The first Robe DigitalSpot 7000 DTs have been installed in the UK – into the new Leeds Academy live music venue, which also includes a substantial Anolis architectural lighting scheme.
Once again Robe and Anolis were the preferred lighting brands chosen by LD Angus Chinn from Bristol-based Utopium for this project. Chinn worked closely with the AMG Group and their team to design and specify cutting-edge production lighting facilities for the venue.
The DigitalSpot 7000 DT is Robe's powerful new moving light/video projector fixture, a unique Digital Moving Light offering the dual functionality of digital projection and LED-based colour washes.
Chinn comments, “We really put production values at the top of the agenda here, so I chose leading brands with proven track records for reliability. They offer a flexible, dynamic creative package to benefit all the events and shows that will be staged in Leeds Academy”.
Getting the two Robe DigitalSpot 7000 DTs was a real coup for the venue, “They are absolutely brilliant fixtures,” enthuses Chinn, adding that they bring an exciting new live video element to the space with their onboard media servers and myriad of features. They can also run content sent from the Academy's own Hippotizer digital media server, either with this running in stand-alone mode or triggered via the main room's Avolites Diamond 4 lighting console. “They are perfect for the space and application and it's always good to be the first with new technology”. The DigitalSpot 7000 DTs are also integrated to work with the numerous screens dotted around the venue and utilized for digital signage, messaging and promotional applications - in addition to their role in shows with video content. Cool features like image mapping and picture merging offers incoming performances and designers huge amounts of extra creative scope.
The DigitalSpots can be hung from a choice of 2 positions - either on a rail running around the balcony or on the front over-stage truss - and used for onstage projections or around the room and audience.
The venue's Grade 1 listed status dictated that there could be no direct flying of kit above the stage, so instead a large mother grid constructed from JTE triangular trussing has been installed, from which three 9-metre trusses are sub-hung. This gives approximately 7.5 metres of headroom between stage and the bottom rail of the trussing.
There are another two large elliptical trusses flown over the auditorium, both with 5 x 7 metre internal diameters and a screen stretched between the internal rails of the truss. They can be lowered from the auditorium roof to make the space more intimate, and moved into an infinite variety of different positional combinations to change the spatial feel and nature of the room. They are also perfect for showing off colourful and lively projections from the DigitalSpot 7000s.
Main room lighting fixtures include 8 Robe ColorSpot 700E ATs and 8 ColorWash 575E AT Zooms, 6 Robe ColorSpot 250E ATs rigged on the elliptical trusses, 10 Atomic strobes, 8 bars of 6 PARs, four 8-lite Moles, 4 Robe 4-cell REDBlinder 2Ÿ48s, 8 ETC Source Four Juniors for key lighting and Look Solutions Unique hazer and Viper atmospheric effects.
As with Sheffield Academy which opened earlier this year, the idea is that the fixtures are interchangeable between overstage and audience trusses, depending on the event and any incoming LD's requirements.
The concept is to provide top quality technical and production facilities, alleviating the need for bands to bring in their own full touring rigs. They need only bring in â€˜specials' if they wish, and can take advantage of the myriad of imaginative options at their fingertips via the house rig.
Architecturals Anolis LED lighting has been utilised throughout Leeds Academy to produce a stunning colour changing environment that highlights the original character of the building whilst simultaneously imbibing it with a contemporary twist.
Anolis was chosen as a cost-effective, green-conscious, robust and long lasting solution for this component of the installation.
Thirty-two Anolis ArcLine 36 LED strips are used to colour wash the walls, roof and under-balcony areas in the main room, in the case of the latter, transforming what can become a dark, dingy void into an inclusive element of the room.
This is complimented by 12 Robe ColorSpot 170 AT moving lights which are positioned low down for skimming the dancefloor. Six of these are the recessed versions, tucked away under the balcony, while the other 6 are rigged onto lighting bars in the same area. The idea is that people standing at the bar facing the stage will see a “V” of moving lights that increases their perception of width.
The fabulous Gothic exterior of Leeds Academy (designed by William Blackwell and originally opened by Prince Albert as The Coliseum in 1885) complete with ornate stone frontage is highlighted with 28 Anolis Arc 36 exterior LED fittings. These had to be carefully located for maximum effect as nothing could be fixed to the walls.
The bars throughout the venue have frosted backs and are lit extensively with Anolis Link LEDs, which are also used to create a series of light walls, including one in the main unisex toilet. Selected corridors are illuminated with Anolis ArcSource Twin Wall 3 up and down lighters, and an Anolis ArcSource Outdoor 36 punches through the circular stained glass window above the main entrance, highlighting one of the building's defining historic features.
All of these environmental lightsources are linked back to the Diamond 4 in the main room which allows the creation of diverse effects like making the whole room “breath” and change colour simultaneously, adding to the atmosphere and ambience of the evening. “We all know that lighting can be a great mood enhancer” explains Chinn, “And we really wanted to explore that concept here and make the space as interesting as possible to all those experiencing it.”