When the specifiers of the aesthetically stunning new building Musikkens Hus (House of Music) in the northern Danish city of Aalborg were planning the venue in 2009, they filled it with 250 traditional tungsten ETC Source Four fixtures.
When the venue opened, the rig seemed outdated, therefore with the help of ETC’s Danish distributor Bico, the venue nevertheless ended up with up-to-date lighting products, including ETC Gio control, Sensor3 power control and over 50 ETC LED fixtures.
The project was first specified and budgets allocated when LED fixtures were still in their infancy and would not have been relied upon as a venue’s main house lighting; tungsten was still in charge. So in 2013, in order to help the 20 000 square metre venue plan for the future, Bico’s project manager Søren Jørgensen worked closely with venue consultant Arup, who also worked on the acoustics to futureproof the power system. That way, when they choose to update the lighting fixtures, the system will be able to easily handle the change.
Jørgensen explains: “The original specification called for 988 traditional Sensor+ dimming circuits across the four venues. But, with our assistance and support, this was changed to the latest Sensor3 power control system with advanced ThruPower triple-function modules, resulting in simpler cabling and infrastructure and a reduction to just 796 circuits – saving almost 200 circuits without compromising on functionality.’ Arup had originally planned to install a simple DMX-only, wireless control network, but this was later updated to a robust Ethernet-based Net3/ACN protocol network with ETC Net3 DMX Gateways and just a few cable free aspects. “The change gave the venue a flexible and highly configurable system and keeps it well suited for rapid changes in order to meet the daily requirements of single night events,’ says Jørgensen.
Among the Musikkens Hus’ permanent residents are Aalborg Symphony Orchestra and Jutland’s Royal Academy of Music; the venue also houses Aalborg University’s Musical Studies department, the Centre for Jazz History, and a restaurant. Music activities range from classical concerts, pop and electronic music, to choral, opera and jazz. The main hall, seating 1 300 people, was fitted with an ETC Gio control desk, along with an Eos Remote Processor Unit as backup. Almost 500 channels of Sensor 3 power control, with ThruPower triple-function modules, offer dim, relay or constant power for the rig.
In the smaller Intimate Hall, with the capacity of 300, another ETC Gio is connected to 144 Sensor3 circuits with ThruPower triple function modules, while the 200-seat Classical Hall and Rhythmic Hall both have 115 channels of Sensor3 with ThruPower. Each of the venues is served by an ETC Unison Paradigm system, which takes care of house and work lighting, as well as allowing untrained personnel to turn on the lighting for rehearsals. Jørgensen comments: “After discussing with the theatre’s technical managers how they planned to use the system, we commissioned both wall mount and portable stations, using both LCD and traditional legacy button stations. By installing control panels both inside and outside the lighting control booth, we made sure that everyone entitled to adjust the lighting is able to.’
Lighting manager Jonas Kjærulff says: “I do all my setup of the power control system using the ETC Concert software, which makes things really easy. It gives me the ability to save a particular setup and recall another just as fast.’ Despite the venue being heavily reliant on tungsten, they use some 250 x ETC Source Four luminaires, including PARs, Fresnels, fixed focus and Zooms, they also have 36 x ETC Selador, Desire, Lustr + fixtures mounted in a fixed setup above the main stage in the Concert Hall, used as rehearsal lights. They save power and can be used as effect and wash lights for concerts when needed. The organ, meanwhile, is highlighted by eight ETC Selador Desire Studio HD fixtures, and a further 12 ETC Selador Desire Vivid fixtures power the Intimate Hall.
Kjærulff concludes: “Some of the feedback we’ve had has been brilliant, with staff able to set lighting states without bothering lighting technicians, and audiences getting the lighting they’ve come to expect from a world class concert venue.’