November 18, 2011

Lighting "Kulanihako'i: Living Waters" -Part 3

The premier of the hula drama, “Kulanihako’i: Living Waters”, at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center was very successful. The performance and the water effects created by my lighting went off without a hitch. Soon after, I had to pack up the effects units to take on the road. I managed to get everything into two suitcases which had to be less than the 50 pound airline baggage weight limit to avoid additional charges. They weighed in at 49.8 and 49.6 pounds. My carry-on bag was probably another forty. Socks and shirts served as protective packing material. As I expected, TSA officers did some dusting on the motorized units and I had to try to explain what they were used for. At least I made sure my underwear was kept separate. I didn’t want them pulling those out in front of everybody!

I was grateful to have a fine local crew at the Kasser Theater in Montclair, New Jersey for several shows that followed the premier on Maui. A week later, we were on the Big Island of Hawaii at the Kahilu Theater and by then I realized which lights were proving essential in my lighting plot and which ones I could probably cut if I had to.

I explained in Part 2 of this series how I created the acetate images to project onto the cyclorama as background to the scenes. The drawback to these low-cost gobos is that they will burn up if the intensity of the light goes up higher than about 40%.

Well, I’ve figured a way to increase the intensity a little bit by decreasing the amount of heat from the lamp. I did this by bolting two template holders together separated by a plastic bushing.  The acetate image gets mounted in the template furthest from the lamp and I placed a cut of GAM Heat Shield in the other. The bushing gives the two templates just enough separation to allow the heat shield to slide into the gobo slot while the gobo image fits into the iris slot of any Source IV lighting instrument. By adding the heat shield and having an air gap between the two, I’m able to get another 10-20% intensity out of the light. Not a lot, but a welcome improvement. Profile lights with LEDs will no doubt replace the need for a contraption like mine in the very near future.

You can also see in the previous post, the acetate image of a waterfall in a Hawaiian forest that I projected onto the cyc during a particular scene. A GAM Film/FX unit was focussed onto the waterfall and run at slow speed. Below is a video of that segment where the waterfall is used for a hula. It’s a little hard to see from the angle but there is also what looks like a shallow stream that moves away from the waterfall across the stage and soft, blue swirling gobos on the hula dancers as they move.

In contrast to this, there are scenes that are bright and sunny with a burning sun and rainbow in the background. These visuals only serve to help tell the story presented on stage and enhance the audience experience of live theater. More pics and videos to follow...

See Part 1 here.

See Part 2 here.

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