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Clay Paky at Le Rêve, Las Vegas
Lighting Designer
Koert Vermeulen
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Adding to Clay Paky’s reputation for excellence on the Las Vegas Strip is the new spectacular, created by Franco DragoneLe Rêve, at the new Wynn Las Vegas hotel and casino. This show features an array of automated fixtures from the Italian manufacturer and brings to more than 10 the number of permanent show installations that currently use Clay Paky equipment.

The custom-built 2,087 seat Wynn Theatre, which houses Le Rêve, features a one million gallon pool in its centre and a domed roof 80ft overhead. Lighting designer Koert Vermeulen uses 32 Clay Paky Stage Profile Plus SV fixtures, along with 13 Stage Scan moving mirror fixtures and 9 CP Color 150E colour changing fixtures. “I’m an LD who designs a lot with gobos,” said Vermeulen, “and Franco loves gobos on his shows. The Stage Profile was the only fixture that gave me two gobo wheels and shutters. On all the other fixtures I looked at, if you had a shutter system you could only have one gobo wheel, and I needed a lot of gobos. I wanted to have lots of choices.”

Vermeulen initially envisioned using the Stage Profile fixtures quite differently. But due to Dragone’s dislike for the stage floor, Vermeulen found himself relying on the optics of the Stage Profile to draw the director’s eye. “In the beginning, I thought I would do a lot of organic gobo morphing, with one gobo on top of another,” notes Vermeulen. “But Franco wanted the gobos ‘sharp and, preferably, white.’ If the image was out of focus slightly he could see the floor and he did not want to see the floor. If the image was sharp, he did not see the floor, and I could get away with whatever I wanted.”

The choice of the Stage Scan moving mirror fixture, when the trend is for an all-moving head lighting rig, was driven by the economics of a show on the Las Vegas Strip. In search of additional lighting positions, Vermeulen persuaded the theatre’s owner to take out two seats in six locations near the edge of the pool. “I wanted to put some lighting fixtures close to the edge of the water, and I also wanted to be able to shoot up into the dome,” says Vermeulen of the positioning of the Stage Scans. “I wanted more space but taking those 12 seats out was already costing a million dollars in revenue over a two or three-year period. The space I was left with was two feet square, and I needed to get as much bang for the buck as possible. I could only get one moving head fixture in there because of the pan and tilt; but with a mirror fixture, I could get two.”

Using the Clay Paky CP Color 150E colour changing fixture was a ‘no-brainer’ for Vermeulen. “Where the fixtures are placed is a very hostile environment,” he explains. “The CP 150E fixture is an IP65 unit. Wet performers are very near to those fixtures because they are at one of the main egress and access points to the theatre, and technical direction asked that I make sure that no traditional fixtures were used in that location. Having that IP fixture there was very helpful, however, for my design.”

With a five-month production period and a show essentially created from scratch during that period the stresses on equipment were immense. “Initially, we had a few problems with the fixtures because they are in a very hostile environment,” remarks Vermeulen. “There is fire, there is snow, there is rain, there is fog and there is a lot of humidity. But Clay Paky America had ideas and solutions they had learned from other shows, and they have been very responsive to our needs.”