It’s been a tough time for all performance venues and especially for community theatres like The Congress in Cwmbran which cancelled all its shows in March as Covid‐19 took hold, mid‐way through one of its busiest seasons! However, through successive lockdowns, the venue has been reimagined as The Congress Virtual Studio, a fully equipped streaming facility encouraging local artists and businesses to record and broadcast music shows and engage in events, generating interest and at least some income during this period. Cwmbran is also the home of Zero 88’s manufacturing facility. There are close ties between the popular lighting control brand and the 300‐ seat venue, which has Zero 88 Chilli dimmers installed, and furthermore, Zero 88’s international sales manager Tyler Holpin is actively involved as a volunteer on the technical side. Jon Salman and Green Room Events based nearby in Abertillery are also regular technical suppliers to the theatre, and he, Tyler, Martyn, and a few others came up with the idea of transforming the space into a studio. Green Room Events are providing video including 6 x cameras – two operated and four PTZ cameras – plus a PPU, LED screen, media servers and additional audio equipment together with lighting control which happens to be a Zero 88 FLX console they purchased. Hooked in to the FLX are the Congress’s 16 x in‐house LED wash and spot moving lights and 72 channels of dimmed light sources, plus specials like active Sunstrips and Vintage Blaze fixtures which are used as cool effective scenic props for some of the shows and streams. This was the first Zero 88 console the company has owned, and Jon is delighted! “It’s user‐friendly with all the features we need.” At the Studio, the FLX is running on a wireless network allowing the lights to be focused via App on smartphone or tablet which is very handy.
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