Production News Headlines
New Philips Vari-Lite VL2600 Profile makes bright debut at Forest Live
UK – Signify has announced that its new LED stage luminaire, the Philips Vari-Lite VL2600 Profile, made a striking world debut on the stages of the Forestry Commission's Forest Live shows in June. Supplied by Pearce Hire, the VL2600s were used to light performances by artists including Gary Barlow, The Script, Kasabian and Paloma Faith on this summer's first Forest Live weekend.
Peterborough-based Pearce Hire is the first company in the world to invest in these latest luminaires from the Philips Vari-Lite brand. Impressed by the fixture's feature set, they purchased 40 VL2600 Profiles from London-based show lighting specialist Flashlight Ltd. Upon delivery, 20 fixtures were supplied to each of two Forest Live shows, at Thetford Forest in Suffolk and Delamere Forest in Cheshire.
Pearce Hire's general manager Jim Brown says: "We'd looked at several alternative fixtures and the VL2600s were the brightest by a country mile. We do a lot of outdoor shows in the summer season, so we need fixtures with the light output to compete with daylight. The VL2600's brightness and the high colour temperature produce beams that really stand out."
He adds: "A big plus was the two gobo wheels: having access to that number of effects gives real flexibility. Often fixtures will sacrifice the second gobo wheel to make room for the framing shutters, but with the VL2600 Profile there is no trade-off. They've got everything, the gobos, the framing, the quality optics, the colours, they're everything you would expect a Vari-Lite to be."
For the Forest Live shows, Pearce Hire's project manager John Huson created a flexible festival rig for the visiting lighting designers to use for their artists. Jamie Thompson, lighting designer for The Script, had his first hands-on experience with the fixtures. He says: "The VL2600 seem really great. It's nice to have a compact, bright moving head profile with the stunning optics that define Vari-Lite."
Pearce Hire and its clients also benefit from the lower powered LED technology, says Brown. "Many of our clients are concerned with sustainability and environmental impact, so the lower power usage is another plus. When using our diesel generators, the lower the power demand the better. Also, using LED means that we don't have to spend time and resources re-lamping."
Commenting on the price point of the VL2600 range, Brown says: "The price is very attractive, which gives us great confidence that we'll get the payback on our investment. If they were not so affordable we may have had to buy fewer of them, or cut back elsewhere, but the price didn't affect our decision to go for these fixtures, they are the best of their class that we've seen."
Signify became the new company name of Philips Lighting as of 16th May, 2018. The legal name of Signify will be adopted across all global markets in the course of 2018-2019.
Signify Entertainment Lighting comprises the Philips Vari-Lite, Philips Strand Lighting and Philips Selecon brands, as well as the Philips Showline range of LED stage luminaires.
photos: Pearce Hire
13th July 2018
Versatile Philips Vari-Lite VL4000 adds to Circus spectacle in Singapore
Singapore – Signify has announced that the quality and versatility of its Philips Vari-Lite stage lighting fixtures have helped to conjure the magic of the big-top for the sumptuous Circus 1903 – The Golden Age of Circus. The dazzling show, complete with life-sized elephant puppets, thrilled audiences at its most recent run at Singapore's Marina Bay Sands Grand Theatre.
Lighting designer Paul Smith utilised the dual functionality of the VL4000 BeamWash to fulfil two important lighting roles from a single unit. He says: "The VL4000 BeamWash performs well as a wash, and as a spot too, much better than I ever expected a hybrid fixture like this to perform."
With life-size mother and baby elephant puppets central to the show, floor space was at a premium. The mother elephant alone has four puppeteers inside. This gave Smith a challenge. "The BeamWashes have helped me to reduce the number of units I need in the low side positions," he says. "Previously, I had a VL3500 Wash and a VL3500 Spot in the same area, but as space was tight I opted for the hybrid. I've not been disappointed. The producers are happy that I've been able to cut fixtures and the director is happy we are delivering the best possible audience experience."
Also playing their part in creating this magical Circus environment were Philips Vari-Lite VL4000 Spot luminaires. "The Spots have been particularly useful for their framing shutters, the theatre-friendly gobo selection and the massive zoom range," says Smith.
And uniting both fixtures is the renowned Philips Vari-Lite colour capability. Smith says: "We have two very different colour palettes in this show. Act One has an external setting with muted pastels and straw colours; Act Two places the action within the circus tent, with saturated colours and bold contrasts. Having two fixtures from the same family is a big time-saver. The consistency and quality of the colour across the units – pastels and saturates – makes all the difference."
The spectacular show, which first played at the Paris Hotel in Las Vegas, will appear at London's Royal Festival Hall later this year.
Signify became the new company name of Philips Lighting as of May 16, 2018. The legal name of Signify will be adopted across all global markets in the course of 2018-2019.
Signify Entertainment Lighting comprises the Philips Vari-Lite, Philips Strand Lighting and Philips Selecon brands, as well as the Philips Showline range of LED stage luminaires.
13th July 2018
GLP X4 Bar 20 and JDC1 Star on Russian TV
Russia – After 19 TV shows, dozens of songs, some unique performances and innovative lighting designs, created and executed by Leonid Poznyanskiy, Songs on TNT TV project had its final broadcast on 2nd June.
He deployed 24 GLP impression X4 Bar 20s and 24 JDC1 strobes in the production, which ran from the first episode until the last. The final performance by the singer Nazima was made almost exclusively with the X4 Bar 20.
The designer admits that he has been a fan of the GLP products ever since the Eurovision Song Contest that took place in Moscow in 2009, when some of the first LED moving heads were placed in the sidefills. This signified to him that the new era in professional lighting had arrived.
Around two years ago Leonid came across the X4 Bar 20 for the first time and by summer 2017 he had the opportunity to use them in a project. At that time he was also working on multi-episode TV shows such as You are Super, Dancing and Dancing on TNT which were followed by a number of concerts in the State Kremlin Palace and Crocus City Hall. So when preparation for Songs on TNT commenced, the X4 Bar 20 was again foremost in his mind.
“The fixture is unequalled because it is unique and it differs from the moving heads we are all used to. The X4 Bar 20 can give you a wide planar field of light that cuts the air or they can be used as simple lines of coloured ‘bulbs’ following the truss architecture,” Leonid says.
Following the designer’s plan, 24 X4 Bar 20s were placed in two dynamic rows on moving trusses and secured over the upper and lower truss tubes and their bright effects were seen frequently.
“These fixtures have a lot of advantages,” Leonid continues. “They are bright, and they have the same half-tone colours of the diodes. I can arrange them in a single line without intervals, use the zoom and tilt movement. Additionally, since it's a TV project, it's very important that the X4 Bar lighting does not flicker on camera.”
The X4 Bars used by Leonid Poznyanskiy in this project proved that a successful show can be created using just the Bars alone. In the final performance by the singer Nazima, the linear LED solutions created a spectacular backdrop that combined a beautiful rich red colour and original geometry of wide light planes moving in space as the song's theme developed.
In addition to X4 Bars, the unique JDC1 hybrid strobes from GLP were also used in Songs on TNT. All fixtures for the project were provided by the rental company Laser-Kinetics.
“I can say one thing about JDC1: it's the best LED strobe around today,” Leonid concludes. “I use them everywhere. All the available fixtures available in Russia are travelling with me every day — and if I could get hold of more, I would order them.”
13th July 2018
Stage Electrics Supply De Montfort University with New Trussing and Lighting
UK – The De Montfort University, in Leicester, has recently undergone a major investment in its lighting and staging capabilities for one of its largest on-site venues, ‘The Venue’. With the help of industry leaders Stage Electrics, the university now possesses more trussing and some of the most up-to-date lighting kit available.
Created to host a wide range of events, ‘The Venue’ is often used for music events, conference work, performances and celebrations. As the university holds all its graduation ceremonies here, it can now give each graduate the moment in the spotlight they deserve.
The university has invested £5 million into transforming the building. After installing a number of improvements including retractable bleacher-style seating and a full sound rig, it has now added the lighting equipment to truly showcase the capabilities of this space.
Stage Electrics was approached by the university to supply lighting and truss. “We have a long history with this client, so we were thrilled when they got in touch with us to upgrade their lighting and truss solutions,” explained Andy Elsegood, Stage Electrics account manger “Knowing this particular venue is multi-purpose I knew the client would require a very flexible solution,” He added.
With lighting being a key part of this project, Andy arranged for the client to see a range of Chauvet fixtures. “The client already had several fixtures from Chauvet installed and were looking to add hybrid-type units to their rig, we worked with them to evaluate the options available,” he commented.
Andy and the client met with Simon Cox, Chauvet’s key account manager, who demonstrated a wide range of the Chauvet DJ and Chauvet Professional solutions. “We took the opportunity to look at the range of Chauvet Hybrid fixtures which offer the greatest flexibility and functionally for any venue, with the ability to create narrow beam effects, clean gobo projection and wide stage washes when required, these fixtures offer solutions the university would certainly put to good use.”
Andy Elsegood added: “The customer also expressed a need for further trussing to supplement their existing rig. We hold in-depth stock of Prolyte trussing and staging systems, the client was already familiar with the brand so Prolyte were the obvious choice. We supplied a variety of H30V and ladder truss along with accessories, such as base plates and half couplers. This investment has given ‘The Venue’ more flexibility as they no longer have to hire in trussing solutions.”
“We have only just begun to use the new fixtures, but already we can see that the Maverick MK1 Hybrid is really impressive. We already have some Intimidator Hybrid 140SR fixtures which have worked hard for us; I would recommend to those on a tight budget,” commented James Thompson, the AV services leader for the University. “It’s nice to finally get our hands on some of the Maverick range; we increased our stock of R2 washes. These get used on every event mainly due to their punchy colour mixing capabilities and good zoom range,” concluded James.
13th July 2018
Unusual leads the Processions march through London
UK – Unusual was the technical production company of choice for Artichoke when it staged the Processions march in London last month. The mass artwork took place on 10th June in Belfast, Cardiff, Edinburgh and London and saw thousands of women and girls come together and march, wearing either green white or violet – the colours of the suffragette movement – creating the appearance of a flowing river of colour through the city streets.
Jim Dugan, production manager at Unusual explained: “We’ve been working with Artichoke on its major events and art installations for some years now: Lumiere London and Durham, the Sultan’s Elephant, Great Fire 350, etc, so we were excited to get involved with an event that celebrated something so fundamentally important in our country’s history. Our role on this project was to facilitate all the technical elements, from the barriers, the marquees and the road closures to stage management, security, production management, sound, signage and also the toilet facilities. In addition, the truss gantry at the end of the march route was overseen by our senior rigger Leon Ingram.
The Processions in the other three capital cities were managed by other locally-based UK production managers and a small team of freelancers, but Jim explains it was vital they were all working in sync. “The event was filmed live by the BBC so we had to ensure we were all communicating clearly and effectively with each other as it was extremely important that imagery and timings were tied up together. While the job itself wasn’t technically difficult, the organisation required for this type of event was extremely challenging. Although the event took place in June, we started conversations with Artichoke back in January, almost as soon as we’d finished working on Lumiere London.”
Helen Marriage, director of Artichoke added: “I’ve lost count of the number of different agencies Jim and his team had to liaise with in order to make this event work – from the City of Westminster to the police through Transport for London, buses and the underground. Obviously our number one concern when staging such big productions is participant safety. Not surprisingly, London being London, there were also other marches scheduled to take place on the same day which added the additional complication of working around them and making sure the different events didn’t clash. The amount of paperwork was phenomenal.”
One of the key objectives for the Unusual team was to help keep the three coloured bands of marchers as uniform as possible, no mean feat given the challenges of street furniture, traffic lights and general improvement works taking place on the city’s streets. Jim added: “The scheduling of this event was quite difficult. We had a very small window to install the infrastructure, mainly due to the limitations of road closures. Whenever we work on something like this, our main aim is to minimise how much we disrupt London. We had a fantastic, big team working with us on Processions: nine stage managers, eight production managers and a core team of 20 people to help make it all happen. We closed the roads at midday and participants, of which there were between 35- to 40,000, started turning up at 12.15. There were tens of thousands of people taking part and everything was struck and gone away by 10pm that same night.”
Helen concluded: “Once again, Unusual pulled it out of the bag for London as did all the other teams across the UK. We’re currently part of an initiative funded by the Gatsby Foundation called Technicians Make It Happen, we rely on Unusual for all our big jobs simply because they do exactly that. The vote for women was such a momentous part of all our history, we wanted to do it justice. Jim and his team were a fundamental part of making sure that we achieved that.
photos: Sheila Brunnett, Anita Corbin and Amelia Allen
13th July 2018
Shaping the Niels & Wiels Tour
Belgium – Belgian TV presenter and singer Niels Destadsbader teamed up with composer, pianist and music producer Miguel Wiels in a special ‘Niels & Wiels’ duo to present four exclusive concert performances for which they wanted a unique show design that captured the essence of the collaboration.
The two, who are also great personal friends, and their respective managements asked Genk-based creative practice Painting with Light to create some visual magic for the show, and Luc Peumans led the project for Painting with Light.
A photo of the two artists which they both really liked gave Luc inspiration to kick off the stage design. (There is a striking resemblance even though they are not related.) Luc didn’t want to use LED screen, so instead he had the photo printed as a large backdrop which could fly in and out. All the venues were theatres and offered house bar flying facilities. He then built a basic architecture for the stage space with various lighting fixtures.
Choosing the extremely distinctive and slightly retro look of the Portman P2 Hexaline to create an upstage wall of luminosity, Luc positioned 24 bars upstage, just in front of the printed backdrop, each one offering six individually controllable 230W halogen bulbs complete with hexagonal reflectors and housing.
The Hexlines had several key positions and shapes which changed the performance space simply and elegantly through the show.
Above the stage were ten Portman P1 fixtures which complemented the Hexlines perfectly.
These are another gem from the Polish company, featuring a central 230W halogen in hexagonal reflector surrounded by six others giving a flower-like effect with perfect geometry, and all the characteristics of tungsten that LDs know and love, packaged in contemporary housings which make them ideal for this style of scenographic lighting.
These fixtures were the straightforward yet dynamic base design and fulfilled Luc’s desire to present a stage look that is strongly independent of video but with some core ‘mappable’ characteristics that combined theatricality with invention.
Luc likes the Portmans for the atmosphere they bring to any environment, because they are attractive to look at and their effects are gentle and delicate, opposed to being harsh, aggressive and full-on. “It’s about capturing the spirit of the show,” he comments.
He’s used Portmans before on corporate events, but this is the first time he’s integrated them into a performance design. “They are a great tool for enabling big looks without it getting too complicated.”
For the rest of the lighting rig, Luc chose Chauvet fixtures. On the ground were 11 Maverick Mk1 hybrid moving lights, picked for their beam effects, brightness and big front lens.
For side lighting, three two-metre high stands per side were rigged with Chauvet Rogue R2 Washes at the top, placed in the optimum positions to light Niels’ backing band.
Overhead, in addition to the ten P1s, were ten lighting pods, each populated with two Maverick Mk2 Spots and ten Maverick Mk3 LED Washes, primarily used for backlighting and assorted effects like gobos, etc.
The Maverick Mk3s had each one of their 27 x 40W LEDs pixel mapped, allowing programmer Jeroen Opsteyn and lighting director on the road Kristof De Dycker (Niels’ regular operator) to create a diversity of looks and interactions with the P1s.
They programmed the show on a grandMA2 light console. Three days of pre-programming in the Painting with Light WYSIWYG studio in Genk allowed them to go into the actual rehearsal day at Ghent Capitole Theatre with much of the show already in the desk.
“It was great to have Kristof on the team when it came to programming,” stated Luc, “his knowledge of Niels and his material was invaluable and a big bonus in helping us shape the light show.”
Show director Frank Van Laecke was also well prepped, enabling the whole team to work together quickly and maximise the time and productivity during the on-site production day, which was used for fine-tuning and calibrating the details.
The shows and the design were a great success and a touring version is being used for Niels Destadsbader’s summer festival appearances.
photos: Frank Lambrechts, picturesk
12th July 2018
Chris Reade Adds Extra Dimension to Dierks Bentley Mountain High Tour with Chauvet Professional
USA – Popular country music superstar Dierks Bentley, who has 17 No.1 hits to his credit, adds a sparkling humorous touch to the encore of his current blockbuster Mountain High Tour, when he appears over the stage in an 'aircraft' to perform his hit single “Drunk On A Plane.”
Lighting and scenic designer Chris Reade of KYVA Design (Las Vegas), who collaborated on the creation of the faux plane with production designer Bruce Rodgers of Tribe, Inc. and production manager Jay Ballinger, is accenting this unique scenic element by lighting it with 12 Chauvet Professional Strike 1 single source 230W LED blinders, supplied by Christie Lites.
“I love the incandescent look and the warmth that I get from the Strike fixtures, it’s beautiful,” said Reade, who serves as the tour’s lighting designer. “The original plan was to use them exclusively on the B stage that Dierks walks on to perform for the crowd, because the light is so engaging. Further along in the process, though, we were looking at the ‘fly’ gag part of the show, where Dierks is piloting a plane. That’s when we decided to use 12 of the fixtures on our automated pods to create the combination look of a plane’s wings and landing lights.”
The Strike 1 fixtures are arranged in three groups of four units on the suspended truss pod structures that span most of the width of the stage. Bentley stands above the center unit as the plane’s pilot. Floating over the stage deck, the structures are backed by the faint image of an airplane.
Illuminated from the sides and overhead by a variety of beam and wash fixtures, the floating wings convey the image of flight. Appearing as it does at the end of the concert, the plane never fails to evoke 'oohs' and 'aahs' from the crowd, contributing to the upbeat mood at the end of the show.
Like Bentley’s overall performance, though, the Strike 1s create a range of emotions on stage. In addition to the 12 fixtures used on the aircraft wings, Reade’s design includes 12 other Strike 1 units that are positioned under the B stage to create a warm uplighting glow.
“There are quite a few things that make the Strike 1 work well for us on this tour,” said Reade. “It’s compact, so it’s easy to use on the plane prop and B stage. Its structure looks good. It’s an LED fixture. It’s really bright and let’s never forget its beautiful warm glow. Like I said before, it's a beautiful fixture, and I'm so happy with it.”
The Mountain High Tour, which began on 17th May in Columbia, MD, stops at a variety of venues, from Madison Square Garden to festivals and amphitheatres. “You know, with the logistical restraints of some of the venues, we have to adjust things,” said Reade. “We have a fairly large design, and it doesn't always work out. We know this going in, so we develop plans for these scenarios.
“A lot of time is spent in the planning stages by all departments in Dierks’ camp,” continued Reade. “We have a wonderful team with Bruce Rodgers and Jay Ballinger, Molly Gray leader of the Tantrum content creation team, Houston Creswell our video director and our lighting/rigging/automation crew of Marc Wuchter, Jacob Alexander, Tim Lighthall, Andrew Williamson, Sebastien Richard and Mark Desloges.”
In the end, this teamwork is helping the flight gag take off without a hitch on this popular tour. Bentley, who has a pilot’s license in real life, is having a lot of fun with this scenic flight of fancy. His fans who are packing every venue on the tour are certainly glad to be on board.
photos: Todd Kaplan
12th July 2018
LED Creative support Scenic Designer Dominic Tolfts an Blind Date revamp
UK – Illumination specialists LED Creative is working with scenic designer Dominic Tolfts on the latest run of iconic dating show Blind Date for Channel 5.
Hosted by Paul O’Grady in front of a live audience at ITV London Studios, the show features a newly updated set design filled with rich colour and featuring opulent gold fittings against a lavish, deep purple velvet backdrop.
Cleverly crafted by Tolfts, the ‘framework’ façade that encircles the stage areas incorporates LED Creative’s Alpha 60 flex, providing discreet, uniform illumination to subtly highlight the latticework and add intensity to the vibrantly coloured drapes.
Commenting on the production, LED Creative project manager Tim Rees says: “Dominic has made perfect use of our Alpha 60 RGB system to ‘invisibly’ add illumination to emphasise the detail in his design. The overall effect helps build to the layered feel across the backdrop.”
A key element in the design is the ‘chandelier’ that hangs above the stage stairway. Formed using LED Creative Pulse Wands, the feature is controlled via the company’s BYTE system, which allows users incredible levels of control – over 2000 pixels on less than a single universe.
Rees adds: “As ‘plug and play’ rental kits, our Pulse Wands are perfect for creative designs such as this. Particularly when teamed with our BYTE controllers. Dominic and the crew have done a wonderful job creating a bold, fun looking design, a perfect fit for Blind Date.”
11th July 2018
Star Events stages Roger Waters’ British Summer Time spectacular
UK – Star Events redesigned the entire Great Oak Stage sub-structure and super-structure to accommodate Roger Waters’ Us + Them production, which opened the BST Hyde Park series in spectacular style on Friday.
With gags including smoking Battersea Power Station chimneys rising above the stage, graffiti-strewn flying pigs and the surround sound effects synonymous with Roger Waters, Us + Them managed to set a new precedent, even for a Hyde Park performance.
The Pink Floyd-heavy two and a half hour show contemporised the politics from the band’s mid-70s/early-80s canon through a series of stunning visual sequences fitted to the songs.
The back of the traditional performance box was pushed up and film, cartoons and stills on the resulting 1,100sq m video wall focused on state-sponsored torture, refugees, human rights, Donald Trump and the singer’s support for Palestine.
Involved with the AEG Presents/Waters negotiation since last summer, Star Events had to demonstrate its capacity to stage the show, without compromise, before switching back to a more traditional format for The Cure the following night.
That changeover involved three cranes, six trucks for the kit coming out, including ten Star structures from front of house used for Waters’ surround sound and projectors.
On stage, the Star Events’ team rebuilt the main floor deck and provided rigging support for the big screen move and lighting install, leaving everything ready for doors on Saturday.
Roger Barrett, special projects director at Star Events, comments: “To achieve what Roger Waters needed while still enabling the other five major BST Hyde Park shows was challenging to say the least. That extended to reducing the Great Oak Stage trees from three to two, but enhancing the leaf cover to hide a lot of the Waters’ production on the roof. It showed the flexibility of the VerTech system though, we only had to make a small handful of special components, and the show was absolutely stunning.”
Jim King, British Summer Time Hyde Park’s Festival director, says:
“Star Events has been the go-to company for most of our projects pretty much since I started in the industry. Obviously we’re not touring Roger Waters’ stage so the Great Oak had to be adapted. Star Events set about working with the Waters’ team to execute how we could do it and they did an incredible job.”
11th July 2018
Roskilde Festival Celebrates Launch of Groundbreaking Partnership with Meyer Sound
Denmark – The Roskilde Festival 2018 marked the first year of a multi-faceted partnership with Meyer Sound, creating a new paradigm in both large scale festival sound as well as launching pillar programmes in education and training, scientific research and development, all with the goal of elevating the festival experience for the audience, technicians and artists alike.
Wrapping up in early July, the 2018 edition of Denmark’s long-running Roskilde Festival attracted a total audience of more than 130,000 for eight days of musical performances from 184 artists including Orange and Arena stage headliners Bruno Mars, Eminem, Gorillaz, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Massive Attack, Nine Inch Nails, David Byrne and Khalid. All stages – from the small and intimate to the massive Orange stage – were powered by Meyer Sound systems.
Roskilde Festival and Meyer Sound led extensive training sessions over the months prior to the festival as part of a technical education initiative. The education programme is one of the many initiatives of the partnership that appealed to Meyer Sound in collaborating with the festival that has stayed true to its non-profit roots. Any profits from the festival are distributed to charity every year.
Meyer Sound co-founders John and Helen Meyer were in Denmark to experience the results. “Working with the whole team at Roskilde has been amazing right from the start,” says executive vice president Helen Meyer. “It feels different than the other big festivals. Everybody is very cooperative, and always coming up with new ideas. Also, there’s a warmth to it. Everybody really cares about what they’re doing, and that makes it a very special experience.”
Supervising the technical education side of the collaboration is Morten Büchert, who works with the festival year round as consultant and project manager. Under the five-year agreement forged late last year, all sound reinforcement systems at all Roskilde stages are Meyer Sound. The systems are supplied by the Bright Group, a leading European AVL rental and integration firm. The technical teams of Bright, Meyer Sound and the festival were fully integrated, collaborating on the sound design and deployment.
“This partnership with Meyer Sound is an opportunity to move into uncharted territory,” Büchert maintains. “I’m positive we will succeed with this, based on the quality of the staff and the quality of the products. The mindset that everybody brings to the table is one of openness and curiosity, and that will have a positive effect on the audience experience.”
“The sound systems for all the stages have been redesigned since last year,” adds Lars Liliengren, production manager for the festival. “We looked at the entire site and calculated the coverages we needed to achieve our goal, which is to close the gap between the audience and the artists on the stage.”
Under the five-year agreement forged late last year, all sound reinforcement systems at all Roskilde stages are Meyer Sound. The stage systems are supplied by the Bright Group, a leading European AVL rental and integration firm. The technical teams of Bright, Meyer Sound and the festival were fully integrated, collaborating on the sound design and deployment.
Close to 1,000 Meyer Sound loudspeakers were deployed across the eight festival stages as well as all other festival-related events and activities requiring sound. The largest system by far was at the Orange stage, anchored by Leo and Lyon main line arrays with added power from Leopard line arrays and deep bass from 1100-LFC and 900-LFC low frequency control elements.
Systems for the Arena, Avalon and Apollo stages were built around Lyon main arrays, with Leopard arrays doing the heavy lifting at the Pavilion, Rising and Countdown stages. The low end of the new VLFCs brought a visceral feel to the EDM experience at Apollo. LINA arrays, the newest and smallest of the Leo Family, held forth at the Gloria Stage.
Meyer Sound production manager Dennis Tholema led the technical team embedded at the festival. Bob McCarthy, Meyer Sound’s director of system optimisation, led the team charged with the design and tuning of the festival systems, working together with Bright logistical and rigging teams and the festival’s own technical staff.
For the Bright Group, Roskilde afforded a unique, collaborative opportunity to demonstrate how their Meyer Sound inventory and support teams could manage a massive, multi-stage festival. “I’m looking forward to many more years of this,” comments Bright Group CEO and president Patrick Svensk. “We have been partners with Meyer Sound for many years and we expect to strengthen that partnership through the festivals yet to come. Audio is key for a music-centred festival like this.”
Another notable feature of the festival was “Big Mix Lounge,” organised by Meyer Sound, where legendary Metallica FOH engineer “Big Mick” Hughes hosted a relaxed island of hospitality for his visiting peers. “You couldn’t come up with a better plot,” says Hughes. “You’ve got the Roskilde family forming a bond with the Meyer family, and only good things come out of that. It ensures the quality of the audio across the entire site, so that every stage is catered to fully and expertly so. I hope this model is recognised by other festivals as a good way to go.”
Summing up the thrust of the novel partnership, Roskilde Festival Group CEO Signe Lopdrup says that the purpose of the collaboration is to: “Enhance the experience for all participants here at Roskilde. I think this partnership goes beyond great sound. It is about creating community, and creating experiences at a new and higher level.”
Meyer Sound leveraged its unique relationship with the festival to conduct R&D experiments over the course of the week. Working under the direction of Morten Büchert and Meyer Sound senior scientist Dr. Roger Schwenke, students from the Danish Technical University helped set up experiments to measure variations in sound propagation at different heights above ground level as caused by increases in temperature and moisture from the crowds.
Staged continuously since 1971, the Roskilde Festival is the oldest and largest music and cultural event of its kind in northern Europe. The festival’s full-time staff of 50 is augmented by nearly 32,000 volunteers at the time of the event. A non-profit venture since its inception, the festival operates under the auspices of the Roskilde Festival Charity Society.
11th July 2018
John Garberson and Chauvet Professional Go Red, White and Blue For Tempe’s 4th July Festival
USA – If Hollywood film makers were looking for an ideal natural backdrop for a 4th July fireworks display, they would do well to travel about 400 miles east to Tempe Town Lake. The glistening water and the wide-open dome of a desert sky add a compelling and powerful dimension to the pyrotechnics that are launched from the waterway’s graceful Mill Avenue Bridges every year. It’s a scene that other venues would be hard pressed to match. But the same environment that provides such a dramatic setting also poses special challenges for anyone trying to set up a stage for this Independence Day event.
John Garberson of Creative BackStage, who has been involved in Tempe’s 4th July fireworks festival’s stage show for 18 years, knows how to handle the setting’s natural elements. (The date has extra-special significance for him, since Creative BackStage was founded 15 years ago on 4th July.) He convinced the festival’s organisers to switch from a motorised roof to a Stageline to account for sudden desert storms, and he keeps all gear fanned and shaded to protect against the heat. Keeping cool this year, while serving up some red, white and blue hot looks for the six-hour festival, was a rig he anchored around Chauvet Professional fixtures.
Garberson used eight Maverick MK2 Spot and 24 Rogue R2 Wash moving fixtures in his rig, as well as five Strike 4 multi-formatted units and a collection of beams, along with LED video panels. Although the event didn’t start until 5pm on account of the heat, there was still plenty of daylight when the opening acts performed. (The fireworks didn’t begin until 9:20.) The output from these fixtures was bright enough to make an impact from the moment the first performers took the stage.
“Brightness is essential for us in an event like this,” said Garberson. “The Strike 4s are invaluable in this kind of setting, because they’re bright enough to show up even in daylight. We used them as blinders during the day to engage the crowd, then as nice warm white washes at night to set moods.”
Garberson positioned his Strike 4 units on downstage truss along with eight of his Rogue R2 Wash fixtures, which he used to wash the stage apron and the audience. He flew four of this Maverick MK2 Spot fixtures on upstage truss and had them create crossing patterns as well as down light performers.
The four remaining Maverick MK2 Spots, along with 16 Rogue R2 Wash units, were positioned on four pieces of truss that ran from downstage to upstage to create a greater sense of depth on stage, Garberson flew his downstage units higher than those that were positioned upstage on these truss structures. The two centre structures also converged upstage to add to the sense of depth.
“Given the size of the park, we wanted to create a sense of convergence on stage,” he said. “Pulling people into the center of the stage fostered a stronger connection between the performers and the audience.”
To account for the heat, set-up time was necessarily limited when Creative BackStage put together this rig. Garberson credits his crew for their work in efficiently putting together the stage at Tempe Lake Park.
“Our team of Elie Knight (lighting programmer), Maxine Kichler (rigger/L2), TJ Watson (video manager/center VJ), Jamie Rivera (video switcher), Johnny Chilcher (camera operator) and Wes Webb (camera operator) did excellent work under sometimes challenging circumstances,” said Garberson. “Heat is a very serious concern when it comes to this event each year. We never set or strike in the day, we start about pm, we work through the night and we strike 100 percent right after the event.”
Once the event is set up, heat can also be a factor impacting equipment. “I have seen many gear go down due to the heat in the past 18 years doing this event.,” said Garberson. “Fortunately, this year everything went off without a hitch and, just like the fireworks, our lighting got a lot of rave reviews.”
11th July 2018
MA celebrated Summer Nostos Festival: No limitations
Greece – The Summer Nostos Festival at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Centre (SNFCC) in Athens, is an arts, sports and education festival that is open to the public free of charge. Music, dance, sports, arts and architecture discussions, film and video screenings and programmes for children and families are combined for an entire week in June as part of a multi-faceted program of events for all ages. The Stavros Niarchos Foundation returned in 2018 for the fourth consecutive summer as the host, organiser and exclusive supporter, to the 'home' it created.
The Summer Nostos Festival encapsulates the idea of “nostos” (homecoming), the inexhaustible desire to return to all things familiar including emotions and places.
Lighting designer George Tellos of Lighting Art was relying on MA Lighting for his design and used a grandMA2 full-size with three grandMA2 light, two MA NPUs (Network Processing Units) and three MA NSP (Network Signal Processors) for control.
Tellos explained: “At the beginning of this year our office made a strategic change and switched our programmers to the grandMA2 family. This was the result of an ongoing discussion that started in 2017. We’re always looking forward to expanding the scope of our expression, and wanted no limitations that would slow down the process. We had some wonderful support and open discussions with MA Lighting so it just was a matter of the right time to make the switch.”
“Ultimately, what a machine can achieve does matter so much, but the more important aspect for us is the people behind it! At the Summer Nostos Festival we had to manage the control of a complicated system with around 30 DMX universes and long distances in between. At the same time the set-up should be as robust as possible. Taking all this in account the above facts, the options for the control were quite limited. Therefore we choose MA lighting as the best one.”
“Summer Nostos Festival was staged for the fourth consecutive year and is known as the busiest and best festival in south-east Europe,” continued Tellos. “Over eight days it attracted over 125,000 visitors with its five stages and the park illumination. Our challenge was to design and illuminate all these separate shows within a limited timetable. To do this we used Lighting Art’s pre-programming suite and five lighting programmers (one per stage) one lighting director and our internal lighting producer / co-ordinator. We are familiar with working under this kind of pressure and in developing and managing the design phases across multiple places simultaneously. For example our team brought its experiences from events like the Eurovision Song Contest and the Olympic Games Opening and Closing Ceremonies. That helped a lot!”
Panos Tsevrenis (Lighting Art) worked as lighting programmer. The production was realised by ViewMaster Films. Costas Charalambides was the technical director, Yannis Zarganis the producer. Nick Charalambides worked as head of video while Eugine Tzafestas was the lighting director and Irene Samartzi the lighting coordinator.
PRG XL Video, Germany, and United Technical Group, Greece, provided the lighting equipment. Bon Studio S.A. is the exclusive distributor of MA Lighting in Greece.
11th July 2018
No Summer Holidays for TiMax
Europe – With the busiest outdoor event production schedule ever, it looks like there’ll be no summer holidays for TiMax spatial audio systems this year. Alongside long-running premium West End and Broadway shows which continue to fill theatres, TiMax features in at least eight very diverse spatial sound designs across Europe, complete with some interesting new developments for the evolutionary spatial audio platform.
First up is Maria de Buenos Aires performed by Austria’s Oper Graz in an old jail complex which is part of the city’s Kasematten castle. The venue almost resembles a conventional theatre auditorium but with an ingenious retractable roof. TiMax SoundHub and Tracker were jointly specified by acoustic consultant Fabio Kaiser of Rohde Acoustics and immersive audio specialist Volker Verner of PDV Records Og. The system was the first of a collaborative hybrid integration of TiMax real-time dynamic spatial reinforcement driving multi-dimensional Amadeus spatial reverberation to fully envelop and captivate the audience. Fabio Kaiser commented: “We had tremendous feedback from audience, conductor, singers and critics.”
For Germany’s Schwerin Schlossfestspiele, longs-tanding TiMax rental partners Neumann & Müller have again deployed their TiMax systems for spatial reinforcement across the huge lakeside stage, supporting the Mecklenburgisches Staatstheater’s fascisti-themed production of Tosca. As with Graz, the TiMax Soundhub’s dsp processing uses the platform’s powerful new FPGA core processor, offering significantly expanded variable delay memory and new ultra-transparent, proprietary image morphing algorithms for seamless TiMax Tracker real-time spatialisation. Sound designer and N&M senior projects manager Omar Samhoun remarked of the new platform developments: “I must congratulate TiMax for the new update, it’s really a very good step forward.” Samhoun will also roll out the new system for arena-scale spatialisation of the Dolce Vita operatic show with the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra at the city’s 22,000 capacity Waldbühne open-air amphitheatre.
The perennial Swiss Thunerseefestspiele lakeside floating stage this year hosts a lively performance of Mamma Mia!, with fully-tracked TiMax spatial reinforcement crafted by sound designer Thomas Strebel and his audiopool crew, assisted on-site by Out Board’s Robin Whittaker. The show also benefits from the enhanced spatialisation algorithms incorporated in the groundbreaking new TiMax FPGA core development.
Over at Germany’s Erfurt Domfestspiele Neumann & Müller are once again adding a touch of their fully-tracked TiMax spatial reinforcement and immersion speciality to a modernist production of Carmen staged on the 70mx40m steps alongside the town’s impressive cathedral.
This year’s Basel Tattoo features TiMax once again, in its 13th consecutive year of marching band localisation and musical timing management, crewed by sound designer Thomas Strebel’s audiopool team and assisted on-site by Out Board’s Dave Haydon. Parts of the show then ship over to the UK for the world-renowned Edinburgh Tattoo, with Seb Frost sound designing, both outings also feature the new TiMax bespoke FPGA’s core and ground-breaking 500-Series StageSpace spatial rendering tools.
Finally back in Olten, Switzerland, audiopool sound designer Markus Luginbühl and project engineer Lukas Kalim from Winkler Livecom have chosen TiMax for spatial reinforcement of 100 actors with audience on three sides, for musical theatre productions of 1918. CH – 100 Jahre Landesstreik, marking the 100-year anniversary of Switzerland’s historic and only general strike.
11th July 2018
Wahnsinn – The Wolfgang Petry Musical is Even Louder, Thanks to DPA’s New CORE Amplifier Technology
Germany–Wahnsinn – The Wolfgang Petry Musical has become the first theatrical production to rely entirely on DPA’s recently launched CORE by DPA miniature headset microphones.
Launched to huge critical acclaim in 2017, CORE by DPA has already been adopted as standard by many key live sound and broadcast rental companies. This list includes German company Feedback Show Systems and Services, which supplied the audio equipment for the touring production of Wahnsinn.
Bernd Schmitz, managing director of Feedback, says: “We supplied 30 d:fine CORE 4066 omnidirectional headset microphones for this show because the audio team needed the extra headroom they provide. DPA’s new CORE by DPA amplifier technology helps to minimise distortion and increase dynamic range so they were the ideal choice for a show that is renowned for being very loud. They also provide water and moisture resistance, which is important when you are fitting them to actors who moving around under hot lights.”
DPA developed its CORE by DPA amplifier technology to create an even clearer sound from the ‘highest of the highs’ to the ‘lowest of the lows.’ CORE by DPA is currently available in the d:screet 4060, 4061, 4062, 4160 and 4161 miniature microphones, d:fine 4066, 4088, 4166, 4266, 4188 and 4288 headset microphones, as well as d:vote 4099 instrument microphones mics.
Wahnsinn, which means Madness in German, features the hits of Wolfgang Petry, a popular German singer whose 30 year career has resulted in numerous gold and platinum discs for record sales exceeding 12 million. He has also won many awards including "successful soloist German Pop/Schlager", which he won ten times in a row.
Wahnsinn premiered in Duisburg earlier this year and has also been performed in other German cities including Berlin. It will continue its run into 2019.Cedric Beatty, who is responsible for the show’s sound design, says he and production engineer Dennis Dackweiler are delighted with the new CORE by DPA headsets.
“They sound great,” he says. “The show is loud, but the vocals still sound very natural and the extra headroom means that we can bring the vocals up a step in the mix. The different boom lengths are also useful, and the headset is particularly good for smaller heads because there is less clutter in the nape of the neck.”
11th July 2018
AO Creative Ensures Emaar's 'Light Up 2018' Spectacle Breaks all Records
UAE – The Burj Khalifa's transformation into the world's tallest World Cup scoreboard is stunning fans in Dubai and around the world. During each match, the 828-metre high building's 1.2 million LEDs act as pixels to display a live stream of updates, and light up with the flag of the winning nation. This is just the latest innovation at the world's tallest skyscraper, which continues to establish itself as a focus for world-class technology and events.
Six months ago, it all kicked off with a spectacular New Year's Eve 'Light Up 2018' launch, masterminded by Emaar Properties and realised by AO Creative that broke from all conventions to stage a Guinness world record-breaking, multimedia light and sound show.
Emaar Properties' ambitious vision for the New Year's Eve event was fulfilled by AO Creative, the creative division of Arts Outdoor Lighting Technology. More than one million people descended on Dubai to watch it live. In addition, over 2.5 billion viewers saw it through live TV broadcasts and online streams.
Always willing to embrace a new challenge, AO Creative's open-minded approach, combined with its expertise in delivering unrivalled and unique multimedia design solutions and full production, meant that it was Emaar Properties' partner of choice to deliver Dubai's 2018 New Year message.
From the outset, Emaar Properties' vision was to create the most advanced and visually exciting New Year countdown on the planet. At times space warping, the immersive installation visually remodelled the 828-metre-tall Burj Khalifa tower and its surrounding area, enabling audiences to see Dubai from a whole new perspective.
AO Creative executive producer, Marco Niedermeier explains: "Our task was to deliver 'the biggest show in the world' and make a positive, lasting impression, not only on the guests celebrating in Downtown Dubai, but on the entire world. Emaar Properties' idea was to create a spectacle on a different scale from the usual New Year's Eve celebration. They trusted in our ability to deliver, and gave us complete licence to develop this fresh, radical concept."
The result was an atmospheric fusion of fountains, light, sound and video. Inspirational content included Arabic calligraphy, geometric designs and the story of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the UAE's first president. The LED façade of the tower acted as the central storytelling element, while sharp beams of light framed the building's distinctive shape.
Show production designer for AO Creative, Jerry P. Appelt elaborates: "We had 109,252 square metres of LED screen area to work with and we used the spectacular height and shape of the skyscraper as accents for a huge, complementary light show that extended the video images far into the surrounding atmosphere."
The challenges of rigging an event on such a massive scale were considerable. Working at extreme heights, AO Creative's team of design engineers and technicians were tasked with framing the entire building with powerful light beams and installing a crane at the very pinnacle to create a platform capable of supporting three heavy laser units and three huge outdoor searchlights.
"The challenges were countless and varied," says Niedermeier. "Although we had five months from start to finish, the on site team could only install the hardware during the final two months, often in very tough and restrictive conditions."
Once the installation was in place, ideally the creative team would have run the show in its entirety many times over. However, the content and its nature had to be kept secret until New Year's Eve. This was never going to be easy when the canvas is visible from across the city and beyond!
To maintain secrecy, viewing time was restricted to twenty-second segments of the show, and relied on the skill of the creative team to ensure any anomalies were ironed out well before the show ran in full at 11:59pm on New Year's Eve 2017.
Niedermeier sums up the response of AO Creative's team on the night: "Seeing the event in its entirety for the first time on New Year's Eve was emotional. To watch it being played out on technology we had specified and installed in such challenging circumstances, was incredibly rewarding. The joy was, it worked exactly as we had envisaged."
Emaar's Light Up 2018 not only conquered a massive creative and technical task but set a breath-taking milestone by breaking the Guinness world record for the biggest lighting installation in the world for a New Year event. In all it took 280 moving lights rigged around the frame of the building, along with LED screen and special outdoor beam lights rigged on the façade edges to deliver. Around 550 fixtures were used in total, many of them having to be dismantled to fit in the lifts and then rebuilt in their rigging location. In addition, AO Creative managed a team of over 300 specialist engineers, riggers and technicians, who built and installed nearly 120 tons of equipment and ran over 29 kilometres of cabling.
So huge was the show's impact that the installation was extended for the celebrations of the Chinese New Year. AO Creative delivered a brand new narrative and video, sound and light content for the night, following which the original production extended its run until 31st March 2018.
photos: Ralph Larmann
11th July 2018
Robe Keeps Arsenal Posted
Belgium – Small fixtures are a solution for so many different scenarios where space is tight and weight loading is low, and Robe’s Pointes, Spikies, Spiiders, LEDWash 300s and CycFX 8s proved themselves invaluable when lighting designer Wouter Vebeke had to squeeze a somewhat ambitious lighting rig into Mercardo, Antwerp, for the band Arsenal’s new album launch.
Wouter has worked with Arsenal (the name came from a World War II weapons depository adjacent to their studio in Brussels) since 2011. They are one of the most popular bands in Belgium, known for their dynamic mix of electronic music and fusion of multiple genres to create a unique sound that’s earned much international acclaim.
They wanted a special location for the launch of their sixth studio album “In the Rush of Shaking Shoulders”, an album which explores themes and theories related to chaos versus structure. After throwing many ideas about, band leader Hendrick Willemyns hit on the Mercado. Originally part of a grand city centre post office building and more recently reinvented as a funky indoor food market, Mercado is used as an event space, and is on the Groenplaats, right in the heart of the city.
The challenges were many! With ten band members and a small stage, space was always going to be an issue. The band wanted to create a jungle on stage as a metaphor for the ‘chaos’ part of the new album, so a veritable forest of greenery and plants made up the stage set!
Added to that, two emergency exits either side of the stage needed to remain clear, rigging was limited and the ceiling was low – all of which were key to the evolution of the lighting design along with the ‘Squeezability’ factor which enabled him to shoehorn 80 Robe moving lights plus other fixtures into the venue!
Wouter extensively researched the available lighting positions and from that, a lighting plot gradually emerged. He also wanted to weave the unique setting of the venue into the overall aesthetics of the gig.
A heavy frosted glass ceiling is another feature of the venue. In a gig set-up it is immediately above the audience, which meant that daylight would be flooding in for part of the show. However Wouter also seized on this to create a special ambience and some way cool lighting effects for the jungle.
The Robe lighting fixtures he chose were all small and versatile, with 25 Pointes, six Spiiders, 20 Spikies, 19 LEDWash 300s and eight CycFX 8s, all supplied by rental company Splendit.
He wanted to create a strong structural form with the lighting that was juxtaposed against the unpredictability and surprise of the jungle, for which he needed lines.
In terms of lighting, Wouter feels Robe’s Pointe perfectly personifies a line – a neat, powerful clearly defined shaft or line of light which can be affected, changed and varied.
The flexibility of the Pointe meant he could use them as back-lights and the speed and their multi-functional characteristics allowed him to effectively get four different lights from the same units.
The 25 Pointes were rigged on a mid truss, a back truss which was hidden by the foliage and on the floor.
The CycFX 8s were positioned on the floor left and right and illuminated the tangle of trees and plants.
Wouter mapped the individual LED pixels in these and created an abundance of sparkly, twinkling effects on the foliage. The light from the CycFX 8s also had to generally find its way through the density of the jungle which produced some interesting and unexpected lighting effects.
The LEDWash 300s proved perfect for front lighting. “Small enough not to disturb the sightlines, and well powerful enough to do the job,” says Wouter with some satisfaction. LEDWash 300s also lit the jungle elements from the front, where he needed a tiny fixture with a large zoom.
The 20 Spikies were rigged on four Totems in the side-stage boom positions, five Spikies in a vertical line on each truss section. The tiny size of the fixture made it a perfect fit for ensconcing between the structural pillars of the building along the sides of the stage.
Wouter loves the Spikie for its speed, the flower effect and the big front lens. Being in close proximity to the band, low heat emission was also a benefit.
The Spiiders were installed above the glass roof outside the building and enabled him to colour the glass and throw lighting into the room from outside, so as the sun set, he could compensate with artificial lighting. Some surprises for the audience included a strobing ceiling during the later stages of the set, although the one slight regret was he “could not run DMX to the sun.” Still, it all adds to the fun leaving a few things to chance!
The gig was a massive success and created a lot of excitement and anticipation for the album.
The unconventional venue and the jungle set was an inventive combination and Wouter enjoyed finding new solutions to light the show and create the right mood as well as the programming process for each song, working out which lights worked best with the music in an inspiring environment.
He used a ChamSys console for control and there were also some strobes, LED strobes, blinders, plus LED PARs on the floor in addition to all the Robes.
Wouter has been a lighting professional since 1999 and has used Robe moving lights for a long time, the first ones being the ColorSpot 250 series. “It was a great light at the time, and of course the technology has since developed and enabled the design of fixtures that we could only have dreamed of back then.”
He’s worked extensively with all Robe’s LEDWash series luminaires, which started in 2010 with the launch of the LEDWash 600, and right now his favourite Robes are the LEDBeam 150, Spiider, Spikie and, “of course”, the MegaPointe!
He thinks it’s been great to see Robe grow into one of the biggest and most prominent moving light brands. “It’s the consistent high quality, functionality and reliability of the fixtures that is most important for me,” he concludes.
photos: Louise Stickland
10th July 2018
DiGiCo SD10 give Vance Joy consistently good sound
USA – With his song Riptide a huge international hit, sold-out stadium tours with Taylor Swift, and a current tour that is covering the US, Australia, South America and Europe, Australian singer songwriter Vance Joy’s story is one of continuing success, which comes with the need for a world-class monitor engineer. For Vance, this is Mani Hammond, who has been working with him ever since August 2014. He is deploying a DiGiCo SD10 provided, along with the rest of the audio equipment, by British rental company Encore PA.
Mani started his career on analogue desks, but when he made the move to digital and a DiGiCo SD9, he found the transition an easy one and when Encore purchased an SD10 two years ago Mani decided to give it a try. He has found it the perfect console for the job, citing the high fader count as one of its major benefits and has been touring it with Vance ever since.
“I like having lots of faders as I don’t like changing banks,” he says. “Having 32 faders in front of you makes everything easily accessible.”
Mani is running 12 channels of in ears and is using the onboard reverbs and just a few Waves plug ins, liking to keep things as simple as possible. He has up to 52 channels of inputs including drums, bass, acoustic and electric guitar, keys, and a horns section, with the inclusion of a B stage increasing the channel count slightly.
“We are carrying most of the PA throughout the tour and we’ve managed to take the control package everywhere with us, which has given us great consistency and, because we’re running on Optocore now, we also have total redundancy,” says Mani. “It has been very solid, and the sound quality is fantastic.”
Mani admits he does not use the SD10 to its full extent, ignoring functions such as Snapshots because the band likes to make every night unique and because Mani prefers to mix freehand.
“There are many powerful features to this desk I am not taking full advantage of! The on screen Aux to Fader mode has been great however, making it really easy to change multiple mixes simultaneously while never loosing focus on the main mix.”
As Vance uses several acoustic guitars and ukuleles, being able to re-call EQ presets has been really useful.
“The sound of the guitars changes according to how well-used its strings are, as well as the temperature and humidity of the room, so I have a bunch of EQs set up for various situations – fresh strings / worn strings / hot or cold temperature,” Mani continues. “Also, Vance’s guitar playing can go from delicate finger picking to strumming pretty hard very quickly throughout the set. It’s really dynamic, so the Dynamic EQ and Dynamic Comps have been extremely useful in getting these peaks under control.”
Mani is also making use of a DiGiGrid MGB interface to record the show onto his laptop using the input switch function, which allows him to do virtual soundchecks.
“Again, because the acoustic guitars can change so dramatically with all the temperature and dynamic variables, it’s been hugely useful to being able to change settings on the SD10 via virtual soundchecks without needing Vance on stage any longer than he needs to be,” Mani adds.
Having just played Denver’s Red Rocks, double weekend Coachella main stage slots and with many more exciting shows on the books, everything is looking good for Vance and his team. And, with the ever popular SD10 as a permanent fixture, they can be sure that each show will be as great sounding as the last.
10th July 2018
RKDE’s new Ayrton Ghibli fixtures are flying off the shelves
USA – No sooner had LA-based RKDE taken delivery of Ayrton Ghibli fixtures from ACT Lighting, Inc. than the LED spot luminaires were quickly dispatched to E3’s trade show floor and then to the American Idol Live nationwide tour.
For nearly 30 years, RKDE has provided production for festivals, tours, automotive events, corporate conventions, television productions, private events and religious services. The boutique company maintains an extensive inventory of lighting, staging, audio and video equipment.
“We were looking for new technology; we wanted to get away from standard lamps, which are expensive to maintain and replace,” says RKDE’s owner, Ray Woodbury, a long-time production professional. “We wanted a fixture with the output and capabilities that would surpass traditional lamp fixtures and that’s exactly what Ghibli gives us.”
Ghibli is Ayrton’s first LED spot luminaire with a factory-equipped framing system, and delivers a light output of 23,000 lumens in a highly compact format. Its proprietary optical system produces an extremely uniform fat beam with no hot spot. Ghibli’s selection of gobos and colours was made in collaboration with lighting designers to meet the needs of the entertainment industry.
“I’ve always liked Ayrton’s extremely innovative fixtures, but we’ve never owned any,” says Woodbury. “ACT demo’d Ghibli in our shop, with one of my clients attending, and we were pretty astounded at what the fixture was able to do. We put Ghibli up against some other lights, and it beat them hands down.”
Woodbury was impressed by Ghibli’s output, framing capabilities, gobos and quality of colours. “I like the colour saturation, wide palette and the ease of getting the colours you want,” he reports. “We’ve been doing a lot of shows that require framing capabilities, too: the USC’s opera programme, the Long Beach Opera, trade shows and corporate events.”
He notes that recently clients have been asking for Ghibli by name. “Matt Shimamoto of Volt Lites requested them for the E3 trade show floor. And lighting designer Butch Allen specified them for the American Idol tour. People already know and like these fixtures.”
Woodbury says RKDE plans to buy more Ghibli units to meet the expected demand for additional fixtures. “Compared to other fixtures they are not price-prohibitive, especially when you consider the expenses associated with lamp fixtures,” he says.
He gives kudos to ACT Lighting for being ‘very client-oriented’ in its service. “Aaron Hubbard is a really knowledgeable guy who demo’d Ghibli for us with full confidence in the product,” says Woodbury. “ACT also helped us develop financial terms that assisted in our purchase.”
ACT Lighting, Inc. is the exclusive distributor of Ayrton lighting in North America.
10th July 2018
White Light is Simply the Best for TINA – The Tina Turner Musical
UK – One of the best-selling artists of all time, Tina Turner’s fascinating life story has now been turned into a stage show with TINA – The Tina Turner Musical. Written by Olivier Award-winning playwright Katori Hall, the show charts Tina’s humble beginnings in Nutbush, Tennesee to her transformation into the global Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll. The show is playing at the Aldwych Theatre in London’s West End and as a leading lighting supplier to some of the biggest shows in the country, White Light was called upon to provide the lighting equipment.
TINA – The Tina Turner Musical is directed by the internationally-acclaimed Phyllida Lloyd and features a lighting design by Bruno Poet. Bruno comments: “My brief for the show was to help tell this extraordinary story and make the performers come alive within Mark Thompson’s elegant design. The set frames the actors beautifully and is very stripped back, with the focus being on the human story. There are also around 40 scenes in different locations, and the lighting needs to support that sense of time and place. Added to this were several concert scenes so I had to create a design that matched this energy.”
To achieve this, Bruno approached WL in order to draw on his ideal rig. He explains: “It was a combination of experimenting with new units that I felt might be useful in combination with tried and tested favourites. I was really keen to move away from discharge light sources and more towards the latest LED fixtures. I also needed a really flexible rig that could offer a full-on concert experience at the end of the show, but also work with the more nuanced, delicate scenes. I was also determined to have a very quiet rig. Even a musical has quiet moments and hearing fan noise is a personal pet hate of mine.”
The equipment Bruno drew on included the LED MAC Encore Cold, the VL550, the MAC Aura XB, GLP X4 Battens and the ETC Source Four Lustr 2s. He explains: “With the MAC Encore Cold, this is the first LED source I’ve found that gives the cold discharge look of something like a MAC Viper but can also do a convincing tungsten warm. With the Auras, these have great zoom range, brilliant colours and can be used for punchy, beamy looks. The set design cried out for curtains of light and the GLP X4 Battens allowed me to achieve this, while taking up virtually no space in the grid. I also drew on Portman P2s for the big concert finale, along with Claypaky Sharpys. The desk I drew on was an EOS which I often draw on for theatre productions.”
The decision to what type of lighting equipment to draw on was much discussed in the pre-production stages of the show. Bruno explains: “As the show spans several decades, we did contemplate, using equipment and styles that would be accurate from that timeline. However, looking at this in detail we realised that this could be very dull for a modern audience! That said, I did make myself some ground rules – you don’t see moving lights moving until we get to the late 1980s”.
TINA – The Tina Turner Musical has now opened to critical acclaim and has already been extended to February 2019. Bruno comments: “This was a fantastic production to be a part of. I was supported by an amazing team which included Max Narula as associate, Warren Letton as programmer and Sam Floyd as production electrician. I really enjoyed collaborating with Jeff Sugg, the video and projection designer, as this was one of those shows where lights and projection worked as one. Similarly, I was surrounded by a brilliant stage management team, especially Sarah Seymour our DSM whose calling of the finale is poetic and a masterclass in timing.”
photos: Manuel Harlan
10th July 2018
Mike Grabowski Lights Unique SNY Studios at 4 World Trade Center with Chauvet Professional
USA – SNY Studios at 4 World Trade Center, the home of the New York Mets, has one of the most unique settings for a broadcast studio anywhere. Located on the 50th floor of 4 World Trade Center, the studio offers breathtaking views of Manhattan below. For all its glamour and excitement, though, the skyscraper venue presents challenges when it comes to lighting broadcasts.
Having enough output during the day to stand out against the open-air background without bouncing light off windows is essential to making the studio’s system work; so too is having solid low ends when broadcasting at night. Mike Grabowski of the Lighting Design Group met these and other challenges at the state-of-the-art SNY 4 studio with help from over 300 Chauvet Professional Ovation fixtures.
“SNY’s Studio 42, numbered after baseball great Jackie Robinson, has a unique environment because it’s up so high,” said Grabowski. “Unlike other windowed studios in New York, which are located on the first or second floor, this one is 50 storeys up, so you have a lot of open sky. Given the location of the studio, we needed fixtures that are great at the high end and able to produce a lot of clean bright light for daytime shows. Then at night, we wanted those same fixtures to have solid low ends at about ten foot-candles, so we could light the set while still having all the twinkling lights of the city be visible in the background.”
The output and low-end capabilities of the Ovation fixtures were not the only features that made them invaluable in this installation. Grabowski also placed a premium on their color rendering capabilities.
“There are two other studios in this complex besides Studio 42,” said Grabowski. “Both of them are numbered after Mets players: Studio 31 for Mike Piazza and Studio 41 for Tom Seaver. “Everything here is sports themed, so colour fidelity is essential. We need to reproduce sports team colours like Jets Green and Mets Orange. It can’t be kind of like those colours, it has to be those exact colours. So, we need a great deal of finesses in our lighting, which is exactly what the Ovations have delivered.”
SNY’s lighting system utilises 316 Ovation E-910FC ellipsoidal fixtures, 24 of which have 19° lenses, 50 with 26° lenses, 191 with 36° lenses and 51 with 50° lenses. “The Ovations are distributed throughout all three studios, so they fill a very wide variety of roles,” said Grabowski. “They make up all of the talent light and many of the scenic accents. Every highlight on the metal panels in Studio 31 (the Mike Piazza studio) is created by an Ovation fixture. Really, you can’t look at a shot on SNY without seeing something that is driven by the Ovation fixtures.”
Studio 31 serves as a 'chameleon' at the station, notes Grabowski. Serving a variety of functions, it is painted in neutral greys and neutral metal accents, but through its lighting can turn from authentic Mets Orange to Jets Green or any other colour depending on programming requirements. The design in Studio 41 is more directly driven by the look of Citi Field, home of the Mets.
“We need to reproduce the colours and accents of the stadium to bring that flavour into Studio 41,” said Grabowski. “The Ovations gave us this capability. What makes this even more impressive is that a lot of the scenery we want to show off goes to the ceiling or pretty close to it, so short yoking is a must.”
Also, a must in this project was that all fixtures in the three studios be powered by LED engines. “We knew we needed to go all LED, because of the amount talent positions and surfaces in the room,” said Grabowski. “Our lights needed to be workhorses that didn’t produce excessive heat. The Ovations did this, plus they have a full spectrum of colour, which allows us to pivot more easily and move between lighting scenery and talent, all while meeting the needs of this very unique broadcast setting.”
10th July 2018
Golden Opportunity for RoboSpots
Taiwan – The 29th edition of the Golden Melody Award (GMAs) staged in the 15,000 seat Taipei Arena presented a golden opportunity for Robe’s RoboSpot remote followspotting system to show its flexibility and scope, this was the first time it’s been used in Taiwan.
Organised by Taiwan’s Ministry of Culture, the GMAs recognises outstanding singing achievements in Mandarin, Taiwanese, Hakka and Formosan languages in both the popular and traditional music industries, attracting artists and audience from all over Asia. Moderated by Jam Hsiao, the 2018 show was broadcast live by Taiwan national TV throughout South-East Asia.
Hong Kong based LD Stanley Szeto lit the show, working for the Artesian Engineering Co Ltd.
Stanley is a long-time user of Robe products, so when asked to design lighting for this event, he seized the chance to use Robe Pointes on the rig to create some of the spectacular scenes and effects. He also decided to show-test Robe’s new RoboSpot system.
The RoboSpots were a recent investment by locally based company Aurora Lighting from Taipei, and although he’d not actually seen the system in action as yet, Stanley had every faith that, being a Robe product, he would get the required results.
“We were keen to break new ground, this is a high profile show and it’s important to push the envelope when it comes to technology,” he stated.
Scotty Chen from Aurora added: “The front followspot positions in the Arena are not the best, so unless we cut into the seating areas we have to fly a bridge to accommodate both hardware and the operators, with all the issues that this brings! The RoboSpots effectively eliminated all of that.”
The option to rig three remotely operated follow spots that were needed, closer to the stage, in a perfect position and without compromising on seating capacity, was joy to the organiser’s ears, as well as giving the operators a far more comfortable and safer place from which to work, i.e. backstage with their RoboSpot BaseStations.
The three near-stage RoboSpots were individual BMFL FollowSpots with integral cameras and they were used as backlight for the forestage and side keylights throughout the show.
Everyone was delighted at how easily they integrated into the overall lighting design without having to allow space for an operator. “There was really nowhere on the rig for near-stage followspots and operators to go, especially in the positions where they were needed,” emphasised Scotty. “With all the flying video panels making up the set it would have also been dangerous to have people in the roof in these positions.”
“Operating from backstage using the RoboSpot BaseStations it was hard to miss the smiles on the RoboSpot op’s faces whilst watching their counterparts on the FOH followspots climbing up and abseiling down from their platform,” confirmed Jens Poehlker, MD of Robe Asia Pacific. “The show lasted a good five hours and we all know what that means for a person stuck on a platform high above the audience!”
Aurora work on a lot of corporate shows, and Scotty immediately recognised the potential of RoboSpots for these and other scenarios. With support from the Robe AP office and Jackson Yu from technical partner DLHG, he trained the GMA operators “in five minutes”.
Zooming especially proved to be a highly desirable feature, allowing operators to target their BMFL FollowSpots very accurately. They much preferred it over the traditional cross-hair method, and Scotty also confirmed his plan to implement the Multi Device Control feature in the latest RoboSpot system software versions in the very near future.
The benefits for him were clear – with dimmer, iris and frost in the hands of the operator, and the ability to have overall control for central operations from the lighting console, is a win-win scenario that ultimately gives LDs a greater choice of fixtures that can be used for followspotting.
photos: Jens Poehlker
9th July 2018
Chauvet Professional Maverick MK2 Spot Provides Visual Licks for Forth Valley Blues Festival
Australia – The soul-stirring power of blues music knows no national boundaries. Memphis may be over 10,000 miles away, but every year, the town of Forth (population 700) resonates with sounds reminiscent of Beal Street as it plays host to the Forth Valley Blues Festival. This year, the thousands of visitors who descended on the event were treated to an impressive display of blues virtuosity by artists like Mark Seymour of Hunters & Collectors fame and Guitar Extravaganza featuring Kevin Borich, Phil Emmanuel and Tim Gaze.
Setting an appropriately evocative mood for the festival was an intensely powerful and richly textured light show designed by Michael Westcott that featured Chauvet Professional Maverick MK2 Spot fixtures, supplied by Show Systems Australia.
Westcott flew eight of the 440W moving LED fixtures over the festival’s main stage, half on upstage truss and half on midstage truss. Controlling the fixtures via sACN and drawing on features like their three-facet prism and slot-and-lock gobo wheels, he used them to create overlapping patterns that added a sense of depth to the stage. Varying these patterns helped him create a continuous flow of unique looks.
“Given that there are 14 bands performing on the main stage over a 48-hour period, it can be a challenge to keep each band looking fresh and unique without recycling the same looks and dynamics over and over again,” said Westcott. “Thankfully with the Maverick’s armament of features we always had another trick up our sleeve. The wide zoom ( 13º – 37º ) was particularly useful in helping us vary the looks we created.”
Westcott was also impressed with the output of the Maverick fixtures. “The intensity ensured that I could easily make an impact on stage,“ he said. “We turned up our lighting volume to match particularly powerful parts of the musical performances.”
Given the relentless festival schedule, reliability was, of course, central to Adam’s considerations when looking for an appropriate spot light to specify for his rig. The Maverick’s tour-ready construction proved in this case to be the perfect match.
“The great thing about these fixtures is that they always come up trumps, no matter what challenges you throw at them,” said Wescott, singing the praises of his “lighting instrument” in much the same way that the artists on stage speak of their beloved guitars.
photos: Tim McLaren and Anne Ponsonby
9th July 2018
Claypaky pushes the boundaries for exclusive Belgium light installation
Belgium - Light Moves was a stunning indoor 'son et lumière' (sound and light) installation designed and produced by Koert Vermeulen, an award-winning lighting designer and founder of Belgium-based international lighting design agency ACTLD. Appearing for one night only in the Gothic remains of an abandoned church in the centre of Brussels, Belgium, the installation featured the Claypaky Sharbar as star product, amongst a range of other fixtures from the leading Italian brand.
Originating in France, son et lumière shows focus on historic architecture and places of interest, with light shows set to music. For Light Moves, Vermeulen brought the outside in, drawing from his knowledge of the relationship between light and human emotion to create an intimate, ten-minute show for his guests.
"I know the kinds of sensation you can bring using light," says Vermeulen, who has designed many son et lumière shows throughout his career. "I used light as an implicit storytelling tool. I wanted to evoke senses and moods that facilitated the audience's connection to their own emotions. That can be beautifully done with just lighting and sound, there is no need to use explicit storytelling means such as projection or LED video content."
With no large video element to take the lead and a desire to do justice to the venue's distinct architecture and intimate surroundings, the quality of light produced by the selected fixtures was high on the agenda. Vermeulen chose to work with Claypaky, whose high-quality products he trusted to deliver. He selected versatile fixtures from the brand in a bid to keep fixture types to a minimum and preserve the integrity of the church's interior.
"I selected the SharBar to highlight the architecture of the arches that run along both sides of the nave," says Vermeulen. "I also used the fixtures to light the choir section of the church, placing them in a triangular formation on the floor, receding them into the back of the church. The fixture's engineering allows you to create a particular multi-beam effect that you cannot replicate with another baton fixture. It is such a novelty in terms of its visual output - straight away when I saw it I thought, 'wow, I want this!'."
Vermeulen refers to the SharBar's unique ability to direct each of its six light beams independently through a series of six motorized, double-mirrored optical units. This ability is perfect for when a designer wishes to create multi-beam effects without bringing in additional fixtures.
Also playing a key role was the Claypaky Stormy, "I wanted the Stormy for a wash fixture, even though it is designed as an LED strobe," says Vermeulen. "It has a special character to it that is not easy to find in the typical LED washes that you find around. This means it can wash and strobe and this quality allowed me to bring a really interesting element to the show."
Adding further texture to the space was an IVL lighting system from specialists Minuit Une. Vermeulen used the system in conjunction with the SharBar, Stormy, Claypaky Sharpy Wash and Claypaky Sharpy to expand and contract the space inside the venue. Across the floor of the church and in between the arches were Boogie LED 'flameless' candles, fixtures designed and developed ACTLD.
Vermeulen concludes, "I think it is very natural to want to push the boundaries of your passion and it is how we work at ACTLD. It is gratifying in a way, it's what makes us tick, it's what makes us take on all the extra hours, the stress and the long nights!"
The Claypaky lighting equipment was supplied by AED Belgium, the brand's official distributor for Belgium.
5th July 2018
GLP X4 Bar 20 Provides More Than a Flicker for Niall Horan
Lighting director Dave Lee has been working with Niall Horan since the very first One Direction show at Watford Colosseum to the band’s final performance in Sheffield, and following last year’s Promo tour, is now constantly on tour with original band member, Niall Horan as a solo artist. “In five years I have never really stopped working with him,” he says.
On the Irish singer’s current Flicker World Tour, Lee has been touring with 38 of GLP’s award-winning X4 Bar 20s, supplied by rental partner LCR. He found these perfect to help extend a stage set originally conceived last year, depicting an acoustic studio look, with lots of sound proof acoustic foam set pieces, tungsten lighting and big rugs as a floor covering.
He switched his original spec to GLP’s versatile battens after seeing them on a car launch for the Jaguar F-PACE car (on which he was running lasers). “There were two lines of around 100 Bars each and I thought ‘hell they move fast … What are they?’ I was blown away!”
He says that Mike Oates at LCR — the designer’s regular supply source — was able to meet the full lighting spec with no substitutions for the UK and European legs.
The GLP inventory is used in two blocks, there are 10 fixtures on the floor in a straight line behind the band “to give that lovely thin line that gets broken up by the band.” The remaining 28 battens are set as a ‘wall of lights’, arranged in four rows of seven. “I curved my back truss at the point where they hang from so I can get a focus onto stage; the band plays within 30ft on a 60ft stage, so the curving helps me get the beams right into the band.”
Dave Lee says this fulfils his objective of achieving something more than just plain beams. “The brief was for a wall of lights and I thought the Bars could create something interesting … And they did just that!”
Running the fixtures in 88ch single pixel mode has added further creativity, showing off their supreme versatility. “I have them pixel mapped from the [Roadhog] Full Boar 4. He admits, “I get most of my effect from the Hog’s effects engine messing with their Buddying & Group Select. But to get some more randomised effects the Pixel Mapper is the only way.”
In summary, he says, the X4 Bar 20s have been a joy to work with. “They are ace to programme — with that good old GLP simplicity — and have worked flawlessly. In eight weeks not one unit has switched out — which is a relief as the 28 units rigged on the frames are a pain to get access to.”
As the tour goes global Dave Lee stresses the importance of fixture continuity and will be sure to pick up more Bars in each territory. “As programming time between different gear sets will be non-existent, I need to be able to walk in, patch and go.”
5th July 2018
Robe WOWS the Crowds
Belgium - Lighting designer Rik Uyttersprot from GRAViTY Design injected an edgy and raw lighting aesthetic to help showcase the stark bare stage production values of “WOW” at the Kortrijk Xpo in Belgium.
The performance comprised over 50 dance segments which were presented as the end of year work by classic and contemporary students from the Pirouette Dans School, one of the most famous dance and choreographic academies in Belgium.
Beautifully woven into the intense action and drama were 20 x Robe Spiider LED wash beams and 48 little LEDBeam 150 moving lights. These are part of a brand new purchase by Roeselare based lighting rental company La Strada Fashion which was delivered by Robe’s Benelux distributor, Controllux.
Rik has lit the annual Pirouette Dans show for over a decade and has worked with La Strada Fashion, which is owned by Roland D’Hondt, for around 18 years. La Strada will frequently hire Rik to work on the design elements of their lighting and visual projects.
Their primary market is the world of fashion, where they are acclaimed for adding drama, theatrical atmosphere and great production values to catwalks and runways as designers demand increasingly exciting and more ambitious presentations to help their creations stand out. La Strada has also built up a raft of premium corporate clients over the years.
However, it is cool site-specific and semi-industrial settings like Hall 4 at the Kortrijk complex where Rik really enjoys being experimental in the design and animating a show for a live audience.
Here the lighting has to become another dancer in each piece an environment so Rik can sculpt his moves to enhance the intensity, contrast and emotion of the work.
The Hall has plenty of weight loading, so a series of raked trusses were flown in the roof above the stage. There is also the benefit of plenty of space around the stage area which accommodated five high powered projectors positioned behind an upstage screen, adding images and moving footage to the action.
The Spiiders and LEDBeam 150s were dotted all over these and used for the top lighting – from creating beautiful intricate scenes to blunt single beams illuminating dancers, these units gave Rik all the dynamics he needed to light the diverse performance which plays three sold-out shows over a weekend every year.
He also used 12 of La Strada Fashion’s old Robe ColorSpot 700E AT fixtures in the show. While these are getting old now … they are still good for quite a few projects, and more importantly, underline the reliability and sheer build quality of the kit, as they were purchased at least a decade ago now!
“Every design for a show like this needs gobo breakup effects and they are still brilliant for this,” explained Rik.
The Spiiders have become a firm favourite to light runways during the fashion show season. Their precise colour temperature, high CRI and super-smooth hi grade LED sources make model-perfect face lighting and skin tones for the demanding fashion media facing off down the other end of the catwalk!
The LEDBeam 150 Rik likes for all of the above plus their tiny size … ideal for tucking away in some of the smaller venues for corporate or fashion events and in fact any space where there’s no room for long trusses.
Gone are the days when you used to have to need a large and standard venue to install a decent amount of professional stage lighting. With the focus on smaller fixtures, a whole new range of smaller, more interesting and idiosyncratic spaces can be utilised and well and appropriately lit.
“The level of sophistication with the LED sources is also impressive now,” says Rik, “You can have the softer tones of tungsten that everyone loves aesthetically as well as the crisp, brittle daylight that some designers want to show off the detail of their clothes on the catwalk – all from one fixture”.
The unforgiving world of fashion lighting also opened up substantially once homogenised LED engines reached the certain quality and availability levels. .
The creative challenge of lighting a show like WOW is the sheer intensity of the programming and lighting needed to get through the 50 different works encompassing a wide range of genres, from jazz to ballet, freestyle to contemporary. So apart from having many ideas ... he also needed the most flexible fixtures.
“Keeping creating new effects with lights is fun as well as demanding” he commented, “but I am VERY happy to be using the Spiiders and LEDBeam 150s … they bring so many options”.
The full extent of this most recent La Strada Fashion investment was 24 x Spiiders and 56 x LEDBeam 150s … and they are looking at CycFX 8s, MiniPointes and MegaPointes next.
They have an exclusively Robe moving light stock, which is basically down to Rik’s belief and commitment to the brand which he’s followed from early on in his career as a lighting professional.