ETC at Space Park Bremen

Labelled as an urban entertainment centre where shopping and leisure are combined under one roof, Space Park in Bremen, Germany, looks set to attract millions of visitors each year as it prepares to open in early 2004.

The theme of the park is Space – a choice that was not arbitrary, since Bremen is Germany’s second most important centre for aerospace technology after Munich. Offering a unique experience for the whole family, Space Park Bremen is set on a 260,000m² site, offering breathtaking space attractions, numerous restaurants and cafes and unlimited shopping possibilities.

As well as a multiplex cinema with seating for 3,600, a space disco Hotel Saturn, Space Park Bremen will also include Space Center, an attraction which informs visitors about current developments in space research and provides a taste of what it feels like to train as an astronaut. With such a high-tech futuristic theme for the park, the technology controlling it needs to be first class, which is why ETC equipment was chosen, even before the lighting designers were brought on board. ETC’s Field Project Manager Ingo Bernert explains: “The lighting control of Space Park Bremen was actually initiated by American designer Ted Ferreira and so ETC’s equipment was chosen for two reasons. Firstly because of our well known reputation and experience within amusement and theme parks and secondly because of the level and quality of support we can provide from our Northern European base”.

ETC equipment will be fitted throughout Space Park Bremen, from retail areas to walk through experiences, rides and theatres. An ETC network, comprising more than 450 3kW and 5kW channels of dimming and relays, will link together all the lighting for the park. Eighteen 4 port DMX nodes controlled by 20 Express and Expression 3 Lighting Playback Controllers will link the dimming system and the intelligent fixtures to the main fibre optics network. Seven networked Unison architectural processors and numerous Unison control panels will provide the option of controlling the lighting park-wide or on a local level.

The park will broadly consist of 13 areas, each of which is different. Some are pure walk through environments, others are space rides and there’ll also be two themed theatres – one of which is Star Trek, based on moon flights viewing the earth rise. The central show area will have a performance every hour or so, including lasers and moving lights, representing the birth of the universe and set to a specially composed sound track. All of this will be controlled from six dimmer areas, each containing ETC Sensor CE dimmers of various sizes and Unison control systems, as each area demands the same control. On a local level, each store or attraction connected to the ETC network will be able to switch between various lighting looks, which are programmed into the Unison Processing Module. The option of resetting any of these looks across the park will be available via an ETC Emphasis control system which can be moved around the park and plugged into any of the control outlets.

At the other end of the scale is the master control panel. With so many different types of attractions at Space Park it’s likely that, without a well thought out lighting scheme, each one would be competing with the other. But the capabilities of ETC’s park-wide network means this is easily overridden. Programmed with a few basic key commands, the master control panel also houses the on and off switches for the park. The whole ETC system is linked via a network with outlets in all areas enabling the programmers to plug in the lighting desks anywhere in the park to programme the show.

The lighting system for the park also uses ETC’s WYSIWYG – an aspect which lighting designers Durham Marenghi and Nick Jones agree is invaluable. “WYSIWYG’s capabilities are absolutely vital to designers”, said Nick. “It allows us to draw up all the lighting designs and ETC’s WYSILink package enables us to interrogate the entire system from one central control room by scanning the drawings into the application. It certainly makes life a whole lot easier.”

With WYSILink, information about things like blown lamps and dimmer status can be accessed on a PC loaded with WYSILink and connected to a park-wide system. Durham Marenghi said: “The major benefit here is that it enables one person to get a complete overview over of all the maintenance work needed. It also allows the user to look for adverse trends, to spot problems that might be more serious. This greatly reduces the need for the technicians to physically check the whole park and each individual unit – and obviously saves a lot of time and unnecessary effort.”

Regardless of how good equipment is, outside factors may cause complications within the park, which the on-site engineers may not be able to deal with alone. As down time means loss of revenue, Space Park Bremen, like all other ETC customers will be able to rely on ETC’s 24-hour back-up service, which guarantees worldwide technical support via authorised technicians in ETC’s Authorised Service Centres (ASCs).

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