BlackTrax on track for Beauty & the Beast
Tuesday, 21 February 2017
painting-with-light-beauty-and-the-beast-ghent-dsc9667The musical Beauty & the Beast musical by Marmalade was staged in Hall 8 at Ghent Expo (photo: Luk Monsaert)
Belgium - International creative design practice Painting with Light was commissioned to design lighting and a video system, plus produce video content for the recent staging of Disney’s Beauty & the Beast musical by Marmalade in Hall 8 at Ghent Expo in Belgium.
The Belgium based company’s Luc Peumans also seized the opportunity to use their new BlackTrax real-time motion tracking system for the first time on a major production . . . to ensure that all the principal cast members were perfectly illuminated as they moved around the performance space.
When Luc came on-board, the set designed by Stefaan Haudenhuyse - under licence to Disney with the producers having to meet certain criteria – was already initiated. Spectacular and dynamic, it was based around a 50m long performance area in the shape of a rose in the centre of the hall with audience seated 180 degrees in the round. Upstage of the ‘stage’ end was a large LED screen backdrop which split into four sections and tracked into different configurations.
The show, production managed by Bart de Coensel, also featured multiple flying props and scenery pieces which came in and out throughout, including large objects like show portals to books from the library and trees from the forest scenes, church windows and a host of others.
Luc – working with associate lighting designer Carlo Zaenen - created a series of ideas about lighting the show, while Jos Claesen produced the video content which had to be approved by the executive producers at Disney.
A mother grid was installed in Hall 8 and a series of lighting trusses flown from this above the stage and auditorium, ensuring optimum lighting positions all over the space including down the sides of the room.
Luc dotted moving lights all over the trusses. Eighty Martin MAC Viper Performances were the profiles, Clay Paky Sharpy Washes for washing and effects, together with 126 x URC Zoom 210 LED washes, a proprietary product stocked by lighting and audio contractor Phlippo Showlights.
These fixtures were used for many different purposes, from specials and key lighting to drama and effects to base washes and highlighting the stage and eye-catching set in this colourful and vibrant show.
The URC Zoom 2010s were divided between overhead and floor / stage positions and were instrumental in lighting the myriad of moving scenery objects and props as they flew in and out.
Luc chose all three types of fixtures because of their ‘multi-purpose’ performance and ability to cover all bases. Time was tight – 15 days from the WYSIWYG Studio to the first show with a massive amount of multi-layer cues in the console - so it was also expedient to concentrate on three main types of lights for rapid and efficient programming.
In 2016, Painting with Light invested in CAST’s powerful award winning BlackTrax system and became Belgium’s only certified ‘BlackTrax Expert’. This production was the first full scale show on which it was used, proving highly effective for controlling lights that tracked main cast members as they moved around the set.
The system was linked to a number of Viper Profiles and Sharpy Washes plus other lights at the front, on the back trusses and all along the side trusses.
“Using BlackTrax, it was incredibly easy to bring the focus to exactly where it was needed - and very quickly,” stated Luc.
To make it all happen, Luc’s crew collaborated closely with the Wigs & Costumes department. Every actor being tracked by the system needed to wear an extra beltpack and have three 5.5mm balls integrated into their clothes which were also visible to the BlackTrax cameras, a delicate and intricate task involving 24 costumes which were designed by Cocky van Huijkeelom.
(Jim Evans)

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