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Elation Lights Up "Light" -- The New Cirque du Soleil Club at Mandalay Bay

Light, the new nightspot at Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas.

Setting the visual creativity bar high could be perilous for some, but not for developer/partners Cirque du Soleil and The Light Group, or for John Lyons Systems of Hollywood, California, which provided the lighting design for Light, the new nightspot at Mandalay Bay Hotel. Judging from the reception it's getting from Las Vegas nightlife reviewers, Light doesn't have to worry about living up to its name. "You name a place LIGHT, you better have the visuals down. They have. Based on our limited preview, we believe this is the best lighting set-up in town," raved the blog VegasChatter. Or, in the words of Galavantier.com, "Turn off all the city lights, because the ultimate illumination has arrived."

Part Cirque show and part dance club with 38,000-sq.-ft. of space and a 35' high ceiling, Light features acrobats spinning overhead and world-famous EDM DJs spinning up front. To add to the multi-layered sensory experience, video is everywhere; 6mm video panels line the club's massive walls, its ceiling, and cascade downward to the DJ booth.

Lighting a space as huge as this, where beams need to highlight performers on a vertical plane as well as a horizontal one, and where the lighting must integrate with and work around video wall surfaces, wasn't an easy undertaking, according to lighting designers John Lyons and Richard Worboys of John Lyons Systems. Adding to this challenge, the lighting designers were also asked to illuminate an adjacent 50,000-sq.-ft. outdoor Mediterranean-style pool/beach club area called Daylight.

To conjure up the extraordinary visual experience the owners had in mind, Lyons and Worboys chose Platinum and LED lighting fixtures from Elation Professional. Between the indoor and outdoor venues, more than 450 Elation products were used.

On the inside at Light, this total includes 144 Elation Platinum Series moving lights (48 Platinum Beam 5R, 44 Platinum Spot 5R Pro, 12 Platinum Spot 15R Pro, 12 Platinum Beam 15R Pro, 28 Platinum Spot 35R Pro). The high-power Platinums' bright beams thrust out in every direction, ricocheting off the club's video-covered walls and ceilings like the aerial acts themselves. The Platinum series utilizes the advanced technology Philips MSR Platinum lamp, allowing the units to produce a very powerful output relative to a their compact size, and they're also very fast-moving -- making them ideal for illuminating Light's cavernous interior, said Lyons.

"It's not only a very large space, it also has a very large volume of air space. This empty space is necessary for the Cirque performers to do their stuff in mid-air," explained Lyons. "So we couldn't have a lot of objects in the way. Yet we needed the lightshow to be able to fill the voids. So, we had to use fixtures that produced very powerful beams and had the throw to fill that space, and were also able to move quickly with very smooth movement, as the Platinums do. If you're able to get enough of those in a space, then you can create some fantastic choreography in air."

The lights combine with the video surfaces to "create a third -- never yet done -- lighting effect," said Lyons. In addition to the LED panels, "there are also four high-power projectors that provide front surface projection on those areas where an LED panel was not possible. The content provided by Moment Factory was custom created and mapped to the irregular positioning of these surfaces. Used for media as well as a lighting fixture, the juxtaposition of these visual elements with the theatrical lighting creates a new sensory dimension."

One shining example of Lyons' and Worboys' creative combination of lights with video is their use of Elation's Event Bars -- a 39" X-Y bar with four LED pinspot heads -- to frame the projection and LED screens in the main performance space facing the audience. The Event Bars "are slim and powerful so their home between the cracks of the video panels is inauspicious until they power on and blaze the room with a choreographed blizzard of beams," said Lyons.

Other Elation fixtures used in Light's interior include the Opti Tri White, Opti Quad Par, and Opti 30 UV -- all LED pars -- plus two inground LED fixtures, Elar Inground RGB and Elar Inground WW. Explaining his choice of the Elation LED pars, Lyons said, "Here again, you have a room that's a hybrid of a high-energy nightclub, Broadway show, and Cirque du Soleil performance -- all integrated into one experience. When you have something as dynamic as 25 humans performing in realtime, you need to be able to have the lighting horsepower to track them, follow them, and highlight them along with the props that are brought in. So we needed to have an inventory of very flexible, lightweight, high-output colorwash fixtures."

"It's a similar thing with the Elation inground lights, which we use to highlight all the different performance positions. We have those permanently mounted so that anytime somebody steps up to a platform, we can paint them."

The Platinums are also making a splash outdoors at Daylight, which utilizes 32 of the Platinum Beam 5R Extreme -- an even faster, more "extreme" version of this extreme ACL beam effect. Another standout in the pool area is the brand-new Rayzor Q7, Elation's smallest, fastest moving head LED to date (11lb.) with RGBW quad-color mixing and four-zone chase effects.

"In an outdoor space you don't have the opportunity to introduce a lot of atmospherics, and fog is what really makes lights look good," Lyons pointed out. "So we needed lights that had a lot of punch and were able to excite an outside arena with the same kind of feeling you get inside. We selected these Elation fixtures because of their high output and fast movement and the fact they could throw a beam a long way without help from atmospherics."

In addition to its speed and output, the Rayzor Q7 was chosen for a more idealistic reason. "The Rayzors are a whole new concept, and I thought it would be a nice touch at a new club to introduce people to new technology," said Lyons.

With all the praise the club's lighting design has been getting, it's not surprising that Light/Daylight's owners are expressing very positive feelings toward their lighting designers these days. "They hug me every time I see them!" says Lyons.

See Elation Professional at PLASA Focus: Austin, September 10-11, and PLASA Focus: Nashville, February 18-19, 2014.

WWWwww.elationlighting.com


(8 August 2013)

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