Back in the mists of time dinosaurs roamed and ruled the world…and now with the fabulous arena spectacular Walking with Dinosaurs, they are doing so again. This time the mist, or rather haze and low fog, is courtesy of MDG with three ATMe™ haze generators and three ICE FOG™ Compack HP low fog generators supplied by Sonalyst, the South Wales-based production company looking after the UK and European tour of this fabulous show. Sonalyst was already aiming to expand its investment in some serious haze and fog equipment when Walking with Dinosaur’s LD John Rayment approached them with his requirements for the tour which called for a huge amount of haze and low fog.
Rayment, who has been working on the dinosaur production since the very beginning… (of the shows… not civilisation), has always been a great advocate of MDG and pointed Sonalyst in their direction. “We were really keen to get into MDG because we are aware of the capabilities of their haze and fog units as high quality, reliable machines,” says George Pakenham, project manager at Sonalyst. “When John confirmed he was a big fan of MDG, we decided to go down that route. It’s our first investment in MDG and the units have been excellent, really first class!”
Large amount of haze and low fog
He added, “a large amount of haze and low fog was needed to create the right atmosphere, so we purchased three of the ATMe haze generators and three ICE FOG Compack HP low fog generators. Each unit is put in the best position for the airflow of the venue, which of course can change from venue to venue, but a pair of ATMe and ICE FOG Compack generators are usually sited upstage left and right, with one of each toured as a spare.
“The spares are carried more as a safety net in case of accident during transit and set up rather than a fear of failure. The nature of the show means there’s a heavy reliance on fog and haze which we have to guarantee, and as the show is so busy and travels around so much, we need to be prepared for all eventualities.”
All the generators are controlled via DMX from the console and programmed into the show. The ATMe units provide a fine, continuous haze that enhances Rayment’s lighting and creates a great primeval atmosphere around the 18 life size animatronic dinosaurs – some of which require 3 people to operate them – which range from Raptors to Tyrannosaurus Rex. The ICE FOG Compack provides a creamy, low fog for a theatrical section mid-show and fills the entire centre of the floor to perfection: “That’s no small task when you consider the stage is 36m deep x 24m wide,” says Pakenham.
Since Sonalyst started, it has supplied tours for the likes of Bill Bailey, Russell Brand, John Bishop, We Will Rock You, The Commitments, Dynamo and Monty Python Live on Stage, as well as television spectaculars Strictly Come Dancing, Britain’s Got Talent and Dancing on Ice. This is the first time Sonalyst has been involved in Walking with Dinosaurs.
“The choice of MDG was a no brainer,” concludes Pakenham. “The designer recommended them as the best and our involvement with the show has given us the opportunity to invest in MDG and grow our already extensive lighting stock – which of course includes fog and haze effects. We are extremely happy with the effects and reliability of the ATMe and ICE FOG units and would definitely buy MDG again.”
“We pride ourselves on great equipment and service at Sonalyst so it’s fantastic to work with Matt Wiseman and MDG who know their products inside-out and can support them so well,” agrees Sonalyst MD, Rory Madden.
This $20 million giant of a production has already toured 250 cities around the world, requiring 24 trucks to move from venue to venue. You can still catch sight of the dinosaurs through the haze as they tour mainland Europe from September 2018 to May 2019.
For more information on all MDG’s fog, haze and atmosphere generators, visit MDG website
Text : MDG. Photos : Patrick Murphy & Kate Lyon.