Cirque du Soleil and Disney are drawn to Robert Juliat DALIS 860

Montreal-based Lighting Designer, Martin Labrecque harnesses 58 Robert Juliat DALIS 860 300W LED asymmetric cyc/wall wash luminaires for Cirque du Soleil and Disney production, Drawn to Life. Photo: Mathieu Poirier

Drawn to Life, the first collaboration between Cirque du Soleil, Walt Disney Animation Studios and Walt Disney Imagineering, has opened in Disney Springs, Florida where Robert Juliat DALIS 860s take centre stage with an impressive 80ft by 45ft cyclorama.

In Drawn to Life the stage is transformed into a giant animation table where drawings come to life. The art of classic Disney animation is reinterpreted through Cirque du Soleil’s innovative design and costuming, mesmerising acrobatic performances and dazzling choreography combined with all-new Disney animation and an original score. Drawn to Life is the new permanent show at Disney Springs, where the previous production from Cirque du Soleil ran for 18 years.

Montreal-based Lighting Designer, Martin Labrecque is using 58 DALIS 860 300w LED asymmetric cyc/wall wash luminaires for the show. The fixtures deliver powerful, smooth coverage and a huge variety of pastel and saturated colours.

“I had used Robert Juliat DALIS LED footlights on an opera, but this was my first time using the DALIS cyclights,” said Labrecque. “I’m quite a fan of Robert Juliat equipment in general and was impressed by the footlights. For ‘Drawn to Life’ I had a giant cyc with two or more scenic layers in front of it to light and I had to get all the colours I wanted to use. DALIS 860s are powerful and bright and the optics are so good that I went all in with them. The cyc was the centrepiece of my design, and we built a top-notch rig around it.”

About half of the DALIS 860s are mounted on top of the cyc illuminating the massive backdrop like a softbox to backlight scenes. The rest of the DALIS fixtures are on the floor to light the cyc from the front.

Labrecque explains that classic multiplane animation, in which multiple layers of elements were shot on glass to give a three-dimensional look to animated scenes, inspired the lighting techniques. “There are four or five tracks in front of the cyc so we can layer scenic paintings just like shooting multiplane animation. We can light the paintings from the front so they are opaque or light them via the cyc so they are translucent. And we can change their colour. DALIS 860s give us the power we need to do all this: Even when we’re using saturated colours on multiple layers in front of the cyc we still have light left.”

An additional DALIS 860 fixture is mounted on a moving truss so it can be positioned wherever needed. “We can do interesting gradients of colour with this light,” Labrecque noted. “In the ‘Dreams of Colour’ sequence about the artists who painted the animation cells, we create a gradient of eight or nine colours on the giant cyc.”

ACT Entertainment is the exclusive distributor of Robert Juliat lighting in North America.