As part of its ongoing equipment upgrade, English National Opera (ENO) has recently expanded its cyc and foot lighting lighting options with the addition of eight LDDE SpectraConnecT5 fluorescent color-mixing battens to its equipment stock.

Supplied by White Light, who have been closely involved with ENO throughout the refurbishment of the Coliseum and upgrade of ENO’s lighting stock, the SpectraConnects were purchased after a request from lighting designer Mimi Jordan Sherrin.

“We initially looked at the LDDE units during the 2003-04 refurb,” explains ENO’s head of lighting, Kevin Sleep. “At the time we decided against them on cost grounds because of the number we’d have to buy for our wide stage. We’ve bought them now because Mimi Jordan Sherrin requested them for two shows she is lighting, Carmen and Poppea and we could incorporate them in the show budget. I’m looking forward to seeing how they perform.”

Sleep also took the opportunity to evaluate the current range of LED battens as a possible alternative. “I’ve used LED products on corporate events and parties, but they did not fit the specific requirements for these productions; the SpectraConnecT5’s give a wide, flat, evenly diffused beam spread, and as Mimi is using them across the front of the stage in the footlights position this characteristic was paramount. They are also very compact, which is a vital consideration and they avoid the color halos around the edge of the beam that frequently occur with LEDs when mixing colors.”

Just under 1.5m in length, the SpectraConnecT5 battens feature four fluorescent tubes, one in each of red, green, blue, and white. The units are self-contained, requiring just non-dim power and DMX control to give a bright, even, smooth-fading and flicker-free color mixing light source, the white tube dramatically expanding the range of colors available compared to RGB-only alternatives. The battens have already proved hugely popular in a wide range of applications, from opera houses around the world to musicals such as Mary Poppins.