Sunday, January 15, 2012

Just because I'm impressed ...

Every year at christmas I am excited to see what sort of new lights come out. In the past few years, as LED technology has progressed rapidly, there seem to be newer and cooler versions of small battery operated LED lights every season. 
In this show (a twist on a pretty typical cabaret show) we decided it would be cool for the music binder to glow when the magic arrived and the music began.
This year martha stewart came out with a line of LED lights that were about the size of a grain of rice, and ran in series along two thin, uncoated wires (those little white flecks in the image above are the lights).
When one string of lights, shining out from behind the pages wasn't enough, I decided to fold the lights into a piece of reflective tape, to try to multiply the points of light.
The tape worked reasonable well, and the light got more and more impressive (to me) as I added a second and a third strand.
The whole rig was almost invisible when the lights were off, and I hid the battery pack inside a hollow stack of foam core, that blended perfectly into the stack of sheet music.
In this image, and the one below you can see (sort of) the lights lit inside their rig. (it was considerable more effective in a dark theatre.

I wired a switch into the circuit, and placed it on the side of the book where it was very easy for the actor to slyly flip it on. 
It worked like I wanted it to, I was very proud of it, and then during tech it was cut. What it came down to was that, as impressed as I was with my new toy (these awesome new lights), the director wasn't. This in no way should be taken as a bitter statement. The director wasn't impressed because, while there were over 90 points of light around the edge of the book, they were still visible as individual points of light. For a show where all of the other magic was smooth and crisp, this book still looked like a "trick."

When I looked at the book, my thought was, "that looks like magic, because before now I never could have put so much light in such a small space." The audience doesn't know how hard that is, and would probably just think, "look they hid a light inside that book."

This was still a really great project, a great experiment with some new technology, and something I might copy again on a different show, with a different feel, where the audience is a bit further away. For this specific show though I had to be willing to let go of something I liked, because it wasn't working in the moment with the rest of what we were doing. 

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