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Chroma-Q News

Chroma-Q® Cascades Provide Another Royal Performance

26/03/2004

The Chroma-Q Cascade colour changer is continuing to demonstrate in the theatre sector how its low maintenance CMY colour-mixing system is ideally suited to permanent house lighting rigs.

In addition to Cascades recently being specified for the Royal Academy of Music's annual musical double bill, leading Manchester producing theatre company, the Royal Exchange Theatre, has used Cascades for two plays at the heart of a season which celebrate the work of British dramatist Robert Holman.

The two plays, Rafts & Dreams and Across Oka, show ordinary people undertaking extraordinary and epic journeys in the world so both required a challenging array of lighting states to create the changing atmospheres throughout the plays.

Richard Owen, head of Lighting at the theatre, chose the Cascades for the two plays in order to overcome a specific lighting challenge. As with the Royal Academy of Music, the two shows were playing in repertory. The set was also in traverse and had four back projection screens - one at each end of the performance area and one behind each seating block. Richard wanted to create the feeling of space beyond the performance area that could serve as a backdrop to the action. He also wanted this space to provide a completely different atmosphere which could react to the emotions within the plays using lighting. He found his solution by fitting the theatre rig's 8 ETC Source Four PARs with Chroma-Q Cascade colour changers, all controlled from a Strand 550 lighting console.

The Cascade uses a CMY colour-mixing system to create subtle cross-fades between over 300 colours. This also eliminates the hassle and cost of changing custom gel strings to suit differing show lighting requirements.

The cross-fade feature proved particularly beneficial in the links between scenes in Rafts & Dreams. Each link was staged and involved running a sequence of lighting cues through a number of colours to get to the next scene. In the final scene Richard wanted to go from a colourful dreamlike state back to a level of reality. Using the Cascades he was able to go to white without scrolling through a lot of colours, making the effect work.

Similarly, in Across Oka he needed to give the impression of a hot summer by the sea, then the action moved to the stark contrast of a Siberian Wood.

Richard commented "The Cascades worked well on these shows. I used them in the Creative mode as this allowed me to mix and design as I went along. The Cascades were easy to use and control, easy to install and set-up and because of the flexibility of colour, a great benefit to the design process."

He could also see the potential money-saving benefits to the theatre of permanently replacing their existing scrollers with Cascades, as the venue has a high use of conventional colour changers and therefore high colour costs.

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