The historic Grinnell Water Works building in Charlotte, NC was the scene of one of the city’s biggest recent mega-bashes, a Player’s Ball hosted by national recording artist Calvin Richardson and Vintage Productions. LEDs, moving lights, and other special effects from American DJ and Elation Professional were instrumental in setting a partying mood at this unique venue, according to lighting designer Jack Kelly of Eye Dialogue Lighting and Sound (Charlotte, NC).
The biggest visual challenge, says Kelly, was to “orient the party,” which encompassed two separate spaces—a VIP area in the building’s foyer, and a large tent for general admission guests. With each space having its own entrance, there were four lighting zones: VIP, VIP entrance, GA, and GA entrance.
“The easiest way to orient a room is to frame the entertainment and the bar, the two most valued gathering points at every party,” explains Kelly. “Placing light fixtures or large décor on each side of the focal point establishes purpose much like road signs.”
To highlight the VIP entrance, four American DJ H2O 250 water-ripple-like effects were used, set in red to accent the building’s brick wall. Inside the VIP area, the entertainment was made the focal point with six Elation moving lights positioned at 3’, 5’, and 7’ in staggering steps on either side of the DJ booth. To further direct attention to the DJ booth, two fabric stretches were placed above it, indirectly reflecting light onto the disc jockey. Four additional H2O 250s illuminated the room’s four gray stone walls with a watery blue light. Opposite the entrance, a projector displayed a logo for Vintage Productions, the event’s producer, onto a square fabric stretch, providing a professional “finish” to the lighting décor.
The general admission tent had a staircase leading up to the entrance, which was dramatically lit up with American DJ MR RGB E27 high-power LED color-changing lamps, operated with a proprietary wireless remote. “These amazing LED medium base fixtures work by remote control, a great asset to areas that cannot be seen by a lighting operator,” comments Kelly.
The front of the GA tent was lit up with H2O 250s, casting a yellow ripple across the canvas. The yellow light contrasted with the intense color-and-motion light show inside the tent, which could be seen through glass doors. The tent’s interior lighting included four American DJ Accu Scan scanners, eight Alkalite Octopod 80 LED systems, and an Elation Protron Star, rigged on triangular truss over the DJ booth. The Octopods faced the dance floor, running sweeping color patterns and intensity chases. Two of the scanners were inverted to create vertical beam crosses. Also included in the tent’s interior lighting were 10 American DJ Par 64 LED fixtures, which were used to highlight its three bars.
Triangular truss from American DJ/Elation Professional’s sister company Global Truss was positioned inside the tent’s entrance. Fabric, stretched across the truss, was lit with four Color Kinetics Colorcast 14 units. Twelve additional Colorcast 14s were lined across the top of the truss to light the tent’s ceiling.
In addition to providing a rig for lighting, the truss served to split the room and direct the traffic flow toward the three bars and the DJ. “The circular motion forced by the room breakup encourages mingling and interaction between guests, key to every social event,” says Kelly.