Illumination Sensation Left Elated

The State Fair of Texas’ annual nightly spectacular, Illumination Sensation, delighted attendees throughout the state from 29 September to 22 October 2017 with a stunning lighting display, supported by a range of Elation Professional fixtures.

Lighting Designer Nick Belley and show producers, Interlaced Productions, upped the shows visual appeal for 2017, incorporating effects from Elation Professional’s award-winning IP65-rated Proteus series moving heads, along with additional Elation Professional gear.

“The biggest challenge we have with this show is the fact that it is outdoors for almost a month,” said Scott Britt, Interlaced Productions Producer and Director, who has produced shows at the fair for more than 20 years. “I saw a prototype of the Proteus Beam last January at the Elation Professional headquarter office in Los Angeles and after seeing a demo we were convinced to use them on this project.”

“Each year we have tried to expand the rig and make the show bigger and better,” explained Nick Belley, Lighting Designer and Programmer, his third year designing the show. “We wanted to add the Hall of State into the show for 2017, and our producer, Scott Britt, and the fair approached me with a research image from the Texas Centennial Exposition in 1936 of these amazing beams of light from searchlights radiating out from the Hall of State in hopes of coming up with a modern recreation of that look. Because of the limited access to the roof, limited power available, and exposure to the elements through all 24 days of the fair, we looked to Elation and the Proteus Beam to help us achieve the look we were going for.”

The Proteus Beams, powerful 2-degree beam lights with a 14R 280W lamp, were used to reproduce the historical look; 11 Elation Professional Proteus Beam fixtures were spread out on the roof of the Hall of State building and used to shine an array of beams in a moving canopy of light. “One of the biggest draws for us to the Proteus Beam was the IP rating and astounding light output that make the beams of light pop so well in the Dallas humidity, without having to add any haze or fog to the air,” added Belley. “It was a great benefit that we were able to not only have the lights running a loop of architectural looks throughout the night, making for a great photo op at the main gate, but also to have a light so versatile that looked great incorporated into the show as well.”

Quad Elation Professional Proteus Hybrid moving heads mounted the Esplanade fountain. The Proteus Hybrid, with a 21R 470W lamp, is not only powerful, IP65 and compact, it is loaded with features and is multi-functional with spot, beam or wash capability. “With the stage being in the center of the fountain pool and viewed in the round, a big challenge has always been how to light that stage in interesting ways,” Belley explained. “Changing out our conventional lighting from years past and being able to put the Hybrids on the roofs of the Auto and Centennial building allowed us to build a lot more dynamic looks on stage with the use of the Hybrid’s gobo package and vibrant colour mixing.”

As with the Proteus Beams, the IP rating and powerful output was what sold Britt and Belley on the Proteus Hybrids. “The throw from the roof to the stage is around 135’, and even at that distance the output was unmatched,” Belley said. “The standard gobo load also included a great selection of patterns both for use on the stage and aerial effects.”

Although October weather in Dallas is a bit cooler than at the height of summer, the region can still experience blistering days of heat with periodic rainstorms. “The Proteus fixtures definitely helped us through a number of rainstorms, as well as baked in the Texas sun all day,” Belley said. “The first night we ran the show with pyro, it started pouring right before we ran it. It was a fun time seeing the beams of light through the rain for hundreds of yards without missing a beat.”

Elation Professional Platinum Beam 5R, Platinum Beam 5R Extreme and Satura Profile moving heads in weatherproof enclosures, as well as other effect lighting supported the package. Twelve Platinum Beam 5R and Extreme version fixtures were placed on the roofs of the Automobile and Centennial Hall buildings for aerial effects, with 8 fixtures on each corner of the octagonal stage also for aerial effects. An additional 8 Elation Professional Satura Profiles were placed around the stage to light the performers during the show; repositioned after the show to light the trees.

Dallas-based event solutions company Onstage Systems supplied the production and lighting elements of the event. Belley concluded: “Stacey LaBarbera, lighting manager with OnStage, was instrumental in getting us set up with the Proteus fixtures and did an amazing job keeping the rig running every day.”