Pacific deliver wide spread for Blue Man Group

 

Blue Man Group is a phenomenon that defies simple description - it contains no dialogue from the performers, only action, but the visual aspects of the presentation more than compensate in the realms of communication through music, mime, staging, and some masterful use of lighting from Marc Brickman (of Pink Floyd fame) and Marc Janowitz the show's long standing lighting designer.

One of the major elements of the show is the use of strobes, for a stage show this is a pretty unique factor in itself, but these are no ordinary strobes. Jurgen Becks head electrician for the show explained, "We installed the Selecon Pacific 90° for several reasons, but principally for the 90° spread; there's a pair of large Zoetropes on the stage with a very limited lighting position and the Pacifics are the only lamps to offer the kind of spread needed. Also because of their heat management - these are powerful strobe fittings - heat is a consideration."

Beyond the Zoetropes there were another 24x Selecon Pacific 90° Fixed Beams, the reason for their inclusion were slightly more subtle. "The conversion of the Selecon lamps to strobes by Diversitronics was first organized by Blue Man's R&D department in NYC," explained Marc Janowitz. "Dave Marcucci, Production Electrician for BMP organized the retrofit with Diversitronics. They were very receptive. The original choice of the 90-degree unit for the strobe purpose was implemented for our Las Vegas show by then designer Matt McCarthy. The wide beam spread was the ultimate decision. For the Berlin show we carried that application through for the revamped version of the show."

Janowitz continued, "the Selecon 90-degree conventional lights were used to light under the balconies at Pottsdamer Platz. It has always been an essential part of the Blue Man experience to transform the theatre space before the show even begins. The 90 degrees allowed us to bathe the house in a template wash with a very short throw. The templates stayed in sharp focus over the entire beam without noticeable distortion."
Positioned above the audience's heads, particularly under the balcony, the Pacific's short body length also proved visually unobtrusive.

Flashlight in Holland provides all the lighting for the show and it was they who converted the Selecons to accept the strobe fitting for the Berlin show. "It's a standard adaptation from Diversitronics," explained Flashlight's project manager Jeroen Seeboldt. "The ESM-DMX is an ellipsoidal strobe module designed for a standard 6" ellipsoidal lamp; a simple base plate conversion plus associated DMX control and power unit. Diversitronics supplied the conversion units in perfect working order, with proper EU certification."

In total Blue Man have 69 strobes including 12 converted Selecons with strobe modules (for the zoetrope), the rest being mainly Atomics; what's the reason for so many strobes on a stage show?

"Because of the concept of persistence of vision," explained Janowitz. "There are many images burned into the viewers minds with the strobes used in otherwise total darkness. That adds excitement and an element of danger for the audience, the strobes can really make some actions come alive."


Credits

Production The Blue Man Group
Lighting Designer Marc Janowitz
Head Electrician Jurgen Becks
Venue Pottsdamer Platz

Products used

24 x Pacific 90° Fixed Beam

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