Potter's Projected Premiere


When Visions Lighting was contracted by Wendy Creed Productions to provide production design for the Hollywood premier for Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, the fifth Potter film to date, the soundstage of Jim Henson Studios was chosen for the location. Todd Roberts of Visions was the production designer, as well as the provider of lighting and projection equipment.

Approximately 1,000 guests attended the elite event, where they were greeted outdoors by tons of fog on which a the Harry Potter logo was projected via a 4kW projector from Pani, a challenging effect due to the evening's windy weather conditions. Le Maitre low-lying smoke machines and Reel EFX hazers added to the mysterious atmosphere.

To get to the soundstage, the guests then walked through a fireplace, complete with FogScreen projection screen and green fire (pyro provided by Sigma Services), onto which images were projected using Sanyo XF45 10,000-lumen projectors. The effect was created to replicate one of the movie's effects in which characters are transported through green flames located in fireplaces. Visions Lighting also constructed a ceiling structure, projecting images via a High End Systems Catalyst media server to create a sky that transitioned from blue to dark clouds with lightning. The projected images were achieved using Sanyo PLC-XF30 projectors provided by Futurelight. In the movie, pictures on walls literally come to life. Courtney Saylor, director of special events for Warner Brothers, wanted to replicate the effect in the movie during the event. The Visions team crafted 12 picture frames to fit various sized plasma displays. Warner Brothers provided exclusive content for the picture frames, delivered directly from England. Radar Multimedia formatted and looped the content, which was then displayed on the plasmas using a DVD player.

In the main bar area, Sigma Services, a company based in Plant City, FL, provided production of a green flame that randomly surprised guests as it shot into the air throughout the evening.

Wendy Creed Productions constructed a “wall of prophecies,” which included one large projection sphere provided by Visions Lighting, which displayed “Harry Potter's Prophecy.” The projection sphere was created with the aid of two high-lumen projectors.

Lighting for the event, also provided by Visions Lighting, was a mix of Vari-Lite VL3000s outside and Martin MAC 2000 profiles inside (with custom dichroics from Apollo), as well as a slew of ETC Source Four ellipsoidals and PARs throughout and an ETC Sensor+ dimming rack. Control was via a Flying Pig Systems Wholehog 2 (outside) and a Wholehog 3 with Expansion Wing (inside). CM Rigging provided motors and rigging, including 1-ton motors and CS 800 motor controls. Distro was from ProPower and Motion Labs. Sew What? created custom sharkstooth scrims for the premiere as well.

3G Productions provided audio production, which included sound effects of trains, in addition to thunderstorms, which took place in approximately 20-minute intervals throughout the evening. The storms featured thunder and lightning, which cued various lighting effects. One of the most intriguing sound effects featured the sound of cats meowing in the restrooms, another complement to the movie and one of its characters, Headmaster Delores Umbridge, who is an avid cat lover and owns china plates featuring cats that meow.

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