Michael Pagan Finds Magic in grandMA3 Software for FELD Entertainment’s ‘Disney On Ice’ Presents “Frozen & Encanto”

Feld Entertainment

Orlando-based Lighting Designer and Programmer Michael Pagan has put grandMA3 to work on the FELD Entertainment’s Production of Disney On Ice presents “Frozen & Encanto,” which is now enchanting families nationwide.  ACT Entertainment is the exclusive distributor of MA Lighting products in North America.

Disney On Ice is a series of touring ice shows produced by Feld Entertainment.  “Frozen & Encanto” brings to life, with world-class skating, two beloved tales as audiences join the race to find Elsa and stop the eternal winter in the first act then sing and dance along with Mirabel, Isabela, and Luisa as they celebrate the love of family in the second act.

The new production marks the move by Feld to invest in MA lighting consoles as well as Pagan’s first show running on grandMA3’s native software.  He has deployed a grandMA3 light as the main console with a grandMA3 compact XT as backup and a grandMA3 I/O node to control time code.  The console controls a 250-fixture lighting rig. 

“The show is a very theatrical production that requires a versatile rig since the ‘Frozen’ storyline features a lot of icy blues then ‘Encanto’ shifts to very vibrant colors,” says Pagan.  “We needed enough fixtures and the right placement to light two storylines in which nothing looks the same.”  BlackTrax and disguise team to follow skaters and replace follow spot operators; the technology partners also track projection-mapped content onto a center portal door.

Pagan began the lighting previs process at the end of July 2022 before rehearsals commenced in August and the show opened in September.  For previs, Pagan partnered with Orlando’s Imaginary Lights utilizing their software Carbon, a plug-in for Unreal engine.  He later moved into a suite at the show site to continue previs and to program the production.

“Since I hadn’t used the grandMA3 native software before, previs gave me time to explore the software and get comfortable with it, to do all the layouts and get all the building blocks together so when we started rehearsals I’d be in a really good place,” he explains.  “I used grandeMA3 viz-key to program virtual lights and added a USB dongle, which allowed me to unlock what I needed to do.”

For someone who has spent many years on grandMA2 moving to grandMA3 “felt like a fresh start” on a familiar platform, Pagan reports.  “Learning the phaser effects engine was not hard at all – it made sense and was easy to use.  The rest of the console felt like MA, which was nice, but I also gained some new benefits.  I’m now able to position the screen for a more comfortable working environment.  And that means a lot when you can be behind a console for 12 hours a day!”

Pagan was especially pleased with the support he received from the ACT team as he migrated to grandMA3.  “They were with me all the way as new software updates came out, and their response time to any questions I had was truly remarkable,” he notes.

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