A Fully Automated Interactive Lighting System for Corteo.

VYV’s Albion server system drives a fully automated, moving head lighting system for Cirque du Soleil’s outstanding circus production.

Originally a circus tent-sized show, Corteo was rebooted in 2018 into an arena-sized tour. The production faced a problem as the lighting design for the original circus show relied heavily on followspots. Scaling Corteo to the size of an arena would have a drastic impact on the number of followspots and operators that would need to be involved in order to light up the space. Dozens of lights had to be aimed at performers and props throughout the performance.

The situation would have generated prohibitive operation costs that could have jeopardized the production. Furthermore, Corteo was on a tight touring schedule—the circus moved to a new city every week where it would present a show almost every day. There was very little time to install and calibrate any kind of equipment.

Luckily for the people at Cirque du Soleil, VYV had developed ALBION, the world’s most robust optical tracking solution. The ALBION server works in conjunction with the COPERNICS optical markers to acquire  the positions of performers and props in real time, cook the raw data, and stream control information to lighting consoles, which in turn drive moving head lights.


Corteo got the full interactive automation treatment: 25 COPERNICS pairs were fitted onto props and costumes, 6 calibration lines were attached to winches mounted on trusses, 16 cameras covered the stage area and provided data for 2 ALBION servers. The scaling of the circus tent-sized show to an arena-sized production was a success; the moving head lights would automatically and flawlessly follow performers without any operators.

”The show rig has 112 moving fixtures that are calibrated and can be used for tracking, but we use 34 fixtures throughout the show as tracking lights from various areas of the rig. We are currently tracking 19 performers and 8 props during the show.”

– Jeffrey Chappell, Head of Lighting, Corteo Arena

ALBION integrates seamlessly with the grandMA lighting console. Once the servers are up, they feed control data directly without any monitoring or involvement required from the board operators. Your experience might tell you that such a powerful and precise tracking system must take an eternity to install. You are wrong. Corteo’s ALBION rig is set up and calibrated in 15 minutes. VYV makes lighting brilliant in a flash.

Luckily for the on-site team, Photon features a nodal programming system that goes beyond a traditional visual FX design as it encompasses logical and mathematical operations. Using these features, they were able to interpret, filter and convert artnet data on the fly so that mechanical and visual motion could create a unified artistic experience.

Once again, Photon proves to be the best integration platform when it comes to fusing information generated by automation systems and visual analysis. Photon is not only fluent in many different show control protocols, but it is also an unequaled tool when it comes to translating machine-talk into a language spoken by artists.

  • Client

    Cirque du Soleil

  • Director

    Daniele Finzi Pasca

  • Set Designer

    Jean Rabasse

  • Lighting Designer

    Martin Labrecque

  • Head of Lighting

    Jeffery Chappell

  • When

    From March 2018

  • Where

    Worldwide Tour