Historic Tallinn theatre chooses ETC
Built in the 14th century, the unusually shaped Hobuveski building in Tallinn, Estonia originally served as a mill and was later used for storage. In 2003, the circular structure was converted into a theatre and events venue, and has since become recognised as one of the most extraordinary theatres in Europe. A recent refurbishment saw the installation of state-of-the-art technology, including a Gio @5 console, ColorSource luminaires and Sensor3 power control from ETC.
Until recently, the 140-seat venue relied on makeshift solutions for performances. With no real infrastructure, changing from one production to another involved building a new, temporary lighting and sound system, almost every time. In 2017, the Hobuveski received the investment and permission it needed to proceed with a major refurbishment. The revamp included a much-longed-for permanent installation of lighting and audio equipment.
The renovations were undertaken as part of a Green Theatre Programme and were designed to meet the latest energy efficiency guidelines. Unsurprisingly, emphasis was placed on LED lighting. The package selected comprised around 95 per cent LED luminaires, including 12 ColorSource Spot fixtures from ETC. Although dimmers were not required for the LED solution, the venue personnel were keen to retain the option of using tungsten fixtures for some productions. This led to the addition of an ETC Sensor3 power control system, with ThruPower modules, capable of accommodating all loads – tungsten, LEDs, arc-source movers, and the unknown.
“The decision to use ETC’s ThruPower modules with dimmer and relays offers the option to switch freely between dimmer and hard power,” says Kalle Karindi, from OÜ Focuspoint, the ETC dealer involved in the installation. In addition to saving time and simplifying the day-to-day operations for the theatre technicians, the solution offered further advantages. “If you consider the expense involved in having separate dimmer and relay racks, including the extra cabling and labour, versus the Sensor3 solution, the cost is comparable,” adds Karindi. “Furthermore, the electrical company said it saved at least a week of installation time for everyone involved in the project.”
ETC Eos delivers dynamic looks for The Dream of Gerontius
As part of its summer programme, English National Opera appeared at the Royal Festival Hall for a captivating production of Elgar’s The Dream of Gerontius. Multi-award winning lighting designer Lucy Carter used light – controlled with ETC Eos® Ti and RPU3 – to create an additional layer of emotion and energy to support and reflect the music.
Widely regarded as Elgar’s finest choral work, The Dream of Gerontius relates the journey of a pious man’s soul from his deathbed to his judgment before God and settling into Purgatory. To evoke an otherworldly feel, Carter opted for simple staging with abstract lighting energies that combined with the music to create an ethereal quality.
“When I was researching this production and arrived at my eventual design decisions, I knew that in order to create the complex and detailed environments to match the expansive and evocative music and themes of the libretto, I would need an immense amount of flexibility from my rig,” says Carter. “I chose to work almost exclusively with the GLP impression X4 Bars and Eos pixel mapping, and to use video files to populate the designed structure of the lights with energies and light textures.”
Supplied by PRG, the rig consisted primarily of 163 GLP impression X4 Bars, arranged into six concentric triangles positioned over the orchestra, and three rows over the chorus. Lighting of the choir and orchestra was delivered by 12 Martin Mac Aura XBs, with the soloists and conductor lit by a combination of ETC Source Four® LED Series 2 Lustr and Vari-Lite VL1000 AS fixtures. The rig required in excess of 40 universes of DMX, delivered via 14 ETC DMX/RDM Four-Port Gateways mounted locally on the trusses by production electrician Martin Chisnall.
To deliver the dynamic range of looks required, Carter worked closely with lighting programmer Jenny Kershaw, with programming support from Andi Davis, on behalf of ETC. “Jenny and I have been working with these ideas for a few years, and the ETC desks are an essential tool for our design work,” says Carter. “I want the lighting textures to feel organic and not mathematically produced and Jenny is able to manipulate the effects tools to create the dancing light textures I want. These are not repetitive effects, but seemingly evolving and dynamic.”
“The Eos Ti’s ability to deliver pixel mapping via the on-board Virtual Media Server, along with its conventional channel-based control, meant it was the perfect solution for this project,” adds Kershaw. “The content was generated on-board via effect layers, allowing for fast and convenient creation and editing of the looks required.”
The demands of this project saw ETC further expand the capabilities of its celebrated Eos software by adding extensions to the existing Eos Family Virtual Media Server feature. The pixel map size limits have been enhanced, allowing for control of up to 16,000 pixels. Additionally, Virtual Effect Layers have been modified to enable generation and manipulation of content for much larger pixel maps, and a variable server smoothing feature has been added.
“Thanks to the fantastic support we received from ETC and Andi Davis, we managed to achieve the complexities I was looking for,” says Carter. “With almost 500 cues and effects and numerous cue lists running simultaneously, Eos never let us down.”
Symetrix DSPs the Key to Altria Theater’s Sound
Built at the southwest corner of Richmond’s Monroe Park in 1927 and originally called The Mosque, the Altria Theater received a $5 million makeover and a new name-The Landmark-in 1994-95. In 2014, the theater was renamed the Altria as part of a far more extensive $50 million renovation that included an impressive new sound system. A breathtaking architectural gem, the Altria Theater is the largest performing arts theater between Atlanta and New York, with a seating capacity of 3,565. The Altria also offers an 18,000-square-foot ballroom that holds 1,100 people and seats 600.
Designed by Jaffe Holden in collaboration with the Richmond branch of global venue managers SMG, and installed by Professional Audio Designs of Wauwatosa, WI, the Altria Theater’s new sound system is based on four Symetrix Edge DSP units, with additional outputs supplied by two Symetrix xOut Dante-enabled analog expanders. “I’ve been using Symetrix products for more than eight years,” begins SMG Systems Engineer Hayden Nebus. “I have 19 Symetrix DSPs right now. They sound phenomenal but the biggest factor for me is reliability.”
Symetrix’ toolkit and value, Nebus asserts, are second to none. “You get a first order and a second order all-pass filter, and the second-order filter has a variable Q,” he details. “I can take a Smaart measurement, pull it into my FIR coefficient calculator, and import my FIR filter straight into the Symetrix DSP. Programming with Symetrix’ Composer software is more straightforward than any other open architecture DSP. And the value can’t be beat: Symetrix Radius and Edge DSPs are great values, and the Prism provides amazing DSP horsepower per dollar.”
Four Symetrix Edge DSPs are the brains of the Altria Theater’s entire system. “They handle the whole thing,” confirms Nebus, “including input matrixing, output matrixing, EQ, delay, FIR filters, and all-pass filters, plus 12-mix stage-monitor processing, distributed lobby and backstage 70v feeds, assistive listening, paging, and chiming.”
The Edge processors control a d&b Audiotechnik sound system with a dozen full-range V-series cabinets and two flown subwoofers per side, plus a center hang of ten V-series cabinets and two subwoofers. The system includes front fills and up fills, and the balconies are handled by a mix of delay speakers, divided into three rings: one for the orchestra level, one for the first balcony area beneath the second balcony, and an over-balcony ring.
A Symetrix ARC system is provided for control. “The ARC system is beautiful,” praises Nebus. “It’s modular and expandable and you can make it do whatever you want. It gives you concise, simple, idiot-proof user controls for house managers and stage managers.”
Nebus is especially enthusiastic about a processing feature he created for the Altair Theater. “My favorite part of that Symetrix rig, other than how gorgeous it sounds, is the ‘virtual babysitter’ I built into the processing. On all main PA outputs, I have threshold detectors and counters. Every time the output reaches -0.5 dBFS, the counter ticks. There’s a control screen with all the PA output meters, and each has a counter box above it that displays the corresponding threshold count. The counters get reset regularly, so I can tell you how many times you’ve clipped the rig, or come within 0.5 dB of clipping, since soundcheck began, and when it last happened.”
With his many years of experience, Nebus has great confidence in Symetrix processors. “With Symetrix DSPs, I know we’re getting the right tools, I know they will perform reliably, and the value can’t be beat,” he states. “Symetrix is the bleeding edge of audio processing.”
This article is originally from www.symetrix.co
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Prosound creates heavenly illumination with ETC at the Market Theatre
A heavenly lighting effect has been created for the current production of The Dying Screams of the Moon at Johannesburg’s Market Theatre. The unusual solution features a series of unique, handcrafted gobos, and ETC Source Four® LED lighting fixtures supplied by Prosound.
Forming part of the venue’s 40th anniversary celebrations, the play runs from 28 July to 21 August. It marks the first time collaboration of theatre legends Zakes Mda and John Kani, and is set to become a part of theatre history.
The play features an all-female crew and creative team, including award-winning specialists in lighting, costume, set design, production management and marketing. This celebration of women coming together is a memorable event that will appropriately play for much of South Africa’s Women’s Month.
The Dying Screams of the Moon is about two women who meet at church, a place of solace, where they seek inner peace from their troubles of the past. Set in post-apartheid South Africa, it reveals the struggles for land ownership that are still relevant today.
In order to create the majestic stained glass window effect, the church setting called for specific lighting. However, the restricted budget of the play meant that a glass gobo was not an option and it was necessary to devise an alternative solution.
Nomvula Molepo, head of lighting at the Market Theatre, was keen to use ETC Source Four LED luminaires to help realise her vision, and contacted Prosound for assistance. Ian Blair, Prosound’s GM of lighting and structures, offered to supply Nomvula with the fixtures. He also sent Prosound’s lighting specialists, Mac Makhobotloane and Jannie de Jager, to assist with creating the effect that was required.
“The service was awesome! Mac and Jannie brought a variety of fixtures to experiment with in order to achieve the effect I was looking for,” said Nomvula. “We tested the fixtures to see if I could get the desired effect. Then, Mac suggested that I get steel gobos, cut small pieces of gels and paste them onto the gobos. Mac and I tested one fixture and it worked like a dream!
“I’m very grateful to Prosound for supplying the fixtures. And, I’d particularly like to thank Mac and Jannie for all their effort, time and support in assisting me with making the lighting work for the production.”
The ETC Source Four LED fixtures were not only able to capture the look Nomvula wished for, but they were also easy to operate. “I would definitely consider using the fixtures on future productions,” she said.
Thanks to Prosound and ETC, the church scenes in The Dying Screams of the Moon are bathed with the magnificent and divine illumination of stained glass windows.
ColorSource controls The National Arts Festival
The National Arts Festival (NAF) in Grahamstown was the first festival in the world to call on ETC’s ColorSource consoles. In addition to this, NAF put to use an extensive line up of lighting gear from the manufacturer across 16 venues.
The 11-day festival which takes place at various venues across the city is described as the biggest celebration of the arts in Africa. Its main and fringe programmes comprise drama, dance, physical theatre, comedy, opera, music, jazz, visual art exhibitions, film, student theatre, street theatre, lectures, craft fairs, workshops, tours and a childrens arts festival.
‘NAF is a fantastic meeting of technicians from across the continent, it is an honour for ETC to support these talented people with consoles and LED fixtures that will enhance their art and give them a look at the latest equipment available for making theatre,’ said Jeremy Roberts from ETC.
Of the 16 venues to feature ETC equipment, 14 of them have opted for one of the manufacturer’s lighting desks. ColorSource, Element, Eos Ti, Gio and Ion consoles are all in use, with the Eos Ti covering the main theatre. Away from consoles, ETC ColorSource Spot and PAR fixtures have also been called into action.
‘Prosound and Electrosonic are on site to provide support,’ noted Mr Roberts. ‘ETC also provides local support for the larger venues. Benjamin du Plessis from the Fugard Theatre, who is an expert Eos programmer, is on site to support other programmers on the Eos Ti, Gio and Ion consoles.’
Also present were Jannie de Jager and Mac Makhobotloane from Prosound, supporting all the other consoles and LED fixtures that were provided to the relevant venues.
‘The National Arts Festival is a very important event and we are delighted to be part of it,’ said Ian Blair, GM for lighting and structures at Prosound. ‘The festival runs on good quality products that it can trust, so it is telling that there is so much equipment from ETC that has been put to use.’