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NW Group, the trans-Tasman live production specialists with offices across Australia and New Zealand, have won a ten-year contract as full-service technical providers to PWV (Positively Wellington Venues), a business unit of the Wellington City Council that manages five major venues.
“We’re providing, lighting, AV, sound, crewing, production management, IT support, and rigging,” said Paul O’Brien, Technical Operations Director and Head of Lighting for NW Group in Wellington. “We’re setting up a new office in the city. For the NW Group this is a start-up venture. We’re building a new team to service the contract. As head of lighting, I’m also overseeing all the new lighting installations.”
The venues now under NW Group’s technical management include two proscenium arch theatres (The St James Theatre and The Opera House), a concert hall (The Michael Fowler Centre), a combined arena, auditorium and convention centre (The TSB Bank Arena & Convention Centre) and the Wellington Town Hall. Tasked with fitting-out such a diverse range of venues, Paul and the team have turned to the High End Systems Hog family for the ultimate in flexibility and power.
“It was natural fit for us to go the Hog route,” explained Paul. “It’s our standard lighting control format. I’m very happy with the arsenal provided by High End Systems, and it represents an upgrade compared to equipment installed in the PWV venues previously. For us, it’s about giving the lighting department more focus on programming than rigging, and give the operators more time behind the consoles to be more creative. We also appreciate the flexibility of being able to network consoles. That’s why we’ve chosen to invest in four Hog 4 and four Road Hog 4 consoles, which we’ll deploy across the theatres, stadium and concert hall.”
With the theatres and halls hosting a mix of concert, corporate and theatrical events, the flexibility of the consoles is key. “It’s the Hog’s ability to crossover applications that really works for us,” Paul continued. “You can sit down and dial up a simple orchestral wash without having to be a brain surgeon, but if, on the next day, you have a touring rock show with 100 moving heads, you can use the same console. We also have crew with varying levels of lighting experience. Those who are still learning are still pretty comfortable. For those that see themselves as programmers, there’s a huge amount of depth and capability.”
For the smaller breakout rooms across venues, NW Group have chosen the compact yet powerful HedgeHog 4. “We’ve already got three units, looking to go up to eight,” Paul expanded, “and I’ve been thrashing them! It’s a really useful little corporate lighting package. One of our focuses for this project is energy efficiency. We have a mandate from the city council to be 100% energy efficient by year five of the contract. I’ve been looking at embedding moving head LED fixtures into the corporate spaces. Having a console like the HedgeHog 4 to go into those smaller spaces is a no-brainier.”
All of NW Group’s Hog investments are backed up by Australia/New Zealand High End Systems distributor Lexair Entertainment. “Lexair are surprising,” observed Paul “They’re the team you can phone on the weekend. They’re on the phone and making things happen. It comes down to personnel, and the camaraderie you get you from people who understand the situation you’re in.”
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