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Thompson Square “Trans Am” Video and Tour Lit with Elation

Thompson Square “Trans Am” Video and Tour Lit with Elation

USA – Early in 2015, creative production design company 44 Designs of Nashville, Tennessee, took on set and lighting design duties for country music duo Thompson Square’s new music video “Trans Am” and used Elation Cuepix Panels, Sniper 2R multi-effects and Platinum Beams in the visual design. The award-winning and multi-platinum group liked the look so much they decided to take it out on tour.

“It was a great experience and it's a trending video in the country market,” says Jeff Lavallee, lead designer at 44 Designs, who has been designing Thompson Square’s stage look for the past four years, almost as long as the duo has been around. “The song and video capture the brazen passion and energy of Thompson Square’s live shows. Together with Keifer and Shawna Thompson, we then decided to use the look on their 2015 tour.”

A unique and important visual element of the set, both in the video and for the touring production, is rows of Cuepix Panels, Elation’s popular full colour 5x5 LED matrix blinders. Double stacks of Cuepix Panels line the front of the drum riser with single stacks backing keyboard and bass performers left and right. “The Cuepix Panels that front the drum riser are at 90 degrees to the camera to give the stage depth,” an important component in all his designs, Jeff says. “The dimming curve is great, very tasteful, and the colour mixing is very smooth. It’s become one of my favourite fixtures.”

Each square Cuepix panel is made up of 25 x 30 Watt RGB LEDs and because each pixel is individually controllable, they open up for a wide range of creative effects possibilities, including number and letter projections. Jeff likes them for their versatility and colour punch, especially the saturated red and blue he gets out of them. He says he often has to dim them down to 20% they are so bright. “It also works well as a wash light onto backdrops,” he says. On “Trans Am,” the Cuepix Panels are used for anything from organic looks to flash blinders to pixel-mapped effects.

The theme for both the “Trans Am” video and the tour is the iconic black and gold Trans Am of “Smokey and the Bandit” fame, something Jeff drew upon by custom-vinyling the front of the Cuepix Panels in a metallic gold finish to match the gold details of the car. In the “Trans Am” video, the gold coloured Cuepix Panels are used as a dynamic backdrop for the car and feature in an impressive scene where the Trans Am speeds along a seemingly endless line of Cuepix Panels. 44 Designs completed the visual design, including set and lighting design in collaboration with the husband and wife duo.

When 44 Designs sought a high-energy effect light with laser-type effect possibilities for the video, they turned to Elation’s compact Sniper 2R. The award-winning multi-effect and laser simulator allows for a variety of mid-air scanner and beam looks, including laser-like effects without having to deal with laser regulations. “If the song calls for something crazy then we use the Sniper,” Jeff said. “One thing we didn’t realise though was that the scan rate of the Sniper is actually faster than the camera film rate. So when we used them as a backing light in the video it made for a really unique effect on film.”

Also incorporated into the lighting rig and used for aerial looks while adding another element of depth to the stage is Elation’s industry-standard Platinum Beam light, which work from behind the band and a floor position. Rounding out the rig are individual LED panels flown upstage centre, left and right.

In order to make set up and tear down of the lighting rig a faster process, 44 Designs designed custom carts for the lighting system, including the Cuepix Panels, which could quickly roll on and off the stage. “It’s a very effective system that allowed us to dismantle the set up in a matter of minutes,” Jeff concluded. The “Trans Am” Tour kicked off in February 2015 and ran through the summer with the Elation rig reportedly holding up well.

Thompson Square “Trans Am” Video and Tour Lit with Elation Thompson Square “Trans Am” Video and Tour Lit with Elation

18th September 2015

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