Meeting unique lighting challenges for Six Flags Magic Mountain’s interactive dark ride JUSTICE LEAGUE™: Battle for Metropolis, Tony Hansen, head lighting designer and project/product specialist at Techni-Lux relied primarily on the ultra-compact LED fixtures manufactured by Gantom Lighting & Controls. Hansen’s lighting design challenge was to make the scene authentic and evocative, and lit in such a way that guests feel continuity throughout the adventure whether interacting with something built or something projected.
Gantom fixtures were found to be ideal for helping achieve a consistent look and feel in this multimedia setting. “Everything was built with lighting in mind, especially the queue,” Hansen said. “We worked with Rich Hill and Bill Kivi, with the scenic fabricators and with other team members to help lay out all the queue line elements and placement, crawl spaces, and handpoints to figure out where to put lights, which were all hidden like architectural elements, mounted to pieces of wood. We would drill a hole, mount wood behind the hole, and attach the light to the wood to shine through the hole, like a recessed fixture. Now repeat that 300 times and multiply by three!”
According to Hansen, the lighting installation for Six Flags Magic Mountain, in Santa Clarita, CA — took approximately 500 labor hours, with nearly 90 percent of the ride lit by Gantom products – more than 300 fixtures within the queue and preshow spaces. The lights had to comply with California’s stringent building and safety codes, and are UL listed. “The LEDs that are part of Gantom’s Precision Z series are the ones I made the most use of. That line is available in a variety of colors and I can pick the ones I want, then mix the lights together to get any color,” said Hansen.
Fixtures having the capability to interface with DMX dimmer controllers allow lighting designers to precisely set the level and colors for each fixture. The DMX interface also facilitates immersion and interactivity in being able to readily program the lights to change as visitors go through a room.
Specializing in fixtures for low-light and space-constrained environments, all Gantom’s fixtures are small, LED based, IP65 rated, UL Listed, and low voltage. They range from 1-Watt, single-color LED fixtures to 7-Watt, 7-color DMX fixtures. Their average fixture life is listed at 50,000 hours. Philip Hernandez, CEO of Gantom, talked about quality and quality control. “LEDs are made in batches and graded like diamonds with a rating system called binning. Gantom chooses LEDs from the same bin for every fixture type. That way, the color is of an even quality and degrades at the same half-life,” he said. “A big benefit of colored LEDs is that designers don’t have to use gels, which fade over time, and the tasks of replacement and matching colors are simplified.”
Hansen has lit seven of these interactive rides at Six Flags this way, and other projects besides. “We’re doing LED stuff everywhere,” he said, citing new projects – the recently opened Sesame Street dark ride in Port Aventura (Spain) and Reese’s CupFusion at HersheyPark, both also using Gantom products.
This article is adapted from “Lighting Jokers,” InPark Magazine #78, by Judith Rubin and Mark Eades (inparkmagazine.com)
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