Painting with Light provides show lighting and video design for 40-45 Musical Spectacular

Painting with Light, a lighting and multimedia expert, has announced that 40-45 Musical Spectacular, for which it crafted the show lighting and visual design, will run until at least May 2020.

Painting with Light is pleased to announce that Studio 100 will be prolonging the run of the successful 40-45 Musical Spectacular after the show gained over 600,000 visitors. The lighting experts designed all the show lighting and were also responsible for video design and control, making use of the latest technology.

40-45 Musical Spectacular follows on from the Flemish 14-18 Musical, telling the story of a family during WWII and the German invasion of Antwerp. The huge floor space and moving set gave Painting with Light the challenge of working creatively with negative spaces, and they rose to the test by designing a dark, intense atmosphere across the show.

Studio 100

The entertainment company Studio 100 is based in Belgium and is known for productions of children’s television shows and musicals, as well as the much-loved Plopsa amusement parks across Europe. Creative Inspirer Gert Verhulst brought together a top team of talented creatives from Belgium, in order to create a ground-breaking story about the human spirit:

“After more than three years of intense preparation, the premiere of 40-45 exceeded all our expectations! I am particularly proud of the creative and technical teams who flawlessly converted our ideas into a unique spectacle. We truly take musical experiences to the next level, completely drawing the audience into the story. The technical concept of 40- 45, including moving stands and headphones, is undoubtfully a world’s first.”

Immersive experiences

Musical 40-45 Painting with LightGuests are completely immersed in the show, through the use of moving scenes as well as innovative sound and light technologies. The 2-hour show takes place in a specially-built construction. It is located in Puurs, between Antwerp and Brussels in the Flemish region of Belgium. Nearby is Fort Breendonk, a visitor attraction that was previously used by the German army as a political prison camp.

The audience is transported on eight self-driving tribunes which can accommodate 209 persons each. These move around the performance with eight large wireless moving LED towers to form a digital backdrop and two self-driving stages. The audio experience is enhanced by Sennheiser headphones.

This complex environment meant that Painting with Light needed an advanced lighting and video control approach. The team created a dark and intense ambience, working with the negative spaces around the moving scenes and ‘painting with darkness’. Sometimes only a part of the screen is used to create a scene and the rest disappears.

360-degree approach

Luc Peumans, CEO of Painting with Light, says, “With eight seating tribunes all moving around the space; the audience watch the show from every angle, which needed a 360-degree lighting approach.”

Show lighting can be used to draw the guest’s attention to certain areas or hide areas from view by un-lighting them. It can also add a theatrical and dramatical impact as well as contributing to the story by emphasizing certain elements or details. Show lighting adds to the immersive experience, helping to draw the audience in.

Design and props used in the show include a 1:1 scale World War II Stuka bomber that ‘flies’ above the audience and a crashed full-size Spitfire aircraft that burns realistically on the stage. The moving video screens and automated prop wagons required sophisticated lighting, sound and projection technology. The entire show was simulated in 3D beforehand, outlining every movement, scene and lighting angle. This was then transplanted to the lighting desk so the lighting in real-time synchronizes with video screens.

Peumans says, “It has been a real pleasure to be part of this production and again be working alongside the highly talented and passionate team that also crafted 14-18. There have been many challenges for all technical departments involved, which have all been successfully met with an excellent synergy and a true spirit of collaboration. Everyone can be proud of the final result, an innovative theatre experience.”

Painting with Light also used its smart light technology to boost the visitor experience for Walibi’s new interactive dark ride, Popcorn Revenge.