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New National Theatre embraces Japan’s first Eos Apex console

Image Credit: New National Theatre, Tokyo, Ken Production Services Inc. (KPS)

The New National Theatre, Tokyo (NNTT) is Japan’s first and foremost national theatre for the performing arts, including opera, ballet, contemporary dance and drama. Over the years they have had an incredible array of 771 productions, with 6404 performances to 4,553,416 attendees (as of March 2022).

As part of their 25th anniversary, NNTT upgraded their lighting control system in the Opera House to the Eos Apex console. As the theatre jumps to a new stage of its life, the Eos Apex console will enhance the experience while simplifying the work of the lighting production team. A series of performances are scheduled to use the Apex throughout the year including; New Year Ballet, Tannhäuser, Falstaff, Coppélia, Les Contes d’Hoffmann, and Aida. A release from ETC notes that “NNTT is proud to have the first Eos Apex consoles in the Japanese theatre industry.”

The NNTT is an opera house that co-operated with numerous overseas artists and designers from around the world. Experience showed them that the overseas lighting designers often requested ETC consoles for the shows. Therefore, when it was time for an upgrade, it made sense to include a house-owned ETC console. This assists the designer’s with use of their original data, making the whole production smooth, efficient, and cost-effective and reducing the possibility of any data encoding issues.

For the upgrade, Ken Production Services Inc. and local lighting dealer, synchro rise Co. Ltd., worked closely with the lighting team of the NNTT. Together, they chose 1 x Eos Apex 10 24K control desk and 4 x Eos Apex 5 24K desks. “I would highly recommend ETC gear to others. Based on our experience, the Eos Apex console delivered a seamless performance without any issues. A trustworthy console is essential for any production, so it’s great to hear that this one met our expectations,” stated NNTT Technical Department, lighting director Yuji Tatsuta.

In the past, the lighting setup at NNTT was  quite challenging for its team. They had to rely on two consoles to manage the lighting equipment from a single production room located in the lighting booth. Creating and updating cues was quite a task, because of the physical distance between the designer and the operator. The team found innovative ways to overcome these obstacles, but upgrading the lighting system to Eos Apex includes of features that now gives the designer quick access to everything they need.

NNTT Technical Department, lighting technician Takehito Suzuki stated, “I enjoyed using Apex’s screen graphics, they were very easy to read. The complete full tracking system also made it easy to create data. Communication between the designer and the operator was much easier and faster with Apex. Overall, I was impressed with Apex’s level of control and precision. It’s a great choice for anyone looking to take their lighting design to the next level.”

When asked why the Apex was ideal for the NNTT, Suzuki added,  “The Apex with Eos system offers multi-console control to increase the reliability and stability of the Eos full tracking system, with the added benefit of no latency when switching between the main, backup, or any client console. One of its many benefits is the ability to set up different user IDs, which makes it easy to customize client consoles for different purposes. For example, a lighting designer can use a client console to monitor fixture level output. In contrast, a lighting programmer can use a remote console in the auditorium to program the show with the best view of the entire stage.”

The Eos Apex console features a large screen that offers clarity with a user-friendly interface that is easy to navigate. The console UI is customizable, which makes it easy to create unique user layouts that are comfortable to read and access. The Apex keypad layout is similar to other Eos consoles, which makes it seamless for programmers to switch to using the Apex console. Moreover, Target Keys are available as tools for lighting programmers. By combining key and screen features, programmers can easily access various targets on the console, including color palettes, groups, macros, and snapshots.

Suzuki concluded, “Each key can display an image the user can assign, and labeling is made even easier with the ability to display Japanese characters on the keys. Finally, the localized language feature made the whole piece of work easier and removed the language restriction barrier.”