Robert Juliat DALIS 860 LED Cyclights Play Key Role in Drawn to Life, New Cirque du Soleil-Disney Production

Drawn to Life, the first collaboration between Cirque du Soleil, Walt Disney Animation Studios and Walt Disney Imagineering, has opened in Disney Springs, Florida where Robert Juliat DALIS 860s take center stage with an impressive 80 x 45-foot cyclorama.  ACT Entertainment is the exclusive distributor of Robert Juliat lighting in North America.

In Drawn to Life the stage is transformed into a giant animation table where drawings come to life.  The art of classic Disney animation is reinterpreted through Cirque du Soleil’s innovative design and costuming, mesmerizing acrobatic performances and dazzling choreography and combined with all-new Disney animation and an original score.  Drawn to Life is the new permanent show at Disney Springs, where the previous production from Cirque du Soleil ran for 18 years.

Montreal-based Lighting Designer Martin Labrecque is using 58 DALIS 860 300w LED asymmetric cyc/wall wash luminaires for the show.  The fixtures deliver powerful, smooth coverage and a huge variety of pastel and saturated colors.

“I had used Robert Juliat DALIS LED footlights on an opera, but this was my first time using the DALIS cyclights,” says Labrecque.  “I’m quite a fan of Robert Juliat equipment in general and was impressed by the footlights.  But for ‘Drawn to Life’ I had a giant cyc with two or more scenic layers in front of it to light and I had to get all the colors I wanted to use.  The DALIS 860s are powerful and bright and the optics so good that I went all in with them.  The cyc was the centerpiece of my design, and we built a top-notch rig around it.”

About half of the DALIS 860s are mounted on top of the cyc illuminating the massive backdrop like a soft box to backlight scenes.  The rest of the DALIS fixtures are on the floor to light the cyc from the front.  

Labrecque explains that classic multiplane animation, in which multiple layers of elements were shot on glass to give a three-dimensional look to animated scenes, inspired the lighting techniques.  “There are four or five tracks in front of the cyc so we can layer scenic paintings just like shooting multiplane animation.  We can light the paintings from the front so they are opaque or light them via the cyc so they are translucent.  And we can change their color.  The DALIS 860s give us the power we need to do all this: Even when we’re using saturated colors on multiple layers in front of the cyc we still have light left.”

An additional DALIS 860 fixture is mounted on a moving truss so it can be positioned wherever needed.  “We can do interesting gradients of color with this light,” Labrecque notes.  “In the ‘Dreams of Color’ sequence about the artists who painted the animation cels, we create a gradient of eight or nine colors on the giant cyc.”

Drawn to Life opened last November, and Labrecque reports that the DALIS 860s “have been performing perfectly with no issues at all for ten shows a week.”

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