Storytelling with Maximus at Qantas Founders Museum

Qantas Founders Museum. Photo: John Elliot

Power LED luminaire’s comprehensive design package used to help visualise narrative in Luminescent Longreach sound and light show.

Global design studio Buchan Group designed and produced an extraordinary immersive storytelling experience at the Qantas Founders Museum in the Queensland Outback of Australia and uses Elation Professional IP-rated Proteus Maximus LED moving heads to help visualise the narrative. The 20-minute multimedia experience, Luminescent Longreach, uses the museum’s classic aircraft as projection surfaces to recount Qantas’ rich history and reflect on the spirit of aviation through projection mapping, custom gobos, animation, lighting effects and 3D sound.

The story moves between the Museum’s classic aircraft, which includes a beautifully restored Super Constellation whose intense start-up and take-off of billowing smoke and shooting flame is simulated to the delight of the many guests. Anthony Rawson, Senior Associate at Buchan Group, needed to find a way to simulate the dramatic effect and uses dynamic lights, smoke machines and sound effects to do it.

Rawson and his Brisbane-based team sought a powerful spot luminaire with gobo capabilities and wide zoom to project graphics and animation onto the ground, as well as the underside and sides of the planes. In addition, with the entire site exposed to the elements in the form of wind and dust, lateral rain, and temperature extremes, any lighting used had to be IP65 rated.

After consulting with Elation’s Australian distributor, ULA Group, the decision was made to go with the multi-environmental Proteus Maximus, a 50,000-lumen strong moving head with 950W white LED engine and CMY color mixing. Effective as a profile, beam or wash light, it includes framing, a 5.5- to 55-degree zoom, and comprehensive FX package. ULA Group supplied nine Maximus units for the project – six fixtures rigged overhead and two on the ground (one spare), all outfitted with custom gobos.

Presented in a covered outdoor museum the size of two football fields, the nighttime sound and light show uses gobo projection from the Maximus to depict various settings such as storm clouds for a scene set in Gallipoli, and high-contrast plane profiles. The animation wheel is used to create the sweeping cloud feel and is also accessed for a scene in which the audience is immersed in a watery look. The fixtures also color wash the space, project ground textures, and are used as a travelling spot that directs the audience’s attention from one plane to another. Buchan designed and installed the permanent installation, and wrote, directed and produced the launch content.

Through cold winter nights, summer temperatures up to 45 degrees Celsius, as well as intense storms, Rawson reports that the Maximus fixtures have held up well. Luminescent Longreach runs each night and has proved very popular since launching last July 1st.