Dracula is eternally popular. A new version of the tale of Vlad the Impaler hit big screens recently while on stage Steven Dietz's adaptation of Bram Stoker's "Dracula" opened at the Moorpark College Performing Arts Center where an MDG Ice Fog Q generator helped create just the right atmosphere for the play. A.C.T Lighting, Inc. is the exclusive distributor of MDG foggers in North America.
Moorpark College is one of three in the Ventura Country Community College District near Simi Valley, California. The Performing Arts Center staged "Dracula" in time for Halloween with evening and afternoon performances in mid- to late-October.
"When the theater opened in 1996 we had two dry ice barrels with pumps for fog effects, and they broke down a lot," recalls Mickey Howell, the performing arts technician at the theater. "Then we rented MDG Ice Fog units. In the last couple of years funding from the state has enabled us to buy new equipment, and an MDG fogger was one of the things on my list."
Unlike traditional dry ice machines, MDG Ice Fog generators use liquid CO2, or liquid N2, to create the maximum low-lying fog with zero residue. The machines are extremely quiet, self-contained units on wheels for easy operation. They offer adjustable low fog output and are compatible with remote control timers and a DMX interface.
Howell had seen an MDG Ice Fog Q machine at LDI and was impressed by the amount of its output in a short amount of time. "Also, you could pump it out for long periods - five or ten minutes continuously," he says. In addition, "the fog dissipates rather than rises. With dry ice there are so many nuances and it can be dangerous, especially around students. But the MDG fogger is very easy to use. It's the best I've seen in the past two years."
"Dracula" marked the debut of the system. And it couldn't have picked a better play to showcase its capabilities. Fog shrouds Dracula's castle and Lucy's tomb and, at times, Dracula himself appears as fog. "One of the characteristics of Dracula is that he is actually fog in part of the play," Howell explains. "It's a great effect, and we're glad to be in the position to create it now."
He reports that the MDG Ice Fog Q "worked out really well" for "Dracula." "It's an incredible unit that does what we tell it to do. It produces great effects and is very reliable. And in theater reliability is especially critical."
Howell gives kudos to A.C.T Lighting president Bob Gordon who has "helped educate" him on equipment to enhance the Moorpark College productions. "The first set of scrollers we ever got were from Bob - we've been dealing with A.C.T since we opened," he says. "Bob has helped me to grow the equipment inventory and the quality of my theater. It's nice to work with someone you know and trust."
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