Production News Headlines
Korean PA Company Gets a Full House with Allen & Heath
South Korea – Renowned Korean rental company, Blessway, now has models from the entire Allen & Heath digital mixer line up in its hire stock, following the recent investment in a dLive S Class system.
Located in Daejeon, one of the country’s major cities, Blessway has purchased a dLive S7000 surface and DM48 MixRack fitted with a Waves V3 card. The company now covers the whole spectrum of Allen & Heath mixers from the compact Qu to the flagship dLive.
“Our first digital purchase was the GLD-80,” explains Blessway’s CEO, Jongyul Lee. “I liked A&H's unique warm sound, quality FX, and fully customisable fader strips. We invested in a Qu-16 to use at small events, and to coincide with the acquisition of a new PA system to cover larger venues, we bought dLive.”
“I think dLive's most powerful strength is its ability to grow through firmware updates, and its immensely powerful FPGA processing core in support. dLive is the ultimate digital mixer with remarkable design aesthetics,” concludes Jongyul Lee.
In picture: Jongyul Lee from Blessway with the company’s three Allen & Heath mixers.
24th March 2017
grandMA2 Light and a pint at PLASA for Liteup Events
UK – Founded in 2006 by Central School of Speech & Drama graduates Kris Box and Marc Callaghan, Liteup Events is a company specialising in both live music and corporate events. The team at Liteup pride themselves on the quality of their customer service and being able to provide a comprehensive range of services including event production, technical support, equipment hire and concept design.
So, when Box and Callaghan discovered that they urgently needed a new lighting console for a client’s upcoming tour, they took the opportunity to visit the Ambersphere Solutions stand at PLASA where they discussed their requirements with Thor André of technical sales. “When we went to PLASA we knew that we wanted to invest in MA control, explains Box. “Whilst there we received a call that really gave us the green light to go ahead with an order. Having the opportunity to talk to Thor there and then made the whole process of securing the grandMA2 Light about as straightforward as it could be.”
Box goes on to describe his reasoning for investing in the desk: “We have always made our purchasing decisions based on what the current industry trends are, as well as taking into consideration what lighting designers actually want to use. For these reasons the grandMA2 Light was the ideal choice for us as it is a popular desk for lighting designers working in the music sector which now accounts for about 40% of our turnover. It had also been on our wish list for some time, so we were glad of an excuse to buy one!”
As the desk was urgently needed in Tunbridge Wells, one of the purchase conditions was that it be delivered that evening. Ambersphere’s Thor André loaded it into a van and drove it there overnight. “Thor was happy to oblige: the pinnacle of customer service in our book. He even sent us a photo once it was on the truck! Then, in true PLASA tradition, we went for a few beers.
“The level of customer service from Ambersphere, and Thor in particular, cannot be faulted, from driving the desk out to Sussex overnight to go out on tour to the aftersales support we’ve received on previous purchases.”
Box and Callaghan had previously used Ambersphere to purchase some Ayrton MagicBlade-Rs, as Box describes: “We bought the MagicBlade-Rs in the summer of 2015 to meet the design specifications of alt-J’s LD. That summer saw a massive demand for the MagicBlade-Rs from both the live music sector and corporate private events. It’s thanks to Ambersphere that we could meet those demands – they even loaned us replacement units when ours went in for maintenance.
“We have just recently used Ambersphere again to invest in the newly upgraded Claypaky Mythos2 and with plans to further expand our rental stock of MA2 control this year we are looking forward to a long and successful relationship with Ambersphere. And perhaps a few more beers?”
In picture: Thor Andre’ Ambersphere technical sales, Rene Berhorst, MA product manager, Marc Callaghan and Kris Box from Liteup Events.
24th March 2017
Strictly Come Dancing – Show Networking Made Easy with ProPlex IQ
UK - The TV show Strictly Come Dancing approaches its 15th season this year. The winning formula, featuring celebrities and hoi polloi competing head-to-head for the season title, is a smash hit in the UK. Renowned for its visual razzmatazz, the show’s lighting depends on a vast network of data control, an essential component of which is the extremely powerful ProPlex IQ Two 1616.
“We purchased an IQ 1616 Ethernet-DMX node last autumn for Season 14,” says Mark Newell, lighting gaffer and chief systems technician for the show. “It’s an integral part of a system incorporating two consoles and a media server, all outputting on the same network. We’ve been using the ProPlex node to output DMX for a grid of LED battens, pixel-mapped within the media server, and used to light any band extras or special props that the couples use during their dances.
“Because the consoles we use for Strictly have a limited number of outputs, we have to swap routing during the show. The ProPlex IQ 1616 is perfect for this job because we can easily change the routing very quickly using the large touchscreen display. Unlike other products of a similar nature, the large display on the IQ 1616 has all the information you need in a large font without having to go through lots of submenus to get to the required page. There is also an excellent web browser interface and both control options are very simple to use with no fuss. The 1616 really defines user friendly. In addition, to be able to purchase a 16-port device is great, as the cost saving over buying two eight-port devices makes it a very attractive option.
Newell adds: “The game show Big Heads we’re currently doing is being run from a single IQ Two 1616 in a very simple manner: 16 Art-Net outputs being generated by two consoles on the same network. I have other shows coming up and will certainly be using the ProPlex IQ Two 1616.”
Lighting Designer for Strictly Come Dancing is Mark Kenyon.
ProPlex IQ Two 1616 is a bidirectional, 16-universe node with 16 DMX ports, assignable with single button presses, all in one unit! Intuitive merging options such as HTP, EasyPriority, Port Priority, and sACN priority simplify the most complex networking systems. ProPlex IQ nodes are part of a large family of ProPlex data distribution devices featuring powerful, yet simple functionality in rugged, road-worthy platforms designed for the real world. Built for extreme conditions with shock-mounted circuitry and advanced thermal management, a variety of chassis options are available, including RackMount, PortableMount, Mini, Micro, DIN Rail, and IP Rated formats of various sizes.
24th March 2017
Large Array of Claypaky Lighting Fixtures Hits the Road with Brantley Gilbert’s The Devil Don’t Sleep Tour
USA – Country music star Brantley Gilbert has launched The Devil Don’t Sleep tour playing arenas in North America through early spring in the first leg. Nathan Alves and Howard Jones co-designed the show, which features Claypaky Scenius, Mythos 2, Sharpy and Stormy Strobe fixtures.
The tour supports Gilbert’s new album of the same name. Jones’ company, Nashville-based DCR, is supplying all of the show’s equipment; it has provided gear for Gilbert since before his first record deal. The tour marks Alves/Jones second collaboration for the artist.
The Devil Don’t Sleep is a departure in design from Gilbert’s recent tours. “In the past tours used truss structure to define a shape, like the motorcycle motif for last year’s tour,” Alves explains. “Now we’re using digital scenery with videowalls front and centre. That gives us more flexibility to take him to a new creative environment for each song.”
The stage features five LED video surfaces. A 20 x 20-foot LED is at centre with 15 x 20-foot LEDs flanking them. Two extreme letterboxes, measuring 20 x 6 feet each, are on the floor bookending the drums.
The lighting rig is the largest Gilbert has had, Alves notes. Its large complement of Claypaky fixtures consists of 36 Mythos 2, 34 Scenius, eight Sharpys and 14 Stormy Strobes.
On The Devil Don’t Sleep the Mythos 2 fixtures separate the LED screens and are placed downstage as effects and back lights. “They’re great at doing three or four different things: acting as a beam, as a wash light, and have a good field for lighting people,” says Alves. “This show is about packing as much technology as possible in a small amount of truck space, and the hybrid nature of the Mythos 2 is a real help in that.”
Although a large portion of DCR’s inventory of Scenius and Mythos 2 is devoted to the tour, Jones reports that the fixtures have “been very busy” with “significant rentals” between tour legs.
Thirty-four Scenius serve as side and backlights. “Scenius has a really great flat field for lighting humans,” Alves points out. “I’m a big fan of its colour range, too. Scenius is a good meat-and-potatoes light that checks all the boxes.”
Eight Sharpys are positioned on the floor as effects fixtures. “They’re the industry standard for beam lights,” says Alves. The Stormy Strobes are placed at the end of every piece of overhead truss.
The Devil Don’t Sleep Tour is operated by Jack Bowers and is supported by Greg Shipley, crew chief and programmer.
A.C.T Lighting is the exclusive North American distributor for Claypaky.
Francesco Romagnoli, Claypaky area manager for North and Latin America, added: “It’s great to see such a full compliment of our lights on this tour. Mr. Jones and Mr. Alves have designed a very interesting rig.”
24th March 2017
Sennheiser in RF Control at Brits 2017
UK – It was another evening of glitz and glamour at the 2017 Brit Awards, which once again took place at London’s The 02 on the 22nd February. Sennheiser was proud to support the production of the event for the 15th year in a row, with its artist relations team providing several racks of wireless microphone and IEM equipment, and engineer Andrew Lillywhite assisting with RF co-ordination expertise.
Andrew and Sennheiser’s artist relation manager Jack Drury were on site at The O2 for the run up on the Monday, Tuesday and on show day, working alongside Britannia Row Productions who took responsibility for the overall audio production of the event and Joshua Thomas who was in overall charge of RF co-ordination.
For this RF-heavy environment, Sennheiser’s flagship Digital 9000 series microphones were deployed for all presenters. SKM 9000 transmitters with EM 9046 receivers and ME 9004 capsules ensured crystal-clear audio and trouble-free operation, with the unique suspension mount design of the ME 9004 capsule delivering a fantastic condenser sound with no handling noise.
Several artists also chose Sennheiser, with Little Mix opting for SKM 5200-IIs with EM 3732 receivers and MD 5235 capsules (a legendary combination in the live performance industry) and Bruno Mars and Robbie Williams using the same combination. Katy Perry’s SKM 5200-II was customised in ‘Dollar Bill Green’ with real currency wrapped on the body and battery slot of the transmitter, again with EM 3732 receiver and MD 5235 capsule.
Digital 9000 hit the spot for Ed Sheeran, with a combination of SKM 9000 transmitters, EM 9046 receiver and MD 9235 capsules for Ed’s vocals, guest vocal and backing vocals. He also had an SK 9000 bodypack transmitter with a custom-built cable for acoustic guitars, as the companderless operation of the 9000 Series system gives a remarkably true sounding acoustic guitar with excellent transient frequency response and lifelike dynamics.
“This year’s Brit Awards was a packed show featuring ten artists, six of which were fully live and four were live vocal to track, all of which had a high RF count,” explains Colin Pink, who headed up the audio team. “Once again, Sennheiser supported The Brits both with equipment and with technical support, in the form of Andrew Lillywhite and Jack Drury.
“Sennheiser provided all of the eight 9000 Series handheld mics for the presenters and ten 5200 systems for the artists, as well as another 9000 Series system for Ed Sheeran. On top of this, they supplied a ‘get out of jail’ toolbox which came in handy for extra guitar packs and further presenter bodypacks. We used a total of 28 IEM systems on the show with approximately 60 packs, also provided by Sennheiser, their 2000 Series being the preferred option for nine out of the ten acts.
“A couple of the acts brought in their own RF systems, again primarily Sennheiser 9000 Series and 2000 Series IEMs. This gave an RF channel count for the main show of over 160 channels. Obviously, this was a major potential issue in the ever-decreasing usable spectrum. It was a great asset having Andrew on site to assist Britannia Row’s Josh Thomas in managing the rather packed spectrum. Using the 9000 Series mics helped the situation a lot and all the Sennheiser systems performed flawlessly on the show. A great testament to the stability of their architecture.”
“The Brits is a hard and complex show that involves coordinating radio frequencies between many bands as well as house equipment,” says Joshua Thomas, RF co-ordination for the show. “There are added challenges, as each act expects the highest quality of service and equipment. This is brought together with the support of Sennheiser, which provided an array of equipment and two technicians on site to give a helping hand. I found the support of Sennheiser second to none; they supplied me with the tools to run a very tight and high-profile show to the highest of standards. It was great having Jack and Andy on site to bounce ideas off and help with problem solving any issues that came up. I am very much looking forward to working with them and Sennheiser again."
“Sennheiser’s history with the Brit Awards goes back a long way and it was a pleasure to be involved in the 15th year the company has supported the show,” adds Jack Drury. “It’s satisfying to see our equipment tested to extremes at a show as challenging as the Brit Awards and come out performing flawlessly! Congratulations to all the winners and the performers, but also to all the technical and production staff that make that show possible. We look forward to working with you again for year 16!”
“The show, as a whole, was a great success,” concludes Colin. “This was in no small part down to the support of Sennheiser.”
In picture: Ed Sheeran performing at the 2017 Brit Awards with Digital 9000
photo: Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images
24th March 2017
Alcons LR28 Sets the Standard for Trondheim Lyd
Norway - Pre-launched in 2015, Alcons Audio’s LR28 larger format pro-ribbon line array delivers the highest possible sound quality, with exceptionally high SPL capabilities and throw, making it the ideal solution for audio rental companies who service festivals throughout the summer season. The first to invest in the system was Trondheim Lyd AS and, after two summers of using it, the company could not be happier.
“In 2015 we needed a new system, because one of our customers wanted to start using a new outside amphitheatre,” says Hege Strand-Nustad, Trondheim Lyd CEO. “We also needed a system that had a longer throw than the others available. Our technicians went out and listened to several products, but when they heard the Alcons LR28 they came back and said ‘We can stop looking, this is the one!’.”
With fully-predictable linear response behaviour, perfect intelligibility and identical tonal balance at any volume, the Alcons pro-ribbon technology in the LR28 delivers a super-fast impulse response, with up to 90% less distortion, and a flat frequency response beyond 20kHz. A true HF peak power handling of 3000W and RMS-to-peak ratio of 1:15 means it excels in intelligibility and throw, with maximum dynamic headroom reserve.
The mid-frequency features four high-efficiency 6.5” transducers in a slot-loaded configuration, with the low frequency section comprising reflex-loaded, custom 14” woofers with reinforced cones and large voice-coils. Both feature a Neodymium motor-structure for improved heat dissipation, reducing power compression.
“We did A/B tests with several brands and set-ups. The Alcons LR28 was consistently superior in both sound quality and throw,” adds the company’s Arnstein Fossvik. “The chosen system also had to be very reliable, rugged and withstand the Norwegian climate, as well as being easy to predict, rig and optimise. As the LR28 was a brand-new system, there was a lot of discussion at Trondheim Lyd but in-depth research and discussions with Alcons reassured everyone at the company that it was the right solution.”
As well as the qualities of the LR28 loudspeakers, the power and control by Alcons Sentinel10 amplified loudspeaker controller provides LR28-specific drive processing with array-compensation, filter-presets, system EQ, phase-matching and other features. The Signal Integrity Sensing pre-wiring of the LF and MF sections ensures dynamic cable/connector compensation between the LR28 and Sentinel, resulting in fast and tight mid and bass response, while reducing distortion even further. The system damping factor of 10,000 is maintained, regardless of cable length, gauge or system impedance.
The system arrived at Trondheim Lyd in June 2015 and was immediately put to work on a number of shows which included performances by Roxette, Mike and the Mechanics, The Waterboys, Susanne Vega and the Dum Dum Boys. It was an immediate hit with engineers. “After the first show, our engineers said it was like sitting in a studio with very good studio monitors, except there is a 10,000-strong audience with you and it is significantly louder,” says Hege. “We were genuinely proud of being the first rental company in the world to own a system that clearly set a new standard for PAs.”
Since then, Trondheim Lyd’s LR28 has been used on an array of major Norwegian festivals and indoor shows. These have included the Pstereo, Olavsfestdagene, Tahiti and Sverresborg festivals and gigs by Status Quo, 10CC, Stratovarius, singer-songwriter Susanne Sundfør, indie rockers Bob Hund, DJ Tiesto and heavy metal band Sabaton.
“Investing in the LR28 was a very good decision. After 18 months of using it, we've only had positive feedback from sound engineers, artist management and audiences. As the system is very directional, we have also received a very good response from neighbours living close to festivals and arenas,” says Arnstein. “Engineers have been particularly curious about the technology behind it. Espen Husby, a high profile Norwegian sound engineer, has said that he can hear and do things with the LR28 that he can't do with conventional systems.”
“Trondheim Concerts, the biggest concert promoter in the middle of Norway, is a big fan of the LR28. It means they don’t need delay towers, which impact on the view for the audience. At their most used outdoor venue, the Sverresborg Arena, it means several thousand people have a better view of the stage, instead of having to stand behind delay towers,” adds Trondheim Lyd project manager and sound engineer Espen Hammer.
Arnstein continues: “As a PA system designer, it is always fun to try something new and I'm thankful to work at a company that trusts us workers and is willing to take the chance to be first in the world to try a new, large format system – and to have the chance of working together with the manufacturer for its future development – is a system designer’s dream. Especially when it's such an extremely good one!”
“Needless to say we’re very proud to have TrondheimLyd on board the Alcons family but even more, we have highest respect for them, taking this giant leap to step into a brand new system and new technology. In a market that seems to be dominated by “rider-friendliness”, only few people let their ears do the talking. It’s our belief those are the true leaders that are advancing the art of sound reinforcement,” says Tom Back. “The feedback we get from the LR28 and LR18 systems is nothing less than phenomenal, proving our transducer technology works in even the largest rental and touring applications, without any failure.”
24th March 2017
Elite Multimedia joins Cole Swindell on the “What the Hell World Tour”
USA – Quickly becoming on the of the hottest stars in country music today, Cole Swindell has recently set out on the “What the Hell World Tour” with fellow country music superstar Dierks Bentley. Fresh off his very successful “Down Home Tour”, Swindell and his production team were looking for a fresh tour design to take on the road in 2017. Once again working with tour provider Elite Multimedia, production manager James 'Mo' Butts began the process of finding the ideal tour design and in the end, it was the creativity of Sooner Routhier at SRae Productions that was chosen to highlight the Academy of Country Music award winner.
“When we started outlining the new tour design we chose four designers that we really felt were doing great work and asked them to submit design proposals for a completely new production design,” began Butts. “As an artist, Cole loves video and it’s a primary request in his designs. He also likes a wooden, industrial look to his tours, and Sooner really did a great job of applying her own interpretation to the design requirements for a creative, new tour design.”
“When Mo contacted us and asked us to submit a proposal for the tour design, we started by asking the questions about what the artist wants, and what he likes to see on tour,” added Routhier. “With this being our first time working with Cole, we needed to find out what style of show he wanted and we then went back through his previous designs to make sure we were giving him a completely new look within the guidelines provided.”
Now on board, Routhier and the design team at SRae Productions got to work to make the design concepts a reality. Starting with the set design, she drew her inspiration from the rustic, earthy design materials the artist wanted to see, and then applied her own unique sense of style.
“With the set design, we were inspired by wooden and metal architectural elements. We wanted to find creative ways to incorporate those into the staging,” continued Routhier. “Rule number one in scenic lighting is ‘light the scenic’. We did so with small LED up lights along the set carts and larger wash lights downstage.”
Continuing the production design process, Routhier next turned her attention to the lighting design that would best showcase the artist and his music. Since the production has a long-standing relationship with Elite Multimedia, Routhier had her first introduction to the Nashville-based tour provider.
“We are very vendor neutral and since Elite Multimedia already has a great relationship with the production team for Cole, we were excited to be working with them for the first time as well,” explained Routhier. “As we began piecing the lighting elements together, they sent us an inventory of what they had in stock, and they had everything we needed to make the design exactly what we wanted it to be.”
Working together, Elite Multimedia and SRae Productions decided upon a tour lighting package that included Claypaky Mythos, Elation Professional ACL 360i, and Martin MAC Aura Wash luminaires.
Routhier continued: “When designing, we like to have a minimal amount of types of fixtures, but a good quantity of those specific fixtures to create bigger and more cohesive look. Since Cole would be opening for Dierks Bentley, we didn’t have the ability to put a lot of lights in the air, so we needed to make sure we were using a fixture that had a lot of capabilities. For this, we chose the Claypaky Mythos to operate as both a wash and beam fixture with its gobos and prism capabilities and they are our only fixture across the top. We then needed a versatile effect light to place inside the set so we chose the Elation ACL 360i with its continuous rotation and its ability to create asymmetrical focuses for beautiful fan effects that shoot through all the wooden elements.”
Now that the lighting and set design were complete, there was one final design requirement that needed to be implemented: the LED video. As an artist, Swindell likes to have a significant video presence on his tours, and working with video designer Andy Reuter that is exactly what Routhier and Elite Multimedia provided using a PixelFLEX FLEXCurtain HD 12.5mm LED video wall.
“In the design Mo also requested a video surface for content but we wanted to make sure we provided a new look. We designed a long LED video wall that extends across the entire set,” said Routhier. “We then contacted Andy Reuter who does a great job creating original video content. Together, we make the relationship between video and lighting as cohesive as possible so that there are not a million crayons on stage.”
“When we started creating the content, we looked at what Cole has had in the past and what best fits his musical style,” admitted Reuter. “One of the things that was a bit tricky was that we would need to design the content to a wide 1920 x 606 aspect ratio, so we kept the content as one large composition with a lot of mirroring, and then we also use a lot of IMAG during the show as well. I had never worked with the PixelFLEX LED technology before and it was really cool to have the curvature in the screen so that it wasn’t simply a flat wall. It gave the stage a really big look bringing everything into the centre and focused everything on Cole and the band.”
With the “What the Hell World Tour” now out on the road, country music fans are once again embracing the soulful artist who is playing sold-out out crowds across the country. Backed by his powerful new tour design, the production team is excited to have given the artist a creative backdrop for his impactful music.
“Our vision is that the production design is there to support the artist,” added Routhier. “In the end, we want the audience to be excited about what they heard and saw, but the focus has to be the artist and the music.”
“This is a sizeable production and we have about 12 minutes to complete the changeover on the road, but it works,” explained Butts. “When I started with Cole, it was me, him and the band and we were in one bus and trailer with very little gear that was mostly sound equipment and back light. We have now grown to three buses and a semi-trailer playing some of the largest venues across North America, and it has been great that Elite Multimedia has been there to support us the whole way.”
24th March 2017
DiGiCo gets clean sweep at 2017 Brit Awards
UK – The Brit Awards is one of the UK music industry’s most prestigious events and was broadcast live to around 5.4 million viewers on British television channel ITV1 this February. An event this important necessitates an audio system that can handle a complicated set up, with a quick turnaround for performers and presenters, and one that gives total reliability. This exacting task was once again undertaken by Britannia Row Productions. For the last three years, they have deployed DiGiCo digital mixing consoles as part of their set up, but this year, they relied solely on the British manufacturer to provide the faultless control they required.
The annual star studded event once again took place at London’s The O2 this February and was co-hosted by Dermot O’Leary and Emma Willis, with performances by Little Mix, who won Best British Single, Katy Perry, Ed Sheeran, Coldplay with Chainsmokers, Emeli Sande, winner of Best British Female, a George Michael Tribute featuring Chris Martin, Skepta, Bruno Mars, The 1975, who won Best British Group and Brits Icon winner Robbie Williams.
Two DiGiCo SD7s were positioned at Front of House, manned by Josh Lloyd, lead technician for Britrow, with Chris Coxhead using two of DiGiCo’s new SD12 consoles for the hosts, presenters, winners and guests. A further two SD7s were at the monitor position for the performers, manned by Wayne Sargeant and Jimmy Nicholson.
“As well as having a live audience at The O2, the Brits is a live-to-air television show with a large global audience, so we needed to make sure we had full redundancy,” explains Josh. “Consequently, I had a main and a backup SD7, two SD Racks with an A and B set of inputs, plus a Mini Rack for all playback, radio mics, etc., at FoH. I had a further SD Rack to handle effects and local inputs and outputs, so all the I/O was on the optical network if I needed to switch consoles. I also deployed a DiGiCo Orange box for the Waves setup, which we ran on an external computer; it really helped us because both engines on the SD7s could see Waves as well as allowing the backup console to see it in case of a change over. The OB truck received analogue splits on stage, where they mixed the show separately for the broadcast element.
“The two SD12s were also a redundant pair, with two SD Racks for inputs on stage and I/O. Again, all inputs were on the optical network and mirrored. The SD12 was the step forward for us and for Chris Coxhead. Even though his channel count isn’t particularly high, he always wants to have 24 faders in front of him to be able to easily handle the winners, guests and presenters’ mics. For the amount of information he needs to have in front of him, the SD12’s two screens and small footprint made it the ideal desk. Both our SD12s had come straight off DiGiCo’s production line, everything, including mirroring, worked straight away and we felt confident to have them on a show of this magnitude. It worked really well for Chris as he had the security and familiarity of using DiGiCo, just with new work surface.”
The monitor position SD7s were set up as an A/B system, allowing them to flip between artists, checking in ear monitors and for preshow checks. For playback and radio mics, each console had its own Mini Rack, allowing them to see all inputs at all times.
“Normally a few of the bands insist in bringing in their own desks,” says Colin Pink, who headed up the audio team. “However, because of DiGiCo’s dominance in the market and their products great flexibility, this year every band was happy to use the in-house consoles rather than bringing in their own. The one exception to this rule was Coldplay, who like to have their own system, as the integration to the rest of their racks is rather complex. But as they use SD7s, it was DiGiCo all the way.”
“In terms of what I had to do, I don’t think there’s another console that could handle a show that complex,” says Josh. “I made use of the console’s snapshot facility to run scenes, which makes things very smooth for line checking as I don’t have to load any files during the show. There were a couple of bands that rehearsed off site, and the bands that use DiGiCo on a regular basis already had sessions they wanted to use. For those off site, I could send them a template to use for rehearsals and for bands that wanted to use their own show files I could use either presets or the partial load function on the session page. You can’t really do that on any other desk. We had DiGiCo’s Mark Saunders available during the show and Dave Bigg came down for prepping. The support has always been fantastic. It all worked extremely well.”
“The Brits was a fantastic experience for me, due in large part to having DiGiCo consoles available and their support staff on site,” concurs Dave Rupsch, monitor engineer for Katy Perry. “I was easily able to load my preset folder containing EQ, dynamics, and effects settings and be up and running quickly, while being able to maintain the complex show infrastructure of a live television broadcast.”
“Having DiGiCo on board for the entire show made the system as a whole relatively straightforward and meant that we had a lot of redundancy if anything had gone wrong,” concludes Colin. “However, all the equipment performed flawlessly and we had a very smooth show. The main award sections of the show being controlled by two of the new SD12s running in mirror mode provided Chris Coxhead with a great ergonomic surface, coupled with a good backup system.
“The SD12 is a great small footprint desk. The increased slope angle of the surface is great and the fader metering is vastly improved. It’s a great addition to the SD Range. With ten artists on the bill The Brits is a complex show. I find the DiGiCo solution allows me and my team the flexibility to provide the visiting engineers the solutions they need to get a great performance for their artists and for the show as a whole.”
24th March 2017
Unusual Rigging Descends on Manchester Opera House Like a Bat Out of Hell for New Jim Steinman Musical
UK – Bat out of Hell the Musical opened at the Manchester Opera House in February where it is currently enjoying a 12 week run. The show is the brainchild of Jim Steinman and rock superstar Meat Loaf – a romantic adventure about rebellious youths. Steinman composed Meat Loaf's Bat Out of Hell albums and always dreamed of lifting the tracks from record to stage. Forty years later the dream has become a reality.
Production manager Simon Marlow, who will also take the production to the London Coliseum in June for another 12 week run before transferring the show to Toronto, knew that for this technically complex large scale production he would require the help of Unusual Rigging. He said: "As production manager here in the UK and technical supervisor in Canada, I am in charge of everything, from the set, engineering, automation and rigging, etc, to costumes, wigs and special effects. Having worked with Unusual Rigging on several other projects, most recently constructing the temporary theatre space for Lazarus, the David Bowie musical, they were my go-to company for this project because it throws a number of technical challenges at us."
Work has been done to both the front of house and grid at the Manchester Opera House and modifications will also take place at the London Coliseum in order to ensure the venues can take the show, but Simon claims that quite possibly the most complicated aspect of this particular show involves some imposing RSJ scenery. "The front of house rig is covered by it, and although it looks spectacular, it is a nightmare to rig. On stage there is not a straight angle or line in the show, so all flown elements and diverts from the theatre's flying system are not easy to achieve, but they look great. This is where the Unusual team's expertise becomes invaluable."
Unusual's Emily Egleton, who has been working closely with Simon on the project, added: "A big part of what we've done on Bat Out of Hell is to provide a lot of engineering support for the flying pieces. As Simon says, each piece is flown at an angle. We have designed a complex engineering system to ensure that the movement of every flying piece is seamless and looks effortless. In some respects, the greater challenges lie ahead at the Coliseum, since the set gets bigger for this venue and, due to the nature of the theatre, there are a number of lighting bridges that we will have to work around."
When Bat out of Hell the Musical closes in Manchester, all kit supplied by Unusual will return to its Northampton warehouse and new kit sent out to the Coliseum. "It took seven weeks to load into Manchester," explained Emily. "We have three weeks between the end of the Manchester run and the London opening, so we've got our work cut out but it should be slightly easier second time around."
Simon concluded: "Once again Unusual Rigging has not disappointed. That I always turn to them for every production speaks for itself."
24th March 2017
Entedi is the New Age Technology Equipment Solutions Provider
Ireland – Entedi Ltd has been formed by industry people to service the ever-growing demand for professional high-end equipment along with excellent and knowledgeable service and support.
Entedi’s co-founder and managing director, Cally Bacchus explains: “I am excited to announce the launch of Entedi, the New Age technology equipment solutions provider. The strength and breadth of the team behind the company is staggering considering the wealth of knowledge and experience.”
Cally Bacchus continues: “With so many products clouding the market it is often difficult to sift through and find something that will bring sustained value to your investment. With our connected resource we choose only the best technology equipment manufacturers to partner with. Products used in sectors such as stage, concert, theatre, corporate events, productions, rental, venues and more.
“A significant member of the team whom I am immensely proud to work with is fellow co-founder and director Brian Reilly. Everyone knows he has many years experience in both production rental and sales, so is well placed to understand the needs of those investing in rental stock and sales as well as those for project installations. Further proof of our drive to ensure we offer the very best.”
Brian Reilly comments: “I am delighted to have the exciting opportunity to work with like minded people and to offer the full solution of sales and service to our clients. The pace in which we have taken-off has been mind blowing.”
Entedi is an exclusive partner in the UK and Ireland for the innovative and successful new product from Portman Custom Lights - the P1 Retro Lamp - a truly original company with a passion for setting the trend. Also in partnership and exclusive are Visual Productions, CLF Lighting, tough solid state LED lighting and touring cases built with a purpose, and Haze Base with their reliable haze and smoke machines.
Entedi is also the exclusive partner in Ireland for other industry leading brands such as Martin by Harman, one of the industries leading choice for professional touring.
24th March 2017
Arena Group at Cheltenham Festival 2017
UK – Arena Group once again supplied event infrastructure to the world-famous Cheltenham Festival, which attracted around 250,000 visitors, 14th - 17th March, 2017.
The Jockey Club’s world-renowned race meeting saw five Arena UK and Europe companies work in tandem to deliver over 20,000 sqm of VIP level facilities overlooking the racecourse, including the World’s longest temporary triple deck structure.
Arena Group UK & Europe CEO Grahame Muir states: “In the first year of our new three year multi-venue Jockey Club contract, we were keener than ever to deliver an even higher level of finish than last year. I am incredibly proud of what our teams delivered and it was pleasing to see all divisions having a part of play.
“Significant investment was made into even more of our cantilevered balconies, providing unencumbered views and increasing valuable hospitality floor space. Additionally a new staircase design was introduced.”
Arena RIM Scaffolding was first on site, with project co-ordinator Darren Simpson bringing their event engineering expertise to install the all important sub-structures, which involved more than 400 tonnes of scaffolding material, and create level, solid foundations across the undulating course for the Structures team to build on.
Arena Structures' Ben Sly project managed the 13-week installation of 20,000sqm of temporary event environments. Over 190 linear metres of triple decked private suites and exclusive restaurants are provided for Jockeyclub clients and guests.
The structures incorporated kitchen, bathroom and rear access facilities on all levels, along with Tote betting booths, phone charge points and cash machines.
Arena’s bespoke Moet & Chandon Champagne covered bar and mezzanine was a constantly popular facility throughout the Festival.
Spaceworks provided 5,000 dining chairs and 500 banqueting tables, set up throughout Arena’s facility. In addition, Well Dressed Tables provided 10,000 covers including crockery, cutlery and glassware across all hospitality areas on the site.
Arena Seating provided its award winning Clearview seating product along with terracing within the Guinness stand, providing fantastic views across the finishing line.
23rd March 2017
Optoma was the right match for the colourful J&JOY flagship store
Belgium – J&JOY is a chain of fashion outlets originating in Belgium renowned for its colourful clothing range. Over the festive season, J&JOY wanted to attract and wow shoppers, creating a sense of wonder and excitement with bright, colourful and eye catching imagery in the window display of its flagship store in Liège, Belgium.
With limited space, it needed to incorporate the projector to tie in seamlessly with the merchandising and without imposing on the window display. The images would need to be bright, colourful and eye catching as the installation was in its flagship store in Liège, Belgium. Instead of using LCD rectangular displays, Illumatik proposed an unconventional mapping solution. Using Optoma's 4000 lumen ultra short throw W320UST projector in conjunction with rear projection vinyl, dynamic shapes could be used to project captivating imagery onto the store window.
J&JOY's flagship retail store has seen its shop window display transformed. A bright 2D/3D animation was achieved, grabbing the attention of passers-by, enticing them to the watch the sequence of imagery unfold.
For the duration of one month in the run up to Christmas, Illumatik was to provide a catchy multimedia animation display to the J&JOY flagship store front.
This 'retailtainment' spectacular would be running daily between 16:00 and 01:00 and, with limited space, required a reliable projector with a short enough throw to fulfil the brief. Everything would be fully automated with remote feedback and support. Illumatik decided to propose something different other than a square projection. They projected from behind the glass on a hexagonal projection vinyl, using Resolume Arena.
The projection took place every day between 16:00 and 01:00. During the day, the white vinyl hexagon appeared as regular branding featuring the J&JOY logo which appeared black during projection.
The W320UST was chosen because of its bright 4000 lumens and the limited space behind the store front meant an ultra short throw projector was necessary.
An NUC computer was linked to the projector via LAN to schedule the projections. A web cam enabled them to check via a smartphone that everything was on track. The computer had a VPN so that content could be changed or issues could be resolved remotely if necessary.
J&JOY's flagship retail store saw its shop window display transformed with a bright 2D/3D animation.
The visually stunning display 'wowed' Christmas shoppers passing by throughout the bustling month of December.
The feedback received was extremely positive. Pierre Hamblenne, CEO of J&JOY commented: "This mapping project was a new experience for us. We have been genuinely satisfied with the visual result and even more with the interaction generated with bystanders in front of the shopping windows. We are aiming to repeat the experience and to push our limits even further into the concept."
23rd March 2017
Bandit Lights Up Youth Evangelism Conference of Tennessee
USA – The Nashville Municipal Auditorium was aglow on 10th and 11th March with more than 8,000 high school and middle school students offering worship and fellowshipping at the Youth Evangelism Conference. Bandit Lites provided the lighting package for the event for Orchestrate Experience with lighting designer Trey Meares and Orchestrate Production director Alex Fleming. Featured guests included Dave Edwards, The Skit Guys, Luke MacDonald and the YEC Worship Band.
Due to the audience size and the nature of the conference, Meares created an in-the-round set-up to an end stage in the arena, giving attendees the maximum amount of impact, while still being mindful of the calling of the conference.
“Lighting always has the ability to drive the 'mood' of the room, and I make an effort to not let the technology overpower the message that is being delivered by the organisation,” Meares shared. “On the other hand, lighting can make the room exciting for the attendees and can also be used to draw attendees into a more serious moment. It is essential to let the message speak for itself, but the lighting can complement what is being said.”
To drive that impact, Meares used a carefully crafted design that could emphasise both the collective worship moments for the audience and the noted speakers. VL 3000 Spots provided front light, delivering both widespread coverage and flipping over for beam looks in the crowd. Philips Nitro 510 C fixtures washed the crowd in light, and due to the power of the fixtures, also facilitated epic effect lighting for the entire arena.
“On stage, we had VL 3000 Spots and GLP X4S Impressions; the combination of these fixtures provided an ability to colour wash the stage and have beam effects come from the floor up,” Meares said. “This gave us the ability to have brilliant backlights and beam effects through the performers.”
Fixed above the stage was a 30’x30’ diamond fitted out with four ladders and outlining fixtures. The ladders each featured Bandit’s exclusive GRNLite moving washes and Claypaky Sharpys. The combination of the two provided both a vivid colour wash and brilliant beams that made the stage look massive. Additional fixtures along the diamond included VL 3000 Spots and Chauvet 7x7 AW fixtures.
Due to the contrasting moments of the conference, Meares shared the VL 3000 Spots allowed for easy transitions, noting: “These fixtures were able to give an even wash and gave the flexibility to provide bright spots for each band member. Other than the front light, all the fixtures worked in a synchronised combination to make the room either exciting for energetic songs or intimate for the deeper and slower songs.”
Bandit’s crew for the event included Sarah Euker, Ty Veneziano and Chas Albea with project manager Don Lockridge providing additional support.
Bandit Lites is proud to be one part of such a significant weekend, with Bandit client representative Shawn Lear noting: “Trey brings a very professional approach in the advance details to the shop and is very thorough in the use of fixtures throughout his design.”
Meares credits Bandit’s level of service, coupled with providing a comprehensive list of gear and options for the design, with giving both him and management the confidence that they will have a great show.
“Bandit’s level of service is one of the best in the industry,” finished Meares. “They are turnkey in the delivery of the service that they provide and make an effort to make any request happen.”
23rd March 2017
Blackout provides rigging services to event.live for Microgaming exhibition stand
UK – Working for exhibition designers and producers event.live, Blackout was approached for the third year to provide rigging for Microgaming’s stand and bar at the ICE Totally Gaming exhibition at ExCeL, February 2017.
The Microgaming stand and bar designed and produced by event.live had a daily change in set design to encourage repeat footfall and stand out from the visually competitive surrounding stands. The final day of the show engaged delegates with a castle-themed bar, utilising Blackout’s rigging expertise to suspend a number of chandeliers from one half of the truss grid above the bar to surround guests with in-keeping decor, whilst being entertained by professional sandcastle sculptors organised by Microgaming.
Tim Searle, Blackout’s project manager and his six-strong crew, over the course of three days, supplied and installed 300m of black Prolyte H40v truss forming a rectangular grid from which over 430 kinetic lights were hung above the immersive exhibition stand. The 24m x 20m grid featured a double-layered truss perimeter, onto which 135sqm of black sharks tooth gauze was attached creating an aerial perimeter of the exhibition stand below. An additional 480sqm of black gauze was installed across the top of the truss grid, forming a dark ceiling layer. Blackout’s crew supplied 28 one-tonne hoists in order to winch the extensive installation into place above the stand.
In addition to the captivating kinetic lighting which was programmed to create a range of moving sequences including waves and alternate vertical motions. Multiple large Microgaming logos were also suspended from underneath the truss structure, welcoming delegates to the stand to network, try on wearable gaming technology and experience the on-stand entertainment. A Microgaming Bar sign was fixed to the side of the truss structure between the two layers of rigging, whilst additional hung trusses were utilised for the scene changes required to transform the exhibition bar’s daily theme.
Tim Searle comments: “In addition to the rigging work for event.live on the Microgaming stand inside ExCeL, our additional team of four installed a Microgaming sign onto the side of the Sunborn London moored in the famous Docklands, capturing the attention of arriving delegates at the venue. This was a challenging install, requiring us to construct the truss structure on which the sign was going to be attached in the quayside, then cover it with grey gauze to remain in-keeping with the vessel it was being mounted onto. The sign was then affixed to the front of the truss structure, before lifting arms set up on the ships’ top floor balcony and hoists were utilised to lift the sign into the place, finally secured in place by scaffold outriggers.”
James Dale, managing director of event.live adds: “The Microgaming stand was designed and produced in-house by event.live to reflect the high quality products and services that Microgaming delivers to its global customer base on a daily basis. The kinetic lighting feature played a big role in the overall stand experience, designed to capture the crowds’ attention and push the boundaries from a technical point of view. Working with Blackout has always been a pleasure and working on the Microgaming stand at ICE 2017 they have proved yet again that they are the best in the business. Professional, quick to respond and on budget.”
23rd March 2017
dLive and ME Manage Top Dutch Radio Show
The Netherlands – Allen & Heath’s dLive S Class and ME digital mixing systems have been purchased to manage the On Stage live radio show for no.1 Dutch radio station, NPO 3FM.
The new radio show includes performances from live bands and incorporates visual clips. dLive manages the live radio, floor sound and several feeds for live internet streaming. Comprising a S5000 and DM64 with DX32 expander rack, the system is fitted with MADI and Waves network cards, with an IP8 remote controller and a ME personal monitoring system, including six ME-1 mini mixers, for monitoring the bands. dLive is configured to provide three different mixes going to the DJ desk, and dlive communicates with the DHD radio mixer via Dante.
“As a fanatical iLive user, I was pleased to get the opportunity to purchase the dLive and ME systems. The learning curve was only about one hour!” explains Elwin Dorlas, who manages the On Stage radio show. “As I need to do a lot of mixing in a short period of time, dLive’s low latency and intuitive layout are key. I love the new FX, compressors and pre-amp modelling, and the I/O patching is spot on. The integration of the ME monitor system completes it for me, and the musicians love the level of control it offers them.”
23rd March 2017
Claypaky shines at Swarovski Crystal Worlds’ Festival of Light
Austria – World renowned lighting designer Björn Hermann employed 60 Claypaky Mythos 2 and 20 Claypaky Supersharpy 2 to deliver two titanic light sculptures as part of global crystal producer Swarovski’s Festival of Light, hosted at their seven-hectare fantasy park Swarovski Kristallwelten (Crystal Worlds) in Wattens, Austria.
Lead creative agency for Festival of Light was Berlin-based international creative production company StudioNOW, who originated the project’s concept. StudioNOW worked alongside Hermann and German art collective phase7 to create an adventure park of sound and light that included the two colossal light sculptures crafted by the beams of Claypaky’s award-winning long-throw arc lamps. The Mythos and Supersharpy fixtures were supplied to the event by German event production and rental specialist satis&fy.
“The inspiration for the project came from the reflections in Swarovski’s world-famous crystals, which gave us the idea of transforming the whole area of Swarovski Crystal Worlds into an enormous light crystal,” explains Sven Sören Beyer, the founder and artistic director of phase7. “A huge light sculpture encompasses the whole park, uniting the individual elements into a single artwork that makes Swarovski Crystal Worlds shine in a new light.”
Creating this overarching light element were 60 of the highly advanced, multi-award-winning Mythos 2. The Mythos 2 features a new and reliable Osram Sirius HRI 440W lamp, which ensures the extraordinary performances that have made the success of Mythos worldwide. The fixture also features a new super-smooth dimming upgrade, which makes the product suitable for the most demanding applications.
“The central concept of this new event is the magic of crystal, which only fully reveals its alluring beauty in a sparkling interplay with light,” explains Stefan Isser, managing director of D. Swarovski Tourism Services GmbH. “It is only by combining the magic of these two phenomena that so many great and small moments of wonder can be created.”
As part of the Festival of Light’s ‘Fantasy in Precision’ installation, one of four major installations at the festival, Hermann rigged 20 Supersharpy 2 fixtures to the roof of the four-storey Swarovski Crystal Worlds’ playtower. The outdoor installation was designed to extend the faceted crystal patterns of the tower’s architecture into the sky above.
Hermann utilised the Supersharpy 2’s intensely bright beam (over three times brighter than its famous cousin the Sharpy), 0°-4°degrees beam angle and large 170mm diameter front lens to create multi-layered webs of light of varying brightness, colour and width. The fixture’s super-fast pan and tilt (540° pan, 244° tilt) ensured the beams travelled in clean and precise movements.
The Festival of Light ran from 30th January to 19th February, 2017. The festival hosted a number of unique installations that lit up after sunset. The four major light installations were: ‘Fantasy in Precision’, ‘Aura’, an interactive display based on projection, animation and colour play, ‘Red loves Blue’, an interplay of red and blue light across the park’s famous Mirror Pool and Crystal Cloud and ‘Disorientation’, where a sea of white light and fog emerged from the Mirror Pool and immersed and delighted audiences.
Claypaky’s official distributor for Austria is Lightpower Austria, based in Traun.
22nd March 2017
W-DMX extravaganza down under
Australia – Aussie lighting specialist Resolution X, a company based in Melbourne and Sydney with an impressive track-record of high-profile production services, has recently supplied White Night Melbourne with lighting and rigging services. White Night is an outdoor art festival that attracts over 500,000 attendees each year.
The team deployed over 25 W-DMX transceivers and receivers over the White Night weekend through several spaces, from the Royal Exhibition Building (R.E.B.) and surrounding gardens. “Our control position was at the heart of the Carlton Gardens, where we had our new compact grandMA onPC command wing Systems , running two separate W-DMX networks, each with a BlackBox F-1 G4S transceiver, and an 19dBi directional antenna,” commented Mark Hopkins, of Resolution X.
The first receiving point was 80 metres away on a roof, feeding DMX to IP64 ShowPro Quad PARs, Claypaky Mythos and Sharpys. “The second system was the more impressive one,” added Mark. “We placed 40 ShowPro Hercules, our battery-powered LED wash fixtures, lighting the trees along the path through Carlton Gardens and up the R.E.B. The system worked flawlessly over the 200+ metres, even with the antennae at only 1.8 metres high, and thousands of attendees all on their phones, creating a lot of noise in the 2.4GHz spectrum”.
In total, the team used a combination of BlackBox F-1 G4S transceivers, BlackBox F-2, and Micro R-512 G4S series, in a combination of transmitting and receiving to multiple locations, all interference and latency-free.
“We wanted to test how far we could go wirelessly, so we took a Hercules fixture and walked over 500 metres, without losing a frame,” Mark commented.
W-DMX is a de-facto standard for wireless DMX technology, with over 400,000 radio cards shipped worldwide, and an impressive track-record of reliability, used by artists worldwide like Adele, Lady Gaga, Coldplay, and used in theatre productions like Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Dreamgirls, and many more. Wireless Solution is distributed and supported in Australia by Show Technology, a market leader in its segment.
22nd March 2017
White Light is Out of Order for UK Theatre Tour
UK – Winner of the 1991 Olivier Award for Comedy of the Year, Ray Cooney’s Out of Order is making a triumphant return to the stage. Starring television favourites such as Shaun Williamson and Sue Holderness, this classic farce will now embark on a nationwide tour. With its strong reputation as a leading supplier to UK touring theatre, White Light is providing the lighting equipment on this production.
Out of Order tells the story of Richard Willey, a government junior minister, whose plans to spend the evening with one of the oppositions typists go disastrously wrong. This revival is being produced by Tom O’Connell and the lighting designer is Jack Weir. He comments: “Out of Order is a purposefully over-the-top, hilarious farce and typical of Ray Cooney’s work. The show takes place in real time, in the one location of a hotel room overlooking the London skyline. My role was to light the action and highlight the farcical elements which pervade throughout.
He adds: “The set features several doors (with characters frequently coming on and off stage) and this really drives the action of the piece. Therefore, on a practical level, I had to ensure the play had enough coverage and that we believed the environment which designer, Rebecca Brower, had created.”
To achieve this, Jack drew on WL’s extensive equipment range to achieve his design. He comments: “I speciﬁcally chose the Martin MAC TW1. These offer a great deal of ﬂexibility, something which is vital when touring a show like this. When we visit venues, we have essentially less than a day for the fit-up so time is definitely of the essence. Similarly, we are visiting venues that range vastly in size from the Palace Theatre in Southend to the Manchester Opera House. Therefore, we need to have equipment that is able to adapt to this and maintain the shows look.”
Other equipment includes ETC Sensor tour dimmers, ETC Source Four Proﬁles and an ETC Ion console.
Jack also had to take into consideration the front cloth which features at the top of each act. He comments: “I used a front wash which features four Martin MAC Aura LEDs on the front bar along with two MAC Quantum Profiles. These are excellent units for touring, owing to their small size, LED technology and weight.”
Whereas the play ﬁrst premiered more than 25 years ago, this revival has been updated for a contemporary audience. Jack comments: “The action is very much set in the modern day. What this means is that I’ve not had to create a vintage feel out of necessity, so I have been able to utilise more modern LED technology in addition to tungsten for my design.”
Out of Order has now opened and is currently running at the Theatre Royal in Brighton. Next week, it will visit the Marlowe Theatre in Canterbury before travelling to various venues until July this year. Jack adds: “This is a really ‘laugh out loud’ show and will no doubt have audiences up and down the UK in stitches. It’s been a great experience to design and I’m grateful to WL for all of their help throughout.”
photos: Darren Bell
21st March 2017
Colour Sound Experiment Migrating with Bonobo
UK – Colour Sound Experiment supplied a lighting and video floor package for the latest run of live shows by talented music producer Bonobo (Simon Green), with a brand new lighting look for the stage designed by Will Thomas.
The tour is in support of Bonobo’s recent UK Top 5 album, “Migration”, released in January on independent label Ninja Tune Records. Will Thomas has previously worked on Bonobo’s extensive “Black Sands” and ‘The North Borders” tours, which culminated at the end of 2014 with a sell-out show at London’s Alexandra Palace.
Will has produced an energising and refreshing show to match the vibe of the music of “Migration” and its transitory themes. A major starting point for this was the visual material commissioned by Bonobo and produced by Strangeloop from LA, who also created the screen design which brought an architectural presence to the stage.
It was largely left to the ingenuity of Will and technician/rigger James Hind, with support from others at Colour Sound to produce a safe ground-supported solution to position the asymmetric screens, the tallest being 5.5 metres high, in exactly the right places.
They needed to have enough latitude to be scalable and accommodate the rig in different sized venues, and practical enough to be toured around the world and looked after by just the two of them.
In addition, Will’s other core creative considerations were simple and yet complex. The notion of dark and light, the contrasts, the interplay, the space and the emotion that inhabits both these atmospheric variations.
Enjoying a great working relationship with Colour Sound, Will and James started building structures in the warehouse and experimenting with different ideas for five individually supported LED screens.
The route they chose utilised six Guil Engineering UKL 800 XL tower lifts which were rigged with assorted trussing pieces to which the screens were then attached. These lifts are like a modern version of the classic rock & roll Genie superlift and were supplied brand new, by Neg Earth.
The screen was Colour Sound’s proprietary BT-6 LED, and the centre of the five screens was supported by two lifts.
Lighting had to fit in between the screens and not impose on the shape, so Will’s design was based on six vertical Litec QX30 towers, hinged for quick erection, standing on X-Bases. The centre pair were 4.5 metres high, the next were four metres and the outside pair were 3.5 metres, with the lights sitting a little bit higher when attached.
The luminaires all travelled in meat racks on lamp bars so four or six fixtures could be rigged at a time, which also helped the workflow.
The workhorse fixtures of the design, which were programmed to maximise the stage space and enhance the idea of shape and form, were Chauvet Rogue R2 LED washes.
Will likes these for their excellent colours – all important as he needed to match lighting to the video together – with the straightforward zone control and the shape of the beams.
Of 21 R2s in total, two were rigged to each tower, complimented by five on the floor and two a side on Manfrotto stands downstage, used for all the keying and maintaining an essential subtlety to the lighting.
Also on the towers was a 2-cell blinder, with another six on the floor, then six Robe Pointes positioned upstage on the deck for effects and aerial work.
Spread around the towers and on the side Manfrotto stands were 19 Chauvet Rogue 1 FX-Bs, newly purchased by Colour Sound. A highly versatile little ‘disco twizzler’, this features five LED heads with global pan and individual tilt which are fantastic for creating curtains of colour and wave effects as well as dynamic aerial beams.
Will initially used eight for a Warehouse Project gig in Manchester and was hugely impressed with the results. “There are all sorts of effects plus inbuilt macros that can be integrated into a show like this,” he comments. They were rigged vertically for this show to maximise the pan and tilt.
There was no front truss, so the architecture and space at each venue was more prominent and particularly apparent at Brixton Academy and Manchester Apollo.
Will ran lighting from a ChamSys MQ500 console, one of two also newly purchased by Colour Sound, which he thinks is “excellent”.
The video was run via a Resolume system side-stage, which fed it straight to the screens, but Will had control over the intensity via ArtNet.
Because of the visuals and the screen design, it was important that the lighting was slick, streamlined and complementary, but within that he could find plenty of darker, edgier and more interesting moments that journeyed everyone to a heavier clubby vibe.
“Basically it’s a dance show, and people want to do just that; sometimes they appreciate that it’s dark and other times they want to be in the light.”
The general top lighting rig for the two largest gigs on this section of the tour – Brixton and Manchester Apollo – was provided by GLS.
Commenting generally on working with Colour Sound, Will comments says: “They are an excellent company with great people. Having space in the warehouse to set up and experiment, as well as getting great feedback from others around, was invaluable to getting this working smoothly on the road”.
Will is the first to admit that behind every good lighting designer there is an excellent stage technician which is especially important on tour like this where there is just one technician and one LD!
With every venue and stage being radically different, the technician has to be adaptable, knowledgeable, a great communicator and generally excellent at their job: “Otherwise I would not be able to spend half the time I do at front of house designing and programming,” he states.
“They have to have the concept of the show foremost in their thoughts, and when a change has to be made, they will know what is right for the show without having to defer to the lighting designer all the time! Without James’s calmness, interpersonal and technical skills, I wouldn’t be able to do my job so efficiently.”
Next, they head to America for two months, which will include a massive show at the iconic Red Rocks amphitheatre in Denver. Then it’s straight into European summer festivals, plus an Australian tour with a quick stop in Japan for Fuji Rock, complete with a re-designed rig. After the summer, Bonobo returns to Europe playing larger venues, and then it’s back to the US, so there’s a full-on year ahead!
photos: Louise Stickland
21st March 2017
Robe Turns Down the Heat for MasterChef Algeria
Algeria – French lighting designer David Seligmann-Forest of Paris based Lite4Life chose ten Robe DL4S LED profiles to be right at the heart of his lighting rig for MasterChef Algeria, which was recorded in a new purpose-built studio and former envelope factory in El Hamis, a suburb of the bustling, vibrant capital of Algiers.
David was working as both LD and director of photography for broadcaster the Allégorie Group who produced eight episodes of the series plus the finale, which was a huge hit with the public. He is one of France’s leading TV lighting specialists and has also worked on the French version of the series, which a few years back gave him the initial opportunity to use the first generation of Robe’s then DLS units.
He has been a fan of Robe for some time and is a bit of a pioneer when it comes to introducing LED lighting into French TV. A couple of years back, he was the first to utilise Robe’s LEDWash 600 fixtures on a variety of shows. “Robe was the first manufacturer to pay attention to the need in television for a good range of colour temperatures and produce an LED range that addressed this” he says, a philosophy that was then applied to all of Robe’s future LED ranges.
The DL4Ss, purchased by the Allégorie Group were installed in the roof of the studio for the duration of the MasterChef Algeria recording period and also chosen for their shuttering capabilities “Essentially I replaced over 30 conventional fixtures with the ten DL4Ss, so this ultimately saved some production budget as well,” declared David.
He used the DL4Ss for key lighting the contestants, the presenters and the judges wherever they were on the set.
His favourite colour temperature is 4200K, which came from the days when they were using older discharge lamp moving lights which didn’t have the facility to vary colour temperatures. They would frequently be working on programmes staged both indoors and outdoors or that contained mixed lighting, for example daylight might be flooding in through windows, so using 4200-4300K was a way of straddling daylight and artificial light temperatures, and maintaining a nice balance for whatever action was taking place on camera.
Today, with the most modern LED lights, it’s possible to take a different approach, but the 4200 CT technique has stuck with David.
He worked on the MasterChef Algeria show with lighting programmer Edward Hall.
Just after the MasterChef series was recorded, the DL4S profiles were used for a conference for the African Forum of Investment and Business at the new CICA (Centre International de Conferences Algiers), a brand new 6,000 capacity conference venue which is part of a new 270,000 square metre international conference development, currently the largest in north Africa.
Here David’s crew made use of the DL4S’s ability to run over sACN protocol and work as an sACN node to help connect other lights into the network via Ethernet. This reduced the consumption of DMX lines which were limited and needed to be deployed elsewhere on the rig and run lights that didn’t have control alternatives. “It’s an extremely useful function,” comments David.
He has also used Robe’s DL7S LED Profile on the French TV show “Retour en Terre Inconnue”. Supplied by Impact Evenment, this is another fixture he really likes for its smooth and subtle colour mixing and intends to incorporate more into future designs.
photos: Brahim Boucherit, Allégorie Groupe
21st March 2017
GLP X4 LED Fixtures out in Force at Dragonland
Hong Kong – A new three-day music festival, Dragonland, made its debut on the Hong Kong event scene recently.
Billed as the region’s first outdoor festival to combine pop with EDM, it joins Clockenflap as the only large-scale event of its kind in Hong Kong.
The venue was the Central Harbourfront, part of the latest land reclamation in the Victoria Harbour. where Clockenflap also took place last year. It is thus perfectly located on the waterfront – in the heart of Hong Kong Island – with the amazing skyline as a backdrop.
Promoted by Playerone, a crowd of 15,000 people per day had been estimated, and in terms of production AHM Engineering supplied 20 of GLP’s award-winning X4 Bar 10 battens and 90 impression X4, as one of the mainstays of the stage set.
On the opening day, Leon Lai, one of the four heavenly kings of Canto Pop, presented the latest in his Penguins Live concert series. The artist has regularly been seen on stage accompanied by GLP’s LED fixtures since providing a Hong Kong debut for the company’s Spot One around five years ago.
On the opening day the stage featured a super-long catwalk and AHM used additional truss posts to which 20 of the GLP X4 wash lights were fixed. This was part of a design conceived for Penguin Live by Stephen Hui, who also programmed the show on two grandMA2 Full Size consoles. “As for the battens, they were really impressive in giving an extra shake and life to the lighting design,” he said.
Days 2 and 3 were then handed over respectively to EDM and Pop and visiting lighting designers loved the set as Mr. Chan explained: “Since the main feature of the second day was EDM and a DJ show, the GLP LED fixtures rendered the red and green colours beautifully and everyone commented favourably.” In fact ZED, Redfoo, Iggy Azalea and Carly Rae Jepsen all brought their own LDs.
In summary, Stephen Hui said that all the GLP fixtures had performed flawlessly and added impact and dynamism to the performances. “Despite the rain they all did their job extremely well,” he confirmed.
Other key members of the AHM Engineering production team included Jeffrey Lee, project manager and Ma Ping-Che (co-LD).
Meanwhile, Alvin Wang, managing director of Playerone, now has big plans to turn this into an annual festival as he continues to bring the world’s best entertainment to Asia.
Finally, Michael Muenz, general manager, GLP Asia, added his own testimonial. “I would like to thank Mazon Chan and the entire AHM crew for their continuous trust in our fixtures over all those years.”
photos: Kitmin Lee
21st March 2017
Bandit Brings The Lights To Shaping Sound: After The Curtain
USA – Shaping Sound, the phenomenal mash up of contemporary dancers, musical genres and dancing styles has returned to the road with a brand new production with Shaping Sound: After the Curtain. Bandit Lites is once again providing the lighting package for the spectacle which is cultivated under the artistic direction of Emmy Award winner Travis Wall and co-created with Nick Lazzarini, Teddy Forance and Kyle Robinson.
The dazzling show follows the story of a man as he struggles to come to terms with the loss of his one true love, his struggle to find his creative voice and grasp the reality around him. Co-lighting designers Nathan W. Scheuer and Teresa Fensler created a plot based on a typical dance set up, with four booms for sidelight and spreading out overhead electrics for high sides and a good down wash.
“In dance, the most important aspect of the design is obviously showcasing the form and movement of the dancers and secondary is creating that atmosphere that supports the choreography,” Scheuer said. “Shaping Sound is a unique company to work with, because not only does the show demonstrate the dancers technical ability, which I want the lighting to enhance, it also has a framing story that needed the lighting to help guide the audience through the performance.”
Drawing on Walls’s vision of an early 20th century, vaudeville feel, the lighting design features the warm, incandescent feeling and architecture of historic theatres to draw in the audience. For the majority of the show, Scheuer utilised a range of warm and CTO based colours in addition to relying heavily on the beam and texture of 3500s to help in the recreation of theatres of years’ past, while LED lights at different moments evoke the era’s iconic footlights at the edge of the stage.
“After the Curtain has many isolated moments,” said Fensler, “the ‘big bright looks’ don't happen very often, and we wanted it to be intimate.”
“For this show we also used some Clay Paky 20mm LED Panels to create a little super title screen that typed out character introductions, and key moments from the main character,” Scheuer said. “They are such a quick set up, and the ability to tell the audience some key moments or help remind them of each character’s dynamic really makes the overall show much stronger.”
In a departure from the previous iteration of the show, the entire back wall of has five tail downs of Sunstrips used for the ‘show within the show’ numbers. After the Curtain also includes the addition of a midstage electric, and with characters literally flying, direct overhead lighting helped to hide the rigging hardware.
Gear supplied by Bandit includes VL 3500 Spots, GLP X4S, Chauvet Freed Par Quad 4s, Chauvet Color Dash Accents, Claypaky Mirage 20mm Panels, Eurolite STP-10 MK2 and a grandMA 2 Ultralite with an MA 2 Command Wing for control.
The natural challenge for the lighting design involved how quickly the show moved and ensuring that specific moments were fully amplified on stage.
“As an example, there are some beautiful platforms and a staircase that continuously move throughout the show, creating different locations, or vignettes,” continued Scheuer, “but it was so critical to make sure the dancers moving the platforms and our lighting aligned, or else the platforms would block the lighting from the dancers, or draw attention away from the dancers if we were wanting to isolate.”
“Each move was crafted to hide or showcase certain dancers and their storyline,” added Fensler. “Creating the 'magic' looks take the most time because position of each focus is imperative.”
As the sole lighting tech on the show, lighting director and co-designer Teresa has returned to the console with both praise from Scheuer and support from Bandit.
“Project manager Matt King and Bandit’s TSD department have taken great care of me,” she said. “Being by myself makes it hard to do everything, but when you have good support from the shop it makes everything easier.”
“Teresa is amazing,” extolled Scheuer. “She was able to not only get the rig ready for tour and accommodate some of the changes that naturally happen during a tech process. She was also a key figure in the execution. Throwing in ideas, cleaning up quick programming, the show is in good hand while the tour continues.”
And as the tour continues to inspire and astonish audiences well into the year, with buzz continuously building for the show, Bandit Lites is thrilled to illuminate the jaw-dropping production, striving to match the attention to detail, precision and support, in every aspect of the production.
“I want to make special mention of Robby MacLean and his efforts as production co-ordinator, as well as Brad Bauner as tour manager,” said Bandit’s vice president Mike Golden. “It has been my pleasure to work with these gentlemen over the past four years and I admire their efforts and focus. I had the pleasure of seeing this show recently and I would encourage anyone to go see it.”
“My experience with Bandit was great, as it has been every chance I’ve had to work with them,” finished Scheuer. “Mike Golden was so patient as we were first putting together the rental order as we were trying to find that balance between design and budget.”
21st March 2017
LD Justin Townsend Turns to Elation LED for David Byrne’s Joan of Arc: Into the Fire
USA – Multi award-winning and Tony-nominated lighting designer Justin Townsend (The Humans, American Psycho, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson) finds that he is using Elation Professional lights more and more since his first experience with them in 2013/2014 on the Broadway musical A Night with Janis Joplin. Currently, he is using Elation Satura Profile and Platinum Seven LED-based moving heads on the world premiere of Joan of Arc: Into the Fire, an exciting new Off-Broadway musical penned by David Byrne.
“Elation has stepped up in the last few years and you see Elation gear used more and more in theatre,” Townsend stated. “They have some fantastic products with great features and they make them very quiet as well. In an industry where more is more, the fact that you can afford twice as many lights with the Elation product is exciting. With more fixtures we get more colour and more effects on our productions. It’s a win-win.”
Joan of Arc: Into the Fire plays at the Newman Theater in New York City, part of the Public Theater company. The Newman is a well-known space where several of Broadway’s top plays got their start including Hamilton in 2015. An intimate yet long 300-capacity space that stretches deep to the back, Townsend was looking for lighting that could both embrace the intimacy and reach to the furthest recesses of the space.
The Satura Profiles wash the stage and set from a downstage lane, and also do FoH specials and aid with followspot duties. “It has a crisp, clean light and includes framing shutters which I use quite a bit,” he says. “It gives a very sharp light and is also quiet which is important.” Townsend created a lane of light then used the fixture’s iris and 4-blade shutter system to frame the look. The Satura Profiles are used throughout the show for everything from up-tempo to ballad numbers with Townsend using colours across the board from the fixture’s CMY and colour wheel options. “I especially like the warm and medium colours,” he says, adding, “It also has a very fast response time and maintains its accuracy.”
Platinum Seven LED wash lights with their seven-colour multi-chip LED engine work in backline pairs, as well as from a 5 x 5 fixture array over the stage. “They are awesome with big fat colour and have a really good response time,” Townsend said. “They look great in the space as architecture and in terms of brightness they are really good.” The set up included LED screens back and side stage with the designer running pixel-mapped effects across the Platinum Seven’s as well.
Joan of Arc: Into the Fire tells the story of the legendary French military leader, who, after her execution at the age of nineteen, became a symbol of freedom the world over. It opened at the Newman Theater in February and ends its run on 30th April.
21st March 2017
Sennheiser Wins Big at 59th Annual Grammy Awards
USA – The music industry’s biggest names gathered at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on February 13th for the 59th Annual Grammy Awards. The evening was punctuated by command performances by Bruno Mars (pictured), Adele, Beyoncé, and Ed Sheeran, each relying on Sennheiser’s flagship wireless technology: the Digital 9000 system. Others, including Lady Gaga, the Weeknd, and Katy Perry, also turned to Sennheiser wireless equipment for their performances, which were viewed by nearly 25 million television viewers around the world.
Adele opened the show with a performance of her blockbuster hit ‘Hello' on a Sennheiser Digital 9000 system featuring the SKM 9000 transmitter and MD 9235 microphone capsule combination to transmit a powerful vocal performance. Later in the evening, she won multiple Grammy awards for Best Pop Solo Performance, Song of the Year, and Record of the Year for the song, as well as a well-deserved Album of the Year and Best Pop Vocal Album for 25. After collecting the awards, she returned to the stage later for a tribute to the late British pop star George Michael, performing a moving rendition of his song 'Fastlove' accompanied by a montage of images and videos from Michael’s life.
Sennheiser’s Digital 9000 system was also employed by Beyoncé, who performed her songs ‘Love Drought’ and ‘Sandcastle’ through a Sennheiser SKM 9000 and MD 5235 transmitter/capsule combination. Backed by an elaborate dance choreography and arresting visual effects, the Digital 9000 system captured every nuance of what was a flawless performance. Beyoncé would go on to win the Grammy award for Best Urban Contemporary Album for Lemonade. Meantime, Ed Sheeran also sang through the Digital 9000, relying on the same capsule and transmitter combination for his performance of ‘Shape of You’, which featured him looping his own voice to craft the song’s backing vocals.
Bruno Mars was also among the artists who entrusted his performances to Sennheiser’s Digital 9000 system, taking things a step further by utilising its fully uncompressed HD audio mode. Mars took the stage twice during the evening: first for a moving tribute to Prince, who passed away in April, during which he sported one of Prince’s signature looks with a ruffled collar and sparkling purple jacket. Joining frequent Prince collaborators The Time, Bruno Mars delivered a memorable rendition of the Prince classic ‘Let’s Go Crazy’ while demonstrating his virtuoso electric guitar technique. He would later return to perform his single ‘That’s What I Like’ from 2016’s 24k Magic album.
Mars’s front-of-house mixer Chris Rabold and monitor engineer Ramon Morales have been ecstatic with the sound quality and reliability of the Digital 9000. Currently, the pair is in rehearsals for Bruno Mars' upcoming 24K Magic Tour, where the Digital 9000 will serve as the tour’s primary wireless system, making the decision to use it in a broadcast environment for the first time an easy one. “In a situation like the Grammy Awards, you have a very limited amount of time to dial in your settings,” Rabold said. “What’s great about Sennheiser and the Digital 9000 is that your sound is essentially there as soon as you turn the system on.” For Morales, consistency is paramount. “The biggest concern with any wireless technology is always reliability, and Sennheiser has always given us that,” he said. “The Digital 9000 is even more robust than our previous Sennheiser system, and it sounds even better, too.”
Rabold and Morales cite the dynamic nature of Mars’s vocals as their biggest challenge in capturing his performances. “He can vary anywhere from a whisper to a yell, sometimes singing far from the mic, sometimes right on it, and other times cupping it,” Rabold said. “The Digital 9000 helped the team capture every bit of the performance cleanly, whatever the input level.”
Part of the success in preserving these details is due to the power of the SKM 9000 transmitter paired with the MD 9235 capsule. Rabold and Morales chose this combination for Mars’s vocals based on both its performance and pedigree. “We have experimented with many capsules over the years on his voice, but always kept coming back to the MD 5235, which has been his staple for many years,” Rabold explained. “Now the MD 9235 captures everything we love about the sound of the MD 5235 while taking the detail even further, all while maintaining that familiar smoothness that we love.”
“One thing I love about the Digital 9000 is that regardless of how much level you push into those mics, there are no wireless artifacts in the signal,” Rabold said. “Compared to other wireless systems, which often have a certain crunch to them when pushed hard, the Digital 9000 maintains an extremely natural sound at any level. The result is a much smoother top end, which in turn makes the low-mids in the vocal sound thicker.” Switching to the Digital 9000’s HD mode meant no audio data reduction, according to Morales. “Using the HD mode really made a difference,” he said. “It just opens up the microphones in a way that makes it really easy to place them in the in-ear mixes.”
Mars’s lead vocals were not the only audio transmitted by the Digital 9000 during his Grammy performances. All four background vocal mics and the mics for his three horn players were running via the system, which utilised two EM 9046 receivers for a total of 16 channels of transmission. “We used the SKM 9000 transmitters with prototype MD 9245 capsules for our backing vocalists because they feature a slightly tighter pickup pattern,” Rabold explained. SK 9000 bodypack transmitters cleanly delivered the rest of the signals to the receivers.
The Sennheiser EM 3732-II receiver and SKM 5200 transmitter plus MD 5235 capsule combination also made many appearances over the course of the show. First by Lady Gaga, who joined Metallica onstage for a performance of Moth Into Flame; the hand-held transmitter/capsule combination was also used by The Weeknd and Katy Perry for their respective performances. A special highlight was when the new Sennheiser AMBEO VR microphone was used on-stage during a star-studded tribute to The Bee Gees featuring Demi Lovato, Tori Kelly, and Andra Day to capture an immersive audio snapshot of the event.
“Each year The Grammy Awards presents an exciting opportunity to see some of the world’s top musical talent gathered together in one place,” said Byron Gaither, Artist Relations, Sennheiser. “It is heartening to see that so many artists and their teams place their faith in Sennheiser technology year after year. We are especially pleased that four of our artists utilised our cutting-edge Digital 9000 wireless system to deliver moving and memorable performances.
20th March 2017
L-Acoustics lands in the Canary Islands
Canary Islands – For more than 25 years, Sonopluss Canarias has been held in high regard by its customers, with quality and expertise its two fundamental principles of business. In the summer of 2016, Sonopluss Canarias took delivery of an L-Acoustics K2 system, the first in the Canary Islands, taking the company’s audio inventory to a new level.
The investment was one that the company had been keen to make for some time. “We had been talking for a number of years and they knew they wanted to make the change to L-Acoustics from their existing system,” explains Marc Neuhaus, owner of Take Off, L-Acoustics’ Spain-based distributor. “It was simply a question of timing.”
Sonopluss’s new system comprises 28 K2, 28 SB28 subs purchased to service the expanding electronic dance music scene in the Islands, along with 12 Kara and eight ARCS II.
“The first and main attraction of the L-Acoustics system for me is how it sounds,” says Simone Higuera, director of Sonopluss. “Marc did an A/B demo against our existing system and there was just no comparison. The L-Acoustics system was so much better that the decision was made there and then.
The decision went beyond audio quality. The Canaries’ enviable position as an island paradise come with a downside. “We’re in the middle of the Atlantic, three hours away from anywhere by plane,” explains Simone. “It can take ten days for shipments to arrive, and we also have a different customs and tax system from the mainland, which means we need to be self-sufficient. It’s not practical for us to rent anything in from anywhere else. The numerous touring artists not carrying their own PA require a rider-friendly system and L-Acoustics is exactly that. Any artist is happy to see K2 on a rider, so this addition to our inventory is a real asset.”
“From a logistics point of view, K2 was the right box for Sonopluss, simply by virtue of its weight and dispersion pattern,” adds Marc. “With a roster of high-profile events both indoor and outdoor, it’s as if it was designed specifically for this market.”
Sonopluss works in close collaboration with its two sister companies, based on Las Palmas and Tenerife, both of which have invested in L-Acoustics Kara systems. The three companies work as a network, so Sonopluss’s K2 will also allow them to take advantage of a large-scale L-Acoustics system across the islands.
“Since our K2 was delivered, we’ve used it for concerts by Ricky Martin, Manolo García and Arona Summers, as well as on Fiestas Farra World, 40 Principales and Carnaval Santa Cruz de Tenerife 2017,” says Simone. “It has been perfect every time and we couldn’t be more happy.”