A.C. Special Projects (ACSP) have specified, supplied and installed cutting-edge performance lighting systems for two separate drama studios at Buckinghamshire New University’s High Wycombe Campus.
Having previously supplied lighting systems for several other performance areas on the Campus, the University approached ACSP to deliver solutions to meet their latest studio technical needs.
For the campus’s main Drama Studio 1, which is utilised by a variety of Performing Arts courses, the brief was to enhance the existing conventional tungsten lighting system with a range of the very latest LED solutions, as well as upgrading the existing lighting console to cope with the new rig.
The University were keen to invest in LED technology, to help improve the campus’s overall lighting and heating energy efficiency rating, and thus reduce their carbon footprint. In addition, they wanted to minimise the requirement for students or technical staff to work at height in order to change fixtures’ coloured gels or lamps.
Another consideration was to provide the students that would be operating the equipment, with the opportunity to get hands-on experience using brands whose products were widely adopted in the Performing Arts industry.
ACSP chose options from the ProLights lighting range, to deliver outstanding results from the available budget. These included ProLights StudioCob full colour LED Pars, offering an extremely bright, consistent and wide 60° beam; ProLights Evo 160F Fresnels and Evo 190E Profiles to deliver tungsten-style theatrical performance from an LED source, both featuring excellent optics and smooth dimming; and finally, ProLights Reflex moving washlights, for adding the flexibility of its extensive zoom and vibrant colour range.
In the Studio’s control room, the University needed a lighting console that was easy to use but still capable of controlling the latest lighting technologies, along with being flexible enough to suit the individual show performance needs of students.
ACSP specified the award-winning Jands Vista v2 control solution due to its intuitive, graphical user interface, and the versatility of programming and playback methods it offers. Vista allows students and teachers to concentrate on the creativity and design of their show lighting, rather than complicated lighting programming, by letting the Vista v2 software handle the technical details and simply deliver the target stage look they require.
With limited space to accommodate a large lighting console, ACSP recommended the compact Vista S1 wing. All Vista products run the exact same software and offer the full feature set as found in the range’s largest consoles, therefore the S1 connected to a Mac mini provided this small footprint solution without compromising on power, features or performance.
For the campus’s Drama Studio 2, which is utilised as a rehearsal space for dance performances and other drama-related applications, ACSP provided a whole new lighting system – also featuring ProLights StudioCob full colour Pars and Evo 160F Fresnels fitted with barndoors.
This second studio is also controlled by Jands Vista combined with an even smaller, ultra-portable M1 wing connected to a laptop. With both studios running the same control software, and taking advantage of Vista’s modular wings, this allows students and teachers to freely transition between the two spaces without having to learn differences between two products. Show files can also be seamlessly transferred from one studio to the other, and in addition, the S1 and M1 can be combined to offer a physically larger console for those one-off productions which may require more hands-on control.
In both studios, Jands Vista provides flexible lighting control to suit a variety of Drama productions, ranging from simple Plays to highly animated Dance Shows featuring lighting choreographed to musical numbers.
ACSP provided comprehensive Jands Vista training for the University’s technical staff at their office in High Wycombe.
Frazer Mackenzie, Head of School – Media Production & Performance at the University, commented: “We are very pleased with the tailored solutions that ACSP delivered. The systems are state of the art and yet very simple to operate by both our Performing Arts staff and their students – some of whom may be considering a technical production role within the industry in future. As has been our experience working with ACSP, they again provided a high level of service, and no job was too big or small for them.”