Theatre - 2017

House Of Horror' Tour

'House Of Horror' Tour

Hans Klok, the world’s Fastest Illusionist, presents his grisly ‘House of Horror’ show.

Belgium-based show design practice, Painting with Light, has created innovative and highly effective lighting and video content for the current tour by Hans Klok, the world’s Fastest Illusionist, who is presenting his grisly ‘House of Horror’ show.

The spectacle, produced by Stardust Circus International, which combines the drama and theatrical gruesomeness of Gothic horror with quick-witted and fantastic illusion art, was launched at the Royal Theatre Carré in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, where it enjoyed a hugely successful seven-week run before going on the road.

The action includes mind-boggling special effects that help transport audiences into a strange world where nothing is as it seems, as Hans Klok’s House of Horror tests and exceeds the limits of the genre of ‘illusion.’ The epic-scale family horror show offers a cast of freakish and fantastical characters together with the Master of Magic.

Luc Peumans, commissioned as light and video designer, led the Painting with Light team, which utilized one of its new disguise media servers to great effect to help produce some gripping video special effects. They evoke the mystical world with many gruesome tricks and twists as Klok is pursued relentlessly by a pack of master illusionists from the past seeking to protect their realm of secrets.

The story unfolds in many different rooms and spaces around the House of magician, Cordoni, who conceals the biggest secrets of all. Cordoni has seduced other magicians into his house, made them disappear and kept all their illusionist acts in his ‘magic book.’ To become the greatest illusionist of all time Hans has to survive his visit to the house and combat Cordoni by executing 15 illusions in three minutes, a world record and the reason he’s known as ‘the world’s fastest Illusionist’.

Art director and costume designer, Jan Aarntzen, produced the overall visual and set design and delivered a clear brief to the Painting with Light team about what they wanted to achieve in looks and atmosphere with video and lighting.

The video visuals are instrumental in supporting the show’s narrative so Painting with Light brought in video artist Jos Claesen to co-ordinate the content creation team. He and Luc worked together on this year’s K3 tour (Belgium’s most famous girl band) and over two hours of original content was produced from scratch. For this show, they developed a graphic style inspired by the work of 18th century Italian artist, Giovanni Battista Piranesi, renowned for his grimly fascinating fictitious ‘prisons’ with their impressive detail, intimidating walkways, staircases and foreboding darkness.

The strong black and white precision of Piranesi’s work featured prominently in the graphic material, while all the shapes and contours of the video – some of it animated – were tweaked to match the set. Jos worked closely with Painting with Light video artist Sina Sohn. The artwork was created in multiple layers so it could be fine-tuned and manipulated live during the show.

A newly purchased disguise 4×2pro media server, supplied via Benelux distributor FACE, was specified as the most flexible and stable solution for storing and playing back House of Horror’s media elements.

Painting with Light made its first investments in disguise equipment this year and became a disguise Studio partner, available to offer expertise and specialist knowledge on the disguise platform to any projects utilising this powerful and versatile technology.

disguise Regional Sales Manager EMEA, Sarah Cox and Owner/Creative Director at Painting With Light, Luc Peumans

This show required maximum fluidity in the workflow and the ability to edit right up to the last minute. According to Luc, the ‘flexible and intelligent’ disguise timeline programming, “together with the pixel precision, superior mapping features and the quality of the image produced made it ‘the best choice’ for the production.”

disguise was programmed by Painting with Light’s Katleen Selleslagh. Luc and the entire team – Jos, Sina and Katleen – appreciated the disguise pre-visualisation capabilities, which were invaluable during the many House of Horror video brainstorming sessions as they prepped and reviewed the content.

The whole process started at Painting with Light’s studio facilities in Genk, Belgium. Then it moved to the production rehearsal facility, a former factory space in Klok’s home town of Ijmuiden, for the last week. Subsequently, they moved the disguise and full video visualisation package plus WYSIWYG, for a final week of intense programming and editing on site at the Royal Theatre Carré before the premiere.

“Using the visualisation, we could look at all the footage and see exactly how it would appear onstage, onscreen from multiple angles and positions,” Luc explains.

The disguise system running the video cues is triggered partly by timecode and partly, manually, by the grandMA2 lighting console operated on the road by Stefan Hegteler.

The tour is currently scheduled to run until January 2017. It will also return to the Carré in October 2017.