Continued from June 2007 CTI Newsletter

Elvis People

Graham Johnson, the sound designer for the Off-Broadway production of Elvis People at New York's  New World Stage 1 came into the new City Theatrical facility in Carlstadt, NJ to drop off some speakers to be measured for custom mounting yokes. Graham brought with him  Robert Robins, the lighting designer for Elvis People, who was looking for an 8' strip of light to duplicate a fluorescent unit on a rolling scenic wagon that had to be battery powered and DMX controlled. 

Bob is the regular LD for the Hippodrome State Theatre in Gainesville, FL. He is a long-time fan of CTI and owns some of his own LED gear as well as a PDS-750. We took Bob and Graham up the hall to the Research and Development Lab where we met with Larry Dunn – Head of Engineering, Adam Klein – Applications Engineer and Ben Merrick – New Product Development Manager. We looked at 24V NeoFlex, a solid flexible material with embedded LEDs, as well as 12V Westflex LED tape, a flexible tape with LEDs mounted on it that comes in both RGB color-mixing and single color versions. Both LED products can be controlled with CTI's WDS Wireless Data System equipment and the power budget of LEDs lend themselves nicely to use with batteries. 

This project gave Larry an opportunity to show off his new LED software for our WDS Dimmer, which smoothes out the lower end of the dimming curve with LED loads. The production settled on the 12V RGB Westflex – the effect was to look like an 8’ fluorescent tube under the lip of an overhang on a bar with stools. The scenes changed from decade to decade and Bob used the RGB product to set colors that denoted the age. Bob’s biggest concern with the 8’ element on the bar was seeing points of light from the LEDs. The Westflex LEDs are spaced on about 1” centers and he used two layers of drafting film inside the 8’ tube that the LED tape was mounted in to get a smooth mix. 

The production lighting rental house, GSD, was able to supply the Westflex LED product to the production and already had the WDS Transmitter, Receiver and Dimmers in their rental stock. Doug Philomena with the Production Lighting Syndicate was the ME for the production. 

The production used a lot of LED equipment – about 40 Color Kinetics ColorBlast 12s and 12 ColorBlaze 72s as well as about 150 conventional fixtures and 5 moving lights. The upstage wall was a 35’ wide by 20’ tall milky white plexiglass unit with a bounce about 4’ upstage. Bob used the ColorBlazes from above and below to light the bounce and get a clean color mix on the plexi. He used the ColorBlast 12s as back, down, and wall washes on the predominantly plexi scenery.

Elvis People's Lighting Designer, Robert Robins, told us, "LED luminaire technology is no longer on the (distant) horizon. It has arrived and finds new applications to solve. I keep finding more reasons to incorporate LED's into theatre plots. From color to power management, to size and control, RGB LED  is being used in exciting new ways. They add that pop of color or intensity in a very controllable technology."

Have you used CTI gear on a show in a way that others may want to know about?  Contact us and maybe we can write about your project in our newsletter too.

Elvis People

Venue:  New York's New World Stage 1

Lighting Designer:  Robert Robins

Sound Designer:  Graham Johnson

Production Electrician:  Doug Philomena

Westflex LEDs mounted in tube, battery powered, controlled by WDS Wireless Data System DMX

Another view of LEDs mounted on bar.

LEDs have built in color mixing and low power consumption, making them perfect for wireless set lighting.