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High Praise for MDG Haze and Hamilton: An American Musical
UK – MDG and PRG XL Video congratulate lighting designer Howell Binkley and the cast and crew of the London production of Hamilton: An American Musical on winning no less than seven Olivier Awards, including that of Best Lighting Design, at the glittering awards ceremony in April at London’s Royal Albert Hall.
MDG is certainly no stranger to providing theatres worldwide with its market leading haze and fog generators. However, it was a real coup to have PRG XL Video supply three of its sophisticated ATMe haze machines to this much-anticipated London production when it opened in December 2017.
Hamilton, which had already taken Broadway by storm with 11 Tony Awards, made its UK debut at the newly refurbished Victoria Palace Theatre in London’s West End, and received a standing ovation on the very first preview.
Howell Binkley, and his associate LD, Ryan O’Gara, knew that good quality haze was to be of paramount importance to the visual structure of the production: “We use the ATMe units constantly throughout the show,” says Binkley. “There is no real scenery for this show, so the lighting has to create the different spaces required. We just wanted a very fine haze in the air – we don’t like to see clouds of ‘smoke’ appearing from the wings – and with the ATMes we were able to achieve this very well.”
MDG’s ATMe haze generator demonstrates enhanced control via in-built RDM/DMX which allows precise remote control over the flow of the output. This control enables the operator to change the flow from a fine haze to a rolling fog from the comfort and convenience of the control desk.
“We use two of the ATMe generators in upstage and downstage positions on the stage right fly floor, and keep the third as a back-up,” continues Binkley. “They are the only haze machines in the whole show and were brought in by our production electrician who changed the spec without telling us! It was a wise move, however, as they give us much greater control.”
The building refurbishment produced some challenges during rehearsals which Binkley and O’Gara were able to overcome with the ATMe units: “The theatre’s updates included a new, high-spec air handling system which was being tested during our technical rehearsals. This, and the lack of a set of dock doors, played havoc with the haze! Luckily, the ATMes enabled us to either increase or decrease the level of haze remotely from the lighting desk – an EOS system – which would not have been possible with other, older, haze machines.”
Equipment for the show was supplied by global production solution providers, PRG XL Video, the lighting and video technology supplier to theatre and the arts for over 45 years. Their account director, Peter Marshall, confirms: “It’s well known that theatre lighting designers prefer to specify MDG units because they are silent and have a large operating range. The ATMe hazers were specifically purchased for Hamilton, and to be honest, we are seeing these units specified on almost each new production, as they allow the programmer to adjust the haze level from the console. From a rental company point of view they make complete sense because they are both versatile and reliable.”
Production electrician Peter Lambert, who specified the ATMe units, was also enthusiastic about the ATMe, adding: “We felt the show should have the very best kit available. The controllability is a great advantage but the fluid consumption is also very good.”
Marshall agreed: “The ATMe hazers are great silent machines with low fluid consumption that can operate anything from a trickle to a heavy output and I can see these machines becoming the standard hazers for theatre use.”
photos: Matthew Murphy
8th May 2018
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