Judith Wright’s grandMA is just dandy

Posted on Wednesday, June 4th, 2008

Brisbane’s Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts is a cutting-edge centre which incorporates a 300-seat performance space, modern art gallery, artist studios, a screening room, purpose built administration and storage facilities, workshops and theatre, music, dance and circus rehearsal spaces. The Centre prides itself on being able to offer the latest in lighting and sound technology and so it’s no wonder that their most recent acquisition was a MA Lighting grandMA Lite lighting console plus a grandMA NSP, grandMA Video Server and a PDA Wireless Kit.

The time had come to replace the Centre’s aging ETC Express 250 and so Senior Technician Keith Clark began a search for the ideal console.

“I was looking for a console that made control of moving lights easy as well as conventionals as we have a fairly large conventional rig,” he said. “It needed to be able to handle both types of lighting in an easy manner for live purposes, which is about 60% of the work that we do. The other 40% is plotted in a similar way to theatre shows. Really there weren’t that many options on the market that already had proven industry experience. There were other consoles that we were interested in but we felt they were too young in their life span or were heading down a path we were not suited too.”

Keith was determined that his Centre was not going to be used as a guinea pig by trialing newer consoles available and the fact that Brisbane already has several grandMA’s in various venues certainly helped him make his decision.

“The Powerhouse and QPAC both have grandMA’s which is useful for when we have to find extra crew,” he commented. “It’s really handy that so many lighting operators in Brisbane are familiar with the grandMA platform.”

The lighting control set up consists of a grandMA Lite control console running into a hub which in turn runs off to the grandMA NSP, a grandMA Video Server and to a PDA plus a production desk laptop.

“With a plotted show we use the laptop as a backup,” added Keith. “We went with the grandMA Lite rather than the full size grandMA just because of size really. As a live console controlling movers it’s nice and easy to use whilst as a plotting console there’s a lot of stuff you can do with it although it is a bit of a step up for programmers to come to grips with. Most of our production work is only done in this venue and won’t be played elsewhere so we can be very specific in our plotting.”

At the same time the Centre also took delivery six Martin MAC TW1 moving tungsten fixtures which he describes as outstanding.

“Their colour mix is really nice, they’re very quiet and they just fit nicely into this venue,” said Keith. “As this venue is quite small with little room reverb any noise made can be really heard consequently for un-amplified or low amplification events the TW1’s work well. Considering the features that they offer, the TW1’s are also quite small. The mechanical dowsers on them are good although we’re running internal dimmers.”