Colegio Americano de Guatemala (The American School of Guatemala) is a private K-12 college preparatory school located in Guatemala City, Guatemala, and is one of the biggest schools in the country. Modeled after the educational practices and methodologies of the United States, the school includes a 500-capacity theatre that recently received a lighting upgrade of LED fixtures from Elation Professional that has changed the look dramatically.
The school theatre, where students put on a variety of plays and musical performances, had a lighting and sound system that was extremely poor with no entertainment lighting at all and only one projector available to provide any semblance of color or graphic projection. Yet, although the venue had a somewhat amateur level of entertainment technology, the school put on very ambitious plays with performances often featuring up to 50 performers. With a vision to offer students a better environment in which to put on their performances, the school decided to do something about it and asked audio, video and lighting integration company Aviitec to review their situation.
The initial focus was to improve the audio quality of the venue and consequently Aviitec presented the school with a proposal for a new microphone, audio and automation system while stressing to them that a lighting upgrade was also needed. “I showed them Cirque du Soleil videos where you can really see that the lighting plays a major role in creating the mood,” Giovanni Merida of Aviitec explains. “The school was eventually convinced and gave us a budget number to work with that was enough to complete the first phase of a lighting install. I then contacted John Lopez at Elation to talk about the possibilities.”
Giovanni flew to Elation’s headquarter office in Los Angeles to discuss with John the details of a lighting package that would fit the school’s budget. The result was a lighting installation consisting of Platinum Spot III™ LED moving heads, SixPar 300™ LED par lights, and ACL Curtain™ full color LED battens. “This is an exciting project because full LED in a theatre is unique for Guatemala,” Giovanni says. “They wanted good quality lighting but didn’t want to spend too much. But they also didn’t want to go bottom of the market cheap. As a top quality but less expensive brand compared to some of the others, Elation fit in perfectly.”
Aviitec also showed the school examples of the many installation projects Elation has completed, many with LED-based lighting systems, and also explained the advantage of choosing a manufacturer with a comprehensive support network, an important aspect for this type of investment. “They didn’t want to feel abandoned,” Giovanni says. “After seeing and hearing about Elation they were convinced it was the best brand.” Giovanni worked with Aviitec’s Julio Arenales and Elation’s John Lopez on the lighting design, which was pre-visualized for the client using Elation-distributed Capture Atlas™ lighting design software.
The lighting package was installed in July 2016 by Aviitec and consists of 10 Platinum Spot III™ moving heads providing color and pattern from above the stage with additional fixtures located over the audience to project onto the stage and proscenium. Also located above the stage are 12 SixPar 300™ with 5 fixtures located over the audience. The SixPar’s 6-color LED multi-chip allows it to color match the environment to any occasion, including elegant shades of white. Filling out the design and positioned over the upstage curtain are 11 ACL Curtain™ batten luminaires, each with 14 individual 15W RGBW LEDs. An Antari F1 Pro Touring Fazer™ is used for atmospheric fog and haze effects. The rig was programmed on and operates using Emulation lighting control software with a MidiCon lighting controller.
The technology upgrade at the Colegio Americano de Guatemala theatre was completed in July of 2016. “Everything has been good,” Giovanni says. “The new lighting has really made a big difference and the client is very excited with the results. The audience can hear the better sound but it is the lighting that they are fascinated with and that is what people notice most. We are happy to say that we have more projects with Elation in the pipeline so this has opened up many doors.”