Production News Headlines
Electric Woodlands Makes Enchanted Festival Debut with Martin Audio PAs
UK – A new dance festival called Electric Woodlands took place recently in the idyllic grounds of Bygrave Farm in Baldock. Three bespoke stages, set in lush green landscapes, and a hidden forest provided the backdrop to a who's who of drum & bass, house and bass exponents over an 11-hour period.
Capital Sound, part of the Solotech UK Group, equipped all three stages with PA, the two largest fitted out with premium Martin Audio systems.
The service providers had been introduced to the event by Alex Anderson, a production manager with whom they had worked previously. Capital senior project manager, Martin Connolly takes up the story: “We were then contacted and initially asked to quote on the main stage before extending this to the other two stages.”
The crew worked alongside the event’s main production manager, Catherine Bates, observing sound thresholds set by F1 Acoustics. “It was a remote site so there were no real sound restrictions,” Connolly observed.
The main Big Top, managed by DnB Allstars, comprised a 76m x 66m six-pole Kayam tent. It was here that this online community of drum & bass fans presented a top line-up, headlined by Chase & Status and Rage.
Capital Sound responded by flying 14 MLA Compact Loudspeaker Arrays, left and right, with 12 MLX subwoofers in a broadside array and six Martin Audio XD12 for front fill. “We chose MLA Compact because we were weight restricted to 850 kilos per side,” noted Capital’s project manager. MLA and system technician on this stage was Dan Leaver, with Lee Furnell as the crew chief.
A Martin Audio rig was also present on The Clearing Stage, hosted by the bassline collective, CruCast. They showcased leading practitioners Skepsis, Darkzy, Kanine, DJ Q b2b Jamie Duggan, Window Kid, Zero, Tsuki, as well as garage, grime and bassline star, Flava D.
For this stage Capital Sound elected to fly eight WPS per side, running off iKON iK42 amplifiers in 1-box resolution, again with restricted weight capacities in mind. “It was the best weapon in the Martin Audio armoury that was also sufficiently light to give us the required number of speakers per side,” he said. Subwoofers comprised 12 SX218 (2 x 18”) and four XD12 provided front fill.
Sam Cunningham was the FOH technician at the Clearing Stage and system tech was Alistair Helliard.
In view of the success of the inaugural Electric Woodlands, the festival is now being pitched as an annual event.
21st October 2021
Burna Boy is Twice As Tall with Yamaha RIVAGE PM10
UK – In August, Nigerian Afro-fusion star Burna Boy’s Twice As Tall event was the first in the London O2 Arena’s Welcome Back Show series of live concerts. Sold out with fans hungry for live entertainment, Yamaha RIVAGE PM10 digital mixing systems helped deliver a much-anticipated, impressive live production.
2021 has been a highly successful year for Burna Boy, winning a Grammy Award for his 2020 Billboard-topping album Twice As Tall, Artiste of the Year at the Global Music Awards Africa and Best International Act at the Black Entertainment Television (BET) Awards. He headed to the O2 Arena with a spectacular show, arriving in a flying saucer and spending much of the performance on a stage projection, surrounded by the audience on three sides.
With music blending Afrobeats, dancehall riddims, reggae, American rap and R&B, the large production included a 16-strong choir using headset microphones, a string quartet, brass section, traditional percussion, guitar, keyboards, bass, drums and guest vocals.
The show’s audio production was provided by Eighth Day Sound. Front of house engineer Temidayo Oladehin has worked with Burna Boy since his first UK tour, with he and monitor engineer Duriel Mensah both using RIVAGE PM10 systems on this production, thanks to their ability to easily handle the high channel count.
With the large number of musicians on stage, Duriel had 50 sets of in-ear monitors to mix. Nine of the musicians used Yamaha’s Monitor Mix software to adjust their personal mix via their mobile phones while on stage. For the rest of the performers, including Burna Boy, the on-stage mix was fine-tuned by Tosin Orojinmi. He used Yamaha’s StageMix App to adjust the individual mixes during sound check.
After shows at Manchester’s Parklife and the Cambridge Strawberries & Creem festivals in September, Burna Boy headed to the US and mainland Europe.
In picture: Duriel Mensah and Temidayo Oladehin.
photos: Karl Christmas
20th October 2021
Hippotizer Tierra+ MK2 is rock solid for No Time To Die premiere
UK – Green Hippo’s rock solid, flagship Hippotizer Tierra+ MK2 media server took centre stage to drive mesmerising visuals at the James Bond No Time To Die world premiere at the Royal Albert Hall.
Richard Bagshaw from UK-based live events video playback and content creators Digital Insanity took the helm at the star-studded film launch on the famous red carpet steps, harnessing the power of a Tierra+ MK2 with the serial number 001 (for premiere purposes, of course. 007 was otherwise engaged).
TV viewers and those lucky enough to attend the premiere arrived on the red carpet surrounded by 14 LED screens, forming giant cubes to display Bond teasers, clips and graphics. Digital Insanity supplied content creation and video playback services for the red carpet event and also supplied content for the press junket, entrance tunnel and the after movie drinks reception.
“I’ve been a user of Hippotizer for 17 years, and being among the first to use the Tierra+ MK2 for a high-profile event was licence to thrill,” says Bagshaw. “The Tierra+ MK2 offers incredible playback control, power and flexibility, and we harnessed this to drive pre-made video content, mapping to the screens with VideoMapper through two 4K outputs using the lossless codec. Needless to say, the encode times were impressively way faster than ever and the quality of playback was exceptional.”
Bagshaw and the team created more than 20 looks for the red carpet, but some on-the-fly video feeds and cueing of specials for VIP guests upon arrival were required.
“The Tierra+ MK2’s media management and real-time playback control made this simple to achieve, the Hippotizer ecosystem allowed me to action and amend as needed with complete flexibility,” adds Bagshaw.
Green Hippo’s Nigel Sadler was on site to provide support and experience the Tierra+ MK2 servers in action as the eyes of movie fans from around the world watched on.
“We created the Tierra+ MK2 as the next generation of high performance, video playback hardware, building on the other models in the Hippotizer family to explore new and emerging workflows to boost creativity,” says Sadler. “It was a joy to see the Tierra+ MK2 taking on such as high-profile event as the James Bond premiere, as it was a long-anticipated event and took place in front of vast swathes of the world! Tierra+ MK2 is built for demanding, large event production and I can’t wait to see what it can help video designers achieve in the future.”
Stars of No Time To Die Daniel Craig, Rami Malek, and Lashana Lynch strutted their stuff on the red carpet for the premiere, alongside a host of celebrities and royals, including the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
photos: Digital Insanity
20th October 2021
Lenny Sasso and Chauvet Professional F6 Strip IP Reflect Many Sides of PVRIS
USA – “In a perfect world, we’d just listen to music and not have to think about where it belongs,” PVRIS founder Lynn Gunn told an interviewer in July shortly before the fiercely independent band set out on its highly anticipated summer tour. She was speaking of her disdain for labels that seek to categorise creative expression into convenient music genres.
During their 19 city tour, which began at Detroit’s Majestic Café and concluded at the Fonda Theatre in Hollywood, PVRIS proceeded to shatter any notion of genres into thousands of glittering pieces with their swirling mix of sounds that fused myriad musical influences into a beautiful mix that defied any attempt at easy categorisation.
PVRIS’ free flowing music took flight against the richly textured background of a Lenny Sasso lighting design that mirrored the passion and complexity of the band’s performance. Moving from ambers to bold reds, and soft washes to intense strobing and sweeps, Sasso’s light show stayed with the varied and deeply felt emotions of the music every step of the way.
A critical piece of Sasso’s rig were the 28 Chauvet Professional F6 IP linear video strips that dominated the centre stage. Supplied by Sonus Productions of Moorestown, NJ, the strips were arranged vertically along two upstage rows of ten units each, with the remaining eight fixtures flanking the drum and bass risers.
Feeding the strips content from Resolume, Sasso used them to set a variety of moods on stage. “I used a combination of prebuilt Resolume packs, plus a few solid colour blocks that I had made for the strips,” he said. “Overall, I stuck with clips that were not too elaborate. So it's mostly blowing smoke, panning lines, tunnels, static, orbs, etc., things of that nature. I found that clips like that tended to work the best with how I had the strips configured.”
Given their output and versatility the 6.9mm pitch strips allowed Sasso to create the range of looks necessary to reflect PVRIS’s music. “The F6 IP strips were critical to the vision we had for this show,” he said. “Cole at Sonus did absolutely great work making sure we had enough of the strips and cables for the show. I can’t say enough about how helped.”
There were many moments in the show, when it was apparent why Sasso was so intent on including the F6 IP units in his rig. An example was plain to see during the chorus of “Death of Me,” when the strips displayed solid colours chasing each other at different heights to create a multidimensional look on stage.
“The chorus is very driving and a bit chaotic so I wanted the wall of strips to reflect that,” said Sasso. “There was no filter diffusing the light from the strips so the intensity was unchecked. When we put images like this up on Instagram, we got tons of compliments on the looks.”
Many of those responding to Sasso’s Instagram photos were diehard PVRIS fans, proving that while this band’s music may be hard to define, it’s very easy to get swept up in its passion.
20th October 2021
disguise xR powers the Honda Civic Tour
USA – Honda fans got a preview of the all-new 2022 Honda Civic Sedan as well as a live streamed concert from a Grammy and Academy Award winning artist in the 20th Anniversary Honda Civic Tour. The event, broadcasted on Twitch, was an extended reality (xR) experience powered by disguise xR with changing virtual landscapes enhancing the artist’s unforgettable performance as well as sharing a glimpse of the new car.
For around four to five months, virtual production experts Sixdegrees and All of it Now (AOIN) worked with content creators at Immanent to mingle the artist’s live transitions into three realistic virtual environments: a city that transforms into a jungle, a red-rocks cave interior and a mountain top.
Added to this was a 3D model of the new Honda Civic travelling through an extended reality environment.
The content creation team at Immanent crafted 3D worlds for three stages in Los Angeles used in the live streamed event. This proved to be an important test for disguise and the camera-tracking technology, which had to work flawlessly in a live, raw world instead of a shoot that was heavily produced and edited later. The calibration and changeovers had to be flawless.
AOIN used a disguise vx 2 media server as the director to render the xR feeds and a vx 4 to render the LED video wall and floor feeds. An rx machine was used in the uncompressed 25G mode, along with Mellanox MSN2010 switches, to achieve better image quality and colour reproduction. Since failover was not an option on the live broadcast, a second vx 4 and an additional rx machine were run as understudies in separate sessions.
“Real-time camera switching was a crucial element for the success of this project: It gave the director the freedom to switch cameras as if it were a standard live show,” said Danny Firpo, producer at AOIN. “We used the IoCore 2 box to receive a camera tally and convert it to OSC for camera switching, and it worked flawlessly."
“We had anticipated up to a minute or two to transition into the three different environments. After we optimised the [disguise] solo environments and set them up for level streaming it ended up taking only about ten seconds to transition from one scene to another. I was kind of amazed that we were able to move that fast,” said Drew Best, CEO of Immanent and visual content director of the show.
disguise’s new virtual zoom feature was also used to great effect on this project. The virtual zoom extended the virtual scene to allow cameras to zoom in and out of each scene, giving the team more freedom of motion to explore the 3D worlds.
“Using xR tools [for a live performance] was definitely a step forward for the team, and so many people helped us make sure there was a smooth transition into that workflow. We were able to create real-time rendered content that could be adjusted on the fly. disguise has the highest set of standards for this type of production. I can't imagine doing this event without it,” said Juan Santillan, CEO of Six Degrees and executive producer of the show.
The show achieved great success with over one million people watching the live show.
20th October 2021
Limburg Oet de Drup benefit concert sponsored by Highlite and SLF Group
The Netherlands – Since the floods of several rivers in Germany, Belgium and The Netherlands this past July, multiple charity events have raised money to support the victims financially. Limburg Oet de Drup (freely translated as “help Limburg”) foundation, also active after the local floods in 1993 and 1995 and brought back to life after the current events, had similarly organised an outdoor benefit concert to support victims in the province of Limburg in The Netherlands. Several regional and national artists performed before more than 1,000 attendees, who were welcomed on top of the Cauberg in Valkenburg aan de Geul. Artists Lucas & Steve, Jansse Bagge Bend, Minsekinder, Phil Bee en Daan Prevoo, Andy & Roy, Beppie Kraft, Big Benny, Christel en Quinn, Erwin, Frans Theunisz, Marjolein Heijltjes, Marleen Rutten, Pruuf Mar, Ziesjoem!, Emma Kok, Stef Classens, Enzo Kok, Marco Bakker, Martin Hurkens, Rob Mennen, Gé Reinders, Jack Vinders, Limbo Projects and Stephanie Struijk contributed to the fundraising concert.
The stage was decorated with a solid amount of sponsored equipment. Highlite and SLF Group Rental + Sales BV from Heerlen, The Netherlands, had provided an Infinity Chimp 300 lighting console to control all the lighting equipment on stage, among which were six Infinity iW-1915 Pixel wash zoom fixtures, 16 Showtec Phantom 12R Hybrid moving heads, 40 Spectral M1500 LED wash fixtures and eight Helix 5000 LED wash fixtures. A Novastar VX6S was also sponsored to control 28 DMT Premiere Series PS3.9N pixel screens, which were hanged using three double rigging bars and one single rigging bar for Premiere Series. Three Cases for 8x DMT Premiere Series were provided for safe transport. The necessary cables came from DAP, like the Pro Power True and the powerCON True1 power cables, FL56 – CAT6 cables and FL55 – CAT5 cables. Also sponsored by Highlite were 14 Eller Steel Slings 1 Ton WLL and 14 Chain Shackles. Additionally, four Showgear Electric Streamer Cannon Pros were used. The terrain lighting was assisted by four Showtec Phantom 12R Hybrid moving heads and four Single DP-1 DMX dimming packs. Altogether, the lighting equipment delivered a spectacular show for the audience and performers to enjoy.
photos: MaRicMedia Nieuws
20th October 2021
Bandit Lites Rocks Neyland Stadium for Tennessee Volunteers Football Game
USA – The world of college football is forever changed as Bandit Lites brought rock and roll to the football fan experience, lighting up Neyland Stadium, the fifth-largest stadium in the country, with a custom lighting package for the sold-out Tennessee versus Ole Miss game.
Hailed as a “mind-blowing light show” by Sports Illustrated, the fixtures were heavily utilised in pre-game activities, including the two-minute hype video prior to kick-off and lighting the iconic Power T formed by the Pride of the Southland Band when the football team takes to the field. Bandit put a 2021 twist on this old tradition by bathing the entire stadium in Tennessee Orange and the shape of the Power T in bright white. The stadium erupted when the illumination began, and the energy of the team was taken to levels never before seen. Sports media and social media blew up with pictures, videos, and comments the second the show began.
“Tennessee is known for having one of the largest and loudest stadiums in the country,” said Bandit Lites’ John Cameron Carter, who designed and produced the lighting show. “The “Neyland Effect” was ever present throughout the game. We worked closely with the Fan Experience Team prior to and during the game to match lighting with music and video.”
Over the course of three days, each sky box was fitted-out with six Elation Proteus Maximus and six Elation Paladins. The high-intensity LED moving lights were chosen for their high output and IP65 Rating. Throughout the game the fixtures were used to light the crowd and field during timeouts, after PAT’s and other performances in conjunction with video and pyro. Control was achieved with a grandMA 2 console.
“The energy inside the stadium was higher than ever and many fans remarked that the experience has been taken to a level never before seen in college football,” Carter said.
Carter and Bandit’s Alex Becker spent three days programming the system, crafting looks that would translate into a stadium with 103,000 people, video boards and cell phones.
“We utilised sharp edged beam looks to make the fixtures stand out,” explained Becker. “Strobes, chases and lots of ballyhoos were utilised. The field lighting was programmed in conjunction with our fixtures to amplify their effect.”
“Bandit was in total control of the stadium LED filed lights, the ribbon board, and the inventory we brought on board,” said Bandit Lites chair (and Tennessee alumnus) Michael T. Strickland. “Tennessee associate athletic director Jimmy Delaney was in charge of and the driving force behind this entire event. The entire UT team was great to work with. Bandit is extremely proud to be part of this tradition and look forward to doing it again at the Georgia game on 13 November 13. Stay tuned for more!”
19th October 2021
Shure Helps Tony Awards Welcome Back Broadway with Unparalleled Wireless Audio Technology
USA – Shure supported the 74th Annual Tony Awards and welcomed the theatre community home after a year without Broadway. Broadcast on CBS and streamed on Paramount+, this year’s Tony Awards, hosted by Audra McDonald and Leslie Odom Jr., achieved cutting-edge audio for the entire ceremony and subsequent “Broadway’s Back!” event.
The entire Shure community is thrilled to congratulate David Byrne’s American Utopia for being awarded the “Special Tony Award,” and “Jagged Little Pill” for taking home Best Book of a Musical and Best Performance by an Actress. Congratulations!
The night included stellar performances from the cast of Jagged Little Pill, American Utopia, Moulin Rouge! The Musical, Tina: The Tina Turner Musical, John Legend and the cast of Ain’t Too Proud, and Lin-Manuel Miranda and the cast of Freestyle Love Supreme. Each act relied on the unparalleled next gen digital radio with encryption and true digital diversity offered by Shure’s Axient digital wireless system.
“I wouldn't want to do the Tony Awards with any other wireless system than Axient Digital,” said Cameron Stuckey, RF Engineer. “The layers of complexity that we exceeded could only be done with Axient Digital. Forty-eight wireless channels were fitted into four DTV channels. And those channels were shared with everyone else in Times Square. And we had a live performance that began on the street and finished at centre stage. We also rotated entire musicals worth of performers on and off the stage during a live broadcast without a single dropout or failure. That success comes from tools that Shure has developed like ShowLink, Wireless Workbench’s Timeline, and Quadversity.”
This year’s new safety protocols presented the need for innovative audio solutions, and Shure gear helped the Tony’s production team rise to the occasion. Employing an astounding RF count of 72 channels managed by Shure Axient Digital, the hosts and performers were equipped with a mix of Shure AD1 Axient Digital Bodypack Transmitters and ADX1M Micro bodypack transmitters, for when a contoured form factor was needed on stage.
For in-ear personal monitoring, the Tony Awards’ production trusted Shure PSM 1000 to manage roughly 40 bodypacks throughout the show’s numerous live performances. Shure Axient digital wireless microphones were used throughout the show and performances as well.
“Shure Axient wireless microphones were a perfect match for the 2021 Tony Awards and The Tony Awards Present: Broadway’s Back,” shared Paul Wittman, production sound mixer. “I really like the clear, balanced, and natural sound that the Shure Axient wireless systems bring to the table. It allowed the voices and arrangements of the Tony’s performances to shine, sounding open and clear without sounding unnatural or overly processed.”
19th October 2021
New Avantis for New Zealand’s Lux Productions
New Zealand – Starting from humble beginnings in an Auckland garage, New Zealand’s Lux Productions has grown from strength to strength since 2013 and is currently moving into its sixth warehouse to accommodate the full spectrum of event production services.
In tandem with expansion to new premises, the company also decided to expand their console offerings with one eye on the existing stock of Allen & Heath audio expanders and SQ mixers.
“We were in the market for a medium to large format audio console and adore the SQ range from Allen and Heath, so when we heard about the release of the Avantis it was a no-brainer,” explains James Jefford, owner of Lux Productions. “As we already own a range of SQ consoles and stage boxes, the fact that this console would utilise that infrastructure of stage boxes and digital splits was just fantastic. We added a DX Link I/O card to the Avantis to allow for multi-zone IO to our different DX168 stage boxes allowing for simple and easy cable management.”
Avantis is the third mixer built on Allen & Heath’s 96kHz XCVI FPGA platform, with 64 input channels, comprehensive processing options and a fully configurable 42-bus mix architecture, all controlled via a pair of screens delivering 206 square inches of high-resolution screen space. “The interface is incredibly easy to navigate, and the dual HD touch screens were a huge selling factor for us when comparing to other brands in this price bracket,” notes Jefford. “Along with the large events, the Avantis is fantastic for the corporate scene as well which is our bread and butter, being powerful yet compact enough. The on-board storage for audio tracks just adds another string to this console’s incredible bow.”
As Lux Productions continue to grow, Jefford is already looking to the future when it comes to the audio solutions on offer. “Our next upgrade would be the GigaACE I/O card to allow for connection to other Avantis’ and stage boxes directly out of the console,” he adds. “Coupled with incredible support from the team at Jansen Pro Audio, we see this console and the rest of the Allen and Heath range becoming firm staples in the Lux Productions family of audio consoles.”
19th October 2021
MLA Conquers The Notorious Hill at Historic Leeds Castle Concert
UK – Organisers of the annual Leeds Castle Concert worked tirelessly to reschedule this year’s event, featuring the world-famous Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, following the easing of restrictions by staging it later than normal, on 4th September.
Leeds Castle is amongst the many long-standing clients that have relied upon RG Jones Sound Engineering for decades. In the case of this beautiful site, the company has been providing sound systems since the very first show way back in the early 80s. It’s a tricky site to cover well, and for the highly popular concert fielded a classic system of its own: Martin Audio’s original award-winning MLA to overcome the coverage challenges.
Although this historic Castle site in Kent is isolated, imposing no restrictions on sound levels, the contouring leaves much to be desired from an acoustician’s perspective, with a steep hill on which many of the crowds up to 10,000 congregate to watch the performance. “It measures around 210 metres from the stage to the top of the hill, and it was important to get enough up-angle on the PA,” reveals RG Jones’ MLA technician Sam Millen, while highly experienced classical music sound engineer Phil Wright, adds, “It’s almost like playing Red Rocks [amphitheatre].”
The sound company’s team had drawn on the optimisations created by Martin Audio’s Robin Dibble for the 2019 event, which featured Martin Audio’s WPL line array. “But due to having different PA towers this time we needed to make a few tweaks,” said Millen. He and fellow MLA technician Graham McGarrick also needed to time-align for the changing humidity and temperature.
But in setting a single delay tower of 12 MLA elements, Sam Millen’s master stroke was to add three MLX subs, in broadside cardioid at this position. “I would really recommend that for next year as it made a real difference and provided a necessary low-end boost,” he said.
The main left/right PA comprised two 16-element MLA hangs, with a single stack outfill of eight MLA Compact, while eight ground-stacked MLA Mini elements provided infill. Subwoofers comprised nine MLX in a reverse cardioid broadside set up. To this, Millen added an arc pattern into the optimisation software “to bend the sound around the front.”
But the necessary rear rejection afforded by this inventive sub design tells only part of the story. As Phil Wright points out, while a PA system can be more forgiving when reinforcing a rock band, purity is the watchword when it comes to classical music.
“I have 150 mics open, which are often parked in front of quieter instruments. Therefore, transparency and lack of colouration are vitally important. The aim with a classical concert, he says, “is for the music not to sound like it’s coming through a PA system.
“This is why MLA is my system of choice for orchestral events, for how little sound comes off the back. Because with MLA you have a ‘Hard Avoid’ function [in the DISPLAY software] you can get a much cleaner sound off the stage begin with.”
Continuing, he says: “I can’t think of another system that would get you up that hill. It worked fantastically with one hang of MLA Compact and another for the VIP area off to the right. The site ‘hooks’ round and you are playing almost through 180° in terms of site coverage.”
Sam Millen was equally effusive about MLA’s dexterity. “I was extremely happy with the way it covered up the hill,” he said in conclusion.
Other members of the RG Jones crew included Becky Pell (monitors) and Rosie Tarrant (stage and RF).
19th October 2021
Hog 4 in control at Battiti Live
Italy – Founded in 2013, Battiti Live features a selection of leading Italian and international music artists. The annual event consists of a series of concerts held in various locations throughout the region of Puglia, the heel of Italy’s boot. Since 2017, lighting designer Massimo Pascucci, accompanied by programmer Davide Fusco, has created engaging and high impact shows, using the Hog family of lighting desks. Hog 4-18 was the primary console of choice for the 2021 edition, together with a Road Hog console for additional special effects.
From a technical point of view, there has always been a desire for Battiti Live to maintain a strong live impact. This remained the case even after leading Italian television channel Italia 1 first started transmitting the event in 2017, and broadcast needs became an important consideration.
Since he began working on Battiti Live in 2017, Davide Fusco has relied on Hog consoles to program and control the shows. "Battiti Live’s DoP and lighting designer, Massimo Pascucci, asked me to help achieve the aim of recreating a very ‘live’ reality that would appear less like a television broadcast, at least in some respects,” says Fusco.
“Every year, Massimo has added new technologies, increasing exponentially the quality of the live shows and, above all, the broadcast visuals,” adds Fusco. “Something made possible thanks to a production team that’s focused on innovation and always very collaborative."
This year's main show was characterised by projections of graphics and images on the walls of the Castello Aragonese in the coastal town of Otranto. “Based on Massimo’s concept, the intention was to present a stage where dynamism was king and where the usual beams were only a side dish, without being invasive or annoying,” says Fusco.
During the pre-production phase, Fusco worked closely with the ETC team in Rome. With their support, he was able to create an accurate virtual representation of the show in advance of rehearsals.
"Thanks to the availability of the ETC Italia team, who hosted me at their Rome office, I was able to recreate my set up,” says Fusco. “Pre-programming via the visualiser gave me a good basis before arriving on site.”
He adds: “This year, having dynamic LEDs for the entire stage, I used the pixel mapping capabilities of the Hog 4 massively. I must say that, despite the demands of the fixtures, the console performed very well, I had no problems at all."
Fusco, who has used various iterations of the Hog console over the years, is always keen to get his hands on the newest additions to the family. “I can’t wait to try whatever’s coming next. No doubt future advancements will mean Hog remains more than capable of handling increasingly complex demands with the ease and efficiency I’ve come to expect.”
19th October 2021
Main Light Invests in RoboSpots
USA – Wilmington, Delaware and Las Vegas, Nevada-based lighting rental and dry hire specialist Main Light has invested in more Robe BMFL FollowSpot LT fixtures and Motion Cameras to boost its inventory of available RoboSpot remote followspotting systems.
Larger quantities of all the RoboSpot elements are needed to keep pace with increasing demand, explained general manager Randy Mullican.
The company first invested in this technology shortly after the RoboSpot launch in 2017. Since then, Robe has developed and refined the system, most recently with the introduction of the BMFL FollowSpot LT, a powerful solution for larger venues and covering greater throw distances. It has also increased the number of its moving light ranges that can be controlled via the RoboSpot BaseStations.
RoboSpots have been a popular rental item for Main Light from the start, and everything indicates a continuation of this trend, as shows, concerts and live events are re-starting across North America. “We are seeing RoboSpot systems appear increasingly on lighting specs and riders across all sectors,” stated Randy.
Main Light’s new BMFL FollowSpot LTs have already been busy on an assortment of projects.
Randy notes that the system is particularly easy to set up and use, especially with the integral camera and anyone with some experience of operating a classic follow spot can quickly and easily become a competent RoboSpot operator.
He underlines the safety aspects of using remote followspotting systems: no longer needing to have people up in the roof and the trusses, plus the greater creative freedom that the remote followspotting system concept gives to lighting directors and designers, who can now choose lights dotted all over the rig to be controlled via RoboSpot.
No longer are they limited to just one or two positions, and no longer do crew members have to haul this usually heavy kit into often awkward places in a venue.
LDs can also have any number of RoboSpot fixture parameters running through their lighting console ensuring the cueing is spot-on every time.
In addition to this, Main Light Robe purchased Robe’s ESPRITE profiles and the high-powered FORTEs, both using Robe’s TE (Transferable Engine) technology, for their newly opened Las Vegas office and warehouse, Main Light West.
This enables Main Light customers to have comprehensive nationwide coverage for their lighting requirements.
Randy has worked for the company for 26 years. The Robe purchases started around ten years ago and have been consistent ever since.
The inventory currently includes BMFL Spots and WashBeams, Tetra1s and Tetra 2s, Spikies, Pointes and MegaPointes, all hugely popular for multiple shows and events.
“They are all quality-built fixtures that have proved extremely reliable over the years,” says Randy, and this is a major consideration for any dry hire company, as the gear should be out most of the time and require minimum maintenance for optimal ROI.
Forging long-term relationships with any brand is important, and Randy likes the individuals involved in Robe including CEO Josef Valchar and sales director Harry von den Stemmen, together with the “fantastic” team at Robe North America “who offer outstanding service and are brilliant people to deal with”.
He is “continually optimistic” about the future as the industry gets back to work after the pandemic, helping deliver the massive public appetite for all types of performance, sporting, and other crowd-based events, and predicts that corporate work will return strongly in 2022 if everything goes in the right direction!
photos: Main Light
18th October 2021
David Howard And OneBigStar Make Magic at University of Nottingham Ball with Chauvet Professional
UK – Calendars lost much of their meaning over the past year, as the pandemic erased so many long-anticipated occasions from their pages. For a group of students at the University of Nottingham, one such date was Monday 12 July, when their already-delayed graduation ceremony was cancelled again due to lingering safety concerns.
Happily, however, these students made up for lost time when the school held a glittering black tie ceremony with dinner, dancing and entertainment at Newark Show Ground. Setting an appropriately festive tone for the affair was its technical producer OneBigStar, which oversaw and managed the production of the event.
OneBigStar retained the services of lighting designer David Howard and supplied him with a versatile kit that featured over 80 Chauvet Professional fixtures.
“We wanted this evening to feel almost like a festival, to erase the disappointment from the cancelled graduation,” said Howard, who ran his lights with a ChamSys MagicQ MQ80. “It was important to have elegant looks, whilst also creating an immersive environment where everybody could be part of this space. Our goal was to give the students an Instagram-friendly backdrop for both the black-tie dinner as well as the party on this special night.”
Toward this end, Howard deftly transitioned his lighting from cocktails, to dinner, and onto the live music party later in the evening. “OneBigStar was fantastic in providing a flexible kit that allowed us to create a look and feel in the room that flowed naturally from cocktails, to dinner, to dancing,” he said. “The meant that the dance floor was packed immediately when the time came.”
Critically important to helping Howard create this diverse range of looks were the ten Maverick MK3 Wash and 17 Maverick MK2 Spot fixtures in his kit. Both were used to transform looks in the spacious venue and endow it with a greater sense of depth and texture via an array of gobo patterns.
“The use of texture was at the heart of the lighting scheme,” said Howard. “A blank canvas venue meant the lighting could really take centre stage for the event. I really like to have one design language through the whole of a design scheme, and with this project, I really relied on using repeated circle shapes wherever I could to achieve this vision. The patterns tied the visuals together, both from the 2020 cabochon props, the content on the screen, and in projected and eye candy lighting.”
As part of this design strategy, Howard matched projected gobos around the dance and eating areas with the virtual gobos made in the pixel faces of the wash lights, as well as with the reflected light emanating from the massive mirror ball that hung above the centre of the dance floor.
Further creating continuity in the room, Howard pixel mapped his washes to complement the looks created with his video wall and 20 ÉPIX Strip Tour units. “I particularly love how the MK3 Wash can be used as a room wash and morph to a beamy effect,” he said. “Its sheer power is immense too. I rarely ran the units at this event above 60 per cent, which meant there was room to go big for DJ drops and band hits.”
Tying light and video together, Howard positioned some of the 16 Rogue R1 BeamWash fixtures in this rig around the IMAG screens. This allowed him to create captivating beam looks during DJ sets in addition to accenting the band with sculpting side washes.
Varying colours throughout the evening and accenting them with warm white light from his eight Strike 4 fixtures, Howard also created an immersive backdrop that engaged guests during dinner when there weren’t big dynamic lighting movements.
“For me the most important look to get right is always dinner,” he said. “The backdrop to the room has to be right to create a sense of excitement and glamour, whilst also being sensitive not to distract from dining. We mixed purple eye candy with CTO beams created by the MK2 Spots’ stars breakup gobo patterns that emulated mirror balls though haze, while spotting the tables with warm light. This kept food and dining guests looking natural, whilst still immersing them in the room.”
Enjoying themselves in that room as they dined and danced through the evening, University of Nottingham graduates could put the disappointment of the cancelled graduation behind them. Thanks to the magic of this celebration, they concluded their college years by creating new and brighter memories.
18th October 2021
Infinity and Showtec perform at outdoor summer festival
Portugal – Infinity Furion S401 Spots, iW-1915 RGBW wash moving heads and Showtec Helix S5000 Q4 RGBW LED wash fixtures were successfully deployed at beautiful outside locations during a summer festival in the Algarve in the southern region of Portugal. The fixtures were perfectly capable of complying to the specific intentions of the operators and supported the performers wonderfully.
Geopalcos is a biannual event that aims to connect art, science and nature in the Geopark territory in the south of Portugal (the Algarve). Artists and scientists are challenged to combine their skills and expertise, and take nature lovers to discover art and science, lead art aficionados through nature and the paths of knowledge, and have the audience relate to their knowledge with the natural and artificially created beauties of their surroundings. On ten occasions between 29 May and 12 September 2021, at different locations, the public is invited to participate in dialogues between tradition and creativity/innovation, to wander and (re)discover Portuguese society, gastronomy and territory, and to take part in several initiatives: performances, interactive installations, sensorial pathways and experiences, concerts, exhibitions, disciplinary crossings, theatrical creations, debates, workshops and more.
In order to accentuate the intentions of the festival, Highlite’s Portuguese distributor Lagotronics had supplied six of Infinity’s high-end Furion S401 Spots, eight Infinity iW-1915 RGBW wash moving heads and eight Showtec Helix S5000 Q4 RGBW Outdoor LED Wash fixtures to Nuno Lourenço from audiovisual supplier Stageteam in Messines de Baixo. On 26 June, at the beautiful, outside location of Pedreira de Grés, in Vale Fuzeiros, artists Vítor Bacalhau, Ricardo Martins and the students of the Escola Secundária de Silves performed in “Fado & Blues – o casamento na Pedreira” (the wedding at Pedreira), a show where American Blues and Country met Fado and traditional Portuguese music, as an invitation to the public to indulge in art, science and nature. The lighting equipment was set up to highlight the natural beauty of the environment and to create an appropriate ambiance for the artists during their performance. The full and vivid colours of the fixtures succeeded to create an even deeper experience of immersion for audience and performers alike.
18th October 2021
Surfhire Secures Perfect Connectivity at Henley Festival
UK – Surfhire deployed a full-service complex comms package to the prestigious boutique festival held on the Berkshire bank of the River Thames.
After an unprecedented delay due to the pandemic, the glittering Henley Festival of Music and Arts, famed for its strict black tie dress code, finally returned for a 2021 event. With its unique credentials present as ever, including six stages, a roaming theatre, sublime art and live musical performances from Madness, James Blunt and Sophie Ellis-Bextor to name a few, the five-day show had to deliver with perfect ambience.
In order to keep the event running as smoothly as possible despite some of the site’s particular idiosyncrasies, production manager John Harris brought Surfhire (part of Britannia Row Productions) back once again to provide radios, internet backhaul and site-wide network services for the festival.
“Surfhire have been involved for 12 years, but the role has expanded and contracted as time has gone on,” explains Surfhire’s Simon Hodge. “The festival size was slightly reduced following the pandemic, but the site still remains a very difficult one for us to implement the necessary technology.”
The Surfhire team deployed new Gigabeam links at 60GHz to achieve 2 Gbps internet backhaul across the river then ongoing microwave, fibre and copper links to distribute on site. As well as production internet, Surfhire provided catering POS terminal services and box office machines along with a bespoke VOIP phone system.
“The fibre backhaul terminates over the river, so we use 60GHz microwave to link across and then more microwave to get around the site,” says Hodge. “All told, it’s a mile long so there are also a lot of access restrictions as well as a compressed load-in, so the whole process can be a bit of a challenge.”
The company had four of its engineers on site for three days, who installed, terminated, and certified all of the cable runs. They also used high grade spectrum analysis to keep the links running throughout the festival.
“More and more, I think that Internet provision is becoming essential for live productions,” adds Hodge. “As they become more elaborate and offer higher values, solid voice comms is more essential for the event smooth running and safety, and I think this growth will continue, particularly with the concept of converged network where a backbone and backhaul become common among all production elements for a show or event.”
Hodge illustrates this point by giving an insight into next year’s Henley Festival, where the Surfhire team hope to add CCTV services for on-site H&S and to host some audio distribution for the festival’s PA vendor.
“It was really exhilarating to be back in a live environment,” adds Hodge. “Watching the festival’s varied shows was fantastic; it was so fulfilling to be back in the saddle and we’re already looking forward to next year!”
Henley Festival is due to return for its 40th Anniversary celebrations in summer 2022, where chilled Champagne will flow once again between 6-10th July.
18th October 2021
Robe Pushes Forward the Vibrance for VW at IAA Summit 2021 Munich
Germany – Bold, bright, vivid – with the assistance of Robe moving lights – this was the look central to Lucas Conradi’s lighting design for the Volkswagen booth at the IAA Mobility 2021 expo in Munich, underlining and complementing the energy and excitement generated by the popular German automotive manufacturer’s new brand design, first introduced in 2019.
This was the first international automotive expo open to the public to be staged since the pandemic triggered global lockdowns in March 2020. The client and booth designer was Mutabor Brand Experience, and the lighting equipment was supplied by Cologne Hunters.
Lucas, from creative and technical event planners IXPI, was both project and technical manager as well as LD for this booth, and he picked the 15 Robe FORTES and 36 ESPRITES to be a major part of the stand’s lighting art.
Both fixture types offer Robe’s world-first LED Transferable Engine, an intelligent, powerful and eco-friendly solution that enables different engines (high powered, high CRI, ‘tungsten’) to be used in the same high-quality fixtures.
Four Robe RoboSpot remote follow spotting systems, controlling four of the FORTEs, were specified for the flurry of events and presentations during the expo’s press day, and there were also 58 Robe LEDWash 800 luminaires fitted with beam shapers and top hats dotted around specific areas of the stand highlighting cars and the pop-up press area and broadcast studio.
The slick and clean architectural styling of the booth was defined by the new brand design, complete with vibrant ‘sky’ video screens, coloured Plexi panels and other illuminated set pieces in the ceiling and around the stand that shaped the booth. There was a compact double deck VIP area along one side of the stand with a panoramic view of the bottom deck.
A spectacular wide LED screen at the back of the stand played out a range of timecoded info-content also linked to lighting cues, and in front of the screen at one end was the new VW ID LIFE concept car which attracted plenty of attention.
Celebrity visitors on press day included German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Lucas chose to work with Robe for several reasons. In addition to finding the products super reliable, they are light in weight – with roof weight loading in mind – and offer a great feature set.
The stipulation from VW, and in keeping with the new brand guidelines, was that all the stand lighting should be LED for maximum energy efficiency.
The power and very specific quality of light required to light high profile auto shows like this narrows the choice of manufacturers down considerably, and FORTE and ESPRITE with their brightness, high CRI and TE technology are both favourites for this genre of lighting.
And while Lucas needed fixtures that could produce the excellent variations of whites essential for lighting cars, he also needed to be able to produce a full and dynamic range of creative show lighting effects.
These two latest generation Robe fixtures ticked all the boxes.
In a homage to quality retro, LEDWash 800s, from Robe’s first-generation LED wash products which also became auto show favourites in their day, came into the frame. Used with the top hats and beam shapers, these were seamlessly integrated in the building structure to illuminate cars, exhibits and the broadcast studio.
Lighting cars is an art of its own, so parameters like CRI and colour temperatures are critical, and both FORTE and ESPRITE score here. Lucas remarks on the consistency of output of both and of using LED in general in this context, compared to discharge fixtures.
Lighting was programmed and run on a grandMA2 system.
The main challenge for lighting the stand was the variety of action taking place on the booth. While showcasing VW’s latest vehicles was the main focus, there was a wide array of other activities: press conference, broadcast / streaming events, talks, keynotes and other presentations, plus continuous video content loops playing out across the various screens all demanding practical but nor distracting lighting for this lively environment.
In addition to illuminating the cars, lighting cues were developed to match the video content and emphasise the colours and scenic vibrancy of the environment. Co-ordinating everything and keeping up with the tight schedule plus responding quickly and deftly to changes related to events and presentations demanded a lot of flexibility and tight organisation.
Being project manager and LD ramped up the pressure on Lucas, but he also found this combination of job titles and responsibilities worked favourably in terms of being able to efficiently run multiple elements. On site, Anne Wohlgemuth and another colleague from IXPI supported him with project management and focussing of the cars.
Lucas pointed out the importance of a professional and experienced team which was further enhanced by Wolfgang Krämer from prefocus and Ben Schiller. Wolfgang programmed and operated lighting for the booth overall while Ben was responsible for press conference lighting.
photos: Louise Stickland
15th October 2021
CPL Produces Slick Streamlined Broadcast Event for Tropic
UK – Event and show technical specialist CPL created an all-encompassing production design and supplied set, rigging, lighting, audio, video (cameras, screens and PPU / control) plus SFX for a high profile three-hour live broadcast for cosmetics brand Tropic Skincare, which combined product launches, awards presentations and recognition for top distributors and advocates plus reports and updates on the organisation’s charitable work.
Staged at Kinetic Studios in Corby, the design was turned around and approved in a short time frame for the biannual event, known for its razzamatazz and high production values, which has been delivered online since the start of the pandemic.
All production elements were sourced by the CPL including the location and a talented crew of 30 crew headed by Lee Gruszeckyj, right down to the plants, foliage and other finishing details completing an impressive set design.
The client was keen that absolutely no compromises were made in presentational quality for the transition from live in-person to live digital, and upping the game from the spring event, a new zoom gallery of 400 invited guests was integral to CPL’s studio design.
“The set aesthetic was inspired by Ant & Dec’s SNT (Saturday Night Takeaway) variety show and various breakfast television formats, with a bit of 24-hour news channel hustle. Effectively we created our own unique televisual environment,” explained Lee, who helped mould the look and co-ordinated all the necessary technical logistics including building the set in the studio and the broadcast transmission.
On site, everything started with the rigging installation which entailed the construction of a completely new grid, so all six metres of maximum headroom could be utilised. The three large LED screens were also flown on the first day and the laminate floor came in to cover the full width of the space.
The main screen was 20 metres wide and included a gap with a staircase for walk-ons and exits, with another ground supported section of LED immediately behind making the gap seamless.
The stage right screen was six metres wide and the stage left nine metres wide with loft-style distressed scenic brick ‘walls’ in between that looked highly authentic. Plants and exotic foliage to finesse the loft chic look. All screens were running with backup processors for full ‘loop redundancy’.
disguise media servers were supplied and programmed with video playback content, graphics and other stings, and the d3’s 3D modelling was used to build and present the concept to the client.
The three presenters sat on different parts of two brightly coloured large sofas and were joined by a succession of live linked guest appearances. For the product launches that featured in the first part of the stream, and CPL built a custom curved desk.
Five operated Sony HD cameras included one on an 18ft jib fitted with a wide-angle lens to catch the impressive wide shots, and the set design featured an built-in ‘camera pool’ area so these could be quickly and easily deployed around the space as needed for different segments.
Calling the shots was the broadcast producer / director Nigel Harris.
Primary key lighting was achieved using Gemini LED Litepanels, with ARRI L7 LED fresnels for back light.
Astera Titan Tubes running wirelessly highlight some of the vertical stair balustrades, adding a nice depth to the picture, and Robe LEDBeam 150s rigged either side of the staircase were used in conjunction with confetti cannons to boost the general excitement and anticipation for entrances.
Additional Astera tubes were ensconced in the bespoke display cabinet constructed for the new products.
Six Robe Spiiders coloured and textured the studio floor together with Claypaky Mythos for further gobo layering and spectral detail. All lighting was run via an Avolites Quartz console.
Two Portacabins outside the studio provided separate environments for the directing, vision mixing and switching and other technical elements, with the other one dedicated to three social media wranglers live posting and co-ordinating the simultaneous chats and other threads. These included six satellite ‘diamond’ chat rooms each comprising 250 Tropic ambassadors, who were also called up at various times for input into the broadcast feed.
Providing quality audio was straightforward. Each presenter was double miked with Shure Axient lavaliers, again for full redundancy, and they also had in-ear monitoring. CPL’s audio wizards pushed their Riedel Bolero comms system to the max, operating an open talkback system so Nigel Harris could talk directly to all the cameras and the presenters via their IEMs.
Loudspeakers were secreted behind the sofas for VT play-ins and Zoom wall volume.
This was one of the largest productions to date at Kinetic Studios, with a smooth and efficient get in over two days paving the way for the event including a full rehearsal to be hosted on day 3, followed by a three hour get out!
“We were all delighted with the results, there was a fantastic team spirit, some great camaraderie, and we were proud to deliver another inventive and class event production for Tropic,” concluded Lee.
photos: Tom Horton
15th October 2021
You Me at Six Chose Britannia Row for Headline Tour Sound
With an evolved sound and a seventh studio album to share with their fans, You Me at Six (YMAS) have recently returned to the road with a live show two years in the making and a streamlined audio package courtesy of Britannia Row Productions.
Although FOH Engineer Phil Jones had already managed to escape his temporary, Covid-19 enforced position as a delivery driver for a handful of shows with another artist, his return to life with YMAS gave him the chance to overhaul his audio set-up and help sculpt the band’s sound as they reach new heights in both creativity and popularity.
“The You Me At Six sound has changed a lot since the release of their latest album, SUCKAPUNCH,” says Jones. “It went to No. 1 – which is great – but the sound is richer than ever too, with a lot more track and electronic elements. Of course, there’s still ripping guitars, but the overall sound has more depth to it now, and more dynamic range too.”
Jones opted for a simple setup at FOH, with a Yamaha PM7 Rivage coupled with a Yamaha RPIO622 Stage Box. A key advantage of this combination was that it gave Jones the confidence to rely on the onboard plug-ins available; essentially allowing him to ditch the huge amount of outboard gear he had previously accumulated.
“I wanted to scale it down because I feel like working that way can be impractical, unreliable, and – ultimately – expensive. The Rivage series sounds brilliant, and I honestly think that the band sound better than ever because of this stripped-down approach.”
Although opting not to tour a PA system, which put them at the mercy of the in-house rigs, the audio crew were reassured by the presence of Britannia Row’s equipment and crew from start to finish, with the tour being looked after by Client Liaison, Marc Soame.
“I’ve said this before, but I’m Brit Row through and through,” says Jones. “When I started touring, I always seemed to have great gigs when they were involved, whether that was at a festival, on a support show, or in a venue. They’ve always looked after me and soon became the obvious first choice.
“They’ve supported me on numerous gigs throughout my relatively short career and have always been excellent. Of course, all of the rental firms have the kit, but I trust Brit Row to send the right equipment, that works well, along with the backup and support when we need it.”
Monitor engineer Chris Sennett was new to both the YMAS camp and to being serviced by Brit Row but was thoroughly impressed from the word go when he arrived for pre-production.
“The whole experience has been great,” he notes. “Arriving on site for my prep, I was greeted by happy staff, great kit, and the knowledge that support would always be on the end of the phone should I run into any issues. Plus, although the YMAS crew isn’t huge, everyone mucks in and has a laugh while they do so.”
Sennett joined up with the band to rehearse for their Reading and Leeds Festival appearances, where he was asked to dial in a FOH-style mix with each member’s respective instrument slightly louder than the rest of the mix.
“Fortunately, they liked what they heard, and we hit the ground running,” he says. “We’re still using the base show file from that rehearsal and the band are still enjoying it show-to-show.”
Sennett opted for an Allen & Heath dLive S5000 with DM64 Stage rack, as well as eight ways of Shure PMS1000 IEM and a dual-channel Shure UR4D for lead vocalist, Josh Franceschi.
“Much like Phil, I don’t use any outboard gear as I find, for the most part, the console has everything I need to make a great show,” adds Sennett. “Josh has a very vocal- and ambient-heavy mix, but with the great sound of the dLive I’ve been able to add a lot more instrumentation than he would have previously had in his mix. The rest of the guys have fairly similar mixes, all leaning towards their own instrument with a touch of ambience to add some room vibe.”
Jones sums up the feeling of being back out on a headline Academy run with the band: “They’re playing better than ever. Josh is singing brilliantly, and it all feels tighter than before. Lockdown has worked out in that sense, they’ve had time to get this show sounding great. I’m really enjoying mixing it and getting it to a volume with serious impact.”
15th October 2021
AC-ET Provide Lighting Solutions for Grimeborn Opera Festival 2021
UK – Chroma-Q, Vista by Chroma-Q and PROLIGHTS have once again taken to the stage with the Arcola Theatre for its recent production of the Opera, Die Valkure.
As part of Grimeborn Opera Festival 2021, Arcola Theatre, in association with Hackney Empire, worked alongside Orpheus Sinfonia, an orchestra of 18 musicians to bring to life Jonathan Dove’s stirring adaptation of Richard Wagner’s magical opera.
Lighting designer and programmer, Robert Price helped amplify the narration through lighting. For this he used an extensive rig which featured Chroma-Q Color Force IITM battens, PROLIGHTS EclProfile FC, EclProfile CT+ and Vista by Chroma-Q lighting and media control, as well as a number of other industry leading brands.
Robert commented: “The lighting design for this show was centred around a few main points:
setting the scene, guiding the story from place to place, enhancing mood / tone, reinforcing the drama that was happening on stage and conveying the emotions of characters.
“I was asked to not only light the set and actors but to also incorporate the entire stage space into the action. For this production there was no masking to the LX bars. The grid, fly frame and bare walls were all in view, including the lighting fixtures themselves, that I also incorporated into parts of the set.”
Due to time restraints, Robert required a versatile rig that was quick to build and program. For this reason, the entire rig was comprised of LED moving and colour changing fixtures so no colour filters or overhead focusing was required: speed and ease of use was a big influence when Robert was specifying his lighting design.
Chroma-Q’s Color Force II were used as an upstage ground-row backlight that not only put the entire set into silhouette but also beautifully lit the underside of the lighting rig. They were a key fixture throughout the performance, accenting some of the most important moments of the piece.
“I chose Color Force II for their raw power, wide beam angle, smooth dimming and excellent colour rendering”, explains Robert. “Furthermore, using them in their full pixel control mode, combined with Vista’s FX engine and timeline, meant that I could create a fire effect that starts from a single pixel and then slowly grows over the battens, eventually engulfing the entire rig, before closing back down to that single pixel once again.”
“Color Force II performed perfectly on this project. They are incredibly easy to setup, utilising the inbuilt touch screen, and focusing the fixtures was straight forward, thanks to the quick release yoke. The physical design of the fixtures also enable the battens sit flush against each other.”
The PROLIGHTS EclProfile FC and the EclProfile CT+ were implemented directly into the set becoming a major part of the overall aesthetic.
“They were the work horses for this show, I wanted as much of the performance to be as side lit as possible. Therefore, both profile types ended up providing the majority of the face light and stage wash. From technical rehearsal all the way through to the performance they were brilliant! Most importantly was that the calibration from unit to unit was exactly the same, so I didn’t have to waste precious time tweaking lighting console colour presets to create a colour match.
“Both Profile types had great colour mixing and plenty of punch, but the EclProfile CT+ was the star of the show in terms of tungsten emulation. I found them very intuitive to work with and having a nice calibrated ‘tungsten” as a factory default made everything incredibly easy. Furthermore, in extended mode you can have precise control over everything, should you need that extra fine level of detail,” added Robert.
Speaking about his use of Vista by Chroma-Q, Robert comments: “For this project I used the latest release of Vista V3 with a Vista S1 and two M1 control surfaces. The overall workflow that Vista has in terms of speed and ease of use helped me greatly on this project. Thanks to Vista’s layout and live edit mode everything I needed was in one place, which meant I could look at the stage more than my screen. The ability to set my lighting plan as a background image and overlay my fixture controls meant that I also didn’t have to refer to any paperwork and could further concentrate on creating great looking cues.
“As always, Vista’s timeline was one of the features that I used constantly, it allowed me to build complex timings over any parameter within seconds. “Extracts” also meant that I could take any sequence of events from one fixture type and then instantly program them on another. Q-View was another feature that I could not do without! Q-View allowed me to jump to any cue and edit it blind, whilst still having a perfect graphical representation of what was happening in that cue on screen. Finally, Vista’s GUI allowed me to see how any newly programmed events would track through my cue list in real time, meaning there was no guess work about what was happening on stage when!”
Robert summarises: “Vista performed extremely well on this project, V3 has all the features I need and it can keep up with the most demanding programming tasks. Hardware and software are responsive, robust and reliable.”
The Chroma-Q, Vista by Chroma-Q and PROLIGHTS products were supplied by leading technology supplier and exclusive UK distributor for these brands, A.C. Entertainment Technologies Ltd. (AC-ET).
Robert concluded: “Working with AC-ET is always a pleasure! They have supported me on numerous projects over the years, not only with great fixtures and equipment, but also good advice, feedback, professional and friendly customer service and fantastic tech support. I cannot recommend them highly enough!”
photos: Alex Brenner
15th October 2021
fos/4 adds emotion to Hong Kong productions
Hong Kong – Malo Ma, a young and budding gaffer in Hong Kong, has selected ETC’s fos/4 fixtures to light several new video productions. With over a decade of research realised in these studio fixtures, the fos/4 series of luminaires are specifically dedicated to the studio and broadcast market.
The fos/4 Panel was used in a recent music video production by the rising female Hong Kong singer Cheronna Ng. Malo leads the lighting of this video production.
The music video portrays how the girl pulls herself together from failures and challenges. A fos/4 Panel Daylight HDR (8” x 24”) is used in a few shots in this music video. “The colour is very natural. I like how the colour-mixing with deep red LEDs makes the skin colour tone and other scenes look real and delicate,” commented Malo Ma.
“The lightning strikes effect is surprisingly real. It flashes naturally and makes the mood of the scenes better especially highlighting the complicated feeling in this song,” added Malo.
Due to his positive experience with the fos/4 Panel, Malo also added fos/4 Fresnel to his gear list when he was preparing for a fashion video production. In this picture, Malo and his team were adjusting the color, angle, and brightness. “The brightness is good. And I like the intuitive and simple UI with the four backlit encoders, making it easy to change color and other settings quickly and accurately,” commented Malo.
Malo and his partners, Hero Pun, set up their own business, Come Roll Media Limited, in 2013 focusing on movie production and equipment rental. The young entrepreneurs are professionals from the filming industry and now expanding their reach to TV commercials, music videos, events, post-production, and more.
photos: Come Roll Media Limited
15th October 2021
Daniel Thibault Gets Festive with Chauvet Professional at Phish After Party
USA – The music never stops in “The Music City” on the Cumberland. Vivid proof of that could be seen (and heard) late one evening recently as streams of jam band fans made their way across the city’s downtown district following a Phish concert at the Ascend Amphitheater.
Their destination: Nashville’s brand new Brooklyn Bowl, where management was throwing a late night “Phish After Party.” Kicking off at 10:30pm right around the time Phish was finishing their encore with a cover of the Rolling Stones “Loving Cup,” the after party served up second, third and fourth helpings of improvised jam and funk sounds by the award-winning six-piece band Big Something.
Adding to the festive atmosphere was an electrifying Daniel Thibault light show that reverberated visually throughout the intimate, 1,200 person venue, filling it with an whirlwind of movement and colours. “I wanted to make this room look its biggest,” said Thibault. “Everything about this band’s sound and stage presence is big.”
Thibault, a partner in Life Is Art Studios, added 20 Chauvet Professional Rogue fixtures from his company’s own inventory to the house rig, to create the desired immersive atmosphere at the venue. He positioned eight Rogue R2X Beam fixtures in an arch around the band members, and arranged 12 Rogue R2 Wash units around the rig’s beams.
“The R2X Beams gave me a convenient way to create full room looks,” he said. “I was able to immerse even the farthest part of the theatre in light with them. As for the washes, they worked hand-in-hand with the beams to provide a base wash of colour and underlying tone for the rig.
“I often started out songs with only the washes behind the band on, zooming them all the way out to make an enveloping wall of light that set the tone for the song from the first notes,” continue Thibault. “After that I would bring in the rest of the rig as the song built up.”
Thibault kept looks varied and captivating throughout the party by deftly changing patterns and colour combinations, calling forth dramatic palettes to fire the audience’s collective imagination. At one point, when the band played their popular reggae-like song “Bob and Weave,” he divided the stage in red, green and yellow sections, evocative of the Jamaican flag.
“I use archetypal colours as a base of my colour picking on stage,” said Thibault. “Colors stir up certain feelings in all of us. Blue is cool, but can also convey calm feelings of peacefulness. Red is hot but also love. Using this as a base, I listen to the mood of the song and try to pick a colour that will convey that mood. Once I’ve done this I will select a complimentary colour to go with it to use as an accent for parts of the rig.”
Associations with colours are “baked into our brains as children” said Thibault. And if parties are supposed to bring out the joyful, curious and wide open child that resides in all us, this after party was a resounding success.
14th October 2021
KV2 goes Modular in Emmental
Switzerland – The beautiful region of Emmental in Switzerland is doubtless better known for its famously holey cheese than for its music output; nevertheless, the gently rolling hills of Langnau provided a stunning backdrop for the first ever Modular Festival organised by DJ and producer, Michelle Kelly Leeman. For four days from 10 to 13 September, the lowing of cattle gave way to the sounds of psytrance and techno from an international roster of over 50 artists and DJs with music running non-stop across two stages. Michelle has been a fan of KV2 systems for a number of years, and was adamant that she wanted the very best for her festival, so she opted for the flagship VHD5 system for the main stage and SL412s supplemented by SL2.15 subs for the second stage.
Festivals are difficult to organise at the best of times, but in the midst of an international pandemic, it becomes distinctly challenging as the goalposts are constantly moving. “It took over a year of planning and 160 pages of information were submitted to the relevant authorities in order to obtain all the necessary permissions to go ahead,” recalls Michelle. “Selecting a sound system was the easy bit, I already knew I wanted KV2, and if possible the VHD5 but I needed to make sure it was feasible.”
Michelle got in touch with KV2’s technical projects director, Andy Austin-Brown, with the details of her project to see what he suggested given the size and shape of the area to be covered and the dimensions of the stage. “VHD5 offers the absolute best quality of sound representation coupled with the highest dynamics and definition, even at lower levels, whilst carrying enormous output capability,” says Austin-Brown. “Given the area to be covered and the anticipated audience levels, we could certainly have achieved excellent results with a range of our smaller solutions, but Michelle had already decided that excellent wasn’t good enough, she wanted the absolute very best if it was possible, and that, in KV2 terms, as their current ultimate technology statement, means VHD5. Whilst not a typical application for VHD5, there was no reason for it not to be used, so that’s what we did.”
The biggest challenge was working within the 7.5m height restriction imposed by the tented roof structure in front of the stage. To combat this, the final configuration comprised a single VHD5.0 with three VHD8.10 midrange extensions per side flown as high as possible either side of the stage. Due to the lack of height, instead of using the dedicated downfill cabinets, Austin-Brown recommended a pair of ESR215s as front fill, supplemented by a ground-stacked sub array of two VHD2.21, eight VHD4.21 Active and six VHD4.21 Passive that offers even, powerful sub bass across the entire listening space as well as excellent on-stage rejection.
DJ monitoring was handled by KV2’s classic setup of a pair of ES1.0 mid/tops, four ES2.6 double 15-inch active subs, with control and amplification provided by a pair of EPAK2500R and a SAC2 processor.
All the equipment was supplied by technical event production specialists, PISO AG based north-east of Zurich. They also provided a L/R SL dance stack for the second stage comprising an SL412 top, two SL2.15 subs and a VHD2.21 sub per side. Signal management, amplification and control across all KV2 systems was handled by KV2’s dedicated control and amplification units.
Johannes Kraemer, long-time sound engineer for techno legend Richie Hawtin and New York’s Avant Gardner club amongst others, was on hand to help set up the VHD5 system. “I couldn’t be happier with how it all turned out,” says Michelle. “The sound was simply incredible with a depth and clarity that you just don’t get with other systems. We had two other festivals who showed interest in our sound system and at least three artists who asked for KV2’s details; I think that pretty much speaks for itself! We had a great turnout for the first edition of the Modular Festival, and I’m already looking forward to next year, which will be bigger and better again!”
14th October 2021
250 GLP moving lights pave the way for international star performances at Jazzopen Stuttgart
Germany – Jazzopen Stuttgart has been one of the highlights in the event calendar of the Baden-Württemberg state capital since 1994. The recipe for success: Renowned jazz musicians and top international acts from the worlds of rock, pop, soul and blues performing on six stages spread across the city. With the help of 250 GLP moving heads, LD Jerry Appelt created optimum conditions for another glamorous show again this year.
Appelt has been working for the festival on behalf of the organiser, Opus Festival-, Veranstaltungsungs- und Management GmbH, for several years. In 2021 he was responsible for the lighting design for the two largest stages: on Schlossplatz, and in the splendid Renaissance arcade courtyard of the Old Palace. Between 10th and 19th September, artists such as Katie Melua, Element of Crime, Chilly Gonzales, Liam Gallagher, Parov Stelar and Amy Macdonald performed.
Stuttgart's Schlossplatz, one of the most beautiful squares in Europe, offers an impressive backdrop for Jazzopen’s main stage. This first-class festival, therefore, requires an equally elegant stage look, as Jerry Appelt explains: “The Jazzopen is an absolutely top-class event, which can be seen by the impressive locations. The challenge for me as a designer is to create an independent, elegant look that can correspond with the requirements of the artists and their individual festival set-ups."
The designer, who is a big fan of the FUSION Stick FS20, took the opportunity to combine 100 of the IP65 LED bars into a central perspective light architecture. Eight FUSION Stick FS20 were installed in three horizontal rows on six pyramid-like angled trusses. In addition to the central LED wall, three vertical lines, each consisting of four FS20, were placed on the left and right, while the front truss on the stage roof took another 16 pieces of the versatile LED bars. Above the large LED walls, situated on the left and right of the stage, six FUSION FS20 bars each formed the end pieces.
“On the one hand, the bars in this large display are used to create spatial lighting architecture,” explains the designer. “On the other hand, they can also be used very nicely as a light matrix and for blinder effects. The fact that the devices are weatherproof makes it easier to work outdoors, so that we didn't have to worry about the unprotected hanging bars on the front truss. I really like the FS20, thanks to the very good price-to-performance ratio, the devices can easily be specified in large numbers without breaking the budget."
Appelt uses 46 GLP JDC1 for additional room design and effects, while the HIGHLANDER Washes are the workhorses on stage, creating saturated colours and stage washes.
“At the Jazzopen there are always pop and rock acts who want to put on a powerful light show. In this respect, an ultra-bright hybrid strobe like the JDC1 is never out of place,” says Appelt. “The great thing about the lamp, however, is that you don't have to extend it to the limit to make an impression. Thanks to the RGB surfaces, they can be used very atmospherically, slowly and discreetly at low intensity.
“It's similar with the HIGHLANDER Wash: On the one hand, we were already operating in twilight and needed a lamp that would assert itself well in the remaining daylight. On the other hand, the more intensity that is available, the better I can use saturated colours to generate really dense, saturated looks on stage."
The designer also turned to GLP solutions to light another spectacular venue, equipping the stage at the Old Palace with 24 of the brand-new FUSION Stick FS16 Z. This further development of the FUSION Stick FS20 is an LED batten in a robust IP65 design, which can be connected seamlessly to FUSION lines in the true GLP fashion. A new addition, however, is the motorised 8°–40° zoom integrated into the compact housing. And with the halo diffuser ring around each pixel, GLP has unleashed a genuine innovation that reveals a new optical effect and significantly improves camera suitability.
“The FUSION Stick FS16 Z had a similar role to the FS20 on the main stage, except that it gave us even more opportunities to play with the zoom and the halo ring. Incidentally, the latter is really a nice added value," he notes.
GLP founder Udo Künzler is also delighted with the latest release from the FUSION series: "This proves once again that our development team has gone the extra mile in integrating customer requests into new products."
Matthias Kreiner [from werkPlan] created the technical planning. Session pro GmbH was responsible for the Jazzopen as a technical service provider. The operations crew consisted of Manfred Nikitser, Sebastian Huwig, Frank Bungarz and Markus Buck.
photos: Jazzopen / Reiner Pfisterer
14th October 2021
Titan Festival Revives Cardiff’s Alexandra Head as a Venue, with Help from MLA
UK – A unique festival in Cardiff Bay is being seen as the precursor to reviving a once popular venue at the City’s Alexandra Head.
The four-day extravaganza, promoted by Live Nation, combined the two-day electronic Titan Festival at the weekend, book-ended by Bay Series on the Friday and Monday.
In residence throughout the entire event and broadcasting sound from an all-star line-up, ranging from Biffy Clyro and Frank Carter And The Rattlesnakes on the opening night, to Eric Prydz and Chic featuring Nile Rogers, was the award-winning Martin Audio MLA loudspeaker array, provided by Stage Audio Services (SAS) under the project management of Nat Hopking.
In addition to the above, Pendulum presented their spectacular Trinity show, reuniting all three original band members for a rare UK outing on the Friday, and another popular act was CamelPhat, supporting Eric Prydz on the Saturday.
In view of the sensitive location, with the potential of sound propagation affecting both harbourmaster’s comms as the PA blasted out over the Bay, and also spilling into nearby residential areas, Martin Audio provided SAS systems engineer Dave Taylor with technical back-up in the form of product support engineer, Simon Purse.
Purse recalls that the main issue had been the risk of disturbing communications to the boats in the harbour. “We did some propagation tests and applied Hard Avoid to prevent leakage back to the artists onstage, and at the imaginary rear wall at the boundary of the audience area, 70 metres back. In fact we stored a number of presets in the background of the software, to cater for various different scenarios.”
Dave Taylor takes up the story. “As it was an open site, we needed to take precautions against possible wind interference, but in the end, this was not needed.” Sound thresholds were imposed by acousticians Electric Star Live, with the initially set maximum of 96dBa Leq (15 minutes) later relaxed to 98dBa for the main acts (and dependent on the style of music).
Taylor confirmed that hangs of ten Martin Audio MLA elements per side were supported by 15 MLX subwoofers in cardioid broadside sub array, to ensure rear rejection, and four MLA Compact, ground-stacked on each side of the stage, acted as side-fills.
Dave Taylor himself mixed the drum and bass acts, with the exception of Biffy Clyro (whose sound was in the hands of experienced sound engineer, Jon Burton). Stated Taylor: “Coverage was even right across the site, and the subs sounded fantastic, especially on the drum and bass. It was thumping hard, yet we were still only at 70 per cent. There was plenty of horsepower in the system and I had the tops turned down 4dB. There was always ample headroom in the system.”
The promoters ensured that this event was a real spectacle, with pyrotechnics, lasers and big screen video supporting the muscular Martin Audio PA. It looks certain that now the venue has been re-established, the event will return on an even larger scale in 2022.
13th October 2021
Milton de la Cruz and Chauvet Professional in Sync with HENDRIX-B For Medellín Show
Colombia – The historic Teatro Pablo Tobon Uribe sets a high bar for anyone creating visuals on its stage. For starters there are the elegant contours of the building itself, the work of famed architect Nel Rodriguez. Then there is the curtain that covers the stage, graced by the art of post-modern master Dora Ramírez.
When that curtain rose on 'Circular', an evening of Colombian and Caleño music, the captivating visuals continued, thanks to a vivid lighting design by Juan Pablo Marulanda that drew on the colour rendering power and intense brightness of Chauvet Professional fixtures that were part of the legendary theatre’s house rig.
With no LED video wall, Marulanda used 31 COLORado Batten Quad-9 IP linear fixtures, arranged vertically and horizontally to create a geometric background that added depth and texture to the stage. He complemented the patterns that he devised with the 1000mm long RGBW strips by positioning 24 COLORado 2-Quad Zoom fixtures between the linear units. Lending added punch and versatility to the mix were six Rogue R2 Spot units.
Marulanda’s rig opened myriad creative options for the designers who lit the various artists at the event. Milton de la Cruz took full advantage of these opportunities when lighting a dynamic 30-minute performance by Caleño star HENDRIX-B.
“My goal was to contribute to the elegant atmosphere of this beautiful theatre, and at the same time create dynamic looks,” said Milton. “My friend Juan did an excellent job with the rig design. All of us were very fortunate that the theatre already had these Chauvet machines.”
Marulanda hung four of the Rogue R2 Spot fixtures on truss, while the two other units were positioned on the floor, stage left and stage right. Milton used the 240W LED spots to highlight his artist throughout the show.
Contrasting light from the Rogue units with the background colors of the COLORado fixtures, Milton ensured that HENDRIX-B stood out at all times for the live audience as well as those watching the livestream of the event. “We had to light this for two different audiences,” he said. “The patterns created with the COLORados helped us greatly in achieving this balance. The background lighting really made for a very elegant environment.”
In addition to its aesthetic value, the background wall of light helped Milton reflect the passion and intensity of his client’s music. “The COLORado Battens almost acted as if they were part of my client’s music,” he said. “I was able to include them in my show to make beats for my client’s songs.”
Moving in sync with the sounds of HENDRIX-B, and playing off neatly against its elegant surroundings, Milton’s light show provided fans with a rewarding visual experience. In so doing, he demonstrated, as many designers have before him, that artistic expression at Teatro Pablo Tobon Uribe continues to flourish even after its beautiful curtain rises.