Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Lighting Upgrade - volunteers needed

The Empress Theatre has received a $2500 grant from the Rocky Mountain Power Foundation to upgrade our lighting system. The money will be used to purchase about 50 lighting instruments that we've been borrowing from Ballet West, three cabinets of dimmers (a total of 90) and an ETC Expressions control system. We've also been borrowing the control board from Ballet West for Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.

This is an incredibly good deal; it would cost us about $30,000 to purchase all of this equipment new.

The next phase of the upgrade is to transport the dimmer racks from the Ballet West warehouse to the Empress and install them. In order to complete the installation, we will need to upgrade the Empress's wiring capacity to handle the increased load. We need electricians to help with this, and we need to acquire the wire to run from the meter to the dimmer location(s). And we'll probably need some stong bodies to help move the gear. If you can help with this, please contact me at twimmer@empresstheatre.com or call me at 987-3361.

For anyone interested in such things, the upgrade will:

  • Add 90 6.8 kW dimmers. Each dimmer will allow us to bring as many as four of our stage lights to full power where our current dimmers are limited to one instrument at 80% power. Our total dimmer inventory will consist of the 90 new dimmers, 80 600 W distributed dimmers and 16 300 W distributed dimmers. The increased number of dimmers will allow us to overcome some of the lighthing challenges we've faced in past productions, especially in some of the secondary performance areas.
  • Increase our inventory of Ellipsoidal Spot Lights (the main lights we use to light the stage) to about 100 instruments. More importantly, this increases our inventory of lenses of varying focal lengths, providing much more flexibility in lighting the stage and other areas.
  • Replace the software based "Stage Console" software we've been beta testing with some very sophisticated control equipment. The Stage Console software is not reliable and had several "bugs" that we had to work around, and didn't have all of the capabilities of the new control board.

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