TOTAL PRODUCTION INTERNATIONAL
FEBRUARY 2010 ISSUE 126
VIVA ELVIS! CIRQUE DU SOLEIL’S
EPIC TRIBUTE TO THE
KING OF ROCK’N’ROLL
ARCTIC MONKEYS • PLACEBO • SIMPLE MINDS • HOLIDAY ON ICE: TROPICANA
TAYLOR SWIFT • L-ACOUSTICS’ K1 • FLIGHT CASES FEATURE • CHRONICLE: LASERS
ON THE ROAD: Viva Elvis
ALL SHOOK UP!
DIANA SCRIMGEOUR REPORTS FROM LAS VEGAS ON HER EXCLUSIVE FIRST LOOK BEHIND
THE SCENES OF CIRQUE DU SOLEIL’S EPIC TRIBUTE TO THE KING OF ROCK’N’ROLL...
Cirque du Soleil, the now globally famous extravagant examples of its performance art.
Montreal-based entertainment giant has, Having built its brand on extraordinary
over the past 25 years, reinvented the acrobatics acts supported by a unique blend
deﬁnition of the circus. From founder of sound and lighting, with its Las Vegas
Guy LaLiberté’s original dream of street shows Cirque has increasingly been exploring
performers bringing magic back to circus other production styles — from the water
tents with their touring big top in the extravaganza O, through the technological
’80s, to the multiple travelling shows now masterpiece of KÀ, and in 2006 its triumphant
touring every continent except Africa and celebration of The Beatles with Love, in
Antartica, the company has become a partnership with Apple Corps.
household name. Now, on February 19 within Las Vegas’
Cirque’s partnership with MGM in its Las spanking new ultra-modern City Centre
Vegas hotels has supported the creation of six complex, Cirque du Soleil is premièring its
permanent shows in that city, each one unique seventh residential show — a tribute to the life
and allowing Cirque the luxury of creating and music of Elvis Aaron Presley, the King of
purpose built theatres to showcase ever more Rock’n’Roll: Viva Elvis.
22 • TPi FEBRUARY 2010
THE BACKGROUND wide inﬂuence he had and still has to this day. timeline was: ‘This is it. Get it to us or you miss
In 2005, CKX approached Cirque about a “Elvis was a dangerous person, and for us the boat’. We had a bit of a concept for the
collaboration with Elvis Presley Enterprises and Cirque is also dangerous: people are amazed by show initially and although we tried to do it
devising a show about the legendary singer. what we do acrobatically and how we defeat in tandem since the infrastructure had to be
The City Centre complex ultimately provided gravity, so I think the joining of Elvis and Cirque designed so much earlier the reality was that
the ideal new location and plans went ahead to makes sense. The show is 90 minutes long and the show design had to follow.
create a custom-built theatre within one of the it’s important for us to have points of historical “Guy LaLiberté’s initial idea was that he
new hotels, the 61-storey Aria Resort & Casino. reference to things which inﬂuenced Elvis’s life, wanted a theatrical dance/acrobatic show
In the early days, before a design team was and to be clear about what we are referencing. celebrating the music of Elvis: that was the
selected, Stéphane Mongeau (later, in January “At the end of the day it’s all about the parameter and anything within that was open
2009 to become the show’s executive producer) emotion and being surprised and learning from there.”
was in charge of the design for the theatre. something that you didn’t know about the man The front of house theatre design was
He recalled: “After Love opened, we and his music.” inspired by the showrooms of the ’60s and
immersed ourselves in the world of Elvis — we ’70s, including the Hilton International where
went to Graceland, read all the books, listened Elvis performed his legendary Vegas shows
to all the music while Cirque’s resident architect “We are introducing Elvis to a — modifying their U-shaped banquette and
Johnny Bouvin [designer of the theatre from new generation, demonstrating table seating to incorporate a front stalls section
proscenium out to lobby] did the same under of extra wide seats accommodating two people
the direction of Gilles Ste-Croix. what a wide inﬂuence he had and in the lower half of the theatre the aisles
“We started with the music, which is the and still has to this day...” were also designed with extra width to allow
driver here, and we linked the music that the audience to dance.
inspired our acrobatic people with what we Anderson continued: “The stage from the
read about Elvis. We wanted the show to be THEATRE DESIGN proscenium back was designed by a different
a really theatrical production unlike anything While they had a vision for the concept, the Cirque department who, having learnt from a
Cirque has done before, and our vision was for actual show design had to be done alongside couple of other theatres, left us a gigantic 90’
the stage to be like an opera house. the theatre design and construction. wide by 100’ deep hole, which from stage level
“Viva Elvis is about the man and his music, Production manager Mike Anderson has a 65’ drop down to the basement. Within
and while we do take bits of his life we really explained the process: “We started about three that void we could do anything we needed ,
didn’t want to do any historical biographical years ago. The building of this amazing US$11 stage-lift wise, which was great.
treatment so by coming up with the songs and billion CityCentre complex was on a fast track of “The stage house is huge — almost 90’ wide
working from there it was better. which our theatre was just a tiny piece. In terms and 60’ high. The stage ﬂoor is 200’ deep from
“The show is more about his inﬂuence on of our infrastructure they had some pretty rigid downstage all the way to the upstage wall and
music, so we go from gospel to country to deadlines for us to give them the information so it’s 80’ wide and 50’ high from stage level to
rock’n’roll, and we have rearranged the music in they could get it built. proscenium.
such a way that I think we are introducing Elvis “Because we needed to get in early we “Designing the infrastructure was a very
to a new generation, demonstrating what a wanted Phase One to be complete, so the collaborative affair. Jonathan Deans and Mark
TPi FEBRUARY 2010 • 23
ON THE ROAD: Viva Elvis
Below: Cirque du Soleil founder Guy Laliberté; Elvis’s widow Priscilla Presley; write/director Vincent Paterson; Gilles Ste-Croix, Cirque du Soleil’s senior VP of creative content & new project development;
executive producer Stéphane Mongeau; set designer Mark Fisher and the full cast with VIPs. Bottom: Outside and inside views of the theatre within Las Vegas’ Aria Resort & Casino.
Fisher had already been brought on board as DEPARTURE six-song medley. They are all different places,
consultants, and Mark played a very integral Stylistically, Viva Elvis is a departure from geographically, spatially and emotionally.
part in all the stage lifts design. Guy St. Amour, the world of fantasy which the Cirque has “Vincent wanted to have completely
our acrobatic equipment designer, was very traditionally inhabited into a much punchier separate scenery for each scene. It creates a
involved from an overhead rigging standpoint. environment. Set designer Mark Fisher and particular style of show that is very staccato,
“The writer/director, Vincent Paterson was lighting designer Marc Brickman have both and it’s been surprisingly difﬁcult to get an
obviously trying to see how it was all going to brought their extensive rock’n’roll experiences overall trajectory in which the whole show
tie into show concept; additionally there were to the table here, and it shows. builds to a climax.”
our technical director Michel Tremblay, LD Fisher described the approach: “Every other With 26 very high calibre dancers and 25
Marc Brickman, and myself — so there were a residential show that Cirque has done except acrobats, Viva Elvis incorporates more dance
number of us in there making the decisions.” this one is approached in what American than any other Cirque show and displays a real
fusion of both disciplines.
“Vincent wanted to have completely separate scenery for each scene. The big Fisher-designed sets include a Juke
Box for the opening number, a multi-coloured
It creates a particular style of show that is very staccato...” Gotta Lotta fairground set (referencing Elvis’s
love of both entertainment parks and Marvel
Mike Anderson also tried to facilitate a theatre designers call a unitary style. They have superheroes), a Jailhouse Rock set made by
smooth technical transition by making sure that a single set and make transformations to it StageLine in Montreal and a Las Vegas set, by
some key crew members were on-site from the during the show; they’ll bring something on, or Show FX, which closes the show.
very beginning. Dave Douvall was originally change something, but underneath it remains as For the Western section, Fisher designed
brought in as the load-in technical director a single set throughout the show. an homage to Ant Farm’s Cadillac Ranch with
to lead the installation process, then when “The big thing here was that Vincent a series of leaning Elvis sculptures set in a
Anderson’s team arrived to ﬁnish the production Paterson saw the show as a collection of Elvis desert landscape and a very nice pimped-up
aspect he switched to his current role as songs (which are typically only two and a half pink Cadillac, both of which were sculpted by
operations technical director. minutes long) and he wanted each song to look Jacqueline Pyle. She also sculpted Fisher’s 30’
As Douvall explained: “It has been very different or at the very least be grouped into long Blue Suede Shoe and the two ﬂame-
helpful because very often there is no crossover sections. bearing, Swarovski crystal-embellished Elvis
and Mike tried hard on this one to mix the two “For example, there’s a romance section with statues that feature in ﬁnale. F&D Scene
— some of the crew have been around since three songs, a military section (where Elvis joins Changes of Calgary built the shoe, the Elvis
the ﬁrst lift was installed which gives us a good the U.S. Army) with two songs, a gospel section ﬁgures, the Cadillac and wedding cake.
base of knowledge to maintain and run things.” with four songs, and a western section with a Fisher was also responsible for the gold
24 • TPi FEBRUARY 2010
ON THE ROAD: Viva Elvis
Below: ‘Col. Parker’ during one of his monologes; the fairground Gotta Lotta set in with superheroes trampolining; the Blue Suede Shoe and Juke Box set.
Second row: The Western section desert landscape; the Jungle Gym featuring acrobatic performances of military precision; the giant wedding cake.
record theme that extends to the main curtain, nearly 35’ high, weighing 60 tons, has seven acrobatic performances on it.
stage ﬂoor and hanging discs. “I made a whole Olympic size trampolines in it. When it’s done Fisher continued: “The Gym is as big as it can
presentation with gold everything,” he said. it’s stuff, we lift it all up into the roof and store be to store in the downstage basement — it
“The hard work of producing the artwork was it about 60’ in the air. The design [with Daniel literally scrapes the paint of everything near it
done by Tamlyn Wright.” Cola] is very carefully worked out because when it is moved around. Once it hits the stage
Other sets involve a Jungle Gym for the where people are trampolining and free-running the performers unfold parts of it to make it even
military section with an American ﬂag backdrop up walls and jumping off platforms, the heights, larger. The Wedding Cake, also stored in the
made from genuine Fruit Of The Loom boxer the distances, the angles and everything basement, is almost the same size as the Gym.”
shorts and long johns, a huge wedding cake required a huge amount of research.
(designed by Tamlyn Wright) and two aerial “Jailhouse Rock is also complicated. It has MULTI-LEVEL
acts, one featuring two engagement rings, the three levels each about 15’ apart and supports Every inch of backstage space is crammed with
other a guitar, both designed by Guy St. Amour. dancers who dance the right way up and scenery. It tracks in from wings, rises from the
A lot of material is juxtaposed into the show. acrobats who dance the wrong way up. The basement, ﬂies in from the grid, and is laser
Mark Fisher elaborated on the design: “Most decks are carefully spaced to allow the different driven downstage. Currently there are 30 songs
of the sets are big because the stage is 80’ levels of people to goof about without colliding. in the show and 16 different scene set-ups
wide. About half of the set pieces are used by The structure has to be solid enough not to stored backstage. On the stage level alone
the dancers but the technically interesting ones deﬂect even though everyone is dancing on the there’s almost 20,000ft2 of space and every
are used by the acrobats. They are far more beat, because the inverted walk rigging must square foot of it chock full of stuff — likewise in
demanding in what they require. remain absolutely horizontal.” the basement — so it’s easy to understand the
“The Juke Box, for example, is a very A major piece of engineering, built by issues in the early stages of how to deal with
straightforward piece. It’s big and it’s pretty, StageLine in Montreal, it tracks downstage moving it all around.
but basically it’s just a bunch of decks. The really almost 200’ during the performance. Said Mike Anderson: “Probably the biggest
technical pieces are the Gotta Lotta and the The Jungle Gym in the military scene features challenge we faced early on was the stage
Jailhouse Rock sets. high bars and was designed by Guy St. Amour lifts. We knew they needed to be able to move
“Gotta Lotta is the full width of the stage, and Daniel Cola, who directed some impressive between one and two feet a second, be up to
Above: The basement lifts; the stage lift door open; top grid; stage ﬂoor; winches and motors in the top grid; Elvis immortalised in statue form.
26 • TPi FEBRUARY 20101
ON THE ROAD: Viva Elvis
Below: Production director Mike Anderson, stage manager Carolyn ‘Nog’ Wyld, technical director (on-going operations) David Dovell, (front row) operations production manager John Barnett & technical
director (production) Michel Tremblay; the automation dept — Simon Parsons, Steve Carl, Matt Cadenhead, James Bryant, Ron Travato, Chris Cameron, Andrew Swanson, Chuck McCafferty, Chris Hodsden,
Duane Turner & Galen Price; James Bryant in the automation control booth.
Below: The carps — John Gallagher, Brian Petre, Alex Malinov, Chris Ziemann, Tim Merziotis, Trevor Workhoven, Steve Pelletier, Sammy Waltens, Craig Breternitz, Matt Ayers, Antonio Olmeda,
Kelly Dornfeld, Cayman Medina, James Hutcherson, Marshall Spratt, Carley Buchanan, Christine Chabira, Gavin Thomson, Omar Sealey & Mike Bowen; the riggers — Jamie Rivas, Denis Komarov,
Steve Scott, Chris Cadlett, Eric Eoelu, Nick Cavazos, Clay Kauffman, Derek Hoskins, Edward Ransom, Vitaliy Frolove, Abdiel Garcia & Curtis LeGacie.
80’ wide and 20’ deep, to have the capacity of we faced this with Love, so we came up with only do you have all the electrical stuff travelling
lifting over 70,000lbs and a sustained capacity a really ingenious non-negotiable plan to put with the lifts you actually have a sprinkler pipe
of around 200,000lbs. That’s a really BIG piece a 30’ facing on all the stage lifts creating a lift travelling with them as well in case all this
of machinery moving, and there’s not a lot of shaft so there is no potential for anyone to fall concrete and metal down here catches on ﬁre!”
people that can make it. into any hole. A total of 17 stage lifts were constructed
“Our sub-basement is 60’ and our basement “The weight of the steel for the lifts is three by Show Canada in Montreal. They can travel
is 30’ below stage level so we knew that when quarters of the amount of steel used in the anywhere in the 30’ between the basement
our stage lifts were up there was the 30’ hole entire building and they take up so much square and stage level and, in the case of the small Pod
from basement to sub-basement. It was one of footage that the ﬁre department required us to Lifts, can rise up to 10’ above the stage and be
my major concerns coming into here because do ﬁre suppression underneath them, so not popped up in different conﬁgurations to add
SEE ALL THE WINNERS AT
28 • TPi FEBRUARY 2010
ON THE ROAD: Viva Elvis
“Stage Technologies have been absolutely incredible as always...”
another dimension and allow the creation of Stage Technologies has been working with
smaller scenes without using the larger sets. Cirque for the past 10 years and Anderson was
This ability to do multiple conﬁgurations full of praise for the company’s work: “Stage
played a large part in the development of the Technologies have been absolutely incredible
show. The furthest upstage lift is C5, the 80’ x with us as always. They are absolutely at the
20’ workhorse of the show, used the most to top of the list of main suppliers for the show
bring up all the largest pieces of scenery. — from theatrical infrastructure on the tracks
Downstage of C1 are two 8’ x 8’ star and trolleys, to the automated control system
traps that travel between stage level and the that we’re running at FOH, to all the laser-
basement. The C1 lift and the star trap holes are guided elements.
covered by SLOATS (Sliding Lifting Automated “They’re also busy on the production side
Traps) when the lifts are down. The lifts are all and were very involved in a lot of the scenic
powered by rack and pinion motors (mounted elements that we built. Had they not been with
on the lifts themselves). The three largest lifts us 100% on this one we would have been in
are all counterweighted. a world of trouble! We’ve had half of their UK
shop and almost all of their Vegas shop working
WINCH FARM with us for the past year.”
There are 66 Stage Technologies winches used
in the show, 54 of which are housed in the AUTOMATION
‘winch farm’ on the grid which, because of Head of automation, Galen Price gave an
the length of the cable drops (the grid is 104’ overview of his department’s work: “I have
above the stage and 200’ above the basement), a wide range of electrical/electronic and
provided a cable management challenge mechanical skill sets with my crew, so where
regarding guiding them and keeping them rigging is specialised, they just do one bit of it
straight — the stage conﬁguarion meant they but we can actually take a lot more.
could only have guide columns on the four “We maintain everything on the grid and
corners. make sure that everything before it leaves
Mike Anderson pointed out that their the drum is perfectly safe — the motor, the
tolerances are down to 0.1875”, so all the gearbox, the encoder — so that all its limits are
winches had to be lined up because there set.
is a zero ﬂeet angle and the drum travels “Stage Technologies have a product
instead of the cable which always stays exactly development partnership with Siemens who
perpendicular. supplied all components for the motor control
The maximum load capacity on an average cabinets which have a main brain and two
winch is 2,000lbs on a normal scenic unit sub data boards that control all the inputs and
though the massive Gotta Lotta set is on a triple outputs of the four computers plus a bunch of
purchase system lifted off of nine separate relays. It’s got a touch screen so I can tell what
dedicated winches, none of which can go weight is on each one of these hoists, and gives
out of sync by more than 5mm or it shuts the us feedback from the winches and checks all
system down. The LED truss uses four winches, kinds of errors before a winch is allowed to
travels up to 52” below the grid and drops move.
down up to 60”. “If I lose this cabinet and the Gotta Lotta set
TPi FEBRUARY 2010 • 29
ON THE ROAD: Viva Elvis
Below: Image content designer, Ivan Dudnysky and the projection team — Tom Juliano, Monte Davis, Selina Davenport & Dallas Nichols
is down we can’t do the Jailhouse Set because writing just for this show. It’s great because with proposing for each song. Based on that story,
we can’t lift the GL set out. the joystick we can do pretty much anything. they pulled in everything and made selections.
“Each winch is programmed speciﬁcally “We can use it on any of the trolleys Dudnysky recalled: “The video/ﬁlm selection
for a particular scene, unlike at the consoles individually, or we can take the four trolleys has been a very time-consuming process —
where they can interact at times, the individual which have two lift points and tell the system more than a year and a half. We’ve been cutting
cabinets are speciﬁc to the act. There are just that they’re in a bridle so I can lift one point, on an Avid editing system and it took six months
over 225 axes of motion in the show. Fifty on traverse left/right or move upstage/downstage to load all the material into it, six months to get
the grid, another 12 in the LED panels, 18 axes and lift as well all with the same joystick. Each a ﬁrst cut and six months of reﬁning to create
in the tracks and trolleys, plus all of the rotates point can lift 600lbs, or I can put it in double our own highlight reel of Elvis elements.
and traverse axes. purchase mode and lift 1,200lbs per point. “The toughest part was ﬁnding great quality
“On stage level, the MI and the GL set are “All ﬁve trolleys can work independently of footage and shots. The best footage was up to
automation motor-driven; it has a laser guided each other without the others knowing, but 1972, so we have a lot of monochrome imagery
tracking system so it knows when it’s off by they have interlocks between them so they on the screen though we did treat some of it to
5mm which is pretty handy when you’re trying don’t crash. So it’s always looking forward to give it colour. There are only two movies that
to move a 90,000lb piece of scenery and you see where the other piece is and it will come have been converted to HD, so the footage
only have a crew of 20...!” all the way up to it and depending on speed looks really old. It is what it is, so the real
The lifts have four automation control (traversing or lifting: max 12’ per second) it challenge for me was to try to make the stuff
operators — two in the control booth (one knows it can come very close to it. look good.”
doing all of the stage lifts and the other doing “They have a belt encoder across the track The stills involved another whole process.
all of the drops and moves on the tracks and so they keep their position and know where the There are 60,000 photos in the Graceland
trolleys) and two backstage operating consoles, other one is via wireless communication. Trolley archives where Dudnysky spent three days
one left and one right, primarily loading artists 5 interlocks as well with the vertical lighting whittling his selection down to 3,000. “I was
and scenery on the tracks and trolleys and ladders (TORMS), the gold discs, the Delano looking for candid material because we’ve seen
the automated platforms that roam around drops (white fabric) and LX2 (lighting truss enough Elvis poses. I tried to pull anything
backstage. 2) comes through into its path and there’s a labelled ‘Restricted’ because those were the
In addition to the lift systems there is also a collision hazard, so we also have interlocks. ones that hadn’t been seen before.”
versatile track and trolley system: three tracks “We only have 10 guys on the crew which is They’ve also created graphic designed
carry a total of ﬁve trolleys which are used very difﬁcult, because we have more automation original elements including HD shoots with the
primarily used for transporting artists in and than most shows — KÀ has 23 guys!” dancers and musicians. They worked with Mark
out on their scenery. The trolleys have lifting Fisher on a few of the numbers, notably the
winches integrated into them and can traverse VIDEO & PROJECTION opening Juke Box set where Fisher designed the
at 12’ per second. Image content designer, Ivan Dudnysky had the bottom half, while for the top half Dudnysky
Four of the trolleys have two winches inside lucky task of sourcing and selecting all the Elvis and his team created motion graphics and an
with two pick-points on each one and the ﬁfth screen imagery as well as making new graphic animation of a giant Juke Box on the LED wall.
one has four lifting points and it can rotate. material, and he describes his role in this project For ‘Heartbreak Hotel’, which references
Assistant head of automation Chuck “as kind of the key to Elvis, visually-speaking”. Elvis’s induction into the Army, Dudnysky
McCafferty described the control system: “In The process for selecting the screen content made a selection of newspaper clippings,
Stage Technologies’ eChameleon console was based around two main groups of material: scanned from Col. Parker’s comprehensive press
software, there is what they call a sculptor live concerts and the feature ﬁlm archival scrapbook collection, which Fisher and his team
path, so I can hit record and then with a single footage and stills from the Graceland archives. blew up and made into a giant backdrop.
joystick we can go up/down, right/left and Viva Elvis writer/director Vincent Paterson They are using a 40’ wide, 30’ tall, 12mm
rotate so whatever I do by hand and it just gave them a rundown of how he saw the deep LED wall from Daktronics — allegedly
records live. show playing out and the story he wanted to costing US$1.5 million — which is broken into
“It is very new technology which they are tell, including the different elements he was eight 5’ wide vertical columns of PST-12i panels.
“The video/ﬁlm selection has been a very time-consuming process — more than a year and a half...”
30 • TPi FEBRUARY 2010
ON THE ROAD: Viva Elvis
Flown on a dedicated truss from the grid which
raises and lowers the screen by automation,
it can also track on and off, side to side, or do
both at the same time and is used in different
conﬁgurations on almost on every song in the
It is extremely bright and as Dudnyski
pointed out: “It was a ﬁne line for me trying
to elevate what’s happening on stage without
taking focus away from the performances.
We could light the whole theatre with the
screens so we have to pull the intensity back
the whole time, sometimes to 15% so we’re not
Tom Juliano, head of projection, explained
his choices: “I personally recommended
Daktronics for this project because I felt strongly
about their custom fabrication, speciﬁcally for
the system that they were designing for us.
“We had two main conditions for the screen compensate for that deﬂection.
design. The weight limitation couldn’t exceed “Usually for the quick one-off shows in
1,300lbs per column and their concept was to rock’n’roll or theatre touring they have giant
build it without fans of which we had over 64 locks and a cofﬁn key to hold it in place, but
for each 4’ x 5’ panel. for us we needed to reduce the weight and we
“Without the fans it became lighter. It’s a needed the ability to adjust it dynamically based
huge power saver for us and it helped audio on our conditions here in the theatre.
because they don’t hear the fan noise, and we “Our particular application — this size screen
have never reached above 85°F of operating in a permanent installation on a ﬂying line-set
temperature. We now have a total weight, where not only does the LED wall traverse but it
including all the cables, of approximately also goes up and down — is quite unique and I
9,800lbs. So that was a huge weight off understand this was a ﬁrst for Daktronics.”
people’s shoulders! Juliano worked with Galen Price on the and then when they come to a certain pre-
“The second condition was that we had to installation. He continued: “We have a custom determined spot, it just slows down at about 6”
make it ﬁt a very tight space — no deeper than truss that ﬂies out to the grid so we can hide apart until they slowly ‘kiss’ each other.
6” — as we were concerned about other set the screen. As the truss ﬂies in, not only can “From the trolleys down to the LED columns
elements around it, and had to devise a way we separate it into eight different columns at we have 14’ stingers or steel cables, and then
to make it as thin as possible without anything different spacings between them, but it allows from the bottom trim of the wall is about 40’ in
sticking out of the back. us to change the speed and/or bring them all total and the truss can ﬂy all the way up to the
“Daktronics’ solution was to build a custom together to make one solid 30’ x 40’ wall. It’s grid where it collapses on a scissor.”
box frame of solid steel into which the 7” x 7” on eight individual trolleys that are individually The tiles are surface mounted with the
LED tiles are built, so if necessary I can go up controlled via the front-end automation system. individual LEDs inside the surface mount,
and actually remove it live during the show, hot- “In the cueing of the show we are actually typically called ‘three-in-one’. There are 48 7”
swap it and pop a new one in while the frame able to make it look as though the walls are x 7” tiles per panel and eight panels in each of
remains untouched. individually run and they can travel out left the eight columns, making 384 tiles per column
“The frame is hung with a custom centre and right diagonally, or that they can come in or a total of 3,072 tiles... and 786,432 individual
spine that keeps the entire unit rigid and allows together as one solid wall. We have what we LEDs!
us to keep it from ﬂexing — it weighs about call ‘anti-swipe’ in our software to prevent the The ﬁnal resolution of the screen is 1024 x
1,200lbs and over a distance it tends to want walls smacking into each other or into anything 768 and the aspect ratio is 4:3 — the projection
to ‘banana shape’ so you have to try and else, so the system can run at full speed in general remains square.
TPi FEBRUARY 2010 • 31
ON THE ROAD: Viva Elvis
“I recommended Daktronics because I felt strongly about their custom fabrication...”
SYSTEM DESIGN playback which is supported by an Avitech Multi-Viewer
Juliano described his system design: “I could take a live installation. This allows us to monitor all outputs without
feed in several different formats, like SDI or HD-SDI, or even ever having to turn on a projector. We also have a
take video over the web and ingest it into my system and Widget Designer Pro — a Coolux remote device control
play it live on my screen, which we did for Guy LaLiberté’s and program interface application installed with a 7”
poetic mission where he did a live broadcast from space. touchscreen monitor which is used to trigger cues and or
We put in on the LED wall here and had a cool two-hour take control of our projectors remotely.
event in the theatre. “Our building has been designed for scalability
“We have six Coolux Pandoras Box servers (two and almost our entire network, signal transport and
conﬁgured with an SDI live input) which I speciﬁcally chose communication is transmitted over miles and miles of
because of their ﬂexibility and their unique interface which 50µm ﬁbre, made by Corning. We have ﬁbre connections
is very user-friendly. It’s a media server application which pretty much everywhere throughout the entire building
allows us to play all of our video on the LED wall or through which allows us to be very smart and creative because
our projectors with dual DVI output on each server. although our theatre is huge, our personal space is quite
“I’ve got two Pro servers on which I can do up to 16 tight.”
layers of video and 32 of graphics, plus four standard At previews they used projection in three songs,
servers. Basically I have a plethora of room depending although they were looking for more opportunities to
on the size of the content, and our Media Manager Pro do so. There are six Christie DS+10K-M projectors at FOH
(timeline-based playback control), makes it very easy to with two mercury lamps on each used during ‘Love Me
implement new content from our designer and his team. Tender’ (with Army footage on a downstage scrim) and NEXT MONTH, WE
Our timeline resembles many media editing applications on on ‘Burning Love’ (for two and a half minutes on to a CONCLUDE OUR VIVA
the market today such as Adobe Premiere or Final Cut Pro. downstage ﬁlm screen). ELVIS REPORT AS WE
“We have multiple layers to which we can add many Additionally there are two overhead High End DL3 FOCUS ON THE AUDIO
different clips of video and it allows us to intermix those projectors hung at the edge of the proscenium which, & LIGHTING DESIGNS,
videos together and be more creative. If Ivan gives us a in ‘Can’t Help Falling In Love’, project footage of Elvis’s AND EXPLORE THE
video and doesn’t want to re-render it but just add some wedding to Priscilla Presley down on to the giant 60’ wide REACTIONS TO
colour or trim it, we also have the capability to do that live wedding veil as it comes out on stage. THE SHOW’S
and pretty fast. TPi GRAND OPENING
“On the Coolux system I have preview function for Photography by Diana Scrimgeour
TPi FEBRUARY 2010 • 33