Crawfordsville, IN, USA – Pupils and staff at North Montgomery High School in Indiana are benefiting from a new theater lighting upgrade at its 804-seat NMHS Auditorium, including advanced C21 dimming technology and VISION.NET touchscreen control interfaces from Strand.
The busy venue, which is used for school assemblies during the day, hosts around four of the school’s own theatrical productions each year – including two high school plays, a high school musical and a middle school musical. What’s more, it also serves as the theater for the entire district, hosting every high school, middle school and elementary school concert in the school district.
Recently, the school wanted to upgrade the existing infrastructure of the theater, which was built in 2003, to include a power-saving LED house light system and new controls to replace the existing systems, which were becoming increasingly unreliable. “The customer was looking to maintain the current level of control, which included wall controls and dimming for the house lights,” explains Sean Cole of Associated Controls & Design (ACD), which specified and installed the new systems.
“The existing wall controls had started to fail and were no longer suiting the needs of the customer,” adds Cole. “At the same time, the dimmer racks were also failing and had started randomly flickering various circuits when the system was in use.”
Cole chose to specify the versatile Strand C21 because, he says “it offered the best level of flexibility and control for the needs of the auditorium.” In deciding the configuration of modules for the C21 racks, he ultimately chose a combination of non-dim modules for all the stage circuits, and IGBT modules to take care of the new dimmable-LED house lighting system, which had been upgraded at the same time.
A new Strand VISION.NET touchscreen in the control booth gives the lighting operators easy access to the house lighting system. “The ability to seamlessly go from using VISION.NET, to the lighting console and back, was instrumental to meeting the customer’s needs,” says Cole, expanding on the benefits of the Strand technology. “And the generous 10-inch touchscreen allowed me to put most of the controls on one screen for easy access by the customer,” he added.
Also of benefit is the system’s ability to record presets on the fly. “This was something that they hadn’t been able to do previously,” says Cole.
Another major advantage of the VISION.NET system was that it could be installed using the existing wiring infrastructure, saving the school the significant additional cost of installing new wires throughout the venue.
In addition to the touchscreen in the control booth, Cole specified three button stations in the house near the entrances, with a further two on the stage. “Overall,” says Cole, “the new system offers a greater level of flexibility and a system that will work for them for many more years to come.”
He concludes, “For me, it’s all about the ease of installation, reliability, and the ability to adapt to the customer’s needs on the fly. VISION.NET’s adaptability makes it an easy choice for many of our projects. And Strand’s C21 dimming made sense on this project because of the ability it presents to change out the modules and mix both the non-dim modules and IGBT modules to accommodate the various dimming needs of the system in one cabinet.”
Michael Melvin, who is North Montgomery’s Auditorium Supervisor, as well as Chair of the Mathematics Department for the middle school, concludes, “I am very happy with the work that Sean Cole and ACD did for our auditorium. Sean worked with me to make sure I was comfortable with the new system, and the Strand VISION.NET touch interfaces make it very easy to program our new LED lighting system.”