Until November 2007, Motherwell Concert Hall and Theatre's production electrics had not been replaced for 25 years. While a testament to its longevity, it was clear to venue management that it was time for a serious upgrade. Venue Operations Manager, Karen Tinto, called on the expert advice and skills of Stage Electrics.
Working with Stage Electrics' business development manager, the brief was to design and install as future proof a system as possible whilst keeping the venue open and fully operational. Stage Electrics' technical project manager and his team worked in close association with the venue's technical staff to achieve this. "A key consideration was the provision of a sustainable and flexible infrastructure that could see the venue some way into the next 25 years! The system adopts 16A outlets throughout and includes flexible Socapex style facilities. In collaboration with the venue technical staff, we have designed a series of 19 purpose-made facility panels to support the distribution of 188 ways of dimming and more than 30 non-dimmed circuits. All panels contain a minimum of two data points to offer easy access to both DMX and Ethernet datastreams. Plus, in addition to the commonly used a 3Kw circuits, we have installed a number of 5Kw dimming circuits for higher demand luminaires."
After some deliberation with the venue, Stage Electrics elected to replace the 25 year-old existing dimmers with proven ETC Sensor dimming. "We then ensured the design brief for house lighting control, production lighting data distribution and the lighting console was expertly addressed with further products from the ETC stable: the ETC Unison system has been selected for its flexible and powerful control features; Net3 products to provide necessary state of the art data distribution solutions and the ETC Congo is an excellent console solution for both in house and visiting operators alike. Also the ETC Unison system snapshot capabilities mean the venue can run specific events without the need for a dedicated lighting console operator."
Throughout the project, time was at a premium. The project manager for Stage Electrics had to deal with the challenge of keeping the venue fully operational during the installation. "The venue had to remain open throughout the process and we had just five weeks to complete installation and switch over. A sizeable element of this project was to ensure that the new production lighting load wiring was contained within an entirely new steel containment system. This, on occasion, posed some serious routing challenges that demanded considerable ingenuity to overcome."
Karen Tinto, Operations Manager for Motherwell Concert Hall and Theatre is delighted with the result. She comments: "It's been advantageous that we have been so involved with the design and specification process as it has enabled us to take ownership of the finished system quickly and easily. The result is that the switch over from old to new systems has been seamless and throughout the whole process we continued to operate shows and events as normal. Stage Electrics' team worked efficiently and professionally throughout the five-week installation of the new system."