Embracing the Dark Zone
Painting with Light was commissioned by interactive and media-based attractions specialist Alterface to light the brand new Bazyliszek dark ride which has just opened … and is creating a buzz at the rebranded Legendia theme park in Katowice, Poland. Alterface, Jora Vision and ETF partnered to create this unique, one-off experience in Poland’s oldest family amusement park, which is wowing visitors of all ages. Painting with Light had previously worked with Alterface, also based in Belgium, on the Comics Station project in Antwerp. Luc Peumans led the project for the Genk-based creative lighting and visual design practice.
He worked closely with Alterface project manager François Danhaive and their overall ride producer Benjamin Walravens, plus Jora Vision’s art director, Simeon van Tellingen and project manager Robin van der Want. Luc capitalized on his extensive theatrical lighting experience to create the emotion and drama needed to help ensure Bazyliszek is a thrilling and unforgettable experience. There are numerous variations of Bazyliszek in Poland – a complex, legendary and highly venomous reptile, possibly a serpent king and rooster combined – which can turn people into stone with a single glance!
Legendia’s Bazyliszek ride is situated in the Magical Forest zone of the park, which takes guests back to the times of ancient myths! Numerous challenges abounded in creating the right atmosphere for each fast-moving scene of the 3 minute mixed-media ride, where multi-mover vehicles glide visitors through five different zones with seven distinctive scenes – one even containing three sub-scenes – and each needing individual lighting.
Bazyliszek being a dark ride, Luc specified a lot of UV fixtures to accentuate the extensive UV painting details completed by Jora Vision, and he added to the depth and spatial elements of the scenes with many ellipsoidals and profiles. Around 80 Chauvet mini ERS-style Ovation Min-E-10CW and WW ellipsoidal spot fixtures were utilised, chosen as a warm white and cold white LED source with excellent dimming and a nice flat, even field of light. These are dotted throughout the ride, rigged on various bracketry. Over 300 Gantom Precision Z spots and floods are scattered around. Three versions are used: blacklight (UV), warm white and RGB. These tiny yet highly effective and efficient LED fixtures are powerful, can be ensconced almost anywhere and have become a Painting with Light installation favourite.
For the most important black light scenes, Luc chose Anolis Divine 60 UVs – a very potent 180 Watt, full LED luminaire that produces super-high UV output levels at a 365nm wavelength, with inbuilt DMX and RDM control. They tested many backlight fixtures in the search for an ideal, high-powered product and the Divine proved the best choice. It’s solid and reliable, and the 38 degree beam angle meant only five were needed as one fixture effortlessly illuminates a complete scene. The UV painting team was also delighted with the results.
Positioned in between the Divines – to ensure uniform levels of UV – are several Gantom UVs to highlight all the relevant details. For extra black lighting effects combined with standard lighting in some of the spaces, Chauvet COLORdash Par-Hex 7s were selected for their RGBAW+UV chips which produce a homogenised UV in addition to all the other colours that are achievable. Once Luc had perfected the UV levels, he added a plethora of wall-mounted set practicals throughout the ride, together with some flame torch and other lighting special effects.
Multiple gobo break-up looks are deployed in all scenes to keep the atmosphere edgy and to reveal flashes and snippets of the buildings and other ride-related objects – leaving the rest to guests’ imaginations! All the lighting is programmed into a Pharos LPC 1 controller which is fed a variety of signals from parts of the ride to trigger specific lighting effects. As Painting with Light undertook the complete design and build of the lighting system, one of the physical challenges was developing the design remotely. Both Alterface and Jora Vision presented very well prepared documentation to assist this process.
This allowed Luc and his team to create a VR model of the ride so he could realistically see how each section appeared. The VR model gave him real depth and dimensions to work with, as well as a toolbox of lighting instruments to construct mock-ups in the 3D model. From this, he could formulate ideas and make accurate and informed judgements about the best lighting treatments. Painting with Light also had to produce a comprehensive cable management plan which could be interpreted and followed by the local installers at Legendia.
The actual installation on site was led by Painting with Light’s Dieter Venderickx and finished very quickly in about three weeks. The basic lighting programming was completed by Steve de Busschere in four days, followed by another three days of intense tweaking and fine-tuning, working with all other departments involved in the ride. Painting with Light’s project manager was Wouter Verhulst. “Lighting is an essential part of making the ride a fully immersive visual experience” explained Luc, ”and a really exhilarating creative project for us, in addition to being a brilliant experience as part of the overall collaboration, bringing Bazyliszek at Legendia to life”.
Painting with Light’s other recent theme park work has included lighting Mayaland in Holiday Park Kownaty, also in Poland, and the famous ‘Heidi the Ride’ Rollercoaster at the Plopsaland De Panne theme park in Belgium.