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LightLab Debuts Elation Smarty Hybrid on Nekfeu Summer Tour
France – Lighting design studio, LightLab, headed by lighting designer and art director Alexandre LeBrun, created a flexible and impactful lighting and stage design for French rapper Nekfeu’s summer tour based around mobile walls of light and used Elation Professional’s new multi-functional Smarty Hybrid CMY colour-mixing moving head, supplied by Dushow, to realise the stunning look.
Nekfeu toured across France this summer, playing a dozen concerts including festivals such as Lollapalooza, Solidays, and Marsatac. LightLab, who also worked with Nekfeu and his S-Crew on last year’s Zenith tour, developed what LeBrun calls a “very simple yet radical” design for the 2018 summer tour. “I wanted to create a panoramic light design, horizontal and low,” he explains, “so I designed walls of light with the idea of only using it on the stage. The idea was to forget about light coming from the top, and also have a very quick, reliable set up. So we had to find a lighting fixture powerful enough, not too big and heavy, with enough features to cover an up tempo one-hour show.”
LeBrun’s initial idea was to use a multi-chip LED moving head wash but most of Dushow’s inventory was out and there were not enough fixtures available in the quantity he needed. “Dushow then proposed and presented to me the Smarty Hybrid,” he said. “We immediately thought it was the right fixture for the project. It allowed many more possibilities than a wash, they were powerful, small, light, and had never been used before! So it was really interesting.”
The Smarty Hybrid’s full-featured design includes plenty of colour and graphics options and its MSD Platinum FLEX 200 lamp (6,000 hours) produces up to 14,000 lumens. LightLab consequently used 120 of the compact fixtures in the design. The fixtures were placed in six frames (2.8m x 2.65m), 20 Smartys per frame, with three frames arranged in a diagonal on each side of the stage, visually complementing each side of the DJ booth. Each frame was mounted on rollers for easy on- and off-stage positioning and transport.
Although LeBrun says he would like to have had more time to explore all the possibilities of the fixture, the Smarty Hybrids gave him a lot of creative possibilities. “Hybrid is a good name for it,” he says. “The prisms are visually interesting when you play with the visual aspects of the lens and the motorized zoom is great to have for very different looks. The colour system is also very efficient, from saturates to pastel colours. And the fact that it is quite small, lightweight and fast, yet has good power, gives the possibility to use them in quantity.”
When asked to describe a special look he created using the fixtures, the designer says two came to mind. One was a surprise that came up when he was exploring the fixture with Fabrice Pinsard, lighting operator on the show. “We mixed the prisms, the colour wheel, and played with the lens,” he says. “We used this to face the public at a very low dimmer level, which gave us an amazing visual effect. Another special look was created using lateral narrow beams with a small tilt effect and a rainbow colour effect. It gave a very interesting moving chromatic effect like psychedelic tubes of light.”
The rest of the lighting rig was somewhat sparse, owing to the versatility of the wall of light design. Ten Elation Proteus Hybrid moving heads were floor positioned and used for back lighting along with five LED strobes. Other spots were used for front lighting and back light with additional spots incorporated from each host festival lighting kit.
Lighting operator for the Nekfeu summer tour, Fabrice Pinsard, was the first to work with the fixture on a tour and called it a real pleasure. “The result was perfect and it is really an excellent machine,” he commented. “It has very good CMY colour mixing and has a good spread and frost. The speed is also excellent and the effects with the prisms is tops. Festival conditions are quite hard on equipment – temperature, dust, transport, etc. – but despite all that, we had no worries.”
Designer LeBrun acknowledges Dushow for their insight in suggesting the Smarty Hybrid for the tour. “It seems to me that they were ready and eager to accompany us on this project. They researched and proposed to us an interesting solution with the Smarty Hybrid and they did a great job supporting us and making this project possible.” LeBrun added that he appreciated both Dushow and Elation’s cooperation and approach to the project. “Working closely with a supplier and a fixture brand is motivating, comforting, and also very interesting in terms of research to create interesting and innovative designs. It is also very interesting in terms of the synergy created.” The designer concludes by expressing his curiosity to utilise other Elation products in the future. “This was my first time using Elation lighting products, but I think not the last.”
photos: Nicolas Galloux
25th September 2018
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