A Brief Encounter With ETC
Late 2013 saw Kneehigh Theatre’s production of Noel Cowards ‘Brief Encounter’ tour the country for three months. Production for the tour was provided by the Adelaide-based Novatech Creative Event Technology who worked closely with Arts Projects Australia and Kneehigh in developing a turnkey touring audio and lighting solution to cater for the shows in depth technical requirements.
Kneehigh's Brief Encounter started life in the UK in autumn 2007 and the rig as it stands for the international touring today, was settled by early 2009. Despite advances in technology, lighting designer Malcolm Rippeth has been very happy to stick to a rig of ETC Source Four Revolutions and Source Four profiles, which have served well on tour in the UK and US as well as for the show's Broadway run.
“There isn't anything to match the versatility of the Revolution as a tungsten source with exact colours,” said Malcolm. “Additionally, for much of the show the units are in no-colour and we are able to use the scroller to run various grades of Rosco frost for perfect beam edges.”
The show was originally programmed on a Strand 520i but migrated to the Eos in 2009. Malcolm states that this definitely proved to be the right choice, citing ETC's excellent attitude and the software's designer and programmer focused development. Kneehigh now own an Ion which is in continual use on touring productions in the UK and Malcolm comments that the range of ETC consoles available and their interoperability, has proven invaluable as the company works across different scales and continents.
For the Australian tour, touring electrician Ben Nichols used an ETC Eos Ti console (sub-hired from Chameleon Touring Systems) complete with ETC gateways and an ETC RFR to ease the focusing process. Custom looms for the rig made patching into each venue a breeze.
“Brief Encounter has undertaken numerous tours in various countries, for most of which time the show has utilised the EOS family of consoles,” explained Ben Nichols. “We find the EOS software to be extremely powerful whilst being easy to use. This ease of use enables both Malcolm and myself to focus on lighting the show, whether it be remounting the show during an extended rehearsal period, or during a very quick tour move. The EOS Ti is a fantastic desk which I favour due to the increased touch screen real estate, enabling really quick access to my direct selects and magic sheets, which are both invaluable tools. On tour the desk really comes into its own, allowing really easy networking setup, and the ability to have all my resources literally at my fingertips.”
The lighting rig included over sixty flown fixtures, being a mix of ETC Source Four Revolutions with custom strings and gobos, ETC Source Fours and PAR 64s. The remainder of the rig consisted of 10 x custom built pre-rig booms, home to over thirty ETC Source Fours of varying sizes.
The show now finds itself on its second US tour, where Malcolm and Ben have experimented with replacing scroller-fronted tungsten Source Fours with Source Four LED Lustr+ units with great success. According to Malcolm, the colour matching has, with a little trial and error, proved superb and, budgets allowing, this is a unit he will make great use of in the future.