Continued from June 2007 CTI Newsletter

Star drops are common in live entertainment, but Jules Fisher and Peggy Eisenhauer have always pushed the boundaries in lighting, and in 10 Million Miles they have taken the concept of the star drop to a new level.   Utilizing Color Kinetics® LEDs and a unique design developed by City Theatrical's Head of Engineering, Larry Dunn, Jules and Peggy have transformed the star drop into a three dimensional "star field" comprised of tiny pinpoints of ultrabright color changing LEDS. 

The star field project combined several leading edge technologies from CTI:  WDS Wireless Data System™ components, Color Kinetics products, CK technologies that CTI is licensed to utilize and customize, and CTI's deep understanding of how these technologies can be tied together to create lighting products.  Coupled with that is CTI's new factory in Carlstadt, NJ with a full array of state of the art manufacturing equipment to bring any product or project to life.  

CTI first considered using Color Kinetics' iColor Flex SL strings for the job, but several hurdles presented themselves.  First, the iColor Flex SL strings have a standard spacing of only up to 12" and Jules needed single LEDs to hang down over 20 feet and appear to be suspended in space.  CTI's Larry Dunn, in consultation with Color Kinetics' Jeff Campbell and Tom Barber, created a custom solution using CK's Chromasic nodes (a tiny three color LED chip), and detaching the LED source from the tiny circuit board and extending it 20 feet away on ultrathin wires.   

Control was provided via WDS miniature OEM receivers to three of City Theatrical's PN6290 WDS Wireless Data System Chromasic Control Cards, equipped with custom byte shifter cards to orient the DMX addresses.  A CTI WDS Wireless Data System Transmitter provided wireless DMX from the show's lighting console to the effect.  

The net result hangs on three line sets over the band upstage, with 20 nodes each hanging down up to 20' below each line set, making a total of 60 LED nodes of three channels each for a total of 180 DMX channels of control. Show electrician Dan Marcus programmed the star field for Jules and Peggy.

We asked Jules Fisher some questions about this interesting project:.

 CTI:  What was your design intent/purpose behind the 10 Million Miles star field?

Jules Fisher:  It was to create a miniature sculptural galaxy above the band (they are situated on a "highway overpass" upstage during the entire musical) that was infinitely programmable. This gave us a collection of color variable points floating in space above the musicians.

  CTI:  Why did you turn to City Theatrical to help you on this project?

Jules Fisher:  Because CTI can be counted on to deliver one of a kind components that are not available anywhere else. .. and again they did!

Do you have a custom challenge on an upcoming show?  CTI provides a full range of design and manufacturing services including engineering of custom projects, electronic design and circuit board manufacturing, metalwork, fabrication, and product development. 

Call or email us anytime for more information on this project, our products, or our custom services.


Multi Tony Award winners Jules Fisher and Peggy Eisenhauer, designers of the Atlantic Theatre Company's production of "10 Million Miles"