Stage Electrics at Mid Kent College

Friday, 11 December 2009
Stage Electrics at Mid Kent CollegeStage Electrics completes a major installation at Mid Kent College Mid Kent College
UK - Stage Electrics has created an audio, video and lighting installation for the Medway Campus of Mid Kent College, the heart of a new £86m purpose-built educational facility for the Medway Towns. It hosts National Diploma pathways in musical theatre, acting, dance, and a two-year, Level 3 Production Arts course.

With a brief to deliver maximum flexibility and professional-standard systems, Stage Electrics' project team, headed by business development manager Darren Beckley, specified and installed a complete technical package including a central theatre, a television studio, two radio studios and a recording studio. The glass walled theatre, originally intended as a performance pavilion, is required to accommodate the full gamut of productions, from concerts, musicals and drama to presentations and commercial hire, with staging either in traverse or in-the-round.

The team's solutions include an automated truss, automated stage lighting and LED fixtures; fully flexible staging and seating; and audio that's distributed along with video and DMX over a single Ethernet backbone, minimising installation costs and adding numerous other technical benefits.

A Prolyte H30V lighting truss, covering most of the floor area, can be lowered and raised on six Prolyft motors with Prolyft motor control, flown from a near-silent ASM steel band system with internally wired bars, allowing use during a show. Lighting, RJ45 and audio facility panels on the truss's top chords allow lighting and audio elements to be positioned freely to suit each production.

A four-sided blackout curtain turns the glass walled theatre into a 'black box' environment and tames its lively acoustics, with a white upstage cyclorama on Hall Stage curtain tracks. A custom built stage manager's desk provides a TheatreCue 14-way Cue Light Master Station and an Altair 14 way talk back system, and the auditorium benefits from fully reconfigurable Prolyte StageDex staging and retractable seating for maximum flexibility with a control deck at the upper rear level.

Stage Electrics also fitted out Mid Kent's media studios: the TV studio boasts Manfrotto-mounted Sony HVRZ1E video cameras and a large curtain-tracked Chroma Key green screen, with a Sony HVR-DR60 portable hard disk recorder and Arri lighting. In the control room, a Newtek Tricaster Studio Edition with Live Control and Time Warp provides vision mixing for up to six cameras and recording control, with audio captured and mixed via a Yamaha MG1666cx USB console and Shure and AKG microphones. A pair of 17" TFT monitors display live cameras and the live output, with a further 32" Panasonic LCD for live output. A high-spec Apple Mac G5 running Final Cut Pro serves as the editing workstation.

The Recording Studio is based around a Mac-hosted Pro Tools recording and editing system with a DigiDesign 003 FireWire workstation, along with Focusrite, Tascam, Fostex, Roland, Behringer and Alesis outboard equipment, with Audix and Sennheiser microphones and Event TR8 monitor speakers.

Darren Beckley comments, "We specified equipment that is both extremely reliable and well proven in the professional world - precisely the kind of equipment students are likely to encounter in the world of work. We also used our in-house 3D Studio Max visualisation system to give the client an accurate 'walk-through' of the project before a single brick had been laid, allowing us to discuss various aspects before committing to designs and specifications."

(Jim Evans)

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