What’s Trending, Lighting Console Of Choice: ETC Eos Ti

For our ongoing series of What’s Trending columns, Live Design has asked some leading lighting programmers to discuss their console of choice. First up is Alex Fogel, a New York City-based lighting designer and moving light programmer, who has worked with such designers as Kevin Adams, Ken Billington, Jeff Croiter, Don Holder, Natasha Katz, Ken Posner, Philip Rosenberg, Ben Stanton, Justin Townsend, and David Weiner. Some recent productions he has worked on include the Broadway revival of Cats, Hello Dolly!, American Psycho, School Of Rock, Fun Home, A Gentlemen’s Guide To Love & Murder, Up Here, Moonshine, Kinky Boots, Mystery Of Edwin Drood, A Night With Janis Joplin, Smash, Newsies, War Horse, The Scottsboro Boys, La Cage Aux Folles, South Pacific, and numerous Encores! Productions.

Alex Fogel

In this age of technology, we have so many choices available to us. When choosing a lighting console, why not take advantage of the options and select one based on the media/environment for which it will be used?

From an early age, I’ve always been into tinkering. As a child, I loved finding different sorts of tools and modifying them to serve a better, more specific purpose. What interests me about programming (and lighting design in general) is that the process is exactly that. We have a given set of tools at our disposal, and we must use them to create something specific and unique.

Generally speaking, I believe the measure of a well-built lighting console is one that is specific yet adaptable enough to allow you to maximize the efficiency of your process.

As a moving light programmer, I work on a variety of media. However, the theatre is where I most often find myself. My console of choice is the ETC Eos Ti. After deciding to build a new moving light console, the folks at ETC started with the qualities that theatre designers and programmers loved about the already successful Obsession and used them as a foundation for the new desk. I had the pleasure of beta testing the very first version of the Eos in 2007 and have been witness to its growth ever since. The Eos is perfectly suited for musicals and plays. Not only does the Eos provide enough consistency of form to keep lighting designers comfortable, but it also provides ample power and flexibility, allowing me to continually improve my process as a programmer.

The Eos has an extremely transparent graphical user interface. In other words, it’s easy to get a picture of what the rig is doing just by looking at the screens. This is great for theatre because the rig is usually masked by borders and legs, making it more difficult to discern which units are lighting what. Additionally, building and editing cue sequences blind is often more efficient than doing so live on stage. This makes it possible to work without disrupting whatever’s happening on stage, allowing you to be productive at times when you otherwise couldn’t be and sensitive when the room requires it.

The Eos also has a versatile marking feature that is easy to use. By marking I mean the presetting of moving lights while they are off. In theatre, it’s sometimes necessary to define exactly when fixtures should mark. This is done to bury the noise under a loud moment or to hide the movement if the fixtures are exposed and distracting. The console can accommodate a visible marking structure that can be used consistently. It can also help protect your original intentions so when you go back and edit preceding cues, tracking issues are less common.

Magic sheets are a newer feature, though they are increasingly becoming essential to the process. Aside from displaying a graphical representation of the rig and what references and colors are occupying the fixtures, it can be used for things like customizable control surfaces. This makes it the perfect solution for TV, especially news studios. On one screen, an action for every scenario can be laid out in a way that’s easy on the eyes. This makes it possible for someone who might not know the console so well to proficiently run a show while minimizing the risk of errors.

These are some of the reasons I prefer the Eos. There are so many aspects to the desk that make it ideal for me. OSC implementation, background macros, usage feedback, recall from, replace with, query, and the extremely powerful update feature are just a few of them. While it might not be the perfect solution for every production, I’ve found it to be a great fit for the work I do.

For more, read the February 2017 issue of Live Design as an interactive PDF.