Visitors to Chicago's Navy Pier were entertained in October by a working tall ship, the HMS Bounty, built as an oversized replica of the original ship for the Marlon Brando film Mutiny on the Bounty. However, the Bounty had more than a mutiny for Halloween; it was “haunted” after being lost at sea for 200 years without a captain. After initial site surveys and creative meetings, an audience path was mapped out on the weather deck above, and through the cabin areas below on the ‘tween deck.
Michael Dalton with Dalton Design Ltd. was contracted to provide lighting design and direction for this haunting project. Working with Scott Carlson from Ivan Carlson and Associates, the team produced a 20-minute show that loops for 12 hours a day. Lighting effects, audio, and scenic automation were all synced to SMPTE and triggered by motion sensors.
A wide variety of lighting fixtures and strobe effects were specified: MAC 2000 Performance and Washlights, MAC 250 Entours, MAC Atomic Strobes, GAM Star Strobes, PAR 64s, 56s and 16s, Wildfire U/V, and Coemar Panoramas. Set practicals included Le Maitre torches, candelabras, wall sconces, and 200' of red rope light. Ecodomes were used for the exterior MAC 2000s and Wildfire U/V units. The F-100 foggers on the upper deck were covered with custom enclosures. The Panoramas were selected based on their output, color capabilities, coverage, and weather resistance. ILC provided the gear.
There were several production challenges to overcome. The docking location of the ship at the pier required the use of a generator. Weather conditions on the upper and lower decks needed to be considered. Audience safety was a high priority especially considering they would be traversing the ship's deck among scenic elements which included over 100 costumed skeletons rigged throughout the ship, Wildfire-treated scrims and cycs, automated effects, barrels, netting, and hundreds of props for each vignette area. A thundering audio design (16 tracks) played storm effects above and isolated vignette specific tracks below. During peak attendance hours, over a dozen actors worked on the haunted ship.
The installation took four days. Great fall weather allowed easy access to all areas of the ship. High rigging for props and star strobes was achieved with a large condor lift from the pier side. Weather-protected dimming and power distribution were located at the fore and aft positions on the upper deck. Since no chain motors or truss were utilized for rigging, each lighting instrument required specific positioning. John Marovich programmed the Whole Hog II which was used for playback, moving throughout the lower decks then finishing pier side for the exterior storm sequence. Master Control for the show was then moved to a small concession stand (bait shop) nearby.
Over 10,000 landlubbers visited the haunted ship each week.