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Zach Scott Gears Up For Heavenly New Year with Expanded ChamSys Console
USA – New Year’s comes once a year, unless you’re Zach Scott, the lighting designer for the prolific and popular touring band 7th Heaven. The Chicago-based LD will be working what amounts to three sold-out New Year’s shows on the final weekend of the year for his client. After that, it’s off to headline a rock cruise through the Caribbean in January and the start of a year that will see his client play at over 100 music festivals. Aside from bracing himself with ample amounts of caffeine, Scott has geared up for this busy schedule by expanding his ChamSys MagicQ MQ40 by adding extra wings to his console and PC system.
“My client has had a great 2017 with the release of a new album and large festival appearances,” he said. “This has created a new set of demands for me as their LD. So, I have added wings to my MQ40 that let me do things like spread out fixture groups and run ArtNet. Ultimately, I hope to upgrade my MQ40 with a larger ChamSys console like the MQ500 Stadium in 2018, but right now things are so busy that I am expanding what I have just to keep up. One of the great things about ChamSys is that it is so expandable.”
Scott, who has been with 7th Heaven since 2011, describes how his ChamSys console has served him well. “We do a very rock, in-your-face style of light show,” he said. “Each song is cue stacked and gets its own page on my desk. I also have a variety of presets on each page for intensity bumps and strobing that I can call on whenever I want. Getting around the desk is super easy. I generally use my start file, which has all of my layouts and palettes built already. The effect engine is super easy as well. The presets that MagicQ has for movements, effects and colour are fantastic for starting points. I just drop everything I need in the programmer and tweak away.”
A signature part of most 7th Heaven shows is “30 Songs in 30 Minutes,” a half-hour mash-up of classic rock tunes played with ferocious intensity. This is the one part of every show when Scott punts. He credits the layout of his console with making this process go smoothly.
“The MQ40 is really laid out perfectly for the way I design,” said Scott. “In addition to the layout, the best part of the MagicQ is how it allows me to clone and morph my pre-programmed show very quickly for festival and club rigs. This means I can expand the number of instruments and copy the existing programming to them, and I can also swap
instruments for what’s available at a venue and have the console recalculate existing programming to work with those instruments.
“Thanks to the MQ40’s features, it’s really easy to get a show up and running quickly when time isn’t on my side,” continued Scott. “Some artists other than 7th Heaven come to me wanting a full production design in two weeks. After drawing and designing, I sometimes have less than a week to program a two-hour show! Being able to pre-make all of my palettes and effects allows me to crank through programming.”
Adding the extra wings to his console and his PC system has made it even more valuable to Scott as he keeps up with his client’s ever-more demanding schedule. “With all of the extra real estate from the wings, I can now have four different faders or playbacks,” he said. “This is especially helpful in allowing me to spread out key lights for different band members. Having full control of intensities for each guy really helps me dial in a better looking front wash, since that changes every night.”
This control is especially important for Scott since 7th Heaven doesn’t tour with their own front wash lights. “We’re reliant on whatever the venue has to offer for front lighting,” he said. “Sometimes it’s just par cans, but the next night it might be a dozen moving spots for my front wash. Being able to have a fader for each band member is something that – now that I have it – I cannot live without! That’s the nice thing about being a lighting designer, the more you can do, the more you want to do. That’s why I’m looking forward to upgrading to an even bigger desk next year.”
15th December 2017
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