Color Blocks Provide Scenic Uplighting for Carnival Vegas-Style Shows

Chroma-Q® Color Blocks are being used to provide the scenic uplighting for two new Las Vegas-style shows onboard Carnival Cruise Lines’ SuperLiner Sensation, which operates year-round three- and four-day Bahamas cruises from Port Canaveral, Fla.

The wealth of onboard night life for the 2,052 guests includes bars, clubs, live entertainment and two performances of a different Las Vegas-style show each night in the vessel’s 950-seat Fantasia Theatre.

The two latest shows, ‘Curves’ and ‘Far From Over, the 80’s’, opened earlier this year and, typical of Carnival’s shipboard revues, are expected to run for the next six to eight years. The shows’ high production values are provided by Lighting Designer and Carnival Entertainment Technical Projects Manager Preston Bircher, and Set Designer Michael Barone of Scenery First, Inc.

As each show features very rapid set piece changes due to their fast-paced nature, the production team decided to utilize one title piece scenic element as a permanent visual anchor for each show.

For ‘Curves’, which is based on the curvaceous female shape, the title set piece consists of a transparent performance screen podium utilized frequently by the cast, while for ‘Far From Over, the 80’s’, an homage to popular 80’s music and culture, the title piece is an abstract Rubiks Cube – the iconic puzzle of the decade.

When it came to sourcing a color-changing fixture compact and powerful enough to uplight these scenic elements, Mike Grosz of Miami-based lighting specialists Stage Equipment and Lighting arranged a demo of the Chroma-Q® Color Block for Preston Bircher.

The main technical challenge was to achieve the Rubiks Cube’s various colored sides using color-mixing, while providing enough light output to be seen through the lighting rig’s 18 Cyberlights, 26 Vari-Light 2500/S and 150 ETC Source Four ellipsoidals and Pars fitted with color changers.

The fixture also needed to be compact enough to fit into a recessed arc in the rolling deck and have a low operating temperature as dancers would effectively be rolling over them during the performance.

Color Block was specified for the job after a subsequent meeting at LDI between Preston Bircher, Set Designer Michael Barone and Jack Doyle of Scenery First, Inc. and exclusive product distributor A.C. Lighting Inc., where all technical requirements for the fixture were discussed and reviewed.

A.C. sold the Color Blocks to Scenery First, Inc., who then built them into the title set pieces and delivered them to Carnival this spring.

Veteran LED programmer Demfis Fyssicopulos quickly got to grips with the Color Blocks and created the two hours worth of lighting effects needed for the shows, including color saturates and rapid color snaps. He found the multitude of built-in effects, such as color swirling and fire simulation, a major additional benefit to uplighting with the blocks as these really made the Lexan-based pieces come to life.

Preston Bircher commented: “Since the Color Block performed way beyond our expectations, we’ve already requested they be incorporated into the new Carnival Freedom when it debuts next year. Color Block performed perfectly out of the box and once we’d had a chance to review the technology we went straight into programming. In addition to being very pleased with Color Block, we received excellent service from A.C. Lighting.”

The 2,052-passenger Sensation is one of 21 Carnival ‘Fun Ships’ which operate three- to 16-day voyages to the Bahamas, Caribbean, Mexican Riviera, Alaska, Hawaii, Canada, New England, Bermuda, Europe and the Greek Isles from a variety of homeports in North America and Italy.

The line currently has three new ships scheduled for delivery between now and 2009.