Once again, Avolites was the preferred lighting control brand chosen by Angus Chinn from Bristol-based Utopium for installation into the UK's newest live music venue – The Academy in Leeds.
Chinn worked closely with the AMG Group and their team to design and specify cutting-edge production and architectural lighting for the venue.
The production lighting rig is based around Avolites control and Robe moving lights, a highly successful combination that Chinn has used for several other live music venue installations. He comments, “We really wanted to put production values at the top of the agenda here, so I chose leading brands with proven track records for reliability. They offer a flexible, dynamic creative package to benefit all the events and shows that will be staged in Leeds Academy”.
The 2000 capacity main room specification includes the first two Robe DigitalSpot 7000 DTs in the UK plus 8 Robe ColorSpot 700E ATs, 8 ColorWash 575E AT Zooms and 6 Robe ColorSpot 250E ATs for moving lights. There is also 10 Martin Professional Atomic strobes, 8 bars of 6 PARs, four 8-lite Moles, 4 Robe 4-cell REDBlinder 2Ÿ48s, 8 ETC Source Four Juniors for key lighting and Look Solutions Unique hazer and Viper atmospheric effects. All of these are controlled from the D4 Elite.
Chinn specified the console because he needed power, flexibility and instant access to all the functionality. He also wanted a desk that was familiar to those using the house rig day-to-day and incoming LDs.
That, plus Avolites' “Excellent after-sales service and backup” he says were the deciding factors. In addition to all the production lighting, the D4 is also controlling a substantial architectural lighting scheme in and around the building (see below) and so the console also needed plenty of headroom to accommodate these elements.
As with Sheffield Academy which opened earlier this year, the idea is that the fixtures are interchangeable between overstage and audience trusses, depending on the event and any incoming LD's requirements. The concept is to provide top quality technical and production facilities, alleviating the need for bands to bring in their own full touring rigs.
In addition to the main room's Diamond 4 console, there is an Avolites Pearl Expert installed at the side stage club night control position in the main room, and an Azure in the club and bar area in the basement.
LED lighting has been utilised extensively throughout Leeds Academy to produce a stunning colour changing environment that highlights the original character of the building and brings a refreshing contemporary twist.
The fabulous Gothic exterior of Leeds Academy (designed by William Blackwell and originally opened by Prince Albert as The Coliseum in 1885) complete with ornate stone frontage is also highlighted with 28 Anolis Arc 36 exterior LED fittings.
The bars throughout the venue have frosted backs and are lit with Anolis Link LEDs, which are also used to create a series of light walls, including one in the main unisex toilet. Selected corridors are illuminated with ArcSource Twin Wall 3 up and down lighters, and an ArcSource Outdoor 36 punches through the circular stained glass window above the main entrance, highlighting one of the building's defining historic features.
All of these environmental lightsources are linked back to the Diamond 4 in the main room to allows the creation of diverse effects like making the whole room “breath” and change colour simultaneously, adding to the atmosphere and ambience of the evening. “We all know that lighting can be a great mood enhancer” explains Chinn, “And we really wanted to explore that concept here and make the space as interesting as possible to all those experiencing it.”