We were curious about how Dolly Parton appears, in hologram form, in Dollywood's A Christmas Carol production. Justin Bradley, Entertainment Manager at Dollywood, met us early for a behind the scenes tour. This is unlike any other production, for it has original musical numbers written by Dolly Parton herself.
When we first entered the theatre, they were cleaning the big projection screen. A little to the right of the brush, you can see how much dust has settled after the previous day's performances. They use a shop vacuum to clean the brush after each stroke. Justin said they also sometimes have to adjust the tension to prevent wrinkles in the screen. He also mentioned that last season they had more work until they were able to relocate the raccoon that was leaving scat throughout the stage and theatre. That would have taken more than a brush to clean up!
Justin pointed out how busy the stage is when all the characters appear together in the town scenes. The cast is warming up their voices and doing sound checks so we couldn't record a video.
Here the production crew is checking the test pattern to make sure the projects are all in alignment. The projectors are above the stage, and shoot directly onto the floor. You can see a small part of the reflecting screen in the lower right of the picture. The vertical image behind Justin is actually on the angled screen where the spirits appear.
Here is a view of the reflecting screen on the floor from above. It is hidden from the view of the audience. If the projectors are not in perfect alignment, strange things happen to the images of the spirits. The number 4 that you see, directs Scrooge where to look during a specific time so he appears to be looking at the spirit.
If you look over to the right edge of the upper platform, you can seen tape marks along the edge. Here is where Scrooge's showmanship gets tested, because he cannot see the projection and basically, from his perspective, is interacting with one of the spots on the floor. While he is remembering where to look, his timing must also be impeccable because the recorded spirits cannot adjust for any changes.
The end results of all this technology produce scenes like this one of Scrooge interacting with the spirit of Jacob Marley,
And, the most popular spirit of all, Dolly Parton as the spirit of Christmas Past. She also sings during her "appearance."
There are a total of four holograms, which also include the silent spirit of Christmas Future, who helps Scrooge mend the error of his ways.
Here are some excerpts from the show. It is quite the extensive production and is the first time this technology has been intermixed with a live production in the theme park. Our thanks to Justin, the production crew, and the cast for their assistance in letting us, and you, behind the curtain.
Happy New Year from all of us at News Plus Notes, may you be healthy, prosperous, and faithful during 2015.