Essential viewing back in the early 1990s, The Crystal Maze is a cult British game show broadcast on Channel 4. Hosted by Richard Ayoade, the highly popular format relaunched last month and has proved to be a huge success with new audiences as well as fans of the original series.
Set in a labyrinth, a team of contestants take on a number of challenges, which are played out in four zones, winning a crystal for each successfully completed game they take part in. Upon reaching the centre of the Maze, the team must collect as many golden tokens as they can from within a sealed Crystal Dome to win a prize. The amount of time they are given in the dome is determined by the number of crystals they retrieve during the show.
Having worked on several game show formats in the past, the team at ER Productions jumped at the chance to devise two laser based challenges for the revamped show. “We were originally approached by senior games producer, Anna Kid, having been recommended by the show’s lighting director, Gurdip Mahal”, comments Tom Lesh, Project Manager at ER Productions.
“Although the games were designed by the specialist production team, our role was to help realise their vision using our cutting-edge laser solutions”, he continues.
ER worked on two original games for the show including a laser maze, constructed of twelve 2-metre high laser gates, and a room full of sweeping lasers. Contestants must navigate and avoid the lasers for them to obtain the elusive crystals. If contestants come in to contact with any of the laser beams, they earn a strike, facing immediate disqualification if the beams are broken three times.
To construct the laser maze, twenty-four red Lase Arrays were used to form the gates. Adding an extra layer of complexity to the challenge, the gates have been programmed to close in tight sequences. In the laser room, eight BB3s emit single green laser beams, which sweep the room continually, requiring contestants to keep their wits about them.
ER Productions custom fabricated twenty photosensitive light strips for both games, which trigger an alarm, alerting contestants, the presenter and the audience if any beams are broken during the challenges.
A Hog 4 lighting console controls both games and Unique hazers have been used to accentuate the beam profile of the lasers making them visible to contestants and viewers watching at home.
It was great to be involved with the relaunch of this iconic show. Our laser programmer, Ben Couch, and laser game technician, Matt Harr, have done a fantastic job and we’re thrilled with how the show has been received”, Tom concludes.