The Ehrlich Brothers, Europe’s most famous illusionists, should have recorded their ‘Dream & Fly’ show for DVD and TV in March 2020. Everything was already set up in Munich when production was prohibited by an order from the Bavarian state.
But the Ehrlich Brothers would not be the Ehrlich Brothers if they simply left it at that. And so Andreas and Chris Ehrlich started planning the two-part TV show ‘Factory of Dreams’ together with GERDON design in May. Also included in the set were 24 of the brand-new JDC Lines from GLP, which would serve the two world-class show magicians well.
‘Factory of Dreams’ was finally produced on 2ndand 4thOctober in a hall on the premises of Ehrlich Entertainment GmbH in Bünde, North Rhine-Westphalia. The show was a mixture of new and known illusions as well as some highlights from the past few years.
GERDON design from Wiesbaden came on board as the creative and implementation partner. “The year 2020 has also been an incredible challenge for us,” said managing director, Thomas Gerdon. “We were all the more delighted to be able to realise this wonderful project for such a committed customer. It was a real concern for Andreas and Chris Ehrlich to get numerous employees and freelancers at least temporarily out of short-time work during this difficult time. Consequently, the ‘Factory of Dreams’ has been fun for everyone involved.” In addition, 99 spectators were also able to attend the production under the strictest hygiene requirements.
Thomas Gerdon and his team were responsible for the set and lighting design as well as the camera concept for the 360 ° show, although Gerdon noted that Andreas and Chris Ehrlich are involved at every stage and introduce their own ideas. “I always know exactly how my customers think and so the route to achieving the objective is usually an easy one,” he said.
Despite the basic 360 ° design, the large LED wall in the set indicated the main direction of travel. The GLP JDC Lines, which Thomas Gerdon was using for the first time, were placed in front of the LED wall in various vertical groups (individually, and as groups of two, three and four) as background lights.
The JDC Line is the new hybrid product from GLP and combines a powerful white light LED strobe with a particularly intensive LED pixel mapping line. Several devices can be strung together almost seamlessly to create continuous lines of light. With 100 extremely powerful white light LEDs on a 500mm lens, the LED strobe unit offers sufficient brightness to generate massive flashes. Separation into 20 individually controllable segments enables endless creative possibilities and impressive pixel mapping options. In addition, the JDC Line has two 200 RGB LEDs, which are arranged above and below the strobe LEDs and focus together with the white light of the strobe LEDs in the special 500 mm lens. Here again, the division into 2 x 20 individually controllable segments offers infinite creative scope.
Thomas Gerdon believes the JDC Lines served the Ehrlich Brothers well. “They are illusionists and you have to support that by over-exposure in the camera every now and then. That worked really well with JDC Lines. On the one hand, they allow a beautiful, harmonious play of colours that, if necessary, turn into ultra-bright flashes of light very quickly, only to immediately appear again very discreet and classy in the camera.”
The designer had been introduced to the JDC Line by GLP’s key account manager, Oliver Schwendke, during the early stages of development, and his curiosity was aroused. He was all the more pleased to be able to try out the new lighting effect in practice: “You become accustomed to designing with [conventional] LED sticks,” he said. “You have seen it a hundred times and have always accepted the disadvantages. But with the JDC Line, there is, for the first time, a solution that creates a truly continuous line of light. On top of that there is the versatility: The JDC Line offers great options to create a calm, discreet lighting design on the one hand, but with the power of a high-performance strobe up its sleeve… as we have already come to know from the JDC1.”
“And the best thing about it? The change from a very soft look and feel to a tough flash effect is lightning-fast,” continued Gerdon. “With the JDC Line, GLP has once again created an incomparable and unprecedented product—enabling the designer to build looks for which tedious workarounds previously had to be created; these were accordingly prone to error and did not look nearly as good. Also, because the JDC Lines are relatively small, they can really be placed anywhere, which further increases the range of applications.”
The designer also has further plans to use the JDC Line after the pandemic. “You can use them at open air events in daylight and I’m sure they’ll take off effortlessly, even when the sun is shining on the stage.”
‘Factory of Dreams’ was broadcast on RTL at the end of last year. The production design was a co-operation between Thomas Gerdon (who was also lighting designer and DoP) and Chris Ehrlich. Marek Papke from GERDON design was responsible for the set design. The on-site lighting crew consisted of Rene Gamsa (head lighting operator), Klaus Kubesch (effect light operator), Florian Schmitt (Ehrlich Brothers operator), Marek Papke (white light operator) and Leon Schwerdt (Depence visualisation operator).
The Ehrlich Brothers have proven impressively that they can realise the most demanding productions even in the most difficult of (pandemic) times. It will be exciting to see what comes next.
Photo credit: Ralph Larmann