The largest performance space in Brno City Theater (Městské divadlo Brno), the musical theater, is a 680-seat hall that hosts a program of current musicals and large-scale plays. It was built in 2004 as the best technically equipped theater in Europe. To maintain these modern standards, the technical manager, David Kachliř, recently added a Robert Juliat SpotMe monitoring device to the site’s lighting inventory, thus increasing its existing complement of Robert Juliat products by 3 RJ Ginger lawsuits, Dalí 864 colored ramps and a number of RJ600 and 700 series profiles. The RJ SpotMe device was provided by Prolights.ro, exclusive distributor of Robert Juliat for the Czech Republic, as part of an improvement initiative aimed at sustaining the theater.
SpotMe is Robert Juliat’s award-winning server that produces real-time tracking information without transmitters, on-stage cameras or performers. It uses feedback from tripod-mounted sensors and a tracker to coordinate moving spotlights with motion initiated by a tracker and its operator – a perfect combination of high technology and human control in lighting design and operation.
Kachlíř chose SpotMe following a request from the artistic director, Stanislav Moza, who wanted to be able to follow the actors against the light from the lighting stations at the back of the stage. “Such positions are impossible to access with a human operator due to the number of flybars, lights and moving landscapes” explains Kachlíř, “So we decided to introduce SpotMe which can be controlled remotely by a console operator in conjunction with a tracking operator.”
The newly acquired SpotMe is used with one of the Theater’s RJ Ginger tracking spotlights and mounted on the front balcony of the house near the stage arch using a specially customized panoramic head (now a product of ‘standard RJ installation). From this position, Kachlíř, who is also a lighting designer and show operator for most of the Music Theater’s shows, can control all chase parameters and all other moving lyre devices calibrated with SpotMe, directly from the MA2 console. “It’s really quick and easy with the MA console – just touch the lyres I want to use to track, activate the preset, update the cue and that’s it! he says.
Kachlír first used SpotMe in December 2020 on the musical version of A pretty woman,directed by Stanislav Moša, which will see its Czech premiere and its official opening on September 11, 2021. “For this production, we use strong colors like concert purples and sharp-edged movable head / pursuit looks to follow the main characters.” explains Kachlíř. “The show is fast and I have generic lighting at my disposal with 70 to 80 mobile projectors calibrated for SpotMe. We were able to work with SpotMe’s tracking speed feature to handle the rapid changes in pace, using Fast Standard mode as the optimal setting for smooth movement between normal and faster speeds.
Kachlíř’s second design with SpotMe shows a very different application – this time for the Czech premiere of the Tony Award-winning musical Jane eyre, directed and translated by Petr Gazdík, which had its non-public opening in April 2021 before the official premiere took place in October.“For this historical drama, we wanted a dark, atmospheric look where no sharp points were used, just softer wash and beam lights.” said Kachlíř. “We increased the drama of the solo numbers using a single moving light, but we had about 50 lights calibrated for SpotMe in the works so we could dial what we want, when we want.
“We had excellent remote support from Ludwig Lepage, Robert Juliat’s product manager, which took place entirely online due to travel restrictions caused by the Covid pandemic. He used Facetime communication to see the scene and remotely controlled the console and SpotMe control directly from his computer in France. He was able to check the entire system and its settings via the remote control, and even turn on the remote tracking to save my trip to my own console! We were able to learn and familiarize ourselves with the SpotMe system under his guidance.
Having gained confidence in the functioning of SpotMe, Kachlíř is keen to further explore its capabilities in the future: “We have generally used SpotMe in standard mode, but there will soon be a time when we will want to calibrate it with our Dalis 864 projectors and discover the full potential of extended mode. We have used the Dalis in every show since we bought them and they have become fundamental to all of our designs. The gradation is very smooth and the color presets created by Ludwig for the MA2 console are extremely useful. We look forward to integrating these features into the SpotMe control and creating even more ambitious designs.
“SpotMe has given us a level of creativity that just wasn’t possible before. We can track anyone, anywhere, anytime, with any device we’re linked to, and use all the settings that any of the devices have to offer. We are very satisfied with the level of support we received which allowed us to familiarize ourselves with a new product concept. What initially seemed like an extremely sophisticated system is now so easy to use. It works perfectly and I am very happy that we made the investment. Our long-term plan is to invest in two more SpotMe units for our remaining Ginger pursuits. “