Professional Lighting & Production Summer 2023 | Page 23

would we spend money upgrading their system when we ’ re going to build a new building ? So , we kept it going for as long as possible , and it was still functional , but it was long past future-proof . It was more future liability than future proof . It was time — it was past time .
PL & P : What did the process look like , from the planning to the installation ?
Hind : I acted as the theatre consultant on this project . That ’ s at least part of my background . I ’ ve been with Cirque du Soleil , on and off since 2009 . One of the main focuses that I have there is on theatre renovations . And so , one of the first things that we did was look at how much money we were going to have to spend and how we could use that to get the absolute most system for the buck . So , one of the places where you can spend a ton of money on a theatre renovation is in the base infrastructure . So , the plugs on the walls , the conduit that goes back , all the boring stuff , the stuff that doesn ’ t often get captured in those initial budget studies . People say , ‘ Well , we need 96 , 144 , or 288 new dimmers ,’ and they price those , and they go , ‘ It ’ ll cost us whatever , a million dollars or $ 700,000 or $ 1.5 million .’ Well , you could spend that much again , just on the boring stuff . But one of the neat things about working in a building where the infrastructure was originally done in the ‘ 70s is that , to be frank , metal was cheaper back then . So , the
conduit is bigger ; there ’ s more of it . There were pathways going everywhere in the building . So , what we had was this wonderful , robust base infrastructure that we could then reuse . Maybe we ’ d need new faceplates for the boxes , new plugs , maybe we ’ d need wiring in some places , maybe there ’ d be some places that we need to add to , but it would be minimal . So , our first founding principle for this project was to reuse as much of this infrastructure as possible because like I said , metal was cheaper , it was thicker . The piping was bigger . We economize those things these days in a way that they didn ’ t back in the ‘ 70s . That gave us a very valuable infrastructure that we could reuse . That meant that we could put as much of our money as possible into the equipment itself , which is what we did .
We had about 120 dimmers in the old system for about twice as many circuits so it was not dimmer per circuit , it had a hard patch , a big old green telephone patch , where you would pair circuits to dimmer . I think it was roughly about a two-to-one , so two circuits for every one dimmer . And because we had so much infrastructure we could reuse , it meant that we could go one-to-one — we could do dimmer per circuit , which meant no more hard patching . And even though the theatre doesn ’ t need 200 , especially in the era of LED , you ’ re never going to fill all those circuits . But it was just about building more flexibility into the space . Do you want to have a light over there ? Go right ahead . Don ’ t have to think about it , don ’ t have to worry about rebalancing your dimmers or unpacking something . We don ’ t do much patching during the show . I ’ m old enough to have done that , but we don ’ t have to do that anymore . And they never will again . So that was part of it , like , can we just leave them a system that will be easier to use , and more functional ? If in 20 years , somebody says , ‘ Man , we barely ever use that circuit over there ,’ that ’ s okay . It ’ s not about making sure that you economize or maximize every single show , it ’ s about making the theatre as flexible as possible . That ’ s something that we carry through to the audio into the network as well , just trying to make the theatre as forwardflexible as possible . So that also inspired the choice of using power modules , as opposed to just choosing to do an all-LED theatre , we knew that , in speaking with designers , we gathered a round table of not just designers who had worked at the theatre , but some of the most prominent lighting designers in Canada and asked them where they felt the design was and the business was in relation to incandescent versus LED . And the overwhelming consensus was that we ’ re not in an all-LED future yet . It ’ s common , but we ’ re not there yet . Mostly because profile fixtures aren ’ t quite bright enough to fill the front-of-house needs . We said if it ’ s going to have to be a mixed space , and we have the money for it , because we have
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