstrations at the show this year.

EchoTouch

ETC’s EchoTouch controller offers compact, stylish and intuitive touchscreen control of lighting in architectural and smaller entertainment spaces. It can operate as a standalone controller giving direct control of DMX/RDM and sACN fixtures and devices, or be integrated into a larger Unison Echo control system. Users can locally program zones, presets, and sequences to control their devices.

SolaFrame

High End Systems SolaFrame series features the most advanced and complete line of LED frame fixtures on the market. The SolaFrame 3000 will be on display at JTSE. It is the flagship luminaire in the Sola Series range, boasting more than 37,000 lumen output on the wall and a 1000 Watt Ultra-Brite White LED engine.

The SolaFrame 750 will also be available, and is the most compact framing fixture in High End System’s family of automated tools, featuring a 6-50 degree zoom, rotating gobo wheel and fully continuous animation. Alongside this, the SolaFrame Theatre fixture, Hedgehog console and the latest Hog 4-18 console will be on site during the two-day tradeshow.

The Black Box No 14 will provide demonstrations of several of ETC’s acclaimed luminaires including Source Four LED Series 2, ColorSource CYC, ColorSource Spot and ColorSource PAR. Specialists from ETC, High End Systems and Avab Transtechnik France will be on the stand for visitors to talk to and ask any questions. The exclusive announcement will be made on the first day of the show so be sure to visit the stands (140-141 / 162-163) to find out what the big reveal is.

ETC and High End Systems unite at LDI 2018

At the 2018 LDI tradeshow, ETC and High End Systems will join forces in one large-scale, combined booth to showcase lighting solutions for every show and venue. In addition to new fixtures, controls and rigging options, both companies will debut new moving lights on the tradeshow floor.

The booth showcases several new automated fixtures this year, among them are Relevé Spot fixtures, a mover that combines nearly a decade of LED optical engineering with forty years of theatrical experience. This affordable automated fixture includes impressive colour mixing capabilities, a perfectly subtle theatrical frost, and a unique Ani-gobo wheel that was designed with your theatre in mind.

The latest and brightest additions to the Sola Series, SolaSpot 3000 and SolaFrame 3000 will light up High End’s side of the booth. For a more compact frame option, the SolaFrame 1000 will be shown in the HES booth.

Also showing for the first time at LDI will be the flagship Hog 4-18 console, which features 18.5” touchscreens and a refreshed design with accessory arm mounts on each side. For advanced backstage communications, CueSystem will be in booth with new large outstation options that add even more flexibility to the cue light system.

ETC’s new Prodigy FlyPipe and QuickTouch Preset rigging solutions will also be featured in the ETC booth. The easy-to-install, easy-to-use hoist and controller fit into cafeterias, lobbies, museums, and churches that would not otherwise be able to accommodate rigging technology because of limitations of architecture, structural engineering, or budget. Perfect for use with FlyPipe, the new ColorSource Raceway will be on display as well. The lightweight and configurable distribution raceway was designed for rigs in smaller, budget-conscious facilities.

Those looking for compact and intuitive touchscreen control solutions for architectural lighting in entertainment spaces can interact with EchoTouch at LDI. Additional new architectural products at the LDI show include the Foundry line of DMX-controlled distributed power control products.

Visitors can also check out the latest additions to the ArcSystem line which include new fixture types, expanded colour temperature options, and hardwired DMX/RDM versions.

LDI attendees will be able to see many of these new products working live during a light show that will take place across the booths throughout the conference. Attendees will gather in Room N251 on October 20 for the annual Student Session led by field project coordinator Nick Gonsman.

Learn more about ETC’s LDI plans at www.etcconnect.com/LDI.

Releve Spot – New from ETC

Relevé Spot is an LED automated fixture combining nearly a decade of optical engineering research with more than four decades of stage technology expertise. The feature set of this fixture leaves no doubt that it was created for the stage. With calibrated four-color additive mixing, a unique Ani-gobo wheel, and patented Whisper Home technology, you’ll love what Relevé Spot brings to your stage.

Relevé Spot turned heads at PLASA in London where it won a 2018 Product Innovation Award. Judges commented that Relevé Spot “is a moving LED light with professional features at an attractive price. It’s commended for its fast calibration and resetting as well as the modular nature of the electronics making it easy for non-technical people to maintain the fixture.”

Please contact us for more information on ETC products and pricing.

ETC & High End Systems to reveal all at PLASA 2018

This year at the PLASA show, ETC will be joined by High End Systems at the exhibit which will be held in Olympia on the 16th-18th September.

Visitors to the stand (J38A/B) will be in for a treat as both companies present their latest products and software, including a not-to-be-missed reveal of the first member of a new product family for ETC.

Alongside ETC’s launch, the new flagship luminaire in High End System’s Sola Series range, the SolaFrame 3000, will be on the stand – as well as the SolaFrame 750 and SolaFrame Theatre. The SolaFrame series is recognised as the most advanced complete line of LED frame fixtures on the market.

ETC’s award-winning Source Four LED Series 2 family of fixtures, will be on display along with the budget-friendly line of ColorSource products including the new ColorSource Pearl variable white-light fixtures.

Consoles available for demonstrations at the show include the Road Hog 4 and new Hog 4-18 from High End Systems and ETC’s Ion Xe and Gio @5. The Hog 4-18 console is the most recent update to the Hog family, embracing cutting-edge technology while retaining the familiar control surface of previous generations. ETC’s Gio @5 packs all control requirements into a compact desk, ideal for venues with smaller spaces.

Stage engineering solutions including the Prodigy P2 hoist and QuickTouch control will feature, with specialists on hand for visitors to speak to. The new EchoTouch offers standalone intuitive touchscreen control of lighting in architectural and smaller entertainment spaces and can act as an interface with other Unison Echo products.

RC Lurie outfits new HQ with ETC controls

Most dealers and rep companies have offices, a storage area, and a small demo room to show off the products they represent.  Arizona ETC sales representative RC Lurie flipped that dynamic upside-down and made every area of their new 24,000-square-foot facility in Phoenix into a virtual demo room.

“The move to the new building not only brought the company together but launched a new image, logo and coherent direction for the 21st century,” said Stuart Pieloch, V.P. of Controls and Technical Services for RC Lurie. Previously the company of 60 employees had been operating out of separate buildings. Using the real estate model of creating sample rooms, they were careful not to present the building as a retail showroom, or series of vignettes, but rather as “spaces that our customers would want to create for their clients.”

The impressive two-story lobby, grand staircase and event center are all controlled by ETC’s Paradigm Central Control Server, allowing individual control of each space. The large conference room and larger event space has RGB color changing lighting either up-lighting a soffit or wall wash on a cove, all controllable by a virtual touch screen.

In addition there are multiple DMX output Gateways tied to a Mosaic Controller which manipulates color washes on an exterior wall visible from Interstate 10. Pieloch describes the effect as: “Not Las Vegas – but to stimulate the idea that customers could do that on the outside of their building.”

The private office lighting draws on fixtures from the over 80 different lines that RC Lurie represents. Each office employs subtly different techniques and instrumentation to give excellent lighting and a sales opportunity to visiting architects, engineers and consultants.

Prosound Botswana and Six Dots host expo in Gaborone

Prosound Botswana and Six Dots Botswana hosted an expo on 27 July 2018 in Gaborone.

The expo highlighted all brands represented by Prosound including Electro-Voice, ETC, DPA microphones and Prosound’s install and system solution services, with insights into their vast experience in the corporate, education, government, houses of worship and the entertainment industry.

Visitors to the expo got a hands on experience which included ETC lighting solutions and regular demos of the Electro-Voice X2 line array system, as well as the new Electro-Voice ELX200 portable speaker range and Evolve50 column speaker.

Presentations were made by various brand ambassadors and industry experts, who gave professional insight into the latest from high end professional audio products, as well as introduced us to the latest technologies. Speakers on the day were:

Gary Davies (Sub Saharan sales manager) – Exterity
Hein Pagniere (Director) – Aver, Combox
Lee Brune (Prosound training and development manager)
Siphelele Khumalo (Technical sales and support) Electro-Voice, DPA, Eurotruss
Mathew Lewis (Product specialist) ETC Theatre, film, studio and architectural lighting)
Christopher Luthando Hlanganyana (Product specialist) Bosch

This was the first expo of this kind to be held in Botswana, and was a terrific success. People from a range of industries attended, as there was something for everyone. Lighting designers, architects, sound engineers and DJs were all represented, and everyone left knowing more about Prosound Botswana, Six Dots and the services we provide. There will definitely be more events of this kind in the future.

ETC and Prosound light up the National Arts Festival 18

ETC and Prosound are very proud to have sponsored lighting and technical support to twelve of the National Arts Festival in Makhanda’s most prestigious venues. Lighting designers, technicians and students have all been delighted to have been able to work on such a high-end and prestigious lighting brand for the duration of the festival.

Prosound and ETC have been laying down the groundwork for a few years now to make ETC the gear of choice at the festival. Motlotlo Makhobotloane (Mac), has been Prosound’s man on the ground at the festival, working as installer, teacher and trouble-shooter. He tells me that at first, there was resistance to using ETC consoles, as they are usually brought in as freelancers, and like to be familiar with the gear they were using. Now, with ETC being installed in most major playhouses and churches around South Africa, they are much more comfortable with being sat in front of and ETC desk.

Speaking to the designers at NAF18, the one message that comes through time and time again is the ease of use of ETC and how it works in a way that all understand. Motlotlo (Mac) is in town for two weeks before the actual event starts to get experienced technicians up to speed, as well as teaching the ins and outs of the consoles from scratch. A great way to build brand loyalty.

A special emphasis at this year’s festival has been on showcasing how lighting will work in the future, so two venues were fully kitted out in ETC LED fixtures and solutions. The Masonic Front and Masonic Back boasts the simplicity of new technology, and Mac has been using the venues to showcase the following:

  • ColorSource 40 Consoles
  • ColorSource Pars

A combination of ColorSource LED Profiles and Lustr Profiles for Front of House.

Again, the simplicity of ETC is evident in the venue, as the touch screen consoles are accessible enough for the show’s producers and directors to have a hands-on approach to their production. The venues are ably run by freelancers Ellah Sehume, Kgaugelo Mboweni  and Koketso.

Lighting designer for the festival at The Guy Butler Theatre, Darren Wolhuter was also very happy to be working with an ETC EOS Titanium Console. This prestigious, state of the art theatre hosted the official opening night of the festival, which was attended by the Mayor of Grahamstown along with several other dignitaries. Lighting technician, Sheriff (@bamanye1981), had the show up and running with ease, as he is a sought after freelance lighting expert in Cape Town.

“I own my own ETC gear, so I’m very familiar with it. More and more theatres in Cape Town are installing ETC, and with my knowledge of the product, I’m being kept very busy” enthuses Sheriff with the great hair.

All theatres running on ETC control at the festival ran without hitch, and by all accounts the festival was a huge success. Mac from Prosound was on call 24/7 to make sure everyone was comfortable with the gear, and to provide moral support for the students.

Prosound have been exceptionally committed to growing the ETC brand in South Africa, and believe that being so deeply involved in the National Arts Festival for so long is definitely paying dividends. Allowing experienced designers and students just starting out in their careers to work on ETC products has proved to be a greatly empowering endeavour, and they hope that the collaboration with the organisers of the festival will last for many years to come.

Venues that have been fitted with ETC consoles and fixtures are:

  • The Great Hall, running an ETC EOS full size console with Four Port Gateway.
  • The Hangar – ETC GIO, 4 x LED Series 2 Lustr profiles, and Martin Mac Auras
  • Guy Butler Theatre – ETC EOS Titainium & Congo Full-size
  • The Masonic Front and Back – ColorSource Consoles and ColorSource Pars, Lustr Profiles
  • NG Kerk (Won Best Venue for 2018) – ColorSource 40 Console and 3 x LED Series 2 Lustr Profiles
  • Graeme College – ETC Element 60
  • St Andrews College – ETC Element 40
  • Glennie Hall – ETC Element Console 40
  • Gymnasium – ETC Nomad pack and 8 x ColourSource Pars
  • Victory Theatre – On PC, EOS Nomad pack
  • Rhodes Box – 3 x ColorSource Cyc

ETC and ArcSystem bring high-tech lights to Silicon Valley

When the San Jose McEnery Convention Centre needed a new lighting system that could support the multi-use, high-production-value conventions their clients expect, they turned to ETC. Now they have a lighting system as advanced as the industry around them.

“The previous sodium light fixtures were from the ‘80s,” says Gabriel Nemeth, director of event operations.  “Advances in technology and changing client demands put us behind the times.” This was particularly true for trade shows that demand a space that serves multiple functions, with some sections being used for keynotes and others for trade show booths. Clients would ask for dimmed lights over the keynote area and bright light in the tradeshow sections – something the old system couldn’t do, costing the client more money to get the effect they wanted.

The sodium fixtures were also unflattering. “It felt like you were in an old warehouse or a big box store,” says Tim Foster, director of production at Team San Jose. Foster, Nemeth, and their team wanted the cooler, bluer colour temperature lighting of 4000K to give the space the feel of natural sunlight.

Finally, whatever new system they adapted had to work on 277V power, so the convention centre wouldn’t have to install an expensive transformer. With their needs outlined, Team San Jose Chief Operating Officer Dave Costain entrusted General Manager of Convention Center Operations Ewell Steiner, Nemeth and Foster to make it happen.

For guidance to a solution, Team San Jose turned to Mike Wunder, CEO of Wunder Lighting and Controls, Inc. in the Bay Area. Wunder pointed them to the GDS ArcSystem*. “There were a lot of positives with ETC and GDS,” says Wunder. In addition to being able to give them the 4000K color temperature, individual fixture dimming, and operate at 277V, the output from the ArcSystem fixtures was high enough that they were able to reduce the number of fixtures they needed to install. “Because of output we were able to use 300 fewer fixtures – a significant amount.”

“The ArcSystem fixtures were easy to install and we were knocking out four or five rows of fixtures a day because they were they were so user-friendly,” says Curtis Barkle of Stronghold Engineering, the electrical contractor on the project. Barkle and Stronghold were responsible for demolishing the old ceiling structure, prepping and updating the ceiling infrastructure, then installing 554 ArcSystem Pro Eight-Cell fixtures. “When the fixtures arrived they were exactly as anticipated, making it quick and easy to install and wire the system to the client’s expectations. The on-time completion of this project could not have been possible without the help and coordination of ETC and Michael Wunder.”

Team San Jose also credited the help of San Jose Public Works Senior Engineer Tony Andary and Associate Engineer Huimin Mu for allowing the whole renovation to meet a very tight timeline. The end result wasn’t just user-friendly, it was user ecstatic.

“Every lighting designer who’s come in here in and tied into the system has told me this is one of the coolest buildings they’ve ever been in,” says Foster. Lighting designers love the ability to control individual fixtures, whether for large sections of the hall like a keynote, or to dim the house lights above a booth to highlight the special lighting for one particular client.

This granularity of selection is possible thanks to ETC’s advanced control system. “From the get-go we knew we were going to use ETC control,” continues Foster. “Nobody understands large lighting control systems like ETC.” That control is achieved using a Unison Paradigm® architectural system networked through the building, sending control signal to the fixtures as well as managing and monitoring the Echo Relay and Sensor IQ panels, which provide 277V power. Access to the system is provided through Paradigm’s 7-inch and 18-inch touchscreens, which Team San Jose can customise for each show. “I think for me one of the highlights of the system is controllability, “adds Nemeth. “Controllability of either a whole hall, a row of lights, or an individual fixture, with flawless dimming from 100 per cent all the way down to zero. I think it’s unprecedented.”

Designers aren’t the only ones who are happy. Accountants love not having to pay for extra equipment or more set up time. “Clients tell us they’re seeing cost savings on everything from equipment rental to trucking and labour because they don’t have to bring in additional gear. All of those costs are gone, and the savings are showing up,” adds Foster.

Broadcasters love the colour temperature and the extra lumens from the fixtures. “They wanted to get as much light as possible for broadcasting,” says Wunder, who raves about the end result. “It turned out stupendous. The light output is amazing and, because of the fixture design, there isn’t any annoying glare.”

“The selling point now is all about imagination,” says Nemeth. “Whatever our client wants to do, they can do with this system. If they want to do something traditional, we can do that. If they want to stay away from the traditional, do something different, they can do that.”

In the end, the San Jose Convention Center got the high-tech lighting system that befitted the Silicon Valley venue. “We’re in the middle of the epicentre of innovation,” says Foster. “We should take advantage of the most advanced technology on the planet. And we felt we did that by partnering with ETC.”