More On The Paralympic Opening Ceremonies Lighting

“Our first challenge was the fact that we had to cut about half of the lights that Bob Dickinson had for the Olympic Ceremonies,” says LD Robert Sondergaard of Electric Aura in Vancouver. “We met with him once at the venue to discuss what worked well and what didn't to help us decide what to keep. We also watched a number of rehearsals and a couple of the Victory Ceremonies to inform our decisions.”

Lights up on the Paralympic opening event

The PRG-supplied rig was drawn in 3D in wysiwyg to try out different combinations of lights to figure out what was needed to get coverage for the audience washes and stage washes. “Because we only had the rig for one week before our show, we had to do most of our programming during the day,” Sondergaard adds. “In order to facilitate this we brought our wysiwyg suite to the control room. This allowed us to build the base looks during daylight so we had something to bring up during the evening rehearsals, and then our overnight programming slot was used to finesse the looks. As we worked through the show it was obvious that every light would have multiple purposes —this required careful planning so we could reposition lights between their various uses.”

Electic Aura adapted Bob Dickinson's original rig

The use of projection in the show mean that the LDs had to make sure that the light levels allowed the video to read with performers on the field of play. “As much as possible we wanted to come up with a look that was unique to the Olympics so did a few things differently: we added eight MX-4 Syncrolites on the floor to give us the big beam look; we used haze throughout the show so we would get beams in the air; we lifted the VL3500 on the floor up so we could project color on the field of play; and during the Athlete Parade we had all set elements and a bunch of moving lights doing ballys changing colors to match the flag of the team that was entering,” Sondergaard notes.

A colorful look during the ceremonies

“The only large set element we added was the large fabric blanket that got deployed for the First Nations segment. The blanket was preset at the top of the show as a large centerpiece in the air. During a large cast dance number the fabric was lowered down and the dancers pulled it out to form a large mountain on stage. A First Nations elder and a number of children rose up through the centre of the mountain to tell the story of the Paralympic Mascot Sumi. At the end of the story Sumi (who was preset under the blanket) flew up and over the audience.”

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