STOCKTON, CA -- Since arriving in Stockton, CA in 2005-06, the Thunder hockey team has captured the passion of Central Valley sports fans, leading the ECHL league in attendance for four consecutive seasons. The team plays every game before a packed house at Stockton Arena, a beautiful 10,000-seat facility located along the city's downtown waterfront.
This year, the Thunder wanted to light up their home ice with as much excitement as they light up the crowd. So the team's management called on Stockton-based Illuminate Production Services (IPS) to design and install a new lighting rig around the scoreboard and video screens at Stockton Arena.
“Previously, the Thunder had rented a lighting rig each season,” said Rick Franke of IPS. “But this wasn't efficient, so they were looking to purchase their own lighting.” According to Franke, the team needed lighting that was affordable, extremely high quality, and – like Thunder games themselves– alive with color, motion and texture.
To meet all these criteria, Franke and Stockton Arena's technical director Stephen Jester used lighting products from Elation Professional, along with trussing from Elation's sister company Global Truss. A 51' diameter circular truss rig was constructed with Global products to frame the arena's huge Daktronics scoreboard and video screens. Sixteen Elation Design LED 36 high-output RGB LED color changing fixtures were installed in the rig as truss warmers. Additionally, 6 Elation Power Spot 700 CMY II 700W DMX moving heads were hung from the truss.
The DLED 36s, which are equipped with 36 1W Luxeon LEDs (12 each red, green and blue), are used to create an eye-popping spectrum of RGB-blended colors to light up pre-game and intermission events. For instance, during the playing of the National Anthem, “they do a cool red, white and blue staggered look on the truss warmers,” said Franke. “The truss really pops with the LED warmers inside.”
Being able to fit so neatly inside truss was one reason why the DLED 36s were chosen for the job. “They make great truss warmers for larger venues,” said Franke. “We use the DLED 36s with a mini clamp, and they go right inside your 12” box truss.” Another feature that sold the client on the DLED 36s was their fully integrated control and onboard power supply in each unit. “They liked the fact that everything was packaged in the light itself.”
The Power Spot 700s -- which offer CMY color mixing, a 14°-32° linear zoom, frost, iris, prism, and color, gobo and animation wheels – are used for effects lighting. The client had originally wanted 2k fixtures, “but when we did a shootout with the (700-watt) Elation 700s, they felt they were just as bright as the competitor's 2ks.”
Elation's affordability and quality were big selling points, said Franke, as was the company's limited 2-year warranty, which is “typically twice as long as the industry standard.” “I'm a big believer in Elation,” Franke commented. “They give you a lot of value for the price. I have a great deal of confidence selling their products.”
Franke also chose an Elation product to control the system – Compu 2048FC PC-based lighting control software. One of the programming requirements is to sync the lighting to the arena's Daktronics screens, and the Compu software's Easy Show time line sequencing feature makes it easy to cue scenes to music and video files. Additionally, the software's multi-media-triggering capability makes it simple for the staff at Stockton Arena to run the show. “We're sending the video to the Daktronics screen and playing the audio straight from the laptop. And of course all the lighting cues are being triggered as well. We did the programming for the game opener, but this makes it really easy for whoever's running the system to just be able to press the space bar – and it goes.”
They say that where there's lightning, there's thunder – but in this case the reverse holds true. After completing the Thunder project, IPS was asked to program lighting for the Lightning, an arena football team that also plays in Stockton Arena. “The Lightning liked the rig so much, they wanted to use it too,” said Franke. “They're getting great use out of these lights.”
For more information, call Elation Professional toll-free at 866-245-6726 or visit www.elationlighting.com Illuminate Production Services can be reached at 209-610-1970