Modern stage management equipment for Berlin's Friedrichstadt-Palast

Modern stage management equipment for Berlin's Friedrichstadt-Palast

The premises
Berlin’s great tradition of revue entertainment is being kept alive in modern fashion at Friedrichstadt- Palast. This legendary venue’s theatrical history reaches back to 1919 when Max Reinhardt opened his big playhouse, which from November 1, 1947 was called Friedrichstadt-Palast. A huge rebuilt venue for the Palast has been standing at its current address at 107 Friedrichstraße in Berlin’s Mitte district, in the middle of the East End theater quarter, for the past 31 years.

After the fall of the Wall, the Palast succeeded in establishing itself as the foremost venue for lavish and spectacular shows in reunified Germany. Following millions of euros of investment, it remains the biggest and most modern show palace in Europe. Futuristic sets, impressive video installations and creative lighting have been used to create a visually breathtaking artistic synthesis for a new grand show entitled THE WYLD.

Self-illuminating, moving proscenium arches enable the world’s biggest theater stage to be divided up flexibly and designed in endless different ways. This includes the imposing, ground-breaking ‘Magic Stairs’ with their 50 individually height-adjustable steps. The sound system delivers an outstanding audio experience to every seat in the theater. The Wall Sky Lounge offers exclusive seats of the very highest standard. Six people can watch shows from above in its separate lounge area with their own bar. Every year, including guest performances and festivals, more than 700,000 guests visit Germany’s favorite stage.

The task
The job was, while the alarm system in the theater hall and foyer areas was being repaired, to completely renew the stage management system including its central control station. This control unit and its peripheral equipment together forms an important element in coordinating operations, switching calls and light signals, and controlling the alarm system and complex media components (lighting, monitors, cameras, sound effects, and so on). Dr. Reiner Chemnitius was responsible for technical planning and site management, having already designed the sound production system, intercom system and video equipment at Friedrichstadt-Palast. Amptown System Company Berlin won the public tender for the procurement, installation, and commissioning of the new stage management equipment. The way the modern system is configured is based on a successful installation of the same equipment at Komische Oper Berlin.
The solution
ASC project managers Tony Hundt and Patrick Boeer were responsible for renewing the stage management system during the break in performances in August 2015. A communication system based entirely on digital technology now controls the technical aspects of the Friedrichstadt-Palast´s lavish show program, allowing stage managers to comfortably and cleanly coordinate things on and behind the stage, long term. The modern system is modular and scalable in its design.

ASC pre-installed the central equipment racks in its own workshop, and carefully documented existing cable routes at the Palast before installing and connecting them up to the new stage management system. New cable routes were added in the Palast for a 100 volt alarm system and its cable network.

Every input signal can be sent to one or more outputs within the network using integrated software-based signal routing. Four Panasonic HD and SD video cameras with tilt-pivot heads were integrated, and the intercom system was wired up.

Friedrichstadt-Palast now has two new InspiControl® stage management desks. One of them is installed permanently near to the stage and another is for mobile use. The mobile desk supports the main management station at the big desk. The layout and function of all the button panels were pre-programed according to the stage managers’ requirements, and now all of their features can be used easily whether you are left or right handed. A Crestron Pro 3 media controller controls the button panels via an integrated Ethernet port. Signals are transmitted via a glass fiber network in Friedrichstadt-Palast. It is a BroaMan real-time media network which enables almost zero-latency transmission of uncompressed HD SDI video, audio, Ethernet and intercom signals. This means stage managers have access to all of the media signals in the network in full bandwidth. When intercom communication takes place between stage managers and stage workers, the FOH engineer and sound technicians, a digital Clear-Com Eclipse-HX Intercom Matrix in the background provides connections between individual users and groups. The Palast is situated on Berlin’s entertainment strip near to numerous theater and cultural venues, which means UHF frequency bandwidths are very full. Because of this, a modern DECT-based system in the form of a full-duplex wireless intercom is used to cover almost the entire building. Using this modern technology precludes a further shortage of UHF bandwidth.

Questions? We’ll gladly assist.

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    The Palast offers a unique program and unique dimensions. It is 80 meters wide and 110 meters long, and encompasses a volume of 195,000 cubic meters.

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    Following millions of euros of investment, the Palast remains the biggest and most modern show venue in Europe.

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    View from the world’s biggest theater stage – exclusive seats fulfilling the highest standards can be found in the Wall Sky Lounge.

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    THE WYLD combines extraordinary figures and talents in extraordinary images. The aliens are among us.

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    Stage manager Steffen Liebsch of Friedrichstadt-Palast at the new InspiControl® main management desk incorporating customized audio/video button panels and Sony PVM-1741A broadcast control monitors.

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    The permanently installed main stage management desk near the stage, showing the user interface and monitors. What is displayed on the monitors can be configured individually. You can also choose which camera is routed to which monitor.

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    The portable second stage management desk is on wheels. It is used for rehearsals so that the stage manager can work with a direct view of the stage. In a worst case scenario it can be used as an emergency backup desk.

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    View of part of the equipment rack in the stage management control center, the heart of the system, situated in a separate room on the first floor of Friedrichstadt Palace.

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