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Jason Bullock Simplifies Complexity with ChamSys on Wiz Khalifa Summer Tour

Jason Bullock Simplifies Complexity with ChamSys on Wiz Khalifa Summer Tour

USA – With its 40 universes, massive video panels that rise more than 20-feet over the stage, 350 lighting fixtures including moving wave lasers, and 200 pages of cues, the visual panorama supporting Wiz Khalifa on his summer tour is anything but 'simple'. On the contrary, it pulls fans into an overwhelmingly powerful maze of searing multi-layered images that have the immersive complexity of a deep dream.

Still, when Jason Bullock discusses the show for his long-time client, the word simple comes up often. Of course, the New York-based designer isn’t talking about the engaging visuals that transform the stage, but the smooth process behind their creation and execution with his ChamSys MagicQ MQ500 Stadium.

“So, when you’re involved in a massive creation you want tools that make the process simple, and this is one of the beauties of ChamSys,” said Bullock, who created the lighting for the show, with the stage layout being designed by Cory FitzGerald of Silent House Productions.

For Bullock, the creative process kicked into high gear outside Chicago when he wrote his show at Upstaging, Inc. “This show is all cue stacked, and I have 200 pages of cues,” he said. “I wrote the whole thing, 28 songs total, in two days. Think about that. My ChamSys allowed me to take old pages, blank their patch, and then add new fixture information. All I had to do after a point was reinsert static information.”

The process would have been “next to impossible” to do this without his ChamSys console, believes Bullock. “ChamSys morphs and clones are incredibly fast,” he said. “Also, the machine itself is absolutely reliable. I never have to set up multiple desks, because the MQ500 supports so many universes consistently with no hiccups.”

For the Wiz Khalifa summer tour, Bullock is carrying his MQ500 and an Extra Wing that he uses to interface with media servers for the two supporting bands. “I am running two opening groups as well as Wiz,” he said. “So, I take their video content on a thumbnail, load it onto the Wing, and set up an execute page. Then their guys can run their videos.”

The video content for Khalifa’s own show encompasses an eight-year retrospective of the superstar’s career. Displayed on the large LED walls positioned throughout the stage, the collection of clips from different time periods creates a deeply evocative mood. “Some of the older images we worked with were lower res, so I just took segments of them and then went to ratio them out,” said Bullock. “The end result was that the vintage shots look as great as the new ones.”

In his Wiz Khalifa show, Bullock coordinates these video images with intense bursts of light, crossing beam patterns and generous volumes of fog. The show also features its share of audience lighting, says Bullock “because when Wiz says ‘put your hands in the air,’ he wants to see your hands in the air.”

Bullock’s ChamSys console helped him orchestrate this array of visuals into a single, powerful and precisely co-ordinated show. “To be able to run this whole show with no NPU is a beautiful thing,” he said. “That’s what I get with ChamSys. It simplifies operations. The command structure is very straightforward and logical. I can select palettes via hard buttons without having to look through screens, so I can actually be more focused on looking at the show!”

Being able to group effects on his console is another big-time saver for Bullock. “With ChamSys I have fewer keystrokes because I can group effects,” he said. “So, then I have to press say only 80 buttons instead of 200. This means fewer keystrokes, which is good, because in this line of work keystrokes are money. The more you save, the better.”

photos: Todd Kaplan

Jason Bullock Simplifies Complexity with ChamSys on Wiz Khalifa Summer Tour Jason Bullock Simplifies Complexity with ChamSys on Wiz Khalifa Summer Tour

23rd August 2019

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