ADJ Lighting And Atmospheric Fixtures Create Spooky Effects For Alberta Ghostbusters

A variety of ADJ fixtures were used recently to provide production lighting and atmospheric effects for an ambitious film project undertaken by charity fundraising and cosplay group the Alberta Ghostbusters. To promote their society and its fundraising endeavors, members of the group filmed a cinematic promotional video at the iconic Calgary Stampede using ADJ’s Jolt 300 LED wash fixtures and an Entour Chill low fog machine, alongside other ADJ lighting. The wash lights illuminated both performers and vehicles in a variety of bold colors while the fog machine was used to create ghostly effects.

Established in 2011, the Alberta Ghostbusters are a Canadian registered non-profit society with a charitable purpose that fundraises through cosplay events. The group is comprised of volunteers, prop builders, collectors, and fans of the Ghostbusters movies. Through making appearances at local events, complete with their highly detailed replica suits, proton packs, ghost traps and ‘ECTO-1’ vehicle (loaned from friends at BC DeLorean + Other Movie Cars), so far the group has raised over $57,000 for the children’s hospitals in Calgary and Edmonton. As Dustin Milne, the association’s Events Director who also happens to own and run production company Digital Media Integrations, succinctly explains: “You get to dress up as a Ghostbuster, raise money for the children’s hospital and put a lot of smiles on faces!”

Dustin recently pulled in favors from a variety of his contacts – including emergency services personnel and movie industry professionals – to create a short film to promote the association. Although it was produced on a shoestring budget by a volunteer crew, the promo has an incredibly high production value. It features emergency services vehicles, familiar supernatural villains from the Ghostbuster movie franchise and, of course, the Alberta busters themselves.

“The whole thing started off,” says Dustin, “when my girlfriend, who is a paramedic in Calgary, suggested that it would be fun to get some photos together with an ambulance, her in her uniform and me in my flight suit. From there things just grew and grew. The Stampede kindly donated the venue, buddies in the police and fire services got involved, as did friends from the movie industry, and we ended up with a full-scale production! Leave it to me to turn a simple idea into a big circus! But it was a lot of fun!!”

Since the whole shoot took place at night – across two consecutive evenings – getting the lighting right was important to the success of the project. Ten of ADJ’s versatile Jolt 300 LED-powered wash fixtures were used to illuminate the outdoor wide shots showing the arrival of a police car, two ambulances, a fire truck, and, eventually, the Ghostbusters in ECTO-1. The same fixtures were then deployed in lesser numbers to light the interior close-up shots of malevolent spirits Gozer and Vigo inside the Stampede Grandstand building. Each Jolt 300 features a distinctive arrangement comprising a central strip of cool white LEDs surrounded on both sides by arrays of multi-colored RGB LEDs, which are each divided into three independently controllable zones. Dustin was first introduced to this fixture when he won a pair in ADJ’s Halloween Spooktacular Lighting Contest last fall and was so impressed that he has since invested in more units for his company’s rental stock.

“Those Jolts man, they are my new favorite lights!” he enthuses. “You guys are like lighting drug dealers; you gave me two to get me hooked and then I bought six! I got the taste from the free sample and then went back for more! I love the punchiness; they are just so bright. They are also very versatile. They are great for color washing but can also be used as strobes or for color chase effects and they are also incredibly lightweight! When they are used as straightforward wash lights, like we did for this shoot, having the ability to mix the white diodes with the colored ones is really useful to get an output that illuminates faces but also adds in vibrant color when we need it. Overall, they are awesome fixtures!”

To provide additional soft-edged infill lighting for illuminating the actors in the close-up shots, the crew also utilized four of ADJ’s Encore Profile Pro Color LED-powered ellipsoidal fixtures. Featuring a potent 250W 6-in-1 RGBWAL LED engine, which has a light output of 6,000 lumens (measured with a 26° lens) and offers a CRI in excess of 90, this LED version of an industry standard lighting instrument features a four-blade manual framing shutter system, GOBO slot and manual focus adjustment.

The ghostly feel of the video was further enhanced through the use of an ADJ Entour Chill low fog machine. Featuring an 800W heating element and continuous output, this innovative device uses standard water-based Kool Fog juice and regular ice cubes to generate an effect similar to that of dry ice. It was used for various scenes featuring the paranormal characters, including a particularly effective shot where fog can be seen cascading down a stairwell within the grandstand building.

“I like how it runs continuously,” comments Dustin. “No duty cycle is awesome, especially for a project like this when we need effects on cue. It’s also versatile, for some shots we used it without ice to create plums of fog going upwards, as well as with ice to get those great, low-lying fog effects. It also heats up super quick and is incredibly small. We’ve used a unit from a competitor for a number of years, which does its job, but it’s almost five times as big and, amazingly, the Entour Chill puts out more fog!”

To further enhance the cinematic quality of the piece, a drone was used to capture the establishing shot. It shows the city skyline before zooming into the Stampede building, which has an eerie purplish pink glow shining from its windows across three floors. To achieve this look, Dustin added to the Jolt 300s 40 of ADJ’s Mega Hex Par fixtures and 28 of the Ultra Hex Bar 12 linear wash fixtures.

“I love the drone shots that Mark – our drone pilot – managed to capture of the Stampede grandstand all lit up in pink,” states Dustin. “It’s such an iconic building in Calgary, and very significant for me personally. When I was a kid, I worked there as an usher, when I was a little bit older I had the chance to perform there, and now I work there as an AV guy. So that epic aerial shot of the stand, filled with lights, and surrounded by ghostbusters, represents all my interests captured in one place!”

Dustin served as Director for the project, while multiple friends and family of the Alberta Ghostbusters volunteered to be a part of the fairly large production crew, including some film industry pros who were working on a big budget movie during the day and then came to help on this project in the evenings! Husband and wife duo Gary and Tiana Winter served as Director of Photography and Film Editor, respectively.

“I think my favorite shot is of Gozer coming down the stairs,” comments Tiana, “because you have the fog flowing out of the room behind her and this beautiful purple light that plays really well. It was very easy to grade in Divinci, I didn’t need to spend a lot of time finessing the color using software, that really luscious purple created by the Jolt 300s was captured perfectly on camera.”

“I’d imagined that shot being more of a silhouette,” adds Gary, “but Dustin’s guys had pre-rigged the lights for us and had put some Jolt 300s in front of her, so I thought we’d try that and it worked out really well. When the fog kicked in, having that front-lit gave the scene much more of a ghostly feel. I must admit, when Dustin told me he wanted to go for a big colorful fantasy look and that he had all the LED lights we could use, my first thought was ‘are we going to get flicker?’. But he assured me they are flicker free and he was right, we had no problems at all. So with all those instruments to play with it was really just about having fun!”

From speaking to Dustin, Tiana and Gary it’s clear that everyone involved had nothing but fun working on this project. Thanks to a clear vision from Dustin, a committed team of skilled volunteers, and not forgetting the lighting and atmospheric equipment from ADJ, the Alberta Ghostbusters were able to create a promotional film, with an undeniably professional esthetic, which is sure to create anticipation and excitement for the all of the organization’s future appearances – check it out for yourself below…


Alberta Ghostbusters Promo Film

Calgary Stampede Grandstand

Dustin Milne

Director of Photography
Gary Winter

Film Editor
Tiana Winter

Drone Operator
Mark Smith

Traci Akierman (Gozer); Micah Agard (Vigo); Dustin Milne (Security Guard); Jordan Johanson, Derwin Olszewski, Jacqueline Burt, Reid Fisher & Mario Giguère (Ghostbusters); Kelsi McLachlan ACP, Jessica Brilz ACP TEMS, Megan Mitchell PCP & Jason Fong ACP (Emergency Medial Services); CST. Dustin Williams & CST. Eric Nielson (Calgary Police Services); Tyler, Jay, Lauren & Colin (Calgary Fire Department Engine 1 Shift C)

Sienna Holden (Assistant Director); Bojan Cosic (Sound Designer / Camera Operator); Brandon Demish (Camera Operator); Ben Eadie (SFX Supervisor); Mike Evans (RC Driver); Josh Deruigh (Key Grip); Phil Ritz (Grip); Kyle Yasvinski & Aaman Merali (Lighting Technicians); Reid Fisher (Make-up Artist)

Lighting Supplier
Digital Media Integrations

Leya Russell

Lighting Gear List
10 x ADJ Jolt 300
4 x Encore Profile Pro Color
40 x Mega Hex Par
28 x Ultra Hex Bar 12
1 x Entour Chill