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production news

Production News Headlines

23/05/2017

Meyer Sound LEO Family Unleashes Explosive Force on Metallica Stadium Tour

23/05/2017

Yamaha Consoles Deliver SLXcellence At The National Student Drama Festival

23/05/2017

Ariana Grande Sings “Everyday” With DiGiCo SD7

23/05/2017

Elation Lighting Success on 2017 Eurovision Song Contest in Kiev

23/05/2017

Green Hippo captures the Snow Fairy

23/05/2017

Arena Group Supports HPower Group at Royal Windsor Horse Show

22/05/2017

Bon Jovi’s “This House is Not for Sale” Tour utilises grandMA2: Dynamic show with a nod to old-fashioned Rock

22/05/2017

Beware of the Shark!

22/05/2017

Sully Meets the Challenges for RHCP with Rat Sound and L-Acoustics

22/05/2017

Sully Meets the Challenges for RHCP with Rat Sound and L-Acoustics

22/05/2017

SE Systems Continue to Build GLP Inventory

19/05/2017

Claypaky Scenius Unico takes centre stage at Eurovision 2017

19/05/2017

Norwegian Engineers Fly with dLive

19/05/2017

Robe Funks it Up with Bruno Mars

19/05/2017

Teri Productions Grows with ProPower RPD Power Distros

19/05/2017

Adlib Round the World with Russell Howard

19/05/2017

Capital Sound Invests in SSL Live - a Full Range Offering

19/05/2017

IPS Guard the Galaxy with the Mythos 2

19/05/2017

Out of this World Show for K3

19/05/2017

Creating Wonderland – a notable achievement

19/05/2017

Bandit Lites Brightens Chris Tomlin’s Worship Night in America

19/05/2017

Dave Taylor Runs Empire of the Sun Coachella Show With ChamSys MagicQ MQ500 Stadium

19/05/2017

KLANG:fabrik Gets Inside the Heads of Linkin Park

19/05/2017

Bauder Audio Adds 92 Kiva II and Standardizes on L-Acoustics for Success

18/05/2017

Robots Exhibition

Meyer Sound LEO Family Unleashes Explosive Force on Metallica Stadium Tour

Meyer Sound LEO Family Unleashes Explosive Force on Metallica Stadium Tour
Meyer Sound LEO Family Unleashes Explosive Force on Metallica Stadium Tour

USA – Metallica's summer-long WorldWired Tour is currently rolling in high gear through the largest stadiums and festival sites in North America, galvanising the iconic band's multi-generational fan base by delivering a searing, eye-popping and, literally, gut-slamming experience of adrenaline-fuelled guitar rock. For sonic saturation of venues often holding 50,000-plus, the tour carries a massive Meyer Sound Leo Family reinforcement system from VER Tour Sound that incorporates for the first time anywhere, the visceral impact of the new VLFC very low frequency control element.

Corralling this formidable technology is the task of FoH engineer 'Big Mick' Hughes, who has been at the helm of Metallica's sound for 33 years of the band's 35-year history. Over the past five years of intermittent tours and one-off events, Hughes has listed the Leo systems as first among his rider preferences.

"I just love the clarity of Leo," he says. "It's a very powerful box that produces a fantastic guitar and vocal sound. Also, having a two-way system, with the crossover point down where it is, keeps everything smooth and sweet in the mid-highs."

Hughes also finds the system's exceptional linearity to be a life-saver when he has to keep levels below cumulative SPL restrictions. "You can pick the volume you want and it doesn't change tonally, unlike some other PA's where you have to hold it in a certain sweet spot. It's the easiest PA in the world to turn down when you have to."

Making its global concert debut on the WorldWired tour is Meyer Sound's new VLFC very low frequency control element, a devastatingly potent device that reproduces only a single octave, the one that spans the lower threshold of hearing from 32Hz down to 14Hz. Two colossal end-fire arrays, each with 21 VLFC cabinets, produce an intense shock wave that can literally take one's breath away.

"We use the VLFC's as a special effect to create a realistic experience of an explosion, one that you feel in your chest more than you hear with your ears," comments Hughes. "When they do the pyro for songs like 'One' the VLFC arrays complete the visual effect. You have the flash of light and then you get the concussion of this massive subsonic wave. It moves a lot of air. You can definitely feel it."

An even larger phalanx of 85 1100-LFC low-frequency control units, operating from 28Hz to 90Hz, handles the audible portion of the show's deep bass. These are variously deployed as flown arrays, end-fire arrays beside the stage, and at the delay towers. The balance of the system, in the standard stadium configuration, is anchored by four main hangs of 18-each Leo line array loudspeakers. Covering the far end of the bowl are three delay towers, each carrying arrays of eight Lyon-M main loudspeakers over eight Lyon-W wide coverage loudspeakers. Twenty Leopard loudspeakers are spaced across the stage as front fills, with an additional 12 Leopard on the ground at the delay towers. A contingent of UPQ-1P loudspeakers is utilized as needed for miscellaneous fill.

The WorldWired Tour also boasts by far the most extensive implementation to date of Meyer Sound's Galileo Galaxy networked platform. A total of 14 Galaxy frames and ten Extreme Networks Summit X440 series switches are interlinked via a redundant fibre optic network using the IEEE-developed AVB protocol. Both Galaxy and the switches have been certified for AVB standards compliance by the Avnu Alliance. The three Galaxy 816 frames at FoH serve as the hub, broadcasting streams to the Galaxy frames positioned near the main left and right arrays and at the three delay positions.

Prior to each show, the vast assemblage is meticulously aligned by VER system engineer Christopher Nichols.

All activity at FoH revolves around Big Mick's favoured Midas XL-8 console, with outboard support from a TC Electronic D2 delay, a vintage Korg DRV 3000 (for "Master of Puppets"), and a BBE Sonic Maximiser (for toms). A 10EaZy level monitoring system continuously occupies one of the Midas screens. On stage, vocal mics are Shure Super 55 Deluxe while Ulrich's kit is captured by an assortment of DPA, Audix, Shure and Audio-Technica mics. Guitars are direct via Fractal Audio preamp-processors.

The summer stadium leg of the WorldWired Tour kicked off at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore on 10th May and wraps up at Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton, Alberta on 16th August. Of the tour's 26 dates, 12 are in stadiums that host NFL teams, with the remainder in baseball or soccer stadiums, at festival sites or in other 50,000+ capacity venues. The one exception is the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, a smaller arena in which Metallica provided the grand re-opening festivities following major renovations. The tour resumes with a European leg of indoor arenas in September.

Meyer Sound LEO Family Unleashes Explosive Force on Metallica Stadium TourMeyer Sound LEO Family Unleashes Explosive Force on Metallica Stadium Tour

23rd May 2017

Yamaha Consoles Deliver SLXcellence At The National Student Drama Festival

Yamaha Consoles Deliver SLXcellence At The National Student Drama Festival

April saw the 61st National Student Drama Festival (NSDF) take place at the University of Hull, forming part of the city’s UK City Of Culture celebrations. Rental company SLX provided a range of Yamaha digital mixing consoles and, as a little light relief for participants, Yamaha Commercial Audio UK co-sponsored Yamaha/SLX/NSDF-branded jackets, awarded to the most inventive photos posted by aspiring sound engineers on social media.

Technical production specialist Stage Electrics has been involved with the NSDF since 1999. This was the first year that SLX – the company’s rebranded rental division – worked on the event under its new name.

“We are what you might call a ‘Yamaha console house’, with a wide range of CL and QL consoles in our rental inventory. In many ways, the NSDF sums up the practical reasons for that,” says SLX business development manager Ryan Stromski.

“Yamaha consoles literally make life for sound engineers easier. For example, at this year’s event most of the student engineers felt much more at home on the CL5 in the main venue than the alternative console we supplied last year.”

As well as the CL5 in the main venue, SLX also provided a pair of QL1s and a QL5. All were also used in a series of training seminars that are a key technical feature of the NSDF.

“Students fill the roles of both mixing engineers and system techs, with the seminars giving them the chance to learn the consoles before working on productions with a range of input sources, including instruments, lapel mics and playback,” says Ryan.

“NSDF head of sound and student mentor Matt Chisholm agreed that Yamaha consoles are a fantastic tool for the students. For example, thanks to the inherent ease of use, he felt that overall they gained a much better understanding of DSP than they’d otherwise get.”

He continues: “A number of students said that, despite not having any previous console experience, they didn’t feel that was a hindrance in understanding the routing and processing chain on the Yamaha board. Many also noted the ease of jumping from the QL to CL and vice versa.”

The aspiring student engineers also embraced the photo competition element, finding inventive ways to combine the SLX and NSDF logos with the Yamaha consoles and providing a little light relief from the serious business of sound engineering.

“We have always recognised the importance of reaching out to a new generation of sound engineers and we felt that the NSDF was a good opportunity to encourage them to directly engage with us via social media,” adds Alex Warren, Yamaha Commercial Audio UK and Republic of Ireland sales representative.

“Every end user is important to us and adding a fun element to the festival was something that we and SLX felt would enhance their enjoyment of it. From the photos that were posted, this was clearly the case!”

23rd May 2017

Ariana Grande Sings “Everyday” With DiGiCo SD7

Ariana Grande Sings “Everyday” With DiGiCo SD7
Ariana Grande Sings “Everyday” With DiGiCo SD7

USA – Toby Francis is one of the most respected mixers in the live production industry and he’s kept busy for four decades by staying flexible as the artists he mixes have ranged from classic rockers like ZZ Top and Matchbox 20 to the hip-hop of Kanye West and the pure pop of his most recent client, Ariana Grande. The one common thread running through all of those shows has been DiGiCo as his choice of console. Most recently out with Grande on the initial North American leg of her worldwide Dangerous Woman tour, Francis once again manned an SD7 provided by sound company Clair Global.

“The SD7 is really my favorite; I love it as long as I have the I/O,” he shares. But this tour, Francis’ second outing with the pop princess has been a 'work in progress' that required more inputs. This is Grande’s first run where she is both the artist and the producer.

“We really had no idea what to expect when we got started,” Francis says. “How big was the band going to be? How many guests would we have from show to show? And, honestly, these days it is more about MADI I/O than anything. We’ve done a lot of work to get everything [including Francis’ rack of often-rare and always-expensive outboard analogue gear] into that loop.”

Other challenges include staging. “The entire show is projection mapped; there are something like 40 4K projectors, and the projection means that the PA is higher than normal. We’re looking to be at 40 feet as often as we can. There is also a thrust that’s about 65 feet long that tees at the end and she spends most of the show on that thrust. There is no way we could do this show without feedback if Ariana was not such a strong, loud and technically proficient singer.”

Far from the cliché of the old rock guy stuck and bitter about mixing pop acts at this point in his career, Francis sings Grande’s praises as loud as she sings the show, describing her as “the real deal” more than once.

“Ariana Grande is one of the finest singers I have encountered over the course of my entire career,” he says. “She’s as good as Whitney Houston was in her 20s and does it without even trying.”

When it comes to choice of consoles, the SD7 wins out not just for its greater I/O capabilities but also for its second redundant engine. “I’ve never had to use it but you just never know what’s going to happen on a live show,” Francis explains. “The audience is different from rock audiences in a lot of ways, but one of the most important is that for many, this is their first concert. The concept of technical issues is totally foreign and that actually makes for even less tolerance for any kind of failure. I know that I can count on the SD7.”

That analogue rack, notwithstanding, Francis embraces digital mixing enthusiastically and says that when it comes to overall sound quality, he’s sold on DiGiCo. “They are really the only console company out there that I’ve never been mad at,” he says with a laugh. ”When the SD series came out, I put one next to the console I was using at the time and compared them side by side and immediately thought, ‘Well, there’s no way I can keep using what I’ve been using.’ In every important aspect, from ease of use to service to the all-important sound quality, they’re the best I’ve had the pleasure of working with.”

The North American leg of Grande’s tour ran from early-February through mid-April. Francis is now taking the summer off to spend some time with his family before heading out with Katy Perry in the fall. Meanwhile, the reins to Grande’s FoH mix have been handed to Simon Thomas (Sam Smith, Tori Kelly, Jessie J, etc.) who is now travelling with the artist through Europe and the UK before heading on to additional tour legs in South America and Oceania.

www.digico.biz

23rd May 2017

DiGiCo

Elation Lighting Success on 2017 Eurovision Song Contest in Kiev

Elation Lighting Success on 2017 Eurovision Song Contest in Kiev
Elation Lighting Success on 2017 Eurovision Song Contest in Kiev

Ukraine – The Eurovision Song Contest is a unique experience in the world of entertainment made all the more special by use of some of the largest lighting and video systems to be found on any show. Elation Professional was part of this year’s Eurovision Song Contest in Kiev with over 800 lighting products used as audience and stage lighting by lighting designer Jerry Appelt and Eurovision Song Contest head of production Ola Melzig.

Perhaps no other show in the world lends itself to the use of intelligent lighting like the Eurovision Song Contest (ESC). With 42 different songs to highlight over the course of three huge shows – not to mention rehearsals and a host of other performances – the flexibility engineered into today’s lighting and video systems allowed the ESC design team to be highly creative when custom-designing unique looks for each performance.

Held 9th - 13th May at the International Exhibition Centre in Kiev, Ukraine, proportions mirrored the enormity of the production with 1816 active intelligent lights and 1,000 square metres of LED screen used to decorate a performance space of roughly 350 square metres. Some 11,000 spectators attended each show with over 200 million viewers in 50 countries tuning in to watch the Grand Final on 13th May.

Elation Professional served as an official technical event supplier to the 2017 show with a large portion of the intelligent lighting package made up of Elation lights. In the rig were 351 Elation Paladin hybrid strobe/blinder/wash lights, 132 Platinum FLX hybrid moving heads, 140 Platinum 1200 Wash and 70 Platinum Seven moving head LED wash lights, along with 110 SixBar 1000 LED battens. Providing the lighting, video and rigging technology for the show was PRG in cooperation with LITECOM.

Production manager Ola Melzig has handled the technical production on many ESC shows and again mastered the myriad of production elements necessary to put on a world-class show. Melzig, who produced this year’s Eurovision Song Contest in less than five months, a much shorter time period than normal, produced three spectacular broadcasts with the Grand Final marking his 30th Eurovision broadcast since starting with ESC in 2000.

Melzig, recipient of TPI’s Production Manager of the Year award, was key in the decision to go with Elation for the 2017 edition of ESC. He commented: “We were thrilled to have Elation as one of our technical suppliers this year on Eurovision. Their product range is a great fit for this show, and believe me we absolutely must have hard core lighting like this to stand up to the challenge! Eurovision puts a tremendous amount of stress on fixtures and they really came through.”

The Eurovision stage, designed by Florian Wieder, featured a large circular LED stage floor with a dramatic, modern arch proscenium curving over the stage that ran visual content. The slogan for the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest was Celebrate Diversity and Jerry Appelt’s lighting design appropriately reflected the diversification and variety presented on stage. When Appelt was on the hunt for a strobe effect that he could place behind the huge, curved, semi-transparent LED video wall that served as the all-important visual backdrop, Melzig set up a shoot-out of fixtures in Cologne and Appelt liked what he saw in the Paladin. “I wanted to create an additional layer behind the LED wall, something that had impact but that could also work together with the LED video and other lighting. We chose the Paladin and it did a marvellous job.”

Making its global debut, the full-colour Paladin fixtures were used in a large back wall matrix of 351 units (39 wide by 9 high) and played a prominent role in Appelt’s lighting design. Paladin, a versatile hybrid RGBW luminaire with zoom, functions as a bright blinder or strobe, powerful wash light, or, because of its multiple pixel zone control, pixel map and eye candy looks. “We used them independently and also pixel-mapped video across them,” said Appelt, who lit the Eurovision show for the third time, having designed lighting for the 2011 and 2012 events. Paladin effects, which Appelt incorporated into a large number of songs, popped through the LED screen, sometimes as impactful strobe/blinder effects or chases and sometimes as more subtle eye-candy or warm or cold light twinkle effects, then stealthily disappeared when not in use. “Some of the delegations even asked to have the Paladins used in their performance to give it more power,” the designer added. Head of Production Ola Melzig was equally enamoured with them, stating, “The Paladin kicks ass! I love the output, the colour and the zoom. It’s an awesome fixture!”

The Eurovision Song Contest proved an opportunity for the Ukraine to show the world a positive face with enthusiastic crowds filling the International Exhibition Centre for all three shows, as well as rehearsals. Most of the audience lighting for the show came from Elation’s powerful Platinum 1200 Wash LED wash moving heads along with Platinum Seven LED wash moving heads.

The Platinum 1200 Washes, which house 19 65W RGBW LEDs for plenty of power, worked from three curved trusses over the audience with more fixtures lined on trusses on each side of the arena. Platinum 1200 Washes were also positioned each side of the stage and used for sidelight. The Platinum 1200 Wash produces colour washes on par with 1500W discharge fixtures, a fact not lost on designer Appelt. “What can I say about the Platinum 1200 Wash?” he said. “Its brightness is great and it has fantastic output. I was very satisfied with them.”

The Platinum Sevens, reportedly the most stable fixtures in the entire ESC rig, worked from trusses further back in the room and were grouped with Elation Platinum FLX units, which were used to splay the audience in beams when more upbeat moments were called for. “I absolutely love the UV chip in the Platinum Seven,” said Ola Melzig of the high-power LED wash luminaire that uses a seven-colour multi-chip LED and also houses a zoom. “Well, I love everything about that fixture, but especially the UV chip!”

Above the stage hung a key element in the stage lighting set-up, a movable ‘beehive’ surrounded by truss that included Platinum FLX hybrids, Elation’s award-winning spot/beam/wash moving head with patented dual optical system. The FLXs provided some wonderful looks such as artists immersed in concentrations of beams or splayed beam effects with the FLX fixtures projected outward. Additional Platinum FLX fixtures worked from a sidelight position together with the Platinum 1200 Wash fixtures.

The FLX, one of the more popular hybrid fixtures on the market, was chosen by Appelt on reputation. “I knew that satis&fy had added the FLX to its inventory and has been using them since last year,” he said. “I took that as proof that it was a good fixture and they were right.” Ola Melzig adds: “We used 132 Platinum FLXs and we're absolutely delighted with this fixture. It's so versatile, it's fantastic and it's been working really, really good for us.”

The final Elation fixture in the ESC lighting package was the SixBar 1000, one-metre long multi-purpose LED battens with a six-colour LED multi-chip. Filling the space above the stage arch and curving all the way around it on both sides to reflect its shape, the vertically-positioned SixBar pixel strips provided dynamic chase effects, wash and decorative eye-candy looks throughout the show. SixBar fixtures were also mounted vertically on the outer edge of the beehive for a defining decorative touch. "I love the SixBar 1000!” Ola Melzig stated. “It’s the perfect tool for wash or pixel effects with great colour mixing and dimming that hasn’t been seen before."

Holding such an immense, high profile show in the Ukraine isn’t an easy job but an experienced production team can make it look like it is, and the end result was a huge success. “Despite some of the challenges working in the Ukraine, the goal was to create a state-of-the-art light show and I was really quite happy with the result,” Appelt concludes.

The 2017 Eurovision Song Contest was won by Portugal, their first win ever, which means the 63rd edition of the show will take place next year in Lisbon. The Contest has been broadcast every year since its inauguration in 1956 and is one of the longest-running television programs in the world.

photos: Ralph Larmann 

Elation Lighting Success on 2017 Eurovision Song Contest in KievElation Lighting Success on 2017 Eurovision Song Contest in Kiev

23rd May 2017

Green Hippo captures the Snow Fairy

Finland – Finish singing sensation Saara Aalto, also known as the Snow Fairy, played a sold-out homecoming gig at Helsinki’s Hartwall arena and Green Hippo technology ensured a great view for all. Saara, who shot to fame in the UK through her runner’s up spot in 2016’s X Factor, is a firm favourite in Finland having appeared in Finland’s Got Talent 2007 and The Voice of Finland in 2012.

Bright Finland, the Finland and Scandinavia-based experience provider, was at the helm for Saara’s 360° screen show employing a Green Hippo Hippotizer Boreal to control six iMAG screens. The Hippotizer Boreal was running Notch – the all-in-one, real-time graphics workhorse – enabling the Bright Finland team to create, simulate, composite, edit, and play, there and then, in the moment. The set-up also used Green Hippo’s compact and powerful 1U Media Server, the Amba.

Hippotizer’s seamless operation with Notch was key here. Four cameras with operators, plus two Robocams grabbed the raw material, and the Bright Finland team edited on-going blocks via the network in the studio, resulting in a smooth workflow. Not to mention stunning visuals, for all to see.

The Helsinki crowd was clearly impressed, as was the Bright Finland team. Mikko Linnavouri of Bright Finland said: “Notch is a great extension for Hippotizer: we can create custom effects, which give us new possibilities for making graphics for our shows. The implementation is great!”

23rd May 2017

Arena Group Supports HPower Group at Royal Windsor Horse Show

Arena Group Supports HPower Group at Royal Windsor Horse Show
Arena Group Supports HPower Group at Royal Windsor Horse Show

UK – Royal Windsor Horse Show organiser HPower Group called upon multiple Arena UK and Europe divisions to deliver 5,000m² of temporary structures complete with full interior fit-out, 3,689 seats throughout three Castle Arena tiered grandstands and event catering equipment in May 2017.

Spurred on with the success of last year’s expansive additions to the equestrian show’s temporary infrastructure in honour of The Queen’s 90th Birthday BAFTA award-winning celebrations, HPower Group once again entrusted Arena Seating and Arena Structures to deliver and maintain the same level of high-quality hospitality and finish this year.

At the south end of the Castle Arena, two Members Enclosure viewing areas were installed by Arena Structures utilising the curved Arcus roofs to offer 250m² of premium sightlines. Situated behind it, a multi-deck temporary Members Restaurant provided 600m² of contemporary dining and hospitality restaurants and lounges. Throughout the Royal site, an additional 800m² of Arcus structures played host to the Windsor Enclosure Bistro, Reception Structure, and the Royal Entrance Structure. Peaked roofed Aluhall temporary structures were home to the Stirrup Cup Kitchen, the Riders Lounge and the Members Kitchen.

Arena Seating’s project director Bradley Merchant and his 25-strong team installed three temporary covered grandstands offering unrivalled spectator views of equestrian entertainment in the main Castle Arena. The East Stand, under a 95m Arcus roof, comprised of 645 tiered dark blue clearview seats, 200 black VIP clearview seats, an integrated Royal Box accommodating 32 gold chairs for Her Majesty The Queen and dignitaries, as well as individual Stirrup Cup private boxes for invited guests. This year, the East Stand also incorporated tiered decks for VIP alfresco dining within the grandstand, to the left of the Queen’s Box and Royal Enclosure.

The West Stand consisted of 2,016 tiered tip-up seats offering spectator views of the equestrian action whilst the North Stand, also under an 35m Arcus roof, provided an additional 828 tiered seats with 45 wheelchair spaces and 45 helper spaces on Arena Deck, plus built-in commentary boxes and media desks. Arena Seating ensured event accessibility with ramps and staircases from the public car parks to pavement level and constructed four camera towers for elevated Castle Arena views for BBC live broadcasting coverage.

Merchant explains: “It was key this year for HPower Group to keep building on the precedence set at last year’s royal celebrations, so it was our pleasure to work with the organisers once again, ensuring the high-profile show excels its reputation of consistently delivering world-class sporting event environments at the highest level.”

Nick Brooks-Ward, Projector Director adds: “We have worked with the Arena Group for many years, we use them because we can be assured that they will provide the high levels of service and quality of product that we expect for an event as prestigious as Royal Windsor Horse Show.”

23rd May 2017

Bon Jovi’s “This House is Not for Sale” Tour utilises grandMA2: Dynamic show with a nod to old-fashioned Rock

Bon Jovi’s “This House is Not for Sale” Tour utilises grandMA2: Dynamic show with a nod to old-fashioned Rock
Bon Jovi’s “This House is Not for Sale” Tour utilises grandMA2: Dynamic show with a nod to old-fashioned Rock

USA – Bon Jovi rocked the house with the band’s “This House is Not for Sale Tour”. The tour’s complex staging featured a grandMA2 full-size console provided by PRG and was in support of Bon Jovi’s eponymous 13th studio album released last fall.

It was the first to feature Hugh McDonald and Phil X as full-time band members. The tour picked up the album’s theme with a set featuring a stylised house under construction. “The tour represented the next chapter of Bon Jovi,” says Spike Brant, the show’s creative producer and designer and CEO of Nimblist. “It was a dynamic show with a nod to old fashioned rock & roll with a fine art, metaphorical abstractness. Nothing about the design was fake, and with no fascia, the machines became the tools to tell the story.”

“Not many shows use this much motion to create a sense of structure,” notes Joe Bay, lighting director and programmer. “The show kicks off by building a house from truss and towers – very powerful and expressive – and throughout the show, we construct various abstract versions of the house. With this amount of automation driven from a console, we needed to use grandMA2. And with the incredible power of Stage Markers, it expanded our creative possibilities.”

“Bon Jovi has been using MA for almost ten years now,” says Brant. “The last tour really tested grandMA2’s ability to talk to the TAIT Navigator system for motion control. On this tour grandMA2 acted as the show controller, working with Navigator and video playback, not just as the lighting desk. We really pushed the limits of Stage Markers!”

One grandMA2 with three active MA NPU (Network Processing Unit) drove the show’s automation, lighting and video. The lighting rig’s moving pieces included 12 hex towers surrounding the stage that telescoped up to 30 feet in the air “to give a raw steel look to the set pieces while also carrying lighting,” says Bay. Fifteen yo-yo winches bordered the stage for lighting fixtures and six automated trusses were overhead. Five roll-drop, front-projection screens displayed video content while several LED walls supplied IMAG for the rear seating.

“The rig was very complex, and each song would have a unique shape,” Bay explains. “Previously, we would need to create a specific focus per configuration. But using Stage Markers and XYZ positions on the desk meant that I could reuse tracking focuses and they would work throughout the show, regardless of the configuration of the rig. It saved hours of programming and enabled us to create never-before-seen looks. And all this happened in the background for a seamless audience experience.”

The show used Claypaky Scenius Spots amongst others on the moving trusses. “They were definitely the superstars,” says Brant. “They were in three rows in two pieces to form the peaked roof of the house.

A.C.T Lighting is the exclusive distributor of MA Lighting in the US and Canada.

photos: Steve Jennings

www.malighting.com

22nd May 2017

MA Lighting

Beware of the Shark!

Beware of the Shark!

Curry and a beer as a social concept has much to recommend itself. Easy, fast, tasty and satisfying, what could you possibly add that would make it better? Well, how about a couple of life-size shark holograms? Liz Berry of Hologramica is gaining quite a reputation for juxtaposing reality with illusion. For Avolites’ founder director, Steve Warren the opportunity was irresistible.

“We do a couple of these a year in the demo room at our London HQ in Park Royal. The Avolites and Robe Designers’ Curry Club is an open house for people working in video and lighting live events.

“Yes, people come to the curry night knowing it will have an element of product presentation but we also make the effort to promote the evenings as a networking event, it’s more than just a sales pitch. Tim Meadowcroft, one of the LDs who attended this one said to me before coming: 'You’re always telling me come on down, you never know you might get work out of it so I’m coming.' Sure enough, Tim called me the day after to say he’d picked up some work at Light Initiative on the back of it.”

As it turned out, the second of Berry’s shark holograms was an on the hoof adaptation of what she had originally intended. “It was only a couple of days before, that I discovered the main warehouse had skylights. The illusion wasn’t going to look very good with daylight flooding through the roof so it was a bit of a nightmare until I spotted an office with a window overlooking the party space. The flexibility of our new 3D Holonet meant that by adding a small projector and three pieces of scaff, I could do another installation in the office that could run until it got dark, at which point I could unveil the main space. Koy (Neminathan) and Steve were great in that they allowed me to basically take over two areas of his busy company in the middle of their working day. The whole Avolites team were typically kind and helpful.”

Warren, with his usual generosity, made light of the whole thing. “I’d seen Liz’s work with Hologramica before. Then she approached me at PLASA London last year and showed me her new product, the flexible 3D Holonet. Compared to our normal Curry Club, where we are demonstrating new Avolites software and new Robe fixtures, this was a bit more complex but a hell of a lot easier than setting up one of those Pepper’s Ghost illusions. Yes, it required a controlled space and a bit of extra effort on our part but I have to say it was even better than I expected, very high impact. It looked really effective and I think everyone was impressed.”

Robe also presented the Halo RGB, a type of parcan LED augmentation originally developed by Light Initiative Ltd. Avolites and Robe were sponsors of the evening.

“We were happy to get behind Liz for this one,” concluded Warren. “We always try to add something new to the event. We know touring people can’t always attend expos and demos because work frequently gets in the way, so doing something like this is an easy alternative and always a lot of fun. It’s not often you find a 'live' shark watching you as you eat!”

www.avolites.com

22nd May 2017

Avolites

Sully Meets the Challenges for RHCP with Rat Sound and L-Acoustics

Sully Meets the Challenges for RHCP with Rat Sound and L-Acoustics
Sully Meets the Challenges for RHCP with Rat Sound and L-Acoustics

USA – For more than 25 years, the Red Hot Chili Peppers have been closely linked with Dave Rat who has manned the live concert mix for the Grammy Award-winning quartet since 1991. During that period, Rat has successfully grown his own tour sound company (Rat Sound) and been awarded two patents for innovative live sound products. As of February, however, the celebrated engineer has now passed the reins of mixing the band to Sean “Sully” Sullivan, another industry veteran having most recently manned front of house for Rihanna, Atoms For Peace and Beck.

Camarillo-based Rat Sound is continuing to provide the FoH control and monitor package for the band’s current Gateway World Tour, as well as the PA system for all of the band’s US dates. For the current trek, Sullivan is mixing an all-L-Acoustics system that he designed along with systems engineers Jim Locker and PA tech Radek Lesa. The system consists of two main hangs of 16 K1 over four K2 per side each flanked by eight K1-SB. An additional 16 K2 per side are flown as side hangs, with 15 Kara per side delivering coverage to the 270-degree wraparound seating areas.

The flown K1-SBs are complemented by 18 new KS28 subs arrayed in six ground-based blocks of three, each deployed in cardioid mode, while six Kara situated across the tops of the subs serve as front-fills. Each flown “Rat cage” per side contains nine LA-RAK incorporating 24 LA8 amplified controllers, while on the ground one LA-RAK and one LA-RAK II per side house three LA8 and three of the new LA12X amplified controllers, respectively.

As Sullivan stepped into the RHCP FoH position, he quickly made it his own. “Dave and I have different approaches to the equipment: he was all analogue and I am all digital,” he says, quickly establishing what distinguishes each mixer’s philosophy, with Rat’s Midas Heritage console and Sullivan’s Avid S6L emblematic of their different approaches. “But my thinking is to always use what you’re comfortable with and what makes you confident you can get the job done while also keeping the band comfortable on stage.”

A major challenge that Sully has to address each and every show is minimising the LF energy on stage, while at the same time keeping this energy, plus the definition of Flea’s bass in the house. This challenge is addressed by minimising the number of KS28 subs on the ground in front of the stage while at the same time reinforcing the LF energy in the air by incorporating the K1-SB arrays next to the K1.

Deploying a cardioid configuration on the ground minimises the back wave substantially, which helps to address any LF energy build-up around lead singer Anthony Kiedis’ voice. The interaction of flying the K1-SB in the air next to the K1 allows for greater directivity in the LF domain while creating an asymmetric LF coverage pattern steering energy away from the on stage axis and concentrating it more in front and to the off stage side of the audience.

“The fans know the records by heart, and it’s my job to convey that to them,” says Sullivan, who first used K1 when he mixed Atoms For Peace back in 2010. “This PA does that every night without fail. And while the band is using IEMs, they love the power that it puts out on stage. It’s not too loud, but they can feel it. Like Flea’s signature Fender Jazz Bass, the L-Acoustics PA is virtually another instrument, one the fans have come to know from shows over the decades and has become part of the band’s experience.”

Sully Meets the Challenges for RHCP with Rat Sound and L-AcousticsSully Meets the Challenges for RHCP with Rat Sound and L-Acoustics

22nd May 2017

Sully Meets the Challenges for RHCP with Rat Sound and L-Acoustics

Sully Meets the Challenges for RHCP with Rat Sound and L-Acoustics
Sully Meets the Challenges for RHCP with Rat Sound and L-Acoustics

USA – For more than 25 years, the Red Hot Chili Peppers have been closely linked with Dave Rat who has manned the live concert mix for the Grammy Award-winning quartet since 1991. During that period, Rat has successfully grown his own tour sound company (Rat Sound) and been awarded two patents for innovative live sound products. As of February, however, the celebrated engineer has now passed the reins of mixing the band to Sean “Sully” Sullivan, another industry veteran having most recently manned front of house for Rihanna, Atoms For Peace and Beck.

Camarillo-based Rat Sound is continuing to provide the FoH control and monitor package for the band’s current Gateway World Tour, as well as the PA system for all of the band’s US dates. For the current trek, Sullivan is mixing an all-L-Acoustics system that he designed along with systems engineers Jim Locker and PA tech Radek Lesa. The system consists of two main hangs of 16 K1 over four K2 per side each flanked by eight K1-SB. An additional 16 K2 per side are flown as side hangs, with 15 Kara per side delivering coverage to the 270-degree wraparound seating areas.

The flown K1-SBs are complemented by 18 new KS28 subs arrayed in six ground-based blocks of three, each deployed in cardioid mode, while six Kara situated across the tops of the subs serve as front-fills. Each flown “Rat cage” per side contains nine LA-RAK incorporating 24 LA8 amplified controllers, while on the ground one LA-RAK and one LA-RAK II per side house three LA8 and three of the new LA12X amplified controllers, respectively.

As Sullivan stepped into the RHCP FoH position, he quickly made it his own. “Dave and I have different approaches to the equipment: he was all analogue and I am all digital,” he says, quickly establishing what distinguishes each mixer’s philosophy, with Rat’s Midas Heritage console and Sullivan’s Avid S6L emblematic of their different approaches. “But my thinking is to always use what you’re comfortable with and what makes you confident you can get the job done while also keeping the band comfortable on stage.”

A major challenge that Sully has to address each and every show is minimising the LF energy on stage, while at the same time keeping this energy, plus the definition of Flea’s bass in the house. This challenge is addressed by minimising the number of KS28 subs on the ground in front of the stage while at the same time reinforcing the LF energy in the air by incorporating the K1-SB arrays next to the K1.

Deploying a cardioid configuration on the ground minimises the back wave substantially, which helps to address any LF energy build-up around lead singer Anthony Kiedis’ voice. The interaction of flying the K1-SB in the air next to the K1 allows for greater directivity in the LF domain while creating an asymmetric LF coverage pattern steering energy away from the on stage axis and concentrating it more in front and to the off stage side of the audience.

“The fans know the records by heart, and it’s my job to convey that to them,” says Sullivan, who first used K1 when he mixed Atoms For Peace back in 2010. “This PA does that every night without fail. And while the band is using IEMs, they love the power that it puts out on stage. It’s not too loud, but they can feel it. Like Flea’s signature Fender Jazz Bass, the L-Acoustics PA is virtually another instrument, one the fans have come to know from shows over the decades and has become part of the band’s experience.”

Sully Meets the Challenges for RHCP with Rat Sound and L-AcousticsSully Meets the Challenges for RHCP with Rat Sound and L-Acoustics

22nd May 2017

SE Systems Continue to Build GLP Inventory

SE Systems Continue to Build GLP Inventory
SE Systems Continue to Build GLP Inventory

USA – Based in Greensboro, NC, GLP partner SE Systems has recently increased its inventory of the German manufacturer’s advanced LED solutions, by adding quantities of the award-winning X4 Bar versatile battens, and investing for the first time in the GT-1 Spot/Beam hybrid.

The company has vast experience, having been founded in 1973 by the highly respected Wade Miller, who remains sole owner to this day.

A turn-key live event production services company with a national spread, SE Systems also operates separate sales and installation divisions. The company's relationship with GLP extends back five years.

“GLP is a workhorse component of our lighting inventory,” declares John R. Lewis, director of SE Systems Inc, production services. “We were initially attracted by the quality of their products, and quite honestly every equipment manufacturer should strive for the level of service GLP provides.”

He said the increase in X4 Bar inventory (both the Bar 10s and Bar 20s) and investment in the GT-1 would be “a perfect match for all our clients’ endeavours. We knew that the fit of the Bars, and especially the Hybrid GT-1, was essential to our vision.” And he anticipates that the inventory will continue to increase.

He confirmed that these fixtures are already in high demand. “We are constantly serving clients ranging from the NFL, Major League Baseball and multiple venue events, as well as some of the largest festivals in the region,” he summarised.

GLP’s account manager Jamey Brock commented: “The team at SE Systems are business smart, with a focus on ROI, and value lighting equipment that meets their creative needs.”

www.glp.de

SE Systems Continue to Build GLP InventorySE Systems Continue to Build GLP Inventory

22nd May 2017

GLP

Claypaky Scenius Unico takes centre stage at Eurovision 2017

Claypaky Scenius Unico takes centre stage at Eurovision 2017
Claypaky Scenius Unico takes centre stage at Eurovision 2017

Ukraine – Internationally renowned lighting designer and director of photography Jerry Appelt specified the new Claypaky Scenius Unico as the main stage workhorse fixture for his richly composed lighting design for this year’s Eurovision Song Contest, hosted at the International Exhibition Centre, Kyiv, Ukraine.

This year, 42 countries participated in the global TV phenomenon, each supported by a striking stage and light show embracing video, special effects and a procession of scenic props and costumes, all of which combined to make the lighting of this world famous event an ever more challenging proposition.

Taking up that challenge for the third time, Appelt’s lighting solution was born from a creative collaboration with scenic designer Florian Wieder. This was centred around a fresh take on the Proscenium arch, which curved majestically from upstage, and was further complemented by a video floor and an arena-wide LED video backdrop.

Appelt harmonised this with an entirely kinetic rig, based around a huge, three-dimensional structure affectionately known as the ‘Beehive’. Saturated with lighting and media technology, the Beehive hung above centre stage, behind Wieder’s arching scenic projection surface and in front of the video backdrop to offer a versatile central focus to the stage lighting. This in turn was encircled by layers of curved, automated truss elements, all carrying Scenius Unico, equipped with OSRAM Lok-it! HTI 1400/PS lamps.

“My primary goal was to design a lighting architecture that could be as multifunctional as a Swiss army knife!” explains Appelt. “I needed a rig that was supremely flexible from all perspectives and that would also look good on TV. It had to offer an inexhaustible selection of looks for the cameras. Every truss is automated with a view to creating countless singular spaces by manipulating light, shadow and darkness, height and depth, angle and colour, hard and soft beams.”

This need for flexibility also influenced Appelt’s choice of the Scenius Unico: “I needed a workhorse that could perform the role of two, maybe even three different types of fixture, without compromising on colour, output, mechanical precision or effects,” stresses Appelt. “The Scenius Unico was the only solution because it is so versatile; it can be a spot, a wash or a beam light, it is also high output and relatively compact in size and weight.”

The Scenius Unico, supplied to Eurovision by global lighting, video and rigging expert PRG, provided Appelt with a superior quality of light and 6500K output colour temperature to work alongside the production’s considerable video output. Appelt could shape the light’s beam to within a fraction of a centimetre through its advanced framing system, currently one of the most advanced on the market.

“I primarily used the Scenius Unico as a beam light. I needed a fixture that could deliver a consistent colour range, a bright output and enabled me to convey a wide variety of different looks; the Scenius Unico does this. It also offers a rich colour palette, it’s super bright and it has an old fashioned, punchy beam replete with hot spot, which I love and is perfect for this kind of show.”

Ola Melzig, head of production for Eurovision, agrees: “One of Jerry’s biggest challenges is to balance the lighting and the high-power video for cameras. This demands a high impact fixture with great features, fantastic output and a lovely quality of light that stands apart from the rest of the lighting and video in the room. To that end, Jerry was insistent that he have the Scenius Unico. We love the colour, especially for TV and I, as a production manager, love the relatively low weight and the pleasing ratio of high light output to low power consumption. It’s a very powerful design tool, but for me it’s also very cost-effective.”

In the end, thousands enjoyed three spectacular live shows at Kyiv's International Exhibition Centre, while over 200 million viewers tuned in on television on the night. On YouTube, records were broken as the Grand Final was watched by some 4 million people.

On the night of the Final, 26 acts sang their hearts out on stage, but there could only be one winner, and that was Portugal's Salvador Sobral.

www.claypaky.it

Claypaky Scenius Unico takes centre stage at Eurovision 2017Claypaky Scenius Unico takes centre stage at Eurovision 2017

19th May 2017

Claypaky

Norwegian Engineers Fly with dLive

Norwegian Engineers Fly with dLive
Norwegian Engineers Fly with dLive

Norway – Eight Allen & Heath dLive C Class systems, based on the ultra-compact C1500 Surface and CDM32 MixRack, have been purchased in Norway, mainly by sound engineers looking for a fly-in mixing system.

Sold by Norwegian distributor, Benum, the systems were specified by several of the country’s most prolific and well-respected freelance audio engineers touring with some of Norway's most successful pop acts.

“It's the only option on the market that offers compact mixing that you can take on a commercial airline, with the right sound quality and minimum hardware,” says Stian Sagholen (FoH for Einar Stray Orchestra and Dunderbeist, monitors for Madcon). “I love the fact that just because I want a small format mixer I am not limited in terms of channel count, processing or routing options.”

“I specified the C1500/CDM32 solution because it’s check-in friendly, has every tool I need for the gig and is a self-contained package with no need for any external units,” adds Børre Leinebø (FoH for Gabrielle, Madcon, Dsound).

Other engineers who have invested in the system comprise Einar Honning Nordberg (FoH for Elsa & Emilie, Anne Grete Preus, monitors for Midnight Choir), Markus Sannan (FoH for Julie Bergan), Per Arne Torp (FoH for Plumbo), Sondre Røssland Sandhaug (FoH for Sondre Justad and Astri S), Steven Grant Bishop (monitors for Sondre Justad), and Jonas Kristoffersen Alfhei (FoH for Kitfai and BAYA).

“I had tried several compact systems but there were a lot of compromises, so when the C Class series with the C1500 surface was unveiled there was very little doubt that this system was the next logical step for me,” concludes Jonas Kristoffersen Alfhei. “The learning curve is very efficient and the workflow is very fast and natural. I have done a lot of preproduction work on the dLive Director control software and I find it very helpful to be able to use software that mimics the layout of the surface, I can do 90% of my preproduction work before I even enter the venue.”

19th May 2017

Robe Funks it Up with Bruno Mars

Robe Funks it Up with Bruno Mars
Robe Funks it Up with Bruno Mars

Europe - Seven-hundred-and-ninety-five Robe Spikies are on the road with the incredible Bruno Mars 24K Magic world tour, setting a record for the largest number of a single type of Robe fixture on one touring show, to date.

The Spikies are the main lighting feature of an action-packed show and are used constantly for high-impact looks, an array of fluid effects, mesmeric chases, animated chunks of colour, magically twinkling and sparkling ‘soft’ surfaces which can totally transform the appearance of the performance space in this exciting high-energy show.

The dynamic, colourful and highly visual production design was originated by Leroy Bennett of Seven Design Works, who collaborated closely with a top creative team including lighting designer Cory FitzGerald and lighting director on-the-road Whitney Hoversten.

24K Magic is also currently one of the most talked about live shows of the year by the multiple Grammy award winning artist, following the release of his hugely successful third studio album of the same name at the end of 2016.

The worldwide lighting contractor is VER who made the massive investment in Spikies which were delivered by Robe North America.

It is a big and beautifully balanced visual collage of lighting and video, with live (IMAG) video director Steve Fatone cutting the camera mix, combined with eye-catching playback content produced by Empirical Studios.

Bruno Mars himself was integrally involved with the evolution of the stage presentation, and he and his incredibly talented band also provided the final ingredient in this entertaining molten mix of intelligence, fun and wit, coupled with some awesome technology and 'imagineering'.

Cory, who has worked with Bruno Mars since the 2011 ‘Hooligans in Wonderland’ tour, and enjoys a great working relationship and dialogue with him and Roy’s brief from the artist included references to a wide array of memorable shows.

These included the huge iconic parcan rigs of the 1990s that graced the stages of legendary artists like Queen, Michael Jackson and AC/DC.

“Bruno wanted power to the lighting as well as a clean stage and the feeling of an environment or room in which he was playing,” explained Roy, “which inspired the synthesis of Versace showroom vibes and these massive retro lighting rigs.” So the show aesthetic is based on all these parameters, plus the seating being arranged in 270 degrees.

To recreate the wall of lights effect in a thoroughly contemporary context, they needed a fixture with the right appearance that could also produce the diversity of effects required to keep the looks pumping throughout the high-energy two-hour show. The 16 action-packed numbers embrace a plethora of musical styles and genres.

The fixture they sought needed to be lightweight enough to be practical on tour and with that many on the rig and a lengthy itinerary already confirmed, it needed to be robust and reliable.

Several shoot-outs and tests were conducted to ‘audition’ fixtures explained Cory, revealing that, “The unified look of the beam in the lens was a huge part of the Spikies winning out.” He also said that their speed was a big factor in addition to the 360-degree rotation, together with their multi-functionality and the flatness of the colour field. On top of that, effects like the prism and the flower “really make them unique in their class.”

Roy added: “The Spikies were chosen for their versatility, speed and compact size, I wanted to pack as many units as possible into the pods!”

Three-hundred-and seventy-five Spikies are built into five upstage columns, and the other 420 are contained in 20 moving over-stage pods, all constructed by TAIT together with the automation systems to move them.

The five back columns are each loaded with a Spikies matrix of five wide by 15 fixtures high, and the reverse side of the column is covered in an RBG LED lightbox panelling material for contrast. They rotate to reveal the different sides throughout the show.

A large LED video screen also flies in at certain points just downstage of the columns, and at times this is lit through with the banks of Spikies, producing another dimension to the stage.

The 20 pods over the stage are rigged in a five wide by four deep configuration, each loaded with a 7 x 3 Spikie format utilising 21 fixtures per pod, and these move into a series of different looks throughout the set.

These moving Spikie columns and pods provide a huge scope to change the appearance and ambience of the stage and are used constantly throughout the show, each time bringing a totally new perspective to the space, matching the diversity of the performance.

For transportation, the Spikie pods and columns are de-rigged, have protective cover boards and wheels added and are rolled up the truck ramp, a swift, compact and straightforward exercise and a neat solution in part facilitated by the light weight of the lights.

Some serious programming on a grandMA2 full size went into the equation. This was undertaken mainly by Cory assisted by Whitney and also Davey Martinez during the three weeks of production rehearsals at Rock Lititz Studio in Pennsylvania.

Cory commented that it’s a testament to “the fixture and its flexibility” that they can get a whole show simply by programming different looks and movements with uniform pods of lights.

Seven Robe BMFL Spot fixtures are utilised for key lighting all the performers on stage.

A VER lighting crew of six is teching and rigging all the kit on the road, crew chiefed by Soline Velazquez. The tour’s production manager is Joel Forman.

24K Magic currently continues to 'wow' crowds in Europe and opens in the US in July.

photos: Louise Stickland

www.robe.cz

Robe Funks it Up with Bruno MarsRobe Funks it Up with Bruno Mars

19th May 2017

Robe Lighting

Teri Productions Grows with ProPower RPD Power Distros

Teri Productions Grows with ProPower RPD Power Distros

USA – More than 1,500 ProPower RPD power distro racks are in service across North America and Teri Productions of Knoxville, Tennessee owns a fair share of them. Recently, the venerable, full-service rental and staging company has been building their inventory to accommodate new business with a variety of tours and events, ranging from Lil Wayne to motivational guru Tony Robbins.

“Using the latest technology, we’ve converted our lighting designs to eliminate dimmer racks,” says Teri Productions’ Jay Coatney. “Running entirely on ProPower power distros, these lighting systems are a green solution, since much less power is needed. For example, a system that previously required six 400 amp services can now be powered with two 200 amp services. Even with this added efficiency, we sometimes use 12 ProPower RPD racks in large arenas.”

Coatney adds: “There are so many things we like about ProPower racks, including their reliability, versatility, truck-pack size, ease of ordering, and options such as the digital meter display which allows us to easily meter everything before powering up. The fit and finish are unsurpassed; we don’t have to worry about rolling out in front of corporate clients (and believe me, they watch). These handsome racks project the image we want for our company.”

“The ProPower brand continues to enjoy increasing popularity with entertainment professionals worldwide,” says TMB sales manager, Stephanie Kilburg. “Continuously enhanced and improved to maintain its quality advantage, ProPower RPD remains the most reliable, versatile power distro out there. We look forward to continuing our long-standing and growing relationship with Teri Productions.”

For the North American market, custom-configurable ProPower RPD power distribution features a comprehensive range of distro panels, offering virtually every type of connector, voltage range, or special purpose device used in the entertainment production and staging industries. Over 150 panels are all readily available, with more being added regularly. Panels and their positioning in the rack are selected by the customer and each RPD system is built exactly as specified. In addition to power distribution panels, an entire family of systems has been engineered using ProPlex Data Distribution unified signal management systems. The most recent addition to the wide range of ProPower RPD choices is a 1U panel with eight USB outputs for charging mobile devices and powering USB LED goosenecks (included). ProPower RPD rack systems are normally shipped within ten business days from order, fully cULus Listed, completely ready to use, housed in high-quality ATA flight cases. European ProPower CE systems offer all the features and benefits of their American cousins to professional users in 220/240 volt markets.

www.tmb.com

19th May 2017

TMB

Adlib Round the World with Russell Howard

Adlib Round the World with Russell Howard

UK – One man, one mic and one big mission-critical challenge to get it perfect every night and that’s what Adlib delivered daily for the latest Russell Howard in-the-round arena tour.

Adlib, the Liverpool based company, supplied audio and lighting for the UK arena leg of the tour, the biggest to date for the highly-acclaimed award winning stand-up comedian who delights audiences worldwide with his intelligence, wit and hilarity.

Adlib’s audio team was led by George Puttock who worked closely with Russell’s FoH engineer Simon Lawson.

George specified a Coda Audio AiRAY system for a number of different reasons: its unrivalled light weight, its excellent sound quality and projection, as well as the precise horizontal control. The fact it is quick and easy to rig was an added bonus for the crew.

The core system comprised eight hangs of eight AiRAY, with eight ViRAY downfills each. These were flown either side of four LED screens rigged at cardinal points about the stage.

Each day a completely bespoke variation of this system was rigged and optimised to suit the exact conditions and nuances of the room, to deliver the punch lines to every seat in the house.

Coda Audio’s Linus 10 amplifiers were suspended from an inner truss placed in a square behind the eight hangs, to facilitate neat cable management and short speaker cable runs. In addition to Coda Audio’s Linus Live control software, Adlib designed a bespoke power control and monitoring solution providing individual control and monitoring of each amplifier from the ground. “We couldn’t risk having any circuit breakers in the air, with the inability to reset them mid-show,” said Puttock.

Audio was transported using Coda’s LINET signal distribution system, primarily for its absolute zero latency and high resilience. LINET was also perfect due to the long cable runs often encountered in getting to the centre of the arena from the control position.

All the processing and control was managed in the flown amplifiers; the signal being sent there from the DiGiCo SD9 FoH console. An SD11 was provided as a backup console, with a tried and tested Spirit Folio providing the ultimate backup for the completely discreet analogue backup system.

Russel Howard doesn’t use IEMs, so six Coda TiRAY were flown on the ‘east’ and ‘west’ sides of the stage for monitoring. Twelve more TiRAY positioned around the lip of stage provided front-fill, their tiny form factor being ideal for sight-lines and the cameras.

The artist specified his own mic which was a wireless Shure Beta SM58.

George worked alongside a solid Adlib team of Tony Szabo, Simon Lawson, Billy Bryson, Steph Fleming and Antonio Calvi. He engaged in a serious amount of advance work beforehand, knowing that all the venues were very different and the PA would have to change to suit day-to-day.

“Using this Coda AiRAY system was the best solution for this scenario because it’s so predictable,” he commented, “it does exactly what the software tells you it’s going to do and that makes for a very easy day on site.”

With this reassurance, he could concentrate on his first essential job each day, thoroughly checking the position of the rigging points and adjusting the ‘plan’ to take into account any unforeseen eventualities accordingly.

“Splendid and tremendous,” commented Puttock: “It was a great tour, extremely well organised with harmony from all departments. The crew and the system delivered and there was lots of laughter throughout, both from the audience and from the crew!”

A production lighting design was created by Adlib’s Ian Tomlinson which brought a clean, stylish, elegant look to the stage, and most importantly, was focussed on lighting Russell Howard for the cameras and IMAG relay. This was crucial as it allowed all of the audience to see the detail and nuances of his facial expressions as he delivered his gags.

The lighting crew chief was Charlie Rushton who also worked on the last Russell Howard tour and, not surprisingly, the challenge for lighting was getting all the necessary cabling from the middle of the room to the distros which involved anything from 20 metre to 80 metre runs and some serious management.

Thirty-two sections of Prolyte pre-rigged trussing were used in total, 16 x 10ft. sections of S36PRA and 16 x 8ft. sections of S46PRT. Twelve of the 8fts formed a hexagonal shape with the addition of some custom spreader bars to make the angles correct.

Off stage from the hexagon were four front trusses one covering each of the four ‘sides’ of the stage, made up from four 10ft. and an 8ft. section in the middle.

The moving lights on each truss were four MAC Viper Profiles, while four Chauvet STRIKE 4 LED blinders were pointed into the audience with a large gap in the centre of the four front trusses to facilitate CT’s IMAG LED screens.

On the six sides of the hexagon truss were four MAC Auras and two more MAC Viper Profiles.

Eleven Chauvet Colorado Batten 72 Tours were utilised for footlights around the edge of the stage ensconced in between each of the PA front-fills to warm up his face and fill some small gaps in the overall spread of lighting.

For followspotting – an essential element in this set-up – four Robert Juliat Merlins were specified and positioned out in the house at the quarter points to the stage. One result of being in-the-round was the need to pull back on the intensity so these did not blind the audience members sitting on the opposite side to their throw path.

Lighting operator Tom Webber used a pair of Hog 4 Full Boars specified by Ian for control.

The opening involved some flashing effect which was fired and synched to timecode. There were two signature looks, one for the walk-in and one for the show which were carefully constructed to give contrast. The show scene lighting was balanced to ensure that Russell Howard was well lit for all camera angles and Ian Tomlinson had to have his DoP head on when he designed this as well as his LD one.

“We’ve had a lot of experience with lighting comedy shows” commented Charlie, “which is a great asset in getting the perfect mix for each different artist’s performance.”

Charlie and Tom worked with Adlib lighting technician Jon Barlow and dimmer technician Jeff Bond.

All the data distribution was over ArtNet using Luminex nodes which were placed on the end of the cable bridge and broken out from there to feed the lighting on the trusses above the stage.

A wireless multicore was run to stage using a pair of Ubiquiti Bullets to create a 5GHz WIFI network, one located on the cable bridge with the Luminex nodes and one under the stage with another node. The data comfortably travelled this height every day and the system proved very reliable as well as saved at least 30 minutes a day on cabling.

A GreenGo wireless comms was run out to the four followspot positions, with the GreenGo antenna also sitting at the end of the cable bridge, which saved having to run out 400 plus metres of XLR daily.

A standard analogue TechPro comms system was used for the show as the distances made it more efficient to run cables for this element of the production.

Adlib’s client manager Phil Kielty commented: “We’ve had a really busy 2017 so far with lots of comedy projects on tour. It’s always good to push boundaries and we’ve also been thrilled with the results of the Coda PA in-the-round on this one.

“We’re fortunate enough to have been involved with Russell for nearly ten years now. I first saw him performing at the Unity Theatre in Liverpool around 2007 and I am still a massive fan. Adlib thrives in a comedy environment and Russell and the team at Avalon all strive to be the best at what they do, so it’s a great match! Our thanks to James Taylor and Bjorn Wentlandt at Avalon and Tour Manager Kumar Kamalagharan for another excellent arena tour.”

In picture: CODA PA hang alongside the video wall; Adlib’s Simon Lawson FoH engineer; The Adlib touring crew.

photos: Steve Sroka

Adlib Round the World with Russell HowardAdlib Round the World with Russell Howard

19th May 2017

Capital Sound Invests in SSL Live - a Full Range Offering

Capital Sound Invests in SSL Live - a Full Range Offering

UK – Capital Sound, one of the largest UK-based live sound hire companies, is adding Solid State Logic L200 and L500 live consoles to its inventory, bringing SSL quality and flexibility to a growing client-base over a wide budget range. The consoles are being been supplied by UK professional audio specialist HD Pro Audio.

Capital Sound initially decided to invest in L500 to support The Killers front of house engineer, Kenny Kaiser, on the European leg of the band's current worldwide tour. Kaiser uses a lot of the console's unique attributes, such as fully processed stem groups, the SSL FX Rack, AutoMix (multiple lead vocal mics), and the tube effect that is included in every processed path.

"We've had our eye on the SSL consoles for a long time, but felt that we needed a lower price point for a large section of our client base," says Paul Timmins, general manager at Capital Sound. "The L200 is right where we need it to be. This is now a family of surfaces that suit all of our requirements, from large tours like The Killers to many other clients that we'd like to introduce to SSL Live."

How and when Capital Sound invests in new equipment very much depends on the size of that investment, and the specific need. Timmins says: "With high-end consoles we generally buy them for specific projects, providing the project has a reasonable duration, and that forms a solid foundation for the future. With smaller consoles, we look at what they can offer the company and how they fit into the bigger picture. We see the L200 as being an important part of our inventory of mid-priced consoles into the future."

Robin Conway is the project manager at Capital Sound, and feels that the new L200 has a ready-made audience: "It's the right price, it's the right rental cost, it has the great SSL heritage, and it doesn't feel like a smaller console, it feels as big as its big brothers. It has the right number of faders, the screen is high quality. Everything about it screams quality, and yet it's in a price point that’s now affordable for at least 60 percent of our client-base.

"People have very specific ideas and loyalties when it comes to consoles and have always fallen back onto reliable and trusted brands. The L200 may well fulfil that role."

HD Pro Audio's Andy Huffer is confident that the SSL L200 will have a big impact on the touring market, exposing more engineers to the sound, flexibility, and power of SSL Live: "For four years now we've been trying to cover the market with the L500, a real top-end console that requires a big project to make it a good value proposition. Now we think the introduction of the L200 will accelerate SSL's popularity in touring, it will create that required group experience of how an SSL console works, how good it sounds, and so on. That will then drive demand for the more powerful consoles as they are needed.

"Not every engineer starts his career on an arena tour with the most expensive kit. While the L200 certainly isn't in the low end or cheap end of the market, it's definitely a more accessible first step."

Capital Sound has been in business for over 30 years, serving European and international live music at festivals and all scales of tour sound. "Capital sound is a respected brand," says Timmins. "We only do sound rental, we do what we know best.

"We offer a friendly, personal service. Everything we do is bespoke-designed so ultimately we like to think that the customer is getting exceptional value for money, both in design services and the kit we're supplying."

19th May 2017

IPS Guard the Galaxy with the Mythos 2

IPS Guard the Galaxy with the Mythos 2

UK – April saw the premiere of the next instalment of The Guardians of the Galaxy, held at the Eventim Apollo at Hammersmith. The global success of the first film from the Marvel franchise guaranteed the sequel and film premieres of this magnitude require more than just a red carpet to announce their arrival.

Impact Production Services (IPS) is a well-known exponent at delivering the goods at this sort of event. In addition to lighting the press areas and a media wall, IPS supplied the lighting inside the theatre where the main event took place. This was a mainly Claypaky affair, designed by James Barnfather from the end client, Limited Edition Event Design and featuring Sharpys, Sharpy Washes and the newly upgraded Mythos2 fixtures.

Programmer and operator for the show was Luke Edwards who explains the choices, “Sharpy Washes have always been a favourite of mine so I was keen to try out the upgraded Mythos 2 fixtures. The new light source is great and the dimming at the low end is much improved. It’s a good reflection of the ethos of a company when it’s happy to acknowledge issues with a light and produce a workable solution for their customers. For close camera work I would still use Sharpys for their – well, sharpness – but as a hybrid, it is difficult to beat.”

‘As for the new lamp and the reliability factor,” continues Edwards: “That’s been a massive improvement. Crew chief Anna Mac and dimmer technician, Dan Everett were more than happy we didn’t have to swap a single fixture which pretty much says it all. The lighting competed with 64 lasers for impact and the rig definitely didn’t disappoint. The hybrid nature of the Mythos really comes into its own in situations like this. Combining their massive beam with the Sharpy Washes gives you so much to work with. Here, at Hammersmith, I had ample audience lighting as well as having the hybrid functionalities of the Mythos to work with on the stage.”

Anna Mac from LE worked on all the pre-production for this premiere, and helped with all the technical aspects of the production. She says, “I am really impressed with the Mythos2 – and the recent upgrade has really delivered – all the reasons we were excited about this as a true hybrid fixture in the first place and now everything is working seamlessly. The Mythos2 paired with Sharpy and Sharpy Wash fixtures made for a versatile rig, which we could then use to create some really big looks.”

While all the new Mythos2 are fitted with the new dimming solution and the New Heart lamp from Osram, exclusive distributors Ambersphere Solutions offer these modifications as an inexpensive upgrade kit. Matt Cowles of Ambersphere sales comments: “The Mythos2 offers unrivalled flexibility and with the new reliable lamp and improved dimming it goes from strength to strength. It’s great to see Impact continue their investment in Mythos by using the upgrade kit on their stock. With the with the new lamp and better dimming we are confident people will fall in love with this hugely popular fixture all over again.”

photos: Limited Edition: Eventim Hammersmith / N/A Mythos upgrade in progress

www.ambersphere.co.uk

IPS Guard the Galaxy with the Mythos 2IPS Guard the Galaxy with the Mythos 2

19th May 2017

Ambersphere Solutions

Out of this World Show for K3

Out of this World Show for K3
Out of this World Show for K3

Belgium – Popular Belgian girlband K3 are on the road again for an extensive live schedule through 2017 reaching out to their young and enthusiastic fan base with a completely new lighting and video design originated by Luc Peumans of Genk-based creative practice, Painting with Light.

This is the first full tour with the ‘new’ K3, since a TV competition staged last year found three new faces to take over from the previous band members, two of whom had been part of the foundation of the K3 phenomenon in 1998. This was followed by a transition tour featuring all six K3 girls performing both together and in their two separate line-ups.

Painting with Light has worked with K3, known for their colourful, high-octane power-pop stage shows, for the last 15 years. The band is managed by Studio 100 and the staging concept for this tour was developed by Stefaan Haudenhuyse, with Painting with Light being asked to create the touring production design.

This involved translating Stefaan’s initial mood boards into an energised and tourable technical production scenario, achieved in conjunction with equipment vendors PRG Belgium who also co-ordinated the show’s automation elements.

As with all K3 live shows, there is a story which plays out on screen in the video content as well as with the action on stage.

Referring to K3’s ‘classic’ rainbow branding, the 2017 story starts with the theft of these magical colours from the show by unknown extra-terrestrial beings, entailing the girls having to travel through space, visit three different planets, engage in some alien interaction, make friends and seek enemies out to try and find the perpetrators - and the colours!

After this they have to safely return the colours to their own world.

These narrative building blocks brought a touch of hallucinogenic sci-fi fantasy to the table which was a great starting point for Painting with Light explained Luc.

“We seized the chance of making the opening section a harsher and starker monochrome environment, with some clearly defined lighting treatments as well as contrasts in style. The same ambiance provided a strong basis for commissioning the video content to meet Stefaan’s scenographic vision.”

Setting the show in ‘other worlds’ gave the whole creative team plenty of latitude to make it fun and cool for K3’s young audience. The idea also underlined the great value pop exceptionally well-done theme inherent to K3.

For the show flow, it was essential that lighting and video were integrated, and being involved in both mediums from the start enabled Painting with Light to control the process with great effect.

Painting with Light worked with Jos Claesen to create the video content. They collaborated on the last K3 tour as well as on recent shows for illusionist Hans Klok, musical spectacular Beauty & the Beast and a number of other projects. Jos created all the 3D worlds for this show, taking Stefaan’s visuals as a starting point.

The LED video screens are vital to create the different planets and experiences, starting with a large 16 metre wide by seven metre high, 6mm surface upstage that opens in the middle for the entrance and exit of K3’s space ship. This is supported by an impressive 20 metre wide, nine metre high show portal, positioned four metres downstage and made up from the same LED surfaces.

This dual layer of video increases the perception of depth, together with a set of wide show-stairs fronted with 10mm Barco O-lite LED, custom built by PRG Belgium, which connect the upper and lower sections of the stage.

Having this much LED enabled Luc and the team to apply some complex visual layers. Some parts of the opening scene resemble a 3D model of the show, complete with virtual trusses and lighting effects which are scaled and fitted precisely to match the real stage dimensions.

At a glance, it’s near impossible to tell that these digital production elements are an optical illusion! Each layer of the digital trussing and metalwork can be coloured and treated just as if it is actually there in the venue and part of the rig and this idea was followed through for the rest of the show content.

The three different planets all have their own characteristics, with digital scenery providing a highly graphic way of visualising them on stage. Components like signs are integrated into the footage which can be tweaked via the three Christie Pandora’s Box media servers.

Luc highlights the importance of the lighting fixtures and their placement in relation to the LED surfaces as one of the main challenges.

It was the first opportunity for Painting with Light to utilise the new PRG Icon Edge hybrid moving light fixture, a spot, beam and wash unit in one housing, and consequently highly versatile. Fewer lights go a lot further and just 36 fixtures offered a wide enough range of options as the rig workhorses.

These are augmented with 36 Claypaky A.leda K20s fitted with B-Eye lenses running in wide mode for full pixel control, and their excellent moonflower effects are perfect for some of the more spacey moments.

Sixteen Martin MAC Vipers Profiles on the front truss take care of all the key lighting for K3 and their dancers, and 24 Chauvet STRIKE 1 LED blinders on the front truss blast boldly out into the audience in combination with strobes. Luc really appreciates the authentic looking STRIKE 1 amber shift which brings a vintage ‘blinder’ vibe.

Completing the lighting picture are 16 GLP Impression X4 LED washes for side lighting and, naturally, three Robert Juliat Victors followspots for the three girls. A major task for lighting is to ensure the girls ‘pop out’ amidst a frenetic mix of highly animated backgrounds and lots of action, info and detail.

All lighting is controlled from the grandMA2 console programmed and operated for the show by Jeroen Opsteyn, with the media servers programmed and operated by Katleen Selleslagh, both from Painting with Light.

photos: Luk Monsaert and Frank Lambrechts

Out of this World Show for K3Out of this World Show for K3

19th May 2017

Creating Wonderland – a notable achievement

Creating Wonderland – a notable achievement
Creating Wonderland – a notable achievement

UK – A visit to Wonderland, that is the promise of Take That’s latest tour, a phantasmagorical ride through a vividly imagined and ever changing landscape. For an in-the-round (ITR) performance this is as complex as it gets. “Data wise it is massively integrated,” said lighting designer Tim Routledge with stark precision. “The stage is based on the familiar logo of two Ts one inverted atop the other within a circle defined by LED floor panels. Above, a 20-metre diameter truss contains an all-enveloping ring of 16 roller-drops where we present some truly dazzling video projection.”

Conceived by the band’s live show Svengali, Kim Gavin, with a collaborative team that comprised no less than Stufish’s Ray Winkler and artistic director Misty Buckley, it is in the realms of video, all provided by Video Design, where some of the most testing conundrums have been solved, as Routledge describes.

“The roller-drops use a fantastic fabric from Showtex, white fronted it has a black back that almost totally eliminates any pass-through light from the projectors. Video Design provides four projector stacks, figuratively speaking placed north, east, south and west out in the grandstands. The roller-drops are all Kinesis controlled so we can precisely choreograph their movements and positions. For example, they can run up/down in a sequence evoking a sine wave around the rig. Or they can be lowered just 30% and used solely for an IMAG narrow portrait banner around the top of the stage. There is a second set of fourteen rollers in the centre stage area, these flank the sides of stage lifts that define the two Ts and rise six metres out of the stage.”

Managing such a variety of moveable projection surfaces is but the least of the challenges. “The first thing before we do anything is calibrate the venue,” continued Routledge, “something easily done with BlackTrax once the cameras are in position. The difficulty is this: Imagine you have a moving target, say one of the three principal performers. As they move around within the confines of the double T there are big projection surfaces at right angles to each other. That increases the potential for shadows from followspots within that space; so, I control all followspots using BlackTrax. If that projection scenery is also changing position it gets even more complex. To manage the ‘projection’ and ‘no projection’ areas would be impossible manually.”

Luke Collins, Video Design’s server guru explains the solution: “I have 32 projectors in total, eight at each compass point, 24 active and eight hot backups. For the D3s to mask and map accurately to the moving screens we take the Kinesis data so it tracks all movement in the horizontal plane. The BlackTrax data is critical to get the positional difference between the inner and outer roller-drops, and the vertical edges of all the rollers. You might think those positions are set, but there is inevitably variation venue to venue, so with the BlackTrax data I can then move the screens (virtually) relative to the projectors within D3. That will probably be just a few millimetres but it’s important to ensure there are no ‘off roller’ bleeds. The last thing Tim needs is slivers of really powerful projection slicing out into the audience.” Production manager Chris Vaughan went to great lengths to ensure such complexity could be toured and properly realised. “All the creative contributors have had to engage with the ITR aspect and recognise what that entails,” he said. “Not just for their own considerations, but how achieving their goals interacts with the other departments. Hence, it’s been hugely collaborative. To plan for this, we took a 20m diameter truss out to all the booked venues and flew it in the central position. Then me and Alex Leinster from Video Design looked at all the possible projection positions for each corner, minimising seat kills and at the same time ensuring there would be no compromise to the projection. In that sense, Video Design are doing what is potentially one of the greatest projection shows ever attempted in the live arena in the round. One that is bright enough to read well - and let me tell you it looks fantastic - and yet not kill every seat in the grandstands. That’s a notable achievement.”

photos: Kris Goodman

19th May 2017

Bandit Lites Brightens Chris Tomlin’s Worship Night in America

Bandit Lites Brightens Chris Tomlin’s Worship Night in America

USA – Chris Tomlin, the GRAMMY Award-winning Contemporary Christian singer-songwriter with more than 100 million albums sold, recently wrapped his stellar national tour, Worship Night in America. Bandit Lites provided the lighting package for the multi-artist event that featured performances by Phil Wickham, Zach Williams, Mosaic MSC and Big Daddy Weave and included songs from Tomlin’s 11th studio album, Never Lose Sight.

Building off the design of a five city tour from the summer of 2016, lighting designer Christian Hahn had the opportunity to add elements he felt were missing, and by merging together Tomlin’s production design requests and the overall look and feel of the tour, Hahn created a dynamic design that featured big looks, clean lines, smooth transitions and saturated colours.

Hahn summed up the overall design and equipment needs for Worship Night in America to four specific categories: wash fixtures to cover the stage, spot fixtures to hold their own for gobos and beams, a hybrid for additional horsepower and an audience wash.

“We needed a solid wash fixture to cover the 60’ x 46’ stage,” said Hahn. “This also needed to be paired with a static fixture to help colour the 70’ x 30’ tall upstage curtain. (Bandit vice president) Mike Golden and I talked about different LED fixtures that could do the job and really the choice came down to the fixtures having both a discreet white LED as well as a versatile zoom. For the overall moving light wash fixture, I landed on the Martin MAC Aura, and to colour the upstage curtain as well as up light the band, I chose the GLP Impression X4S.”

While acknowledging the need for a wash look for the front view, Hahn pre-emptively considered the need for a second element to add another layer in order to avoid stagnant looks. After considering the linear truss design, he turned his attention to a linear fixture, the Elation ACL 360 bar, giving him the both the additional layer but also the ‘something special’ a conventional moving light was unable to provide.

Bandit Lites also supplied Martin MAC Viper Profiles to provide hard edged beam and gobo effects, along with the Claypaky Mythos offering both wash a spot looks, giving Hahn the additional horsepower when needed.

“Claypaky Mythos has yet to disappoint me on a tour, so that made my choice in this area very easy,” Hahn said.

The last element he considered was an integral part of the night: the audience.

“A blinder of some sort was needed, and Chris Tomlin and the band like the warm tungsten look and really like the linear look of the 2-lites,” said Hahn. “In addition to the 2-lites, we added some 4-lites to help give some additional horsepower. I chose the Robe PATT 2013 to add a more unique look to the rig that would create less of a festival look. For strobes, the Phillips SL Nitro 510c came into play nicely and added bright hits to help enhance moments throughout the night.”

Hahn shared Bandit’s vice president Mike Golden was extremely helpful in offering solutions, paying special attention to balancing budget concerns and changes without ever compromising the integrity of the vision.

“As a designer, I cannot be more thankful as he is not only looking out for himself, but the designer and artist never feel like we are getting B-rig,” he said. “This is only possible due to the fact that Bandit owns an enormous amount of gear and has a variety of levels based on the need/design.”

“Chris Tomlin is an incredible artist and he has surrounded himself with the highest calibre of staff,” added Mike Golden. “I first started working with them last fall and immediately became a fan of the entire production team. Christian Hahn is amazing and a genuine pleasure to work with. As with every tour, there are challenges to overcome but Christian looked at every challenge as an opportunity to explore options both inside and outside the box. The production team of Steven Samuels and Andy McDaniel are a perfect complement to the organisation and the touring lighting director (Sam Weiner) produced a truly beautiful show. I would urge anyone to see Chris Tomlin and I applaud the entire staff for the work they are doing.”

Additional support came from Bandit’s project manager Matt King, who used a PDF packet of Hahn’s rig and equipment list to anticipate his needs and oversee a good portion of the prep before the tour’s team was even on site.

“All in all, the pre-production, prep and road experience were great,” finished Hahn on his experience with Bandit. “It is always fun to work with people that care about making things right and don’t mind putting the extra hours in when needed.”

Bandit Lites Brightens Chris Tomlin’s Worship Night in AmericaBandit Lites Brightens Chris Tomlin’s Worship Night in America

19th May 2017

Dave Taylor Runs Empire of the Sun Coachella Show With ChamSys MagicQ MQ500 Stadium

Dave Taylor Runs Empire of the Sun Coachella Show With ChamSys MagicQ MQ500 Stadium
Dave Taylor Runs Empire of the Sun Coachella Show With ChamSys MagicQ MQ500 Stadium

USA – Empire of the Sun catapulted to international stardom in 2008 with their multi-platinum hit “Walking on a Dream.” It was a very fitting title, for the song and the band. Blending an ethereal sound with stage visuals that resemble something out of a fantasy game, the Australian duo make it easy for audiences to take a temporary leave from reality and enter an uplifting world of imagination.

This transcendental quality was on full display 14th April, when Empire of the Sun appeared on the Coachella Festival’s Sahara Stage. Dressed in flowing, futuristic silky black outfits and backed by robot dancers, the duo performed on a stage adorned with glowing pyramids and a six-pronged silver statue cradling a primordial white orb. Illuminating the fantastical scene with brilliant white light and vivid colours was a light show that Dave Taylor programmed and controlled with the ChamSys MagicQ MQ500 Stadium.

Taylor used over 1,200 different light fixtures and 3,000 channels of LED tape in his 86-active-universe show. In addition to his ChamSys console, he relied on a SnakeSys R8 eight-universe Ethernet to DMX converter, a SnakeSys R4 multi-purpose network distribution node, and two SnakeSys B4 four-universe DMX to Ethernet converters to run his massive rig.

“There was no shortage of lighting on this one,” said Taylor. “Empire of the Sun is always pushing the boundaries, not just musically but visually. They’re constantly searching for images that move people in new ways. Our show continues to build and, as a designer, I’m constantly evolving with it. This is the first time I used the MagicQ MQ500 Stadium, since it’s new. This is really the next step in controllers for me, kind of a natural progression. It enabled me to create the ideal workspace for myself to program and control the show.”

The speed and flexibility of the ChamSys MagicQ MQ500 Stadium made it easier for Taylor to pre-program the intricately detailed show. “Doing your homework is 90 percent of the gig when you have a show like this,” he said. “The ChamSys platform makes this task simpler with the excellent speed that it has when patching and manipulating fixtures. When you pair the console’s internal morphing and cloning capabilities with features like multi-patch, quick offset options and powerful pixel mappers, you find it quick and easy to build a solid foundation that can be adapted to different venues.”

This pre-programming notwithstanding, there were also quite a few last-minute adjustments that had to be made to the Empire of the Sun show for Coachella, because of the band’s ceaseless quest to incorporate new ideas. “We all constantly push the envelope, so there were a number of new elements added in the lead up to this show,” said Taylor. “In fact, we were still building LED systems into the set pieces in the days just before Coachella. As is often the case, time is in short supply when the show approaches, so bringing it all to life at the eleventh hour was a challenge.”

The user-friendly features of the ChamSys MagicQ MQ500 Stadium made it easier for Taylor to meet this challenge. “This is a very efficient console,” he said. “I’m extremely impressed with the advanced power of the onboard processing. We were able to output a large number of universes directly from the console without the need for any external processing nodes.”

Video played a key role in Taylor’s design. He ran video content out of his rig on stage. “This method of running video content is a great way to approach our setup for Empire of the Sun, because the time available to us out the front is often very limited and changeovers can be very tight,” he said.

Although the video content for the show was all time coded, Taylor ran his ChamSys console live during Coachella. “I have a great deal of fun punting,” he said. “Empire of the Sun is constantly making changes to visual elements leading up to the show, so there are still a number of live modifications throughout the performance that must be made to account for these new twists. This is great, though, because as a lighting designer you want to be part of the live performance.”

19th May 2017

KLANG:fabrik Gets Inside the Heads of Linkin Park

KLANG:fabrik Gets Inside the Heads of Linkin Park

USA – Working for a band whose members are tech-fans that are willing to jump into new gear if they dig what it does is great, if the band likes it, it’s in. Proving that is a job that often falls to the engineers, and it’s how award-winning monitor engineer Kevin 'Tater' McCarthy (pictured bottom left) got the new KLANG:fabrik 3D monitoring system on the rider for a tour with Linkin Park that will run through 2017.

“I can’t say enough about how great this thing is,” gushes Tater over his pair of KLANG:fabrik units, which reside in a rack beneath his DiGiCo SD7 mixing console. “And it benefits in ways you might not think of. I’ve been able to substantially lower levels in the in-ear mixes for the entire band, especially the click track. I just move that right to the front centre of the 3D field, like it’s right at their forehead, and then I cut its volume in half. The sound kind of sits there in its own little bubble and, since it’s not sonically competing with anything else, it does not need to be nearly as loud.”

Volume is an issue that Tater has spoken out about in the past; Linkin Park guitarist Brad Delson has tinnitus and plays with foam earplugs and over-the-ear, gun-muff style headphones.

The KLANG:fabrik is extremely flexible in that the engineer can determine the best mix of inputs, outputs and sampling rate for the specific act or situation. “I’m running the KLANG at 96kHz and can use all eight outputs and have enough processing for 27 inputs,” he says. The show is actually more like 95 inputs, so he’s running a mix of stems and individual channels.

Adding KLANG:fabrik to the system actually allowed Tater to eliminate some other gear. “We used to use a single Aviom unit for the drummer, and I was able to ditch that completely. The KLANG:app literally runs on anything. So instead of the Aviom, he’s got his iPad on a stand next to him, and now he has even more control than before.”

The KLANG:fabrik made an enormous difference for the band and its techs, and it was obvious from the start. “This is not the kind of box where you try it and you’re not 100 percent sure you hear what it’s doing,” Tater notes. One reviewer described the moment of first enabling the 3D field as akin to the moment in The Wizard of Oz when it goes from black-and-white to colour. “With the KLANG, you start moving sources within that 3D field and just move them the tiniest little bit and it is noticeable like you can’t believe,” he adds.

“The first time we used it with just a crew check, I moved the bass guitar so that it was coming from way behind them. And when the first bass note hit, literally every person on that stage turned around 180 degrees and took a step backwards.”

The members of Linkin Park were just as impressed. “The first time using it with the band, the DJ wasn’t there and his tech was covering those parts. I accidentally dropped him out of the 3D mode and into straight stereo. Now keep in mind that stereo just meant my ‘old’ mix without the 3D field. I swear he looked like he was going to drop to his knees when I inadvertently put him back into 2D.”

People might think of something like 3D audio as a novelty, but that’s not the case for Tater and Linkin Park. “We’ll be out for the rest of the year and we bought two units so we have a ‘just-in-case’ backup. It’s not an optional thing at this point. The KLANG:fabrik is now a staple part of the monitor rig for Linkin Park.”

KLANG:fabrik Gets Inside the Heads of Linkin ParkKLANG:fabrik Gets Inside the Heads of Linkin Park

19th May 2017

Bauder Audio Adds 92 Kiva II and Standardizes on L-Acoustics for Success

Bauder Audio Adds 92 Kiva II and Standardizes on L-Acoustics for Success

USA – Ask any rental company owner. There’s little worse than losing a gig based solely on the logo on the loudspeaker inventory. It was a situation that the team at Bauder Audio Systems found themselves in a time or three, and enough to drive them to consolidate their entire inventory around a brand that is never questioned - L-Acoustics.

Having successfully carried K2 and Kara systems for three years now, Bauder recently purchased 92 new Kiva II enclosures to round out its L-Acoustics inventory.

“We use them in so many ways,” says Bauder Audio production manager Brian Naab. “We have a couple of 1,400- to 1,800-seat theatres we work with for which Kiva is perfect. We hang arrays from Genie towers for outdoor events. The fact that Kiva II only weigh 31 pounds each means we can hang between eight and 12 elements for those kinds of applications and still be well under the weight limit for even a Genie tower. It’s just so fast and efficient, plus the coverage is exceptional and it sounds great.

“We have plenty of applications for ground stacks and using the Kiet II bracket, we‘re looking forward to mounting up to three of them in a vertical array on a standard speaker stand. So, for that smaller gig where we need more SPL and fairly wide horizontal coverage but there is physically nowhere to hang boxes, this is a great looking and much better-sounding alternative to just a speaker on a stick. We are all actually pretty excited about that application.”

A few months ago Bauder was prepping for an acoustic set with The Band Perry at the intimate, 300-seat Prospector Bar and Grill, which had no room for a line array system and nowhere to hide. The combination of the stature of the artist and the size of the venue made for a situation where audio had to be perfect. “The Kiva/Kiet II/SB15m ground stack configuration let us use L-Acoustics, a universally recognised, name-brand product, in a setting where we would have had to compromise before. We foresee a lot of potential applications for that combination.”

Corporate clients are also excited about the small size. “With these corporate event designers, audio is often kind of an afterthought,” he says. “They often put in these giant video walls, and then hanging speakers becomes a sightline issue. So being able to tuck these small five- or six-box arrays tight against the ceiling and above the scenery opens up some possibilities that were just simply not there before now.

“We see this as a straight up improvement in every way possible,” Naab adds. “Packaging, SPL, coverage, sound quality, ease of use. And combined with the Kara and K2 we had already invested in, we get a single, seamless platform that we can use for literally any gig we get called for.”

Bauder is one of those companies that does it all: “Quite a bit of rock and roll, some corporate, and a good deal of theatre and one-offs, the country concert after the Phillies game or the 76ers game where you get three minutes to roll in a PA and have a show, plus a handful of special events,” he reports. “Previous to this, we were split between a couple of other brands that make quality products but are rarely seen on tour riders. Now, instead of having to explain how what we had was equivalent to what they asked for on the rider, clients hear ‘L-Acoustics’ and we can immediately move on to the next thing on their list. There is never even a question about it.

“We started with a K2 rig and some Kara enclosures three years ago and it began paying off right away,” says Naab, noting that the rig cemented a relationship with Philadelphia’s 3,900-seat Tower Theater. “As soon as we started making these changes, I knew I wanted everything in the building to say L-Acoustics on it. Rick (company owner Rick Bauder) was completely behind the idea of us getting on one platform - one software package, one rigging system, one amplification system and, crucially, one learning curve.”

In addition to its recent Kiva II purchase, Bauder Audio has also added 16 KS28 and 20 SB15m subs and a quantity of LA12X amplified controllers.

19th May 2017

Robots Exhibition

Robots Exhibition
Robots Exhibition

UK – David Atkinson Lighting Design (DALD) recently completed the lighting design for the Robots exhibition at the Science Museum, London.

This intriguing exhibition features a unique collection of over 100 robots, from a 16th century mechanical monk to robots from science fiction and modern-day research labs. Set in five different times, Robots explores how religious belief, the industrial revolution, popular culture and dreams about the future have all shaped society through the incredible robots on display.

Recent developments from robotics research are also on show, allowing the visitor to explore how and, more importantly, why roboticists are building robots that resemble us and interact in human-like ways. The exhibition encourages the visitors to imagine what a shared future with robots would be like, with the latest humanoid robots in action.

DALD worked closely with the exhibition designers Drinkall Dean to create a dynamic contrasting lighting design within the five period sections of the exhibition.

The first robot visitor encounter is an incredibly life-like mechanical human baby, recently acquired for the Museum’s new robotics collection. Usually made for use on film sets, this baby has no intelligence, making only pre-programmed movements (sneezing, breathing and moving its arms and legs). To help off set the baby a ring of side and edge emitting LED strip is mounted behind a vacuum formed quilted opalescent panel. Accent lighting to the baby is from a softly focused point source in a warm colour temperature. Two additional angled quilted panels help add perspective to the entrance, being down it by linear LED strips in a hue of magenta.

The second area, ‘Marvel’ is a black enclosed space featuring various exhibits within custom designed showcases discreetly illuminated by LED strips within extrusions. The designers used a black fabric that incorporated a shimmering material, which is down lit in a deep hue of blue light, helping add a sense of infinity to the space.

From ‘Marvel’ the visitors enter the ‘Obey’ section, which is an immersive industrial area. A combination of lighting and projection helps to create depth through layering. Gauze panels are backlit in a warm sepia wash with video projection applied to the front of the gauzes illustrating old black and white footage of industrial looms at work. Lighting projection of large cog wheels is keystoned across the floor adding an element of interactivity to the space as the visitors walk through the projection. A large loom is displayed within the space, which is top lit by led accent fixtures in a warm colour temperature with low level lighting strips illuminating the background behind the loom helping add further depth to the exhibit and space.

The fourth zone ‘Dream’ has a dynamic 1970’s theatrical / TV studio theme with a range of full size Robots being displayed within scaffolding structures and lit by studio based lighting fixtures. To help animate the zone the lighting is programmed to slowly change through various hues of bold saturated colour. Included in the space is the T800 Terminator used in the film Terminator Salvation, being displayed within a black mirrored box and up lit in deep red to help create a menacing quality.

In contrast to ‘dream’ is the fifth area ‘build’. The visitor enters a workshop space which displays a variety of Robot components. Through the use of a cool colour temperature, the lighting helps to reinforce the industrial quality of the space via a combination of task lights and accent fixtures

The Final area ‘Imagine’ displays an array of working robots. The design team wanted to reflect the feel of a clinical clean room environment through the use of daylight balanced LED light panels. These are integrated into the exhibition supporting frame structure.

The majority of the large graphic text panels throughout the exhibition are suspended edge illuminated panels, which create an additional depth to the zones.

Ben Russell, lead curator of Robots, said: ‘Coming face to face with a mechanical human has always been a disconcerting experience. Over the centuries, each generation has experienced this afresh as new waves of technology heralded its own curiosity-inducing robots. That sense of unease, of something you cannot quite put your finger on, goes to the heart of our long relationship with robots.’

In late 2017 Robots will embark on a five-year UK and international tour, visiting the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester to open the 2017 Manchester Science Festival, the Life Science Centre in Newcastle (2018) and the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh (2019).

photos: Nick Wood

Robots ExhibitionRobots Exhibition

18th May 2017

Harkness Screens
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