Queensland's Empire Theatres Upgrades its Cyc Lighting

by Stage Directions
Robert Juliat Dalis 860 add color to Toowoomba’s Empire Theatres. Photo by Ben Hunt.
Robert Juliat Dalis 860 add color to Toowoomba’s Empire Theatres. Photo by Ben Hunt.

Ben Hunt, the Head of Lighting at the Empire Theatres, Toowoomba, in Queensland's, Australia knew that he needed to find a more economical way to light his large 46-feet x 30-feet cyclorama. His stock of tungsten conventional cyc lights drew a lot of power as well as needed a range of consumables like lamps and color filters to maintain a well-lit cyc. 

“It’s no secret that to light a cyclorama with conventional asymmetrical floods is going to require some serious power along with its consumable lamps and color filters – especially when you’re lighting a 14-meter x 9-meter (46-feet x 30-feet) cloth,” commented Hunt. “That task had been dealt with by sixteen, four cell Selecon Aurora cyc floods and you could hear the power meter groan every time we flicked the switch on!”

After a product shoot-out, the theatre chose to buy 20 of the Robert Juliat Dalis 860 LED cyclorama lights. When Hunt first fired up their new Juliat Dalis, his first impression was ‘finally we’ve found something up to the task’.

Ben Hunt, Head of Lighting at the Empire Theatres, with the newly delivered Robert Juliat Dalis 860 cyclorama lights. Photo by Kris Stewart.Hunt added that the theatre had been looking at the LED cyclorama light market intently for the last few years waiting for the right product to pop up that would allow them to light their cyclorama with a quality light, but also give them ultimate flexibility on how and where they use them in the precinct across their venues.

“We wanted something that could light a cyclorama one day, light a three-act ballet with multiple scenic cloths the next, and finish off the week in another room theming a corporate function; something that would require a special unit to achieve.”

Hunt and his team decided to test all possible product contenders onsite, so they could properly evaluate them in different usage scenarios and spacing options.

“During the shoot-out phase there were several things that we really wanted to see from the unit of choice,” he explained. “Firstly, it needed to be bright enough to light our large cyclorama, even if ground row wasn’t installed it should be able to hold its own. It also had to be able to light multiple cloths on multiple bars at different depths from the one lamp location... this really set the testing units apart. It had to be quick to install/uninstall and move about the precinct and it needed to provide a superior quality of light control and additive color mixing.”

According to Hunt, the Dalis 860 cyclorama light was the only unit on test at the time of the shootout that could tick every box, a true standout. The 20 units are configured as 10 for top of the cyc and 10 as ground row units as default but can be reduced to eight and eight to allow for other units to be used elsewhere on the precinct.

Upon using the new product, Hunt was immediately struck by its build quality and ergonomic design. “When you first pick one of these units up, without even having powered them up you can tell that Robert Juliat have really outdone themselves,” he remarked. “It’s the simple things like its footprint in a fly space, its exterior robust construction, and its quick release rigging system that makes putting it in varied configurations a breeze. Obviously, its light quality and its eight-color mixing system is impressive, but also take them off the bar and its standalone features allowing you to quickly set a fixed color temperature and throw the units in for a photoshoot really adds in the units flexibility around the precinct.

“The unit’s DMX options also help in managing its parameter footprint in a way that allows us to quickly change from their full out four-cell 16bit mode (72 channels a unit) to a touring DMX merge that we can give an operator their simple Red/Green/Blue/Amber if required. Going from 16-channels of conventional cyclorama control to over 1,400 needed to be simple and not a ‘scary’ concept.”

Designed to deliver output, smooth coverage, and a variety of pastel and saturated colors, the Dalis cyclight offers silent operation which is perfect for theatrical applications.

Robert Juliat is distributed exclusively in Australia by Show Technology.
Further information from Robert Juliat: www.robertjuliat.com