ETC Gio finds a home at the Riverside Theatre

Posted on Thursday, April 11th, 2013

Located on the banks Sydney’s Parramatta River, Riverside Theatres offers three venues under the one roof: the intimate Rafferty’s Theatre, the flexible Lennox Theatre and the largest theatre, the Riverside Theatre which can house up to 761 patrons and has a conventional proscenium arch stage with orchestra pit and fly tower. Larger scale productions including international acts are often seen on the Riverside stage including Shakespeare, comedy, drama, ballet, contemporary dance and musicals which results in over 700 events at Riverside each year.`

About the same time that the ETC Eos and Ion lighting control consoles became available the technical team at the Riverside Theatre decided it was time to upgrade their Strand 520i console. Upon making initial enquiries with Jands, Sean Clarke, Riverside’s Technical Coordinator, was informed that a new console that sits between the Eos and Ion was soon to be released.

“It sounded ideal so we held off from our planned purchase of an Ion and waited for the Gio which was certainly more suitable for our main theatre,” commented Sean. “We’ve found it to be a very easy console to utilise particularly as it works on a similar platform to the Strand 500 series. However it also has the functionalities of a grandMA console in regards to moving lights.”

Positioned in the middle of the popular Eos console range, between the Eos and the Ion consoles, Gio features the family’s powerful hardware and software for sophisticated effects – like pixel mapping and media server control as well as the instantly recognizable ETC syntax.

Gio includes two articulating LCD multi-touch displays, allowing the screens to be positioned flat for shipping and angled for programming according to preference. Whether a programmer is sitting or standing, the view is adjustable to his or her sightline and comfort.

” I really like that the touch-screens are adjustable so you can position them at any height on a hinge and I also like the fact that every key on the console is backlit, said Sean. “This frees up your worklights for scripts and note taking rather than actually lighting the console to see what you’re doing.”

Gio also supports up to three high-density external displays all of which can be multi-touch thus speeding up programming by putting navigation and more control right at the fingertips.

“That’s a great feature,” added Sean. “Obviously the Gio handles intelligent fixtures far better than our previous console and having colour pickers via touch-screens really speeds the process of plotting and programming. However, whilst the Gio is fabulous for moving lights it also has an inbuilt functionality for standard generic fixtures such as a groundrow or cyc lights. The ability to handle traditional fixtures is also important for us.”

Riverside purchased the Gio Console, the Infrared focus remote, a wing fader as well as two external touch screens through Herkes Electrical in Sydney.

The Gio offers the same software as the Eos, with an expanded user interface that brings new definition to the term “user-friendly ergonomics.” Sean comments that his crew love the Gio’s programming software as it is so simple to learn that most anyone with a little training could be programming the desk in no time.

“We recently held a production of The Wizard of Oz with over eighteen moving lights and around 100 channels of conventional lights and our technician Greg Lyons was a bit apprehensive when it came to using the Gio as he had only had a one day of training with Eddie Welsh,” remarked Sean. “However, as soon as he started the plotting process he was quietly surprised by how easy and user-friendly it was. ”