At a special press conference on Saturday Oct. 25 at LDI 2008, ETC and the Royal Opera House and ETC signed an agreement to replace the main auditorium’s Obsessions with three ETC Eos 8K systems. When London’s Royal Opera House reopened its doors at the end of 1999 after a three-year refurbishment program, the performances were, for the most part, lit with conventional fixtures. Since then, as automated fixtures have become quieter, the Royal Opera House has added them to their stock, along with multimedia devices, to enable them to meet their challenging schedules.

The control console, however, is a ten-year old ETC Obsession® which Nick Ware, Senior Lighting Manager at the Royal Opera House, admits is long past its sell-by date: “No IT equipment would be expected to have this kind of shelf-life and the Obsession can no longer cope with the kind of demands we want to place on it.”

ETC dealer White Light, a longstanding supplier to the Royal Opera House, is replacing the main auditorium’s Obsessions with three ETC Eos 8K systems. The next generation of control, Eos is larger and more powerful, and not only better placed to handle the growing demands but has also proven to be immensely reliable. The desk is specifically designed to handle moving lights, LEDs, projection units and other multimedia devices.

In conjunction with the capability of the desk, Nick was also concerned with the transfer of the performance files programmed on the old system. He explains: “The throughput at the ROH is unique in this country. Productions are in and out of the repertoire in days, sometimes within 48 hours, and with a back catalog of over 300 productions programmed on the Obsession, we needed to be assured that these could be transferred smoothly to the new system.”

To help manage the long transition process, the two systems will run in tandem until August 2009, with all new productions being programmed on the Eos.

The system network is also being upgraded: White Light has already changed the backbone of the infrastructure to fiber optics and next summer will see a switch from ETCNet2™ to a Net3™ (ACN) system. Nick continues: “The ongoing support that both White Light and ETC provide was an important consideration in the decision making process. We are looking forward to giving Eos pride of place next year.”