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LD Andy Cass Pumps Up String Cheese Incident Tour with High End Systems DL.3s

LD Andy Cass Pumps Up String Cheese Incident Tour with High End Systems DL.3s

Lighting designer Andy Cass is using a quartet of High End Systems DL.3s to illuminate String Cheese Incident on their latest tour, with the lighting package provided by Brown Note Productions. Andy's illustrious jam band pedigree made him a natural for the gig. "I've been through all the jam bands over the years," he laughs. "They were looking for an LD, and since I knew most of the band and some management, I contacted them directly. I think got the gig mostly based of dialogue on what I knew about the music and what my thoughts were on how to do it right. Once I got the design, I looked at what they had done before and got feedback from the band, fan base and management. But I very much wanted to do a video element that wasn't LED-based, and that led me to the DL.3s. The final design was a fairly simple lighting package and four DL.3s. We played a few places where there was a lot of lighting, but we didn't carry much."

"The DL.3s were placed mid-stage," Andy continues, "because I intended to use them both as an aerial effect light as well as for video projection. There are four downstage band members, and I really wanted to utilise the camera integration, with one DL.3 associated with each band member, and each camera was associated with a musician on the ground. We fed S-video up through the rig, so each DL3 could display its camera's video on the wall."

Because Cass was starting from scratch, content creation was an open road. He says: "I pulled things out of my content pool and tried to work my way through the songs. My show file started from scratch as well. I did their 64 most frequently played songs and the new material on the record, and started to work my way backward. I wanted to keep the DL.3s to two fixtures per universe, which leaves me four layers. One layer was taken up by cameras, and another one was used for masking, because I was doing odd shapes like equilateral triangles. That had to be accomplished by using masking in a layer, so that left me two layers for content, which worked out fine with all the built-in effects. Most of the looks in the show employ a primary layer, and then a secondary layer with some sort of chroma-keying or effecting to 'artsy' it up a bit, ensuring that it wouldn't be just straight imagery." 

Cass also used the DL.3s to great effect for the walk-in preceding each concert. "One of the things I did that the fan base really enjoyed was on the walk-in, I'd turn the cameras around to face the audience, and mask them onto the wall so when they walked in, the audience could tell they were being beamed live on to the projection surface."

"During the show," Andy explains, "the individual solos get picked up by cameras, and not every single song had video, so there was some element of pulling back and making sure some moments were lighting only. This band has a lot of different moments – they have electronic, funk, bluegrass and singer/songwriter moments, so I would pull it out for some and put it back in for the electronica. I'd turn the fixtures around and do aerial looks with them, which is really my motivation for getting this light. Ever since I first heard about digital lighting, I saw the opportunity for well thought out aerial effects using a digital light like a moving light. In the song structure part it would be video projected upstage that would tell a story with the video. And then as soon as the jam would start, I'd swing them around and they'd become part of the light show."

In closing, Cass comments: "I was very impressed with the output of the DL.3 for its size; I was projecting onto a white surface with some of the industry's brightest lights up against it, and it was holding its own just fine. I was also quite impressed how well S-video worked – I plugged in the first time, sent its signal and it worked. I also did quite a bit of collaging. I collaged an entire stage, a little bit in the air, upstage on the wall, and the collaging process, which I was concerned about in the beginning, was easy to implement. The collage feature is a really great part of this fixture, and I plan to use it in lots of other applications."

29th May 2014

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