Kaposvár, Hungary – One of Hungary’s leading arts venues, the Csiky Gergely Theater, has invested in the latest LED stage lighting and control technology from Vari-Lite and Strand to serve its two main performance spaces. Recently completing a three-year refurbishment project, the renowned repertory theater, which opened in 1911, is now fully equipped with state-of-the-art technology and ready to begin the next phase of its existence.
In choosing the new lighting system, the theatre’s resident lighting designer and head of lighting, Imre Memlaur, worked closely with Gábor Horváth from audio and visual technology consultancy and Vari-Lite Strand dealer for Hungary, Zaj Rendszerház Kft. Together, they considered the theater’s priorities and arranged live shoot-outs to find the most suitable solution.
Memlaur’s paramount requirement was that all fixtures – especially those positioned out in the auditorium - be as silent as possible. He also wanted maximum versatility and low power consumption from his fixtures. But that was not all. “Imre is also very fastidious about the quality of whites,” says Gábor, “and also about the moving heads’ ability to return to the exact same positions, with the exact same shutter settings, as the first time.”
Following the live demos, the fixtures specified for profile duties were the Vari-Lite VL1100 LED and Strand Selecon PLProfile4 MkII LED. Although Memlaur initially had another brand in mind for his moving head profiles, a demonstration of the VL1100 LED satisfied him as to its silent operation, greater functionality and “superb light quality.” Seven VL1100 LED fixtures are now in use, with five on the lighting bar above the main stage apron, and one each per side of stage.
The Strand Selecon PLProfile4 MkII LED profiles are used mainly to provide colored front-light and occasionally side-light. These, Memlaur says, offer “deep and bright saturated and pastel colored light.” He adds, “They offer excellent luminous intensity, from a conveniently built and easy-to-handle housing, and a reasonable price tag. They also have an excellent LED engine and offer some very useful white presets.”
Other LED fixtures, including Vari-Lite’s SL BAR 660 LED strips and SL Punchlite 220 LED PARs, were chosen to fulfill a range of duties. The SL BAR 660 LED strips are being used for cyc and effects lighting as required. “The SL Bars have a crazy high light output, plus awesome effects possibilities with the strip’s segment control,” says Memlaur. “It’s a brutal piece of hardware! It left me in no doubt when I saw it operating live.”
With just four SL BAR 660 fixtures, the lighting design team has an impressive amount of power and versatility at their command. “We can use only one for the whole cyc,” says Memlaur, “but in an upcoming show, all four units will be built into the scenery for effects lighting. They are more than perfect,” he adds.
Praising the highly versatile SL Punchlites, Memlaur says, “They give a high output from what is a quite small footprint fixture, with a sturdy design. The motorized zoom and the possibility to attach barndoors are extra advantages. They are our most versatile fixture, and we use them in practically all positions on both stages. They are excellent-great workhorse fixtures.”
Managing the lighting system’s power requirements are 480 channels of Strand EC21dimming. “The system powers all sorts of loads,” says Horváth, “including classic halogen, static LED and LED moving heads, UV guns, strobes, fog, and haze machines and various custom-made lighting pieces that are usually part of the scenery. The EC21 modules offer a very reliable solution, and the client is delighted with their performance."
Horváth also notes that the EC21 modules’ sophisticated patching capabilities made the installation very straightforward, adding, “But the greatest feature of the EC21s from the users’ point of view is that they can simply forget its existence. It does its work quietly behind the scenes without a single issue.” Memlaur concludes, “Overall, I am very happy with our new stage lighting system. We can now achieve a very high level of quality.”