In 1989, July 8, in the capital city of the Russian atomic industry, Arzamas-16 (now called Sarov), Sveton, a cooperative company, was founded. The main activity of the company at that time was the development of lighting appliances. On 9 August 1990, a new manufacturing enterprise – Sistema – was founded on the basis of Sveton.
At those times gifted scientists and engineers were forced to look for alternative ways of earning their living in the new market economy. The development and manufacture of science-intensive theatre technologies became a sphere where young researchers could implement their artistic potential.
Today Sistema is able to realize the most complex projects regarding the equipping of theatrical and event venues. Their fixtures have won numerous awards, and their specialists are considered experts in their field.
For more than twenty years now Sistema has been developing, supplying and providing technical support for its stage equipment.
The experience accumulated helps the company to face the most challenging tasks.
Sistema has its own production plant of 4,500 square meters’ equipped with a fleet of modern machine tools. This enables the company to produce highly technological equipment that meets the highest standard requirements, from moving heads to stage mechanics, as well as large-size items, such as two-level lifting platforms for the Samara Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre.
Sistema is also an official representative of the following brands: Philips Selecon, ETC, ТАU, ROSCO, Martin, Meyer Sound, ARRI, ASM, 2M,Gerriets, Robert Juliat, Vari Lite, Daughty.
One of the par excellence products developed by Sistema is COMANDOR, the moving yoke. This smart device is successfully used in many theatres and is very popular with Russian light designers.
The demand for remote controlled theatre fixtures is constantly growing, and the major manufacturers of moving yokes – Spotlight, Compulite, LightTechnik – are present on the Russian market with their products.
The idea of creating a remote controlled moving yoke came to Efim Leonidovich Udler’s mind (E.L. Udler was a specialist in theatre lighting design and technologies who worked in the Chekhov Moscow Art Theatre and others), about 20 years ago, as he was able to foresee that this kind of technology in the lighting industry would become very requested. A team of talented specialists from Sistem realized his idea of creating a moving yoke Made in Russia.
Today Sistema’s moving yokes are installed in more than 70 theatres in Russia, from Moscow and St. Petersburg to Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky. For example, about a hundred COMANDOR yokes of different types are installed in the Maly Theatre.
When the new moving yoke was introduced for the first time at the Music Moscow trade show, the reaction was that of amazement. COMANDOR was able not only to precisely execute commands, but it also detected its own coordinates and turned off in case of contingencies.
The moving yoke created by Sistema’s specialists left many expensive foreign products behind. From that moment on not only the biggest theatres in the capital but also many regional venues were given the possibility to install premium-class moving yokes on their rigs. The leading installation companies began to include them into their specifications when working on the new lighting projects.
One of the most salient features of the COMANDOR yoke is its incredibly silent operations: even at the highest speed it doesn’t go above 41 dB, the ‘noise’ that is heard when leaves are rustling in the breeze. In static position, the fixture is absolutely silent. This quality is especially requested by musical theatres where acoustics are very important.
The first COMANDOR yoke was developed for the Philips Selecon ARENA PC-2500 projector. This modification is still very popular in the Russian theatres. The construction of the yoke was initially made to be able to support any kind of spotlight, a feature that makes the difference when confronted with other moving yokes that are suitable for working only with some, but not all models of lighting fixtures. The initiative of creating new modifications and updates usually comes from clients. It takes only a few weeks to create a new modification thanks to the internal R&D department and the experience accumulated over the years. At present, COMANDOR moving yokes can mount almost any type of fixtures, from powerful ARRI projectors to SVOBODA wash lights, counting about 20 options. Sistema has also collaborated with Imlight, a Russian installation company and manufacturer that produces a range of ACCENT 1200 PC fixtures especially made for installation on COMANDOR yokes.
The company’s philosophy is that of constantly following its clients during and after installation.
The history of the company is closely connected with the changes that Russia went through in the 1990s.
Gennady Tikhonov, service engineer at Sistema: “The service we provide includes installation and one-year warranty service, as well as additional technical assistance during the lifetime of the fixtures. Our response is immediate since our products are constantly used in theatres. We try to resolve problems remotely when and where possible, and our clients know that I usually call them 2-3 times a year and ask if the fixtures are working well”.
Another important principle is that of being informed and updated about the newest technologies in the lighting industry, and implement them in our products. Theatres do not renovate their lighting equipment very often mainly due to economical issues, so management is almost constrained to choose the latest technologies in order to be able to run the new equipment for 20-30 years. For example, since theatres started installing first LED fixtures, our R&D department has started developing a new model that would fit them. A new moving yoke for the Selador Vivid-R wash light has already been produced, and our engineers are working on the modifications for the PL3 from Philips Selecon and Selador Desire from ETC.
Sistema is also the first company in the world to have implemented Ethernet protocol in its moving yokes.
This technology allows to monitor the fixtures in real time, to control the execution of commands and to provide immediate troubleshooting, software updates and remote control. One of the examples of an installation based completely on COMANDOR-E Ethernet moving yokes is the Samara Academic Opera and Ballet theatre.
Sistema is one of the excellences in the Russian lighting industry and is one of the examples of how one can – and should – develop and manufacture professional lighting products in Russia.
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