One of our more prominent projects on display right now on the Las Vegas strip is some work we did for Cirque du Soleil and their Mystere show at the Treasure Island. The single image is featured all the way across the top of the hotel showcasing two acrobats in motion.
The projected started out in typical fashion. Their marketing team approached us with the creative concept which showed some various comps of acrobats flying in the air and our goal was to turn this into a hi-res digital reality. At face value it would seem to be a simple enough challenge however from our experience it is a major technical and logistical problem. We set-up a meeting on location at the theatre with the marketing team, show staff, production crew, lighting experts and the stage riggers. We had a lot of questions our team needed to get answered to figure out how to put this together. In this case one of the biggest questions we had was whether or not we could use our studio lights to photograph these acrobats (and more importantly stop their motion) or would we be forced to use stage lighting. Staging lighting can be an amazing quality of light but it is typically nowhere near as bright as our strobes and you sacrifice image quality to achieve a shutter fast enough to stop this action. We quickly learned the acrobats had to perform their moves about 50+ feet in the air and it was impossible to rig our strobes in their stage structure at the angles we needed to achieve the lighting look we were going for. Answer: Stage Lighting.

After getting the rest of shoot logistics under control we set a shoot date and time and made sure to have all the CDS & Studio J Inc. team members in place for the shoot day. We arranged to have the CDS technical lighting team there hours in advance of the performers and spent that time, on stage, calling out different stage lights (Each one has a designated # labeled on it) in their lighting grid and aiming them at the spot we believe the preforms would be at that peak moment in the air. Ultimately we developed a custom lighting look not a part of their pre-set show looks. This was tedious and time consuming process but was an essential part of the final image we develop. One of the other questions we answered during our pre-production meeting was how far of a “throw” it would take to photograph our subjects . By taken test shots from different heights we determined the proper angle upward our client liked best and we also determined the lens needed to shoot this would be a Canon 400 F 2.8. We picked the 400 F 2.8 for a few reasons. First we need a wide aperture lens to stop action in a low light scenario. Second we needed a long lens to maximize the use of every single pixel our camera had to offer to keep quality at the highest level since we knew this was going to print BIG. In the end all of our critical pre-production work resulted in a very seamless shoot with a great quality product for our client to use. As you can see this was a massive team effort. From The Studio J Inc. team’s execution to the creative team’s concepts, to the show and technical teams preparation and of course to the amazing performers who risk their lives day in and day out. Cheers!