Aurora Display for Theatre Backdrop

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Looking for some ideas on  how to do the backdrop lighting of an Aurora for the play “Almost Maine” or similar?  Here’s how we would to it here at WindWorks Design:

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Aurora effect:  I prefer using 6 elliposidal spots (lekos) each with a different breakup gobo, and all soft focused to different degrees.  Gel each differently with 2 greens, one blue-green, one blue, one yellow, and one red.  Put the 6 on a satellite dimmer pack or two separate 4-packs (just 4 is not enough for this effect – too obvious).  Program a slow sequence (chase mode) on the console that primarily brings up the greens, blues, and blue-greens.  They need to gently fade between full and half intensity over the length of the effect.  At seemingly random intervals, also program the red and yellows to come and go, but at a much quicker pace than the greens and blues.  I’m thinking a 4:1 ratio between the slow fades of the blue/greens and the red/yellow. If you have additional equipment, then consider adding one or two RGB LED fixtures to wash broadly across the cyc, again programmed in the blue/green spectrum and changing very, very slowly over time on a third time scale (12:4:1 ratio)

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There are other ways, such as automated lights, ellipsoidals with effects wheels and/or effect scrolls, rotating gobos, and similar.  All can be effective if you can run the rotational effect slowly enough.  Many moving lights just don’t rotate their gobos slow enough, or you see some stepper motor jerks.  The above method with static lights ensures the effect does not overly distract from the actors.

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