The winds of the four regions of Canada converged on Ottawa's Parliament Hill this summer, in the form of a Wind Odyssey. Every year, the grounds of the capital are host to a light and sound extravaganza that celebrates Canadian culture, and this year's show focused on its fabled winds.
To display the vibrant imagery of the show, the project uses the Parliament Building as one single 600'-wide (183m) projection surface. "Because it's a government building, they don't follow what you want to do, you have to follow their schedule," admits lighting designer Nicolas Labbe. And since Parliament Hill is one of the most visited sites in Canada, the show is put up and taken down every day to keep the grounds looking pristine for visitors from around the world. "We have a crew of eight that sets up the production every night," Labbe explains. "They can't start the set-up until after 5pm, and then it takes about an hour and a half to put the show together, which isn't too painful," he adds.
Wind Odyssey uses a variety of equipment, including one PIGI 7k projector, a Hardware Xenon 7k projector modified with an E\T\C scroller, a Digital Projection 15sx 12,000-lumen video projector, and a bevy of moving and conventional lights. "I really like to have a potpourri of equipment," Labbe says, and for Wind Odyssey, he used eight Martin MAC 500s, eight Martin MAC 600s, eight Studio Due City Colors, 14 High End Systems Cyberlights[R], plus ETC Source Four PARs and High End Dataflash[R] AF-1000s.
The moving lights are located in portable lighting trailers 150' (46m) apart on the east and west blocks of Parliament Hill. "Basically, all the crew has to do is put the portable trailers in place, connect the DMX power, and they're set," the designer comments. The tall shrubbery near the building effectively conceals the lighting trailers, which are a little over 6' high. "We wanted to hide all the sources of the light, so nobody could see where the light was coming from. And using the bushes that were already located on the grounds did quite a good job at hiding our equipment."
Because of the location of the lighting on the sides of the building, Labbe had to deal with keystoning issues. "The lights always come from the sides on the east and west side of the building," Labbe explains. "Sometimes you like that fact, sometimes you wish you were up front." The Parliament Building, which is 600' long, posed some challenges for Labbe, due to the location of the lighting trailers. "When you shoot gobos straight ahead, and at a 45ø angle, you don't have the same pattern. That's why I ended up with the gobos out of focus," he adds.
The primary images of the show come from the three projectors, which are located 800' (244m) from the building itself. "The projectors are quite far from the building, so we have to be rather low key with the lighting, so we don't interfere with the projection," Labbe remarks. "To blend the projection and the lighting together, I had to use saturated colors, since I didn't want to bring the grandmaster down to 80%." Consequently, the show was dominated by the use of blue tones, from Zenith Blue (Lee 195) to Special Medium Blue (Lee 363) and Congo Blue (Lee 181). "When there's not a lot of projection, or the projection is fairly bright, I do use a couple of light ambers, like Apricot (Lee 147) and Orange (Rosco 23)."
One of the biggest challenges in the show was to use the lighting to give some dimension to the Parliament Building. "If you light a building that size only from the front, it makes it look really one-dimensional," Labbe explains. "So, early on in the project, we installed DMX everywhere - in the Peace Tower, and in the east and west blocks, to make sure we could grab everything we needed, including the existing architectural fixtures."
Once Labbe added the architectural fixtures, as well as 24 bars of ACLs on the roof, the entire project came together. "Putting in the architectural fixtures was the final visual touch. That gave me the final third dimension I needed, and it really made the show look great."
Chauvet, the Hollywood, FL-based manufacturer of effects lighting, is expanding all over the place. The company has announced the establishment of a new division, Chauvet Europe Ltd, with offices in Leeds, England. This new division will service Chauvet's European customer base; as well as a large warehouse, there will be a quality service center and showroom facility for overseas and UK clients.
Michael Brooksbank, the newly appointed sales manager for the UK office, says, "I have been involved in this industry for 14 years and have witnessed many changes in focus and direction. I believe that the opening of this new office is a step forward for the cost-effective lighting market in terms of both quality of product and service. Couple this with an extremely innovative product lineup, anybody would be hard pressed to find better value for money." In fact, Chauvet has made a considerable investment into making sure products comply with all European standards.
Meanwhile, in the US, Chauvet has appointed a number of new rep companies. C.L. Pugh & Associates will represent Chauvet in Ohio, West Virginia, and western Pennsylvania. Innovative Marketing will handle the company's products in the Middle Atlantic region. The Horizon Group will have the metro New York market. And Mainline Marketing's territory will be the state of Florida.
Gary Zigman, sales manager for Chauvet, says, "The tremendous demand for Chauvet products has resulted in the move to sales reps. With the large number of new and innovative products that we are introducing this year, we needed to continue to reach the dealers in a direct and personal manner. Sales representatives will allow us to do this. Our plan is to add additional sales reps over the course of the next year."
Contact information for Chauvet Europe Limited is Unit 18, Trading Estate, Leeds, LS10 1BL; phone: 44/113/276-0755, fax: 44/113/277-6675. For more information about the US reps, contact Chauvet at 800/762-1084, or check out the company's website at www.chauvetlighting.com.