Russia's rich cultural tradition extends far outside of Moscow and St. Petersburg and across this immense country. Despite its relative solitude in Russia’s vast Siberian region, the city of Irkutsk is a thriving seat of culture that embodies all the best of Russia’s storied theatre tradition.
Irkutsk boasts an impressive number of theatres and Irkutsk Academic Drama Theatre of N.P. Okhlopkov, the oldest theatre in Eastern Siberia and the cultural hub of the region, epitomizes that artistic vitality. Founded in 1850 and currently celebrating 170 years as a cultural institution, the theatre recently worked with Light Power Design (LPD) to upgrade its stage lighting to a state-of-the-art automated lighting system from Elation Professional with lighting control consoles from Obsidian Control Systems.
Fresh way to reach an audience
Irkutsk Academic Drama Theatre has a tradition of high technical excellence and the theatre nurtures a new generation of theatregoers by constantly searching for a more modern means of communication with its audience. To that end, the possibilities inherent in visuals that are more dynamic were essential and provided the impetus for LPD to undertake a full modernization of the theatre’s lighting system.
Established in 1986, LPD focuses on sales and installation of professional lighting and sound equipment and has served as Elation’s Russian distributor for several years, enjoying exclusive distributorship since 2019. The company completed a full lighting and control design for the drama theatre encompassing nearly 200 Elation lighting fixtures – nearly all of them LED – with control from innovative Obsidian Control Systems lighting consoles.
“We are always looking for modern, high quality and innovative products and technologies and therefore our decision to invest in Elation wasn’t accidental,” commented Mikhail Morozov, managing director at LPD. “The management of the theatre was looking for a very modern solution based on LED technology and at the same time fixtures with a perfect color mixing system and very silent.” It was also important, he adds, that the fixtures were very reliable and backed by a warranty. “Elation’s 5-year warranty on the LED engine is a big benefit, especially because the main product specified for this installation was the Artiste Picasso as an LED-based workhorse fixture.”
Elation’s award-winning Artiste series of theatrical-grade LED moving heads makes up a key component of the new lighting system. Used as a key light as well as an effects fixture are some 74 Artiste Picasso™. “The Picasso is the main fixture in the rig, used for everything and from everywhere,” says Morozov of the 23,000-lumen LED framing profile. “And thanks to its perfect color mixing, gobos and animation wheel there are no limitations!”
With the venue being used for more than just traditional plays – concerts, musicals and theatre festivals for example – and many of the performances filmed, on-camera flicker was an issue that was taken into consideration. “Flickering can be a problem when LED fixtures and high-speed cameras work together but the Picasso has a variable refresh rate that can be set at whatever level is needed to eliminate that,” Morozov said. “We were also happy to see that when set at higher refresh rates the dimming and color weren’t influenced negatively.”
A half dozen Artiste Monet™ luminaires, a 45,000-lumen LED profile with innovative SpectraColor color mixing system, move around the rig depending on the performance, used mostly as colorful key lighting but also for effects. “Thanks to its framing system with unlimited indexing and continuous rotation it can be installed anywhere and used as just a profile fixture for some scenes. With the advanced SpectraColor color mixing and CTO there are no limits in creativity,” states Morozov. SpectraColor is unique in that it combines CMY color mixing with RGB flags and variable CTO. Particularly valued by designers as it produces color combinations that have traditionally been hard for LED luminaires to achieve, it has been singled out as exceptional innovation by several industry award bodies.
The new lighting system is comprehensive and also includes Platinum Seven™ and Platinum 1200™ LED wash moving heads installed above the stage with Chorus Line 16™ pixel bar wash luminaires moving locations depending on the performance. Fuze Par Z175™ fixtures with RGBW COB LED engine and classic lens look of a traditional Fresnel provide color wash from both sides of the stage while Colour 5 Profiles™, a high-quality ellipsoidal spot with RGBAM LED engine and CRI over 94, work from both sides of the stage and balconies. Multi-functional Smarty Hybrid™ CMY color mixing moving heads, the only non-LED lighting fixture in the rig yet with highly efficient 6,000-hour lamp, and SixPar 300™ Par lights, round out the lighting package.
When time came to consider lighting control, the venue stayed in-house, choosing a pair of Obsidian Control Systems consoles, a full-scale Obsidian M6™ and a compact yet fully integrated Obsidian NX 2™. With what is arguably the broadest line of entertainment lighting fixtures on the market, with a line of professional controllers and atmospheric effects besides, Elation makes it easy for venues to fulfill their needs as a one-stop shop. “I think it’s important to mention that one of the reasons they went with Elation was the ease in dealing with one supplier,” Morozov says. “ It made sense to look at Obsidian for the control solution. They are professional quality and at the same time easy to use. They are powerful consoles but also very budget friendly and were a good fit for the theatre.”
Today, Academic Drama Theatre is one of Russia's best in terms of technical equipment and stands as the first professional drama theatre in the country to be fully equipped with LED lighting from a single brand. Morozov sums up, “We are confident of our future success since the quality and technologies of Elation products can easily compete with any well-known manufacturer of lighting equipment and in many cases exceed them.”
74 x Artiste Picasso™
6 x Artiste Monet™
36 x Fuze Par Z175™
12 x Platinum SEVEN™
14 x Smarty Hybrid™
2 x Platinum 1200 Wash™
30 x SixPar 300™
6 x Chorus Line 16™
16 x Colour 5 Profile ™
E Node 4™
1 x Obsidian M6™
1 x Obsidian NX 2™
About Elation Professional
Based in California with facilities in Florida and Mexico City, as well as European offices in The Netherlands, Elation designs and manufactures a comprehensive range of innovative lighting and video products known for its superior performance, excellent efficiency, and outstanding price:value ratio, all backed by a hard-earned reputation for Total Support. Through nearly three decades of intelligent lighting development, our mission has always been simple: to provide best-in-class products and service while offering the best value:performance ratio in the industry, helping show designers and producers achieve their vision. From discharge to LED, intelligent to conventional, Elation products continue to be a part of the industry’s most exciting projects across the globe and our list of references is always growing. We invite you to take a closer look at www.elationlighting.com