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Viva Elvis

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Viva Elvis


The Music


Blue Suede Shoes
Don't Be Cruel
One Night w/You
All Shook Up
Got a Lot of Livin
Heartbreak Hotel
Love Me Tender
Return to Sender
You Lonesome?
Western Scene
Burning Love
Bossa Nova
King Creole
Jailhouse Rock
It's Now or Never
Can't Help Falling
Love Me/Don't
Viva Las Vegas
Suspicious Minds
Hound Dog




Performance Space

Elvis Presley - still "The King" to millions of fans worldwide - remains nearly ubiquitous in Las Vegas even today. It's not surprising, as his career and the city's history are intertwined. One of his biggest film hits was 1964's Viva Las Vegas. And it was during Presley's Las Vegas "comeback," starting in 1969, that he set the first of several attendance records, eternally connecting the man and the town. So perhaps it was inevitable that Cirque du Soleil, in building a Las Vegas legacy of its own, would someday create a show honoring The King. Viva ELVIS, presented at the Aria hotel at CityCenter, was that show. (CityCenter is a 16,797,000 sq. ft. complex, which includes the Aria Resort and Casino, Vdara hotel and condo tower, Harmon Hotel and Spa, Mandarin Oriental Hotel, Veer Towers condominium, and Crystals retail and entertainment district.) With a pronounced dance/musical/concert emphasis, the production would be at home on Broadway. (Its writer/director, Vincent Paterson, has worked for Broadway, the West End, and Los Angeles Opera.) However, its sheer size, technical complexity, and visual overload made it right for Las Vegas, or so everyone thought.

More than just a concert of Elvis’ classics—and yet not intended to be a biography — the show is a celebration of Elvis’ life, the things he loved, his history and his larger-than-life image. Of course, the show is built upon Elvis’ music, and the attention to the detail surrounding the music is more intense than any other Cirque production, including the most recent prior Las Vegas offering: The Beatles LOVE, Cirque’s homage to the Beatles and their music. A live band of nine musicians supports four live female singers as well as prerecorded musical tracks and vintage Elvis vocal recordings. A team of dancers and acrobats brings to life pieces of Elvis’ past through high-energy dance numbers and gravity-defying stunts that are synonymous with the Cirque brand. Of course, supporting all these performers is a host of technology, a team of technicians and an eight-segment moving LED wall that is the visual centerpiece of the show.

[ Set & StageSoundLightingProjection ]

Set & Stage
    "Elvis has transcended reality and become a kind of mythic figure. So his final reappearance in Las Vegas has to be done on a scale and with an opulence that reflect that status. The line between scenery elements and acrobatic equipment here is not always clear - and that was a deliberate choice." — Mark Fisher, Set Designer.

With the spirit of The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll in mind, and with an understanding of the importance of how both production and venue are inseparable to the design of Cirque du Soleil’s permanent venues, a team of Cirque’s frequent collaborators was assembled. Theater consultants Auerbach Pollock Friedlander (, the MGM MIRAGE Design Group and architects Pelli Clarke Pelli (, Gensler ( and HKS, Inc. (, were brought to the production team.

Viva Elvis' technical and creative immensity starts with its 1,825-seat theatre: The overall requirements of the production led to the creation of one of the largest proscenium stages in North America. Conceived as a large cruciform, similar to major opera house stages, the performance area is flanked by rear and side stages with full height lofts and a working cruciform gridiron. The 166,000 square-foot stage was developed in anticipation of the spectacular scenic designs of Cirque’s Mark Fisher, and boasts the world's largest single-run, fiber optic, audio transport system. In addition to the design and specification of the theatrical systems, Auerbach Pollock Friedlander also facilitated the theatrical contractors’ work throughout the construction process. Solotech (, a longtime contractor for Cirque productions, handled the installation process.

The predominant color of the whole set and theatre is gold in a reference to the baroque era as well as to Elvis' own identification with gold as the universal symbol for the wealth of kings, and as a stylized reference to all of his gold records. The curtain and the stage floor are decorated with golden disks that recall the 151 Elvis Presley albums, singles and EPs that went gold, platinum or multi-platinum in the USA. The upholstery pattern on the chairs, the drapes imprinted with Elvis 45’s — even the wood on the walls — all reference the "Jungle Room" and other interiors at Graceland, the King’s Memphis, Tenn., castle.

There is a new set for nearly every sequence in the show, each of which details a different moment in Presley's career, including his breakthrough with "Blue Suede Shoes," his army career, his marriage to Priscilla Beaulieu, and his emergence as a Las Vegas icon. Fisher acknowledges the importance of a large scale in his vision. "I like the kind of extravagance of Elvis' world," he says. "Everything needed to have this larger-than-life feeling, because he's this larger-than-life figure." Take, for instance, in...

  • BLUE SUEDE SHOES — The opening number is dominated by a giant jukebox. The chrome and gloss black structure is 70 feet wide and 22 feet high with dance platforms on two levels. It incorporates a 50-foot tall video screen. The gigantic Blue Suede Shoe that appears on the stage is 29 feet long, weighs 7,000 lbs and is made of steel and fiberglass.

  • GOT A LOT OF LIVIN' — Seven integrated trampolines allow acrobats in colorful tights to defy gravity, leaping tall buildings in a single bound. The whole structure was inspired by Elvis' love of superheroes and amusement parks, which he would visit with his friends after hours. The structure weighs some 30 tons and takes up the full 78-foot width of the stage, is 23 feet deep and 32 feet tall. The team established every distance between the trampolines, and the angle of the wall, and the distance between the objects, to make it possible for the artists to move from one wall to the other; the angle of the wall [is such that] they can walk on it. In order to maximize the surface area of each trampoline, a latex fabric was used, avoiding the traditional spring-supported mechanism.

  • JAILHOUSE ROCK — The challenge for Mark Fisher was to come up with a set for "Jailhouse Rock" that would reference the iconic set used in the film, but at the same time be original and fresh. He based his new design on the technical requirements for a circus art called "marche inversée." The structure incorporates ten tracks for acrobats to walk upside down, attached by their feet, while dancers perform right side up on other levels. The 82,000- pound set is 60 feet wide, 45 feet deep and almost 40 feet tall. Up to 36 artists appear on it at the same time. The set also has 462 wheels, and it rolls onstage at 1-foot per second using a laser guidance system.

  • WESTERN SEQUENCE — The giant lasso used in the Western sequence is 40 feet long, and three giant "cowboys" representing Elvis complete the decor. They are made of fiberglass and measure 35, 31 and 17 feet high.

  • RETURN TO SENDER — A huge 15,000-pound structure that consists of five fixed bars and two sets of parallel bars on three levels, does not so much dominate the stage as blend with Mark Fisher's overall design for the "Return to Sender" sequence, which represents Elvis's army training. The American flag used here is made of genuine long underwear and boxer shorts, and has only 48 stars because Elvis entered the service in 1958, the year before Alaska and Hawaii were admitted to the Union.

  • VIVA LAS VEGAS — Used in the last few songs in the show, this set captures the glamour of Las Vegas with a huge ceremonial staircase as its central feature. Pavilions on the sides house the musicians, and decks above the pavilions serve as stages for the dancers, jugglers and other circus artists. To complete the glamour and provide the show with a climax, there are two beautiful gold-leaf sculptures of Elvis in iconic poses from the peak of his popularity in Vegas.

"We made a show that comes at you fast," Fisher adds. "There's a lot of scenery changes."

  If Elvis, the performer, was as muchmabout “moving and shaking” as the music itself, similarly, mounting a production to represent his spirit would be about music and movement of great scale, rhythm and beat. Bringing the physical spirit and energy of Elvis to Cirque’s audiences required extensive staging flexibility, realized in an array of stage lifts, performer lifts and mechanized sliding platforms that reveal the lifts when retracted. Aerial acrobatics rigging, conceived by Cirque Acrobatic Rigging Designer Guy St. Amour, was facilitated by an overhead track and trolley system using multiple performer winches that travel horizontally and vertically at high speed to enable a dynamic aerial ballet. All motorized overhead rigging and stage machinery is controlled by an integrated automation system by Stage Technologies (, safely enabling three-dimensionally choreographed acrobatic and scenic moves.
Basically, the stage is laid out so that the sides and rear are fixed areas, while the center is composed of 17 stage lifts. The two widest stage lifts measure 18-feet by 80-feet, each with a lifting capacity of 65,000lbs and a 165,000lb sustained capacity; each are raised by four motors located 30' below the stage. A lift at stage center is 18-feet by 20-feet, with a lifting capacity of 35,000lbs and 104,000lbs sustained capacity. A total of 12 ‘POD' lifts are 8-feet by 10-feet each. Eight of them ride on one of the larger 18-feet by 80-feet lifts and can travel 10-feet above stage level; four others downstage travel 6-feet above stage level. All the lifts run at 1-foot per second, with the exception of the 18-feet by 20-feet unit, which runs at 2-feet per second. There's also two 8-feet x 8-feet star lifts placed all the way downstage; and three SLOATS, or sliding lids over automated traps; one is 18-feet by 30-feet, with a speed of 3-feet per second, and two, covering the star traps, which are 8-feet x 8-feet, split down the center, which run at 1-foot per second.

A number of scenic houses contributed to the show. F&D Scene Changes, of Calgary, Canada created the first giant blue suede shoe and an enormous wedding cake, among other pieces. Show FX, of Los Angeles, built the Las Vegas set for the finale and the opening jukebox set. Stageline, of Montreal, a company generally devoted to making mobile stages for the concert touring market, built the "Jailhouse Rock" set. Jacqueline Pyle contributed her sculpting services on such pieces as the Elvis busts. Aciers Trans-Rol provided the trampolines. Additional pieces were provided by Acme, Matamo, Darcor Casters Ltd., Sablage 2000, Creative Technologies, Magnet Shultz, Just for Show, and Blue Line Studios. Softgoods were provided by Rose Brand and Dazian. Rigging gear suppliers included JR Clancy, Setpoint Design, AMC Fabrication, Silver State Wire Rope and Rigging, and Falltech.

In addition to providing the main and house curtain trusses, Tomcat supplied a 40-foot by 30-foot scrim frame, fabricated out of 2-inch steel cord, with the top and bottom chords curved to the match the proscenium. The side chords are made of aluminum box tube with screw adjustments on both sides, allowing the frame height to be adjusted. The company also supplied medium- and light-duty truss, powder-coated in gold, to match the rest of the set, along with hoists and cable.)

Stage Technologies provided the scenic automation. There are over 225 axes of movement in the show, all controlled by four Nomad portable control desks. Major components of the automation system include custom-built tracks and trolleys, hoists with SIL3 positioning technology, eight motorized LED panels with anti-sway technology, and radio-controlled scenic stage trucks that follow micro-accurate laser guidance, making continuous correction during motion possible. Stage Technologies also automated the set for "Got A Lot of Livin' to Do" with a four-friction drive system and "Jailhouse Rock" with a six-friction drive system, moving 57,000lbs and 90,000lbs respectively. Stage lifts were provided by Show Canada, of Quebec, and Lee Mechanical Contractors, of Park Hills, Missouri. Stage Technologies' eChameleon automation software made its debut on the show; a new feature, which allows the live recording of joystick motion, was especially useful for the automation programmers.

Despite the physical challenges of the sets, Fisher says biggest challenge was fiscal: "It's always the budget. You never have enough money to do what everyone wants to do. People always have bigger ideas than the money that's available. It's always a huge struggle between the budget and the ambition. But we got the balance right."

Sound Design
    "Cirque didn't want to recreate anything they have done before. They wanted to create something new and special for Elvis and for Las Vegas, drawing on the energy of Elvis's live shows performed here." — Jonathan Deans, Sound Designer

Deans realized early on that Viva Elvis should have a rock-concert vibe. "It is definitely a concert," he says. "The musicians are onstage; they perform with their guitars. It's different from other Cirque shows, where you see them in a corner or upstage. They can be on the edge of the stage, with film clips of Elvis behind or above them, and they are rocking out."

The show demands artful blending of disparate audio elements: an eight-piece on-stage band, four female singers, the voice of Elvis, and dynamic sound effects. Because of this intense emphasis on the music, Deans says, "We have a very large sound system, although you don't see it, because it's all behind the drapes and curtains." To support the mix with full impact, sound designer Jonathan Deans engaged a total of 279 self-powered Meyer Sound loudspeakers and the largest all-digital Matrix3 audio show control and CueConsole modular control surface system ever assembled. To fill the house with sound from all directions, Deans started with a main system of 48 MICA line array loudspeakers set in four arrays of 12 loudspeakers each.

The gear was supplied by Meyer Sound, because, he adds, "the voicing of their speakers are all very similar. It's easy to move sound from one unit to the other, even though it's a different model. I'm always flying sound around and moving it. We use MICAs [the company's compact curvilinear unit] for line arrays along the front, with 700-HP subwoofers beneath them. We have a split center cluster for left-right [distribution], because the proscenium is so wide. We need to be able to pull focus if we need it, because, in a large auditorium, the audience needs some reference to direct them, besides the lighting." The main left, right, center left, and center right arrays consist of four hangs of 12 MICAs each, with eight 700-HP subs at right and left, and eight M3D subs at the center. A set of bunker subs, located beneath the concrete, consists of Danley Sound TH-115TJ units. Front fill is supplied by nine Meyer M1-SMs, with side front fill provided by two UPJuniors and four M'elodies.

Deans notes that the surround system consists of five Meyer MTS-4A four-way self-powered units, five CQ-1 wide-coverage main boxes, and five UPJ-1Ps (another wide-coverage unit). Additionally, he says, "I'll use M'elodies [which are ultra-compact] to push towards the front of the auditorium and UP-Js to go underneath the balcony, hitting the orchestra." The side surround system consists of eight MSL-4s, eight UPQ-1Ps, and ten UPJunior VariOs. Providing rear surround are 14 M1-SMs, six M'elodies, and 17 UPJ-1Ps. Buried underneath the theater’s seats in three rows, distributed throughout the audience, are 20 Danley Sound Labs TH-115TH Bunker Subwoofers. They provide low-frequency content, effectively used as seat rumblers, an approach previously used on other re- cent Cirque theaters on the Strip. In the show’s Blue Suede Shoes number, for example, a bass drop accentuates the song, rumbling the seats at the bottom of the lower frequency sounds.

"The stage monitors are a combination of ten M1-SMs, built into the lighting trusses, and CQ-2s, which are very long-throw speakers; those are actually positioned 20-feet into the auditorium, firing at the stage at the center," says Deans. "Again, because the proscenium is so wide, I needed to get sound into the middle."

The mixer and monitor boards each use Meyer Sound Level Control System Series Matrix 3 (LCS LX-300) as the mainframes, along with Meyer Cue Consoles, supporting a total of 540 inputs and 776 outputs. "This way," Deans says, "with the fiberoptic network, we can split—and all use—the same inputs. The fiber-optic is the point where we split, because it's just a matter of jumping onto the fiber-optic and jumping off whenever you need." Effects are played back on the Meyer Wild Tracks system. Additional effects gear includes two T.C. Electronic 6000 and eight T.C. Electronic M-One reverb units.

  Although drums and percussion are wired in, just about every other element of the band is wireless, an approach that presented the design team with considerable challenges. “We needed 143 wireless frequencies to run this show,” explained the production’s Head of Audio, Kevin Owens. “Our available spectrum was 470 to 694MHz, so Sennheiser came in and coordinated all the frequencies for us.” Additionally, the musicians’ in-ear monitors, which were intended to broadcast in stereo, were receiving only monaural signals. After a great deal of troubleshooting, the crew determined that the Nextel system antennas used on the CityCenter property were rebroadcasting their signals with blended channels. After coordinating the 5000 antennas that covered the property (including 50 inside the theater), a solution to the problem was managed by putting filters on the antennas in the venue.
The fiber, by Optocore, is very stable. "No problems at all," says Deans. "Because the auditorium space here is so huge, being able to convert it straight into digital and send it on fiber keeps the quality." This avoids the capacitance and resistance losses associated with long runs of copper: "We don't get that. This is fantastic," he adds. "It's like doing it in a little theatre, as far as the quality of that loss you get in copper."

The performers sport Sennheiser body mics (40 channels of EM 3732 UHF receivers and twenty-nine SK 5212 body-pack transmitters) and Sennheiser in-ears (30 channels of SR350 IEMG2 in-ear monitors with EK300IEMG receivers). The band mics include a variety of Neumann, Sennheiser, Audio-Technica, Audix, Shure, AKG, and DPA units. A Sennheiser transmitter is used for most of the instruments. Communications are handled by the Clear-Com Eclipse intercom system and a Dynacord Proannounce paging system.

"The only thing we don't transmit from the musicians is the drummer," Deans notes. "I wanted to make sure that key position was never transmitted, with all the white space issues going on with digital TV and everything else. We have three drum kits in the show and three percussion kits, so the drummer and percussionist run around from one kit to another depending on the scene, whether it's on stage, off stage, or built into the stage."

    "My original intention was to give a feeling of being there in the moment. However, the lighting design went in the direction of a more updated, concert feel." — Marc Brickman, Lighting Designer

"Elvis was a rock ‘n’ roll performer," explained Janene Pettus, Head of Lighting & Special Effects (and project manager for lighting installation). “So our lighting rig and effects have to reflect that style." Mark Brickman’s production lighting design created a plot relying on 100% moving lights (about 235 of them). The huge array of moving light fixtures brings a rock concert motif to the show. Cueing all the moving fixtures has been a significant challenge (there are over 2,000 cues), and Pettus admits that focus points had to be updated continually, especially as changes were been made to fine-tune the show in its initial working-in preview period.

Six GrandMA consoles run the show and were used to handle the steady stream of changes during this time. Many changes have been small, while others have required a more broadbrush approach to modifying the lighting plan. Part of the stage set includes pods that raise and lower throughout the show. Originally, the face of the pods was solid, but the creative directors felt that it looked too boxy. As a result, a perforated textured facing replaced the solid facias and, suddenly, there was a reason to have lighting beneath the pods. Luckily, the conversion was fairly simple: The pods had been installed with power and DMX signal run out to them. Recognizing Cirque’s well- established protocols that build-in the opportunity for the design to evolve as the show is being previewed, Pettus noted that this was all a matter of how things are done. “During the design process, we try to anticipate future needs." And so it was with Elvis.

"The general direction was to make [the lighting] theatrical and artistic," Brickman says. "The acrobatic side of the show was where we spent the most time in terms of cueing, angles etc., trying to break that wall with the performers, as light in their eyes is always an issue." The biggest challenge, says Brickman, came because "there wasn't an opportunity to insert lighting into the set pieces. Our only choices were to light around and above all the set pieces. The choice of an all-automated show was based on the fact of the size and complexity of not only the theatre, but the large set pieces."

"Given the enormous size of the venue, cast, sets, etc.," Brickman says, "there was a concern that we would not be able to give enough punch from the distance that the instruments were allowed to be placed." To address this, "the majority of the lighting is by [Philips] Vari-Lite. It has always been a proven performer for color and overall reliability. Syncrolites were also chosen for their intensity and beam spread as a front-of-house source."

The lineup of gear includes 110 Philips Vari*Lite VL3500 FX units, 28 VL3000 Spots, 67 VL3500 Spots, 24 Syncrolite Syncro MX4s, 170 Elation TriPARs, 26 Martin Atomic strobes with scrollers, 36 Solaris Quasar 15K strobes, one Solaris T-Light 85K strobe, twenty-five T8 Technologies Lumapanels, six Robert Juliat Cyrano followspots, two Clay Paky Alpha Spot 700 HPEs, 90 ETC Source Fours in various models and degree sizes, 25 James Thomas PAR 20s, 30 Altman StarPAR CDMs, 75 Altman PAR 64s, and 154 Altman s hort-nose PAR 62s. Lighting is controlled by a grandMA console, from MA Lighting, with ETC Sensor dimming and an ETC Net3 network. Wireless Solution's W-DMX Blackbox S2000 transmitters and R512 micro receivers send DMX to six roving VL300s and some LED units on the jukebox set, rope light and MR16s in the Vegas set, and red beacons on the "Jailhouse Rock" set.

  Elvis liked things that were big, bright and flashy. The “big flashy show” also extends to the lighting in the public areas and lobby, where Architectural Lighting Designer Auerbach Glasow French provided Elvis-inspired movement of the architectural lighting design. Blending architectural and theatrical lighting techniques, the audience environment transforms from an elegant, subdued theatrical venue to a pulsating, exciting Las Vegas showroom through the use of light and color. Color-changing, high-intensity LED fixtures in architectural wall openings light the venue’s luxurious drapery. Elvis’ colorful and dramatic life is reflected in the lobby design, where a curving glass ceiling, internally illuminated by more than 6000 red/blue/green color-changing LEDs, recalls elements of the LED screen array onstage. A glass wall, referred to as the “Diamond Wall”—internally illuminated by 357 red/blue/green LED fixtures comprised of 5355 LEDs—has these sources located behind lenticular lenses and fluted vertical glass panels. The effect of moving light and color is a dynamic focal point in the lobby.
"By surrounding the playing area with automated fixtures, we were able to create rapidly, along with the design team, in real time," Brickman says. "The overnighters grew considerably easier as time went on. As the show grew, and the team became more comfortable with the design, we were able to integrate our lighting during the days while blocking was ongoing."

Of course, lighting is the main thing, but "we also have fog machines [from Ultratec Special Effects], haze machines [from MDG], and a lot of pyro in the show," Pettus adds.

Matt Dillingham, of Advanced Entertainment Services, worked with Martin Gauthier, Michel Tremblay, and Karl Seymour, of Cirque, to develop the show's pyro and flame effects. Several of these required modifications to the control systems. In the case of the Elvis statues, which pivot and move, says Dillingham, "It was necessary to develop custom wireless control for their flame effects, to accommodate their movement and also provide multiple redundant control features for safe operation. A collaboration between AES, Sigma Services, and Doug Fleenor Design was essential to accomplishing this." (In addition, Ultratec customized the timing of its droopy gerb, a long-fall silver waterfall gerb to fit a specific timing need.)

The show also utilizes chilled liquid CO2, haze machines and regular foggers. During rehearsal previews, guests in the first few rows complained they were fogged in for most of the show. Pettus and the lighting team took note and coordinated with the resort’s HVAC system engineers to create specific controls for the theater. As a result, show technicians can adjust the fog response throughout the production, maintaining the audience’s view to the stage without compromising special effects or the audience’s ability to see the overall production in its glory.

“I would equate Viva ELVIS with Wagner’s Ring Cycle", Brickman concludes. "The production is epic in scale and the show is an unpredictable hybrid. It’s opera, it’s theatre, it’s dance, it’s circus. Lighting serves to help tell the story and translate the energy of music and bodies moving in space. It’s a balance between light and dark, truth and myth, and the magic of what we think we can see.”

Video & Projection
    "I like to push people's eyes and use the impact of fast editing. There's gotta be 8,000 edits in this show. At least." — Ivan Dudynsky, Image Content Designer

Put simply, the goal of Viva ELVIS was to bring Elvis back to Las Vegas. The creative team decided early on that the only male singing voice in Viva Elvis would belong to Presley. So, how would they bring Elvis into his show? The solution was found in archival footage of The King that rarely had been seen by the public. For this project, Dudynsky started by looking at 60,000 Elvis photographs, 30 films, 15 documentaries, ten concerts and a lot of home movies, as well as shooting new footage and creating a lot of graphic design elements for the show. The next step was figuring out the media solution that would best display these images in the context of the production.

The brunt of the work is handled by the show’s technological centerpiece: a custom- built 40'-wide-by-30'-tall Daktronics PS-12i LED wall. The million-dollar wall is composed of 384 LED tiles per column, totaling 3,072 LED tiles (or 786,432 individual LEDs). The wall is divided into eight individual five-foot wide columns that are tracked on and off stage, functioning as a discrete unit, merging to create a single screen, or separating into different single- or multi-column configurations. Cirque’s designers were concerned with weight and associated noise from the LED wall, and chose Daktronics’ fan-less system to provide a quiet ambient sound environment. Four pairs of fiber run to each of the columns, with two used for show control and two for backup. One of the biggest challenges for Dudynsky was in "how to support the action on stage without drawing too much attention to the screen while making sure there’s genuine interaction between the two."

"On this level, when you're given this giant screen to work with, the biggest challenge for me was obviously the footage. We looked at hundreds of hours of footage to narrow it down to 30 songs in 90 minutes and, for each song, we were very specific about creating a unique look, so you never see anything repeated in the show," Dudynsky says. "I used nothing from after 1974, or 1973. There's a quality of footage that we had to deal with - we weren't going to fight it - we were going to embrace it." However, he adds, "It's not HD."

The team used Adobe After Effects to create both original and 3-D animations, as well as to treat existing footage. The editing was done on an Avid system. "We had 16 terabytes of media on this project," he adds. "We did 10-15 versions of each song. I've pushed the Avid to the max. We did all of our offline editing on the Avid. The final outputs were all to QuickTime, uncompressed video. The video is controlled by a Coolux Pandoras Box media server. The Coolux system ingests 1,024 by 768." (Tomcat also provided two 95' x 54' projection screen frames, constructed with 12" aluminum ladder truss, with 12" of adjustability built into the side frames. As was the case with all of Tomcat's custom contributions, self weight was a critical issue because the theatre's rigging load tolerances were very slim.)

"Sometimes the choreography drove what we did; sometimes we drove what the choreography did," says Dudynsky. "In a song like ‘Suspicious Minds,' Erich and Hugo gave me the music. I edited the music, and then the choreographers took the video that I gave them, and matched some of the choreography to it. I really enjoyed that process, collaborating with the music guys, and with the choreographers and acrobats as well. That was fun. That was definitely something new that I hadn't worked with before."

Six Christie DS+ 10K-M projectors mounted along the balcony provide additional projection capability. According to Head of Projection Tom Juliano, he chose them for their “small size and bright output.” Two projection surfaces - a slightly curved scrim for "Love Me Tender" and a large screen from MDI for "Burning Love" (delivering a montage of romantic sequences from Presley's films) - provide an intimate setting that was not possible to achieve using the giant LED wall. (They also deliver images of the singer's wedding onto a veil during "Can't Help Falling in Love," as well as rarely seen footage of him in the military during "Love Me Tender.")

Directly above the stage, two moving DL3 projectors project images onto the stage and on additional scenic elements. The DL3s are mounted about four feet apart, and all projections are non-blended, because the challenge involved in continuously calibrating the moving coordinates rendered an edge-blended approach to be infeasible.

Six Coolux Pandoras Box Servers manage the projection system. Two of the servers are configured for an SDI live input, but the show currently is using only prerecorded material. Coolux also furnished an application, Widget Designer Pro, which provides a seven-inch touchscreen monitor used to trigger cues or take control of the projectors remotely. Additionally, an Avitech Multi-Viewer allows preview system playback without having to actually turn on a projector, which was especially beneficial during the rehearsal process. “We can monitor the projection system without blinding performers, and they can focus on perfecting their dance moves,” explained Juliano.

Dudynsky says the most difficult challenge was balancing the visual excitement of the video with keeping attention on the live performance. "It's something I really commend Cirque on," he says. "Because they did take a risk and allowed things to happen on stage that you wouldn't see in any other Cirque show."

"I knew nothing about Elvis when I started this project, and now, I put him up there," he adds. "You know, he defined ‘pop star' before Justin Timberlake and Michael Jackson and Ricky Martin. I mean, look at those moves! I really respect him. He was a simple guy, too. He liked to go home and ride horses, drive his cars, and play football." Maybe, but there's nothing simple about the tribute that is Viva Elvis.

Cirque Corner