Elation refurb enhances Royal Oak theatre
Monday, 25 September 2023
royal-oakThe system has helped to create an more professional look for school productions
USA - Entertainment market contractors BCT Builders, part of AV production company BCT Entertainment, recently upgraded an outdated lighting system at Royal Oak Middle School Theatre in Covina, California, with a rig of Elation Professional LED luminaires. The lighting renovation has created a safer working environment for students and enhanced the overall educational and artistic experience for students and the community.
BCT upgraded the theatre’s outdated incandescent system with an Elation lighting package made up of 42 WW Profile HP warm-white ellipsoidal spots, 22 Colour 5 Profile full-spectrum ellipsoidal spots, 28 KL Fresnel Series LED Fresnel lights, seven Seven Batten 72 bar lights, and DTW Bar 1000 white light battens. A pair of Magma Prime water-based hazers are used to provide atmospherics and the mid-air projection canopy.
The school’s 250-seat theatre serves students of Royal Oak Middle School, as well as the greater community surrounding the San Gabriel Valley just east of Los Angeles. BCT was approached by the school about a possible lighting upgrade in 2021, citing their significant challenges with the existing incandescent fixtures.
“They have kids that are inexperienced with lighting and basically needed a system that was easier to deal with,” explains account rep and master electrician at BCT Brian Longhofer, who handled the sale of the new lighting to the school and arranged for a series of product demos. “They decided that having kids climb up on ladders, changing gel and lamps, was just too risky. The lower maintenance and obviously the power savings was a big plus, but mostly it was about the safety of kids. An LED retrofit eliminated lamp changes and was a way to give them some good colour changing options and design possibilities without having to get up on ladders.”
Together, BCT Entertainment and BCT Builders were responsible for designing, selling, and installing the new lighting system with BCT Builders serving as the system integrator and installer. They also developed a representative lighting plan and programmed various scenes to ensure ease of use. “The goal was to create a system that could be operated by teachers who might not have a background in theatre technology, so we made it highly accessible and user-friendly for them,” Longhofer stated.
Two front-of-house pipes hold the majority of the warm-white WW Profiles, ensuring a consistent and uniform wash. Above the stage, three electrics host the colour fixtures, serving for downlighting, side-lighting, and adding coloured effects. The cyc is illuminated from the top by Seven Battens, while the DTW bars are positioned along the apron at the stage's front.
BCT’s inhouse designer Chad Brook handled design and layout of the fixtures. He comments: “Feature-wise the most important was the colour change capability. They really loved the fact that they can change colour with just a couple of key strokes versus having somebody up on a ladder swapping gel. The new system brings them into the 21st century in terms of colour changing options but also gives them a greater range of lighting effects.”
The project, close to two years in the making, involved multiple fixture demos and was completed by the end of June. Longhofer acknowledges the strong support received from Elation sales rep R.L. Wilson & Associates, who retired in late 2022. Thereafter, support was provided by Robert Pullman at Relation Lighting Agency (RLA).
Longhofer says that the new system has already been in use and that school personnel are ecstatic with it. It’s enabled students to gain practical experience while exploring various design options. Not least, the system has helped to create an overall more professional look for school productions.

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