Production News Headlines
Lighting designer Normand Chasse chooses Robert Juliat Dalis 864 for new Canadian music series, Mix Sonore
Wrestling event enjoys flawless comms with Green-GO
Switzerland – Stagelight, one of Switzerland’s leading production rental houses, recently provided a Green-GO event comms solution as part of the full technical production package for a high-profile professional wrestling show at Zurich’s multi-purpose Hallenstadion. The event was another success for Green-GO’s award-winning digital intercom over Ethernet technology, which has become a firm favourite in the events industry, as a dependable, high quality yet cost-effective crew comms solution.
With the show production built around the central wrestling ring, Stagelight’s team designed a 360° sound system on a completely flown rig, with no ground support to block the all-important sightlines. With four followspot positions located high in the stands surrounding the ring, the intercom solution had to be distributed to the furthest reaches of the venue, via both wired and wireless beltpacks.
The system fielded by Stagelight was part of a recent investment with Green-GO’s Swiss distribution partner, ZAP Audio. It consisted of one MCXD Multi-Channel Desk unit as a management station, with ten BPX wired beltpacks and seven WBPX wireless beltpacks, plus two wireless antennas to cover the site.
In all, 19 users were connected to the system, which performed “flawlessly”, according to Stagelight’s Michael Dünki, who was responsible for the event’s technical coordination and comms. “Green-GO was not specified originally,” he says. “The production had asked for more expensive systems from other brands. However, we convinced them to trust in our expertise with Green-GO.
“As this was a brand-new system, and none of the other crew had used it before, some concerns were raised. In fact, we had an alternative system with us as a backup, but it was not needed, as everybody involved loved the quality and the flexibility that the Green-GO system gave them.”
Speaking of Green-GO’s advantages, Dünki says, “It is very flexible, easy to set up and change the configuration on the fly. This was one of the most complex set-ups we have done so far, but it worked flawlessly. I was able to accommodate special requests from users at short notice, most of the time by simply changing a preset, or a group assignment, and then populating the changes to the connected beltpacks within less than a minute.”
He adds, “Careful preparation in labelling of beltpacks, readying settings within the software and planning cable runs in advance saved valuable time on site. The ability to spot-check connections by trying them the day before the show gave us further confidence in the system.”
As it turned out, their confidence was well-placed: the resulting performance was “Perfect,” said Dünki. He added, “We never lost connection, and the sound quality was perfect during rehearsals and the show itself.”
He concludes: “The client liked the quality and functionality of the Green-GO system, at a lower price than the system originally specified.”
27th March 2020
BME Moves Showcase Online with Support From Allen & Heath
UK – Allen & Heath’s dLive and Avantis consoles proudly provided audio support for a wealth of emerging British talent at the relocated British Music Embassy (BME) sessions earlier this month.
For several years, the BME has hosted a live showcase for the hottest new British musicians at South by Southwest (SXSW) in Austin, Texas. When this year’s event was cancelled at short notice, the BME and its partners moved quickly to offer an alternative broadcast event to shine the spotlight on performers such as Aaron Smith, Arlo Parks, Bess Atwell, Liz Lawrence, Jordan Mackampa, Porridge Radio and Steam Down.
The result was a series of closed-door studio sessions, staged at Production Park’s West London facility, The Mill, and broadcast via radio and live streams across social media. Ant Forbes, production manager for the BME and The Mill, explains: “It just seemed like an obvious solution for us and the British artists. The format of showcasing artists in a virtual sense also made huge sense and felt like a natural progression. There’s definitely a future to this style of event and we’ll be looking at potentially recreating this after the event next year.”
With just a few days to pull the event together, the audio system was kept as close to the original plan as possible, with an emphasis on walk-up-and-mix usability for guest engineers working with tight turnaround times. An Allen & Heath dLive S5000 surface with a DM32 MixRack was used at FOH, with another S5000 paired with a DM64 on monitors, connected via gigaACE. A brand new Avantis console was chosen as the production console, fitted with gigaACE and Dante cards, allowing easy patching to the dLive systems and providing a multi-track feed for the BBC and MQA live-streams. A trio of Allen & Heath’s new PRIME premium eight channel preamps, fitted in a DX32 expander, was also deployed onstage for optimal audio quality.
Steve Davies, engineer at Subfrantic Productions and monitor engineer for the BME’s SXSW showcase for the past seven years, commented: “Allen & Heath’s support has been amazing this year. We’ve managed to pull this together on a tight budget, tight deadline and with A&H’s help, it’s really eased up the stress of everything else. The dLive, as every year, is a hugely welcomed addition to our production. The drag-and-drop user interface allows me to quickly build scenes, get rid of channels and navigate the console quickly and safely; it’s a great console to busk a gig on.”
Freelance FOH engineer, Gareth Cox added: “The latest Avantis console is brilliant. It's user-friendly, and with those huge touchscreens you’ve got everything you need, it’s really putting the controls right at your fingertips and it sounds incredible, plus it’s incredibly easy to patch between Avantis and dLive.”
27th March 2020
Manny Newman Lights Pigeons Playing Ping Pong’s Nugs.tv Livestream with Chauvet Professional
USA – Pigeons Playing Ping Pong thrives on contact with their large, loyal base of hardcore fans. Feeding off the energy of the crowd powers the psychedelic funk jam band through a relentless touring schedule that includes about 200 shows a year. But a wildly cheering audience was nowhere to be seen when the irrepressible quartet took to a temporary stage set up at Showtime Sound’s warehouse on Saturday 14 March for a live streamed concert on nugs.tv.
Nevertheless, 'the flock', as the quartet’s aficionados are affectionately called, got a healthy dosage of Pigeons magic thanks to 90 minutes of inspired free-flowing music, accompanied by a lively Manny Newman designed light show that featured Chauvet Professional fixtures.
Covering the stage with bold vibrant colours, Newman evoked the band’s unabashedly modern-hip image on stage while still keeping his looks manageable for the camera. Varying colours and light angles, he was able to create a flowing sense of motion without relying on pronounced pan and tilt movements.
“The light show wasn’t too different from what we typically do on the road, except we didn’t use much crowd scanning movements and blind positions to avoid blowing out the video,” said Newman. It was also critical to make sure that CTO was adjusted for the camera. Luckily, Showtime Sound provided a screen to view the live stream and balance the brightness. Their warehouse was also large enough to set up our entire rig.”
Helping Newman achieve the looks he desired were 18 Rogue R1 Wash fixtures positioned on quick grids; eight Rogue R2 Wash units used for downstage front washing; and four Rogue R2 Washes arranged on stage left and right for side washing. “The most important thing for the camera is front lighting, the second is side lighting,” he said. “If you have any of these on, you will have a happy camera operator, and a good-looking video.”
Part of the “Live From Out There” Couch Tour Series, the show did more than give Pigeons and their flock of fans an opportunity to connect during a time when public gatherings are cancelled; it also raised money for the Sweet Relief Musicians Fund COVID-19 fund, which aids musicians and music industry workers who have suffered a loss of income in the wake of the prohibition on touring and live events.
“The 11E1even Group, which our manager Dave Dicianni works for, deserves a lot of credit for putting this together,” said Newman. “They are working with nugs.tv to bring a steady flow of unique digital content including full sets, special programming, first-time collaborations, and more from artists on their roster, as well as other acts.”
Pigeons Playing Ping Pong will be streaming five sets as part of the nugs.tv series, something that Newman welcomes, not just as a creative opportunity, but as a chance to demonstrate solidarity with his colleagues. “This is a tough time for our industry and these streams are helping us all get through it,” he said. “If we can continue to provide content that keeps fans engaged, then hopefully our industry will be able to move forward after this is over and provide entertainment to all the music lovers around.”
27th March 2020
CPL Delivers Large Disco Themed Webcast
UK – Technical production specialist CPL was poised to deliver an elaborate show environment to event organisers, Pandora Events, for a motivational event and sales conference occupying Hall 4 of the NEC Birmingham. It was complete with in-the-round staging, live band, dancers and roller-skating artists and high-level presenters for 2,500 guests but,, during the dress rehearsals, Covid-19 intervened.
The latest UK government advice was announced (at that time, ten days before the national lockdown came into force on 23rd March), so organisers took the unanimous decision to stop guests journeying from all over the UK to be there. Instead, with under 24 hours’ notice, the event was transformed into a four-hour webcast.
The band still played, the dancers moved and grooved, and the skaters gyrated and glided. All the routines were pre-recorded by CPL’s video and camera crew and inserted into the webcast keeping the good energy flowing across the ether.
The most successful delegates were recognised for their achievements and sales, and the new season’s products revealed, all in a near surreal setting for CPL’s project manager Mike Radford and their up to 70 crew (during peak times) who were working on the event’s combined technical aspects.
This included locals from Crewsaders who were “nothing short of amazing,” stated Mike.
The get-in had originally commenced on the Wednesday for the Saturday show day. The design theme – initiated by producers Vanessa & Andrew Carter from Pandora Events – was “Disco” in a Starlight Express vibe, oozing glitz and glamour and pumping disco beats.
The stage was built in the centre of Hall four, an 18 metre diameter circle with an eight metre revolve in the middle and runways coming off two sides.
A 12m diameter circular main truss in the roof above was clad with 3.6m deep Roe CB5 LED panels covering all 360 degrees seamlessly, and in the centre of this was a 2.8 metre diameter mirror ball on motors.
Around 200 lighting fixtures installed on the circular truss and a collection of outer trusses rigged in the roof around the stage including 130 moving lights, part of a design by Mark Jones and Iain Wood, with a grandMA2 console for control in readiness for the full tilt all-action show that everyone was expecting to unfold!
The original event format comprised three sections: recognition, achievements and incentives, which was followed by the new product launches, and then an after-show party all of it interspersed with the various live entertainment segments.
Instead, for the webcast, the huge glitter ball was lowered down to ground level and the three presenters dressed like disco divas sat in front talking to camera in a pop-up TV studio-style space.
The live camera feeds were cut in with the recognition VTs, trip launches and product slides.
The live camera director was Derek Gruszeckyj who had four Sony HXC-100 channels into CPL’s Panasonic HS410 PPU. The playback video including all the recognition play-ins plus assorted graphics was programmed onto a disguise server, all created and sized exactly to the correct pixel count, with a Barco E2 used for all the switching and screen management.
Custom 360 content related to the band – Fully Funktional’s – production numbers compiled by the CPL video team were sequenced within disguise also sending click and track back to stage.
The circular video LED wall (cladding the truss) was all controlled via two Brompton Tessera SX40 processors with four Brompton Tessera XD data distributors running in a fully redundant system.
For the webcast three monitors were positioned on stage displaying multiple outputs, including now and next slide, the running schedule, count down timer, feed to web, etc also fed from the E2, so the conversion from live show to studio was properly complete.
A large L-Acoustics sound system comprising over 70 KARA speakers plus KS28 and SB18 subs had been installed and ready to go for the main event, a little over the top for a studio, but it sounded fabulous all the same!
Completing the visual picture were also several special disco effects rigged-and-ready to go, including Galaxis G-Flames and Sparkulars, and a showstopping confetti effect scheduled for the finale, firing through 40 devices in a flourishing left to right canon sweep of the massive room!
A ceiling to floor laser cage effect was created with AC-MFL multifunctional lasers located on the circular truss.
CPL supplied a Riedel Bolero wireless comms system with four separate rings which were needed for this set up to cover cameras, production, audio and stage management.
Mike commented: “Although we were already aware that the Covid-19 situation was volatile and could change at any minute, when the decision was taken to stop the audience for their own safety and well-being, everyone snapped into ‘save-the-event’ mode and also into being extra conscious about the safety of the working conditions.
The change in circumstances entailed a lot of quick thinking on the feet – all instincts for which our resourceful industry is renowned – but all worked together and were united in their determination to deliver a highly memorable event for the client.”
photos: Ben Daure
27th March 2020
Austrian Audio OC818 Microphones Impress on Sam Smith Tour
Austria – Austrian Audio OC818 microphones were recently put to use on British singer-songwriter, Sam Smith’s tour as overheads. Smith’s profile raised significantly in 2014 after debut album release, In the Lonely Hour. 2015 saw Smith awarded with four GRAMMY Awards for Best New Artist, Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best Pop Vocal Album.
Smith’s FOH engineer, Jim Ebdon (pictured) started his career in audio straight out of school whilst working at Surrey Sound Studios, where The Police recorded their first two albums. He later progressed to working as a studio engineer, then as a live sound engineer for high profile artists such as Maroon 5, Annie Lennox, Sting and Aerosmith.
“I’ve had a very colourful career,” he says. “I started as a tape op assistant in the studio and I quickly learned mic techniques, how to cut tape, and how to operate a mixing console. That put me in good stead to become a live sound engineer a few years later, which is a whole different process and discipline compared to being a studio engineer.”
Ebdon states that while he has always been a fan of what he calls “the other brand of microphone,” he thinks that Austrian Audio has the upper hand: “This [OC818] is just that one step ahead,” he enthuses.
Although Ebdon is familiar with Austrian Audio’s free PolarPilot app, which facilitates real-time wireless control over analogue patterns, high-pass, and pad-in real time via Bluetooth, he admits that he has never had to make use of it yet: “I’ve got to be honest with you, I haven’t used it because the microphone sounds so good, I don’t need to use it! I don’t want to interfere with something that is great off the bench.”
Commenting on the Sam Smith tour, Ebdon is full of praise for the OC818: “We’ve been using them on the Sam Smith tour as overheads, and we have had great results. It just works; I can knock those overheads out of phase and the fatness that comes into the drum sound is incredible!”
The OC818 is Austrian Audio’s premier, professional, large diaphragm microphone. Its high sensitivity, low self-noise and ability to handle everything from a whisper to extreme SPLs make it the most advanced microphone for studio, broadcast and live applications. As the unique ceramic capsule design is so consistent, any OC818 can be match-paired with any other OC818, and when in cardioid mode, it can also be match-paired with any OC18, its smaller sibling.
27th March 2020
Light The Sky
The Netherlands – Throughout the Netherlands bundles of light were visible in the sky on Sunday 22 March evening from 20:00 to 20:30. The lighting and sound industries joined the #LightTheSky #StayAtHome initiative. This showed once again that the power of entertainment is in all of us, no matter the situation.
Highlite thanks all those people who are working so hard for all of us to stay safe while we are being affected by the Covid-19. Highlite thanks all the industry colleagues who made it possible and projected a light of hope in the sky. And especially like to thank not only the proud owners of Highlite brands, but everybody who shared and sent pictures to Highlite.
These are just some of the lights which lighted up the sky yesterday, courtesy of THE LIGHTS.nl, CREATE amazing things, Paco support, the Light Package and Highlite Rent, who used Infinity Intelligent Light and Showtec fixtures. They used 19 units of Infinity iB-2R, 20 units of Infinity iW-741 and 20 units of Showtec Helix S5000.
26th March 2020
Bryan Aponte Takes DPA Microphones Back to the 80s on the Set of Mixed-Ish
USA – Veteran Sound Mixer Bryan Aponte (pictured) relies on DPA Microphones’ 4061 miniature omnidirectional mic to capture the hilarious and witty dialogue of one of the season’s top new sitcoms, mixed-ish. Aponte’s 20-year history in the industry features an impressive resume that includes two Emmy nominations and credits on MADtv, Workaholics, American Gangster, The Young and the Restless and Splitting up Together. He recently swapped out his previous lavaliers for the 4061s because of the impressive, natural sound quality these DPA mics provide.
“I’ve been using the DPA lavs for a year now and I absolutely love them,” says Aponte. “My audio utility, the legendary Nick Carbone, first introduced me to them; he spoke so highly of DPA microphones in comparison to other manufacturers’ solutions. When I first tested the 4061s, I fell in love with them and immediately replaced my inventory of lavaliers with DPAs. The presence boost on the 4061s not only sounds natural, but you can place them almost anywhere on talent and capture great sound.”
The decision to switch to DPA was an easy one for Aponte. “Prior to using DPA mics, I really didn’t know what I was missing, but after using them for a year, I feel like they are far superior,” he adds. “Once I heard the mics and did side-by-side comparisons with other manufacturers, I knew I couldn’t afford not to use DPA. The 4061s don’t create microphonic noise, a challenge that I’ve faced with other brands, and they take my mixing game to the next level.”
With a capsule designed with a double vent protection system and moisture resistant materials, the 4061 miniature lavalier features a condenser element with a frequency and sensitivity response that will accurately reproduce audio signals from the human voice. Additionally, Aponte appreciates the added benefits he receives from DPA’s concealer clip, designed specifically for the 4061. “The concealer clip has helped me to solve an issue with which I have long struggled: clothing rustle, which is every mixer’s worst nightmare and a challenge we are constantly trying to overcome,” he explains. “Since incorporating DPA into the mix, that problem is nearly non-existent; they are a game-changer.”
In the short time since incorporating the 4061s into his workflow, Aponte has also added DPA’s 6060 CORE subminiature microphones to his inventory. “I started using DPA’s 6060 CORE as a ‘behind the button’ miking option, and I love it,” he adds. “It’s amazing how small the capsule is without compromising on sound quality.”
Set in the 1980s, mixed-ish follows Tracee Ellis Ross’ black-ish character, Rainbow Johnson, as she recounts her experience growing up in a mixed-race family which moves from a hippie commune to the suburbs.
26th March 2020
Chauvet Professional Provides Diverse Looks for JEM Productions Livestreams Concerts
USA – At 7pm on Saturday 21 March, the four members of Feed the Dog found themselves some place they never thought they’d be a few weeks earlier: standing before microphones ready to perform their high-energy blend of rock and bluegrass music.
There was no audience present, but the jam banders, who have played at clubs across the US and festivals like SXSW, didn’t care, it was a chance to perform live music, plus it was all for a good cause.
The Feed the Dog show was the first of what promises to be a series of livestreamed concerts at the warehouse, turned studio, of JEM Productions. (Substyle, a five-piece genre-hopping band, is already signed to do the next show.)
Joe Ellis, the owner of the production house, came up with the concept of doing the Saturday livestreams, which are lit by his company’s collection of Chauvet Professional Rogue, Strike and COLORado fixtures. A guitarist himself, Ellis wanted to do the shows, for streaming on Facebook and later broadcast on public TV, to provide a performance outlet for idled musicians while also raising money for groups that support children’s charities.
He did all this with The Feed the Dog show, while also providing work for JEM team members and showcasing the impressive capabilities of his company’s lighting inventory. “These are obviously very challenging times and we don’t want to sit idle during them with a warehouse full of great fixtures,” said Ellis. “The livestreamed show concept seemed like a great way to accomplish what we were after. As a company, we’ve always been involved in giving back to the community, and this is the time to do that. We also got to demonstrate what could be done with our gear. The gobos, washes and split beams we got with the Rogues came off very well on camera and the COLORados were impressive set pieces.”
Although the livestream shows may not generate a lot of money now, they are keeping the JEM team busy and are helping the company prepare for the future. “When this coronavirus crisis is over, there may be a new demand for livestreaming,” said Ellis, “and we are going to have the proven experience!”
A 40’ wide by 30’ deep section of the JEM Productions warehouse was converted into a studio set for the livestream show. The lighting fixtures and video panels were arranged to form a V shaped configuration in this area, with columns of COLORado units arranged in the spaces between the panels for back and side lighting, as well as washing. Alternating Rogue wash and spot fixtures were hung over the video panels. From this position, they provided down lighting and breakup gobo patterns on the set.
“We are new to lighting and streaming from a warehouse, so we will have to learn and adjust, but we anticipate things,” said Ellis. “We’re designing the lighting a little differently than we would if this were in a live audience situation, calculating camera angles and programming to maintain live show energy without overwhelming the cameras in our relatively close quarters.”
While JEM Productions supplied all AVL components, the company partnered with Wausau Access Channels as a community producer. The TV station provided the show’s director, as well as some cameras, in addition to the four owned by JEM.
“We had great partners in this effort,” said Ellis. “I owe a big thank you to David Dickinson and Kris Berge of Wausau Access Media, as well as all the JEM employees and contractors. Our local radio station 95.5 WIFC and WAOW News 9 also helped by promoting the event. Dave Kallaway of WIFC did excellent work hosting the event, which made it stand out all the more.”
Encouraged by the results of his first livestream fundraising show, Ellis is looking forward to more. “We’re excited to launch a weekly programme: think Austin City Limits,” he said. “Our goal is to provide outstanding musicians an outlet to perform for the public in a professional setting, while also helping those in need until this passes and we can all get back to normal. After that who knows, but meanwhile we are not going to sit around waiting for the live event industry to reboot.”
26th March 2020
Lighting designer Normand Chasse chooses Robert Juliat Dalis 864 for new Canadian music series, Mix Sonore
Canada – Lighting designer Normand Chasse of Montreal-based Wysart selected Robert Juliat Dalis 864 LED asymmetric footlights for the recording of Mix Sonore, a new English-French music variety programme, which will air on Canada’s TV5Unis starting in May.
Mix Sonore is a live music series which features Martha Wainwright hosting a line-up of English and French-speaking artists at Halifax, Nova Scotia’s Marquee Ballroom. Performers on the 13 shows include Rose Cousins, Classified, Matt Andersen, Basia Bulat, Jason Collett, Marie-Pierre Arthur, Sam Roberts, Etienne Fletcher and Yann Perreau. It was produced by Connections Productions Inc. of Halifax.
Normand Chasse says he was “excited to see” the Dalis 864 fixtures at last year’s LDI and has been kept up to date on the fixtures by ACT Canada’s Alex Monat. The Dalis 864 is a new, 150W colour variation of the original Dalis 862 tuneable white footlight designed for the creation of colourful upstage or downstage lighting. Mix Sonore’s Dalis 864 units were supplied by Jonathan Pichette of SoftBox Integration, Montreal.
“I’m a big fan of Robert Juliat products,” says Chasse. “The company makes really good products; I especially like their new LED Fresnels.”
Chasse calls the Dalis 864 “amazing” with “a curve that’s so sweet and soft for an LED light, nice colours and really good results when lighting faces. I can control every group of four LEDs and use two different colours in lighting the full body of a singer or musician. The fixture is a good substitute for tungsten lighting.”
He also likes the marker or cue lights inside the fixture, which are helpful to artists in a blackout situation on stage. “The low height of the light means you can put them in front of monitors, and they’re quiet so they won’t affect sound,” he adds.
For the Mix Sonore recordings Chasse positioned the Dalis 864 footlights downstage of the performers. “The fixtures can be just one foot away from an artist and still cover them from foot to head with an even light,” he notes. Chasse also was the set designer for the show.
The lighting designer was so pleased with the Dalis 864 footlights that he says the fixtures are on his gear list for projects going forward. “I’m now a big fan! I’ve got them on the list for the next three or four shows I’m doing for television,” he reports.
Chasse is especially excited about Dalis’s prospects for lighting country music performers. “Lighting country music artists wearing big cowboy hats is always a nightmare,” he says. “The hats create shadows on faces and you can’t see people’s eyes on close-ups. But this light will now be my best friend for country music!”
photos: Michael Tomkins
26th March 2020
Black Rock Church @ Home Creates Sense of Normality During Challenging Times
USA – On Tuesday 10 March the Black Rock Church Sunday Worship planning team met with the pastoral staff to discuss the upcoming weekend’s services, as well as the church’s 63rd Missions Conference, which was slated to begin five days later. Like many plans in every corner of the world, the ideas the team was drawing up were interrupted by growing concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic. Black Rock Church is located in Fairfield, Connecticut.
“Reports about COVID-19 infections increasing were obviously very worrisome,” said Christopher Palazini, lighting and associate technical director at the 171-year old church. “The chance of some 2,400 Sunday morning worshippers, and many hundreds more attending the planned conference, being exposed to the virus was not something we wanted to risk. So, after consulting with local health and town officials, the church leadership chose to suspend on-site services, most likely through the end of April and postpone the conference to date yet to be determined.”
With its campus closed off to worshippers, this thriving house of worship initiated “Black Rock Church @ Home,” a programme that streams pre-produced Sunday services to worshippers at home. This concept was nothing new for the church. Although it traces its roots back to the 19th century, Black Rock Church is firmly rooted in the digital age. Palazini, a former commercial and visual effects editor, creates dynamic visuals through lighting for its worship services, which are live streamed every week under ordinary circumstances.
What makes Black Rock Church @ Home different was that the services being broadcast over the internet are now pre-produced, with no live audience at the church, and then played back online during each of the three normal worship service times. Moving from live streamed services that took place with worshippers at the church to pre-produced videos shot with no one in the seats, has necessitated some changes in the way Palazini utilises his lighting rig, which is anchored by Chauvet Professional Maverick MK1 Hybrid, Rogue R2 Spot and COLORado Zoom WW Tour fixtures.
“There are a couple of different stage layouts we are addressing with Black Rock Church @ Home,” said Palazini. “There’s the worship music portion, and the sermon message itself, both of which are in a fluid state, as we strive to present the message of Jesus' love and peace for us in the midst of a period of uncertainty and anxiety.
“In both instances, the lighting will play a more minimalistic role,” he continued. “For the time of worship, we’re creating a consistent and even look for our cameras. Since no one is in the worship centre seats at the time of the recording, there's really no need to create an enveloping atmosphere as we normally would, but we are still maintaining a performance look to the lighting. For the sermon message, that same thought holds true: keep it simple. Our goal is to make the teaching Pastor, or Pastors, look good for the cameras, as well as to provide a smooth, natural look.”
Palazini described how the fixtures in his rig are helping him achieve these design objectives. “Normally, we use the Maverick Hybrids to isolate and highlight people and create texture on the stage,” he said. “The Rogue R2 spots contribute to the atmosphere, while the Rogue R2 Washes bathe the stage in colour to help set and portray the emotion of the song or message. We want to create the same energy level as we would for a live audience, but in a more minimalist fashion. Since we’re already familiar with the Chauvet fixtures, we know their light translates well on to the camera.”
Black Rock Church plays back its broadcast services at 8:30, 10:00 and 11:30, the same time that its in-church services are normally held. “The feeling was to make things as consistent as possible for our congregation,” said Palazini. “So, instead of posting a single service one time on our website or Facebook page, we playback the service recordings at the same times as our regularly scheduled worship services.
“Our 8:30 service is a 'traditional' service that usually has a choir, organ, piano as well as brass and sometimes strings, and the other services are with a contemporary band,” continued Palazini. “It’s important to maintain that difference out of respect, and to create a sense of the familiar for our many older attendees that would normally come to that service. Our goal in all of our services to provide those watching from home, with family and friends, a better sense of normalcy at a time when nothing in their everyday lives is the same.”
25th March 2020
Lighting the Sky for Heroes
Benelux – On Sunday 22nd March, for half an hour, a number of Benelux lighting rental companies and individuals (in fact anyone with access to a light) were invited to point it upwards and #LightTheSky in support of all the key workers, heroes and heroines on the front line of fighting the Coronavirus pandemic.
#LightTheSky was an idea originated by a Dutch rental company which then became a clarion call taken up by numerous entertainment rental companies, venues, broadcasters and others, by people working in every segment across the whole Benelux region, with some extremely creative results as is the nature of this industry!
Heart shapes were a popular choice and many of the lighting schemes utilised Robe products. MegaPointes and Pointes were a favourite for their brightness; however, other products and brands were also involved in this spontaneous and imaginative expression of solidarity. It highlighted gratitude for essential workers in the health service, transportation, law enforcement, supermarkets, education and many more sectors who are keeping our countries going during the Coronavirus pandemic.
The photos here are a selection submitted by different Benelux rental companies all of whom also observed the strict rules now in place throughout Europe on social distancing and other safe working practices during the crisis.
Robe’s CEO Josef Valchar comments: “It’s heart-warming to see the entertainment technology community energised and engaging in actions like this and showing its support for everyone. We’re all affected, and by standing strong together we can help each other survive and deal with the huge challenges our incredible industry faces in the immediate and longer-term future.”
Also over the weekend 183 radio stations across Europe and the UK conducted a synchronised play-out of the classic 1963 hit “You’ll Never Walk Alone” by Gerry & The Pacemakers.
Galvanising actions like these are taking place all over the world while people embrace the spirit of community and help each other get through the pandemic.
24th March 2020
Encore SFX invests in MDG for BBC1’s The Greatest Dancer
UK – When forming special effects company, Encore SFX, George Baker and Anthony Earles, both of whom have many years’ experience in senior roles in the SFX business, decided to invest in the highest quality special effect products available, and knew exactly which company and products they wanted to partner with.
“We needed great products from a reliable company who could offer not just the quality but the essential support required, and immediately thought of MDG,” says Baker.
The company purchased four MDG ICE FOG Q HP low fog generators with DMX interfaces and four pneumatic Round Floor Pockets with remote control boxes. The ICE FOG Q HP is the quietest low fog generator on the market which it produces a thick, low-lying fog with zero residue. The award-winning Round Floor Pocket is DMX/RDM operated and can be embedded in the stage floor or set wall to conceal a fog output and deliver low fog or fog to precise locations.
“The ethos of our company is to make effects more accessible and give our clients the best products for their money. The only way to do this is to offer the best,” says Baker. “We have worked with many different brands of fog and haze machines over the years, and as we are not tied to any one brand, we can choose which we want to go with. When we started the company we were in a unique position of having no pre-existing stock, so could make a fresh start by investing in the best, and latest, products on the market.”
Baker and Earles have very definite reasons for their faith in MDG: “We believe the ICE FOG Q HP is one of the best-built units we have seen. The volume and consistency of the output is incredible. It’s the best looking effect I’ve seen and it doesn’t rise up when you move around in it. Other low fog machines’ output tend to flick up and get wispy, but MDG just sticks to the ground and is solid, no matter what you do to it.”
The ICE FOG Q HP units and Round Floor Pockets were instantly put to work in BBC1’s current series of The Greatest Dancer which is filmed at LH2 studios in West London, with lighting director, Tim Routledge.
“The products we’d used for the previous series were OK, but not the best quality, and with a such big stage and lots of movement from the dancers, we found the low fog was getting thrown up into the air,” says Baker. "For this series we swapped to the ICE FOG Q HP and sunk the Round Floor Pockets into all four corners of the stage. This instantly made the stage look a lot cleaner as the space is just an open dance floor where you can’t hide ducting. Then, because of the ICE FOG Q HP’s high output, we got really dense low fog, with the floor pockets ensuring an even distribution and sharp cut-offs. They are just incredible. We were very happy with the result and it’s the perfect opportunity to showcase an excellent product on six weeks of prime-time national television!”
Tim Routledge, lighting director for The Greatest Dancer, agrees: “We’ve never quite cracked low smoke at LH2 during live TV shows but with the new investment by Encore in MDG we have gorgeous low smoke that lasts and sits low for an entire performance. MDG are by far the go-to company for haze and fog.”
“Anthony and I spent a long time looking at other units, but MDG was the obvious choice by a long way,” explains Baker. “When The Greatest Dancer came along for the second year running, we knew it was the ideal opportunity for us to initiate the investment we’d been wanting to make. Working closely with the production team we had a clear choice of which route to take. Why would you opt to put together combinations of products from other manufacturers when MDG does the full package in one?”
Encore SFX chose the Q version for its high output and ability to fill much larger areas, as it now runs on regular HP (high pressure cylinders) that can be sourced easily from local gas suppliers. “I prefer to have the bigger output units in our stock to give us more options on the many, varied jobs we have lined up for them in future. We can be in a TV studio one week and an arena show the next and anything in between. The ICE FOG Q HPs give us maximum flexibility.”
But Encore SFX’s investment in MDG goes beyond the quality of its products: “The service we got from MDG, in particular Matt Wiseman, was incredible. This is a big investment for Encore SFX but an exciting prospect for us, and Matt was there to advise us every step of the way. We are the only SFX company to have MDG in their stock, and aim to develop our relationship with MDG further.
“We like to work with people who support and help us right from our beginning, and keep working with those who have proven, not just to provide the right product, but also the support. It’s very important for us to know the service is there, and the danger is from companies who just want to sell you a product rather than invest in you as people or as a company. With Matt and MDG, I know I will get the best service and a straight answer with every call. We want to invest in MDG to the same level as they want to work with us.”
photos: Dymond / Thames / BBC / Syco
24th March 2020
Knoxville Museum of Art’s L’Amour Du Vin Glitters with Bandit Lites
USA – The Knoxville Museum of Art held the 17th annual L’Amour du Vin, its primary fundraising event that features a chic wine dinner and auction. The soiree took place on 7th March, and Bandit Lites donated a lighting system for the event, lighting spaces ranging from the façade of the museum to multiple interior spaces and the tents into the gardens.
“For these locations, we chose the Chauvet Freedom Par Quad-4 IP,” said Bandit Lites general manager Giff Swart, noting that most of the spaces had limited power available. “Another advantage of the Freedom Par is that they can be controlled wirelessly, and this keeps cables from cluttering the floor and creating trip-hazards.”
“As an event planner and designer, I can attest that few other event elements have the same impact as lighting,” said event designer Carla May Paré. “It has the power to transform an experience and create magic, which Bandit has done for the Knoxville Museum of Art fundraiser L’Amour du Vin for over 15 years. I am proud and grateful to work with Bandit to create beautiful, ever-changing designs from year to year. Their professional and talented team always help to elevate my vision to more than I could have imagined.”
The moment guests arrived at the museum, they were greeted with the museum’s façade constructed entirely out of pink Tennessee marble illuminated with glossy colours. Crossing the threshold into the foyer with several auction items, Bandit ensured the lighting set the mood for the gala.
“From there, guests moved into the Great Hall for a reception and silent auction, where of course they can bid on any of several lots of fine wines,” said Swart. “In this room as well, we used the Freedom Pars on the walls to blend with the mood created in the foyer. From there guests entered a tent for the dinner and live auction portion of the event. The dinner is always a highlight of the evening, as Blackberry Farm, the world’s leading private resort, provides their expertise, chefs and staff. The tent brings another challenge, in that we don’t always want it to look like we’re in a tent.”
As this evening has swelled into the finest food and wine event in Tennessee, infrastructure was put in place years ago for a structural tent specifically for L’Amour du Vin, with the walls of the tent lit with COLORdash Batten-Quad 12 units.
Lighting an art museum’s premiere gala meant attention to visual details were imperative, and Bandit’s team decided to draw inspiration from the most obvious of choices.
“Colour choice was inspired by the featured artwork and auction item,” Swart said. “This year was a work from local artist Denise Stewart-Sanabria entitled Culture Shock Goes Grand. This piece has very vibrant colours and was a great influence to work with.”
Bandit Lites rigged five one-ton chain motors to 65’ of 12” aluminium box truss. With limited power in the garden and weight considerations, Swart chose GLP X4S and VL 2500 Spots to hang from the spine. Finally, from the centre of the truss hung a single six-foot-tall crystal chandelier.
“We also hung four ten-foot-wide bolts of sheer fabric over the truss which extended all the way to the corners and down to the floor on each side of the tent,” explained Swart. “This fabric helped to add depth and dimension as we lit it with different colour washes from the X4S units and gobos from the VL 2500s.”
24th March 2020
Under the Blood Moon with Cold Chisel
Australia – In February, before the worldwide lockdown to beat Covid-19 came into force, Robe’s reporting team was in Australia, which had just been engulfed by the worst bushfires for many years, and captured a historic musical moment in time.
The rain pelted down relentlessly for the final gig of legendary Australian pub-rock phenomenon Cold Chisel’s 2020 tour at Sirromet Winery just outside Brisbane in Queensland. This hugely welcomed metrological miracle capped an emotional evening and helped to finally extinguish most of the remaining uncontained fires raging from Australia’s disastrous 2019-20 bushfire season, leaving the land a scorched reminder to the need for urgent climate change action.
The tour’s lighting was designed by Cold Chisel’s long term LD Jeff Pavey who put Robe moving lights at the centre of the ‘big rock look’ he crafted to perfection for one of Australia’s most iconic and best-loved bands whose prolific career has spanned five decades.
Defining the look on stage were 40 Robe MegaPointes and 11 BMFL Blades supplied by Gold Coast rental company Creative Productions, together with LED wash lights, weatherised beam lights, 2-lite LED blinders and 4-lite tungsten blinders.
Pavey has been involved with lighting frontman Jimmy Barnes’ solo performances and various creative projects including Cold Chisel for around 30 years, and he’s every bit as passionate about ‘the show’ now as he was at the start.
He’s seen the technology change dramatically over that time, but the principle of providing classic show lighting has remained fundamentally the same: lots of big bold looks, clear and defined colours, stark and edgy whites, dramatic contrasts and attitude to match Barnes’ and Cold Chisel’s incredible energy.
All 25 shows on the tour this year were outdoors, with the standard rig designed to fit into a 22 metre wide, 16 metre deep deep Clifton Productions’ stage with around 15 metres of headroom. Four straight trusses in the roof were flown at slightly different heights complemented by eight side trusses (four per side) that gave excellent cross stage lighting positions and coverage for solos.
“Most of the things I do are pretty straightforward,” quips Pavey with reference to his minimal no-nonsense style.
For him, it’s a critical thing to get a good balance of lights that can be grouped and unfolded in layers to present the bigger picture.
A large 12 metre wide by six metre high LED screen dominated the upstage area (also supplied by Creative Productions) and this was one of the reasons that Pavey chose MegaPointes for their main effects fixtures; for their power, punch and ability to slice through the LED, plus the near-infinite variety of looks that can be created.
Six of the BMFL WashBeams were on the front truss and linked into two remote followspot control systems, with three on the upstage truss linked into a third remote spotting system. The other two fixtures were on the mid truss and concentrated on key-lighting the drum and keyboard riser positions.
The MegaPointes were distributed on all overhead and side trusses and they were the heart of the rig, helping to create all those epic rock looks.
“MegaPointes are my favourite moving light of the last decade,” Pavey declares. “They are multi-purpose fixtures that actually do work properly in more than one mode!”
While brightness is a major asset, he embraces all the other MegaPointe features throughout the show and the expedient size means he can pack a few more on the truck when possible.
Creative Productions currently owns 48 MegaPointes which are out on shows and events most of the time, and they are about to increase the stock again.
The band like those classic big AC/DC and Queen power looks form the 1980s with multitudes of parcans, so his objective on this tour was to recreate the spirit and scale of this aesthetic in a modern context and, with considerably fewer lights, all of which had to fit into a single truck.
Pavey achieved this goal combining his vast experience as an LD and huge enthusiasm for the music, a loud mix of defiance, the gritty side of life and superlative rock & roll.
Cold Chisel shows have not always featured video prominently, but used judiciously and intelligently on this tour, it helped ensure the focus remained on the band and the music at all times, with a healthy visual harmony and rhythm between it and the lighting.
Custom playback content was created by Rachael Johnson and Dave Hendy’s raw and masterful camera mix hit the Cold Chisel spot!
Pavey programmed and operated the lights using his trusty Hog 4 console and was joined on the road by a “fantastic” Creative Productions crew of Jeremy Dehn, John Penridge and Declan Woods.
photos: Louise stickland
20th March 2020
Events United Lights Dropkick Murphys St. Patrick’s Day Show with Chauvet Professional
USA – Every year since 1996, Dropkick Murphys has marked St. Patrick’s Day with rollicking live performances of their irrepressible blend of Celtic, punk and rock music. This year was no different … almost! Given the prohibition on large public gatherings due to the coronavirus crisis, the iconic band went digital to reach their fans on the day of Ireland’s patron saint, performing a livestreamed show. Sent out over four platforms: Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Twitch, the show was seen by over ten million fans, making it the most viewed livestreamed concert in history.
Lighting designer Brian Lareau conveyed the energy and excitement of a Dropkick Murphys live music venue performance with a dynamic, fast moving and green-tinged light show that featured over 100 Professional fixtures and video panels designed and supplied by Derry, NH-based Events United, which put together the lighting rig and studio set up in 48 hours.
“It was a non-stop effort,” said Tim Messina of Events United. “Everyone involved in this show pulled together in very short time; our team alone consisted of 25 production crew members. It felt amazing and stressful at the same time accomplishing this in the face of everything going on today with the coronavirus. The energy in the studio was incredible. Maybe it was because of the immense amount of pressure to put on something so big in such a short amount of time, or maybe it was the combination of the Dropkick Murphys band and crew working so well with our team.”
The Dropkick Murphys livestream rig was anchored by 20 Maverick MK2 Spot fixtures, which were used for effect lighting, ten of the new Ovation CYC 1 FC cyclorama lights (deployed as foot lights), eight Ovation E-260WW IP ellipsoidals, four Strike 4 blinders, and 60 F2 LED video panels.
“We had to deal with a smaller stage here than you would normally find on a live venue stage, yet we had to give Brian the tools he needed to create big looks,” said Messina. “The output to size ratio of the Mavericks and low profile of the Ovation Cycs were essential. The whole lighting rig was designed to work well for camera; the brightness of all the lights, as well as the video wall, were crucial to make this work for broadcast.”
For his part, Lareau was able to run his show much as he would if it were a live venue or festival concert. “The only real difference in how the show was operated here verses any regular gig was limiting some quick solo bumps that you’d normally have,” he said. “We were still able to capture all the dynamics from their faster songs into the moodier down-tempo tracks. There were sections where I could pull back on the fill lighting to let some of the breakups take over, and we were able to keep a number of the tight blackout stops the band is used to seeing.”
Lareau had special praise for the Strike 4 fixtures. “Quite honestly, as simple as they are, they were the real star of this show,” he said. “They’re the only LED blinder on the market that has the correct dimmer curve and fade out built in to look like conventional DWE lamps. There’s no additional funny business with cue timings or any other adjustments in console. You hit the flash button and they react exactly how you expect.”
Beyond the specifics of the livestreamed show itself, the event has greater significance, points out Messina. “None of us have ever lived through a time like this,” he said. “How do you even begin to describe the challenge we’re facing as an industry. This is something that we should approach as an industry, not as competitors. We need to share ideas, whether they involve livestreaming or anything else. It’s important that we do what we can to keep moving forward until this all passes.”
Meanwhile, thanks to this determined spirit, there is at least one tradition that has continued this spring despite the coronavirus.
photos: Lauren Thomason and Events Unlimited
20th March 2020
Ayrton Ghibli LED profiles used extensively at CES 2020
USA - Dallas-based Freeman, the world’s leading live event and brand experience company, has made a major investment in Ayrton Ghibli LED profile spot luminaires. Almost immediately following the purchase, the Ghibli fixtures were used to light booths and corporate events at CES 2020 in the Las Vegas Conference Center.
Ayrton is distributed exclusively in North America by ACT Lighting, Inc. Like many of ACT Lighting’s customers, Freeman needed LED profiles that suited myriad environments. To highlight its products, ACT Lighting staged a shoot-out pitting its Ghibli units against other competitive LED products for Freeman designers at the Dallas headquarters. “We spent a year looking for the best and newest technology to offer our clients,” says John Leonard, national director of lighting services at Freeman. “These lights fit all our parameters: size, output, power consumption, and the best feature set for our needs. Witnessing the benefits up close made the decision easy.”
Freeman lighting designers also liked Ghibli’s second frost wheel: “Which allows us to easily use the light in wash applications,” he points out. “We can get many uses from the same fixture.”
Within three days of Freeman receiving its first shipment, the fixtures were dispatched to light a number of booths at CES 2020 where Freeman is an established partner. Freeman chose the lights to showcase booths and corporate events across multiple venues in Las Vegas.
“We’ve heard nothing but good things about the fixtures from our designers, and our clients have been pleased with the output. We hope to increase our quantity of Ghibli units in the coming years as they become a staple for many of our future shows.”
20th March 2020
Germany – Many artists have recently cancelled or postponed their live tours. In many countries around the globe, public life as we know it no longer takes place and yet, now more than ever, the music must not stop! Therefore, Sennheiser is initiating a series of exclusive streaming concerts on the company’s Instagram account, which will be broadcast via IGTV (Instagram TV). The well-known DJ and producer Mousse T. kicked off the series at 3pm on 19th March.
Further dates will be announced soon on http://www.sennheiser.com/anniversary. Beyond announcements of dates, the website contains numerous music videos with immersive recordings from jazz clubs, electro sets in a living room atmosphere as well as live recordings from recording studios. Just put on your headphones or turn up the speakers and dive into the music.
20th March 2020
Claypaky Xtylos Fixtures Make US Debut at Post Malone’s Posty Fest Stadium Show in Dallas
USA – The Posty Fest, rapper Post Malone’s second annual live music festival held on 2 November in his home town of Dallas, marked the first use of Claypaky’s new Xtylos in the United States. Creative directors and designers Lewis James and Travis Brothers tapped 178 Xtylos fixtures for the event. Xtylos is a compact beam moving light with a tailor-made RGB laser source that’s a powerful engine for an incredible array of colours. The fixtures were utilised in conjunction with Production Resource Group (PRG), which was the lighting vendor for the production. The show also utilised 52 Claypaky Mythos 2 and 24 Claypaky Scenius Unico fixtures for the extensive lighting rig in the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas
Post Malone hosted and headlined the festival whose guest line up included Meek Mill, Pharrell Williams and Jaden Smith. Malone is currently on a North America arena tour in support of his latest album, “Hollywood’s Bleeding,” his second No. 1 album on the Billboard 200. The show was designed with a massive square stage with catwalk and large LED screen backdrop.
“I saw Xtylos on a trip to Italy and knew they would be perfect for their concepts, so I pitched the idea to the Posty team,” says Nick Whitehouse, creative producer with Fireplay.
James notes that the design focuses around large central cube and a “concept of crowd pods that cast columns of light directly down into the audience”, a motif he designed for Posts World Tour.
It was important to translate this motif to the stadium. The design had strategically placed aerial foggers to emphasise the texture and volume of the fixtures James adds that “the Xtylos’ strength was perfect for interpreting the bold looks we needed.”
“We always love the idea of riot and atmosphere out in the crowd, somehow capturing that energy from the artist and dispersing it to “totem” columns that people can feel connected by.”
It was really a large collaborative process when it came to light. Whitehouse and James collaborated on the core elements of the design, positioning them in brutal formations to help create structure and architecture to the stadium space. “I felt they were the right choice for such a large scale production, the solid and endless beams provide us with a lot of range and scope when it comes to composing the light of the performance. With the help of lighting designer Ben Dalgleish we terminated them at a range of unorthodox positions in the stadium which gave us some really interesting looks that I haven’t seen before. Ben did a great job of translating the ideas and sketches to something functional we could use within the show,” adds James.
Dalgleish was impressed by “the incredible power and brightness of the new fixture over the full colour spectrum. The Post Malone show is designed to lean more towards architecture and form over normal hip hop or rock and roll lighting. The brightness of the Xtylos allowed me to push this idea further than we have before. I created a whole range of looks of Xtylos fixtures terminating in another fixture sometimes 100 feet away with the beam fully visible across the whole span: instant architecture.”
He also gives kudos to “the unique strobing of the fixture. As the source is a laser, dialling in a strobe look was similar to working with the refresh rate on a traditional laser unit. The ‘max strobe’ was so fast it was barely visible to the eye, but it changed the way the beam looked in a very interesting way. For example, in the song ‘Candy Paint’ I went for a traditional ‘fly-out’ effect that I would not normally use in the Post show, but by adding the high frequency strobe it made the movement look much more dynamic and artistic than a normal beam fly-out.”
Whitehouse reports that the Xtylos fixtures “looked amazing and exceeded my expectations. The Posty team did an incredible job using them and integrating them into their show.”
“We were very proud to be part of this production. This is a seminal moment in automated lighting, the first use of a revolutionary new product in North America. After so much hard work by so many folks at Osram and Claypaky, it was thrilling to see the results and to watch the designers and programmers first experience and then embrace the product. The feeling of being part of the start of something newly exceptional in our industry was truly exciting for all of us,” concludes George Masek, Claypaky strategic marketing manager.
Lewis James and Travis Brothers were the creative directors and designers with Post Malone and Ben Ward the lighting director. Ben Dalgleish the lighting designer. At Fireplay, Kelly Sticksel was the creative producer, along with Whitehouse, and Kevin Twist was the production manager.
20th March 2020
Elation Smarty ideal fit on Alter Bridge US tour
USA – American rock band Alter Bridge wrapped up a four-week tour of US cities in late February with lighting designer Joshua Light directing a Bandit Lites-supplied lighting system that included Elation’s mini yet multi-functional Smarty Hybrid moving head.
Light adopted key aspects of a design created by the late Joe Eager for the band’s 2019 European tour, a large five-truck show that included profile and beam fixtures. For the US tour’s trimmed set-up however (the band has always been more popular in Europe), Light needed a more compact package and combining fixture types in a single hybrid fixture was the way to go.
“I was looking for something that could replace the profile and beam fixtures of the earlier tour,” Light said, “a hybrid light that could handle all the work of those two fixtures yet didn’t have the hotspot that other hybrids on the market have. My original fixture choice was too large to ride in the truss so Bandit suggested the Smarty’s, which are a more compact fixture. I took a look at the specs and decided to give them a go.”
Small, lightweight and fast, yet with good power at 11,000 lumens, the CMY Smarty’s spot/beam/wash capabilities with zoom ability in all three modes makes for a versatile unit. “The main requirement was to get beam and profile looks out of the same fixture,” Light explains. “As I got to playing with them at Bandit, I discovered I could get a lot of nice eye candy looks out of them so I ended up flipping them into the audience a lot to get some cool profile looks that weren’t just pure backlight.” The ability to create those eye-candy looks was a key visual boost to the design as LED video was cut from the spec after the European tour.
Working from four ten-foot truss towers with additional Smartys on the floor across the backline and on the drum riser, Light utilised the fixture’s multiple modes with quick transitions between gobos, beams or frost wash looks to keep the looks dynamic.
“There were a couple of moments where I went from backlight with the frost in to flipping over to a gobo with clean focus, or switched from gobo breakups to beam looks,” he said. “When I went from a gobo look to a beam look it faded out nice and smooth, which I was impressed with.” To keep things fresh, Light accessed other features of the fixture like the multi-facet prisms. “I did some of the audience looks with the prism in, which kept it pretty without being quite as intense as the gobos and added to the variety of looks.”
The LD says that along with its compact size and multi-functionality, the Smarty was also a good fit for the budget. “It was a happy coincidence that all those factors came together and I ended up with a fixture that I really enjoyed. I was totally happy with them.”
Touring in support of their latest album “Walk The Sky”, Alter Bridge is very much a rock band yet play a melodic, riff-oriented style that also incorporates subtler, slower elements. The variety in tempo gave Light the opportunity to vary the design from more aggressive looks to mood-setting atmospheres while focusing on transitions between moments. He shares one of his favourite looks from the song Isolation. “There is a slower part where I put beams in that are vertical with a slow dim chase across them then for the chorus, using the same fixture, I had one of the vertical gobos spinning. Usually you would do that with two different fixtures. It was nice to be able to use the Smarty and treat it as two different light systems.” The Smarty Hybrid fixtures worked in the rig with other moving head effects, LED washlights, and hybrid strobes.
Alter Bridge has plans to take the same rig back out on the road in May with European dates following that.
photos: Chuck Brueckmann
20th March 2020
Hiding in Plain Sight is How to Succeed with DPA Lavalier Microphones
Denmark – For more than ten years, production sound mixer and location sound recordist David Thirion has been using DPA microphones to capture audio for film and television projects. Their audio quality and natural sound was a key reason for his choice, but equally important was the tiny size of some models, which makes them ideal for situations where they need to be hidden on actors’ bodies or in costumes.
In recent months Thirion has been experimenting with DPA’s latest body-worn products, the 6000 Subminiature Series, in particular the 6060 Subminiature omnidirectional lavalier microphone. On the latest series of Parlement, a new television series created by Belgian-based Artémis Productions, he used it to great effect, although not how he originally intended.
“On paper, DPA’s 6000 Series is the perfect tool because it sounds as good as the DPA 4060 lavalier, yet is much smaller and therefore easier to conceal,” Thirion says. “But in the end, it comes down to choosing the right microphone for the job. We initially planned to use it on a female actor, but she was wearing such light silk that it was impossible to hide the mic because the weight of the cable was pulling at the fabric. Instead we used a DPA 4061 lavalier microphone secured with a bra clip, which worked just fine.”
The 6060, however, did solve a different problem when it proved ideal for the show’s male talent whose chest was too hairy to have a microphone attached to it.
“As everyone working in film and TV sound knows, it can be very difficult to mic up a hairy chested actor wearing a white office shirt, no tie and a blazer,” Thirion explains. “We found the perfect spot for the 6060 in the collar of the shirt. We used an URSA mini mount and covered with white URSA moleskin so that it was completely disguised. We also hid a 6060 in a tie knot using a Sanken RM11 concealer. The mic is so slim that it helped prevent any tie knot deformation.”
Thirion, who has been working in film and TV sound for nearly 20 years, says the trick to hiding microphones in clothing is to expose them as much as possible. This might sound counter-intuitive but he believes it is better to give them some space in order to achieve the best sound.
“If you can nearly see them in plain sight, you get better sound quality and intelligibility because there is air around the microphone.” He says. “You also reduce any risk of fabric rustling against the capsule or against the cable, which is also a source of noise.”
As a self confessed fan of DPA microphones, which he describes as ‘the best mics out there’, Thirion had no hesitation in choosing them for the Parlement project, which was shot on location in Europe at the end of last year.
“We knew we would be confronted with difficult costumes and very little time to mic up all the talent,” he explains. “The shooting pace on a TV series is much faster than it is on a feature film. We did ten episodes in less than two months and were shooting eight to ten minutes of footage a day, using two cameras at the same time on pretty much every set. The schedule was so fast that you couldn’t start fussing about placing microphones on talent and then readjusting them on every single take. Therefore we chose microphones that offered good sound quality but were small and easy to hide.”
His DPA line up included a 4160 slim omnidirectional microphone, which was perfect for hiding in blazers and suit jackets.
“It was a great tool to have on set because we could hide it behind the rose bud hole on a jacket using a DPA buttonhole mount. The microphone heads were exposed but couldn’t be seen so we got great results.”
Since completing Parlement in December 2019, Thirion has been teaching at a film school while he waits for his next project. His impressive CV includes many documentaries for National Geographic, Discovery, ARTE, France 5, RTBF, BBC and Channel 4, plus feature films such as Complete Strangers with Spanish director Pau Maso and Body of Water and How To Stop a Recurring Dream, where he worked as boom operator for production sound mixer Aris Anastassopoulos.
20th March 2020
Quest Sound & Productions Enhances Georgia Event with Chauvet Professional
USA – In last few years, the people of this city on the banks of the Oconee River have had much to celebrate. New businesses popped up all over its picturesque downtown and giant corporations like Best Buy and Perry Ellis have opened multi-million-dollar distribution centres in its surrounding industrial parks. Small wonder, then, that the local chamber of commerce built its annual gala around the theme of “Into the Future.”
Playing on this concept, John Berret of Quest Sound & Productions LLC energized the event with celestial space exploration images that would have been right at home in a Star Wars style movie. Aiding him in this endeavour was a collection of Chauvet Professional Rogue and COLORado fixtures.
“We wanted to create the look of a Sci-Fi movie that makes people feel excited about the future,” said Berret, who ran his lights with a ChamSys PC Wing and Extra Wing. “This was the kind of mood that the client wanted to convey, with deeply saturated colours combined in ways that suggested deep space.”
Drawing on the independently controlled 8-facet prism of the eight Rogue R1 Beam fixtures in his rig, Berret created the impression of laser beams shooting across the room from multiple directions. This, combined with the spacey orbital patterns on the stage’s backdrop, which were washed in saturated colours by the eight COLORado Tri IP and 16 CHAUVET DJ EZLink Par-Q4 fixtures in his rig, set a distinct intergalactic tone in the room.
Also adding to the shooting star effect were the tight and intensely bright beams from two Rogue R3 Spot fixtures. Positioned on risers stage left and stage right, the two 300W LED fixtures were used to create bright crossing patterns of light beams.
While the colourful lighting created suggestive symbolism, more explicit imagery was provided by the videos of space shuttle lift-offs shown on two projector screens, one stage left and one stage right. Berret added a compelling dramatic element to this panorama with help from a pair of Chauvet DJ Geyser RGB atmospherics.
“I positioned the Geysers by the two main projection screens, and every time there was a space flight, we released plumes of fog accented with reddish/orange colours that suggested a real flight,” he said. “This, along with some coordinated colors from the COLORado Tri IPs created some engaging imagery.
“There was a level of fantasy involved in our design,” continued Berret. “The atmosphere at the event was really upbeat, so people wanted to feel good and have fun. At the end of the evening, the people from the chamber told us how happy they were with the overall effect we created, which made us feel good.”
The allegories that impressed the Chamber of Commerce officials and enlivened their gala were reminiscent of the metaphorical creations of another Dubliner, James Joyce. Although the early 20th century literary giant lived in Dublin, Ireland, some 3,900 miles from Georgia, he was aware of his home town’s American counterpart. He even mentioned the US city in the opening pages of his seminal work Finnegans Wake. If he had witnessed John Berret’s lighting design, the great writer undoubtedly would have given him props for its rich imagery.
19th March 2020
Adamson Welcomes Mainspring Ltd. as New Distributor for Bangladesh
Bangladesh – Adamson Systems Engineering has further bolstered its foothold in Southern Asia with the appointment of Mainspring Ltd. as its exclusive distributor for Bangladesh. Headquartered in Dhaka, Mainspring will represent Adamson’s premium loudspeaker offerings in the country’s live production and integration markets.
>“We’ve seen Adamson’s profile growing significantly in Southern Asia and around the world and saw a lot of potential for a high-end brand with great support and a strong focus on user education here in Bangladesh,” comments Rezwan Rahman, executive director of Mainspring. “We’ve had great interactions with Adamson’s APAC team and Canadian headquarters thus far and look forward to working together to generate new business and opportunities throughout our territory.”
Mainspring is currently well-stocked with Adamson’s tour-proven S-Series of sub-compact two-way, full-range enclosures and complementary subwoofers, as well as the M-Series of high-performance stage monitors, though customers will soon have access to the full line of Adamson offerings, including the flagship E-Series and intelligent, Milan-ready CS-Series.,p>Working in close collaboration with Shamim Ahmed, a renowned audio engineer in Bangladesh, Mainspring intends to set its standards at an international level in terms of audio performance and support for live events throughout the country.
“We’re glad to have found the right partners to help us thrive in this very promising market,” shares Ben Millson, Adamson’s managing director for the APAC region. “We look forward to working in tandem with Mainspring’s team and end users throughout Bangladesh to further expand our presence in Southern Asia. While our partnership is still very new, Mainspring has already exceeded our expectations and we’re proud to welcome them to the Adamson Network.”
In picture: Mainspring Ltd.’s Rezwan Rahman and Shamim Ahmed.
19th March 2020
“No Hunting for High and Low with A-ha On Alcons”
Norway – In 2019, 35 years after their debut album Hunting High and Low made them global stars, Norwegian pop legends A-ha set off on a world tour, playing the album in its entirety alongside more of the band’s hits. In February the 2020 leg of the tour kicked off at the Nordlandshallen in Bodø, where an Alcons Audio LR18 pro-ribbon compact mid-size line-array impressed fans as well as the band’s legendary live sound engineer.
After a two-month winter break, the Hunting High and Low Live tour resumed at the 5,500-capacity Nordlandshallen, where Gøran Aamodt, who promotes Bodø’s annual Parkenfestivalen and other events in the north Norway town, wanted an audio system and supplier that he could trust would deliver at the top level.
Gøran has a close working relationship with audio production company Lydteamet AS and, with the same team and PA used with great success when Sting played the Nordlandshallen in 2017 as well as for a wide range of international artists at Parkenfestivalen every year, Gøran knew that Lydteamet’s Alcons LR18 system would deliver the quality that he demanded.
“We use Lydteamet on all our productions, because they always focus on the quality of the equipment and the personnel they use. We depend on this when we have visits from world class artists and need to deliver a world class production. We know that the Lydteamet team always does its utmost, the feedback from artists and crew substantiates this,” he says.
For the A-ha show, Lydteamet deployed a system comprising main hangs of 54 Alcons LR18, 18 ground-stacked BF362 high-output subwoofers and six RR12 point-source array modules as fills. The system was powered and controlled by 18 Alcons Sentinel 10 amplified loudspeaker controllers.
Delivering the crisp, powerful, distortion-free sound that Alcons pro-ribbon systems are renowned for to every member of the Nordlandshallen audience, A-ha’s veteran front of house sound engineer Chris ‘Privet’ Hedge was clearly impressed.
“As a company we deliver everything from small events to big kick-ass arena systems and the first time we looked at the small LR18 we thought it was cute. But when we invested in the system in 2016 and set it up in an outdoor arena, we were scared as hell!” smiles Lydteamet general manager Morten Buvik. “We looked at this tiny sound system and could not believe what we heard.”
He continues: “When we set the system up for A-ha at the Nordlandshallen, ‘Privet’ Hedge – the grand old man behind the desk – looked at the small size of the Alcons pro-ribbon speakers in the same way that we once did. But once he heard it, he smiled and gave two thumbs up. Once again we delivered the ‘small big box’ with pride. The Alcons LR18 is the most flexible speaker system we have and we love it.”
19th March 2020
JDC1 and X4 Bar 20 weave geometric magic at FEDUK show
Russia – FEDUK, a young Russian hip-hop singer, recently wowed fans at Moscow’s Adrenaline Stadium, presenting his new concert programme, ‘One Love’, (in support of the artist’s new album). FEDUK prepared a number of surprises, including a completely new visual show that was developed and implemented by Alexey Zhuravlev and Anton Orlov, lighting designers from gst.moscow, who took full advantage of the creative potential of GLP’s award-winning LED fixtures.
The creative team had been invited onto the project by Dmitry Yakovlevsky, the concert producer. Right from the outset all three men had reached a common understanding of the visual component, and the main concept of the show. They merely had to further refine their concept in order to implement it on stage.
The centrepiece of the scenography consisted of three vertical screens, visually extended by the powerful array of lighting above.
Anton Orlov explains the underlying concept: “We developed a shape to flow from bottom to top, in order to frame the stage and thus create a single media space.”
To create the arraying of light on stage, he turned to GLP’s popular JDC1 hybrid strobes, and impression X4 Bar 20s.
“I haven’t been working in the industry for too long, and I first saw the GLP equipment live about a year ago,” Anton admits. “I was really impressed by the possibilities and brightness of the JDC1. Today, I turn to fixtures by GLP in more than half the ideas and concepts I develop for events.”
At FEDUK’s show, six vertical columns were decorated with 48 impression X4 Bar 20s that were placed on both sides of the stage.
“I really like this fixture,” states Anton. “It is one of the best possible solutions for creating geometric shapes. I really appreciate their flexibility: the fixture can be used as a beam light, with narrow zoom, or to make mid-air effects using various motions or pixels; it can also be used as a wash light or to create lines of light. Besides, the fixtures have an entirely seamless connection system allowing them to create continuous lines of light.”
In particular, the lighting designer likes the fixture’s optical characteristics: “The X4 Bar 20 has an impressive level of brightness, and the colours are just great!”
The JDC1s also proved to be very useful in creating the bright flowing shape on stage, allowing a rounded wall of light to be elaborated, while the fixtures themselves performed several functions, acting as a blinder, wash light and stroboscope.
“Combining two sources of light in a single fixture is a very good idea,” Anton continues “On the one hand, it has a background RGB LED panel that can be used to make washes and effects, and, on the other hand, I have a powerful strobe at my fingertips.”
Another key differentiator, according to Anton, is the extremely useful tilt function. “While generally speaking I don’t see any practical reason for moving the JDC1s while strobing, having a tilt function is extremely useful, as there are moments in the show when one needs to change the direction of the strobe. It’s great that the JDC1 provides such a possibility!”
“X4 atom seems an interesting solution to me. Its compact design and a lot of various accessories allow different shapes to be created, and the potential for experimentation. Another great plus is the provision of the zoom, while the fixture exterior itself is very attractive.”
photos: Alexander Shchervyakov, Yulia Rvantseva
18th March 2020
Lenny Sasso Captures Mystique of Thrice’s Vheissu 15th Anniversary Tour with Chauvet Professional
USA – At the base of Mount Vesuvius, believed the Roman poet Virgil, lay the entrance to the underworld. Ancients were said to call this gateway to the dark, foreboding tunnel beneath the deadly volcano “Vheissu.” The haunting image of this mythical passage seems to rise like volcanic steam from the intense musical undertones crackling through Thrice’s album of the same name, even now 15 years after the Top 25 recording’s release.
Vheissu was the fourth of the California quartet’s ten albums to date. It not only redefined the band with its deeply introspective, brooding sound, but also influenced an entire style of alt rock music. On the US tour celebrating the 15th anniversary of the seminal LP, which concluded on 29 February with a show at The Novo in Los Angeles, Lenny Sasso reflected the mood of Vheissu in all its complexity with an evocative lightshow marked by beguiling silhouettes and unexpected angles of backlighting.
Helping him create these looks was a versatile touring rig that featured Chauvet Professional Maverick MK2 Spot fixtures supplied by Squeek Lights. Positioning five of the 440W LED fixtures across the deck behind the band, he used them to light the artists from ground level angles, suggestive of the 'underworld' tones of the ancient Vheissu legend.
“When we started to discuss lighting for this tour, we wanted to change the vibe up a bit, because of the unique nature of Vheissu,” said Sasso. “Riley Breckenridge, the band’s drummer, had posed the idea of having lights come up from the deck. I basically ran with this concept, because it fit the mood of the show, which features the all the songs from the Vheissu album, plus three B-side numbers and four additional tunes. My vision was to capture these dark and moody moments by keeping the lighting minimalistic and not have too much rain down on the band from above.”
With one Maverick MK2 Spot behind each band member, except the drummer, who was positioned between two of the fixtures, and one unit on each end of upstage deck, Sasso was able to create an open clam shell of backlighting that spread out from the stage deck to fill the room. This created a deeply textured perspective that seemed to put the band in the middle of a vortex, reinforcing the mythical underworld theme.
Drawing on the Maverick MK2 Spot’s wide zoom range and 3-facet prism, Sasso seamlessly changed the scope of his back lighting, giving his shown different looks throughout the 90-minute concert. At times, he drew his backlighting in tight to create redolent silhouettes of individual band members.
“There were a few moments when the band dropped out to just Dustin (Kensrue) singing and Teppei (Teranishi) on the keys, when I isolated the two of them in silhouette,” said Sasso. “That was one of the highlights for me since it created a really beautiful moment.”
Counterbalancing intimate looks like this one, Sasso also opened up his rig, using the high output Maverick MK2 Spots to create aerial effects, crossing patterns, and intense audience lighting. “There are a few huge moments, such as at the end of songs like ‘Words in the Water.’ and ‘Firebreather,’ when I tilt everything out into the audience for some massive crowd 'woahs',” he commented. “I’d say that the MK2s were the meat and potatoes of my show, helping maintain this tight evocative mood, then opening up at a few selected moments.”
Taken together the subtle nuances and crescendos of Sasso’s show captured the essence of his client’s deeply moving music. He recalls that from the beginning of the design process his aim was “to approach this tour in a very artful way, giving each song its own vibe, while also reflect the album’s overall vision.” It was an ambitious goal and one he met in stunning fashion.
photos: Matt Hildreth