Everyone loves a parade, and the Journey of Lights Parade at Chimelong Ocean Kingdom, Zhuhai, China is no exception. The parade is filled with over a million LEDs, featuring colorful, illuminated costumes and props, all triggered wirelessly. The parade route is filled with juggling clowns, candy-laden dancers as well as illuminated jellyfish, butterflies and more. The result is so amazing that it won a Thea Award for Outstanding Achievement from the Themed Entertainment Association in 2018. “The parade was the brainchild of Chimelong founder Mr. Su, Ryan Miziker and his creative team at Miziker Entertainment,” explains David Foley, Technical Director at Miziker.
For their wireless DMX, Foley turned to RC4 Wireless, the only firm to offer secure wireless signals known as RC4 Private IDentities™. This proprietary feature essentially creates a wireless VPN [Virtual Private Network] for each DMX wireless system. RC4 Private IDentities™ keep the wireless DMX data 100% private and safe from other projects and systems, with a robust resistance to signal loss and slow down. Foley explains, “The 2.4GHz & 5GHz wireless bandwidth is saturated in a theme park like Chimelong, in addition to all of the new shows that come online when we leave, so having exclusivity in that bandwidth for the parade is huge. With RC4 Wireless, I didn’t have to worry about another show jumping on the parade’s wireless band since it’s specific to your individual show.”
For the sixty costumes and props, Foley used 18 RC4Magic DMXio-HG transceivers along with 100 RC4Magic DMXmrx receivers; all in the 2.4GHz band, which is ideal for any production that is based in Asia or Europe. “None of the other big wireless DMX firms had anything small enough that would fit on costumes, and the smaller do-it-yourself products weren’t as robust or technically advanced as RC4,” Foley explains. They also don’t have the technical support or the Lifetime Warranty that comes with every RC4Magic product. The RC4 Wireless support team is based in the US, and that’s where the dimmers are fabricated. “It seems that in every other organization, you have to talk to the dealer reps, who then talk to the product sales guy, who then talks to the product engineer and you get stuck with a product or solution that could have been better,” says Foley. However, support at RC4 Wireless is different; James D. Smith, the Product Developer at RC4, takes many of the support calls personally. “Being able to talk to the designer on the phone and discuss process or technical details is a huge thing, especially in a project like this,” admits Foley.
The project was a collaboration between many entities. “Miziker brought Mirena Rada onboard for costume design, as well as a Brian Gale of NYXdesign for the float lighting layout,” says Foley. The parade has nine floats and approximately 60 costumes; each float has six to eight LED-laden costumes. As the Technical Director, Foley wanted to “give Chris Osborne, the Lighting Programmer, enough flexibility that similar costumes didn’t have to mirror each other but limitations with the RF spectrum prevented wireless transmission of so many universes.”
For the Journey of Lights Parade, Foley and his team had the DMXio-HG transceivers assigned to the individual floats; they trigger the DMXmrx devices, which then activate the CueServer playback device that controls the costumes lighting programming. Foley notes: “Evan Hall and Brice Helman from Forward Thinking Designs had designed a system where GPS and QSC kept the audio in sync. Joseph White of Crafted Audio and I just expanded that control into our system architecture.”
The Journey of Lights Parade at the Ocean Kingdom has been enchanting and amazing visitors nightly for over two years. “Everything from RC4 Wireless worked great. It was really a testament of the professionalism of RC4, as everything was properly bagged, labeled and encoded, which meant I could just hand it to the costume team. It all worked out of the box and I had absolutely no complaints. In the end, if it’s good enough for PRG, the Oscars, Disney, and the myriad of other users who have testimonials on the site, it felt like a safe bet for me. Moving forward, RC4 is my first choice for wireless DMX,” Foley concludes.