The recently opened JET Nightclub at the Mirage in Las Vegas is the latest in a series of unique nightspots to grace the strip. Owned by the Mirage and operated by the Light Group, JET joins a roster that includes Mist Bar and Lounge at Treasure Island, Light at Bellagio, and Caramel Bar and Lounge, also at Bellagio. Within a modest 15,000-sq.ft space, the venue features three distinct rooms for hip-hop, rock, and house music.
Newcomers to the club can't help but look up at the ceiling and gawk — the video ceiling is comprised of 120 LED panels installed over the main dance floor. The 20"×20" square Mood Light Tile 64PXL DMX panels manufactured by Traxon Technologies feature 64 nodes of RGB for a total of 192 nodes per panel. Designed by John Lyons, president of design/build company John Lyons Systems and owner of the Avalon clubs in Boston and New York as well as the Avalon and Spider Club in Los Angeles, the ceiling works in conjunction with a lighting rig of American DJ and Martin fixtures. “The lighting design totally blows you away,” says Lyons.
Andy Masi and Sean Christie, managing partners for the Light Group, gave Lyons complete creative license. At first, it seemed as though JET's low 15' ceiling meant eliminating some options like moving structures and long-throw fixtures; however, that challenge generated a new vision for the ceiling itself. Lyons was inspired to fabricate his own LED ceiling panels. “I had envisioned what is currently installed at JET, but my panels couldn't quite do everything I wanted,” he says.
Around that time, Richard Worboys, head lighting designer for all Avalon clubs and two-time winner of the UK Light Jockey competition, who was collaborating on the lighting design, connected Lyons with Traxon, who provided the 120 panels in enough time for some slight rigging modifications. The panels are designed to hang like a louver via grommets on the back of the panel. At JET, these panels needed to be flush-mounted to the ceiling. Lyons designed custom rigging for each panel, so it could hang on the installed pipe rails.
With the panels in place, the next challenge was to develop and install a system that could control the ceiling as one entity. “We needed 60 universes of DMX, which really pushes the limit of most control products available today,” says Lyons. To achieve this, Lyons contacted e:cue in Paderborn, Germany, manufacturer of a rack-mount CS-1 server that runs its e:cue programmer with the Microsoft Windows XP operating system. He used the server in conjunction with ShowCAD Artist for show control. “With 23,000 pixels, the ceiling's capabilities are endless. It plays video beautifully, and the light show is incredible,” Lyons explains. “We are also working toward a solution to make each pixel individually addressable.”
Using two Green Hippo Hippotizer media servers, the ceiling can also function as a giant projector with video switching handled by a Kramer 8×8 matrix switcher. Lyons also installed six High End Systems DL.1s. For effects lighting, the main room features 36 American DJ Accu Scan 250 scanners, two Martin MAC 250 Kryptons, eight Martin MAC 550 spots, and 16 Martin Atomic 3000 strobes.