PRATT, KS – When the Miss Kansas 2015 pageant ended, the crew from Douglas Production Group received an unexpected surprise. The crew from The Texas Tenors, who performed at the event, left a note praising the show’s lighting director. For Kirk Longhofer, General Manager of DPG, it was not only flattering, it also represented validation of their decision to go with an LED rig made up primarily of Chauvet fixtures.
“This was the first time we had nearly 100 percent LED lighting,” said Longhofer. “We knew an LED rig would offer a lot of practical advantages, particularly in terms of generating less heat, which is important in a Kansas summer. We also were confident in the performance of the Chauvet fixtures from previous experience with them. Still you’re always a little apprehensive when you do something for the first time. But when we saw the brightness and even coverage of the light we knew we made the right choice. The Texas Tenors note was icing on the cake. I mean how many times does an LD write a thank you note about the lighting?”
Despite Kansas’s relatively small size (it ranks 34th among states in terms of population), the Miss Kansas event is widely regarding as one of America’s leading beauty pageants. Not only does it feature some of the most elaborate production design elements in the state pageant world, it also attracts high-profile stars to perform as guest artists. The 2015 edition of the pageant was no exception, as was evidenced by its dazzling lightshow and dramatic fog effects, courtesy of the CHAUVET Professional Vesuvio RGBA LED fogger.
“Sue Givens and Doug Brehm, the organizers of the Miss Kansas pageant, are really the driving force behind this whole thing,” said Longhofer. “They’re committed to creating and maintaining an event that makes people want to come back. We were honored that they basically made us a production partner in this pageant. All of us worked hard over a four-day period to transform a sports arena into a theatrical setting that offered a rewarding visual experience for a live audience and for video viewers.”
According to Longhofer, CHAUVET Professional’s Ovation E-190WW LED ellipsoidal fixture played a key role in achieving this goal. “We hung the Ovation fixtures on two full rows of trussing with 20 and 50 feet throw distances,” he said. “They covered these distances with no problem; the light was very bright and the light field was extraordinarily smooth and even. There were no hot spots, the way there can be with incandescent fixtures. This was extremely good for videoing the pageant. As much as I knew the Ovations would do the job, they exceeded my expectations.”
The 2015 Miss Kansas design also used 12 Q-Spot 460-LED moving fixtures with dual gobo wheels, 3-facet prism and a richly saturated color wheel. All of these features came into play during the Texas Tenors’ performance and other production segments of the two-hour pageant show. “We went for a lot of flash during the production numbers,” said Longhofer. “We relied on beams, rich colors, bold gobos and breakup patterns to add energy to the stage.”
In addition to using the Q-Spot fixtures to generate this visual excitement, the Douglas Production Group team called on the color rendering capabilities of over 40 LED fixtures from CHAUVET DJ. Included in this group were COLORband PiX and COLORband PiX Mini RGB strips and SlimPAR 64 RGBA par-style units.
Providing added pizazz to the evening were two Vesuvio RGBA LED foggers, which shot large volumes of water-based fog high in the air and illuminated them with shafts of colored light. “We positioned these units at the stairway leading to the stage and shot the colored fog as the pageant contestants entered,” said Longhofer. “It was very dramatic. The thing about this product that I really like is that it produces a realistic cryo effect at a fraction of the cost of cryo jets.”
As a finishing touch, the design team had the Funfetti Shot from CHAUVET DJ shoot confetti in the air when the winner was announced. “The whole design was a lot of fun,” said Longhofer. “Our rig had to wear different hats during the event. We got to be flashy during the production numbers, but when the contestants performed we had to be low-keyed and consistent to be fair to everyone. Our all-LED rig did everything we asked of it, plus it made our lives easier by generating less heat and saving us time setting up.”
Based on the reaction to this year’s lightshow, it’s safe to assume that Miss Kansas 2016 will also feature an all-LED rig. Perhaps everyone didn’t sit down and write a thank you note about the pageant’s lighting, but as Longhofer points out, “Everybody who spoke about them had nice things to say about the lights.”