"For the fourth year of the Milwaukee Holiday Lights Festival, we created something completely new and original in Cathedral Square Park, making the festival even more of a regional holiday destination," said Beth Nicols, executive director of Milwaukee Downtown, Business Improvement District #21, organizer of the Milwaukee Holiday Lights Festival. "We brought together some of the foremost lighting, set, and event designers in planning the Techno-Tree Forest. We are confident that this will put Milwaukee on the map when it comes to innovation in holiday lighting technology."
The Techno-Tree Forest was comprised of 20 fabric-covered, pyramid-shaped "trees" that glowed in different colors as intelligent lights shone on and through them. Changing to holiday music, the Techno-Tree Forest was inspired by lighting displays in Paris and at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.
Chicago-based architectural and theatrical lighting designer Avraham Mendall Mor was given the opportunity to design the lighting for the Milwaukee Holiday Lights Festival. Mor was asked to assist in the choice of lighting fixtures for the three tree sizes, 7', 14', and 40'; organize a bill of materials; and create plans and schedules. As the job began to take shape Mor was also asked to program the show.
Each 7' tree had one each of red, green, blue, and white PAR-38 lamps, the 14' trees had two of each color of PAR-38s, and the 40' tall tree was lit from the ground up by eight PAR-64s per color. Each PAR in the large tree also used diffusion. In addition, there were two High End Systems Studio Spot CMYs in EcoDomes with custom gobos. The site had two dimmer racks, one with 60 dimmers to control the north end of the park, and the other rack with 48 dimmers located in the large tree which controlled the south end of the park. The DMX controller was an ETC Express LPC 192. Mor programmed it using a combination of Autodesk LD Assistant, Cast WYSIWYG, ETC Expression Off-Line, and an Expression 3. All gel was from GAM Products, all custom gobos by Apollo.
Other personnel involved in the project were: Ralph Garrity, Festival Productions; Mike Cianciola, Badger Sounds and Light, technical consultant; Ed Hanrahan, Hanrahan and Associates, consultant; Marty Lazarus, Chicago Spotlight, equipment supplier; Todd Radmonovich, KWK Electric, electrical consultant. Click here to view a slide show of the color-changing "trees." The Milwaukee Holiday Lights Festival ran November 21, 2002, to January 5.