lyndhurst,nj-Every day Greg Soltys goes to work he steps back about 400 hundred years back in time to witness a nightly jousting, a betrayal, a distressed princess, and a feast for hundreds. No, Soltys doesn't work for a museum, he interacts with knights and royalty through technology at the Medieval Times in Lyndhurst, NJ.
Soltys has worked at Medieval Times over the last 10 years. "I started as a spotlighter and worked my way up to technical director," he explained. Now he's in charge of making sure the show is spectacular in its use of lights, sound, and fog. Soltys works with several assistants during each show. The show is designed like jousting tournaments in a large arena, where the audience feasts on medieval grub and watches the knights brain each other with axes and swords. The arena is equipped with a booming sound system and an intricate lighting setup that's all based on various cues. Each castle across the country is set up differently, working off a storyline for several years and then switching it up to a new one. To accommodate this changing environment, the system had to be installed to allow modification. And recently, the Lyndhurst castle installed several new speakers and lights.
Currently, the castle uses two JBL speakers in the center ring and about 32 surround speakers on the outside wall. There are six double-stacked subs running off of a Soundcraft K2 and powered by 17 Crown K2 mini-drive racks housed in Middle Atlantic racks. The arena is very boomy, but to get a dramatic feel Soltys still coats the Shure wireless microphones in reverb with a TC Electronic M-One XL, a Yamaha SPX990, and a TC Electronic M300. Working off cues from the actors, Soltys uses two 360 Systems Instant Replays. There are also three Shure shotgun mic setups in the arena for sound effects during the battles.
For the dazzling lighting display, Soltys uses 12 studio spots, nine Cyber lights, four Satellite spots, and 62 par cans. The majority of the moving lights are mounted in the center of the arena, the bar cans are installed around the outside of the arena to highlight the different colored sections. Originally the arena had up to 300 par cans installed, but to cut costs they installed moving lights and put scrollers in the remaining pars. There is a Rosco fogger in the ceiling and a water-based MeeFog around the wall of the arena. Soltys works with several assistants that man the spotlights that are mounted on top of the grandstands in the four corners of the arena.
The Lyndhurst castle worked with Frank Andrews at Portman Music in Georgia for the audio system and Stage Front Presentation in Atlanta for the lighting system. Lighting scenes are changed yearly, when a technician for corporate comes to evaluate the system. The most important issue when making changes is working with the horses, which are very sensitive to change. If a lighting cue that didn't exist a week ago spooks a horse, it could get dangerous for everyone in the arena. Not that axes and swords aren't dangerous enough.