Production News Headlines
The Design Oasis and HELM Projects Scare Up Stunning Looks with Chauvet Professional at Suwannee Huluween
The Foundry’s Big Audient Console ‘Got It Covered’ For BBC Children In Need Album
UK – Audient was part of the making of the BBC Children In Need album, Got It Covered, with The Foundry Studio’s extra-large classic ASP8024 mixing console being used to record the Grimethorpe Colliery Band for one of the songs on the charity record.
“Recording Grimethorpe Colliery Band was an absolute breeze thanks to the sonic purity of the Audient ASP8024 console,” says The Foundry Studio’s Chris Palmer. “We have 72 of these pristine channels in our console which gives us near limitless options in recording session of this size.”
The brass band, which shot to wider fame in the global hit film, ‘Brassed Off’, provided backing for Woman In Black actor, Shaun Dooley who sings a cover of Taylor Swift’s Never Grow Up.
Shaun joins a host of stars who have got together in this exclusive collaboration for BBC Children In Need to record an entire album to raise money for this year’s appeal. Each star has hand-picked a song significant to them and received expert guidance from Brit & Mercury award-winning record producers and songwriters, Guy Chambers and Jonathan Quarmby.
In a quirky twist, producer Jonathan was also one of the original team involved in building and setting up what is now The Foundry Studio.
With 1,000 square feet of live room, the Sheffield studio boasts one of the largest live rooms outside of London, so has the capacity to fit in larger choral groups and orchestral ensembles. It’s also purpose-built to offer what the website describes as “the perfect acoustic properties for a brass band to record” which was ideal for the recording the charity record.
Chris adds: “Grimethorpe band have become regular visitors here at the Foundry Studio in Sheffield where we have recently finished another fantastic album with them, featuring the music of film composer Nigel Clarke, to be released next year on Naxos Records.”
In picture: Jonathan Quarmby actor/singer, Shaun Dooley and The Foundry Studio’s Chris Palmer at the Sheffield studio on the day of the Grimethorpe Colliery Band recording.
11th November 2019
Shawn Mendes: World Arena Tour 2019
Worldwide – For the hugely popular Canadian singer-songwriter Shawn Mendes Arena World Tour, VSS was tasked by the 24/7 Productions team of John Pryer and Andrew Thornton to work with creative director Paul Caslin and lighting designer Louis Oliver to provide a high resolution LED screen that was integral to the show, together with associated video equipment. The first stage of the tour visited major venues across Europe and the USA, before departing for Australia, Asia and South America.
Having run through various concepts, the design team developed the 'look' of the Arena Tour to utilise a circular 10m diameter 5mm high resolution LED screen. From this point on, VSS sourced the best possible product for the purpose. This made for the purchase of 120 sq.metres of ROE carbon fibre CB5. An important reason for using this product was the short 0.1mm louvre as during the performances, the screen was variously set between vertical and horizontal planes, which required a very tight viewing angle.
The next request for VSS to provide a solution was for director Wannes Vandendriessche’s requirement for lightweight and low-profile automated cameras.
Wannes had been researching products on the market, and the stand-out system was supplied by Pinewood studios based Luna Remote. The tour management did not want camera-men in front of the stage or the artist and were looking for a minimalist look to the set. VSS supplied a four-camera HD PPU and also invested in the latest media servers from Disguise. Supplied to the tour were three GX2 servers (one main, one slave and one back-up).
11th November 2019
Master Sound Productions of South Florida Invests in Elation IP65
USA – Master Sound Productions of Miami has taken delivery of a full complement of Elation Professional’s market-leading IP65-rated weatherproof lighting fixtures. In operation since 1996 in one of the country’s most competitive markets for entertainment technology providers, Master Sound Productions is known as one of the most versatile event rental and full production companies in South Florida.
“South Florida is very competitive; you’ve got to diversify in this market to stay ahead,” commented Lazaro Soto, owner of Master Sound Productions. “Our goal is not to be the biggest event production source in South Florida but to be the very best one. That’s why I’ve chosen to offer my clients a 100% outdoor-rated all Elation lighting rig.”
Over the past couple of years, Elation Professional’s Proteus line of IP65-rated lighting fixtures has established itself as the market’s leading line of weatherproof moving heads for outdoor events. Meanwhile, the company has been expanding its line of multi-environmental IP-rated products across the board. Master Sound’s new lighting package consists of 12 Proteus Hybrid moving heads, 12 Proteus RAYZOR 760 LED moving heads, 24 SixPar 100 IP, 24 SixPar 200 IP LED PAR lights and 12 DTW Blinder 350 IP variable white LED blinders.
With the majority of his business in outdoor events, Soto says he has seen his lighting stock deteriorate quickly while the expense and hassle of using domes and bags has only increased. “You can do a dome or cover fixtures with a bag or tarp, but they still get wet and the cost to fix it is high. If the motherboard gets wet you can just throw it out, call the insurance company and call it a loss,” Soto says. After an event where he had 48 non-IP rated lights exposed to a fast moving storm, he says he had learned his lesson.
Looking for a way to be more competitive while saving costs, Soto says the purchase of Elation IP65 fixtures is an investment that will pay off in the long run. “For me, longevity wise, it made more sense to invest in IP65 fixtures. I’d rather pay now and have the lights for the next many years without worrying about domes and bad weather. Then when I sell them, they’ll still be in good condition and I can get something for them.”
Soto had initially used the Proteus Hybrids, Proteus RAYZOR 760s and DTW Blinders on Miami Beach Pride in April as a sort of test drive before making the decision to purchase. “You want to see the product in action but once I saw what they could do, I knew I wanted to buy them. Not only was the client happy but the people at the event really liked the lighting. That opened some doors.”
Soto took delivery of the gear in June and has had it out consistently since. “The fact that I don’t have to worry about domes gives me an edge but it’s not just the IP65 rating that clients appreciate,” he says, “it’s what the light delivers that is impressive – the lumens, the gobos and effects, the movement. I like to wow clients with it. Once people see the concept, they reconsider using non-IP rated lights.”
Master Sound Productions worked with Freed Sales on the purchase, Elation’s manufacturer rep firm in Florida who helps Soto keep up to date on Elation product offerings. “Freed Sales has provided great support along the way and there haven’t been any issues at all,” Soto said. “Dustin [Freed Sales CEO Dustin Pesnell] is very motivated, doesn’t procrastinate, and just gets it done. He’s always on point and every time I’ve needed something, he’s on it. I’ve been really happy with the support.”
With a state-of-the-art IP65 lighting package in stock to go along with brand name audio, AV, staging and trussing gear, Master Sound Productions is set to handle any outdoor event with confidence, large or small, and in any kind of weather.
11th November 2019
Andres Cepeda Makes a miniPointe
Colombia – Pop-rock singer / songwriter Andres Cepeda is one of Colombia’s most popular artists, loved for his multi-genre repertoire, humour and dynamic style. He recently played a month of sold-out shows at the 1,300 capacity Teatro Major Julio Mario Santo Domingo in the north of Bogota.
His long term lighting designer Nestor Gaitan universally known as 'Cariňosito' (which roughly translates to Care Bear in English), lit the show and was delighted to be able to use the theatre’s 12 Robe MiniPointe moving lights which are part of the house lighting rig.
These were rigged on four vertical stands on tank trap bases, positioned two either side of a prominent central LED screen.
The miniPointes were used extensively throughout the show, demonstrating just how much one can creatively squeeze out of these small and powerful fixtures with some imagination and skill! Flanking the screen this way, they made maximum impact.
Andres’ large band for this series of shows was enriched with the sounds of a full brass section. The musicians and backing vocalists were split between a raised deck above the LED screen and on the stage floor with Andres.
The show presentation was further enhanced by a series of narrative skits played out in between some of the songs, involving Andres and three well-known actors.
Nestor programmed and controlled the miniPointes plus all the other lights in the top house rig, using the venue’s grandMA2 console.
He has worked for the artist for the last five years, touring frequently around Colombia and other Latam countries like Mexico, Panama, Ecuador, Peru, etc. Their standard touring rider contains only Robe moving lights, and while they don’t always get exactly what they want, Nestor is very proud that it is an all-Robe rig being requested.
“I like many things about Robe and their products,” he stated, “the optics are great, the light weight is a big plus and the zoom is always good and it’s also a feature that’s been consistent over the years. It was a great decision to get the miniPointes here in this theatre, and as small ‘hybrids’ they are perfect for the job.
He’s used other brands as well of course, but he’s adamant that “nothing is quite as good as Robe especially for optics and the power of the light source”.
He thinks that the speed of the fixtures is another advantage and a consequence of the commitment to small size and light weight that has underscored Robe’s product development philosophy for more than a decade.
He enjoys lighting Andres Cepeda for the versatility and variety of the performance which goes from big anthemic pop songs to acoustic moments, soft ballads and big rock-out numbers that have the audience on their feet. It’s the kind of artist that is a dream for any lighting designer with a broad love of music.
The lighting is evolved working closely with video content producer Jonathan Ricardo Garcia who co-ordinates all the video elements including the playback run from a Resolume server.
From the Teatro Major’s standpoint, the 12 miniPointes have been a “fantastic investment” explained their head of technical Javier Bernal, who is in charge of the technical teams in all disciplines, and of all the technical production aspects including the procurement of new equipment.
The miniPointes were purchased three years ago and have been in constant use ever since, primarily as all or part of various floor packages. When they made the decision to buy them, they specifically sought a small fixture. Everyone there liked Robe’s flagship Pointes, and they were cross renting these whenever there was a need, so miniPointes were selected as a good solution that ticked all the boxes.
The theatre stages around 200 shows a year, a mix of dance, opera, music shows, etc. and Javier reports that in three years the miniPointes have worked hard, well and flawlessly, proving to be “totally reliable”.
photos: Louise Stickland
8th November 2019
SolaWash a ‘Workhorse Light’ for Moulin Rouge! The Musical
USA – Lighting designer Justin Townsend specified 38 High End Systems SolaWash 2000 High CRI automated LED luminaires for Moulin Rouge! The Musical. Since its summer opening at New York City’s Al Hirschfield Theatre, the show has received critical acclaim not only for the glam costumes and glitzy scenery, but also for its rich lighting.
A review on Broadway World says it’s “sumptuously designed in more shades of red than you previously knew existed on the colour spectrum.”
The Hollywood Reporter writes about “watching performers of this calibre bathed in the caressing colours of Justin Townsend’s lighting…”
New York Stage Review notes “the real stars … are the artists who don't appear on stage. Lighting designer Justin Townsend can evoke anything from a pulse-pounding nightclub to the shadowy alleys of Argentina to a hallucinogenic electric-green drunken dream.”,p>Townsend, a two-time Tony Award nominee, says: “The SolaWash 2000 unit has been instrumental for my work on Moulin Rouge! The Musical.” He chose the High CRI version of the automated luminaire for requisite features such as its incredibly accurate colour rendering and key light for face lighting.
“It is a silent, super bright light that can be Fresnel-soft and still sharpen razor-edge to its own shutters,” he says. “I was able to cut around the complex scenery in the show and really pop the costumes and faces with clarity.”
The silence refers to the fixture’s patented whisper quiet cooling system. “The fixtures do great work for me front of house where fan noise is essential to eliminate in modern musicals,” he adds.
The designer also enjoys using the colour palette – using CMY colour mixing and a colour wheel - which plays a starring role in the production. “The colour is rich and detailed, the whites clean and sharp,” he notes.
“I haven’t used a High End System lighting fixture before and was thrilled to find they absolutely perform reliably and solidly for our extreme needs on Moulin Rouge! The Musical,” Townsend affirms. “This is my new workhorse light.”
The show, based on the 2001 Twentieth Century Fox film by Baz Luhrmann, has dates booked through to 5 July, 2020.
photos: Matthew Murphy
8th November 2019
Creative Rental Solutions Provides Visual Mystique for Fantasia with Chauvet Professional
Belgium – Although the Fantasia festival succeeds in attracting some of the hottest EDM and trance DJs year after year, it’s built a fanatically loyal fan base with much more than music alone. Drawing on the power of its wildly imaginative and elaborate stage scenery, Fantasia succeeds in cocooning festival-goers in a multi-sensory experience that intensifies the power of its electronic music.
Forming the central visual backdrop to this year’s stage was an awe inspiring representation of an exotic burlesque palace measuring 15-metres tall by 45-metres wide. Providing dramatic visuals to accentuate the mystique of the stage was an impressive lighting design by Creative Rental Solutions (CRS) that included a collection of Chauvet Professional Rogue R2 Wash, RH1 Hybrid, COLORdash Par H12IP, Strike P38, and COLORado Panel Q40 fixtures.
“Given the ambition of Fantasia’s organisers to create ever more impressive stages, we went back to the drawing board to come up with something especially unique this year" said Thomas Vandekerkhove of Creative Rental Solutions. “Our solution was to develop a lighting rig that awarded a certain mystique to this year’s stage theme by creating powerful looks and vivid colours.”
To douse the palatial stage designed by CRS’s Lieven Tacq (complete with three large burlesque masks) with a variety of pulsating atmospherics, Vandekerkhove and his team incorporated a carefully curated combination of 18 Rogue R2 Wash, 18 RH1 Hybrid and 28 COLORdash Par H12IP fixtures into their design. The resultant blend of saturated colours and powerful wash effects gave a vibrant feel to headliners Gers Pardoel and Cherry Moon Trax, while awarding a sense of mystery and exoticism to the surrounding stage area.
"Having the output and power of the Rogue and COLORdash combination was essential for a stage of this magnitude," continued Vandekerkhove. “What’s more, even though the majority of the festival takes place during daylight hours, we were still able to create genuinely powerful looks to underline its multi-sensorial mystique.”
With the huge stage structure acting as a landmark that was visible from all corners of the festival site, Vandekerkhove and his team were also tasked with ensuring appropriate illumination of the structure during the festival. Specifying ten IP65-rated COLORado Panel Q40 fixtures, they achieved flawless edge-to-edge colour mixing over the whole stage structure, drawing attention and luring attendees to the stage's burlesque themed graphics.
Adding an impressive level of excitement to the integration of scenery and lighting, were the 41 Strike P38 fixtures positioned within the structure of the stage. With a combination of audience blinder and strobe powered by a 90W tungsten emulating warm white LED source, the discreet, punchy and outdoor-ready Strike fixtures provided the perfect match for the relentless EDM and trance DJ sets without distracting from the central scenographic elements.
"The end result was simply magnificent," said Vandekerkhove. "Our lighting concept truly elevated the scenography while adding mystique to the party atmosphere. The festival immediately asked us to design the stage for next year too!"
photos: SWD Photography
8th November 2019
Big is best with Unusual Rigging
UK – Big the Musical closed at the Dominion Theatre in London's West End on the 2nd November following a successful nine week run. The Theatre Royal Plymouth production opened in 2016 to rave reviews and played at the Bord Gais Energy Theatre in Dublin into 2017. Finally after more than two years, it made its west end debut in September with production manager Hugh Borthwick bringing Unusual Rigging on board to handle the rigging elements of this ambitious production.
Hugh explained: "I brought Unusual Rigging on to this project right at the very start as I wanted them to be part of the design process for the production and not just to supply a rigging system. I've worked with Unusual for many years and know that their skill and ability to make the seemingly impossible happen is second to none. I've worked with Alan Jacobi and Simon Stone many times, and on Big the Musical, Mark Davies, Phil Tickle, Martin Mattingley and Emily Egleton formed the main team, all of whom were just outstanding."
Unusual is no stranger to working at the Dominion Theatre, having put in a new flying system and grid back in 2015 and having recently completed a new stage floor just before Big went in. "All of this knowledge certainly worked in our favour," said Hugh."Knowing the venue system inside out, the Unusual team were fully aware of the rigging requirements for the whole production as well as specific elements such as the downstage Skyline header piece. This was a scenic header element at the front of the set designed by Simon Higlett. In order to secure the hung scenic elements with a fuller load weight such as the header, Unusual took into consideration the stability, strength and centre and to ensure and sustain the clean action within the header which was housing a manual curved track to track on and off stage designed masking sliders. Unusual in turn designed and supplied a rock solid truss system to facilitate and hang the header which also resolved any conflicting forces."
As well as the truss for the scenic elements, Unusual created storage pallets in the wings to take the scenery above head height. One of the key elements of the set is a giant video wall weighing five to six tonnes which revolves in the middle of the floor. For this, Unusual supplied the right motor box and lifting material to enable the structure to be built within the time frame.
Hugh continued: "Having Unusual on board from the word 'go' meant that we nipped any potential issues in the bud, but even so the job has not been without its challenges. The biggest one, as is often the case, was time. But when you work with a team who can think on their feet, are adaptable, even at the 11th hour and have a level of expertise and skill that is you'd be hard pressed to find elsewhere, you know that even the most tricky aspect of the production or venue its performed in can be remedied. My relationship with Unusual Rigging is based on trust and respect. As a production manager I always pull together the best teams and Unusual really are a superb part of that A-team."
photos: Alistair Muir
8th November 2019
SSL L550 Helps Peter Frampton Bid Farewell on Final Tour
USA - English rock musician, Peter Frampton, whose best-known hits include Baby, I love Your Way and Show Me The Way, recently concluded his final tour, dubbed ‘Peter Frampton Finale – The Farewell Tour’, where FOH engineer, Jim Yakabuski, used an SSL Live L550 console supplied by Solotech, Nashville to produce a signature analogue sound.
Yakabuski began mixing audio in 1981, and with almost 40 years of mixing and touring under his belt, was only introduced to SSL a few years ago, admitting he was at first reluctant to switch to the console manufacturer.
“I wanted to hear from my colleagues that stability on the road was not an issue – and I did,” he recalls. “So I knew I needed to get a board and give it a try! With an upcoming tour approaching (Peter Frampton’s Finale-Farewell Tour), I decided to look further into using an SSL L550 for the FOH mixer. I made some calls, and then was treated to a few hours of one-on-one instruction from SSL's Fernando Guzman which peaked my interest. I was ready to dive in!”
Peter Frampton Finale – The Farewell Tour culminated in October 2019, and was Frampton’s chance to say farewell to fans that have been coming to his shows for over 50 years. After being thoroughly impressed with the L550, Yakabuski switched to the console for this tour, and hasn’t looked back since.
Before the Peter Frampton tour and prior to using SSL, Yakabuski always favoured an analogue setup and layout: “The FOH mix on this tour could easily be done on a large format analogue console, but the previous FOH engineer and current monitor engineer decided to move it to digital for footprint reasons, and also ease of save/recall when using consoles brought in for private and one-off events,” Yakabuski explains, adding that he did not use automation scenes for each song or many of the other ‘digital' benefits the console boasts.
“The key feature of the console that I used the most was its sonic richness. It sounded so good it removed the necessity to add on any external signal processing or plug-ins accessed via MADI connectivity,” he enthuses. “It became analogue mixing all over again, on a console that offered me multiple options for routing and processing, but begged to be ‘left alone’ to simply sound great and blend great-sounding inputs from the stage. With each input left mostly unaffected and sent directly to the stellar-sounding summing at the master buss, all it took was pushing the faders up to hear that I didn’t have to ‘fix the mix’, just let it be.”
Yakabuski set up the console in a way that suited accessibility to key input channels and output busses to suit his personal workflow. With three tiles of 12 faders each, he managed the layers so that he was able to access any input channel or output mix from any layer on any tile.
Yakabuski’s default ‘in-show’ layout saw Tile 3 (top left) managing input channels 1-12 for drums and bass on the first layer, with the second layer used for effects returns. Tile 2’s (bottom left) first layer handled input channels 13-24 for guitars and vocals, the second layer managed input channels 25-32 for keys, acoustic guitars, additional guitars and guests, while the third layer was used for playback devices and a pink noise generator, in addition for house and miscellaneous feeds. Meanwhile, Tile 1's (bottom right) first layer handled VCA groups 1-12, layer two was used for the speaker system’s 1-12 matrix mixes, layer three managed Stems and ‘B’ matrix mixes (record sends), while layer four was utilised for aux-sends.
“I’m old-school this way, I still like to use auxes to send to effects and return into input channels,” explains Yakabuski.
On the tour, all EQ and dynamics were SSL onboard-only.
“Our daily approach always originated with tuning the entire sound system to be very consistent and optimised for the room with the same ‘flat’ transfer function response,” Yakabuski elaborates. “With this palette to work with, I found that I didn’t need much in the way of channel EQ and compression to bring a channel up in the PA and have it sound great right out of the gate. Some high-pass filters and small EQ tweaks was about it. Light compression was also used, emphasis on light, and noise gates were almost non-existent as the dynamic range of the band was huge: a whisper to a scream in regard to levels on drums and other instruments! I most often worked with the beautiful main display screen in ‘Channel View’ mode. From there I’d do a quick double tap on the EQ section of the channel, which is my default, and I’d be in ‘Detail View’, which opened up accessibility to almost every function of channel adjustment I would need, from input and insert routing, to dynamics and panning.”
Yakabuski stresses that the sound of the L550 console is its main talking point, adding that this is the main reason most engineers switch over from their current console of choice, or think about making the switch when the right project comes their way: “It’s big and warm,” he smiles. “It’s natural and uncoloured, but in a way that doesn’t feel ‘sterile’ and make you want to reach for a saturation plug-in to warm up the sound of an input. The way all the input channels sum at the Master Buss feels uncluttered and analogue, and you find that you’re hearing ‘space’ between the channels that you didn’t feel was there before with other consoles. Each channel sounds as big and round as you want it, but there’s still space between the sources. It’s really cool! And the stereo imaging is phenomenal. I think it’s the first thing I noticed when I listened to one of my favourite ‘PA tuning’ tracks, and also when I started putting a mix of a live recorded show together from virtual soundcheck, panning channels in the stereo field.”
7th November 2019
Carrie Underwood Dazzles in the ‘Cry Pretty Tour 360’ with Bandit Lites and Fireplay
USA – Carrie Underwood recently wrapped up her powerhouse Cry Pretty Tour 360 with a lighting package provided by long-time vendor, Bandit Lites. Nominated for Entertainer of the Year at the 53rd Annual Country Music Association Awards, Underwood has been thrilling audiences around the globe all year with her all-female tour featuring a stunning ‘in-the-round’ lighting design by Nick Whitehouse of Fireplay production studio.
“This tour is by far the most ambitious design yet for Ms. Underwood and it has certainly paid off in terms of visual artistry,” said Bandit Lites vice president, Mike Golden. “Carrie has a veteran staff in tour manager Geoff Donkin, production manager Graham Holmes, show producer Barry Lather and lighting director Nate Cromwell, and with Nick Whitehouse and the visionary team at Fireplay, this year’s production is unmatched and flawless.”
Drawing inspiration from the Cry Pretty album artwork, Fireplay designed a stage using the eye logo and infusing an impressive pod design that held the majority of the light fixtures.
“When lighting in the round, each side of the stage needs to have key lights, effect lights and audience lights as each person’s perspective of the lighting show will be different,” explained Whitehouse, “so each pod contains just that: an amount of each. The rest of the design came out of the necessity of lighting around the screens.”
Bandit Lites supplied nearly 400 fixtures for the design, including GLP JDC1 Strobes, Martin Professional MAC Viper AirFX, Claypaky Sharpys, Claypaky Mythos 2, VL 3000 Spots, Scenius Unicos and Robe Spikies. Two grand MA 2 full consoles provide Lighting Director Nate Cromwell control.
Every moment in the concert is treated as an opportunity to dazzle the audience visually, and with lighting playing a key role in each song, creative director Barry Lather, Carrie Underwood and her creative team provided direction on the colour and type of lighting for each number.
“It was my job to take that, put my spin on it, add some drama, theatricality and dynamics and make sure that the whole show flowed and was cohesive,” Whitehouse said.
Whitehouse used Claypaky Mythos 2s spread out over six pods, providing massive air effects out wide of the stage, while Martin Viper AirFX units in the pods supply a ‘second siren unit’ and double as stage and audience lighting. GLP JDC1 fixtures in the pods provide big hits into the crowd, and each pod also features a BlackTrax followspot Unico in the centre for 360 coverage of Carrie as she moves. The remaining JDC1’s, Vipers and some VL3000’s are distributed over two arc trusses that follow the long sides of the stage.
“The looks we managed to get from the pods were massive and awesome,” said Whitehouse.
“It is an extremely dynamic and elaborate show,” said Cromwell. “Over 3,500 cues triggered in a 120-minute set. Nick Whitehouse did the programming himself, and it is cued and laid out brilliantly.”
With so much going on visually during the show, Whitehouse also had to find a way to work in key and effect lighting without blowing out the projected images from the roll drop screens.
“Luckily, I had Nate Cromwell and he spent hours and hours per song making zones for the BlackTrax so that we could avoid these obstacles and also light Carrie perfectly and constantly wherever she moved.”
“Nick worked with us on the fixture selections and produced a beautiful layout for the gear,” added Golden. “Nate Cromwell added his skills and expertise in utilising the BlacTtrax system to its fullest, and Graham Holmes figured out the way to wrangle 21 trucks in and out each day all the while making it look easy. Our crew has done an exceptional job taking care of business on the road, and between all parties, this project has been an amazing success.”
“The crew has been outstanding,” echoed Cromwell. “It is a lot of work getting over 350 fixtures in the air every day, and they have done extremely well at all the variables different venues bring every day. The back end support the Bandit shop has provided is also a stand out; we have always had the resources we need to keep the rig going and in top shape.”
“Bandit and their team on this show have been excellent,” finished Whitehouse. “The crew went above and beyond to make this monster of a show feasible to load in and out and keep working despite a tough tour schedule. I have been very impressed with the service we have received from everyone at Bandit.”
7th November 2019
Claypaky Fixtures Light Up J Balvin’s Colourful “Arcoiris” North American Tour
USA – Colombian reggaeton sensation J Balvin just wrapped his North American fall tour, “Arcoiris” (“Rainbow”), playing 25 cities from San Juan, Puerto Rico to LA. The whimsical and colourful visual production, by The Squared Division who collaborated with The FriedsWith You Art Collective who designed his Coachella performance, featured a large complement of Claypaky Mythos 2 and Scenius Unico lighting fixtures from lighting and video vendor VER PRG.
Nathan Paul Taylor, production designer with The Squared Division, devised the show’s concept; Andre Petrus of Clear All Visuals was the associate lighting designer and programmer. “It was a very bright show, Nathan used every colour in the book and every song was taken to 100 percent,” says Petrus. The rainbow theme was apparent in graphical elements and colour, and a cloud-shaped LED screen topped a stairway at centre stage. Cartoon-style characters appeared in animations displayed on the cloud and as dancers in costume. There were inflatable set pieces and characters, too: 18-foot inflatable Little J sat on the steps for the duration of the show.
Lighting played a major role as well, notes Petrus. “The entire show was time coded; every song was accented with lighting, there were thousands of cues. There are a lot of intricacies with reggaeton music, and every bit was accented with light. We really pushed technology on this show to make things go as hard and fast as they could.”
Nathan Taylor mounted 68 Mythos 2 fixtures directly above the main stage with 16 more on the floor. He positioned eight Scenius Unicos over the main stage and 16 above the B stage, a small, separate stage at FOH.
“The Mythos 2s were small, fast and punchy. We used them to wash the stage and to create aerial and beam effects,” Petrus explains. “I’ve used Mythos 2 for a while; they’re very versatile, and we used every single feature on the show.”
The fixtures were mounted in grid fashion in eight vertical fingers over the stage. “We got really big looks out of them, including cool sweeps and effects,” says Petrus.
The Scenius Unicos over the main stage lit the performers and dancers throughout the show. Those over the B stage illuminated six giant inflatable characters.
“We didn’t know how the inflatables would take light until we got on set, there were no opportunities for a test,” Petrus notes. “The characters were made of a beach ball-type material, and the Unicos did great.
“All of the Claypaky fixtures performed well and held up just fine for the run of the tour,” he concludes.
photos: Todd Kaplan
7th November 2019
Allround Success for Robe’s RoboSpot
Denmark - Danish lighting and audio rental company Allround Lyd & Lys, based in Struer, invested in two Robe RoboSpot systems, comprising two BaseStations and two BMFL followspots with the integral cameras when they sought a straightforward followspotting solution for the dry hire side of their business.
The company works in the live music, festivals and concert touring sectors and also services theatre productions. Dry hires are an important segment of their business, and they saw the demand rising for a 'plug-and-play' remote followspotting system.
The purchase was made specifically with local theatres in mind. They are often tight on prep time so their production schedules would always benefit from follow spots that were quick to calibrate and set up, explained Allround Lyd & Lys’s head of lighting, Martin Breinholt.
“The RoboSpot system is very straightforward to set up, it is intuitive and the camera integration works well, it offered all the PNP functionality we wanted.”
The new system went out on a four-month hire almost immediately after it had been delivered by Robe’s Danish distributor, Light Partner.
The two systems were then used by Allround for some of their own shows and festival projects including a show with Sting at the Holstebro Theatre for which they were the equipment supplier, with three RoboSpot systems positioned on the front bridge.
They have also been subbed out to another rental company on another long-term hire.
They looked at several options beforehand and decided that Robe’s system was the best choice. It was the easiest to use and also there are several other RoboSpot systems available in Denmark, so good if they need to scale up.
As far as we are aware, all the RoboSpot systems in Denmark were constantly busy throughout the summer with the country’s very vibrant touring and festival season which takes advantage of the good weather, the long daylight hours and abundance of talented musicians and singers.
Daniel Sand, project manager at Allround, explains that they can all see the benefits of remote followspotting, especially for arena shows which no longer need cumbersome spot-chairs attached to the trusses, improving aesthetics and sightlines as well as making things vastly safer.
It also enables front trusses to be utilised for followspot positions when previously there might not have been the space for a chair / operator scenario, so it increases the flexibility for most productions.
Allround Lyd & Lys has known Johan Kvartborg and the Light Partner team for some years and find the service “excellent”.
These RoboSpots were actually their first Robe purchase, and Martin comments that it will not be the last!
In picture: Allround’s Martin Breinholt and Daniel Sand with Light Partner’s Johan Kvartborg (centre).
6th November 2019
The Design Oasis and HELM Projects Scare Up Stunning Looks with Chauvet Professional at Suwannee Huluween
USA – With its fresh water springs, meandering wooded paths, and sparkling lake, Suwannee Music Park is normally a tranquil, relaxing place. But on the last weekend in October, this 800-acre slice of paradise assumes a different, more frightful persona as the site of the Suwanee Huluween Festival.
Combining a bag full of musical treats from a diverse array of acts that includes a mix of big name stars like Bassnectar and rising artists, with some tricky scenic elements that scare the senses, the three-day festival has become a Halloween ritual for a growing number of fans. Enhancing their experience throughout the grounds as well as at two of its stages this year were over 200 Chauvet Professional fixtures supplied and installed by The Design Oasis.
Abbas Ritscher and his team at The Design Oasis, which included John Hollignshead and Joe Donnelly, positioned 150 COLORado 1-Tri IP fixtures around the lake that served as the “festival centrepiece.” They used the high output RGB fixture to wash monsters, goblins, mad beasts and other freakish figures in a range of scary colours. Drawing on the Rogue fixture’s 16-bit master dimmer, they also relied on the interplay of moving light and shadows to endow the ghoulish scenery with menacing sense of animation.
In addition to illuminating scenic elements, the COLORado units were used to direct light on the lake itself as well as the surrounding trees to impart a haunting sense to the festival grounds. “The COLORados are a workhorse,” said Ritscher, who also installed the fixtures on the festival’s Lake Stage, which was designed by Andy Caroll. “Their color and their IP65 rating made them the obvious choice to use in a festival centred around a lake.”
When they weren’t scaring festival-goers, the Chauvet Professional fixtures were thrilling them at Suwanee Huluween’s big Amphitheatre Stage. Justin Casey of HELM Projects and his programmer Alex 'Herm' Schneider called on a collection of 30 Rogue R1 FX-B fixtures (also supplied by The Design Oasis) to serve up an endless stream of unique looks throughout the festival.
Casey’s design called for 20 of the five-headed Rogue R1 FX-B units to be positioned (five apiece) on each of the four PA scaffold towers that flanked the stage, two on each side, with the remaining ten being arranged vertically and horizontally on upstage truss. With the five moving heads on each Rogue R1 FX-B being aimed in various directions, and with the fixtures themselves panning and tilting in a seemingly infinite variety of ways, the RGBW units gave each act a unique look.
“We were actually limited by the structures that we had to mount the R1 FX-Bs on,” said Casey. “However, Alex was able to makes some offsets and put them in the same orientation so our design really popped.”
The Rogue R1 FX-B fixtures also helped Casey fill out the wide amphitheatre stage without using an excessively large number of fixtures. “We had a 30-foot wide stage, plus another 30-feet of width from the PA towers,” he said. “The FX-Bs gave us the opportunity to stretch the design out, so it felt bigger and wider. It always seems like you have more fixtures than you do when you use the FX-B.”
A big reason for the success of his design, according to Casey was due to the help that he and Schneider received from their two techs: Justin Lyons and Owen Pike. “Part of this great experience was the great people we got to work with,’ he said. “This includes The Design Oasis team, who are always ready to roll and their gear is amazing.”
This feeling is reciprocated by Ritscher who said. “Justin Casey designs are spectacular and we really like working with the HELM Projects people.”
The good vibes between HELM Projects and The Design Oasis were echoed by the fans who turned out for this annual event. Words like “awesome,” “amazing,” and “unforgettable” popped up most often in social media reviews of the festival. So, although Halloween may be scary, it’s also a heck of a lot of fun in this corner of Florida.
6th November 2019
Painting the Night Light for Night Watch
Belgium – Studio 100 is thrilling young fans of its “Nachtwacht” (Nightwatch) TV series with the first musical theatre production featuring the three ‘Defender of the Night’ main characters who challenge and battle bad people and evil forces to deliver positive and uplifting endings.
Genk-based design studio Painting with Light (PWL) was asked to create the lighting and video design for the production, which is playing a three shows a day schedule during weekends across Belgium in 1500 and 2000 capacity theatres and arenas. It has been a massive success.
Lighting was designed by PWL’s Jeroen Opsteyn, who produced a scheme that fitted the dramatic and creative demands of the show, as well as the quick setup requirements of the tour and the producer’s available budget!
The overall style of the lighting is moody and dark. Most of the action takes place at night, and there’s plenty of moonlit scenes, werewolves, vampires, elves and environments that energise and come to life after dark.
“From that point of view, it was a really interesting and stimulating show to light that needed a lot of attention to detail,” comments Jeroen, adding that rehearsal time was also tight, so he had to go into the first show with the confidence that everything would work.
The lighting kit was supplied by Phlippo. The production is using 16 of Phlippo’s proprietary URC 201 LED wash moving lights together with 22 CLF Orion hybrid spot / beam fixtures which Jeroen makes go along way! They are used for all the general washes, effects and specials.
They have also been hooking in to house lighting rigs at each venue, especially to get conventional front light, which is augmented with three of the Orions for key lighting the three main characters.
The Orions are fitted with custom gobos. One part of the action is related to a game with a phrase which is projected onto some scenery in the room and the audience has to guess a missing word!
PWL is supplying one of their disguise d3 4x2 video servers to the tour for the video content, and commissioned Bart Tauwenberg from New Solid to create and supply the content to PWL’s direction. This was then programmed onto the server by PWL’s video specialist Katleen Selleslagh.
The content and the lighting are closely matched in colour and texturing, and the d3 timeline cues triggered by the grandMA lighting console so they coincide with specific lighting cues.
The main setting of the musical is a library in which three of the bookcases are digital, on three 5.7mm pitch LED screens: one upstage with two smaller ones flanking it slightly downstage, and in between are scenic bookcases.
Video runs through the whole show, and the content is so life-like, especially when combined with the lighting, that it’s hard to tell at times which bookcases are digital and which are scenic!
In one scene a ghost character appears, with video providing a neat and effective vehicle for him to speak and interact with the actors.
Looking after lighting and video on the road for PWL is Arjan Grootenhuis.
“With the TV show so popular right now, the challenge for the production team was to meet and exceed everyone’s expectations,” explained Jeroen, adding that they are all very proud of what has been achieved.
Stefan Staes, artist manager for Studio 100 comments: “When creating this show it was important to have a lot of atmosphere, and the lighting design supports the narrative’s sense of mystery. It was also a challenge to get an unobtrusive combination of real decor and LED walls. Bart, Katleen and Jeroen have all done a fantastic job of perfectly co-ordinating lighting and video so the audience can hardly perceive the difference between the real and virtual set elements.
“We are very proud that both the press and the public are so wildly enthusiastic about this theatre performance.”
photos: Sina Sohn
5th November 2019
TiMax keeps the pace at London’s new immersive theatrical production: Mamma Mia The Party
UK - The inexhaustibly popular Mamma Mia: The Party has taken London’s O2 as its new permanent home. The high-octane immersive theatrical production which surrounds a dining experience, called for an active spatial soundscape to frame the energy of the event. Abba’s Bjorn Ulvaeus approached Gareth Owen to bring both his theatre experience and the benefit of his rock & roll roots to the production. With its fully mobile cast and live band, Gareth centred the sound design around the powerful localisation and spatial control capabilities of two TiMax SoundHub-S64 3D audio processors, procured and supplied by Orbital Sound for the show.
As Gareth Owen points out: “Nothing else does quite what TiMax does!”Dining is established across two floors of the venue, styled as the Greek taverna straight from the Mamma Mia movie set. Taverna owners Nikos and Kate host a fast-paced evening that revolves around a chef, a daughter, a love interest and a brimming effervescence of music.
As band and cast move freely amongst the tables across the multiple levels of the space, the precise performer localisation and tight spatial control of TiMax enable diners to immediately make sense of the soundscape, locating voices and instruments to the exact positions at which they’re performing.
Image definition objects created in TiMax allow the restaurant space to be split into multiple zones on a Z-axis as well as X- and Y-. Delay-matrix imaging for those zones is then auto-calculated in TiMax PanSpace using selected loudspeaker channels within the distributed d&b system. As performers are cued into different positions, TiMax dynamically morphs them between the corresponding audio image definition objects.
The speaker system is comprised of four main d&b V-Series arrays, with six centre arrays of Y-Series complemented by SL-Subs, which help deliver the rock concert level performance. The spatialisation is supported by, as Gareth describes, ‘literally hundreds’ of smaller d&b speakers from E0s to V7Ps.
Gareth explains: “TiMax allows us to position the performers anywhere in the fully immersive performance space, localising voices and intelligently decoding positions regardless of the orientation of the speakers.”
It’s the advanced refinements within TiMax that allowed the extreme simplification of the complex audio system set-up. Just by updating one or more speakers’ location, TiMax adaptively renders all image definitions set up within the space automatically. Gareth claims, “This hugely simplifies the constant updating of the sound design as the production progresses. Without this tool associate sound designer Ramon van Stee would have been faced with hundreds of hours of additional programming.”
The entire audio and communications system was supplied and supported by Orbital and MD Chris Headlam, notes: “It’s always a pleasure to work with the world’s leading sound designers and Gareth is absolutely top of his game. Mamma Mia The Party was a hugely complex audio project yet the end result is smooth, involving and really contributes to the audience’s night out. TiMax does an awful lot of work, but it’s all beautifully hidden in a seamless design.”
Amanda Murray, general manager of Mamma Mia: The Party, said: “The producers trusted Gareth to design a multi-purpose sound scheme that could accommodate the requirements of the production within the venue we had built.”
photo: Luke Dyson
5th November 2019
Robe ESPRITES for CMT Artists of The Year Event
USA - Robe’s brand new ESPRITE moving lights, a powerful, refined 650W luminaire with transferrable white LED engine, made their US live TV debut on the 2019 CMT Artists of the Year event, staged at the impressive Schermerhorn Symphony Center in Nashville, Tennessee.
“I absolutely love these lights,” declared the event’s lighting designer Tom Kenny.
Tom’s creative flair and style has graced many high-profile country music and CMT shows, and on this one he enjoyed working alongside a talented production team which included including set designer Anne Brahic.
The ESPRITES plus other extra lights on the show which also included Robe BMFL WashBeams and Spiider LED wash beams, were delivered by Morris Light & Sound. They were used together with fixtures from the venue’s house rig.
CMT Artists of the Year is broadcast live on CMT and gives the network and the close-knit country music community a chance to honour musicians and performers who are having amazing moments and making an impact.
Live action on the night included speeches, tribute performances and special musical collaborations. Tom has lit the event for the last seven years and loves the youthful vibe and slightly edgy ambiance.
Tom always relishes working in the Schermerhorn Symphony Center, known for its distinctive neoclassical design. The elegant Laura Turner Concert Hall has an imposing custom-designed / built organ and a host of architectural features including several large, eye-catching deco-style chandeliers. It’s a great environment for introducing innovative visual technologies.
Tom has a penchant for trailblazing new lighting products in his designs and was delighted when Morris’s lighting manager Han Henze announced they could make the ESPRITES available for the show where the overall lighting ambiance is “classy and slick, in keeping with the mood of the event,” explained Tom.
Irish-born, Miami-based Tom was one of the first LDs to use Robe’s Pointes and BMFLs on major high-profile shows shortly after the products were launched and is among the influencers who have helped the brand establish such a strong presence in the US over the last decade.
Ten of the 20 ESPRITES were positioned on one of the rear LX production trusses installed at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center for this event, and used for rear lighting the band, and for texturing, coloring and gobo work on the stage.
Another ten luminaires on one of the downstage trusses provided ideal keylighting for musicians onstage, and for pick-ups at the dinner tables distributed around the room including on the wrap-around balconies.
“It’s an absolutely beautiful light,” Tom commented, adding that Robe has “produced another absolute winner!”
He was impressed by the sheer quality of the light, the colour mixing, the smooth and fast movement and the precision dimming: “It’s evident that Robe has worked really hard to perfect elements like the colour, speed, keeping the weight down and the quality up!” He says he will “definitely” be using them again!
The self-referencing, data-capturing WTETM 650W (White Transferrable Engine) light source is designed, developed and manufactured by Robe in its own factory and enables the rapid and economical ‘lamp-like exchange’ that gives the fixture a life well beyond those of non-user-replaceable LED sources.
Tom’s tasteful lighting design for CMT Artists of The Year also utilised 30 Robe BMFL WashBeams, 24 of which were on over-stage LX trusses 3 and 4 in an ideal position for providing band keys and highlighting scenic elements.
Two of these BMFL WashBeams, complete with remote MotionCameras, were rigged in the side-stage balcony positions and controlled via a Robe RoboSpot remote control BaseStation located in the box seating ‘parlor room’. There was another BaseStation controlling two BMFL FollowSpot LTs in the back-of-house balcony positions which were used for presenter key lights when they were standing in the ‘pod’ positions onstage.
Eight of the 20 Spiiders, another Robe fixture used regularly on Tom’s designs, were rigged on the side balconies and used to create aerial beams and eye / camera candy effects, with another 12 onstage for low back light and supplementary eye candy impact when needed.
Tom’s FOH team included his regular programmer and lighting director Michael Appel, who was also struck by the ESPRITES.
“Morris Light & Sound is very pleased with the output, colour and beam qualities as well as the feature sets of the ESPRITES which checks many boxes for us,” said Han Henze who also took on a lighting directorial role for this show. “We currently have over 400 Robe fixtures in stock at Morris and we are in the process of replacing arc-lamp profile fixtures for which the ESPRITE is a great choice for customers working in concert touring, theatrical, television or events.”
Working alongside Tom, Michael and Han were gaffer Michelle Griesmer Stotts, lighting crew chief Todd Latia, front of house tech Marshall Blair, dimmer tech Jerome Thompson and lighting techs Alex Ehler and Amanda Burns.
The telecast was directed by Michael Dempsey. The executive producers were CMT’s John Hamlin and Margaret Comeaux and the producer was Amy Johnson.
2019 CMT Artists of the Year were Carrie Underwood, Kane Brown, Luke Combs, Dan+Shay and Thomas Rett, with Ashley McBryde recognized as breakout artist of the year and Reba McEntire honoured with an ‘artist of a lifetime’ award. All of them were celebrated with special performances during an emotional and memorable evening that resonated the warmth, humanity and sense of community that characterises the country music genre.
photo: Charles Brock, courtesy CMT
5th November 2019
Inaugural Exit 111 Festival Rocks Out with Bandit Lites
USA – The country’s newest hard rock festival, Exit 111, launched its first three-day weekend with a line-up that cranks it all the way to eleven including Lynyrd Skynyrd, Def Leppard, Guns N Roses, Slayer, Seether, Anthrax, ZZ Top, Ghost, Mastodon, Gojira, Deftones and Coheed and Cambria. Bandit Lites provided the lighting system for the main stage as well as support packages to multiple acts.
In addition to the musical aspect of the festival, Exit 111, which got its name from the I-24 exit that brings drivers to Manchester, included attractions such as the Paranormal Cirque complete with acrobats, illusionists, and mysterious creatures, the Red Bull Freestyle Motocross Experiences, a 20,000 square foot Mega Sports Bar, car show and extensive food options. A dollar from every ticket purchased was donated to Rise Above, a suicide prevention and awareness organization launched by Seether front-man Shaun Morgan.
Bandit Lites supplied nearly 180 fixtures for the Main Stage Robe BMFL Spots, Robe BMFL Wash Beams, Robe Pointes, Elation CuePix WW2, Nitro 510c LED Strobes and HES SolaFrame 3000 Spots. Two grandMA2 Full consoles provided control.
“This rig had the benefit of hanging from the massive permanent roof that Bonnaroo also uses, so size issues that can limit what you do on some festivals were not an issue with this rig,” explained Bandit Lites production manager Dizzy Gosnell, who designed the lighting system for the main stage. “We were able to accommodate the 55’w x 32’h rear video wall easily enough along with some of the elaborate stage sets and floor packages that the main acts bought along with them, too. I had to keep the heads to the heavy hitter BMFL range and similarly to cope with the trim height and really bright screen upstage.”
Bandit also provided floor packages for Def Leppard with Martin MAC Viper Profiles and Claypaky Sharpys as well as GLP X4 Bar 20s and Lycian M2 Spots for Ghost.
The lighting crew for the weekend included Nikki Dotson, Jessie Hochinyavong, Ivy Reid and Vanessa Tuttoilmondo, with special support coming from Project Manager Gene Brian.
“I know I’ve said it before a thousand times, but it’s the crew that make the difference,” Gosnell concluded. “Anyone can buy a couple of moving lights and call themselves a lighting company, but the crew is what makes it real. With all of this hi-tech gear, we need good people, and we have very good people. Nikki and his crew worked tirelessly to accommodate bands needs and pulled it off fantastically. I’d also like to add a huge thanks to Steve Drymalski, the Production Manager for the stage who mastered the art of people AND flight case Tetris using about every inch of floor space for band gear and stage sets, and of course it is always a pleasure working alongside Hadden Hippsley who worked with Brandon Sossomon and the C3 Presents and Live Nation folks.”
5th November 2019
Three SSL Live L550 Consoles Provide Superior Sound on Jovanotti Tour
Worldwide – Becoming a symbol of the Italian youth of the '80s, Italian singer-songwriter and rapper, Lorenzo Cherubini’s (better known as Jovanotti) first studio album, Jovanotti for President, sold over 400,000 copies in Italy, while his song Piove was released for the second season of The Sopranos as an ending credits track. Still immensely popular to this day, Jovanotti is currently on tour, where his FOH and monitor engineers rely on three SSL Live L550 consoles to provide that signature full, analogue sound, whilst playing to crowds of 40,000 on sandy beaches.
Jovanotti’s monitor engineer, Massimo Manunza, has been working with the performer since 2007, which he says has been a great experience both artistically and technically. In terms of monitor mixes, Manunza says he and the band couldn't be happier with the sonics: “It’s such a full sound and very analogue, which reflects the original [Jovanotti] recordings,” he clarifies. “The coherence of the SSL is extremely impressive.”
Working with three SSL Live L550 consoles (one at FOH, one for monitor mixing, and one as a mirrored/spare desk) and a SuperAnalogue MADI I/O, the FOH and monitor L550s are connected via a passive splitter, galvanically decoupled.
I use 4 ML32.32 stageboxes connected with a Blacklight II Concentrator and connected to the mixer with fibre, where I use all the inputs and about 90 bus outputs,” Manunza explains. “The FOH L550 has three ML32.32 stageboxes, with a Blacklight II concentrator and fibre. To manage this large amount of I/O, I need to configure the layout in a really intuitive way to avoid wasting time searching for resources, so I created layouts for musicians or types of instruments: drum, percussion, bass, guitars, keyboards, tracks, and so on. The two bay fader tiles at the bottom are for the inputs, and the inclined fader tiles are for the outputs. With my mixer I also manage communications between the various directories. There are 128 inputs, 30 mono aux sends, and 30 stereo aux sends – including effects and services, in addition to 14 VCAs, one PFL and one AFL.”
Manunza has been using the SSL Live L550 from its debut, and states that one of his favourite functions is the ability to modify the signal flow of a single channel to his liking.
“Undoubtedly, the analogue SSL sound makes the difference, and its EQ helps to modify the sound to your liking even with very small variations,” he explains. “It's remarkably responsive.”
He is also a big fan of the SSL's dynamics, describing them as 'transparent', whilst allowing him to find his settings with extreme precision.
“The sound is incredible; I can't do without them,” he enthuses. “In particular, the delay with all-pass filter changes your life! I use the whole section of the internal effects now that the processor's computing power has been increased.
Describing his favourite functionality, Manunza highlights the L550's Flip to Fader: “The part of the parametric EQ in the effects that I use to equalise the IEMs and wedge / sidefills, and certainly the automations, are what make this show so enjoyable,” he says. “The console is incredible in so many aspects; the sound, first of all, but the software part is now definitely way ahead of the competition.”
Jovanotti’s tour often sees the singer perform on beaches, which could cause issues for some equipment. However, Manunza insists that SSL has more than risen to the challenge: “The SSL consoles are so reliable, and on this tour we have used them on beaches with dust, salt, sun, wind, humidity and coloured powders, they have never yielded for a single moment. The tour has been an extraordinary success: 17 shows, with about 40,000 people on every beach!”
Pino Pischetola has worked with Jovanotti in the studio since 2005, and has been working with him in a live capacity since 2013. On this tour, the whole idea at FOH is to have a live band that plays Jovanotti hits in between a live DJ set. The goal is to achieve a unique musical flow where there is no distinction between, as Pischetola puts it, 'the two souls of the show'.
“To achieve this, I’m sending the band mix to Jovanotti's DJ mixer so he can mix between the live band and the records; I receive his mix and balance it with the vocals,” Pischetola reveals, adding that the artist always takes a great interest in the technical aspects of the show, and the solutions used. “There are also situations where I control the band totally: by using the SSL's Stems and multiple masters, I can route the band where I want instantly. Also, using Stems for FX send returns is a big advantage compared to using the standard aux route; one channel is enough, and using QUERY, I can easily send the tracks that I want to.
“For this tour I wanted to have an analogue approach because there is no fixed set list, and there is also a lot of improvisation; this is the reason I’m doing front of house mixing from the stage, where I have more control of everything that’s happening. I’m not even using scenes or automation. When I switch on the mixer, it’s set up how I left it in the last show, and I go from there. There is a lot of real time mixing, which is a lot of fun!
Pischetola breaks down his SSL layout in detail: “On fader tile one, I have one layer with the instrument stems, the master send to the DJ mixer, the DJ mixer return, and the vocals and on another layer I have all the VCAs that control each musician. On fader tile two, there are the layers for all the instruments divided by instrument type, which makes it very quick for me to reach all the band members. Then on fader tile three I have the master outputs and the quad channel which takes these two signals and feeds the PA.”
In fact, the only external device Pischetola uses is a MacBook Pro running MainStage and some samples.
“I record the multi-track of each show using MADI, and the stems on my MacBook Pro using Dante; I've recorded the whole tour without ever recalling a single scene! That's 17 three-hour long shows only with live moves!”
This is the fourth tour that Pischetola has done using SSL, and he couldn't be more comfortable using the console:
“This use of layers and Stems lets me organise the session very easily, even if there are a lot of instruments involved. This time I also used a lot of the internal effects as well. Really, it's a combination of the sound of the SSL, its processing power, and the signal routing options which make it so fantastic to use. And for people that are used to the SSL EQ and dynamics, like myself, you can achieve things so quickly because the console is so intuitive.”
5th November 2019
Maggie Rogers Pairs Up with DiGiCo SD10 Pair for North American Tour
USA – Although Maggie Rogers’ major label debut, Heard it in a Past Life, officially dropped in January of this year, the singer-songwriter has quickly built up a massive fan base over the past few years thanks, in part, to her captivating opening sets on 2018 tours with both HAIM and Mumford & Sons. For much of this year now, she’s been out headlining her own shows, culminating with this fall’s latest and largest tour leg, for which Clair Global has been supplying a pair of DiGiCo SD10 mixing consoles.
Production manager and FOH Engineer Bob Boyle has worked with Rogers since March of 2017 shortly after she first started touring, with monitor engineer Mike Sassano coming onboard at the beginning of this year. “Our first show of 2019 was at The Fonda in L.A., and most of venues in the early months were in the 1,000-capacity range, with a few exceptions along the way,” Boyle recalls. “But Maggie has steadily amassed a lot of fans since then, and the venues we’ve been hitting on our September-October leg have been between 2,500 and 8,500, so things have grown quite quickly and it’s been a lot of fun.”
To accommodate the tour’s expanding production needs, Boyle and Sassano each chose to transition to DiGiCo SD10 consoles, sharing a single SD-Rack, for autumn stops at iconic venues like Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium, Berkley’s Greek Theatre, and a couple of nights at NYC’s Radio City Music Hall.
Boyle notes that he greatly appreciates the SD10’s flexible layout and intuitive operation. “One of my favourite things about the workflow of the desk overall is the ability to lay the show out exactly how I need it,” he says. “Being able to place faders anywhere I like has opened up a workflow for me that is easier and more intuitive for operating the show than any other desk on the market. And I enjoy having three fader banks. While we don’t have a crazy channel count, it’s nice to be able to configure the desk in a way where there is minimal digging around for channels during the show.”
Macros have also helped make his life easier, he describes: “Beyond normal stuff, like a Save button and Tap Tempo, I have Macros that locate control group faders back to zero when I start soundcheck, buttons that mute and unmute talkbacks to my shout speaker, change reverb/delay sends for different songs, and things like that. I don’t use them on this show quite as much now that it’s set up, but I’ve stolen tricks from others for using Macros to set up show files and they’re an awesome time saver. That really came in handy for getting some of the support bands’ files together on this run.”
Boyle goes on to share that the two SD10s, which are connected via an Optocore loop, have allowed him and the tour’s monitor engineer to “conquer challenges all the time,” citing, in particular, the helpful ability to pass signal between the desks using the console send/receive routing.
In monitors, Sassano notes that he is supplying the five musicians and additional crew with eight stereo IEM mixes, plus mixes for mono sidefill sub and stereo sidefill tops. “We’re essentially running 54 channels into the SD-Rack, including all talkbacks and audience mics, there are 18 live mics, one acoustic guitar, and the rest are all DI inputs or talkbacks,” he reveals, going on to share his affinity for DiGiCo’s on-board processing: “There are so many onboard options for processing available per channel that I don’t ever find myself wishing I had something else. I use the stereo spread for backing tracks, audience mics, Kempers, and sometimes keys/synths to push them out to the sides and make room for the centre elements, plus the tube warmth on bass guitar and sub synths to add harmonics and make them more perceivable for the ears.
“The dynamic EQ is great for keeping any one frequency band from building up too much and giving a more balanced overall tonality to the mixes. I also use it for de-essing vocals on the top end and managing proximity effect on the low-mids, making drum transients and, sometimes, piano transients pop more, keeping guitars bright, but not harsh. The multi-band compressor can be a lifesaver, too, depending on the vocalist, which is the processor I find myself reaching for the most. I’ve never run into a mix issue that I couldn’t treat with the available channel processing and totally fix it. And I enjoy being able to have dynamics before EQ and vice-versa; most desks don't provide that option or it’s hard to access. With its first-rate processing, sensible UI, generous matrix and handy features like spill sets, I love mixing on the DiGiCo SD10.”
With Clair Global supplying only the control packages and a technician for the tour, Rogers is performing on house systems or locally supplied PA for each stop, so Boyle reports that he’s happy with the fidelity that the SD10 platform has been able to give to both the live audiences and recording outputs. “We’re running the desk at 48k for multi-tracking reasons,” the FOH engineer says, adding that he’s using a UB MADI, while Sassano has a DiGiGrid MGB on his end. “I’ve been really happy with the quality of sound I’ve gotten out of the desk, given that we are not travelling with PA. It’s really nice to know that I can count on what’s coming out of the desk to be accurate and reliable.”
Sassano has a smaller 'audience' that he needs to sonically please, but he notes that the monitor SD10 console is more than satisfying his mix recipients as well. “Maggie and the band are really happy with their IEM mixes,” he adds. “We go multiple shows without anyone asking for changes, even through soundchecks. Maggie and our bass player, Brian, specifically have even expressed that they’ve never had so much fun on stage being able to hear everything so clearly.”
5th November 2019
Subfrantic Gets Submerged in Video with PROLIGHTS OmegaPIX
UK – Bespoke productions specialist, Subfrantic has invested in PROLIGHTS' next generation OmegaPIX LED video screen to deliver a state-of-the-art visual experience for client events.
Established in 1993, Subfrantic supplies high-end AV and lighting equipment to the events industry, including tours and festivals, one-off shows, theatre, corporate events, gospel and houses of worship.
Subfrantic prides itself on offering an extensive inventory of equipment from only high-quality brands. As the first phase of a new investment in its Video inventory, Subfrantic director Stephen Davies contacted one-stop equipment distributor, A.C. Entertainment Technologies Ltd. to recommend a solution.
He commented: “We had made a small initial investment in an indoor LED screen to gauge our customers’ interest. After opening up new markets and clients from it, for the past 18 months we had been auditioning various LED products as we toyed with the idea of making a significant investment.”
After discussing options with Stephen, sales executive, Chris Beardwell in the company’s video division and customer relations manager, Victoria Spurgin visited Subfrantic to provide a demonstration of the PROLIGHTS OmegaPIX OMEGAX39T 3.9mm pitch, IP65 outdoor LED screen.
Stephen commented: “We had already decided that we wanted a screen which was supported by a big name in the UK this time. In addition, it needed to be 3.9mm pixel pitch, could be used outdoors, and ran on Novastar video processors.
He elaborated: “When we saw the demo and did an A/B test against our current screen, it became obvious that the PROLIGHTS panel just ticked all the boxes for us. The quality of the equipment we supply is very important, so it fits right in amongst the other brands and products we offer.”
After thoroughly reviewing the various system components, including options for flyware, ground support and controllers, Subfrantic placed an order for 256 OmegaPIX panels fitted with Novastar A8S Receiving Cards, plus related accessories including Novastar 4K Controllers.
The OmegaPIX video wall went straight out onto its first job, for ‘The Day of Prayer for Britain’ event at the SSE Arena, Wembley. The system was configured as a 10m x 6m rear screen hung over the stage, featuring branding and camera feeds throughout the event. Chris personally oversaw the screen’s setup, to make sure Subfrantic’s production team were entirely comfortable using it for this first event.
Stephen commented: “Myself and the client were very impressed with the results. The picture quality and performance of the screen was fantastic. Being an outdoor-rated screen, I expect it to open up new avenues of work for us, as well as having a lot of interest from our existing wide client base spanning the stage, corporate and worship markets.”
Stephen commented on working with AC-ET: “I’ve been so impressed by how friendly and responsive Chris, Victoria and AC-ET have been. After ‘The Day of Prayer for Britain’ event became the catalyst for making this decision earlier than we originally planned, AC-ET pulled this together for us at very short notice and since then their level of support has been fantastic too. I really can’t recommend them enough.”
5th November 2019
Production AV Shoots for the Stars at Cheltenham Literature Festival
UK – A diverse line up of well-known names descended on Cheltenham for the 70th anniversary of its much-loved Literature Festival, including headliners David Cameron, Lenny Henry and Debbie Harry.
The multi-site event demanded some serious screen, camera and crew to capture the bookish action and augment it for audiences. Long-time professional partner Production AV, which has been designing AV solutions for Cheltenham Festivals for nine years, supplied ten venues across the sprawling site, including 2,250-seater The Centaur. In total, more than 800 writers, journalists and cultural commentators appeared over ten-days.
Production AV’s high-end stock of Agile Remote Cameras and Barco HDX projectors were out in force.
“Cheltenham Festivals is one of our long-standing clients and the Literature events are well attended, respected and hugely enjoyable,” says Production AV’s Pete McCrea. “This year, we planned for a biggest incarnation of it yet as they celebrated a big birthday and expanded the line ups.”
Production AV designed systems to fit across the multiple spaces, from the Cheltenham Racecourse Centaur to The Town Hall and multiple temporary spaces in Montpellier Gardens.
In The Centaur, Production AV was challenged with a tight build time for the launch of David Cameron’s new memoir, For the Record, which was inevitably going to be an attention grabber.
“We supplied our Sony HDC-1500 Camera Channels which offer incredible picture quality for HD live events, paired with our Agile Remote Control Cameras and the stunning PPU recently configured by our team here at Production AV,” explains McCrea. “It was a winning combination!”
With Jude Butcher, Pete McCrea and Tim Perrett heading up the team the tight build time proved to not be an issue.
“Over at The Times Forum, located within the main Festival site and where Debbie Harry discussed iconic Blondie lyrics and the band’s legacy, Production AV supplied Barco Projection, brand new to hire stock Dell XPS laptops, Roland Switch Gear and a Sony Camera package.
McCrea concludes: “It’s a delight to be so heavily involved in such an incredible event, with many of the discussions featured on the Sky Arts channel throughout the festival. The reach for this world-class festival is an incredible advert for the town of Cheltenham: a place we are passionate about supporting with leading technical production.”
photo: Production AV
5th November 2019
PR Lighting Out in Force at Nine-Day Divali Nagar Festival
Trinidad & Tobago – PR Lighting fixtures were out in force at the recent nine-day Divali Nagar Festival on the Caribbean island of Trinidad & Tobago.
Promoted by the National Council for Indian Culture (NCIC), and now in its 33rd year, Divali Nagar is an annual exposition of Hindu culture (generally) and Indo-Trinidadian culture (specifically). It is closely associated with the Diwali Hindu Festival of Light celebration in Trinidad and Tobago.
For the past 15 of those years, All Events Lighting Systems (AELS), part of the SM Group, has been providing technical services to the event at the Divali Nagar site, located in the borough of Chaguanas.
The SM Group itself comprises All Events Lighting Systems, All Events System Ltd and S. Maharaj Equipment Services Limited. SM Group itself stands for ‘Shival Maharaj Group of Companies’ and the organisation collectively provided all equipment for the many local acts who performed, including full lighting and audio, screens, infrastructure, power (generators), technical management and full production services.
Shival Maharaj himself designed the lighting, using 36 PR XLED 1037, 18 XR 330 Beam and 18 XR 330 Spot.
Housing 37 x 10W RGBW (four-in-one) LEDs, with wide beam angle ranging from 13° to 52°, the XLED 1037 was used to create full stage washes along with visual effects. Equipped with a SIRIUS HRI 330W lamp and three prisms, the XR330 Beam was tasked with delivering amazing beam effects and piercing gobos and colours, while the XR 330 Spots were used as specials for the band and artist as well as a gobo projection.
The show was operated by Naresh Ramkhelawan on an Avolites Sapphire with Titan and Q3 with Synergy, which enabled all fixtures to be pixel-mapped, integrating lighting and video as one. Technical support was provided by Kulvinder Singh.
Mr. Maharaj was once again delighted with the dynamic and complementary roles created by the PR Lighting fixtures. Reviewing their performance he said: “I have been using PR Lighting for well over ten years and there has been no disappointment.
“Our loyalty to PR as a distributor surpasses its expectations as a user. PR has kept up-to-date with current changes and the fixtures provide all features a designer could need. The beam intensities are far brighter than most so it’s piercing colours are always a plus.
“All in all PR has given me great support for the past ten years and I’m sure we will be looking at another ten plus.”
4th November 2019
Motion Mapping delivers Lancôme launch with Hippotizer
UK – Green Hippo’s Hippotizer media servers helped to deliver a glittering press launch show for cosmetics and perfume brand Lancôme in London in September. Produced by Michael Bell Brand Communications, the event included custom video content and projection surfaces designed and delivered by UK-based projection mapping specialist, Motion Mapping Ltd.
Motion Mapping fielded a deceptively simple set-up: two Hippotizer Amba media servers, one as a main server and the other as backup, plus two high-powered laptops for show control and on-site media processing. “The laptops are useful for last-minute on-site changes,” explains Motion Mapping’s Stuart Harris. “By running the file conversions on a separate laptop, I can convert the content quickly, without affecting the Hippo, you just drop it in and it’s ready. Then we run everything through the Amba, a DP [DisplayPort] output to one projector.”
Achieving this level of economy calls for efficient handling of content, ensuring files sizes are fully optimised for the displays, and for smart thinking about how the visual mix is assembled. Harris says: “Because we produce the content, we know exactly what we need,” says Harris. “A question I get asked a lot is, ‘how are you doing all this through a single Amba?’. And this is where our strength lies: if you plan ahead, keep things simple and not over-complicate it, you can run a lot from a smaller machine.”
He adds, “It’s a compact set-up. I bring everything in a small flightcase. People sometimes laugh and say ‘that’s a cute little case’, but then they realise how much power one little case can have.”
For the introduction of Lancôme’s new Idole perfume, Motion Mapping provided a 3m high polystyrene model of the bottle as a perfect, centre-piece projection surface. “Polystyrene is a great medium for projection mapping,” says Harris. “With the lights on, it’s just plain white polystyrene, but with projection it completely transforms.”
For this, Hippotizer’s integrated 3D projection mapping tool set, SHAPE, which allows users to edit 3D model in real-time, was central to Motion Mapping’s workflow. “We prefer to use SHAPE for pretty much everything we do,” says Harris. “We think in 3D rather than 2D, which gives us a lot of flexibility. SHAPE really speeds up the processes, making things so much easier.”
For Harris, Hippotizer offers the tools he needs to make last-minute changes quickly and efficiently, a powerful advantage in any production environment. “Hippotizer helps extremely,” says Harris. “Other systems we’ve used are quite slow for last-minute changes. And it’s great for the client, I very rarely say ‘no’, because I know I can just go straight to the Hippo and do whatever’s needed.
“Just knowing that it will work the way you need it to is a great advantage.”
photos: Motion Mapping Ltd
4th November 2019
Protec Scores Firsts with Massive Claypaky Xtylos Purchase
UAE – Protec tallied a number of firsts on the lighting front recently. Protec was the first in the world to order Claypaky Xtylos, inking a deal to receive 350 of the market’s first-ever laser moving fixtures. Protec also became the first AV equipment supplier in the Middle East to take delivery of Xtylos in September.
Launched in 1999, Protec is one of the world’s largest and most comprehensive event technical and staging companies delivering solutions for all event types across Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia. Protec boasts an expanding, state-of-the-art inventory, including robotic and drone technologies, and an expert staff based in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Riyadh and Birmingham, England.
“We are very excited that Protec was the first in our world sales network to place the order at Prolight + Sound 2019 in Frankfurt where we launched Xtylos,” says Egor Popovski for Claypaky in the Middle East. “Protec is also the first in the Middle East to receive the shipment of these fixtures and has become the largest stockist of Xtylos in the Middle East region.”
Xtylos is a compact beam moving light with unique optical and chromatic characteristics featuring a tailor-made laser source, which is the powerful engine of an incredible array of colours. The most dynamic light on the market, Xtylos is the first moving head light with a laser light source opening up new, surprising prospects for the development of the entire entertainment lighting world.
“Protec are always investing in the latest technologies, and Xtylos is the next innovation in lighting technology,” says Aaron Russ, head of the lighting department. “Xtylos is more efficient from an energy point of view, but its real selling point is how its laser-sourced engine reproduces color with such intensity and definition. We believe this offers something unique on the market and introduces a whole new world of creative lighting solutions for our clients.”
Russ believes Xtylos will be ideal for large outdoor events such as concerts, festivals, opening and closing ceremonies, and stadium shows.
“The Xtylos’s energy efficiency has a green appeal, which is something the events industry needs to continue to make improvements on, but the main attraction here is the fixture’s ability to maintain colour intensity and vivid brightness over a long distance compared to its predecessors and other market options,” he points out. “Xtylos sends a focused solid beam of color through the sky with minimal diffusion.”
He also cites the fixture’s compact size while “packing an incredible punch. Xtylos is a game changer that will allow us to deliver more spectacular effects.”
In addition to growing its inventory with 350 Xtylos Protec also acquired 48 Claypaky Sharpy Plus fixtures to further expand its lighting capabilities.
4th November 2019
Starlite Invests in Ayrton Khamsin Fixtures
USA – New Jersey-based Starlite has purchased a complement of Ayrton Khamsin-S, Ayrton's super-compact and highly versatile profile fixture. The company has one of the largest inventories of AV, lighting and control equipment on the east coast with which to meet the needs of clients in the broadcast, concert touring, corporate, performing arts and educational markets.
The Khamsin-S purchase represents Starlite’s first acquisition of Ayrton products. “ACT Lighting (Ayrton’s exclusive distributor for in North America) demoed the whole Ayrton line for us, and we evaluated the Khamsins in our shop for our rental inventory and use on our own productions,” says president and CEO, Dean Danowitz.
“There was a fair amount of debate internally regarding which profile fixture we should invest in next,” notes Jason Danowitz, vice president of event technology. “Ultimately, we chose the Khamsin-S because it checked so many boxes for our touring and staging clients, including an 8:1 zoom (7o to 58o), 40,000-lumen output, CMY colour mixing plus fixed colours, variable CTO, two frosts, two rotating gobo wheels, prisms, an animation wheel, rotatable framing shutters and an iris. In addition, they’re flicker-free, which is essential for our clients with broadcast applications.”
As soon as Starlite took delivery of the fixtures they were quickly dispatched on a broadcast project. “The minute they hit our docks, they were booked for a major televised awards show,” says Starlite’s rental manager, Matt Strickland. “The Khamsins will work for so many applications that they will never be here, which is ultimately my goal!”
Jason Danowitz points out: “The Ayrton brand has a reputation for innovative and well-designed fixtures, and they have amassed a loyal following among designers. Also, we’ve enjoyed great support from ACT Lighting through the years, so we’re happy to embark on this venture with them.”
“We’re looking for the Khamsins to be a true multi-purpose fixture for us across our client base,” concludes Dean Danowitz.
4th November 2019
New York’s Metropolitan Opera Chooses Elation Artiste Monet
USA – The Metropolitan Opera House at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York City, home to the Metropolitan Opera, has recently installed 70 Elation Professional Artiste Monet LED profile moving head luminaires with Donald Holder the first to use the new rig of award-winning lights on Porgy and Bess. Lighting supply was by 4Wall Entertainment.
As one of the world’s premiere opera companies, the Metropolitan Opera demands exacting specifications with stage facilities that continue to be updated technically. The Met’s resident lighting designer, John Froelich, was instrumental in choosing the Artiste Monet and cited three main reasons for its choice. “The output of the LED source was very bright,” he said, noting that in testing it was the brightest fixture available. Secondly, “The native colour of the LED engine was the most appealing to me. Most LED profiles that were tested had a slight green bias that was really hard to manage quickly from a creative standpoint. In a large, fast-paced repertory environment like ours it was such a great thing to find a source that was so artistically appealing.”
Lastly, the designer says the focus aspect of the Artiste Monet was the best of the units under consideration. “When dealing with LED sources in moving lights all manufacturers have to deal with the reality that multiple tiny sources rather than a single centre engine of light, such as an arc source lamp, causes chromatic aberration to any shaping object in the lens train. In our testing, the Artiste Monet lens system had the advantage in minimising this issue.”
The Artiste Monet is a 45,000-lumen LED profile luminaire whose innovative SpectraColor colour mixing system, as well as an unlimited indexing and continuous rotation framing system, has been recognised as exceptional innovation. SpectraColor is unique in that it combines CMY colour mixing with RGB flags and variable CTO to produce colour combinations that have traditionally been hard for LED luminaires to achieve.
“The SpectraColor system opens up a lot of possibilities from a creative standpoint,” Froelich states. “The ability to mix to super saturated colours without having to revert to the use of color chips is really advantageous. For example, I can shift from a realistic lighting state in one cue and then fade to really saturated theatrical state to emphasise a musical moment, mood or event onstage with the same lighting equipment. This is quite helpful in our repertory environment as we have more wide-ranging access to dramatic shifts without having to hang additional lighting equipment.”
He continues: “The system also allows me access to subtle reds, blues and greens that are near impossible to mix with the primary cyan, magenta, yellow mixing system. Having access to these types of colours without losing light output due to the heavy amount of coloured glass in the lens assembly is quite a game changer.”
The Monet fixtures, along with a complement of Elation Chorus Line ST LED battens, have replaced the entire overhead lighting rig at the Met, everything from a standard tungsten Fresnel to a high output 4kW HMI theatre Fresnel. “It is quite a wide range of lighting equipment and the transition has been fairly smooth,” Froelich says. The Chorus Line luminaires were custom made for the venue with RGBA LEDs for a broader colour spectrum.
The Metropolitan Opera opened its 2019/2020 season on 23rd September with a new production of the Gershwin and Heyward opera Porgy and Bess, directed by James Robinson. The first production to use the new Artiste Monet luminaires, lighting is by Tony Award-winning LD Donald Holder, the fifth opera he has designed for the Met since 2004 (The Magic Flute, Two Boys, Otello, Samson et Dalila).
Located on the Met’s repertory light bridges and at border light positions, Holder shares his experience using the Artiste Monet. “It’s a very powerful fixture with excellent color rendering, dimming and optics,” he said. “Despite the high colour-temperature native source, we were able to achieve a fairly warm, natural-looking colour palette, certainly evocative of sun, candle and torchlight. The variable light to heavy frost option was extremely helpful when creating continuous backlight washes using several fixtures, or using the Monet for a single special with no apparent hard-edges.”
The scenic design for Porgy and Bess features a two-story set designed by Michael Yeargan that revolves to eight different positions over the course of 16 scenes. Populated by a cast of 93, who occupy almost every nook and cranny of the massive structure, Holder says: “I needed many fixtures from multiple locations that could carve out specific portions of the set with consistency and accuracy. The Artiste Monet accomplished the bulk of this work, and I was very pleased with the quality and repeatability.”
Citing the luminaire’s excellent colour-mixing and variable frost as important features for his design, Holder uses the Monets continuously in the production, constantly refocusing as the set revolves and changes configuration. He describes a special look he creates across the set’s complex sloped roof structure, located at a relatively short throw distance from the Monet’s position on lighting bridges. “Using the wide zoom optics and heavy frost options I was able to simulate a large brushstroke of sunlight glancing across all the rooftops using just one or two Monet fixtures focused from a singular, strategic location.” In another special look that takes place during the funeral of Robbins on a cold, rainy day, Holder created broad swaths of cold wintry backlight that etched the entire space, using the fixtures in open white and again with a wide zoom and heavy frost.
Holder thanks resident lighting designer John Froelich for having the foresight to bring the Artiste Monet fixtures to the Met, as well as his brilliant assistant team of Aaron Sporer and Keri Thibodeau, along with programmers Ben Eells, Salvatore Nicosia and Max Lagonia.
The first production of Porgy and Bess at the Met since 1990, the show has proved itself a triumph with critics praising both the cast and production. Performances ran until 16 October with the production returning for seven more performances in early 2020.
photos: Ken Howard