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Modern Americana Delivered By Cutting-Edge Audio Technology: SES, Outline and the Avett Brothers at Red Rocks
Largest roof ever engineered by Milos
Romania – The Timeshift festival in Bucharest was the debut of the largest roof ever engineered and sold by Milos. The massive MR5 heavy-duty roof measured 31 x 18 metres and covered the main stage of the first edition of Timeshift Bucharest Music Festival, an event where technology and music come together to create something ground-breaking!
The Timeshift Music Festival was a four-day event held from 20th to 23rd July and featured a total of four stages, with the Milos MR5 roof covering the main stage. Featuring such world famous artists as David Guetta, DJ Snake and Bloc Party, Milos helped Timeshift ensure its mission of providing the means for its audience to “step into another dimension”!
The client for this project was A.S.C. Systems Sound & Light, based in Bucharest. A.S.C. SYSTEMS has been in operation for 17 years and is one of the most important rental companies in Romania for stage, lighting and sound equipment. The company's primary goal is to provide customers with solutions that meet their budget, without sacrificing quality, and delivering technical solutions that meet the highest standards.
When asked about his choice of the Milos M5 roof, A.S.C. co-owner Alex Oprita answered: “We’ve been working with Milos for the past ten years and that’s why we chose them. They have good products.” When speaking about value for money, Alex said: “It’s what we were hoping for.”
The highly customised MR5 roof was an intensive project that made full use of Area Four Industries’ technical sales service. Dipl.-Ing. (FH) Norbert Tripp, Area Four Industries technical director, carried out the engineering design for the roof and static calculations, including the substructure. At the beginning of the project, members of the A.S.C. team met with Norbert Tripp and Milan Kolousek (Milos sales representative) to define their requirements for the roof and agree on the most important details.
Norbert also worked closely with the team at German scaffolding company Layher, which provided the scaffold and stage decks for the roof. The Layher stage was an integral part of the roof and it was crucial to work closely with the Layher team to carry out all necessary engineering calculations.
The final structure delivered to A.S.C. was a highly customized Milos MR5 heavy-duty pitched roof measuring 31 x 18 metres and mounted on a 1.8 metre high Layher Allround Stage. It had a clearance height of 11 metres and featured a cantilever of approximately two metres in front and 0.7 metres in the rear of the stage. There were a total of six Milos M390-QTKT towers on the main stage, and two M390-QTKT towers supporting each side house. Canvas sheets mounted on 129mm Kedar profiles covered the top of the roof and canvas mounted on 252mm Kedar profiles served as the three walls.
The ability of the Timeshift festival to have its audience “Step into another dimension” required the Milos roof structure to carry a large amount of lighting and sound equipment. Therefore, Norbert designed the roof to handle a 24,000kg uniformly distributed load (UDL) on the horizontal beams above the main stage, and an additional 7,000kg for PA and LED-screens in each side house. The total load was 38,000kg.
To meet the Romanian wind standards, the structure was designed to withstand maximum gust speeds of 30.3m/s (109km/h), which is more than European standards require. To the joy of concert organisers, the weather was perfect all four days and the roof was not exposed to extreme conditions.
Norbert Tripp, Milan Kolousek, Lukas Zeman (Milos technical department) and Ales Roucek (Area Four Industries marketing manager) supported the roof build-up, which took a total four-and-a-half days. The Layher stage was constructed on the first day and then build-up of the Milos roof took an additional three-and-a-half dayss to complete.
20th October 2017
Neumann&Müller busy with TiMax in summer outdoor shows
Germany - Neumann&Müller Veranstaltungstechnik (N&M) has been busy with some huge outdoor musical productions, supported by its TiMax SoundHub spatial reinforcement processors and TiMax Tracker stage-tracking automation. N&M, one of Germany’s largest supplier of event technology, perennially services two of the grandest outdoor performances in the country: Erfurt DomStufen-Festspiele, where this year the opera Der Troubadour played through August and Schlossfestspiele Schwerin which hosted West Side Story for a mid-summer run.
Staged in the ‘Old Garden’ of Schwerin Castle for two months, the Schlossfestspiele has been dramatically transformed from an insider opera lovers’ secret pleasure that it started as a quarter of a century ago, into the technically complex large-scale premier outdoor production that it is today. The transition was punctuated in 2009 by the adoption of TiMax-SoundHub object-based dynamic spatialisation, used in conjunction with TiMax Tracker, to add a greater layer of sophistication in sound clarity and immersion to the event.
Eight years on, with West Side Story performed by Mecklenburgisches Staatstheater, Schlossfestspiele welcomed 1,800 guests on each of the 23 nights of the summer season. N&M’s project manager for the event, Omar Samhoun, who works hand in hand with sound engineer Jörg Bernhardt (also N&M), explained: “Every year, we always use TiMax SoundHub with the TiMax Tracking system. The production is enhanced, as is the understanding for the vast nightly audience, by the use of the real-time spatial audio system, for the localisation of actors and artists in the stage area or in other areas of the 3D stage set and scenery.”
TiMax was seamlessly networked into the sound system via Dante, along with three Yamaha CL5 mixing desks: one for vocals, one for the orchestra and one, for the first time, for in-ear monitor mixes. TiMax provided all dynamic delay-matrix management between vocal and instrument mics and the distributed d&b PA system.
The sound system comprised three main flown stacks of d&b Y8 (left, centre and right), interspersed with a further two Y8 ground stacks. Six d&b Y7 units provided nearfill and a further two added extra delay, whilst eleven B6s under the tribune and the stage provided sub bass support.
The attention to detail of the production team each year, coupled with their absolute commitment to audio enhancement for all audience members, built on prior years’ immersive audio enhancements, with TiMax object-based spatialisation always at the heart of the system. Samhoun observes, “It is because the audio quality is so good and it’s easy to use to create the images and overall audio setup with TiMax Soundhub.”
20th October 2017
Timing is Everything Says Hello, Dolly! Sound Designer Scott Lehrer
USA – Broadway’s latest revival of the ever-popular Jerry Herman comedy musical, Hello, Dolly! put Bette Midler centre stage as Dolly, the enterprising widow finding her way in an 1890s' New York City. Directed by Jerry Zaks, with an expansively spatialised sound design by Scott Lehrer, enabled via TiMax SoundHub, the role saw Midler claim her first acting Tony award: Best Leading Actress in a Musical.
Scott Lehrer’s sound designs are recognisably different, distinguished specifically by their provision of highly articulate and intelligible spatial reinforcement to fully engage the audience. “I want the audience to actually hear sound coming from a close approximation of where it is being sung or spoken. I want the band to be rich in sound and coming from different apparent locations in the sound system, so that it is not just a flat mono system. I want the sound to come alive for the audience.”
To create his dramatic soundscapes he makes extensive use of TiMax delay-matrix spatialisation: “It’s part of my toolbox and people hear it and they hear my work as sounding better because of it.”
Winning his first Tony for sound design of a musical led him straight to TiMax. “It was so difficult to use certain other dsp processors as a dynamically cued delay-matrix that it led me to TiMax for my next show and I’ve stuck with it. TiMax is now my preference and it contributes to the sonic success of my shows. It’s easy to use and the most straightforward, simple matrix product on the market right now.”
Seventeen TiMaxed vocal zones were mapped to across the stage of the Shubert Theatre for Hello, Dolly! Five time-zones serve the passerelle area in front of the band, five zones downstage, five mid-stage and a further three upstage. With that wide spread across the stage, Lehrer pulls as much vocal differentiation from the big choral numbers as possible. He explains: “When there’s a group of people singing, there can be four people singing lead vocals and we can actually time them across the stage from left to right. Also, when the voices are coming from a wider stereo field time-wise rather than volume-wise, it makes it a lot easier to hear those four people singing. We’re not piling them up in one position in the centre of the stage.”
Midler’s Dolly moves down into the passerelle on several occasions for her numbers, getting very close to the audience. Lehrer explains: “When she’s way down front on the passerelle, we can get that timed so well using TiMax. Singing to the audience from the centre of the passerelle, it really sounds like she’s right there and when she moves from left to right the timings get more extreme because she’s so close to the audience. So, she’s all the way right or all the way left and we just cue the timings into TiMax and the audience hears her from where she’s singing. Ultimately, we have TiMax for that purpose, it makes the show sound a lot better for the whole audience.”
The band also has five time-zones imaged separately across the stage. From the central conductor’s position, the left and right front zones map the front section of the orchestra. There’s also an up-left, up-centre and up-right orchestra zone. Lehrer uses this spread to distribute the orchestra across the sound system so that all the musical parts can be heard clearly.
After laser measurement Lehrer trims his TiMax zone parameters manually, which is detailed work requiring close attention to the action, but he also tries to rationalise the quantity of cues for the sound operator to handle “because she still has to mix the show too”. Keeping the spatialisation cues to a minimum also lends their discreet and strategic use all the more impact, nevertheless Hello, Dolly! utilises around 100 timing cues, according to Lehrer, in a show with very few background sound effects.
Each cue morphs actors’ mics seamlessly and transparently between the TiMax time zone level/delay imaging set-ups. As for what Scott Lehrer calls ‘manual tracking’: “We don’t do long sequenced crossfades too often as it’s hard to know how fast people will do things, but it’s a fun thing to try and using the matrix to enter the timings is very straightforward: as simple as putting numbers in a spreadsheet,” states Lehrer.
In picture: Bette Midler in Hello, Dolly! photo: Julieta Cervantes
20th October 2017
DiGiCo SD10 Desks Keep it Light and Tight on Tour With Halsey
USA – Singer Halsey’s Hopeless Fountain Kingdom Tour (Installment One), the live iteration of her ambitious, eponymously named, dystopian themed LP, recently kicked off in Boston on 29th September. It’s a complex production, one that compels the front of house mix position to take cover under a tarp for two songs. But not to worry: a pair of DiGiCo SD10 consoles, supplied by tour sound reinforcement provider Eighth Day Sound, are more than up to the task of delivering great sound with exceptional control while staying totally dry.
“It’s a pretty intense moment,” says FoH engineer Vincent Casamatta of the point in the show where Halsey and her dancers perform on a B stage filled with about 20 gallons of sprayed water. “There’s no way I could stay at the console and not get me and the console soaked.” Instead, Casamatta and FoH systems technician Dan Bluhm turn to the DiGiCo SD SC2 app, which allows remote, wireless control of any DiGiCo SD mixing console from an Apple iPad. For those two songs, they discreetly pull a tarp over the desk and move to another part of the venue to seamlessly continue the show mix. “The only other way to do that would have been to mix from under the tarp, and you wouldn’t want to have to do that,” he says. “I have full access to the console through the app and we never miss a beat.”
Monitor engineer Scott Wasilk also used the SD SC2 app, bridging the gap between monitor world and the stage, which is substantial due to the complex nature of the production. “I’m onstage quite a bit, checking how they hear it there,” he says. “It’s so much easier than relaying information from the stage back to the console.”
The band is on IEMs, as is Halsey – sort of. “She likes to keep one ear open, so we basically have set up a mini PA on stage for her, with a small cluster of flown d&b J8 speakers aimed at her,” he says. “It’s unconventional, but the SD10 handles it great.”
Something else the SD10 handles well are Halsey’s assertive vocals. Casamatta says there’s not as much in the way of effects processing on the vocals or the band as might be expected: “There’s some sampled sounds and some sweetener on tracks, but mostly it’s the band and the vocals carrying the weight live every night,” he says, but he pushes the compression hard through the SD10, putting a unique edge on Halsey’s vocals.
“I look at compression as a vocal effect, particularly in modern pop music, and I’m using super-aggressive compression with a quick release, using the Waves CLA-76 ‘Blue Stripe’ 1176 emulator through the console and it just sounds great,” he explains. “It’s tactile, really sticky-sounding effect that’s great on punchy vocals.”
Casamatta, who’s been a fan of the SD series for a decade now, is also adding some Waves reverb to the mix, the same effect that Wasilk is adding through the monitors. “It’s a really pleasant sounding reverb, even through the flown speaker cluster we use onstage for Halsey,” he says.
Both Wasilk and Casamatta are big fans of the SD10’s feature sets, including snapshot automation; Wasilk will sometimes set up multiple snapshots within a song, something the SD10 handles with ease also rack sharing between the consoles and the two SD-Racks and one SD Mini-Rack is a bonus.
“We have a total of 75 channels that we can send from anywhere to anywhere over fibre, and that’s a level of flexibility that it would be hard to suddenly not have,” says Casamatta. “Once you’ve experienced that, you can’t work without it.”
And then there’s CON send/receive links and text communications between consoles. “It’s so much easier sometimes to be able to communicate via text while a show is on,” says Wasilk. “It seems so simple, but it can make a huge difference.” In fact, when you add up all the features, the SD10 is way more than the sum of its parts in such a compact form factor. “We get a lot out of them, that’s for sure,” says Casamatta. “But we use all of it.”
In picture: Halsey FoH engineer Vincent Casamatta and monitor engineer Scott Wasilk at the Hopeless Fountain Kingdom Tour’s DiGiCo SD10 house desk. photos: Dan Bluhm and Peter Don
20th October 2017
phase7 Stages Main Show of Hans Christian Andersen Festival with Elation Proteus Hybrid
Denmark – For the past five years, the Danish city of Odense has honoured its most famous son, Hans Christian Andersen, with a festival to call his own. With a long list of fairy tales that continue to find their place in the hearts of readers of all ages, it isn’t surprising that the H.C. Andersen Festival enjoys a growing popularity.
This year’s festival, held from 19th to 26th August, included over 700 events with the city's main square the scene of the festival’s nightly show. While over the last five years complex projection mappings were popular, this year the festival director wanted a new concept and commissioned the Berlin-based artist collective, phase7 performing.arts, with the task. Under the artistic direction of Sven Sören Beyer, phase7 performing.arts handled concept development and implementation of the new show and used 40 new Proteus Hybrid moving lights from Elation Professional to realise it.
Based on Andersen's narrative “Sunshine, freedom and a little flower,” a Danish cast brought the show to life on an irregular, six-storey Layher scaffold reminiscent of a fairy-tale castle. In addition to the figure of Hans Christian Andersen himself, embodied by Jesper Dupont, there was a singer, Marie Schou, dancers from the Royal Ballet School, and musicians from the South Danish music conservatory. The scaffolding stage was suspended front and rear with a cyc on which video was produced. Real-time video content, designed by Frieder Weiss, was triggered by the dancers and actors themselves.
To light the exceptional stage, lighting designer Björn Hermann used 40 of Elation’s recent PLASA Innovation Award winning Proteus Hybrid lights, which saw its European debut before the public in Odense. "Many of my events take place outdoors, under the open air," says Hermann. "In theory, one can also use any other light open air, but then need a dome as weather protection. In Odense, however, we were not dealing with a 100 metre stage; also, the lights were not far from the action, but right in the middle. In such a setup, domes need a lot of space and quickly destroy live and camera images." Beyer reiterates the importance of IP65 protection for open air performances. “This is a feature that is generally underestimated,” he says. “However, weatherproof lights are very important because domes quickly destroy the picture. Quite apart from that, the light quality also suffers.”
The interactive video content was clearly the focus of the performance. "With light, video is broken," says Björn Hermann. "Therefore, the lighting design should be knitted around the video content. Nevertheless, of course we needed the typical 'big picture' for the final. Therefore, my choice fell to spotlights.”
The IP65 certified Proteus Hybrid came in handy for Hermann with lighting positions defined by the free space available in the structure of the scaffold platform. Hermann placed three Proteus Hybrid fixtures in each free space. A few other spotlights found their place on cantilever braces, with which the lighting designer optically extended the stage and set a light frame. In total, 24 of the new hybrid Proteus lights were used on the scaffold platform. In addition, two smaller Layher scaffolding platforms (8 x 2 metres) were placed to the right and left of the stage, each about 15 metres away, on which a further 16 Proteus Hybrids were used.
"The Proteus Hybrid is as good as the other hybrid lights on the market," says Hermann. "As I was working outdoors, it was clear then that I would choose the light with the IP65 rating. What should also be remembered is that weatherproof lights are budget-saving because domes not only consume space, they must also be rented." The designer also has nothing to complain about as far as reliability. He stated: "We set up the lighting system on Monday, rehearsals took place on Tuesday, on Wednesday we had a public rehearsal and from Thursday to Saturday we had two shows a day. During that time we did not change out a light."
Curious to know at what distance the fixture can be used, Hermann was thwarted in testing the fixture at a longer distance in Odense. "We've seen that the Proteus Hybrid has some real punch but we could not position it half a kilometre away to judge how it works from that distance. We’ll have to try it out on one of the next shows," he said.
A further supporting role on the show was played by 19 drones that not only interacted with the dancers during their impressive air ballet but also took part in choreographed fireworks at the end of the show. "We wanted to show that drones are not only a weapon for war but that you can also create something beautiful with them and arouse emotions in humans," explains Sven Sören Beyer, artistic director of phase7.
The half-hour show was performed from Wednesday to Saturday, altogether seven times, with 10,000 spectators at each show. The team was composed of Sven Sören Beyer, Björn Hermann (lighting design), Uwe Bossert (composition and guitar), Søren Monrad (composition), Christian Steinhäuser (Arrangement), Frieder Weiss (Interactive Video art), Jana Posth (project management phase7) and Steffen Fuchs (technical management).
photos: mhvogel.de/ phase7.de
19th October 2017
Avolites proud to be part of Brighton Pride
UK – An Avolites Tiger Touch II console was used to program and control the high-octane lighting design for the renowned Wild Fruit 'Summer of Love' dance tent at the famous annual LGBTQ equality and diversity festival, Brighton Pride.
The 'Summer of Love' tent hosted headline act DJ David Morales and featured sets from Jocelyn Brown, Angie Brown, Rozalla and Prok & Fitch. Providing the venue with a series of intense lighting looks was lighting designer Paul de Villiers who worked closely with Dean Parker of Wilde Ones Event Services who supplied and managed the event.
"We have worked with Dean and Wilde Ones on Brighton Pride for the past two years," says De Villiers. "The concept this year for the Wild Fruit tent was to 'go wide'. In the past, the tent's performance area was end-on, but this year we went broader and located the stage side-on."
To create the 'wild fruit' dance look, De Villiers used self-climbing truss goalposts toward the back of the stage framing a 12m by 4m, 6mm LED wall, supplied by Video Illusions, that displayed outlandish club visuals complete with custom logos and Pride sponsor footage dropped in over the top.
"We ran LED across the front of the DJ riser, creating a frame for the booth using lighting and truss," says De Villiers. "We then ran more LED screen down the two framing truss towers and had moving head beams and lasers on four truss uprights, two either side of the stage."
To complete the look laser systems were provided by Paul Teare from Shive-AV these comprised two Laserworld Purelight PL-10.000 with retro fit extra diodes at 2W, two Lightspace 5W Unicorn retrofitted with CT620 scanners for wider scan angle and two Kvant Clubmax 6000 laser systems.
To supply the Wild Fruit tent De Villiers worked with long-term acquaintance, Wingnut, of rental and production outfit WingnuT Production Lighting Ltd, who supplied the majority of the lighting elements with some extra fixtures and rigging coming from Panalux Broadcast and Event who supplied the Main Stage.
"For Wild Fruit we ran the Tiger Touch II using Avolites' latest Titan 10.1 software," says Wingnut. "The majority of the show was controlled live, so we used Titan's advanced features such as tap tempo on chase memories and size and speed masters in order to create quick, high-impact lighting effects."
Titan's speed and size masters allow designers and operators to control the size and speed of shapes created within Titan's key frame shape engine. The effects can be linked to one of the desk's faders so that live control is accessible, fluid and fast.
"The Tiger Touch II desk is very intuitive when it comes to programming and operating," says Wingnut. "Not only in regards to the software, but the hardware of the console is adaptable and easy to expand with Titan mobile wing."
The Titan mobile wing gives access to a designer and/or operator's most used items. The wing holds 30 user programmable executors for control or selection of cues, lists, palettes, groups or macros, making it a great live control option.
De Villiers also designed the house lighting rig for the Pride Main Stage which this year featured a headline performance from The Pet Shop Boys supported by indie-pop band Years & Years.
Speaking of the support from Avolites at the Pride event, De Villiers says: "We have had amazing support from the Avolites team and cannot fault their unfailing encouragement. They produce great desks and Titan just keeps getting better and better with every release, thanks guys!"
Brighton Pride took place from 4th to 6th of August. The UK's largest Pride festival, it is described by the Guardian as 'the country's most popular LGBT event'. The festival took place across the city of Brighton with the main site in Brighton's Preston Park.
photos: Chris Jepson
19th October 2017
Music City Food and Wine Festival Grows with Bandit Lites íí
USA – The Music City Food and Wine Festival returned to Bicentennial Park for another weekend that celebrated the culinary crafting of world renowned chefs, mixologists, sommeliers and self-proclaimed foodies. Bandit Lites joined forces with C3 Presents and Jeff Wendt to create a lighting package that would add to the ambiance, energise the space and bring colour and light to more than twenty tents, a DJ booth, and the Grand Pavilion Taste tent.
With food and spirits from more than 80 purveyors, ticket holders were given the opportunity to indulge in a weekend of artisan crafted flavours and exceptional experiences including an intimate bourbon tasting with Preston Van Winkle of Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery, BBQ from Martin Bar-B-Que Pitmaster Pat Martin, a Gospel Brunch along the Music City Walk of Fame Park, panels and chef demos and a Grand Taste Pavilion with tastings, showcases, book signings and more.
Bandit Lites supplied ETC Source Four Pars among the tents and 1,700 feet of festoons on the grounds, along with Martin Atomic 3000 Strobes, Bandit’s exclusive GRNLite Pars and a Road Hog console for the DJ booth. Iluminarc Ilumipanels provided a wash along Nashville’s 6th Avenue and nearly 50 trees along the site were uplit with GRNLite Pars.
In a move that combined the delectable dishes of the festival with the rich musical culture of the city, the Nashville Food and Wine Festival featured a Harvest Night, where famed chefs including Hugh Acheson, John Besh, Maneet Chauhan, Susan Feniger, Cassidee Dabney and more offered delicious dishes while Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductees, R&B Pioneer Award Winners, and original founding members of Sly & The Family Stone; Jerry Martini and Greg Errico performed the chart topping hits of Sly & The Family Stone.
For Harvest Night, Bandit provided another 1300 feet of Festoons, VL 2500 Spots, Claypaky Sharpys, GRNLite Moving Washes and a grand MA 2 UltraLite console, while GRNLite Pars and Iluminarc Ilumipanels lit different scenic elements around the area.
“This is the fourth year we have had the pleasure of working with C3 to light the Music City Food and Wine Festival and this year a new design was formed by the creative people at C3 spearheaded by Jeff Wendt,” said Bandit vice president Mike Golden. “I have had the pleasure of working with Jeff on this and many other jobs in past so we simply put our heads together and came up with a basic gameplan. Our crew was spearheaded by Ms. Teresa Fensler who has also worked with Jeff in past and she was able to put her own artistic flair on the project. This event is always a pleasure and I appreciate the work C3 Presents puts into this event.”
19th October 2017
Chris Reade Lights Vidya Vox’s Musical Bridge with Chauvet Professional
South Africa – Like social media itself, the music of international YouTube sensation Vidya Vox has a way of overcoming the barriers of time, place and culture. Melding widely divergent musical influences into a beautiful swirl of cross-cultural sound, the former pre-med student, who was born in India and raised in Virginia, has been captivating fans around the world ever since she uploaded her first song (a mashup of Ellie Goulding’s “Love Me Like You Do” with traditional Hindi and Tamil music) in April 2015.
This August, after garnering some 400 million YouTube views and appearing at The Whitehouse, the 26-year old singer embarked on an international tour in support of her first EP “Kuthu Fire,” starting with two dates in South Africa. Providing a stunning visual accompaniment to her eclectic and convention-defying Indian-English musical mix is a Chris Reade and Jay Ballinger designed light show that features collection of Maverick MK2 Spot, Rogue R2 Wash and Strike 4 fixtures from Chauvet Professional.
“We use these fixtures in wide variety of ways to reflect the scope of Vidya’s music,” said Reade of Las Vegas based KYVA Design LLC. “Much of the credit for our impactful light show goes to Heather Cossette. Jay and I gave her a general overview of what we were looking for regarding visuals. Heather then took the concept and put her stamp on it through her programming and directing. We trust Heather's instincts. I personally am impressed by her creativity, detail, and fantastic attitude.”
The net result of this collaborative effort is a lightshow that’s as sweeping and ebullient as Vidya Vox’s far-ranging creative mashups. Relying on the rich colours, wide zoom range and crisp gobo patterns of their overhead fixtures, the designers create intricate lighting architecture on stage that seems to bend and flow with the artist’s music.
Although the exact number of fixtures in the rig varies depending on the country the international tour appears in, their role in the design remains consistent. The Maverick MK2 Spot fixtures are flown on multiple trusses and are employed as key lights, in addition to being used for silhouettes, audience sweeps and gobo breakups.
“We’ve really been impressed by the MK2 Spot’s output,” said Reade. “It’s definitely giving us arena-level brightness, and it’s very versatile. We’re using it a lot for texture on the stage and to create hard edge looks.”
The Rogue R2 Washes also came in for praise from the design team. “I love the R2 washes,” said Cossette. “They clone great and I’m happy whenever I get them on a gig. They just do a great even wash, a nice tight beam, and the color mixing is wonderful.”
Engaging the crowd and strengthening their connection to Vidya Vox are the Strike 4 warm white LED fixtures that are positioned on overhead truss as well as on V-shaped structures located to either side of the stage. “We like the look of the Strike 4,” said Reade. “Its colour temperature and adjustable dimming curve make it a great crowd light.”
Describing his work on the Vidya Vox tour as a “wonderfully memorable experience,” thanks in part to the artist’s singularly unique musical blend, Reade values the relationships already formed on the tour. “It was really great getting to work with Jonathan Syverson, who is Vidya Vox's tour manger,” he said. “Charles Teer who did the programming and got the video aspect of the show working was invaluable,” added Cossette.
On the initial South African leg of the tour, which took place in Durbin and Johannesburg, local suppliers Sounds Ideal Productions and JYM Sound and Lighting supplied the gear for the concerts, providing the design team with more good memories. “Both companies were great to work with,” said Cossette. “Shaniel Laloo, our house lighting tech did whatever we needed, always with a smile. His lighting show was great, his timing phenomenal, and he had a positive eager to learn attitude.”
Somehow, it seems fitting that a tour by an artist who has transcended cultural barriers, brought so many people together at its earliest stops.
19th October 2017
World Premiere of Mercedes-AMG Project ONE
A total of six full-colour 25W PHAENON X AT laser, five full-colour 12W PHAENON X Mini laser and lots of mirrors with different shapes and customised mounts formed an imposing laser grid, effectively showcasing the new features of the Mercedes-AMG Project ONE.
On the eve of the Frankfurt International Motor Show (IAA), Mercedes-Benz Cars presented the Mercedes-AMG Project ONE. The performance and sports car brand is presenting a supersports show-car with Formula 1 hybrid technology for a breathtaking driving experience. The Mercedes-AMG Project ONE shows AMG´s route to the “Future of Driving Performance“.
The two-seater supersports show car brings the very latest and efficient, fully-fledged Formula 1 hybrid technology from the race track to the road almost par for par. The show car marks the highlight of the sports car and performance brand´s 50th anniversary year.
19th October 2017
Allen & Heath Monitoring Systems Win West End Approval
UK – Olivier and Tony Award-winning sound designer Gareth Owen (pictured) has recently specified an array of Allen & Heath products across three of London’s biggest theatre productions. Employed to solve the issues of personal monitoring for musicians in the West End shows, the ME-1 Personal Mixer is at the heart of the systems, which Owen has used for Wind in the Willows (London Palladium), Bat Out of Hell (London Coliseum) and 42nd Street (Theatre Royal, Drury Lane).
“This is the future,” says Owen. “We have three of the biggest shows in London, two on Broadway and Disney’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame running out in Germany, all on the Allen & Heath set-ups and we couldn’t be happier. It’s been a truly great choice.”
Rather than being driven by a traditional console, the ME-1s are fed by an Allen & Heath dLive DM64 MixRack in each situation, with the MixRack controlled from touch-screen PCs running the company’s Director software. As such each of the installations allows for a remarkably compact solution to the complex needs of each production.
With different musical line-ups – ranging from the orchestral 42nd Street to the electric band in Bat Out of Hell – the shows bring varying challenges in terms of monitoring. But the flexibility of the ME-1 and DM64 systems has placed control in the hands of each player, as Owen explains: “We have older, very experienced brass players who want everything kept very simple,” he says, “and young drummers who want every one of the 40 stems from a show coming into their mixer so they can do really detailed mixes. And their ME-1 gives them that choice and control.
“And the fact that the DM64 has freed us from having to use a large mixer to drive the ME-1 units is fantastic. Our monitoring stations are very often below stage, so space is a real consideration; the DM64s with the Director software is a very powerful, convenient solution for us.”
19th October 2017
David Guetta shines with Claypaky at new Romanian dance festival
Romania – Internationally acclaimed DJ David Guetta used the Claypaky Scenius Spot as the exclusive lighting fixture in his bespoke diamond-shaped festival rig at the launch of Romania’s inaugural TimeShift festival. The large-scale dance festival was held at Bucharest’s Romexpo arena.
Spanning four days in July with acts across four themed stages, TimeShift hosted over 100 electronic and alternative musical artists, including Faithless, DJ Snake, Orbital and David Guetta. Each of the festival’s stages - the Mainstage, Kristal by Ahead Stage, Control Stage and the Black Rhino/TND Stage – was given its own unique aesthetic concept, realised through bespoke set designs, visual content and special effects.
“TimeShift’s Mainstage rig was in essence an adaptation of Guetta’s touring rig,” says Bogdan Gradisteanu, technical manager of Marbo Trade, Claypaky’s official Romanian distributor. Marbo Trade worked alongside rental house Bivolul and ASC Systems to supply the festival’s entire lighting package.
The heart of Guetta’s set design consisted of four pieces of automated truss forming a large diamond shape. The truss was rigged with 24 Scenius Spot fixtures, which together provided the super-bright light outputs forming the ever-morphing backdrop.
Providing keylight from the sides of the Mainstage were 16 Claypaky B-EYE K20s. “We selected the K20s because of the fixture’s advanced versatility, beamshaper and CTO,” explains Gradisteanu. The award-winning LED hybrid Wash, Beam and FX light was rigged in two lines of four on either side of the stage interspersed with Claypaky Sharpys. By alternating the two fixtures, the TimeShift team created varying textures of light onstage, whilst ensuring that the artists performing remained visible.
“The Sharpys are known as an industry standard in lightweight beam lights and are very popular fixtures in Romania due to their powerful, sharp beam and high output,” says Gradisteanu. “To create depth to the stage we positioned them across eight pieces of horizontal truss, split four either side.” The fixtures’ beams reached out into the audience to create a high-impact light show.
“Claypaky fixtures are very popular on the Romanian market and have been for the past 20 years,” says Gradisteanu. “As the official Claypaky distributor in Romania, Marbo Trade is known to provide the latest in Claypaky products to the local market. Claypaky has been and remains a strong investment choice for any rental and production company in Romania.”
TimeShift Festival took place 20th to 23rd of July and showcased music from a variety of dance genres including EDM, techno, tech-house, trance, drum and bass, dubstep, indie-rock and alternative.
18th October 2017
Ghost Rockers in the House Tonight
Belgium – The band at the heart of popular Belgian TV series Ghost Rockers, which is produced by Studio 100 and syndicated throughout Europe, hits the road for a series of gigs around Belgium this autumn, complete with a fresh rock lighting design by Belgian design studio Painting with Light’s Paco Mispelters.
One of Paco’s starting points was the practical consideration of different sized venues on the tour, so from the outset, the look and the lighting rig had to be scaleable. The audience is young and the music is lively pop-rock, so he needed lots of dynamics, colour and vitality. Added to that, there is a narrative to the set; the show is directed by Tijl Dauwe so some strategic tricks were required, including a classical touch of theatrical magic in the form of a Pepper’s Ghost!
With no set as such, apart from some low stairs and a couple of risers, Paco also needed to create additional structural elements, and proved that 48 active Showtec Sunstrips upstage and a bit of imaginative programming can go a long way! The Sunstrips were rigged in ten continuous and broken columns, and to four vertical trusses at the back. Behind this, far upstage, the band’s scenic logo is rigged and illuminated with its own set of LED PARs. All this combines to bring a depth and a sense of three-dimensionality to the space.
The Pepper’s Ghost effect is created by an area of LED floor on which the ghosted character (from the theatre) appears, and this image is bounced to the audience via a screen immediately above centre stage, angled at 45 degrees. This gives the distinctive and authentic ghost-like appearance which gave the effect its name. The male Pepper’s Ghost character appears twice, one time as a youngster during the search for his long lost partner – also a virtual character – and once during a sequence when he is physically aged via the projection content. Overhead, four motion controlled trusses provide more contrast in architecture and definition of the performance space.
Having an effective Pepper’s Ghost onstage entailed extra care when lighting the band as it was essential not to reveal the effect's screen or its frame. Paco choose Robe Spiider LED wash beams as his primary wash fixtures. He commented that they were ideal for this tour with its catchy music and enormous energy, with eight Spiiders positioned at the back on the vertical trusses and the other eight on the overheads. He built on these base washes and looks utilising 21 Robe Pointe multi-purpose moving lights, six deployed on the floor in front of the stairs and four more upstage of the risers that assisted the set’s 3D appearance. The other 11 Pointes were on the overhead rig in two layers, a line of seven and a line of four fixtures.
They were used for a plethora of effects and specials, for solos and other unique moments in the performance. “It’s a hugely versatile light,” stated Paco. “Using the frosts, it became an excellent wash as well as a beam and spot fixture with an impressive array of gobo choices, still powerful and punchy even when combining multiple effects.”
As the main band keys and profiles, he chose Claypaky Alpha Wash 1500s, three on the front truss and two further upstage, overhead for drums and keyboards. Ten single-cell blinders on the rear towers provide additional accenting, and the trusses are all toned with LED PARs fitted inside. The six Chauvet Geyser vertical-jet smoke machines with built-in LEDs are another special. There are four on the floor and two on the rig, and adjacent to the ones on the floor are four flame jets. All of these are controlled via the grandMA2 light console and used for extra exuberance during the gigs! The rig was completed with some Fresnels in cold and warm shades of white as a general stage wash.
The lighting kit is being supplied by leading Belgian rental company Phlippo Showlights, and the control, including a Christie Pandora’s Box media server, by Painting with Light.
Paco enjoyed the challenges of creating lighting and set architecture from thin air. With a young audience, the visuals have to be fast-paced, constantly moving and fresh throughout, so fixture choice was carefully calculated. He also had to make sure that the band rather than the lighting remained the focus of attention. “It was all about adding value and not taking over the performance,” concluded Paco. For this production, he was assisted by design associate Carlo Zaenen, video programmer Katleen Selleslagh and programmer and operator Arjan Grootenhuis, who is out on the road as lighting director with the tour.
photos: Frank Lambrechts of Picturesk
18th October 2017
Modern Americana Delivered By Cutting-Edge Audio Technology: SES, Outline and the Avett Brothers at Red Rocks
USA – Multiple Grammy Award nominees the Avett Brothers combine bluegrass, country, punk, pop, folk, rock & roll, indie rock, honky tonk, and ragtime to produce a sound that is uniquely their own – undeniably contemporary Americana, their diverse influences and eclectic instrumentation combine to produce music that defies easy categorisation.
Touring in support of their new, Rick Rubin-produced album ‘True Sadness’ which has achieved the group’s highest career debut to date and dominates multiple charts – it arrived at number one on Billboard’s Top Albums Chart, Top Rock Albums Chart and Digital Albums Chart as well as hitting number three on their Top 200 Chart – they recently completed a three-night run at the legendary Red Rocks Amphitheatre near Denver.
Special Event Services (SES) of Winston-Salem, NC, created a bespoke audio system design using Outline loudspeakers to handle the unique physical characteristics of the mountain venue. A naturally-occurring, geological phenomenon, the 9,525-capacity amphitheatre originally opened in 1941, lies over six thousand feet above sea level and presents some unusual conditions to visiting sound reinforcement companies.
SES President Jason Farah remarked after the shows: “Red Rocks is a challenging venue, as it is very long, very steep, and the PA is at the bottom of the hill with limited trim height. I employed a few innovative techniques to overcome these challenges, and the results were nothing less than remarkable; in fact, the Outline GTO / C-12 / Mantas design I deployed provided the best outcome of all the PA systems I've ever used there.”
Farah continues: “Because the Avett Brothers’ music ranges from the very lively to tender moments, it was amazing to stand in the back row at the top of the venue and still feel every nuance of their music. It was utterly uncanny that they were so far away, yet felt so incredibly close.”
The main system used a combination of Outline speaker elements, all drawn from SES’s extensive inventory of the Italian manufacturer’s products. Each of the main L&R arrays comprised ten GTO modules at the top for the long-throw with three GTO C-12 below them for the shorter throw, then four Mantas at the bottom for downfill. Normally, Outline’s dedicated GTO-DF downfall cabinet would used for the lower cabinets but since at Red Rocks the bottom of the array was so close to the audience, Mantas provided more even coverage for that zone.
The main arrays were each flanked by flown arrays of eight GTO-LOW mid-bass modules per side for additional low-frequency support, while four LAB21-HS subwoofers were ground-stacked per side with the near-field covered by short ground-stacks of Mantas. Everything was powered via Powersoft K-Series amplifiers and the processing was provided by Lake LM26 crossovers in each amp rack, all loaded with the Linear-Phase presets from Outline. The entire system was designed using Outline’s OpenArray software which provided very accurate predictions for Red Rocks, a vital key to creating the optimal system design for this challenging venue.
Andrew Steelman, audio department manager at SES and systems engineer said: “I have had the opportunity to bring several different PA systems to Red Rocks throughout my career but I have never had a PA cover the venue so well with so little effort. Many times during the shows I would take walks to various spots in the audience, the way that the system conveyed the band was phenomenal. The band can be quite dynamic throughout their set. To see the audience rise and fall with the band showed me a level of engagement I have not seen before.”
‘The Avett’s music is full of subtle nuances and emotion that can become lost with a poor system. I was able to lose myself in the show, and not worry about the PA like I have previously. This was especially apparent at the top of the venue which is traditionally the hardest to hit. There was warmth and fidelity in all aspects of both the system and the mix. Outline gave us the ability to use three different products (GTO, C-12, and Mantas) to provide a system that truly fit the needs of the venue as well as the band. The consistency in voicing between the boxes made for a seamless system. I was quite amazed by the final result and am looking forward to the next opportunity we have to deploy the system.’
Paul Tucci, industry veteran and systems engineer for the Avett Brothers said: “The most important goal of a sound system is to connect what’s in the hearts of the artists to the entire audience. Red Rocks is a uniquely challenging venue to accomplish this. Our Outline system as designed by Jason gave us a wonderfully transparent tool to convey the range of emotions the Avett Brothers expressed. When they closed the first night with their beautiful song “Beaches”, it brought tears to everyone’s eyes. Now that’s how to connect with your audience – all of them!’
Justin Glanville, FoH Engineer for the Avett Brothers has the final word on what was obviously a memorable show for many reasons: “The Avett Brothers, as all their fans know, are one of the most dynamic bands out there. A single guitar and vocal with lyrics that tugs on one’s heartstrings will be tenderly presented to the crowd, only to be followed with a full-on assault of rock by seven members on stage. Sometimes this rock is electric instruments, sometimes this rock is acoustic instruments being attacked in a somehow musical way. Over the past ten plus years that I have been the FoH engineer for this band, finding a way to tame an Avett set to be dynamic, smooth, and musical can sometimes be a challenge.
“The GTO rig SES put together presented the band in a way I have never experienced, and that’s just from FoH. I do not think I exceeded 98-dB. In fact, I’m pretty sure I stayed closer to 92-96dB for much of the show. The clarity, precision and fullness of my mix was unparalleled, especially at such a relatively low volume. This made me a little curious, worried honestly, about the experience for the people way back at the top of the venue.”
He concludes: “Then I saw an iPhone recording, taken by someone at the back of the venue, of a song that was just acoustic guitar and voice, and I was blown away! This recording could have passed for a direct line-out from my console. Every bit of the guitar and voice was there. And not just ‘there’, but – perfect! I cannot thank Andrew Steelman, Jason Farah, and Paul Tucci enough for their endless work and care they consistently show me, the band, and our fans. I am constantly learning and being surprised by them. In a field where there seems to be a million opinions on how to get one result, they are hands-down the most trusted and respected by myself.”
18th October 2017
SGM lights up Wall of Dreams
UK – As part of the Southbank Centre’s year-long Nordic Matters programme in London and coinciding with their London Literature Festival, award-winning poet and artist Morten Søndergaard is showcasing his latest art installation Wall of Dreams on the building facade of Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall for three weeks from 14th October 2017.
This amazing concept portrays visions and dreams from refugees across Europe with the intention to raise much-needed awareness about the current refugee situation. “The current media often portrays refugees and migrants as a common mass and as an ‘other’ in society. This artwork and project is an opportunity to influence a change of this representation. Let’s convey a different story,” Morten Søndergaard explains.
The projection on The Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall is realised by the deployment of 16 SGM G-Spot LED moving heads mounted on existing poles surrounding the building. Special gobos have been designed containing the textual messages with each moving head containing several of these custom-made gobos making it possible to alter the building facade over night for a changeable appearance through programming. The bright output of the G-Spot produces razor-sharp effects for spectators to see and read from a distance.
“The light SGM can deliver is fantastic. Those G-Spots are magical; they display the words with such brightness and sharpness. We needed a weatherproof luminaire for this three-week period, and with the G-Spot we got exactly that. In addition, we also got a LED solution ensuring that we maintain the power consumption at a low level,” says Morten Søndergaard.
Using light in art installations is quite new to Morten Søndergaard, but definitely something he wants to consider for future projects. “This is just the beginning for me. Light opens a new dimension of possibilities; it hits the surface creating great impact for the viewer but leaving no physical impact on the surface. To me that is a quite spectacular tool.”
Due to the London Literature Festival taking place at the same time, the melting pot of The Southbank Centre will be enveloped by words both inside and outside.
“I believe dreams to be strong, clear and honest messages. Each dream opens a window into an individual. We get a glimpse of a story, a glimpse of light making it possible to shed light on a very complex situation – to stay in the lighting terminology. And they give the potential for us to understand each other better. While Europe is building walls around itself, we want to create a contrasting image by proposing another type of ‘wall’: A sharing wall, an inclusive wall and a connective Interface!” Morten Søndergaard concludes.
17th October 2017
High Score for Hawthorn at EGX 2017
UK – The UK’s largest games event, EGX returned to NEC Birmingham this September, attracting a record-breaking crowd of nearly 80,000 people over four days. Featuring the biggest and best names in console and PC gaming, EGX gave fans the opportunity to get hands on with the hottest pre-releases across all formats including PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and PC. Creative technical event production expert Hawthorn worked with ESL, the world's largest e-sports company, to construct the set for their greatest ever area at the exhibition in the UK.
Having invested heavily in their scenic department over the last twelve months, Hawthorn was well placed to deliver the vast custom-made set required for the project, as well as supplying lighting, sound, rigging and staging. With the ESL Arena measuring 4,830 square metres and with five artic lorries needed to transport their kit – three of which were used just for the mammoth set – Hawthorn was the largest single contractor on the EGX site.
Included in Hawthorn’s vast remit was the creation of two large gaming stages, the ESL Premiership stage and the Twitch stage. Both stages were designed by ESL to bring together the UK’s best e-sports players, streamers and talent and Hawthorn’s custom built each set to ESL’s detailed specifications, including the creation of custom gaming desks for the high-octane competition over the four days.
“With the ESL Arena covering nearly 5,000 square metres of space, this was a demanding job for us in terms of scenic creation,” says Hawthorn senior project manager Ryan Grant who led the project. “Not only did we produce two stages, but we also custom built the exhibition stand for Intel to ESL’s exact specification.
“In total we had about a month of prep work and planning for the project before the on-site build started. We worked closely with the ESL team throughout the process to ensure everything met their specific requirements and achieved the best possible results.”
ESL creative team came up with an ambitious brief for the Intel stand, measuring 21m x 14m. The stand featured three large graphic walls with custom designed lightboxes used to highlight each of Intel’s featured processors. The brief also specified fitting a sub-hung flown truss that acted as a false ceiling in the VR area of the stand, creating a more intimate environment, all of which Hawthorn delivered on.
Dan Carden, Hawthorn’s head of scenic, worked closely with Grant on the project. Talking about the recent expansion of his department, Carden said: “Earlier this year we invested in a CNC machine to enhance our set design and manufacturing service and the ESL project is a perfect example of the level of complex set creation that we can now provide in-house.
“As well as having the technical equipment and expertise, we also have a hugely talented set team at our Leicestershire head office. From the intricate concrete paint effects on the Intel stand to the custom desks we created for the two stages, this project has been a fantastic opportunity for us to demonstrate our capabilities.”
Peter Mather, ESL UK’s event manager added: “The ESL Arena at EGX was the largest e-sports activation undertaken in the UK, featuring two large theatres and a multitude of e-sports focused exhibition stands. Hawthorn proved to be an invaluable production partner on the show, helping us to execute our creative ambitions for the Twitch Stage, Premiership Stage and the Intel Experience Zone, using their impressive scenic workshop to bring our plans to life.”
17th October 2017
HSL Lighting Horse of the Year Show
UK – HSL supplied lighting, trussing and rigging equipment to the two main arenas at the 2017 Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) for event producer and artistic director Nadia Raibin and her company, The Production Team.
Nadia and The Production Team have been involved with HOYS for over 20 years, bringing together the best imaginative and technical solutions. Their brief to HSL included providing theatrical lighting for a number of equestrian-based entertainment and display acts as well as lighting for the main international show-jumping competitions, working hunter and driving classes.
Nadia explained that when she first decided to bring a rock & roll atmosphere and ‘entertainment experience’ to the main International Arena, there was some trepidation from the horse fraternity!
“This is the pinnacle of the horsing calendar so the idea of adding a lighting spectacle and specially selected popular music to displays was originally met with some hesitancy. However, thankfully, 20 years on, it’s now as much a part of the overall visitor expectations and show presentation aesthetic as watching some of the finest horses and riders compete at the highest equestrian levels.
Nadia is very proud of how they changed the face of the Horse of the Year Show, and with that, the role of technical suppliers became even more involved and crucial.
On site, the HSL crew collaborated with event technical director Ben Fox and lighting director and operator Mark Strange.
Simon Stuart project managed for HSL, commenting: “It was a pleasure working with Nadia and her very experienced and talented team! We really wanted to up the game this year and ensure that Mark and Ben had the most versatile and creative tools at their disposal to cover multiple demands.”
In addition to all the standard competition events taking place in the main Genting Area, there were a number of dramatic moments where lighting was used to ramp up the excitement and anticipation, plus displays like Atkinson’s Action Horses which were theatrically lit. These were interspersed with craziness from the Prince Philip Cup Pony Club teams and special moments like the winners laps and awards presentations.
HSL’s team was led on site by Andy Skirrow and Charlotte Stevens together with Nick Bryan.
The Genting Arena is a vast 67 metre long by 30 metre wide space filled with lumen-eating special soft fibre material spread across the arena floor, which hosted all the main competitions over five action-packed days of equestrian sport, fun and entertainment.
Mark Strange has worked on the event for many years and explained that it’s an evolving scenario which demands a degree of improvisation. He will normally only see all the shows that need lighting on the final dress rehearsal, leaving him one fast-and-furious night of programming before it opens the next day to get everything into the console!
He and Ben Fox, together with Simon this year, were all involved in specifying the lights for which Simon specifically recommended the Vari*Lite 4K beam washes for their output and versatility.
HSL installed hundreds of metres of pre-rigged trusses which were used for all the lighting positions.
A massive effort went into prepping these trusses at HSL, complete with wiring looms that dropped on top in exactly the right places. It was critical that this part of the set-up was completed swiftly, so the arena floor which was delivered in a fleet of artics could be laid immediately afterwards.
A four metre diameter circular truss was also installed in the middle of the space, just below the house video scoreboard.
The main moving lights were a combination of Philips Vari*Lite 4K beam washes and Robe BMFL Spots distributed along the length of the trusses, with Philips SL Hydrus 350 hybrids rigged onto the circle truss.
They were all picked for their brightness to fill the vast space and to hit the high lux levels needed on the arena floor. Reliability was important, as there was limited access to the trusses because of the flooring and the care it needed, so the ideal scenario was not to have to be repair anything. Further to that, the rig needed to be rock solid to minimise the chances of rogue moving lights spooking the horses.
These were joined almost 400 1kW floods creating the base look. This dense concentration of point sources produced a nice even shadow-less spread across the sand with no hot spots.
The Genting trusses were rigged on double-braked one-tonne Litec EXE-Rise hoists which are super quiet and quick. Due to the accuracy of the speed control, these worked perfectly for raising the long trusses really smoothly.
Four Robert Juliat Cyrano followspots were positioned around the corners of the arena. They were used to pick up riders as they entered and exited the ring, and were on hand for the awards presentations, winner laps of honour and some of the display shows. The same followspot operators have been utilised for some years, so they are familiar with the parameters of highlighting horses as well as providing invaluable continuity for the show crew.
The arenas were both operating for long periods, starting from 5am when the public were admitted for the first exercise sessions, with the daily event programmes starting at 7am and continuing through to 11pm.
The show was programmed and operated from a ChamSys console with all the dimmer racks and hot racks stored up above in the NEC roof catwalks to keep the space below as clear as possible.
Over the years, Ben and Mark have fine-tuned the lighting of high profile equestrian events like this. Lighting horses is tricky – they don’t like shadows and need to see where they are stepping – so massive contrasts like bright spotlights and pockets of darkness have to be avoided, yet the environment also needs to be moody and dramatic at times. It also has to be lit for recording and video and internet streaming.
Another challenge this year was working with a completely new rig. While HSL was involved in a rental supply capacity in 2016, this year they took on the full lighting production role. Mark and Ben particularly enjoyed having the BMFLs this year.
Another added bonus was that moving lights were used to spot the correct positions of cones for the upcoming driving classes and jumps for the next show-jumping sessions, allowing the floor teams to mark out the arenas extremely quickly, speeding up the changeovers.
In the “Top Spec” Arena 2, lighting was a lot more straightforward. A proliferation of in-hand showing and breed classes took place here, lit with super-wide PAR 64s on six-lamp bars rigged on individual trusses flown in a U shape. A series of 400W MBI floods were supplied for the collecting ring area
A long truss was hung above the main entranceway, populated with Philips LED Spot 300s projecting Horse of The Year Show custom gobos, combined with SL 350 LED washes providing the event’s signature purple wash.
Hazers and smoke machines were used to help ramp up the atmosphere for the theatrical lighting moments, a task that took a little while to master but proved well worth the effort.
Andy and Charlotte worked with 12 local crew on the in and out, and both organisers and the venue commented that it was great to have all the lighting and rigging coming from one company.
Being fresh to the event enabled HSL to bring new ideas and vitality to the table. It was a totally different show environment to a standard stage setup, but everyone soon settled into their stride.
Ben Fox comments: “The whole HSL experience was excellent! The crew were all great, nice personalities and they worked quickly and efficiently; the kit proved to be perfect for the application and really gave us so many more options and scope to produce imaginative shows that were really appreciated by our audiences.”
Nadia sums up: “I am only ever as good as the people I work with, so choosing the right dedicated professionals for this event is always key. They need to be the best in the business and passionate about what they do.
It has been an amazing experience with HSL adding their expertise, flair and dedication to the mix and making the 2017 Horse of the Year Show so memorable The standard and variety of the lighting equipment has been superb and the get in and rigging seamless. Simon and his team are brilliant to work with and I can’t wait to do it all again next year.”
photos: Louise Stickland
17th October 2017
MegaPointes for Celine Dion Vegas Show
USA – Canadian superstar Celine Dion’s lighting designer Yves Aucoin has added Robe’s brand new MegaPointe multi-purpose moving light fixtures to the rig for her popular “Celine” show at the Colosseum, Caesar’s Palace, Las Vegas.
This is the first live concert show for MegaPointe in North America and Robe is delighted with the high-profile reference!
The hard-working Grammy Award winning artist and top selling recording star who offers an accessible mix of pop, soul, rock and RnB is currently playing around 70 shows a year in Las Vegas in a series of three-week stints and tours other territories in between.
Yves has worked with her since 1989, and Montreal based lighting supplier Solotech, represented by Richard Lachance and François Desjardins, has also been involved since Celine’s shows first started carrying a production.
Yves jumped at the chance to add MegaPointes to the Vegas spectacle. He likes to keep the long running residency looking fresh by introducing new elements.
The 4,296 capacity Colosseum was inspired by the architecture of ancient and contemporary Rome and has been in operation since 2003, when it first opened with a showcase of Celine Dion’s residency show “Celine in Las Vegas – Opening Night Live”; Yves recalls the event extremely well, and at that point he says they had around 180 fixtures in the theatre.
Some of these luminaires are still there, but over the years other visiting artists have added to the rig, so there are now around 300 fixtures in the house rig, the very latest of which are the 22 MegaPointes.
The stage is around 125ft. wide so it’s a big space to fill, and when Yves decided to add the MegaPointes following a demo by John Bilyk and the Robe North America team, he knew that he would be able to make an immediate impact and shift the dynamics of the show.
Twelve MegaPointes are positioned on a bridge upstage of the band and these have become real workhorses for this new-look show. They are used for beams, back-, keylighting and projecting and texturing onto the stage as well as for aerial looks.
Six MegaPointes along the front of the stage are used extensively when the front curtain is in and the space is smaller and more intimate. Concentrated on the apron, the four remaining fixtures are on four ‘mobilator’ moving band risers (a TAIT special). These illuminate the musicians and provide a second layer of mid-stage beams which Yves can integrate into his bigger pictures.
Yves, who throughout his long and illustrious industry career has always had a penchant for road-testing new products, is “well impressed” so far with the MegaPointes. He had his work cut out to program 22 new fixtures into 28 songs in a short window, and is pleased with the results.
He appreciates the large, efficient zoom, and the fact you can have a sharp beam one minute, then zoom out without losing power and still have a nice hard-edged fat beam which also looks cool with a gobo inserted.
He thinks the gobos are excellent, and loves the quality of the colours. He says this is one of the features that successfully “seduced” him into adding MegaPointes to the show. The blue and amber ranges with their richness and definition he finds particularly interesting and attractive.
He also mentions that he can easily pull the zoom a little bit and run smoothly into an elegant sweep across the audience at the Colosseum without blinding people, a manoeuvrer that’s not easy to achieve with many other moving lights.
Yves has used Robe products in his work for some time, particularly the BMFL range. He thinks Robe as a brand is “rock solid” right now.
“Their fixtures are powerful, reliable, practical and easy to clean and service, this is what I am hearing constantly from my crews,” he stated.
Yves also designs the video and set for all of Celine’s shows as well as programming and operating the lighting for most. For the occasional Vegas gig he cannot attend, the venue’s Greg Whittle will step in and run the lighting, having learned the show cue-by-cue.
Celine Dion has had the longest residency at the Colosseum; she will hit the 1,110 mark on 2nd June2018 and celebrated her 1000th there on 8th October 2016.
photos: Yves Aucoin
17th October 2017
Stone Sour Tours With Bandit Lites
USA – American heavy metal band, Stone Sour is touring the nation with a lighting package provided by Bandit Lites. The Grammy nominated group recently released its sixth studio album, Hydrograd, which debuted at No. 8 on Billboard’s 200 chart, and appeared at No. 1 in three categories.
Lighting designer Julie Cox fashioned a rig that would fit the direction of simple and clean while still packing a powerful punch. By choosing fixtures that would balance truck space, multiple effects and budget, she crafted a multi-layered and emphatic design that could complement the powerhouse band’s sound.
Bandit Lites supplied Elation Elar 72 UV PARs, Wildfire Blacklites, Martin Atomic 3000 LED Strobes, Chauvet Nexus 4x1 fixtures, Claypaky B-EYE K20, Claypaky Mythos, SunStrips with a grandMA 2 Lite console for control.
“The main fixture I was adamant about was the Martin Atomic LED strobes,” explained Cox. “I still had the hit of the flash effects, but the subtleties of the background effects behind the flash add an extra layer of colour. Also, being the only one building and running the show, I'm a huge fan of not having to change out lamps.”
Cox has a special rapport with Bandit Lites, noting the care and dedication of both the client representative, Brent Barrett, and project manager Don Lockridge.
“I'll always consider Bandit as family,” said Cox, “From Brent with his cheerful phone calls to Don making sense of what I'm thinking and the crew who did a great job prepping the gear.”
“We are thrilled to be a part of this tour,” added Barrett. “Julie’s skill and dedication are apparent in every look and I believe fans of the band can see her care and attention to detail throughout the entire production. Also, it is great to again have the opportunity to work with Stephen Shaw (tour manager) who is one of the true professionals in our business.”
“I know I can walk into something with Bandit gear and understand it right away,” finished Cox. “Bandit is how I was raised in this industry.”
17th October 2017
Creative BackStage Revs Up Event for Naughty By Nature
USA – When an event is billed as an “Old School House Party,” organisers can’t do much better than to book Naughty By Nature as the headliner. The New Jersey threesome of Treach, Vin Rock and DJ Kay Gee defined hip hop in the 1990s, with some of the earliest crossover hits like O.P.P. and Hip Hop Hooray. Setting an appropriately frenetic tone for The It Factor Ltd event in Arizona, the Grammy-winning trio got the crowd on its feet with their rapid-fire rap. Supporting them every pulsating step of the way was a John Garberson designed light show that featured 12 Rogue R2 Washes from Chauvet Professional.
Supplied by Creative BackStage, the RGBW washes were used for down washing and side washing, as well as specials, during the high energy performance. “We basically relied on the Rogues for all of our effect lighting,” said Garberson. “My assistant LDs Rita Assi and Jamie Rivera came up with some cool ways to get big production looks out of our relatively small rig.”
The Creative BackStage team flew eight of the Rogue fixtures on downstage truss and two each on side truss to the left and right of the stage. “We were able to cover the artists in a range of vivid colours from multiple directions,” said Garberson. “This really set the performance area apart from the rest of the venue and contributed to a concert look. We also backwashed the artists, which created a nice effect.”
Taking advantage of their fixtures’ rapid pan and tilt movements, Garberson and his assistants created aerial washes to accent key points of Naughty By Nature’s performance. “Obviously, these are high energy artists, so you want your lighting to reflect that,” he said. “Of course, when you have a group with this passion, it’s easy to convey excitement.”
Balancing this on-stage excitement, the Creative BackStage team added a warm colorful glow to the room with a collection of hauvet DJ fixtures. They arranged 11 COLORband PiX USB washes across the upstage deck to light the curtain behind the performers. “The colourised curtain gave us a nice backdrop to work against,” said Garberson. “We got some nice looks working it off against the colours of the Rogues.”
Also contributing to the room’s immersive environment with colour was the Freedom Par Hex-4. “We sprinkled the Freedom Pars around the room like colour candy,” said Garberson. “They worked as truss toners and as wall washes. Our goal was to make the room glow. This was a special event for people, giving them a chance to see legends like Naughty By Nature in an intimate setting. We wanted our lighting to support the sizzle of the group’s stage performance, while still creating a warm sense of engagement in the room.”
17th October 2017
Digital Insanity works with Green Hippo to create vast LED façade at Wild Life Festival 2017
UK – More than 45,000 music fans attended this year’s Wild Life Festival and Digital Insanity used Hippotizer media servers to help direct stunning visuals throughout the two-day run. The resulting ‘all-LED wall’ seamlessly integrated with performances from acts including Fatboy Slim, Hannah Wants, David Rodigan, Disclosure, Maya Jane Coles and Gorgon City.
Launched in 2015 by Disclosure and Rudimental, Wild Life has quickly become one of the South East’s most highly anticipated music gatherings. Occupying the open expanse at Brighton City Airport (formerly Shoreham Airport) the venue offers the organisers plenty of space in which to create, as well as host thousands of revellers.
Digital Insanity secured the welcomed task once again (this was the third year that Digital Insanity provided playback for Wild Life Festival) of enabling this year’s festival visuals, and the UK-based video solutions provider called on Hippotizer’s playback power to harness its video design. Running a Hippotizer V4 Karst media server, Digital Insanity created a stunning frontage comprising a 4K canvas of 8mm LED, delivering a look, big and bold enough to work in Wild Life’s capacious surroundings.
Richard Bagshaw from Digital Insanity, has an extensive design portfolio-including many major dance events such as Snowbombing, South West Four, We Are FSTVL, to high end events such as the Starwars ep7 Red Carpet Event and James Bond’s Sceptre World Premier Parties, as well as this latest dazzling display, and he is a long-time Hippotizer user. Reflecting on Wild Life 2017, Richard said: “I’ve been using Hippotizer for parties for over 15 years now. It’s my choice of playback for these types of events, being flexible, powerful and it keeps up with what I’m trying to do.”
17th October 2017
Mark Cunniffe works magic with Robert Juliat Lancelot and Merlin for Ed Sheeran and Robbie Williams
Worldwide – English singer-songwriter and global superstar, Ed Sheeran’s current world tour in support of his third studio album ‘÷’, is a huge 187-date tour which started in Turin, Italy in March 2017, and will play stadiums across Europe, North and Latin America, Asia, and Australasia before returning for a second European leg throughout summer 2018.
This is a mammoth adventure by the solo singer whose every move on stage will be followed by two of Robert Juliat’s heroic Lancelot followspots, supplied by UK-based lighting hire company, Lights Control Rigging (LCR).
Robert Juliat’s Lancelot is a 4000W HTI followspot designed for very long throw applications, with a 2°-5° zoom and an innovative optical train that delivers an extremely flat beam and improves on the power of its smaller counterparts.
The two Lancelot followspots were specified for the ÷ tour by production designer, Mark Cunniffe, who has worked with Sheeran as lighting and production designer since the star first broke onto the music scene in 2011. It was clear Cunniffe needed a quality fixture to pick out the singer to his best advantage against the massive, video-heavy set that surrounds him.
“I chose the Lancelots for a number of reasons,” says Cunniffe. “Firstly, I love the optics of the Robert Juliat products which guarantee a flat field and good output. Secondly, the Lancelot is always a rock solid followspot to take on tour. It is great to be able to travel with the lamp in situ in the spot and, with 187 dates, we needed something we could trust to be truly durable.”
Six months into the tour, Cunniffe has been proved right: “The Lancelots have been very reliable and shown themselves to be extremely technician-friendly in terms of maintenance and road-worthiness. As expected they have been excellent all round.”
Robert Juliat prides itself in designing its fixtures with all its end users in mind: in addition to the optical and build quality, the comfort of the followspot operators is paramount. “Our spot operators love the Lancelot for all the usual RJ reasons,” says Cunniffe. “The ergonomics of the unit and the weight balance are superb for a start, and the ability to attach sights to the side is a crucial aspect. Sights are invaluable when covering the throw distances of an arena or stadium-sized venue, and when there is only one singer and his guitar to focus on, it’s extremely important for the pick-ups to be accurate.”
“As a rental company, investing in products such as the Robert Juliat Lancelot is essential to ensure our clients receive a strong reliable touring product,” says Mike Oates of Lights Control Rigging. “It is also great to deal with Robert Juliat and Ambersphere again who offer a great service and a speedy and knowledgeable support network.”
Ed Sheeran’s Divide tour is not the only large-scale extravaganza for which Cunniffe has opted to use Robert Juliat followspots. Four RJ Lancelot and two RJ Merlin 2500W HMI followspots have just toured Europe with Robbie Williams The Heavy Entertainment Show tour where Cunniffe employed them as front of house spots and side spots respectively.
Merlin is a powerful, rugged followspot designed for touring: easy to transport, install and maintain, with an output that belies its 2500W HMI lamp, it has a massive 3°-12° beam range that covers both long and medium throw ranges in one unit.
The Heavy Entertainment Show set comprises a multi-layered stage, with a mass of video and LED set pieces, staging gags, and backing performers, so the accuracy and output of the Robert Juliat followspots is essential if they are to hold their own in this environment. “In stadium settings such as this, there is a cross over from daytime to night time and we need lighting fixtures that are man enough to cope with both,” says Cunniffe.
Lighting supplier for Robbie Williams’ tour is UK-based Neg Earth Lights. “Following our initial investment in Robert Juliat Lancelots in 2011 we have seen them become the followspot of choice for the majority of the work we do, to the extent we now have 28 in our inventory,” says Neg Earth Lights’ Dave Ridgway. “The commitment and support from Robert Juliat and Ambersphere was an important factor in our decision to invest in the Merlin in 2015 when we were looking to replace our stock of Supertroopers.”
Robbie Williams’ The Heavy Entertainment Show ran for 35 dates from June to September across all major European cities, and culminated in two shows in the Russian cities of St Petersburg and Moscow in early September.
Robert Juliat is distributed in the UK exclusively by Ambersphere Solutions.
photos: Ralph Larmann
17th October 2017
Autograph Sound Upgrades to Full MLA Rig for 2017 Open Air Production of Jesus Christ Superstar
UK - When Autograph Sound designer Nick Lidster was planning the 2016 summer season production of Jesus Christ Superstar at Regent’s Park Open Theatre, he opted for a Martin Audio MLA Compact PA rig.
Under the direction of Timothy Sheader, the show would play to capacity audiences of 1,250 nightly in the fan-shaped, raked auditorium. In order to emulate the classic rock sound that had characterised the original album 46 years ago Lidster sensed that the award-winning MLA concept would be best fit for purpose. It was duly nominated for an Olivier Award.
Last year, for the centre image he had used a different sound source. It was while auditioning MLA Mini at a Leo Sayer concert for another production that he instinctively realised that this would offer a better option for JCS when he came to refresh the production at the start of the 2017 season.
“After last season finished I looked at what I needed to do by way of streamlining, and after hearing MLA Mini I knew it would be perfect for the centre cluster,” he confirmed. In addition to being discreet, it was also a third of the weight of the previous hang, which made it a much safer solution.
Supported by Martin Audio’s Nigel Meddemmen, six elements of the MLA Mini were centrally deployed and at the same time Nick Lidster chose to fly the main line array higher than previously. “I wanted to focus the sound down to ensure we got all the energy into the bowl shaped auditorium, and at the same time minimise the spill over the back and into the Park. That’s what I felt was needed, and the lower bowl area sounded so much better as a result.”
He stated that with the centre cluster he had used previously there was too much energy spilling into the park. “I needed to be able to steer it towards the front of the auditorium to around half way back where the main PA takes over.” He could also see from the Leo Sayer experience the wisdom of having all components from within one family, particularly with MLA’s unique controllability.
“In fact some of the story-telling became clearer,” he said. “It was dynamic without being loud, and in Gethsemane, for instance, [with the sound imaging] Jesus is brought right into the lap of the audience.”
There were other benefits of MLA Mini, as experienced by this year’s sound operator James Hassett, foremost being its ease of tuning. “MLA Mini provided a major improvement not least because I could use it without needing to EQ it,” Nick Lidster explained. “The vocal image felt right above you and as a result I could run the front fills so much hotter this year.”
William Village, executive director of Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, had stated last year that: “In creating the gig-like vibe for Jesus Christ Superstar, it was important to us to use a sound system which would support that production vision. Martin Audio delivered a sound system of excellence, showcasing our performers and rock musicians.”
And with the addition of MLA Mini in 2017 they really upped the ante.
In picture: Jesus Christ Superstar at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre.
photo: Johan Persson.
16th October 2017
CS Audio Supports Björk’s Headline Festival Shows with KLANG:technologies
Worldwide – Paul Hatt’s sound hire and production company CS Audio has been supporting the Icelandic singer Björk, using KLANG:technologies’ innovative 3D personal monitor mixing system for the string section at the headline festival shows in Mexico City, Los Angeles and Fuji Rock in Japan.
The KLANG:technologies system was specified by Hatt after he’d used it with Massive Attack in Hyde Park for the same purpose, but it also caught the eye of the production manager who also worked on both shows. He asked Hatt about the system’s availability, having been suitably impressed the first time it was used.
Hatt explained the set-up: “This time the KLANG was connected via the MADI on the DiGiCo SD8 console, quick and easy to set up, we were up and running in no time without any issues. I sent groups of each string section, playback mixes, click, vocal and of course themselves to allow each musician to quickly achieve what they needed to hear. The KLANG outputs fed a Shure hard-wired IEM mounted on each music stand, along with a tablet for the wireless control.”
“One of the virtues of the system is its simplicity in set-up and the short learning curve for the musicians,” continued Hatt. “It’s a simple, intuitive application and a quick demonstration was all that was needed to get them up and running, allowing me more time to concentrate on the artist.”
“The response from the musicians has been positive wherever we go, it’s a really useful product and delivers a great solution for wireless personal mix control,” said Hatt. “The 3D processing is pretty amazing. It does what it says - and works, finding additional placement within an in-ear mix can really tidy things up and enhance the experience.
The KLANG:technologies system was supplied to CS Audio by UK Distributor, HD Pro Audio. “We’ve been so impressed with the KLANG system we invested in the KLANK:fabrik with MADI which, in addition to our own use, is available for hire. With HD Pro Audio I also get great backup and technical support,” concluded Hatt. “I’m looking forward using the KLANG system on many future projects.”
In picture: Paul Hatt.
16th October 2017
Adlib Dreams Big with La La Land Tour
UK – Liverpool-based rental and production company Adlib’s audio department specified and supplied an L-Acoustics Kara sound system for the recent tour of Damien Chazelle’s multiple Academy Award winning box office blockbusting movie La La Land, accompanied by a 51-piece orchestra who played the foot-tapping musical score live.
Adlib was working for Senbla’s Harvey Leslie as production manager and Kitty Stafford-Clark as producer, with a crew of four chiefed by Alan Harrison who was also the system technician, joined by Laurie Binns and Steph Fleming looking after the patch and monitor engineer Max Taylor. Also on the audio team was FoH engineer Arne Bock (working directly for the production.)
The tour played a selection of high profile concert halls all around the UK over a period of ten days and was a massive success.
As with any orchestral scenario, precision and detail were key to getting both the acoustic and aesthetics spot-on, and this is the reason why Kara was selected. Other factors included the compact size and low weight of the speakers, which allowed all eyes to be focused on the massive cinema screen upstage.
In addition to that, the exceptionally predictable frequency response of the Kara meant the system design for each room could optimise the audience experience and deliver maximum clarity and even tonality for both orchestra and the spoken dialogue from the movie soundtrack, despite some compromises that were necessary due to the screen position.
The two main PA hangs were 12 Kara, with four Arcs II a-side for in/out fills, four Kara for stage lip fills and two KS28 subs per side.
Having a central focus for the dialogue was vital and the front fills were fed by a separate mix from the DiGiCo SD10 FoH console to allow extra dialogue to the front half of the audience to counter the acoustic sound of the orchestra as well as to boost their ability to focus sound in relation to the screen.
The system was powered by L-Acoustics LA12X amplifiers, complete with a standard Adlib Lake processing, EQ and system management.
Four Adlib new AAFD3P mid-highs made up the side fills running in conjunction with AA215HLv2 subs, also from Adlib’s proprietary range and conductor David Mahoney utilised a self-powered ‘hot-spot’ style personal monitor. A DiGiCo SD12 console was the monitor console of choice for Max.
The Adlib team worked closely with David Mahoney explained Laurie. They ensured that he was happy with everything monitor related and the levels of ADR (automated dialogue replacement) coming from the film which enabled him and the musicians to sync to the on screen characters and action.
They also made sure he was comfortable with the levels and proportions of special effects and ADR tracks from the film in his personal monitor.
All the other monitoring was achieved using hard-wired IEMs and Adlib’s custom headphone split system which allowed the provision of independent level-controlled mix to each member of the orchestra, apart from the percussion, pianists and jazz trio who had their own IEM mixes.
The mics were primarily DPA 4099s for the strings and brass and DPA 4011s for the percussion, with Neumann KM184s for the woodwind and overheads.
Adlib really enjoyed working in this different environment and watching the orchestra and soloists harmonise with the film during the show, bringing it to life with a new richness, vibrancy and multi-dimensionality that is so much more immersive than watching in a standard movie theatre.
Adlib had worked on its first orchestral project for Senbla’s Harvey Leslie and Kitty Stafford-Clark earlier in the year, with an arena tour of “Harry Potter & the Philosopher’s Stone” which was also extremely popular.
Adlib Account Manager Phil Kielty comments: “As a lot of us are movie geeks, it was a real thrill for us to work with Harvey, Kitty and all at Senbla again, who are as passionate about their productions as we are! Presenting this type of entertainment is now becoming a well-oiled process for us and we are extremely excited to be involved at the heart of a new and ground-breaking live entertainment concept.”
In picture: Adlib’s touring Crew.
photos: Shirlaine Forrest
16th October 2017
Robe Finds another Voice
South Africa – Robe was the moving light of choice for the second season of The Voice South Africa.
Multi-Media was again appointed as technical production company by TV producers AMPN, with Joshua Cutts of Visual Frontier once again appointed as lighting designer.
The show, aired on M-Net, and this year moved from a 500 capacity studio to the 3,000 seater Mosaiek Teatro in Fairland, Johannesburg, reflecting the popularity of and anticipation for the popular singing contest. With that came the creative brief from series director Darren Hayward to “go for it” with more drama and excitement.
Josh didn’t hold back when offered this great opportunity! He specified over 200 Robe fixtures across the series, a package co-ordinated by Multi-Media’s Chris Delancey.
The set was designed by Dewet Meyer, who also thought bigger in his design, adding a mezzanine level to the stage which was utilised for performers and dancers, adding another new and very cool dimension.
Dewet and Josh worked closely and the scenics lent themselves ideally to being lit in terms of angles, textures and surfaces, “Dewet is great to work with in that respect” commented Josh, “He really understands how light works and gives me a good degree of control over how the appearance of the structures and shapes can be changed with the application of light.”
As well as lighting the artists, stage and set, Josh paid a lot of attention to the audience lighting. With the larger crowds, it was important to pull them into the action and involve them with the show, so he adopted a bit of a subtle EDM-style approach this season.
Lights were rigged on a set of ‘finger’ trusses running up- and downstage, fanning out from the centre, facilitating a fantastic dynamic range for the focus positions.
Twenty-four LEDBeam 1000s were among the first fixtures to be placed on the rig as he drew up the plot, dotted around the fingers, their immense power zapped to create primary beam work above the space and rich colour washes sweeping across the stage.
With the scale of the room more prominent this year and all the long shots reminding people of the large and enthusiastic audiences, he upped the BMFL count to 12 BMFL Blades, all used from key and front lighting plus a range of specials.
In the upstage filler positions 18 Pointes were distributed around the fingers, working closely with 24 miniPointes on the floor, and, in the trusses, LEDBeam 100s for supplementary beams and 16 CycFX 8s to fill in the black holes upstage. This enabled sufficient beam coverage, facilitating effects and other looks and tricks to permeate the performance space.
For a special episode featuring leading SA rockers Prime Circle, Josh added a specials package of 12 Spiiders which were located on truss totems upstage of the band.
They pixel mapped the Spiiders and alternated between running them as a standard wash beam light and as pixel effects or the tight beam and the central flower effect combined, which “worked like a dream”.
For the finale, 40 Spikies were added to the rig and used to accent the lines of the set and to delineate the stage and mezzanine, etc., and these were also highly effective. Whenever he has the opportunity, Josh likes to highlight architecture and its form with multiple Spikies, and currently this is becoming one of his unique signature looks.
He was among the first people to trial Spikies when they arrived in SA via Robe’s distributor DWR Distribution, and now loves the opportunity to use multiple amounts, which he always positions carefully.
He can make them soft, tightly beamed or create a collection of sparkly effects. “They are really so versatile, and especially when used en masse.”
Because Spikies have RGB colour mixing, he can also easily add them into his pixel mapping palette. “A quick 120bpm effect on the pan and tilt and they are really rocking,” he declares! When this is happening, they will also work incredibly harmoniously with Pointes and miniPointes.
Multiple guest artists appeared throughout the eight episodes, for which they used a pool of additional fixtures including Pixel PATTs and the brand new LEDBeam 150s, among others.
They had “huge fun” using the pixelPATTs said Josh who discovered and created some stunning colour chasing effects, and also experimented to great effect with the zoom on the LEDBeam 150s.
He was assisted with the programming by Andre Siebrits. They utilised two grandMA2 light consoles and ran a VPU for the pixel mapping.
There was a lot of video making up the set, so seeing that the two disciplines worked smoothly together was a paramount consideration to which everyone devoted lots of energy.
Josh and Andre have now worked on six different elements of the Voice in under two years:– South Africa and Nigeria twice, Angola once as well as a Francophile edition.
Each season they will programme around 300 tracks, so taken together this all adds up to an impressive 1800 songs and a shed pile of programming time and ingenuity!
“It’s a great environment. All departments can put ideas forward with the goal of enriching the end result, and in the meantime, we all get on with our own specific areas, but aware of the fact we are one big team. There’s a lot of creative buzz and many smiles,” he concludes.
The Voice South Africa 2017 was won by Craig Lucas, with Parlotones’ frontman Kahn Morbee clinching the title of winning coach for the second year. More than 1.6 million votes –an all-time record for The Voice SA – were cast in the final week of voting.
photos: Duncan Riley