Zorro: A New Musical has claimed a lot of firsts for ETC’s Eos® family of lighting control products. It was the first West End musical controlled by an Eos desk. It was the first large-scale show in Paris run on an Eos. And now it’s adding another accomplishment to the list: Zorro is the first theatrical production in America to feature ETC’s newest lighting control desk, Eos Titanium (“Ti”).
The debut of Ti™ coincided with the preproduction of Zorro at the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia, so Lighting Designer Ben Ormerod and Lighting Programmer Andi Davis decided to put it to the test. “We thought it would be fun to add a Ti to the mix,” says Davis. “I’d previously had the pleasure of programming the first ETC Gio musical in the UK, which was a great experience, so I was keen to have the opportunity to use the Ti so soon after its official launch.”
Ti was used to accomplish all programming for the show, running as a client in the theater’s in-house Eos system. Specified by the Alliance’s Chief Electrician Pete Shinn, the system includes an Eos RPU (Remote Processor Unit) as master, an Eos desk as a backup, Net3™ Gateways, a Net3 Show Control Gateway and a Net3 RVI (Remote Video Interface). “The ability to integrate the Ti into the existing Eos system was incredibly useful,” explains Davis. “Ti shares the same software and show-file structure as the other consoles in the Eos family, so moving between Eos and Ti was seamless. During dress rehearsals, Lighting Operator Steve Jordan ran the show from the Eos, while Ben and I were able to continue making live changes from the Ti, which connected into the system as a client.”
The new features that Ti offers also contributed to an easy design and programming process. “The three built-in multi-touch screens – which are larger and have higher resolution than on the original Eos console – make it possible to display far more information,” says Davis. “The new solid-state hard drive increases the speed of the console, most noticeably its boot time. And I personally like the backlit keypad. I was able to program the show from start to finish without Littlites obscuring my view.”
Ti offers a wealth of features that make programming automated fixtures a breeze – an important feature for Zorro’s lighting design. “The complex flying and scenic effects in the show mean that overhead space is at a premium,” explains Lighting Designer Ben Ormerod. “Conventional luminaires have been replaced almost entirely with automated fixtures to achieve the required flexibility from such limited space. We depend on tungsten fixtures for many of the show’s key looks, including ETC’s Source Four Revolutions, which I’m a huge fan of!”
Another feature of Ti (and the entire Eos family) is the new Magic Sheet functionality, allowing users to interact with both automated and conventional fixtures in an intuitive, visual way. “Our main aim was to use Magic Sheets to simplify the day-to-day running of the show,” describes Davis. “As well as providing a real-time visual representation of the state of the automated fixtures during the show, we also use Magic Sheets to assist with rig checking and to manage the considerable number of set practicals. Presenting this information in a more visual format makes it easier – and more fun! – to use.” Meanwhile, Ormerod – a committed non-user of monitors – is keenly aware of the potential benefits for designers: “For the first time in my career, I found myself wanting a screen, too!”
While Zorro was the first time the lighting team got the opportunity to use Ti, it definitely won’t be the last. Says Davis: “I'm immensely appreciative of the time, care and commitment invested by the ETC Eos development team in creating such a fantastic lighting tool. I think the Ti is a great new addition to the Eos family, building on the strong foundations of the existing Eos platform.”
Photo © Ross DeLoach