Category: EK Community

Seasonal Surprise in Pasadena

Remember our blog in late October about the new EK users at the First Baptist Church of Pasadena?

Now we have some footage of part of this festive season’s famous Singing Christmas Tree extravaganza – an annual event in its 33rd year. Despite more than three decades of history, this was the first time the Church had chosen to conceal, then reveal, the Christmas-tree-shaped stage as it holds 150 people ready to burst into song.

We are delighted to report that the DMX-controlled Electro Kabuki drop worked flawlessly. Take a look at a clip from the video here.

Best of all was the message we received from Brent Shore, Technical Director at FBC Pasadena:

The Electro Kabuki system worked flawlessly as we expected it would and added the grand opening we were looking for to our annual Christmas Production of the ‘Singing Christmas Tree’. The system was easy to install and set up in our configuration to operate. We look forward to using the system for years to come to bring a moment of awe and wonder to all in attendance when our 32-foot-tall Christmas tree with 150 singers standing in it is revealed for the first time in our production.

Legendary Hero Revealed at Asian Martial Arts Games in Turkmenistan.

We recently received a tip-off that Electro Kabuki had been used to reveal the centrepiece at the opening ceremony of the 5th Asian Indoor Martial Arts Games (AIMAG) held in Ashgabat, the capital of Turkmenistan. As far as we know, this is the first Electro Kabuki rig in Turkmenistan. (In truth, we had to Google Turkmenistan to find out more about the country. There are some fascinating facts to be uncovered if you have time)!

Information is scarce but we have found a YouTube video, which tells us that the EK reveal worked perfectly, playing its part in flawless fashion.

The video shows the opening ceremony. It’s quite a long video, actually, but if you pay particular attention around the 1 hour 23-minute mark (out of a total length of 2½ hours) you’ll see Electro Kabuki do its stuff. (Or click on the shortened clip in the banner above). Like most opening ceremonies for international games, it was a showy affair and a fine spectacle. And yes, at the indicated time, it was clear to see why a substantial Electro Kabuki rig was needed, along with EK’s absolute dependability, to reveal what can only be described as a giant and impressive inflatable figure.

Some more time on Google turned up information about the centrepiece figure. It is Oğuz Han (or Oghuz Khan or Oghuz Khagan), a legendary and semi-mythological Khan of the Turks. It’s a legend used by some Turkic cultures to describe their ethnic origins and the origin of the system of political clans used by Turkmen, Ottoman, and other Oghuz Turks. (Thanks, Wikipedia).

This inflatable incarnation of Oğuz Han is a striking figure holding a bow and arrows with massive horns emanating from a plinth. It looks to be 60 feet tall. We can see that the EK modules were rigged on a large, circular truss high above the legendary hero.

The perfectly-timed EK reveal worked flawlessly. And, though this was just one part of the prestigious show, we think it was an important part of the staging. It proves that EK users can be totally confident with the system. Kabuki drops once had a chequered reputation; we’d like to think that our engineering expertise has consigned that to history.

Check out this AIMAG video clip for yourself. This is a shortened clip showing the part of the event where EK comes in to play.

Got time to watch the entire AIMAG Opening Ceremony? No problem, knock yourself out by following this link.

Christmas arrives early for EK in Texas

While most of us are still enjoying the last remnants of summer (apologies to our readers in the Southern hemisphere), some members of the Electro Kabuki community are already headlong into Christmas plans.

A new order for Electro Kabuki with DMX control arrived from the First Baptist Church Pasadena recently, and we despatched the system last week. Many churches in the US are avid users of Electro Kabuki.

For this application, the organisers of Christmas festivities at the church tell us that the EK system will be used to reveal the church’s Singing Christmas Tree performance. The Church is famous for this annual event, which has been held for the past 33 years and enjoyed by over 150,000 people in that time. The EK rig will use 11 modules arranged in a 180° arc from the church’s central circular ceiling truss. It will reveal the 32-foot-tall Tree holding 170 singers and decorated with 10,000 lights.

That’s what we know for now, but we really look forward to bringing you the full experience soon after Christmas. This looks to be the first time the church has used a reveal effect, so we hope to get hold of some video. We wish them every success with the festive rigging, rehearsals and performances in the meantime.

The Kooks get silhouetted then revealed thanks to EK

West London-based Electro Kabuki user, Colour Sound Experiment Ltd, deployed its EK system as part of a bespoke touring lighting and effects package built and rigged for ‘alt rockers’ The Kooks, for the band’s recent The Best of… so Far tour. The tour closed with a high-profile gig at London’s Alexandra Palace, which required extra lighting production.

Among the clever bespoke designs for a tourable, quick-rig solution to get their own lights in and up-and-running every day, Colour Sound chose to rig an Electro Kabuki reveal to start the show in style. The EK modules were attached to the house front trusses at ‘Ali Pally’. This rig kept the band dramatically silhouetted by the light from six powerful Robe BMFL spots blasting through from the back truss, then revealed them on cue with the kabuki drop.

Read the whole story in LSi online magazine here.

Colour Sound Experiment is a customer of our EK distributor, AC Entertainment Technologies.

(Photo courtesy of Lindsay Cave @ Loosplat)

The curious case of Electro Kabuki enquiries

Casting our eyes over the enquiry log for Electro Kabuki creates a sense of wonder at the diversity of the system’s geographic appeal – and generates more than a little curiosity about the kinds of organisations looking to deploy staged reveals. We despatch EK systems to the four corners of the globe. A quick glance at the enquiry log for the last couple of months alone shows the US, Japan, Switzerland, Italy, Poland, the UAE, Mexico, France, Germany and Iceland amongst others.

Over the past few weeks, we’ve fielded enquiries for single cables, flight cases and a Firing Box to sophisticated multi-drop systems comprising 60 EK modules. And loads of requests for Starter Packs – both the basic and new DMX versions. That’s hardly surprising as they offer an easy and affordable route into flawless reveals through EK ownership. Some new customers are already taking advantage of the DMX Starter Pack discount and adding extra EK modules from the outset: one customer wanted eight additional modules, another wanted 20! We’re okay with that.

But back to the diversity. It’s not only the geographic spread of enquiries but the different types of organisation that illustrate Electro Kabuki’s broad appeal. A school in Dorset is considering a Starter Pack; how cool will that school production be? There are TV production companies, theatres, a show choir, event organisers, professional contract staging crews (obviously) and dance companies. And our good friends at Cedar Point Amusement Park in Ohio (they needed an extra 20-metre cable, presumably to rig the live EK drop in their outdoor summer show).

From the scale of enquiries and orders, Electro Kabuki clearly captures the imagination of anyone looking to make a visual impact – from school plays to high-profile product launches, it would seem. For the old hands in the rigging and staging business, we think the dependability we meticulously engineer into every part of the EK system puts the spectre and embarrassment of failed reveals to bed. Finally, it’s an effect they can trust.

Let us know how you’re using you EK system – or how you plan to use it. We may feature it here. And yes, photos and videos are always welcome.

(Acknowledgement: world map graphic created by Freepik)

Now you see it, now you don’t! Rigging EK live in a dance show.

News just in from one of our Electro Kabuki users in the US. Our friends at Cedar Point, a top amusement park in Ohio (and known as the roller coaster capital of the world) sent us a cool video showing how they use an EK drop in the middle of a live pyrotechnic and laser-filled music and dance performance. And it all takes place outdoors! That’s no problem for the EK system – it’s fully weatherproof.

What’s unusual about this EK implementation is that the crew rigs the drape on the stage floor, just behind the main live action, almost as part of the show. Then they hoist it aloft and project onto it, before finishing with a perfectly timed drop. It’s a great stage effect. And it’s perfect proof of just how easy is it to rig Electro Kabuki – this staging crew can do it live, in real time.

Run the video clip above on the EK YouTube Channel. It was shot during the final Cedar Point dress rehearsal.

Or watch the whole rehearsal clip here – The EK rigging starts around the 15-minute mark.

Our sincere thanks to Charles Bradshaw at Cedar Point for thinking to send this to us. It looks like a great show!


Magnets for Her Majesty

Not every theatrical reveal lends itself perfectly to Electro Kabuki, though most do. But this high-profile event, staged by our very good friends at FE UK Ltd, demanded a perfect reveal for a new war memorial sculpture in London’s Victoria Embankment Gardens to be unveiled by The Queen.

The drape covering the sculpture needed to drop to the ground for the reveal, with the world’s press watching and beneath the gaze of 2500 military veterans. No pressure there, then!

FE UK chose an approach similar to one they used before (on a statue of Ronald Reagan). At that time, they came to us at Magnet Schultz Ltd to source electro-permanent magnets and successfully used these to reveal the US President. They came back to us again, because “we’re the boys!”

The electro-permanent magnets we delivered to FE UK are from the same range of units we use inside the Electro Kabuki module. With that engineering pedigree, everyone knows they’re completely reliable and more than fit for purpose. In this installation, the magnets were used to hold the royal blue drape that covered the bronze memorial medallion, itself supported by two monoliths of Portland Stone by renowned sculptor Paul Day. We agree that an Electro Kabuki module would have looked too conspicuous.

The drape duly fell to the ground on command, as Her Majesty pressed the release button mounted on a small wooden podium alongside the towering sculpture. A fine outcome for everyone.

Watch the BBC News footage here:

Wireless Balloon Drop

As a famous bear once said “Nobody can be uncheered with a balloon“! But what if you had thousands of balloons? Surely that’s enough to put a smile on the faces of a whole crowd of people. Just recently we were involved in a giant cargo net release filled with countless multi-coloured balloons over an auditorium filled with hundreds of people.

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