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.
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.
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.
“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.