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Northern Light specifies ETC solution for college

ETC dealer Northern Light has specified an ETC solution for a new multi-use performing arts facility at a college in the UK.

ETC dealer Northern Light has recently finished a technical installation at the K College (formerly West Kent College) in Tonbridge, England.

The college is undergoing an £86m regeneration project in which it is modernising its facilities and building a flagship college in the south east of England. One of the first new buildings to be built includes a multi-use performing arts facility, specified by Arup Theatre Consulting installed by Northern Light with loose equipment supplied by Stage Electrics.

“Northern Light has a long history of both working with Arup Theatre Consulting and of carrying out technical fit-outs in educational establishments,” said Steve Myers, project manager for Northern Light. “We completed more than 1,000 installations in schools, colleges and universities. ETC dimming and control systems work extremely well in a facility of this size.”

“We had a good idea of what was required, but Arup, when they were asked to specify the exact equipment, drew up a technical master plan,” said college’s technical manager Ian Gobel. “I then went to PLASA with a group of students to visit the stands of the manufacturers who had been listed – which meant I could get a demonstration of all the lighting and sound equipment. Coming from a sound background, it’s good to be able to talk to product managers to actually establish that the equipment will do what I want.”

“At the ETC stand, for example, we were shown the Ion lighting desk and given a full demonstration of the sort of things it can do by the controls product manager, which meant we could ask as many questions as we needed,” continued Gobel. “They showed me how easy it would be to get started.

The college now has an ETC Unison Paradigm lighting management system which connects to the Ion and also has button stations around the facility so that lighting can be controlled from a number of different places. Also installed, to ensure optimum compatibility between systems, is an ETC Sensor dimming unit: although more expensive than some alternatives, the college preferred the peace of mind of using the same manufacturer’s equipment, which would also make maintenance easier.

 “The ETC Ion desk was most definitely the right desk for the venue,” said Arup consultant Alex Wardle. “It will mostly be used for theatre performances and ‘go button’ style of programming. Eos is rapidly taking over as the industry standard for UK theatres, so it makes sense for students to learn this platform.”

“We didn’t manage to get lighting bridges above the auditorium,” concluded Wardle, “but instead managed to earmark a reasonable budget for automated luminaires. ETC Sensor was the most sensible dimmer choice: robust, reliable and modular.”