Robe and the Almost Upside Down Lighting Plot!

Photo by © Claire SabattiéEach year Caravan Stage take their unique venue – the 30 meter (nearly 100 feet) tall ship Amara Zee – on tour to a selection of coastal cities – with a stunning and provocative production, and the 2015 season kicked off with a continuation of their hugely successful experimental musical “Hacked: The Treasure of the Empire” in Brooklyn, New York, where the Amara Zee wintered.

Lighting Designer Lutz Gock and Assistant LD Katie Davies were delighted to be using their new Robe LED fixtures – four DLX Spot moving lights and six LEDForce 18 PARs rig – on what Lutz describes as the “almost upside down” lighting plot.

When it comes to lighting Caravan Stage performances, there are several very specific requirements.

With no stage roof, the kit is exposed to the elements during the set-up, rehearsal and show periods. Lighting, sound and video equipment are all powered by an on-board generator so it is limited, while the trussing system supports lighting and set pieces as well as being one of the performers in the playing area. It can only take a certain amount weight … all criteria determining the choice of lighting fixtures … with LED offering low power consumption, light weight, high output and greater versatility.

The Robe LEDForce 18 PARs are IP65 rated making them perfect for exterior use.

Rigged on the downstage truss and run at approximately 12 meters (36 feet) off deck height, the six units provide a full and even stage area wash in all colors that are needed to complement the video projections, which are beamed onto upstage scrims.

The low heat output makes it safe for the lights to be positioned close to the performers … and also easy for the lighting techs to focus a rig that’s literally ‘moving’ all the time with the bumping of the waves and wakes radiating across the water.

Lutz explains that weight issues onboard also dictate that the lighting design on the Amara Zee is effectively upside down. Rather than most of it being hung, lights are located on the Running and Main decks of the ship that make up the primary stage and performance area.

Every lighting unit has to be multi-purpose in all ways, so the DLX brings great flexibility to the production. “The DLXs are positioned on the downstage Running Deck covering all the projection scrims, performers and truss with a great range of colors and animations,” explained Lutz.

The DLX’s very low power consumption helps slash the kw/h demands of the rig to a third of what it was when they had a conventional lighting rig.

The CTO filters and the color mixing are also great for balancing the lights with the output of the seven HD video projectors for live video feeds featured in ‘Hacked’.

“Using these ten Robe lights we have effectively replaced about 120 conventional units,” said Lutz. It has also freed up valuable space aboard the ship during performances and made it considerably more practical to tour the lights.

Caravan Stage has just taken delivery of 10 additional units from Robe – four more LEDForce 18 PARs and six of the new CycFX 4s, which will be incorporated into the lighting design for the 2015 production of “Hacked,” further reducing the conventional lighting required for the performance.

Lutz thinks Robe is one of the most innovative manufacturers of well-priced moving luminaires worldwide and concluded, “It’s made such a huge difference having Robe as a supporting partner – thanks, big smiles and respect to all at Robe.”

Photos by Claire Sabattie

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