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PR XL575s provide PopEI with beam versatility

26 January 2009 12.000 BST

(Eindhoven) - The City of Eindhoven has funded a new rehearsal, recording and performance complex for emerging bands in a disused industrial park in Eindhoven, which has been earmarked as a cultural development area.

Situated in the Strijp-S - formerly one of the many concrete utility Philips factories in the city -- PopEi has become one of the first tenants of the new park, relocating from its previous dilapidated and polluted premises in nearby Zoutstraat with the aid of a €4.4m grant from the local government.

Situated on four floors, PopEi opened last month to reveal 16 rehearsal rooms, a recording and demo studio, 250-capacity performance space, café/restaurant at the front —  and all necessary service areas and dressing rooms.

“We’ve been fighting for this for facility for ten years,” says head of technology, Rob Bours, who was responsible for specifying the new infrastructure for PopEi, which is celebrating its 25th year this year.

With a low ceiling height, which prevented the use of trussing, and a budget that needed to stretch, he enlisted Lightco for his visual requirements, while sister Ampco Group company, TM Audio, oversaw the sound.

Knowing that the entertainment would range from full on rock bands to all night DJ trance sessions Bours expected a lot from the moving lights — and realised that price would be as important as features to achieve the maximum beam effect. The solution was eight of PR Lighting’s XL575 heads — which exclusively provide the moving lighting.

Operated from a Flying Pig Systems Road Hog (and powered by 48-ch ETC SmartPak dimmers), the fixtures are divided equally between the stage and dancefloor, where one is fixed to each corner of the rectangular grid.

With gobo projection onto the stage backdrop and dancefloor screen creating an immersive experience for the dance crowd, the venue can now transform  effortlessly to offer conventional visual effects from one of the eight stage lighting bars.

Mixed in with the generics and strobes, Rob Bours can hardly believe that he has been able to accommodate as many as eight high-powered PR Lighting heads within his budget.

However, Lightco were able to broker an attractive deal. “From both a shipping and cost viewpoint we were fortunate to be able to take the demonstration heads straight off the PR Lighting stand at this year’s PLASA Show in London, and have them despatched straight to site,” said Gerrit Schottert. “This created huge cost advantages for the venue.”

The XL 575 uses a Philips MSI 575W short arc discharge lamp enhanced by a high quality and efficient optical system. Major features include: large-scale linear zoom, one rotating gobo wheel plus one fixed gobo wheel, two colour wheels, bi-directionally rotating indexable prisms, one frost and one colour correction filter, focus and dimmer, iris and much more.

As a result, no product demonstration had been necessary, said Rob Bours. “I had checked them out on the website, and was immediately impressed by the featureset; besides, we knew that anything Lightco rercommended would be guaranteed.”

Although the technical manager had contacted a number of sound and lighting companies in his quest for the best, he was aware of the Ampco Group’s pedigree installing great technical infrastructures through a number of the country’s leading venues — including near neighbour, de Effenaar — where Bours himself worked for many years, before joining PopEi five years ago.

“I chose TM Audio and Lightco because they were the only companies who really helped us along the way — even before we were ready to place the order — and I needed people who could really advise us, particularly on the lighting.”  As for the sound, he has judiciously reused some of the equipment from the old venue, mixed with newly-supplied TM Audio kit (including the new Martin Audio LE1200 and LE1500 stage monitors).

Under the direction of Fred Sparringa, PopEi (‘Ei’ means egg in Dutch, suggesting that the venue will nurture new talent) has much to look forward to. “Bands can rehearse here, record their albums here, do their demos and perform,” says Bours. In addition the facility hosts choirs, band workshops and even dance schools.

Open seven days a week (with live shows Friday through Sunday) it has already become a huge hit with the local population. “Because of all the work necessary in the building it has taken almost a year to get open,” concludes Rob Bours, “but it has been well worthwhile.”





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