VuePix Electrifies Dracula’s

Posted on Friday, February 20th, 2009

Vampires do exist on Australia’s Gold Coast – Dracula’s Cabaret presents patrons with a horror themed show every evening.

A renovated Ghost Train whisks visitors through an array of optical illusions, haunted displays, with an occasional ghoul lurking behind a dark corner. The experience is Gothic Rock Opera, fast-paced comedy and creative insanity plus a dinner – all on a scale that has made Draculas a Gold Coast institution that is totally unique. The main theatre seats approximately 450 people for dining on 2 levels, with the stage set directly in front of the guests.

The main stage is 7.4m wide and a mere 2.4m deep with a 2m revolve. Off the main stage runs a 2m catwalk with a 400mm revolve motor-driven lift that elevates to 600mm. Against the back wall are fly lines carrying painted backcloths and Dracula’s latest technical addition – a VuePix P25 RGB LED screen.

Measuring 7.2m by 2.4m, the screen is full stage width and height, which was one of the criteria that had to be met. Technical Director John Taylor explains: “ The owners have been long interested in the idea of a LED screen but until recently they’ve either not been big enough, too heavy, or simply far too expensive.” John continues, “Plus, we’ve never wanted to have a screen on chain motors. The show moves at a frantic pace and even a fast chain motor can only manage 8m per minute – we have a 2.5m to move, so that’s about 18 seconds to long! – We can drop the VuePix RGB LED curtain in 2.5 seconds on our specially designed flying system. That gives incredible impact. The audience is amazed when you close the main curtain and re-open it an instant later to reveal a screen of this size. The screen weighs around 350kg so we had to upgrade our fly tower, but the whole thing sits on two flylines, which is pretty impressive.”

The VuePix RGB P25 LED panels are a modular system comprising 600mm by 600mm tiles at a pixel pitch of 25mm (24 x 24 pixels per tile), with the LEDs positioned on a lattice framework. John Taylor explains: “ The resolution of the screen is 288 by 96 pixels, but we have never had any delusions of running hi-res video. The screen is used more as an effect.”

Among the stage lighting fixtures are 5 x Robe ColorSpot 160XT, 2 x Robe ColorSpot 250AT and 3 x Robe ColorMix 250AT. “These fixtures were chosen for their color changing effects to suit the shows swiftly changing scenes”, says John Taylor.

Dracula’s boasts new renovations to the room, with a major transformation to the raising of the roof. A new lighting system installed with 70 Anolis Arcsource 3 RGB LED down lights that can be individually controlled. The Anolis RGB fixtures give the whole room a similar ambience to what is happening on stage.

John Taylor comments: “ Before installing the Anolis fixtures we were slightly concerned the coverage and brightness wouldn’t be as powerful for what we required. We were very happy with the result once they were all installed, the room light runs at only 50% of its potential brightness, the install was unique due to it being individually cabled patched throughout the roof, very impressed with the fixtures capability”.

Dracular’s current “Beasts of Burlesque” show is a four act affair. Two pre-shows and a main act with an interval. The production puts a Vampire slant on the traditional Burlesque show. The night entail’s horror displays and scary, interactive gimmicks. The theatre shows change periodically. John Taylor say: “For a venue that has been operating for 27 years, entertaining over 3 Million customers, patrons still don’t believe a venue of its size could have such unique, amazing and impactful lighting effects”.