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Bandit Lites Illuminates the Cinematic Sounds of Owl City

USA – Owl City, project of singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Adam Young, is out on the road with a lighting package provided by Bandit Lites. The Cinematic Tour is Young’s first North American tour in three years and follows the release of his sixth studio and first independent album, Cinematic.

Drawing on the album artwork of Cinematic, lighting designer Jay Waddell used Martin Sceptrons to create the defining look of the show to take the audience on a journey through Adam Young’s life.

“They are the main workhorse as far as creating rhythmic energy and colour wash on stage,” Waddell said. “I opted to forgo a media server for a few reasons and treat the Sceptrons like a light; they are run in DMX mode which includes five-pixel segments and a master layer per instrument. They are arranged in an offset five wide by six high grid. This was enough pixel resolution to really go to town with different effects, chases, sweeps, hits, and musical accents.”

Bandit Lites also supplied GLP X4S for backlight, side light and aerial effects, GLP X4 Bar-10 fixtures for ‘God light’ looks, rhythmic effects, strong backlight looks and ground wash, and Chauvet RH1 fixtures for emphatic gobo looks.

“I really wanted the lights to meld together with the music as a vehicle for all the complex sounds,” Waddell said. “There are so many noises that triggered cues in my head, it was easy to see the show in my mind. The fibre star drop was the perfect background to take the audience out of the club and on a spacey, moody, electric ride through Adam’s life. The colour and neon aesthetic we achieved from the Sceptrons was another great way to tie into the space theme. There were also a series of space themed voice overs and transitions, even an R2D2 cue in one of the songs!”

Waddell designed the package to be accessible for the touring LD by avoiding dozens of loose Sceptrons riding loose and requiring time consuming cabling.

“Bandit was able to come up with a low cost fab solution to allow the Sceptrons to travel in groups of three and provide a structure to keep the units spaced correctly and level,” Waddell said. “It turned out great.”

When the schedule revealed venues that would not yield a cohesive house lighting system, Waddell made sure his design could be completely self-contained, even with the added challenge of only having access to a few days with the gear prior to rehearsal. Fortunately, the show tracked well in advance and was programmed almost entirely in MA3D and completely to timecode.

“Owl City’s music is extremely rhythmic and contains a seemingly never-ending supply of different sounds and noises that are perfect for lighting cues,” explained Waddell. “You could spend a month programming and keep coming up with new stuff to add. I knew what I wanted the final product to look like and was able to get the show about 90% there in previz. I was able to hand the touring LD a near finished show walking into rehearsals which were mostly spent cleaning up cues and transitions and dialling in keylight.”

The lighting literally took some cues from the musicians with Waddell utilising Owl City’s drummer on the console during rehearsal.

“I wrote the cues, showed him how ‘This button is your kick drum, this button is snare,’ hit record timecode and let him go to town,” he said. “He got a kick out of seeing the lights react to the buttons and of course nailed all the complex beats in one or two takes.”

Bandit prides itself in streamlining its clients vision and process, with vice president Mike Golden assisting in correlating fixtures to budget and Project Manager Matt King finding solutions for both trailer space and load-in and loud-out time. Waddell also made use of Bandit’s rehearsal venue where he was able to build out his entire rig.

“It’s great having the shop next door in the event you want to make any adjustments to the rig after you get in to it, which I almost always do,” Waddell said. “After spending five minutes with the rig, I wanted to change out the smoked diffusers on the Sceptron for white diffusers. A couple emails and an hour later, its done!”

4th October 2018

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