Limelite Lighting Limited advocates MDG for television and film production
“If you’re planning to create atmospheric effects, these are the entertainment industry’s go to products,” states television and film lighting hire company, Limelite Lighting about the MDG fog and haze generators in its inventory.
MDG Atmosphere haze machines - still reliable workhorses for Limelite Lighting after 13 years – prepped and ready for their next TV appearance.
Ideally placed in Goudhurst, Kent, within easy reach of television studios in London and Maidstone, Limelite has been an advocate of MDG haze generators since it was founded in 2007. Directors Ed Railton and Matthew Mountier, both with longstanding freelance careers in theatre touring and television lighting respectively, purchased 10 MDG ATMOSPHERE haze generators at the outset and are still using the same machines 13 years later.
“We both had extensive experience of MDG through our freelance careers and knew them to be the best,” says Railton. “We liked the level of control, the fineness of the haze and the smooth, even dispersion the ATMOSPHERE gives – it’s so fine you can’t see the haze until light is passed through it.”
Limelite Lighting’s initial engagements were with theatres and small television studios, but the bulk of its work today is in television, with the majority in outside broadcast, and many subhires to larger TV and film rental companies.
“Over the years we have seen a change from DOPs’ traditional requests for cracked oil hazers to the cleaner option of MDG ATMOSPHERE haze generators which have become the lighting directors’ hazer of choice,” says Railton. “The ATMOSPHEREs leave very little residue on lenses, gobos and accessories.” This has proved an important factor for cameramen, and for maintenance technicians who spend less time cleaning moving lights and cameras post-show.
“MDG has all the flexibility, control and reliability we need as a rental house,” continues Railton. “Every job is different: studios work within limits and are 100% controllable, but outside broadcast is more complex, wholly reliant on the weather, and changes by the minute. A DOP can call on you at any point with just a ten-minute window in the weather. But we can take advantage of the ATMOSPHERE’s 100% duty cycle and use the DMX controller to respond instantly to whatever is needed.”
All Limelite’s ATMOSPHERE generators are housed in bespoke flight cases with spare gas and fluid bottles as complete, transportable units for quick deployment wherever required. The company offers a choice of DMX and manual control generators to suit client needs. Recent productions employing MDG ATMOSPHERE include MTV’s Just Tattoo of Us and Simon Amstell’s latest DVD Benjamin.
“From a hire company’s perspective, our MDG ATMOSPHEREs have proved a good long-term investment,” concludes Railton. “The generators are never out of action so we need something reliable and strong, and easy and quick to maintain. Ours have been solid as a rock, the parts are readily available and they are very economical on fluid. Clients know what they are getting and like what they get.”
Limelite Lighting continued to film during lockdown No 1 with The Ranganation and Mo Gillingan’s All Star Happy Hour, while lockdown No 2 saw them busy with a new series of SAS Who Dares Wins, The Great British Sewing Bee and preparations for some of the pantomimes that are still lined up over Christmas.
Molpass srl uses an ingenious outdoor fog distribution solution for motion pictures on the banks of the River Po with MDG Me4
Molpass srl, the exclusive distributor for MDG products in Italy, recently supplied a perfect fog solution to film company, 2aFilm, for a shoot on the banks of the River Po.
The new film, Lei Mi Parla Ancora (She Still Speaks To Me), is directed by Italy’s prolific, award-winning director, producer and screenwriter, Pupi Avati, who is especially renowned for his work in the horror genre, and is working with his long-time director of photography, Cesare Bastelli.
One scene called for a naturalistic covering of fog on a long stretch of road beside the River Po for a number of cars to pass through. Luckily, one of the cameramen, Carlo Molinari was familiar with MDG products, being the son of Giorgio Molinari, CEO of Molpass, and recommended an Me4 fog generator because of its huge output capacity and ability to cover the outdoor distance required.
To ensure a perfect, substantial supply of realistic fog along the full length of the road, the team at Molpass used an ingenious solution, suggested by MDG, of a 150m long inflatable plastic sleeve (what MDG calls a ‘bottine’) for outdoor fogging, and a single MDG Me4 fog generator.
“When we arrived on site at 7am there was the most perfect covering of natural fog from the river,” says Giorgio Molinari. “Unfortunately, this evaporated completely by 8.30am when the temperature reached 25°C! Our job was to recreate this beautiful atmospheric environment in the best way possible for the cameras.”
To achieve this, the Molpass team attached a fan to one end of the custom-made plastic tube which, being sealed at the opposite end, inflated in just 15-20 seconds and was then filled with fine white fog from the Me4 in only 20 seconds. The tube was then positioned on the embankment below the road level to conceal its eye-catching appearance from view of the cameras. Before filming commenced, a series of holes was punched at intervals along the length of the tube, allowing the fog to escape and drift across the road, successfully recreating that perfect fog of early morning. Molinari noted: “It confirms the MDG saying: ‘we produce the closest thing to the real thing.’”
The whole assembly of Me4 generator, fan and plastic tube was rolled into place on a trolley and powered from the film company’s power generator. It took less than 30 minutes to install and was easily lifted and moved to the opposite side of the road to optimise the effect of drifting fog according to the wind direction. The Me4 was used for two sessions of 1.5 hours each and the filming completed successfully in a 4-hour shoot, using two bottles of gas and less than 3 litres of MDG Neutral fog fluid.
“We are extremely happy with the whole system and result,” says Molinari who is very excited by this new development and its additional potential for live performance installations. “This is just one possible set up for a film shoot, but the potential for live performance is very exciting. It is an efficient, economical, and clean method of distributing fog to targeted points along the tube’s length or delivering fog to an output a long distance from an MDG fog generator.
“Under other circumstances, a distribution of this size would require 6-8 machines from other manufacturers, which would generate a lot of residue and dirt. However, the Me4 is powerful enough to handle this alone, eliminating the need for multiple, less efficient machines and the associated costs and cleanliness problems they would cause.
“By substituting a clear tube with a black one, this system presents a great solution for backstage, on stage and front of house, delivering output exactly where you want it in a very short time. It is very compact for storage or transportation, so good for touring. It is truly a simple solution that works well, and we are very happy with it.”
We are pleased to announce that from Monday 19 October 2020 the exclusive distribution of MDG products in Spain will be handled by our new distributor Entertainment Equipment Supplies (E.E.S.).
This new partnership succeeds our collaboration with Spai. We would like to thank Carlos Drabben, its Managing Director, for his dedication throughout the years.
E.E.S. Entertainment Equipment Supplies Donostia 118, 20115 Astigarraga (Guipúzcoa)
Phone: +34 943 33 71 50 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
ROBE, ROBERT JULIAT, MDG, HOG 4 AND EREIMUL TAKE TO THE RUNWAY OF THE FIRST HYBRID MBFWM WITH JUANJO SAUNIER AND FLUGE
The new edition of the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Madrid (MBFWM) celebrated its first hybrid edition which was marked by strict security measures and capacity control. However, this failed to prevent fashion and the promotion of national design taking their place as the great protagonists once again.
The collections of 16 established designers, including Andrés Sardá, Devota&Lomba, Hannibal Laguna and Ágatha Ruiz de la Prada, and 9 young talents made up a 72nd edition that alternated runway shows, performances and fashion films, all of which were available through the official MBFWM website.
Francesc Ten y Gaspar Ruiz Lindberg (Estudio de fotografía Estrop Barcelona)
This first hybrid format once again counted on designer Juanjo Saunier as master of ceremonies – MC for approximately 10 years now - to program, light and bring a spectacular appearance to the live shows and digital experiences of this innovative edition.
To meet Saunier's challenge of "bringing a valid lighting design for each of the shows and making each one of them look different," fresh requirements were added to suit this new era. To this end, Saunier called on 38 MegaPointe, 3 RoboSpot and 3 BMFL systems, 20 LEDWash 800, 17 Spiider and 4 PATT 2013 from Robe, 3 Merlin followspots from Robert Juliat, 2 ATMOSPHERE haze generators from MDG, a Road Hog 4 and 16 Jarag 25 from Ereimul, with all equipment supplied by Fluge.
As Saunier explained, "The choice of these lighting fixtures was determined by their versatility." The MegaPoints enabled him to combine a super-bright beam for some shows with a very precise spot for others. The LEDWash 800 made it possible to create washes of extremely varied colours, and to light a 'still life' or the stage with an excellent quality of light and colour temperature.
The Spiiders, of which Saunier emphasizes the powerful light output, provided the "wow effect in the stage area", both for colour effects and as a masterful look using only white light. The BMFLs, used as backlight followspots for the models’ exits, followed them along the entire runway, and were combined with the Base Station and controlled by 3 operators ready to react to any unforeseen event. The PATT2013 provided the "hot point of contrast" and counterpoint to the cold tones of the followspots.
As far as Robert Juliat's Merlin 2500W HMI followspot is concerned, Saunier points out that it is his reference followspot for this type of event since "its zoom range and the fact that it is 'flicker-free' offers me much more versatility".
Finally, with his long experience at the controls of Hog 4, Saunier declares himself faithful to this lighting console because he feels very comfortable programming with its controls. That is why, after many years, it is still his favourite lighting desk.
The iconic pieces from the national designers, together with the new hybrid formula (live and digital) and the talent of Saunier resulted in a successful special edition of this year’s MBFWM .
Setup and development: Bochi, José Espín, JoseMi (team leader) and Fluge crew.
Francesc Ten y Gaspar Ruiz Lindberg (Estudio de fotografía Estrop Barcelona)
Etienne Daho revisits Eden with MDG ATMOSPHERE
To mark the re-release of his classic album Eden at the end of 2019, French singer-songwriter and pop star, Etienne Daho, embarked upon a 17-date concert tour of France's most beautiful venues, including jewels like Philharmonie, Pleyel and Olympia.
The final date took place in January 2020, narrowly avoiding the lockdown measures introduced by the onset of the Covid-19 crisis.
Victorien Cayzeele, a gifted young lighting designer, was determined to obtain the best possible interpretation for his artist, so he specified - without hesitation - an MDG ATMOSPHERE haze generator to materialise the light within his design.
"I had mostly washes and very few spot sources in my kit, so I needed a density of haze that was strong enough to materialise the colour that bathed the set. And, on this tour, we wanted to maintain a uniform and stable level throughout the show.”
Etienne Daho's music, with its electro-pop tendency, required a great deal of work to match the light to the rhythm. Victorien confides that Etienne works a lot on creating an amazing audience experience and, to realise this, Etienne doesn't hesitate in allowing the visual impact to take centre stage and be the star. "There are some saturated colour effects and particular angles that don't put the artist in the limelight, but instead suggest a creative proposal linked to the album or the set.”
This beautiful collaboration between Étienne Daho and Victorien Cayzeele began during the Blitz tour in 2018. Victorien describes it this way: "We established a real relationship of trust. Étienne is someone with vision and taste. He's able to make requests, and at the same time let me express my own interpretations. There is a real exchange between us.”
Victorien, conscious of the vocal effort that a tour can represent for a singer, was also mindful of the quality of haze produced by the ATMOSPHERE. Deprived of glycol, MDG haze does not dry out the vocal cords, which is a major factor when artists play a succession of dates over a short period of time. Victorien explains: "MDG haze does not cause irritation, and that is very important for some artists. We have played dates using other machines - when abroad for example - but Etienne became aware of this very quickly and objected to it!”
Most of the Eden tour took place on stages 14m by 10m deep, but with a stage volume generally measuring 25m x 20m and a ceiling height of 18m to 25m. "The difficulty with haze is anticipating what will be enough to fill the space,” explains Victorien, “but with a single ATMOSPHERE we were able to obtain a good quality coverage in less than an hour and a half.”
This was a saving not only of time but also of weight because, for this tour, a 15kg CO2 bottle was enough to supply 5 or 6 concerts. This low consumption resulted in reduced logistics for transportation, which in turn had a lower impact on the over-all show budget.
MDG haze is renowned for leaving practically no residue on lighting fixtures, which is particularly important on tour when compared to other machines: "The particles from MDG products are dry compared to those of other machines on the market," says Victorien. "Consequently, the MDG unit doesn't dirty the ground like other machines that leave an oil stain by the end of the concert which can be carnage! In addition, the haze leaves very little residue on the lighting equipment, which is very important as this reduces the frequency of which the lighting fixtures need to be cleaned. In fact, this tour was too short to require a thorough cleaning,” confirms Victorien.
The lack of residue becomes even more important when the lighting inventory includes a large number of multi-source LED washes, as it did on the Eden tour: "The problem with this type of wash is that it is made up of multiple small plastic collimators that are almost impossible to dismantle,” explains Victorien. “On tour, we can clean the outside surfaces but, to remove the dust and grease that seeps inside them, the spotlights would have to go back to the depot, which wasn't necessary on this tour.”
The lighting supplier for the Eden tour was French service provider, S-Group which supplied:
1 x MDG ATMOSPHERE
70 x Multi-source LED wash fixtures
1 x Profile fixture
12 x LED bars for cyclorama lighting
16 x LED motorized bars
Jean Maxence Chagnon: Lighting console
Antony Etienne: Chief Electrician
Paola Picasso: Lighting Technician
Pascal Meley: Production Manager
London’s Southbank Centre invests in MDG ATMe haze generators
Built for the Festival of Britain in 1951 and located on the south bank of London’s River Thames, Southbank Centre is the UK’s largest arts centre.
It comprises the Royal Festival Hall, the Queen Elizabeth Hall, the Purcell Room and the Hayward Gallery and has recently seen the installation of 2 MDG ATMe haze generators in its larger venues, the 2700-seat Royal Festival Hall and the 916-seat Queen Elizabeth Hall.
“ATMe has a much finer particulate so they leave no residue or slippery oil deposits, which is especially important when hosting bands and singers and the many dance productions we have here. ATMe produces a fine haze in rapid and substantial quantity, so one generator is enough to fill the Royal Festival Hall or the Queen Elizabeth Hall, each of which previously required two of our old units.”
Senior technician, Cressy Klaces, agrees and is especially impressed with the aesthetic of the MDG haze: “ATMe gives a beautiful quality of haze, much nicer than before. It is so light in the air that it is barely perceptible until you shine a light through it. It feels like it has been created to enhance the light and atmosphere rather than be overtly noticeable to people. It is perfect for lighting and so subtle.
“The major advantage, however, is ATMe is totally controllable, which is great. It produces anything from light to heavy haze, precisely as and when you want it. I love the fact I can point it at the back wall behind a curtain and it just permeates through to the stage so beautifully and evenly. The generators are also extremely quiet so we can site them on stage in the RFH or QEH and noise is not a problem. This was just not possible with our old units.”
The ATMe generators are housed in two customised rolling flight cases that also incorporate a DMX fan which aids haze distribution throughout the venue, a large CO2 bottle, and power and DMX connections. “This means the whole arrangement is a portable plug-and-play unit that is ready to roll at a moment’s notice,” says Hennigan. “This is invaluable because we run a ‘clear stage’ between concerts so there is no space to site them permanently, and with such a varied and ever-changing programme of contemporary music, dance, theatre, concerts and rock & roll that we have at Southbank Centre, we can simply roll them to wherever they are needed.”
The decision to use larger CO2 bottles was taken to keep the system as simple as possible across the large team of technicians: “We buy in larger pre-filled canisters of CO2 and keep three on site for each generator, and have instituted an efficient plan to ensure stocks of CO2 are maintained,” says Hennigan. “Our electrics team has put measures in place to monitor the CO2 levels and the bottles are refilled with a weekly delivery from a local gas supplier whom we share with the National Theatre next door, which has also invested in ATMe. This has given rise to a very useful reciprocal arrangement with the NT should there ever be an unexpected demand for either of us!”
The MDG ATMe haze generators were supplied to Southbank Centre by White Light whose Anthony Vine was the main point of contact and support.
“We are very happy with the new ATMe generators,” concludes Hennigan. “I know that MDG produces great machines because I used to service them 20 years ago! Now we can see that quality in operation every day. Whichever position they are in, they give us exactly what we need – great haze that looks good and is controllable directly from the desk.”
Important Notice - COVID-19 Pandemic Update - MDG is back at work!
After nine weeks of lockdown, we are pleased to be back at work to do the inventory. Consequently, we will be fully operational and ready to serve you as of next Monday, June 1st. We wish you an excellent day and look forward to speaking with you and seeing you again.
ENCORE SFX invests in MDG for BBC1’s The Greatest Dancer
When forming special effects company, Encore SFX, George Baker and Anthony Earles, both of whom have many years’ experience in senior roles in the SFX business, decided to invest in the highest quality special effect products available, and knew exactly which company and products they wanted to partner with.
"We needed great products from a reliable company who could offer not just the quality but the essential support required, and immediately thought of MDG,” says Baker.
The company purchased 4 MDG ICE FOG Q HP low fog generators with DMX interfaces, and 4 pneumatic Round Floor Pockets with remote control boxes. The ICE FOG Q HP is the quietest low fog generator on the market which it produces a thick, low-lying fog with zero residue. The award-winning Round Floor Pocket is DMX/RDM operated and can be embedded in the stage floor or set wall to conceal a fog output and deliver low fog or fog to precise locations.
“The ethos of our company is to make effects more accessible and give our clients the best products for their money. The only way to do this is to offer the best,” says Baker. “We have worked with many different brands of fog and haze machines over the years, and as we are not tied to any one brand, we can choose which we want to go with. When we started the company we were in a unique position of having no pre-existing stock, so could make a fresh start by investing in the best, and latest, products on the market.”
Baker and Earles have very definite reasons for their faith in MDG: “We believe the ICE FOG Q HP is one of the best-built units we have seen. The volume and consistency of the output is incredible. It’s the best looking effect I’ve seen and it doesn’t rise up when you move around in it. Other low fog machines’ output tend to flick up and get wispy, but MDG just sticks to the ground and is solid, no matter what you do to it.”
The ICE FOG Q HP units and Round Floor Pockets were instantly put to work in BBC1’s current series of The Greatest Dancer which is filmed at LH2 studios in West London, with lighting director, Tim Routledge.
“The products we’d used for the previous series were OK, but not the best quality, and with a such big stage and lots of movement from the dancers, we found the low fog was getting thrown up into the air,” says Baker. "For this series we swapped to the ICE FOG Q HP and sunk the Round Floor Pockets into all four corners of the stage. This instantly made the stage look a lot cleaner as the space is just an open dance floor where you can’t hide ducting. Then, because of the ICE FOG Q HP’s high output, we got really dense low fog, with the floor pockets ensuring an even distribution and sharp cut offs. They are just incredible. We were very happy with the result and it’s the perfect opportunity to showcase an excellent product on six weeks of prime-time national television!”
Tim Routledge, lighting director for The Greatest Dancer, agrees: “We’ve never quite cracked low smoke at LH2 during live TV shows but with the new investment by Encore in MDG we have gorgeous low smoke that lasts and sits low for an entire performance. MDG are by far the go-to company for haze and fog.”
“Anthony and I spent a long time looking at other units, but MDG was the obvious choice by a long way,” explains Baker. “When The Greatest Dancer came along for the second year running, we knew it was the ideal opportunity for us to initiate the investment we’d been wanting to make. Working closely with the production team we had a clear choice of which route to take. Why would you opt to put together combinations of products from other manufacturers when MDG does the full package in one?”
Encore SFX chose the Q version for its high output and ability to fill much larger areas, as it now runs on regular HP (high pressure cylinders) that can be sourced easily from local gas suppliers. “I prefer to have the bigger output units in our stock to give us more options on the many, varied jobs we have lined up for them in future. We can be in a TV studio one week and an arena show the next and anything in between. The ICE FOG Q HPs give us maximum flexibility.”
But Encore SFX’s investment in MDG goes beyond the quality of its products: “The service we got from MDG, in particular Matt Wiseman, was incredible. This is a big investment for Encore SFX but an exciting prospect for us, and Matt was there to advise us every step of the way. We are the only SFX company to have MDG in their stock, and aim to develop our relationship with MDG further.
“We like to work with people who support and help us right from our beginning, and keep working with those who have proven, not just to provide the right product, but also the support. It’s very important for us to know the service is there, and the danger is from companies who just want to sell you a product rather than invest in you as people or as a company. With Matt and MDG, I know I will get the best service and a straight answer with every call. We want to invest in MDG to the same level as they want to work with us.”
MDG haze the clear winner for Transmission Festival 2019
Transmission is Europe's, and possibly the world's, most spectacular trance music festival with a legion of loyal fans who return year on year.
As usual, the 2019 event was enhanced by haze from MDG generators which showcased the spectacular lighting and laser shows that accompanied the artists.
Transmission is held annually in the Czech Republic at the O2 Arena and attracts thousands of fans from over 70 countries to the beautiful city of Prague who come to enjoy performances from the genre’s most prestigious talent. The line-up for Transmission 2019 included trance legends such as Blastoyz, Cosmic Gate, Darren Porter, Ferry Corsten presents System F, Giuseppe Ottaviani, Key4050, MaRLo and Thomas Coastline.
The acts are knitted together by Transmission’s unique, themed storylines that take the visitor on a journey throughout the night, with each artist introduced by their own bespoke ‘show movie’ and visuals, all of which are accompanied by spectacular lighting, laser and special effects. To showcase the lighting and lasers to peak effect, Transmission’s lighting designer, Bas Kemper, needed to fill the huge 15,000-capacity venue with large quantities of smooth, pure white haze. He knew exactly which manufacturer to turn to which would give him precisely what he needed. He invested in an ATMe haze generator from MDG and three MDG MAX 3000 generators, supplied by Rudo Tucek of Slovakian rental company, Ministry.
“The venue is huge and filled to capacity for the festival – the stage alone is 48m x 24m and the floor space covers approximately 80m x 80m, with the hall stretching - with the tribunes included - to something in the region of 120m x 120m,” says Kemper. “To bring the full experience to everyone in the hall, we created lighting and laser shows with an immense reach across a wide-open forum, so we also needed haze that could fill that space, on stage, in the hall and right up into the rafters!”
Kemper positioned the three MDG MAX 3000 generators onstage at left, right and upstage locations, and placed the MDG ATMe haze generator front-of-house. The MAX 3000 units were all controlled manually as stand-alone units, with the ATMe levels controlled directly from the console by lighting operators, Zis Ankone and Martijn Deenen.
“I was confident that the MDG units would be able to handle the dimensions and the result was fantastic,” says Kemper. “The haze was as smooth and pure as expected which highlighted the colours of the lighting design – each act is identified by its own colour – to perfection. And I couldn’t be happier with the extent to which the haze spread and showed off the huge laser shows and each individual beam of light. Yet, at the same time, we were able to control the levels so the haze never got out of hand or obscured the audience’s view of the artists, and we never have complaints about the amount of haze – it’s just invisible without light passing through it.
“It’s simple - MDG generators can be relied upon to produce great haze throughout the whole evening – they really are the best for lighting in halls like these.”
MDG goes under the sea for The Little Mermaid at Helsinki City Theatre
Helsinki City Theatre is putting on the Disney magic this season with its lavish musical production of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid.
The theatre’s annual musical production is always a major part of its programme: The Little Mermaid plays in repertoire in the 950-seat main theatre for over 120 performances from August 2019 to Spring 2020, including the all-important Christmas period. Helping to create the magical underwater atmosphere are haze, fog and low-fog generators from MDG.
In this Disney adaptation of the original story, mermaid Ariel falls in love with human Prince Eric, and sells her beautiful voice to the sea witch Ursula in exchange for legs so she can join him in the surface world.
The ambitious production has been put together by a very talented creative team: director Samuel Harjanne, set designer Peter Ahlqvist and costume designer Pirjo Liiri-Majava, all of whom are from Finland, and choreographer Gunilla Olsson-Karlsson from Sweden. Characters are also brought to life with liberal use of flying, and puppetry from UK-based Stitches and Glue. The puppetry and flying demands good haze coverage in all three dimensions, both to create atmosphere and also to mask and highlight the puppetry and set to its best effect.
Helsinki City Theatre’s resident lighting designer of nine years, William Iles, chose MDG generators to create the necessary haze for this magical production, using an ATMe haze generator and theONE™ dual-mode haze and fog generator for general ambience, and an ICE FOG Q with a Round Floor Pocket for low fog effects.
“The haze came in handy for creating the illusion of the underwater world with beams of sunlight filtering down to the bottom of the sea,” he says. “With the even distribution of the haze at all levels, we could create the illusion of a very three-dimensional world.”
theONE™ and the ATMe generator were already part of Helsinki City Theatre’s own equipment inventory, and are rigged on either side of the stage in a mid-position on the proscenium towers from where the haze spreads evenly throughout the stage and auditorium. “We have owned theONE™ for two years and have used it on many shows and are very happy with it,” says Iles. “It really does the all the work in one unit and fills the stage quite happily by itself. However, because our proscenium is 25m wide and we wanted to fill the auditorium as well as the stage for this production, we brought in the ATMe haze generator to help out. This is more from an aesthetic point of view than volume of output: because of the rigging positions, any heavy input of haze would be visible to the audience, so by using two machines from opposite sides of the proscenium, I can run them at a much lower output and achieve a more subtle effect with a nice, even haze that emanates imperceptibly from both sides.”
The ICE FOG Q and its associated Round Floor Pocket (RFP) are both new to the Helsinki City Theatre and were supplied by MDG’s exclusive Finnish distributor, msonic oy. The ICE FOG Q generator is located under the stage revolve, where it rotates with it, and the low fog is ducted out through the RFP situated centre stage. “We bought the ICE FOG Q specifically for the show but it will certainly be used on many productions in future!” says Iles. “I have to say I’m really happy with it. The low fog effect is very cool: it stays really low, and after stopping the output, it dissolves very quickly so doesn’t linger into the next scene. And, most importantly, it leaves no residue on the floor which is a problem we have had with previous equipment in the past.”
The low fog really comes into its own in two key scenes during The Little Mermaid: firstly in an evening scene when Ariel and Prince Eric are rowing a small boat on the lagoon, surrounded by creatures who are waiting for them to kiss. “The low fog really works well for this as the little boat sits amid the smooth rolling billows of white fog and really adds to the romantic nature of the scene,” says Iles.
The second scene by contrast is full of drama as Prince Eric tries to find Ariel by following her voice out to sea amid a storm. “The mast of the ship rises out of small hatch in the stage which is covered with the ICE FOG Q output so creating an image of the ship above a foggy sea,” explains Iles. “In all, between these two scenes, we need around 10 minutes of low fog for every show – which is a lot of fog. However, one cannister of low pressure CO2 will last us for 15-20 shows so we are very happy with the economy of the ICE FOG Q.”
"Helsinki City Theatre's The Little Mermaid really is an amazing show,” says msonic's lighting sales manager, Janne Koivulahti. “We are really pleased to hear such testimonials from our important customer about MDG's products. We believe Helsinki City Theatre deserves the maximum praise for their visualization because of the sheer size of the production and the huge amount of work carried out by the talented artistic and technical team. msonic oy is proud to stand alongside world-class MDG in giving them full support."
MDG haze solution for prestigious new events space, Magazine London
Magazine London, the capital’s newest, smartest purpose-built event space and the largest of its kind in London, opened adjacent to the O2 Arena in Greenwich Peninsula this August.
Its simple architectural form offers clean and functional spaces that provide ‘a means for large-scale creative expression’ with 3,205 sq m of versatile interior space for up to 3,000 people, and the capability of a further 7,000 people across the venue’s outdoor showground.
Technical consultant, Simon Jones of SJ-TPM, recommended MDG haze generators for this prestigious new venue knowing MDG’s great reputation for reliability and performance. He had no hesitation in supplying two MDG ATMe haze generators, complete with purpose-built touring cases for easy storage and deployment which was essential for this flexible, multipurpose venue.
Jones was brought onboard by Venue Lab to review, recommend and deliver the technical infrastructure, establish and fine tune the requirements and purchase the equipment for this multi-purpose venue. Jones worked on the various phases in collaboration with Vibration Design and Production, which delivered the venue’s in-house technical production, to ensure the equipment installed aligned with the building’s innovative principle.
Magazine London has two large internal spaces, each with 8m high ceilings, two mezzanines for VIP areas or additional reception/break out spaces, and an outdoor festival square, all of which can be used in various configurations to suit the show or event.
No event is complete without good, fine haze, of course, which plays a major role in showcasing the lighting, lasers and general creation of atmosphere. And in such a versatile venue, the team has to be prepared to cater for everything!
“Haze always has to look perfect on television and camera, and also work well with live events,” Jones explained. “It needs to be finely distributed, and quickly dispersed.
“The haze produced by the ATMe is great for the cameras because it is a good, clean haze, it doesn’t reflect, it’s not too dense and it’s nicely distributed across the whole space with two machines filling the venue quickly and easily. We chose to go with two ATMes because the venue is so large, and there are always points in an event when you need to fill the room more quickly. With two machines you don’t have to run them at full, so the effect is more subtle without an obvious source. If you want nice clean haze that everyone is going to be happy with, the natural choice is MDG ATMe.”
The ATMe generators have been used on every event since the venue opened – five so far, including the launch of the new FIFA20 game, the SAP Annual Conference and the Desperado x Elrow Music Show – and have a full schedule until the end of the year and beyond.
The ATMe generators have been supplied in purpose-built touring cases, which include additional space for haze fluid and two gas cylinders, that can be simply rolled into whichever position or venue required.
“With such a busy and varied programme of events, it’s important to have a reliable haze generator and a good quality touring case that can move around without jolting,” says Jones. “The ATMe is a good dependable machine that you know will always work well, and with the touring case it’s an off-the-shelf, boxed solution with all you need in one package. You just have to plug it in and go. It makes life easy, and we have the MDG reliability and efficiency and all that comes with it: the back up and support that we all know MDG gives. MDG is the premium option at the end of the day.”
MDG partners with Arcadia Spectacular for Pangea at Glastonbury
MDG is proud and excited to have partnered with Arcadia Spectacular for this year’s Glastonbury Festival by supplying two of its fog-producing behemoths, Me8, for Arcadia’s fantastic new creation, Pangea.
Named after the massive 300-million-year-old supercontinent that broke apart to form the seven separate continents that divide us today, Pangea is a brand new, bespoke installation, created exclusively for Glastonbury. It replaces Arcadia’s famous Spider, which has inhabited the space for the past ten years, and marks one of the first major installations for MDG’s Me8 fog generator.
“As the first year of a five-year, permanent installation, we were able to ‘go to town’ with Pangea on a totally different scale from a touring show,” says Arcadia’s head of communications, Cyrus Bozorgmehr. “We wanted to explore possibilities with more scope for upward expansion into three-dimensional space, and investigate how to take over the area above people’s heads to make a fully immersible experience across the whole arena.”
To achieve this, a massive multi-level central structure was designed, sourced - as all Arcadia creations are - entirely from repurposed scrap material gleaned from a worldwide search. The centrepiece is a giant 50m dock crane from nearby Avonmouth Docks, rigged with lighting and pyrotechnics, the machine house of which serves as an operational space for control equipment. The crane is set upon a spherical ex-military ‘radome’ which is used as a projection surface and sited above a mesh-floored DJ booth on a 360° rotating table above the audience that gives fully immersive directionality across the whole site.
“We have different visuals on each level with an intense, ‘rave’ like atmosphere and warm tungsten-style lighting at the bottom around the DJ booth,” says Arcadia’s technical production manager, Dorian Cameron-Marlow. “The ‘radome’ sphere and upper levels add strong visual elements as projection surfaces, while the crane gives us access to the sky in a completely different way allowing us to play with the space. The jib arm lighting provides dramatic architectural looks and strong beam light effects and is perhaps the most important area for the MDG Me8 fog generators.
“We used the big beam effects to sweep through the crowds which became incredibly effective, and a really strong look, with this really consistent haze from the Me8s,” adds Cameron-Marlow. “Because the haze was so fine, it wasn’t really visible until this point so it was incredibly atmospheric when you saw this big sweeping beam rotating through the crowd. It really looked like an alien invasion!”
“The aim over the next five years is to take over the sky,” says Bozorgmehr, “so getting the lighting to stand out from a height of 30m in outdoor space is key to creating a vivid experience for the audience.”
Cameron-Marlow agrees: “We have a structure that we can fully interact with that gives us massive scope across a 50m rolling sphere of three-dimensional space, that needs to reach out across a crowd numbering tens of thousands, past the core 80m arena space, into the outfield and way beyond. The lighting and effects must be visible on a grand scale, and to do this, you must have great haze to show them to full effect. You can have the most powerful lights in the world but if you don’t have a really good haze distribution plan, the lights will be ineffective.”
Incredibly, Cameron-Marlow and the team were able to achieve this using just two of MDG’s Me8 fog generators, each of which has an 8-nozzle output and is capable of producing 800m3 (28,252ft3) of fine, pure white fog per minute. These are sited at opposite sides of the arena from where the fog is ducted through a complex manifold system to six tree/lamppost sculptures - long-standing features from early Arcadia installations that represent an intertwining of the industrial and organic. Each Me8 generator is connected via ducting to three of the tree sculptures then, from the central point of each tree, the fog is ducted up each of the little branches to exit at the tips.
“Our trees are a very effective, subtle means of distributing the fog as they are positioned in a circular configuration half way between the out-field towers and the central structure,” explains Cameron-Marlow. “Environmentally this is the ideal place from which to distribute haze, and the organic nature of the design is enhanced by not having giant fans to distribute it. With these we can achieve a nice, slow atmospheric trickle, particularly with these MDG units, which have a genuinely constant flow due to their 100% duty cycle. It is quite ethereal and the trees become sculptural elements in themselves as much as providers of atmospheric haze.”
Cameron-Marlow also noted they were ‘pushing the boundaries’ when ducting the fog along runs of up to 50m. “But from the outset, the MDG fluid just did exactly what we wanted it to, even over those distances. Generally speaking, fog or haze doesn’t like to be ducted that far because it can change states, condense and end up not producing the effect you want. But we spent some time configuring how we would use them and designing the ducting systems to suit and, with the overall system design in place, they worked an absolute treat. We were able to do some complicated things that we hadn’t done before because we knew the Me8 would be able to handle it.”
As with all outdoor events, wind and weather always present a challenge but the team were able to mitigate the effects by balancing the output of the MDG generators: “Having a well distributed system, particularly for the medium level constant output, means that, whichever way the wind decides to blow, we can always combat it by controlling the output of the Me8s remotely. They were fantastically easy to use and extremely reliable, just continuing to work problem-free for the whole five days of rehearsal and live stage time. They are perfect for this type of environment.”
Given Arcadia’s green credentials and interest in adopting the latest and best technology, environmental considerations were also important. “One of my favourite things about MDG generators,” concludes Cameron-Marlow, “is that they are incredibly efficient in fluid, gas and energy consumption. This is a great bonus when you take into consideration the volume and quality of haze and fog they deliver which have always been the best in the business for me.”