control desk is becoming increasingly popular in France, with ETC partner Avab Transtechnik France (ATF) supplying a Cobalt 20 desk to the Avignon Festival and a second sold to the EQI Cheval Libre equestrian show.
The Avignon Festival has invested in a Cobalt 20 desk for their main performance space, with a
Congo® jr powered by Cobalt®
as online backup during the shows. Back in 1996, the event's organizers bought the first Avab desk to use in the
(Court of Honor) of the Palais des Papes (the Pope's Palace) and they also own 15 more ETC desks that they use each year for their other spaces. So it was fitting that when the Cobalt desk was released earlier this year they wanted to try it out.
Says Jean Louis Pernette, commercial director for ATF: "The festival's technical managers realized they needed to modernize their main control desk, which was approaching 20 years old, and wanted to get the admiral of the fleet! By investing in the latest generation of lighting desks, they will have a reliable, powerful and easy-to-use desk that will last them well into the future, and is perfect for handling the intelligent and conventional fixtures in use in the space."
Performances at the Palais des Papes include theater, music and dance, taking advantage of its high walls and splendid architecture to frame the stage, which stands at the bottom of a high-raked seating area for up to 700 people. Across the festival, which takes over the southern French town for the month of July, some 65 official shows are joined by hundreds of unofficial performances as thousands of people flock to the area.
Meanwhile, the EQI Cheval Libre, an equestrian festival that runs for two months throughout the summer in Vaucluse, southern France, uses mainly moving lights, supplemented with a few traditional fixtures, to highlight the horses and riders. The animals dance to music and the lighting, telling a story of the harmony between humans, animals and nature. The festival's
Cobalt 20 desk
- plus an
mini-controller on a laptop as backup - was supplied by Dushow, the first rental company in France to invest in Cobalt.
The show is held outdoors, making lighting an interesting challenge, according to lighting designer Philippe Catalano. "With the amount of multimedia, including special effects and video, some desks could have struggled to keep up, or been too slow to program," he explains. "So I was eager to put the new Cobalt 20 desk through its paces. The touchscreens and motorized masters seduced me immediately. Cobalt turned out to be the perfect desk for a live environment where not everything was predictable."
With speed and simplicity of programming being key to the success of Cobalt, Catalano found that even when heavily loaded, the desk operated as smoothly as can be, with the audience - and EQI director Erick Villeneuve - delighted with the results. With the great lighting, the horses and their riders were shown better than ever before.