Poppodium Nieuwe Nor Upgrades with Elation

Aïcha Cherif - Photo by René Bradwolff

The Netherlands live music venue, Poppodium Nieuwe Nor upgrades its lighting rig with an Elation lighting system. The 400-capacity venue in the city of Heerlen not only hosts a diverse program of music from pop and hip-hop to metal, blues and everything in between, it also holds regular club nights with DJs and serves as a great location for corporate presentations and other events.

As Nieuwe Nor was getting in bigger acts with greater lighting needs, the venue’s existing discharge-based lighting rig was proving outdated with limited features and colour choice, as well as restricted output. “It just couldn’t deliver some of the things guest LD’s were looking for,” said Youri Gidding, head technician at the venue. Having to replace lamps every year was also taking a bite out of the tech budget, he says, and as the contract with their previous supplier was ending, the time was right to upgrade.

“Since we get a lot of different kinds of acts in, the lighting we required needed to be feature packed,” stated Youri, who was responsible for the entire lighting system upgrade including design, fixture choice, rigging, plots, patching, etc.. “We needed something that could create lots of different moods and looks, something that could, for instance, do wide spots with break-up gobos or animation effects for slow intimate music but also punchy beams and fast switches between looks and colours for club nights or a metal band.” Youri said he also wanted to move away from discharge-based fixtures in order to avoid lamp changes and lower the power consumption. Furthermore, he says the fixtures needed to be reliable and from a reputable brand.

After comparing a host of different brands, Youri chose Elation LED luminaires, a package that included eight of the company’s award-winning Artiste DaVinci LED moving spots. The technician attended a shootout between the Artiste DaVinci and competitive fixtures, all LED-based spots that met the requirements for what he wanted. “The DaVinci came out best in the shootout on almost all fronts,” he said of the CMY and graphics moving head DaVinci which houses a 300W LED engine and 7° to 48° zoom. “The output, colour mixing and zoom range were exactly what I was looking for.”

The DaVinci fixtures serve as the main spots in the rig and are hung above the stage on two electrics. “The light output is plenty to accommodate all the features of the fixture and suitable for the larger hall we are planning to build since the fixtures will very likely move there once it’s finished.” Nieuwe Nor has existed in its current state since 2007 and is planning to expand with a second 650-700 capacity hall set to open in Q3 2020.

Because the venue is relatively high for its depth and width, Youri also wanted the flexibility of floor-based lighting. “There was quite a big black gap behind the band/DJ so I wanted something we could quickly setup and tear down to easily create different designs and effects,” he explained. “We have 14 SixBars as our floor package and they can be placed anywhere on stage or throughout the hall. Apart from effects, we also use them for side lighting and lighting a cyclorama so decent colours were important.” According to Youri, the SixBar was the only decent strip/bar light of its size available. “All the others were from less reputable brands and simply didn’t meet the build and optics quality I was looking for. The RGBAW-UV colour mixing is awesome and it works perfect for what I wanted.”

In keeping with his desire to avoid lamp changes and lower the power bill, Youri went with four LED-based Protron 3K strobes, which, he says, have similar output to an Atomic 3000. “I also like the fact that they try to hide the LED’s somewhat,” he said. “I don’t really like the look of strobes that are just a rectangle of lenses / LED chips.” Also in the rig are LED wash lights, 38 ADJ 5P Hex’s used as house lights, and 1K tungsten Fresnels and ellipsoidals for front lighting. Demo Productions supplied the lighting and audio for the install, which included an upgrade of the PA system.

“Overall I’m very pleased with the Elation fixtures we have and we get very positive responses from freelance and guest lighting technicians that come through our venue,” Youri summed up. “Most are a little unfamiliar with the brand but are always very surprised by the rig and what the fixtures are capable of. Elation has definitely helped us in becoming a more professional venue that, to technicians, stands out among others in the region.”