CHICAGO, IL – “Why would you light a bridge with moving fixtures?” Tracey Dear heard this question on more than one occasion when he specced CHAUVET Professional Rogue R2 Washes to bathe the Clark Street and Dearborn Street Bridges in a vibrant purple for the Susan G. Komen Ignite the Fight fundraiser to aid cancer research. For Dear, the answer revolved around a single word, “flexibility.”
“Some people wondered why I would want movers on a static focus,” said Dear, the owner of Chicago-based Dear Productions. “However, I learned from past experience that in a project like this, you may need to change things quickly. When that happens, there may not be the time to make your adjustments with static fixtures. Sure enough, on the night of this fundraiser we got a call from the Coast Guard telling us that we had to reposition our lights because of the glare on the water, so we tipped our Rogues up 10°.”
That adjustment made, Dear went on to transform the night vista on the Chicago River with his 42 Rogue R2 Washes, which were supplied by JR Lighting Design, Inc. He arranged the 285-watt RGBW moving fixtures in banks of eight and positioned them as close as possible to the corner points of the two iconic drawbridges.
“Since this was a temporary installation (7:15pm – 11pm), it wasn’t always possible to put our fixtures exactly where we needed them,” said Dear. “On the north side of the Clark Street Bridge we had to go a level higher than we wanted to because of the restaurant below. We just couldn’t get access to the waterfront level there. But the Rogues are extremely bright, so we got the coverage we were after, and since their colors are so saturated, our lighting really popped against the night sky.”
To coordinate the surrounding area with the illuminated bridges, Dear lit trees on the north side of the river, as well as a City Winery on the south side, with pinks and purples using COLORado wash fixtures. He also turned the finish line pink with light from his ellipsoidals.
“Color was important to conveying the spirit of this event,” said Dear. “We wanted to keep the mix of colors consistent, limiting ourselves to a specific shade of pink, and not distract attention with too many contrasts going on. The COLORado 1 Solos and COLORado 2 Solos that we used in the areas away from the bridges produced some very rich colors. We were able to create an immersive atmosphere with these lights without going overboard with special effects or too many contrasting colors.”
Although no one who witnessed Dear’s spectacular color-scape would ever imagine it, budget was an issue for him when he created the Ignite The Fight design. “Budget is always on your mind with this kind of event, because every penny counts when you’re working for a good cause,” he said. “We also had to work hard to avoid glare problems and get property permissions to place our fixtures. Our team did a great job meeting these challenges. Kevin Rosenhagen of JR Lighting was a pleasure to work with. Bonnie Gordon, Laurie Dimakos, Cassandra Hatto and all the hard-working women at Komen Chicago, as well as Cassidy Fletcher, Dan Conroe and Nathan Holgate from City Winery all helped make this a success.”
In the end, said Dear, he and his team got “a ton of compliments” on the looks they created — and not one question on why he used moving fixtures.