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The result is a realistic sequence of environmental effects combined with rainforest animals swinging branches, grunting and moving in fog filled river beds. A great experience for the whole family and great food to boot.

by
Richard Goode
National Sales & Marketing Manager
Strand Lighting (Canada) Inc
.

Strand Lighting is the leading manufacturer of lighting, dimming and control systems for theatrical, television, film and architectural applications.


Editors Note: While sourcing high quality dimming ballasts for a project, I was introduced to the folks at Strand Lighting and the wonderful world of theatrical stage lighting. Someone said "the world is a stage" and more and more our automated buildings are becoming stages. I was intrigued by a project that Strand had just completed, The Rainforest Cafe.  I requested an article so I could accurately pass on project details to our readers.  Instead, I got something better in a quick response from a busy man who was willing to share the project details with us. I point at this email as a great example of how the industry can quickly communicate with us so we that can keep you up todate with the exciting changes happening in our automation industry. A special thanks to Richard for his efforts.

Dear Ken,

My schedule does not permit a formal or lengthy description of the Rainforest Cafe at this time but I can offer a description for you to work up.

The system is based on entertainment show control system for lighting and effects.

It is comprised of three show control elements:

strand1.jpg (4774 bytes)The center of the control system is the Strand Lighting 510 Show Controller. The "show" is based on timed events written in a theatrical "cue sheet" software called Light Palette. This software is also used in other applications to run Theatrical, Live, Multimedia and event lighting shows. The power of Light Palette allows the lighting designer to execute effects, macros or external commands to other automation devices during the show a show sequence of approximately 120 cues. Up to 2000 cues, (12 parts each), 600 effects and 2000 macros can be recorded into the 510.

PlantPROCORE The 510 Show Controller system is capable of communicating with 8192 discrete devices over 10mbs Ethernet which carries the DMX protocol, remote video, SMPTE, analog, midi and RS232. It includes special programming templates to effectively communicate with intelligent lighting fixtures that often require 24 discrete control channels each.

In the Rainforest Cafe the 510 show controller communicates with a number of devices to achieve total show control with precise timing and integration. Basic lighting levels, digital strobes, fog effects, rainfall, animal animation cues and audio effects are called from the cue sheet. The animals are directly controlled by a separate rack that drives the mechanical system with preprogrammed movements. The 510 calls these movements by a custom DMX512 interface.

The show follows a daytime look with a minimum of special effects and enters the thunder and lightening show approximately every 17 minutes. The restaurant management can call different show programs to suit attendance level or special events. Time of day macros prepare the system and begin the show every day on schedule. The result is a realistic sequence of environmental effects combined with rainforest animals swinging branches, grunting and moving in fog filled river beds. A great experience for the whole family and great food to boot.


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