Multiple Maxedia’s for “Die Magie des Lichts”

Multiple Maxedia’s for “Die Magie des Lichts”

March 21, 2006

Martin’s Maxedia Digital Media Composer is providing some of the magic for “Die Magie des Lichts” (The Magic of the Light), a multimedia theater production described as a play of lights, dance and acrobatics - a journey beyond space and time.

Besides a MAC ensemble of 36 MAC 2000 Wash, 24 MAC 2000 Profiles, 15 MAC 2000 Performance and 6 MAC 600, as well as 8 Atomic strobes with Atomic Colors, lighting designer Jerry Appelt has incorporated visual effects from 6 Maxedia media servers.

The show is unique in its form with Maxedia effects run through 2 stacked Panasonic projectors left and right as well as 4 digital moving heads onto stage sets or draped side sets. “We used four Maxedia channels to control digital moving heads and another two left and right for big side projections beside the main stage,” commented Jerry Appelt. “We had the effects on a morphing projection screen fit into the stage design. Two of the digital moving heads we had upstage, targeting set pieces onstage, and two in front of the audience to target downstage areas. We also had some screens in the audience areas at the side of the venue.”

Used subtly, the Maxedia effects are more decorative than flash. “We used a real special approach from what you see with digital gobos or something similar,” Jerry continues. “The screens are a piece of set, not a video effect engine tool. That was one of the aims. We used the effects from Maxedia as a real set lighting tool, bringing texture to more basic fabric.

“We had no problems with Maxedia. We used it with a touchscreen in order to be fast with the programming which is a big advantage. It’s much more intuitive that way. Also, with the gigabyte networking, it’s fast to bring new content into the system so we were quite satisfied with it.” Maxedia operation was by Thomas Giegerich with Maxedia and lighting supply by PROCON MultiMedia AG.

Content creator
The person behind the Maxedia content, which was created especially for the show, was Wilhelm Wysoudil. He comments, “Today, images and video content are very important on larger shows. In fact, our whole life is full of media. So when people go to a show you have to show them something that is even more exciting. Images should find their way to the heart and emotions of the people. With a normal video player you wouldn’t get very far.

“Jerry had the idea to bring the Maxedia server in. I knew very little about it and had to develop a relationship with it, how I can play around with it, etc. It’s more challenging but also much more rewarding. It brings you further. I would like to learn more about the possibilities because I think we only used a small amount of its capability.”

Better than TV
The show’s main performer and manager, Marc Bouard, also commented on the visual elements, “Images are very, very important for any big production. We are predominately a visual show and I think projection and all visual imagery is important. We want to bring people into new worlds, new reality, new fantasy, take them away from their daily life and bring them into the show. When people come to a show they don’t want to feel that they are seeing something they can see on TV. We make it much bigger, much more dramatic, and by using the media servers we feel we can bring them into the show, take them into the journey. Maxedia has worked very, very well for us. We’ve been using it for three months now and we have no complaints at all. We think it’s a great medium to work with and would use it again.”

Lighting set
The lighting set-up was a mixture of Martin downlighting washes and spots positioned on four trusses above the stage with two trusses in the audience area. Side lighting included three rows of MAC 2000 Wash each side. Front lighting included MAC 2000 Performances to highlight different scenes but also to light moving set pieces. "Front lighting with the Martin washlights was quite nice because we had several sequences with real UV costumes and we could use the UV filter of the washlight quite well,” Jerry stated. “It was a big advantage.”

Jerry also made use of the Performance’s precision adjusting, fully automated beam framing system. Useful for accurate illumination coverage of stage props and scenery, the beam framing system transforms the elliptical beam into a multitude of different shapes. Fine adjustment of the shape is within millimeters thus eliminating any excess back light. Jerry also used the Performance’s gobo animation wheel in an underwater scene.

“We matched the color of the MAC’s with important visual elements like fire and pyrotechnical effects and self lighting LED costumes,” Jerry adds. “General intensity and color temperatures therefore were a big issue. The intensity of the video projection was also an issue. It’s not often that you have to bring down the intensity of the video projection - normally you try to be as bright as possible - but in this show we had to bring it down for some scenes.”

After playing in Cologne for three months, “Die Magie des Lichts” will be hitting the road sometime in 2006.