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Painting the Night Light for Night Watch

Painting the Night Light for Night Watch
Painting the Night Light for Night Watch

Belgium – Studio 100 is thrilling young fans of its “Nachtwacht” (Nightwatch) TV series with the first musical theatre production featuring the three ‘Defender of the Night’ main characters who challenge and battle bad people and evil forces to deliver positive and uplifting endings.

Genk-based design studio Painting with Light (PWL) was asked to create the lighting and video design for the production, which is playing a three shows a day schedule during weekends across Belgium in 1500 and 2000 capacity theatres and arenas. It has been a massive success.

Lighting was designed by PWL’s Jeroen Opsteyn, who produced a scheme that fitted the dramatic and creative demands of the show, as well as the quick setup requirements of the tour and the producer’s available budget!

The overall style of the lighting is moody and dark. Most of the action takes place at night, and there’s plenty of moonlit scenes, werewolves, vampires, elves and environments that energise and come to life after dark.

“From that point of view, it was a really interesting and stimulating show to light that needed a lot of attention to detail,” comments Jeroen, adding that rehearsal time was also tight, so he had to go into the first show with the confidence that everything would work.

The lighting kit was supplied by Phlippo. The production is using 16 of Phlippo’s proprietary URC 201 LED wash moving lights together with 22 CLF Orion hybrid spot / beam fixtures which Jeroen makes go along way! They are used for all the general washes, effects and specials.

They have also been hooking in to house lighting rigs at each venue, especially to get conventional front light, which is augmented with three of the Orions for key lighting the three main characters.

The Orions are fitted with custom gobos. One part of the action is related to a game with a phrase which is projected onto some scenery in the room and the audience has to guess a missing word!

PWL is supplying one of their disguise d3 4x2 video servers to the tour for the video content, and commissioned Bart Tauwenberg from New Solid to create and supply the content to PWL’s direction. This was then programmed onto the server by PWL’s video specialist Katleen Selleslagh.

The content and the lighting are closely matched in colour and texturing, and the d3 timeline cues triggered by the grandMA lighting console so they coincide with specific lighting cues.

The main setting of the musical is a library in which three of the bookcases are digital, on three 5.7mm pitch LED screens: one upstage with two smaller ones flanking it slightly downstage, and in between are scenic bookcases.

Video runs through the whole show, and the content is so life-like, especially when combined with the lighting, that it’s hard to tell at times which bookcases are digital and which are scenic!

In one scene a ghost character appears, with video providing a neat and effective vehicle for him to speak and interact with the actors.

Looking after lighting and video on the road for PWL is Arjan Grootenhuis.

“With the TV show so popular right now, the challenge for the production team was to meet and exceed everyone’s expectations,” explained Jeroen, adding that they are all very proud of what has been achieved.

Stefan Staes, artist manager for Studio 100 comments: “When creating this show it was important to have a lot of atmosphere, and the lighting design supports the narrative’s sense of mystery. It was also a challenge to get an unobtrusive combination of real decor and LED walls. Bart, Katleen and Jeroen have all done a fantastic job of perfectly co-ordinating lighting and video so the audience can hardly perceive the difference between the real and virtual set elements.

“We are very proud that both the press and the public are so wildly enthusiastic about this theatre performance.”

photos: Sina Sohn

Painting the Night Light for Night WatchPainting the Night Light for Night Watch

5th November 2019

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