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Alt-rockers X Ambassadors Tour with MIDI-triggered Elation Lighting Rig by Cour Design
USA – American alternative rock band X Ambassadors is touring North America through March on their VHS tour using a unique fully MIDI-triggered lighting rig designed by Cour Design that includes Elation Professional SixPar 200 LED PAR colour changers and Platinum Beam 5R beam lights.
Cour Design handles production design, lighting programming and production co-ordination on the tour, their first time working with the band. “We met with their management team when we first started our business,” stated Gordon Droitcour, co-founder and designer along with Erik Anderson at the Nashville-based design house that can take a project from napkin sketch to full production. “We had never heard of X Ambassadors but they’ve been one of our most exciting bands to date.”
Cour Design specialises in intricate visual designs that literally run themselves. They have developed a system that triggers lighting and video content via bands' existing backing tracks systems. This allows bands with any budget to take out stunning visual displays where they never were able to before. “A lot of our shows incorporate some type of lighting automation such as MIDI triggering, SMPTE, or MTC,” explains Gordon, who shares most responsibilities with Cour partner Erik Anderson. “We believe that it gives a very professional look to every show we apply it to, but it has more of a logistical purpose than anything else.”
For X Ambassadors, Gordon chose to use 32 Elation SixPar 200 fixtures, LED PAR colour changers with a six-colour LED multi-chip including a UV LED, for a couple of reasons. “We really wanted to find an LED PAR with as many features as possible at a reasonable price point,” he said. “The large face with colour blending LEDs really sold us on the SixPar. The UV feature was the cherry on top.”
For the VHS tour, the SixPar fixtures are housed in upstage set carts that allow them to get on and off stage quickly. To simplify the load-in process, crew members can easily roll the carts into place, raise them to the exact height needed, and then plug them into the self-triggering visual package. More SixPar fixtures work from the overhead truss as well as from a floor position. The Platinum 5R Beams are located in the centre of the set carts.
“We believe that LDs are very important on any tour, but a lot of the newer acts can’t necessarily carry a full lighting team,” Gordon states. “By designing ‘all-in-one’ packages with set carts and MIDI playback systems, we can get bands to carry production earlier in their career and step up their production game where it was cost prohibitive to do in the past. The Elation fixtures fit into this system well.”
Working with Cour Design and supplying lighting for the tour is Christie Lites who “gave us some great gear and support,” Gordon says while also acknowledging the work of Gabe McNatt “for taking on a lighting set up on his own for the first time. The creative and logistical process was really pleasurable to work on with these guys,” he concludes.
20th January 2016
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