Production News Headlines
L-Acoustics Truly Creates A Moment Apart for Odesza at Santa Barbara Bowl
USA – When 2018 GRAMMY-nominated electronic duo Odesza recently performed at the 4,500-seat Santa Barbara Bowl on its current A Moment Apart tour, fans were treated to a spectacularly unique audio experience unlike anything else previously experienced in North America. That’s because the sound system provided by Clearwing Productions for the show was not the conventional left-right configuration of L-Acoustics K1/K2 deployed on the rest of the band’s tour dates, but rather the first North American deployment of L-Acoustics’ L-ISA Live system. This performance also represented the first global use of the groundbreaking new immersive audio system on a major electronic act.
L-ISA, which stands for Immersive Sound Art, is a breakthrough in immersive audio technology, combining the manufacturer’s industry-leading sound design and world-class loudspeaker systems with sophisticated processing tools to create a hyperrealistic soundscape at live shows.
According to Odesza FOH Engineer Patrick Hutchinson: “Using the L-ISA processor was a seamless transition from the traditional systems. Once all the MADI outputs were patched into the L-ISA processor, mixing became a natural environment in which each channel represented its own space within the mix. Suddenly placement of the instruments became more life like resulting in an immersive matrix of sound, which I have never experienced before. In addition to the immersive sound, I noticed that all of the instrument nuances finally started to present themselves much clearer than ever before. This in return allowed for the entire mix to translate the artists’ emotion while becoming fully immersive and containing tremendous amounts of depth and clarity. Great work L-Acoustics!”
According to L-Acoustics application engineer, touring liaison David Brooks, the choice to use L-ISA was ultimately artist-driven. “Given the size and layout of the Santa Barbara Bowl, we knew that it would be an ideal venue for L-ISA,” he begins. “We introduced Goldenvoice production manager Dean Cohen to the technology and he quickly suggested that Odesza might be a good potential candidate, so we reached out to Clearwing Productions, who was carrying a K1/K2 system with the artists, to see if they would have an interest.
“We invited Patrick to our headquarters in Westlake Village to hear the system and create a live mix in the studio with L-ISA labs Engineer carlos Mosquera,” Brooks continues. “Patrick called Odesza’s Clayton Knight from the studio to describe the immersive mix he was getting, and Clayton was interested enough that he came to Westlake later that week. Clayton was immediately onboard with the technology and what it could bring to their performance, ultimately taking the idea back to Harrison Mills – the other half of the duo – and the rest of the team, who came back saying ‘let’s go.’”
“Hearing our music played back in the L-ISA studio, it was immediately apparent that the system had a natural and multi-dimensional feel,” Knight describes. “I knew right away that we had to try it on our tour. We’re always pushing to produce the best experience for our fans, and this technology lets us deliver our show the way it was intended to be heard. The show in Santa Barbara was incredible and we were proud to be part of L-ISA’s launch here in North America.”
Instead of flying the traditional left/right main arrays, the L-ISA deployment for the Santa Barbara Bowl show used a frontal system comprising seven arrays: three hangs of eight K2 in the centre flanked by two hangs of 12 Kara as the “scene” system, and two outer arrays of eight Kara as the “extension” system. Behind the center K2 arrays were two sub arrays, each featuring six KS28 with the bottom enclosures rear-firing for cardioid mode. Seven Kara spread out across the stage lip and two ARCS II enclosures positioned on either side of the stage rounded out the fill system, and all enclosures were powered and processed via a combined total of 27 LA8 and LA12X amplified controllers in conjunction with the L-ISA Processor.
“The biggest takeaway I have from this show was the imaging; no matter where you were in the venue, it was absolutely perfect,” describes Clearwing Productions Director of Operations Bryan Baumgardner. “Nearly every single seat in the Santa Barbara Bowl was able to hear the complete mix with no artefacts, which was absolutely mind-blowing. Everything was exactly the same everywhere for most of the audience, which is totally unheard of. And given L-ISA’s elegant scaleability, I foresee this being great for different sized venues in the future.”
Baumgardner points out that there were many players that were key to making this all come together from concept to execution: Odesza’s tour crew, including tour manager Bryan Aiello and Ableton technician Winnie Murguia, production director JB Blot and production manager Shane Crowl of Motion Music, Clearwing Productions audio crew Chief Matt Fox, FOH system technician Joe Spitzer, monitor system technician Eric Rodgers, director of engineering production Jamie Earle, Clearwing Colorado’s general manager Johnny Goode, Clearwing president/CEO Gregg Brunclik and of course L-Acoustics’ staff.
“It was amazing to partner with L-Acoustics on North America’s first L-ISA experience,” Baumgardner adds. “The way that L-Acoustics handled the whole process was remarkable. It wasn’t simply, ‘Here, go do it.’ It was, ‘Here, and we’ll help you with every step of the process,’ which created an unforgettable experience for the fans, the artist and everyone involved.”
15th December 2017
dBTechnologies enters Stage Right for Peter Pan at the Deco, Northampton
UK - Leading Northampton-based full service production company, Stage Right Productions, has recently extended its already considerable dBTechnologies inventory with the addition of the VIO two-way line array system from dBTech’s UK distributor, CUK Audio. Part of the system is already deployed in the beautiful 900-seat Deco theatre in Northampton for the annual star-studded pantomime. This year’s production of Peter Pan features Coronation Street’s Nick Cochrane as Smee, The Voice finalist Lydia Lucy as Wendy, Grange Hill’s Colin Ridgewell as Captain Hook, West End actor Chris Wills as Peter Pan, and Northampton’s own Naomi Wilkins as Tiger Lily.
Stage Right operates in a wide range of sectors in the event industry, from outdoor concerts, to corporate events to theatre shows. The company has been investing in dBTechnologies products for over ten years and held a large amount of the DVA T4 and S20 modules. However, as Stage Right’s production manager, Craig Burgess explains, the time was right to invest in new technology. “The DVA T4 system has served us valiantly for many years, but we felt that now the time was right to invest in some new gear, and of course more recent technology. Earlier in the year, CUK Audio organised a visit to the dBTechnologies factory in Italy to see how the products are designed and manufactured. We were extremely impressed with VIO’s capabilities and functionality so investing in VIO seemed like a natural progression and an obvious choice for us in adding new PA to our inventory.”
The Stage Right team decided to use VIO on Peter Pan for its crystalline clarity for speech, its dynamic frequency response for show playback and for the efficiency of the L210 long throw modules. The L210s also provide smooth, even coverage due to their 110-degree horizontal dispersion pattern. “This allowed us to cover the whole auditorium with just two hangs of PA,” enthused Burgess. “Another feature we really like is that we can monitor and control all the modules remotely from the new Aurora Net control software. What’s more, our recent purchase of the VIO S118 subs made it possible to fly all the PA - this was ideal as the venue has limited options for ground stacking due to the size of set. We also stock the beefier VIO S318s but felt they were not suitable for this production due to their larger footprint. The results for Peter Pan are amazing and a clear improvement over Deco’s in-house line array system which struggles to cover the circles and lacks the punch and clarity of the VIO.”
Overall, Burgess is delighted with the company’s investment. “I feel that dBTechnologies have really stepped up their game with the VIO which is a serious contender sitting next to other large format systems,” he remarked. “The fact that we have benefitted from such great support from CUK was also a factor in our decision-making; we know we can count on their help if we need it. We’re looking forward to seeing further additions to the VIO range and are proud to be one of the first companies in the UK using these great products from dBTechnologies”.
Stage Right invested in a total of ten L210 two-way active line array elements, two S3118 triple 18” active subwoofers, two S118 single 18” active subwoofers plus the requisite hardware and accessories for flying and ground stacking. All except the S3118 subs are currently in use for Peter Pan, controlled on a PC with the new Aurora Net software via an RDNET Control 2 hardware interface.
15th December 2017
Royal Blood come clean
UK – Like an ace of diamonds, a neatly rigged square of 12mm LED screen floats sharp and angular, a minimalist piece of visual architecture reflecting the binary talents that make Royal Blood such an exciting and potent musical force. Sam O’Riordan’s design speaks volumes of his confidant transition into arena scale presentation.
“Sam called in Tim Routledge to collaborate on the design,” explained Jack Banks who was employed by production to drive the camera to content onto the screen. “Combining experience and collaborating always produces something better than the sum of its parts.”
Smart move on Sam’s part. “The band sent through a video of looks and the proviso ‘these are things we don’t want to see’. As it happened the examples they sent were precisely the sort of particle heavy, computer graphic style of effect that seem to have become all too familiar. Nice to find a band who have that level of awareness.”
Banks was selected for his mastery of Notch effects, in particular his work with Biffy Clyro last year: “But that was a completely different style of show, not what we’re doing here. In the beginning Sam was concerned about using Notch, and he was right to be. As the band had highlighted, there is emerging already a typical Notch look, lots of particles, lots of tracking; but true to Sam’s primary design concept we’ve kept this largely to clean looks and that has proved very effective.”
The LED and four camera PPU is all supplied and crewed by Video Design. The diamond ceiling, a twelve-metre parallelogram of LED, is flown off Kinesys so it can raise and lower. Video Design developed their own rigging superstructure to support it. “The roof structure always had the potential to be absolutely terrific and so it has proved to be,” said Banks. “There were some uneasy moments when first put together in rehearsals at LH3; aren’t there always when you try something new? But in fact, the team of Rob Stansfield, Jack Middlebrook and Gary King have developed a method and have absolutely smashed it. On some shows the LED square is down and out before the PPU – well, almost – well done Alex.” A reference to Alex Leinster at Video Design, who drove the structural development.
Innovation was also at the forefront of the Video Design camera package. “We were using the latest gx2 Notch enabled servers which is just way slicker all round. More importantly, Sam from the beginning was interested in tracking cameras and I was keen to avoid using too many static mini-cams, from that we saw potential for tracking robo cams. As it happened Bradley were already working on such a thing with considerable input from Alex. He persuaded them to let us Beta test it. It’s very neat, we have one running up/down stage left that is ideal for shots of drummer Ben Thatcher and another around the end of the thrust that is great for those classic footlight shots of Mike Kerr playing his guitar. Just great angles. I take those shots and at most add a bit of gentle distortion. Otherwise clean and simple fits well to what Sam has dreamed up for his lighting design – in that sense this is very much that ‘camera from content’ idea. I like the way Sam took the initiative on his first design into the arena circuit – good call.”
photos: Lez Dwight
15th December 2017
Flares at Ozzfest Meets Knotfest
USA – Metal music, black tees, devil horns, and . . . VIP lounge packages? Things have really changed since Woodstock! Last month’s Ozzfest meets Knotfest mega-metal festival in San Bernardino, CA featured dozens of metal bands, including Ozzy Osbourne, Slipknot, Marylin Manson, Deftones, and Prophets of Rage. Four stages supported non-stop metal shredding with lighting and video provided by 4Wall Entertainment. Brighter than even the pyro were the 30 Solaris Flares in the lighting rig.
“Flares were the only choice,” says 4Wall Director of Live Events, Todd Roberts. “They pack a huge punch, and with so many artists we used them for a bunch of different effects. Their versatility is unsurpassed. We used them on all the torms and lined each of the straight sticks of truss, ‘framing’ the stage. We rely on Flares to give us just what we need and they never disappoint.”
Michael Keller was the event’s LD, and Ron Chamberlain was production manager. 4Wall Entertainment is a full-service company, specialising in lighting and video. For decades 4Wall has supplied rentals, sales, service, and designs for large or small; temporary or permanent shows and installs, with dedication, quality, and technical excellence. Here are some testimonials received from 4Walls many clients.
15th December 2017
Zach Scott Gears Up For Heavenly New Year with Expanded ChamSys Console
USA – New Year’s comes once a year, unless you’re Zach Scott, the lighting designer for the prolific and popular touring band 7th Heaven. The Chicago-based LD will be working what amounts to three sold-out New Year’s shows on the final weekend of the year for his client. After that, it’s off to headline a rock cruise through the Caribbean in January and the start of a year that will see his client play at over 100 music festivals. Aside from bracing himself with ample amounts of caffeine, Scott has geared up for this busy schedule by expanding his ChamSys MagicQ MQ40 by adding extra wings to his console and PC system.
“My client has had a great 2017 with the release of a new album and large festival appearances,” he said. “This has created a new set of demands for me as their LD. So, I have added wings to my MQ40 that let me do things like spread out fixture groups and run ArtNet. Ultimately, I hope to upgrade my MQ40 with a larger ChamSys console like the MQ500 Stadium in 2018, but right now things are so busy that I am expanding what I have just to keep up. One of the great things about ChamSys is that it is so expandable.”
Scott, who has been with 7th Heaven since 2011, describes how his ChamSys console has served him well. “We do a very rock, in-your-face style of light show,” he said. “Each song is cue stacked and gets its own page on my desk. I also have a variety of presets on each page for intensity bumps and strobing that I can call on whenever I want. Getting around the desk is super easy. I generally use my start file, which has all of my layouts and palettes built already. The effect engine is super easy as well. The presets that MagicQ has for movements, effects and colour are fantastic for starting points. I just drop everything I need in the programmer and tweak away.”
A signature part of most 7th Heaven shows is “30 Songs in 30 Minutes,” a half-hour mash-up of classic rock tunes played with ferocious intensity. This is the one part of every show when Scott punts. He credits the layout of his console with making this process go smoothly.
“The MQ40 is really laid out perfectly for the way I design,” said Scott. “In addition to the layout, the best part of the MagicQ is how it allows me to clone and morph my pre-programmed show very quickly for festival and club rigs. This means I can expand the number of instruments and copy the existing programming to them, and I can also swap
instruments for what’s available at a venue and have the console recalculate existing programming to work with those instruments.
“Thanks to the MQ40’s features, it’s really easy to get a show up and running quickly when time isn’t on my side,” continued Scott. “Some artists other than 7th Heaven come to me wanting a full production design in two weeks. After drawing and designing, I sometimes have less than a week to program a two-hour show! Being able to pre-make all of my palettes and effects allows me to crank through programming.”
Adding the extra wings to his console and his PC system has made it even more valuable to Scott as he keeps up with his client’s ever-more demanding schedule. “With all of the extra real estate from the wings, I can now have four different faders or playbacks,” he said. “This is especially helpful in allowing me to spread out key lights for different band members. Having full control of intensities for each guy really helps me dial in a better looking front wash, since that changes every night.”
This control is especially important for Scott since 7th Heaven doesn’t tour with their own front wash lights. “We’re reliant on whatever the venue has to offer for front lighting,” he said. “Sometimes it’s just par cans, but the next night it might be a dozen moving spots for my front wash. Being able to have a fader for each band member is something that – now that I have it – I cannot live without! That’s the nice thing about being a lighting designer, the more you can do, the more you want to do. That’s why I’m looking forward to upgrading to an even bigger desk next year.”
15th December 2017
Dollywood “Great Pumpkin LumiNights” Aglow in Elation Lighting
USA – Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, is a theme park success story for several reasons. Besides having one of country music’s most iconic personalities as co-owner, the park is a well-chosen mix of traditional thrill rides spiced with crafts and culture, a successful recipe of entertainment that attracts nearly 3 million guests a year.
Each autumn, Dollywood holds a popular Harvest Festival and this year sought a family friendly, 'fall-centric' addition to the autumn event. Park leadership decided on a pumpkin-themed evening concept to support the park’s “Year of the Family” theme. The new experience, “Great Pumpkin LumiNights,” is an outdoor installation of thousands of illuminated jack-o-lanterns, artistic sculptures, playful scenes, pumpkin-themed food and entertainment.
Since lighting would play a vital role in the evening event, Elation Professional dealer StudioVibrant of Lexington, Kentucky, was asked to join the “Great Pumpkin LumiNights” design team from the initial conceptual discussions. “Early in the process, I determined that a theatrical approach to illuminating the show sets was important,” stated Matt Cooper, principle lighting designer at StudioVibrant, who was key in specifying both Elation and Acclaim lighting on the project. “Most pumpkin events we researched tended toward interior illumination and negative space but focusing on only interior illumination misses the opportunity to highlight the form of a pumpkin. It became clear that sidelight, uplight and washing the exterior of the show sets would be critical not only in setting LumiNights apart from other events, but in conveying Dollywood’s unique identity and history.”
As conversations evolved it became apparent to Cooper that the area of the park designated for the event contained several permanent structures that were rich with opportunity for illumination. The project focused on both supporting temporary show-specific sets (a giant pumpkin spider, among others), as well as illuminating several permanent elements, specifically two roller coasters, the park’s 250’ tall Drop Line tower ride and several themed structures.
“Because of Dollywood’s tradition of live shows and a polished theatrical presentation, I was very sensitive to the need for a strong colour mixing system to reproduce the amber and pastel tones that are central to the park’s palette,” Cooper said, explaining that for building wash duties he selected the Elation SixPar 300, an LED Par light with six-colour LED chip, including UV. “The colour mixing system was advantageous for washing the Mystery Mine building and the dedicated UV element was critical in rendering the eerie tone of the structure and related show sets.”
Each jack-o-lantern within the “Great Pumpkin LumiNights” show sets contains individual pixel-mapped RGB diodes and each decorative set vignette receives a wash treatment to highlight the scale of the set and communicate the unique form of a pumpkin to guests. “We used a combination of SixPar 100, SixPar 200 and SixBar 1000 IP fixtures for exterior wash,” Cooper says, “often times leaning heavily on the colour mixing capacity of the SixPar series for contrasty sidelight to accentuate the forms and translate the playful, fun, upbeat tone of the event.” Additionally, SixPar 200s with custom top hats were used to help wash the tree canopy and uplight specific themed characters.
Lighting from Elation’s sister company, Acclaim Lighting, also played a key role as Acclaim DynaDrum HO fixtures took a prominent role in illuminating permanent structures. An array of 16 DynaDrums illuminated the Thunderhead wooden roller coaster while six DynaDrums illuminated the Drop Line structure. “The integrated Aria wireless DMX transceiver was a huge asset in facilitating placement of the fixtures within ride enclosures and landscaping where hard wired solutions would have been impractical,” the lighting designer explains. “I also appreciated the capability to swap filters to vary beam angle which helped our team dial in focus and coverage in the field. The sheer output of the DynaDrum is also very impressive and the illuminated Drop Line tower is now visible from Dollywood’s main parking lot. The output capacity for the dollar is nothing short of impressive.”
To facilitate control of both the fixtures on the temporary show sets and fixtures associated with permanent structures, the StudioVibrant team developed and deployed an extensive control network. Over 40 universes of sACN form the backbone of the control solution including three discrete universes via Aria wireless transmitters. Transmitters were fed from sACN nodes with antennas placed in inconspicuous locations on existing structures. Cooper calls the Aria solution an asset, specifically when coupled with receivers integrated in fixtures.
Product support on the project was provided by Elation manufacturer rep firm Five Lakes Marketing, who Cooper was more than happy to work with. “Ed Cheeseman at Five Lakes was instrumental in the process, aiding us in securing demo fixtures for on-site evaluation with the design team and in coordinating arrival times of a great deal of equipment with a non-negotiable opening date,” he said, adding that Dollywood was a tremendous partner to work with. “Their team is world class, dedicated and tenacious,” he concludes.
The largest addition ever made to Dollywood’s fall festival, “Great Pumpkin LumiNights” ran from 29th September to 28th October 28 and was a great success, helping set park records for fall attendance on several occasions.
15th December 2017
GLP X4 L on Test Duty with the British Lions Down Under
New Zealand – Earlier this summer Oceania, the biggest lighting rental company in New Zealand, invested in 24 x X4 L LED heads from GLP, which went out the same day they arrived to support the British & Irish Lions’ rugby tour down under. Over six weeks they were ever present on all regional games and the three All Blacks tests.
At Auckland’s Eden Park, also New Zealand’s national sports stadium, the company supplied all technical rigging, lighting, vision and sound equipment, technical management and crew, both in the venue spaces and the large fine dining 1200 and 2000-capacity party marquees on the practice ground, measured a colossal 400sqm and 350sqm respectively, requiring a lot of truss and expertise.
“The GLP X4 L and X4 Bars really impressed us both,” confirmed Oceania general manager, Simon Garrett. “The X4 L offers both workhorse and bling modes. A fast, very compact wash light with a source range from low to very high 10,000K colour temperature, giving some beautiful cold variation in straw, steels, lavenders etc. as well as some bling, with a myriad of looks. I particularly liked the straight lines and V shapes of the pixels, and the randomised strobes using macro mode.”
He said his company had needed some mid sized LED wash for some time as their previous fixtures “ran out of puff at around eight metres.” But none of the other options were inspiring him until he and designer Jeremy Fern ran into the impression X4 L at last November’s LDI Show in the States.
Oceania also supplied the same range of technical services at the Queen’s Wharf Auckland Fanzone Activation. This provided the Auckland hub for the DHL New Zealand Lions Series and the nationwide Rugby 2017 Festival, with live match screenings, free entertainment, live performances and exhibitions.
The 24m DHL Dome was animated using just 12 of the GLP fixtures. “This look had six ‘dots’, which gave the beams a pretty hard edge, and a further six in Wash mode as a backing colour,” continued Garrett. “As the DHL Dome was pretty opaque it would have required between 24-36 compact LED washes to have animated this as successfully.”
Although it’s still early days he says they are delighted with their choice so far. “The 12 on stage provided a really big look, taking a six-channel distro feed. With their small footprint, they were delivered quickly to site in three cases, rigged easily and took up very little ‘musician and backline’ space.”
So successful did they prove on their first major outing that Jeremy Fern turned to them again more recently, using them on a major Darts tournament, “where they really filled the camera periphery shots,” according to Oceania.
Summing up Simon Garrett said: “It’s hard being the first adopter in any territory, and even harder on new product as it’s not yet on specs or available as a sub-hire resource. But to date we are extremely pleased with the investment.”
In picture: Chris McKenzie and Simon Garrett.
15th December 2017
Church Delivers Serenity of Summer for Korn with Ayrton
USA & Europe - Korn lighting designer, Thomas ‘Church’ Christmann is no stranger to the world of Ayrton. “On my first outing with Ayrton fixtures I was really impressed with the style, the output, the versatility and the beam options they offered me. I was very happy with what I could achieve with my last design so when the next generation of Ayrton fixtures were launched I jumped at the chance to make my new tour design even bigger, even more flexible and even more exciting.”
Two-time Grammy award-winning, Alt-Metal band Korn was busy crossing and re-crossing the Atlantic this summer, firstly headlining the 17-date Serenity of Summer tour in North America, before crossing over to Europe for a festival run and then back to the US for further leg on home territory. Church elaborates on the details: “There were a huge number of Ayrton DreamPanel-Twin fixtures on this design, along with a supporting number of Ayrton NandoBeam-S9 and NandoBeam-S3 units, 15 MagicBlade-FX and half a dozen MagicRing-R9 fixtures. As this outing was split, design-wise, into three distinctly different sections, it was important to pick fixtures that were versatile and could adapt to our differing stage settings without losing any of their dynamic performance. For example, after the SOS tour in North America, the European festival leg featured a new version of the central stair riser MagicPanel-R design we did last year, and I’ve just finished the last US run where we reinstated the SOS ‘pods’ but this time sitting on stage framed by Nandobeam-S3 and MagicBlade-FX.
“With this summer’s dates we wanted to go a step further in both design and look,” continues Church. “The introduction of the DreamPanel-Twin allowed us to combine two different types of stage effects: lighting fixtures and video. The hybrid nature of the fixture gave me a lot of options to create my show moods.”
Church arrayed 64 MagicPanel-Twin fixtures in four 4x4 ‘pods’ which he rigged as an upstage wall above the band. “Mounting the MagicPanel-Twins in the podsmade transport, installation and handling very easy and effective,” he says. “In addition, we got a really imposing look.We also combined the video screen of the MagicPanel-Twin fixtures with videoprojection onto our white cabinets we stacked up behind the band. The old school touch of Mesa cabs and modern fixtures suited the band’s profile exactly, as well as supporting the versatility of the band’s performance.”
Church also located 20 NandoBeam-S3 upstage of the band at floor level, and added a row of 15 MagicBlade-FX fixtures along the top of the cabinets, using both sets of fixtures as support for the main stage design in all spaces.Six MagicRing-R9 units were rigged on the upstage truss which was flown relatively low between the cabinets and the pods that are such a central element to the look of the stage. Finally, the Nandobeam-S9 fixtures were hung on the downstage truss and provided a solid front wash, proving that Ayrton units can provide that quality of vital base lighting as well as all the dynamic icing on the top.
“I inserted video and light partly just as a backlight to give the pods another dimension,” adds Church, “but the video enabled us to underscore the moods of the songs excellently. I used the pixel mapper on my console to work with the LED side of the DreamPanel-Twins, and the arrangement of the DreamPanel-Twins gave me a lot of position possibilities. By mounting them at the back facing out, I could use all the moving options (endless pan and tilt) generously. The DreamPanel configuration and the angle of the pods allowed me to let the pods look ‘confused’ at times, or even round. The facility to split DMX universes internally is just genius. This can save lots of universes!”
Church remains a committed Ayrton aficionado and his enthusiasm for DreamPanel-Twin especially is very clear, “The processing and versatility of the DreamPanel-Twin make it a really exciting choice in a design; it offers so many possibilities for a designer’s toolkit. The hybrid of light and video is revolutionary and I am sure there is still more for me to discover about its potential. Add to that Ayrton’s quality of build, consistency of beam and light intensity and you have a very good weapon guaranteed to achieve a great design result.”
Photos: Todd Kaplan
15th December 2017
Outline at Unipol Arena for "Circoloco" Event
Italy – The Club Music scene for years has had a strong impact on generations, influencing culture and entertainment in the music business. The major international EDM and Electro events are now even bigger and with increasingly important productions advancements.
On 9th December at the Bologna Unipol Arena the “Circoloco” was held, an international show of club house music where an Outline GTO system was the main PA for the event.
“Circoloco” is a format and a brand born in Ibiza many years ago, supported and created by Antonio Carbonaro, the owner of the famous DC10 music label. “Circoloco” has its own unique identity and includes many international artists who accompany this project around the world.
The audio design and set-up was entrusted to Emporio on Stage (Scandicci, Florence), with the support of the Outline staff. It was composed of 12 GTO systems + GTO-DF (down-fill) modules for sides, 12 + 12 DBS 18-2 sub-bass units, four + four infra-sub LAB 21 HS and six front-fill comprised of two Mantas 28s.
Angelo Catoni, owner of Emporio on Stage, commented: “For the main PA we installed 12 GTO + DF (down-fill) systems on each side of the stage that guaranteed optimal coverage of the venue and six Mantas 28 systems as front-fill to balance the medium / high frequencies. We have chosen to work with a ratio of 1/1 between top and sub adding four + four LAB 21 as infra in the central part to have a very important sum on the bass, given the type of event.”
The audio sound design for this event had to follow very precise directives required by the concerts production. For the Unipol Arena production, the importance of high coverage and sound pressure in a very large arena, like the Unipol, was a fundamental requirement for the success of the show.
Stated production manager Gualtiero Sabatini: “I was really impressed by the accuracy of the audio package and the final result. The audio coverage in the room was optimal, with an incredible sound pressure, deep and precise bass and fundamental for enhancing the music of the Circoloco show. I must say that I was pleasantly surprised also by the clean upper middle frequencies, even at such high sound pressure. What to say, the Outline GTO system is truly incredible.”
15th December 2017
Adamson Covers Every Seat at Beijing’s Famed Bird’s Nest Olympic Stadium
China – Taiwanese artist Huang Guolun recently brought his “No Impossible” show to China’s Beijing National Stadium, better known as the Bird’s Nest from the 2008 Summer Olympics’ opening ceremonies, and it was an expansive system comprised of Adamson’s E-Series and S-Series loudspeakers that ensured high-quality, even sound coverage for every seat.
Yongjun “Park” Li of Le’er Culture & Art Studio was the system designer and FOH engineer for the performance at China’s largest stadium – with a capacity of 80,000 – and explains that his choice to deploy Adamson for both the main house system and the delays covering the upper bowl was based on a few key factors.
“Adamson’s E-Series is very widely applicable, from studios and theatres to major indoor and outdoor stadiums, and I’ve found it excels in any application,” shares Li. “The E-Series has an incredible throw, with smooth highs, powerful mids, and low end that seemingly has infinite power. The system is very dynamic; it feels like there’s always power to spare, even in productions of this scale.”
Sourced through Adamson’s Chinese distributor, Real Music, Li’s system included main hangs of 18 E15 three-way, true line source enclosures per side, plus eight flown and eight ground-stacked E219 subwoofers per side. An additional 15 E15s per side were deployed as side hangs, and small complements of four E12 three-way, true line source enclosures handled both front infill and outfill on each side of the stage.
Additionally, eight arrays of between 9-12 S10 two-way, full range enclosures were flown from the roof overhangs to cover the entirety of the upper bowl.
“Both the pleasing look of the speakers and their very straightforward rigging design, as well as their low weight, made this project very easy and quick to install, which was very important considering the size of the venue and production,” adds Li.
“We’ve been very pleased with the way Adamson has been adopted for major events, tours, and venues throughout China, and now that includes a system in one of China’s largest stadiums – and one of the most famous in the world,” says Real Music’s Owner, Zhen “Richie” Wang. “We look forward to serving many more world-class clients with world-class solutions from Adamson going forward.”
photo: Beijing National Stadium
14th December 2017
Holonyne Corporation is the first US company to hold the new Hippotizer V4+ range
USA - Jon9, CEO of Holonyne is a creative technologist who uses advanced production techniques on large-scale display systems to connect people with stories and ideas. Having used a number of Green Hippo products over the years including previous Hippotizer V3 and V4 servers as well as Green Hippo’s Aviary Video Tools range, Jon9 has produced some of the most technically impressive, large scale digital environments. As a recognised authority on content creation for large-scale displays, Jon9 comes with decades of experience merging art and technology. His inventory now includes a six DisplayPort output Hippotizer Taiga+, capable of driving 6x 4K/ 24x HD displays.
Past Holonyne clients include the Disney Interactive Media Group, Cirque du Soleil, Warner Bros., Ferrari World, LAX International Airport and L.A. Dept. of Cultural Affairs, China Central CCTV in Beijing, and NEC Display Solutions amongst many more.
“One of the reasons I have had such a long relationship with Green Hippo is that they are constantly upgrading their systems and innovating new features and new interface capabilities. With our new Hippotizer Taiga+ machine at Holonyne I’m feeding five NEC videowalls with a total of 60 screens from one machine – with total creative flexibility and the ability to interface with all kinds of input and output devices. We’re really excited to be showing off all these capabilities with our fresh content at our studio. We are using this platform to develop and present our new Virtularium immersive multi-screen theatre,” said Jon9.
“We’re always excited to see what Jon9 produces next. His talent for developing stunning productions pushes our media server products to the very edge of innovation and creativity,” stated Mercedes Stevao-Boase, head of marketing US, Green Hippo.
14th December 2017
Tecnica Vidal Chooses Robe
Argentina – Tecnica Vidal is the largest rental and production company in the west of Argentina, and one of the top five in the country. Founded by Miguel Vidal in the 1980s, it is located in Rivadavia the centre north of Mendoza province, internationally renowned for its wine production.
The company has 20 full-time employees at the moment and supplies the full range of technical production services, encompassing lighting, audio, video, staging, rigging and power; it's a ‘single-source’ solution business model that has proved very successful. Specialist areas are concert touring, festivals, music shows and rental / staging, and the company also has a healthy roster of corporate clients and event venues.
The first Robe investment was made in 2011 / 2012 when the brand was still emerging in Argentina. This was the first year of Robe’s partnership with Buenos Aires-based TSD Group as a distributor; a move that has proved hugely positive and fertile.
Miguel had heard about Robe before he invested, mainly through travelling outside the country, but it was when TSD Group became a valued part of the Robe Family that he really started to check it out more seriously. His relationship with TSD and COO Daniel Lema goes back to the 1990s.
The first Robe purchase was MMX Spots, and he now has close to 150 fixtures in rental stock, the most recent purchases being 36 BMFL WashBeams and 24 Spiiders. They also have Pointes, LEDWash 600s and LEDForce 18 PARs.
The new BMFL WashBeams and Spiiders immediately went out on a number of different shows including concerts in the west of the country by Italian superstar Zucchero, UK rockers The Cult and Colombian singer Maluma for which Tecnica Vidal was the technical supplier.
Miguel first saw the BMFL in action on the famous Mendoza National Grape Harvest Festival two years ago and was blown-away with its power and features. He comments that he had heard about the luminaire, seen videos and images, but it was experiencing the full force of the BMFL and its many effects in situ that made him realise they were an ideal rental workhorse.
With the Spiiders, he knew an LED wash light would be a sensible and practical choice for multiple applications, and he also comments that Daniel Lema’s powers of persuasion were highly effective! Apart from that the colours and quality of light make them “an excellent complement to the BMFL”.
Typically the Tecnica Vidal crews will do all the prep, rigging and technical set up for a show or event and if there is a major artist headlining, they will most likely have their own LD with a design for them to work to. So this is a great opportunity to get their newest technologies in front of industry players.
His general impression of Robe after having seen the brand evolve substantially since the first investments six years ago, is that it’s a brand “with very strong growth in the market and with the savvy and foresight to be positioning itself for the future” when, he believes, it will continue to be an industry leader.
He’s visited Robe’s HQ in the Czech Republic and was “massively impressed” with the set up and operation and the community and commitment that Robe has built in Valašské Meziříčí.
Technica Vidal crews all enjoy working with the Robe kit because it rarely breaks down, and it’s always their first option when specifying kit for a show. Consequently it’s very rarely in the warehouse, which is joy to the ears of any rental company owner!
Miguel has been involved in the entertainment industry since he was a child. His first professional activity was as a DJ. He has always loved music which led to a keen interest in production and presentation, and from that he decided to focus his career on developing a premium technical production operation.
In picture: Tecnica Vidal’s Miguel Vidal at a recent Robe MegaPointe demonstration in Buenos Aires.
14th December 2017
Capital Sound goes all digital for Emeli Sande tour
UK – Rental company Capital Sound recently extended its digital audio offering for Emeli Sandé’s Long Live The Angels UK arena tour, deploying Sennheiser’s new Digital 6000 Series microphones, along with a DiGiCo SD5 digital mixing console at the monitor position.
Having made the investment in the latest Sennheiser Digital 6000 series, Capital Sound supplied an eight channel package for Emeli’s vocal microphones on the main and B stage, plus her three backing vocalists.
“The vocal clarity and range throughout the spectrum was incredible,” says Paul Timmins, Capital’s operations and development director. “The vocal was pure and natural, contributing to the overall high quality audio experience, which was enhanced for her monitor mix by using the SD5.”
Capital chose the DiGiCo SD5 because of its high I/O and buss count, with Emeli’s setup including around 18 stereo audio sends to her IEMs, plus a drum fill.
“The SD5 works extremely well as a monitor console,” says Paul. “The larger worksurface and three screens make for a more pleasant user experience and help with speed of operation around the desk.”
“Investing in Digital 6000 as a two-channel digital microphone system made complete sense to us as an addition to the Sennheiser 3732/5200-II systems we already own,” adds Robin Conway, head of development for Capital. “The ability to reduce the required frequency spectrum is very useful, particularly as work in the UK and Europe is becoming more and more difficult to manage. The high-quality A/D converter at the capsule and AES/Dante out also allows us to stay digital, in most cases, from capsule to loudspeaker/amplifier.
“Sennheiser has been very helpful. On site training with our techs on Emeli’s tour was incredibly useful and we had great support from Kevin Gwyther-Brown and Jack Drury in the lead up to the Steps tour, where we’re using it again. Digital 6000 certainly, has potential to help on the larger shows, too. As we become more familiar with it, we will reduce the frequency spectrum we allocate to tours and shows with it in use.”
photo: Getty Images
14th December 2017
Protec Creates a Sensation in Dubai
UAE – Celebrated DJs, Acrobats, dancers, pyrotechnics, lasers and fireworks synchronised with music across an unending sea of white. Organisers filled the atmosphere with stunning structures, unique elements and beautiful light shows which illuminated the crowds in a white oasis. The acts united people from all over the world to create a great vibe, while the crowd embraced the “Celebrate Life” theme.
This was Sensation which is not just one of the most popular EDM concepts around the globe but also has a special standing in the Middle East which is known for awe inspiring shows. Sensation is the most travelled electronic music event in the world and has been to all continents, 35 countries and 43 different cities and welcomed well over two-million site visitors worldwide over nearly two decades.
The party implemented an all-white dress code as a tribute to Miles Stutterheim, one of Sensation’s founding members who died in a car accident, and to signify the unity of the ‘dance music family’. It was this fourth edition of Sensation, held at Dubai’s Meydan Racecourse, for which Protec, the Middle East’s largest and most comprehensive technical and staging solutions company, provided a full production infrastructure.
Many world-famous artists have appeared at Sensation. Tiësto played at the very first event in the year 2000, and almost all DJs now heading the Top 100 DJ lists have played at Sensation somewhere in the world: Armin van Buuren, Martin Garrix, Hardwell, David Guetta, the former members of the Swedish House Mafia to name only a few. This year’s Dubai event featured Mr. White, Sam Feldt, Danny Avila, Don Diablo, Sunnery James & Ryan Marciano and Steve Angello.
Protec was well aware of the high production values set by producers, organisers and promoters, Envie Events, with whom it has worked closely on events in the past. Responsible for some of the most spectacular, immersive and innovative dance music events in the Middle East, they put high store in state-of-the-art lighting, pyrotechnics and sound design.
Organisers and producers Envie Events, is the brainchild of two Belgian entrepreneurs who moved to Dubai in 2011 with goals of transforming the electronic dance music industry of the Middle East. Barry Pavic, an ambitious promoter in mind, joined forces with long-time friend and innovative marketeer, Nicolas Vandenabeele, to come up with a brand that has transformed the nightlife and music scene in Dubai, home to people of over 187 nationalities and a melting pot of diversity.
Having hosted the first world exclusive open-air edition of Sensation in Dubai in 2015, two Mega Night Club operations in Europe and various annual partnerships with globally-renowned concepts such as Sensation, Tomorrowland, WMC Miami, and Summer Clubbing Ibiza, Envie Events is well on track to become the ultimate destination of choice for events and concerts in Dubai, attracting the entire MENA Region and beyond.
The company’s managing director, Barry Pavic says: “Attracting a global clientele and elevating the overall guest experience completely from entrance to exit is the ultimate goal,” which translates into shows that fans want to keep returning to. “We strive to make sure that everyone has a good time.”
With such a strong reputation to preserve Protec combined their resources to provide industry standard video, audio, lighting, backline, stage and set elements and full rigging services.
Tasked with project managing the event for Protec was Simon Travis, interfacing with Envie Events, Backbone International and the Sensation crew from Holland.
Travis said: “Meydan is very different from the usual kind of dance music venue, particularly because it’s a race track so we had to consider the horses stabled there, in terms of noise levels. We had restricted time slots where we could carry out the work. The noise was very strictly controlled as they didn’t want to freak out the horses, though they did move them off site for the show day.”
The team from Envie Events added: “Meydan is a great venue with more than 8,000 parking spots, exceptional infrastructure facilities and perfect distance from downtown Dubai. Makes it a very attractive venue for a global series like Sensation. Working on Meydan does bring its challenges and having an experienced partner like Protec really makes the difference.”
When asked to detail Protec’s involvement, Travis continued: “The audio was fairly straightforward. We provided 32 flown L-Acoustics K2s on the main hangs, above which were two K1 subs on each of the hangs, all powered by 11 LA-RAKs containing 18 LA8 amps. For the front fills they set four positions of 12 L-Acoustics Kara enclosures, powered by the LA8 amps. Subwoofers comprised 30 SB28s, 15 a side. L-Acoustics amps and speakers were also used for DJ monitors and wedges which comprised three Kara elements per side on top of a pair of SB18 subs.”
The company used a DiGiCo SD10 as their FOH mixing desk with all amplifiers networked so they could be close monitored, with signal transmission via Neutrik fibre optics.
Protec fielded 16 Sennheiser G3 receivers and a transmitter as wireless monitoring for the dancers so they could work with the music and receive feeds from their choreographer. A couple of hand held radio mics meanwhile covered DJ requirements.
Ancillary coverage was required in two VIP lounges which were serviced variously by a compact Bose PA system and L-Acoustics Syva, which is equally slick and compact.
Comms were taken care of by Clear-Com HelixNet, which was used for their nine wired positions, and Freespeak II for their eight wireless.
Commented Protec senior audio engineer, Dan Dignan, who was supported by Ed Ross and William Morrison: “The Sensation guys were great to work with, particularly Niels from [Sensation’s] NoizBoyz audio production team. He took care of the desk whilst I took care of the system. The guys from Backbone were also great, Tom and Roden especially. The benefit of a good team was an amazing production.”
Protec lighting department in the shape of Aaron Russ, the company’s lighting HOD and Paul Coopes, provided a mixture of their front line Robe, Martin and Claypaky fixtures. This included 45 Robe Pointe fixtures mounted on the triangular backdrop set, both on stage left and stage right screens, and also on the main triangle for the main stage. Inside the scaffold structure was a combination of 37 Claypaky K10 B-Eyes and seven Claypaky K20s, which were positioned in various parts of the scaffolding structure for uplighting effects, giving the scaffold a funky industrial look.
A further 28 Martin Atomic strobes were positioned on the floor, the walkways where the dancers were performing and within the set itself. Another 50 Par36 single par pinspots were mounted onto the structure as well as onto the bars above the Robe Pointe fixtures to create a tremendous blinding effect, while along the front edges of the stage 28 Claypaky show battens lit up the dancers.
All were brought to life by a combination of Le Maître and MDG hazers with all lighting dynamics under the control of three grandMA full-size consoles at FOH, (including spare), and two grandMA NPUs.
Popular SGM low-profile LED fixtures were also involved in the shape of P5’s for the VIP decks and Q7s to light up the bars.
For the front of the DJ riser, Protec chose 16 Jarag lights, all DMX controllable, so they could be programmed to have words flashing through. This provided an extra dimension to what was already a really well-lit set.
At FOH Protec also placed Claypaky Scenius Unico fixtures — little spots that served as various lighting positions for the dancers.
Finally, for the entrance, Protec featured 12 Claypaky Super Sharpys to create a welcoming effect, controlled from a ChamSys MagicQ MQ60 desk.
Under the direction of Scott Walker Protec’s video HOD, the company deployed three screens on stage; on stage left and stage right they used 6mm Mambo LED panels (13 panels wide by seven panels high, ten metres by five-and-a-half metres high) in a triangular shape. For the main screen they used 9mm panels (21 panels wide by 11 panels high, 16 metres by eight-and-a-half metres high) also in triangular shape. These were controlled from NovaStar VX4S processors, fed from the media servers of the Sensation production team.
Three Panasonic remote cameras were focused on the DJs, which could be controlled from a single remote at FOH, and were vision mixed through a Roland V1200HD.
Signals were run from FOH to the LED control backstage via Protec’s Lightware 220pro fibre transmitters and receivers and three 150m Neutrik fibre cables. Lightware MX DVI-PRO matrices were used at FOH and backstage to control the signal routing and switch between main and backup signals. The live footage was mixed to the screens and overlaid with content provided by Sensation, operated by the touring LD.
Because of the triangular shapes of the screens Protec was unable to hang the screen from truss so instead had to ground stack which, because of the size of the screen, presented them with rigging challenges which were all overcome easily enough. All panels had to be safely secured to a scaffolding structure at the rear of the screens.
Rigging was managed by the technical team from Sensation. All external runs were rigged using Protec’s Total Fabrications XO truss system. The black XO truss took care of the external runs of the set to form the straight runs, so they could also attach the lighting poles and the set panels. On the larger triangle this had to be craned up because the Protec team pre-rigged the entire truss structure with all the cables which was then set in place and locked off.
For the main rig the smaller triangles were set flush against the layered scaffold but for the outer triangle it was in at the bottom but hung out at the top for which they used their Tomcat Superbeam truss which enabled it to be attached throughout the structure and provide really strong points which they used as their spreaders.
For backline, Protec provided its industry standard Pioneer DJ equipment, including Pioneer DJM 900 Nexus, Pioneer DJM 2000 Nexus and eight CDJ 2000 Nexus; this allowed them to have two complete DJ set-ups plus spare.
Summing up the event, Simon Travis said that the unique race-track venue had presented its own challenges. “There were a lot of horses which we had to watch out for in terms of noise levels. We also had restricted time slots where we could carry out the work. The noise was very strictly controlled as they didn’t want to freak out the horses but they did move them off site for the show day.”
The event itself had been fantastic, he said. “This was due to the combined efforts of Envie Events, Backbone International who were hired by Envie Events to help coordinate the technical production, the Sensation crew and Protec. We worked together as a great team to ensure we could get everything built and the show delivered to the plan that had been designed.”
Commenting on the production and working together with Protec, Envie Events said: “Protec has extended experience in AV technology in the region and that it’s very pleasant to work with professionals of the industry on projects like Sensation and Tomorrowland, which the two companies recently worked on together as well. The Protec team always has a solution ready for every obstacle during build up and thinks along with the promoter to satisfy the needs of the customer and the overall show experience. Working together with Protec is an easy job since they have all knowledge and equipment to make them the perfect partner for the technical production for Sensation any many other shows.”
They added: “Dubai is one of the world’s greatest cities in terms of tourism traffic including entertainment, lifestyle, shopping, nightlife, fashion, music. This has not only been the main reason why we started operations here, but also why we think the future is so much more bright with this market expanding exponentially sue to its immense potential to attract the foreign and global population throughout the year. As for the venue, Meydan, it brings its challenges but having experienced partners really makes the difference. From the account manager to the stagehands on the floor and everyone in between, they all are very professional and always try to work towards the best solution.”
Travis responded on the challenges: “We thrive on these challenges and it’s always good to be able to come up with innovative and creative solutions. What resulted was a fantastic show for an audience with great energy.”
Nicolas Vandenabeele, director of Envie Events concluded: “It’s been an absolute roller-coaster with Sensation this year. I loved the sky-rocketing energy and innovations that were in the show, and all of it would not have been possible without the support of all our partners.”
14th December 2017
Kraftklub and Casper are Both Complete with MLA/MLX
German rock/indie band Kraftklub recently undertook their third major tour with Martin Audio’s flagship MLA PA, provided by Complete Audio.
The five-piece outfit is a long-term client of the Berlin-based service provider, having embarked on their first tour of duty with MLA back in 2012.
This time around, the band played mostly arena sized venues ranging between 8,000-14,000 capacity, with a few club gigs (through house systems) thrown in “for fun”.
The standard PA set-up comprised 13 MLA and a single MLD Downfill per side, with either three and four MLX subs flown next to the main hang to add further sub bass to the bleachers and to support the flown outhangs comprising 12 MLA Compact. A further 12 MLX along the stage apron, stacked in pairs, were designed as a broadside array.
Joint system technicians were Benny Franke and Thomas Birnbaum. And according to Complete Audio MD, André Rauhut, “With flown subs that powerful, they had to pay a lot of attention to time-aligning the MLX properly in order to blend in well with the rest of the system.”
While Franke was taking care of the pre-production and MLA set-up, Nico Lindner took his place in the FOH mix position. It was the latter’s first tour with flown subs and he was more than happy with the outcome. “With this setup, you can easily achieve the same sound in the bleachers, compared with just having subs on the ground.”
At around the same time Complete Audio also had an arena sized MLA system out with German/American rapper Casper on his Lang Lebe Der Tod (Long Live Death) tour. While the PA design boasted a similar set-up (again with 26 x MLA) Complete Audio decided not to fly subs, as André Rauhut explained. “This was mainly because Casper has more sub signal below 50Hz in the main mix. In view of that, they had way better control with a sub arc in front of the stage only.” This arc comprised 20 MLX, three high on the outside and stacked two high along the stage, while 24 MLA Compact were deployed as side-hangs.
FOH technician was Oliver Voges, who is widely experienced with MLA, while system techs were Martin Eckert and Andreas Zwirchmair.
If Complete Audio’s MLA inventory has scarcely been in the warehouse this Autumn, then the trend looks set to continue, with the announcement of further major pre-Christmas tours with Trailerpark, as well as Boonez MC & RAF Camora all heading out with big MLA/MLX rigs.
13th December 2017
Full Production for Blend Abu Dhabi
UAE – Award winning event technical production specialist Maestra’s UEA based operation delivered rigging, staging, sound, lighting and video / AV for Blend Abu Dhabi, a special event to relaunch the YAS Marina Formula One circuit meeting space.
Attended by event organisers, production companies, suppliers, social influencers, media and other organisations and individuals from across the event spectrum, all with different interests in the world of live events, the pressure was on for Maestra’s team on site, led by project manager Aaron Merchant, to deliver something unique.
They co-ordinated technical production for four different areas, the main conference space, the pit garages, the reception area and entrance and the after-party staged in the chic, rooftop Luna Lounge.
A stunning sculptural set design for the conference session’s stage was conceived by the YAS Event Centre team and augmented by Maestra, who suggested the lighting scheme which really energised the idea.
The set comprised 28 geometric structures made from semi translucent white sheer material which was stretched over a series of wooden frames in different shapes and various sizes with the largest around two metres wide. All were internally lit with a single LED PAR.
The colours and intensities could be changed and chased to great effect creating a fantastic ‘living, breathing’ ambience to the room.
The PARS were all controlled via the ChamSys MQ 60 console which was running the other stage and room lighting which comprised Martin MAC Aura LED Washes and MAC 700 Profiles, all hung on a number of 22 metre long trusses flown from the venue’s structural roof beams.
Towards the back of the venue, Maestra built two four-metre high ground supported systems onto which a total of eight swings were attached.
One of the objectives for the organisers was to show how conference presentation could be more 'out-of-the-box' than the standard with funky, edgy and eye-catching aspects all with the potential to capture audience attention and engagement through being interesting and stimulating to look at.
The YAS Event Centre has three inbuilt state-of-the-art Barco seamless edge screens in the main area. Each measuring eight metres wide by teo metres tall, and the room itself can be divided into three separate sections if desired using removable walls.
Maestra hooked their Analog Way Ascender 32 multi-screen switcher into the screens so they could be utilised for the conference presentations, with material running on a number of MacBook Pros for the inputs.
The main room’s sound system was a QSC line array comprising six top speakers and two subs with a Yamaha LS16 mixer for control. Sennheiser wireless mics were provided together with a full Clearcom talkback.
Three breakout rooms related to the main conference space were each kitted out with a 75 inch screen, a choice of wireless mics, single speakers and a small mixing desk.
One of the most impressive technical design features of the event was the custom ‘digital entranceway’ built at the top of the steps leading into the building.
This was specially built by Aaron and his crew. The four-metre wide by three-metre tall arch was made up of 10mm LED screen, with a 2.5 metre doorway in the middle through which guests passed as they entered the event.
The screen was rigged to a trussing and scaffolding structure built around the doorway and the arch, fed with content provided by the client running on a laptop via a scaler, had great visual impact and the desired 'wow factor' effect.
A complete mock-up of the structure was built in Maestra’s warehouse in Dubai to ensure that the concept would work and could be efficiently replaced on site. It proved quite a brain teaser getting the positioning of both structure and screen perfect.
“It was a great example of how LED can be used creatively,” commented Aaron, adding that they were very keen to illustrate this to all those present, and start them thinking about how different and interesting objects and effects can be achieved using LED products.
The pit garages were kitted out with a selection of lighting and audio chosen by Maestra in keeping with the overall beach theming of the space, complete with hammocks, loungers and pergolas. SGM P-5 LED floods were used extensively to light the space and imbibe it with a sunset glow.
The sound system comprised Electrovoice speakers, a Yamaha mixer and a selection of mics, and the buffet and refreshment stations were set up in here, so it was important for these to be clearly seen as well as to enhance the ambience with the appropriate lighting and sound.
The reception area featured a five by three metre surface of Maestra’s 3mm LED surface complete with 10% curve, which the client loved. This was fed with a wide range of content including animations and ambient material.
The lightweight screen (10kg per panel) was rigged and up-and-running in an hour and it looked fantastic. The curved screen also adds many more possibilities for building alternative shapes in LED.
The after-party area in the contemporary Luna Lounge was lit with a selection of MAC Auras, Elation Pro Beam 5R Extremes and MAC 700 profiles, all rigged to four truss totems, there was a Meyer MICA sound system and Maestra also provided a full DJ set up.
Aaron worked with 16 crew for the one day event, 12 Maestra technicians and four locals for the in and the out, with a show crew of himself plus five from Maestra.
“This was a very important project for Maestra Dubai and it was an overall enjoyable experience for us working on the world renowned YAS Marina Circuit,” commented Aaron.
“The Maestra staff heading each department had a free rein to push envelopes in creativity, especially lighting, which resulted in a great experience for the audience. The entire YAS Events Centre staff was very accommodating in ensuring that our delivery was smooth, and the overall result was stunning with many visitors commenting on the entire event and how unique it was to the region.
“We are definitely looking forward to exploring new horizons with our technology and delivering the event again in 2018.”
photos: YMC Photo
13th December 2017
Leann Rimes Celebrates Today is Christmas with Bandit Lites
USA – Fans around the country are getting into the Christmas spirit with LeAnn Rimes, as the multi-platinum, two-time Grammy Award-winning singer takes her Today is Christmas tour across the United States. Bandit Lites is proud to be lighting the acclaimed vocalist, whose powerhouse vocals and infectious spirit brings joy to not only the audience, but to those spending the holiday season supporting the tour.
“It is one of my favourite times of the year; there is something magical about it, and being able to share it with my fans makes it all the more special,” shared Rimes.
Lighting designer and LD Steve Hoover utilises Bandit Lites supplied Chauvet Freedom Pars in addition to the house systems, building each production to showcase and up light the stunning birch tree backdrop he’s accented with actual fresh cut birch tree branches, giving the stage a familiar but unique setting that evokes the holidays beyond just red and green.
“It’s kind of Christmassy – but more of a wintery scene, than strictly Christmas,” noted Hoover, “And then we do use red and green – yes.”
And while touring means trekking the country and being away from home, Hoover says that being a part of such a creative production and surrounded by the industry’s best, including Tour Manager Shamus Bacon, makes this run exceedingly special.
“LeAnn not only treats people so well and is so talented, but she radiates positivity,” he said. “If you’re on the bus, there’s probably a big bunch of people who aren’t on their phones and they’re laughing.”
13th December 2017
Hawthorn Plug In for Status Quo Tour
UK – Iconic rock band Status Quo have hit the road once again for their latest tour Plugged In – Live and Rockin’. Following huge demand from fans, the band decided earlier in the year to upgrade their planned Aquostic shows and plug back in for an all-electric UK tour. Having supported the band for several years, full technical service provider Hawthorn has once again supplied lighting equipment for the hugely-anticipated performances.
Following the tragic death of Rick Parfitt in December last year, the legendary band is now made up of founding member and lead guitarist Francis Rossi, alongside Andrew Bown, John 'Rhino' Edwards, Leon Cave and Richie Malone. Keeping the flag flying, the band kicked off this year’s tour with Aquostic performances in Europe before returning to the UK for the electric shows.
Now finished in the UK, the band, along with Hawthorn’s lighting kit, has headed back overseas for the next leg of the tour. Having never taken the ‘Aquostic’ show to Europe, the decision was made to keep these performances in the original format. The tour will close in Nürnberg, Germany on 21st December 2017.
Working closely with Ewan Cameron (pictured), Status Quo’s long-standing lighting designer, the concert touring division at Hawthorn drew upon its vast range of hire stock to supply lighting to specification. This includes Martin MAC Viper Profiles, Aleda BEYE K10 and K20s, Mac Aura XBs and Hawthorn’s new-to-stock Ayrton MagicBlade FX fixtures.
Talking about the challenges of lighting two different shows, Cameron said: “This year we’ve had the added complication that part of the tour is the electric show and the other part is the unplugged acoustic show. This meant that I needed to design a system that could be easily reconfigured to accommodate their very different requirements. For this I needed a range of units that could provide the punch required for a classic high energy rock and roll show but could then be re-tasked to fit in with the subtlety and gentler pace of the acoustic show.”
“The Ayrton Blade fixtures are a great example of the re-tasking on this tour. For the acoustic show, I needed a fixture that would provide an even wash across the grey velvet back drop to give bold stripes of vibrant colours. They can be rigged differently for the electric shows to become a punchy audience blinder and effects unit providing a wide range of different effects.”
Mick Freer, head of concert touring at Hawthorn, said: “It’s always an honour to be asked to support Status Quo. They’re such an iconic British group and with the news of the UK tour going all-electric, there’s been a huge buzz around the performances. We’ve worked with the band’s LD Ewan [Cameron] many times before and it’s always great to see our kit supporting his designs and helping him to effectively deliver his creative vision.”
On his relationship working with Hawthorn, Campbell says “Mick [Freer] always goes the extra mile to make sure I get everything I need. I always get to work with touring crew that I know and have a good working relationship with and everyone at the Hawthorn warehouse is always really helpful and provide a great professional service.
“The equipment is always well maintained and the ongoing investment means that I can always choose from some of the newest products on the market.”
Hawthorn continues to bolster its position within the concert touring sector and has just returned from supplying a touring lighting rig and crew for OMD’s ‘The Punishment of Luxury Tour’. The performances kicked off at Liverpool Empire on 29th October and ran until the 8th December, closing at the Les Docks, Lausanne, Switzerland.
13th December 2017
Mojo Barriers Australia’s Sensational Installation at Spotless Stadium
Austrailia – Mojo Barriers Australia recently undertook one of the country’s largest stadium field cover installations, with over 15,000m₂ being installed for Sensation at Spotless Stadium, Sydney Showground, November 2017.
Sensation, the biggest open-air festival in Australia this year, was a great success, and protecting the valuable sports surface was of critical importance as Spotless Stadium is the home of Sydney’s professional cricket team Sydney Thunder and the Greater Western Sydney (GWS) Giants, part of the Australian Football League. Mojo installed a complete Supatrac system to ensure the best possible pitch protection. It took 34 truck movements to freight the equipment in and out of the stadium and over 850 man hours to install and remove.
The Mojo team installed over 15,000m₂ of 100% white Supatrac, along with over 500m of aluminium Mojo Barrier in a ‘D’ configuration. Since launching as a supplier of Supatrac in January of this year, Mojo Barriers is now able to provide both barrier and stadium floor covering as a combined offering. To further protect the stadium pitch at Sydney Showground, the team installed a layer of Enkamat under the flooring to provide additional protection at the areas with the highest footfall and crowd density.
As well as being on-site during the event, the Mojo team managed the daily installation and removal of the aluminium ground protection products during the stage build, and worked closely with the festival organisers and stadium ground-keeper to ensure optimum crowd barrier configurations and pitch protection.
Craig Edwards, general manager of Mojo Barriers Australia comments: “It was great to be able to showcase our logistical capabilities installing Supatrac and barrier as a combined service, and to be instrumental in one of the largest stadium field covers in Australia makes us particularly proud. Pitch covers are usually a combination of a variety of products; however, we supplied 100% white Supatrac to Sensation to ensure the same high quality product throughout the entire stadium.
“Not only did our team need to ensure the products were installed to the highest standard for the biggest festival Australia has seen in three years, but due to it being hosted in such a busy stadium, the condition of the turf post-Sensation was critical with the upcoming sporting schedule.”
Joshua Green, Sensation event manager from Phoenix Entertainment Live said: “The Supatrac product is the way of the future for stadiums, the product doesn’t leave indentations on the turf and a sporting event can be held the next day. Supatrac is an efficient product to install and remove, with 15,000m2 installed in under eight hours there was minimum impact to production load-in, and it was even quicker on the load out. Coupling the supply of flooring and stage barrier products with Mojo delivered further efficiencies and made for a smooth and flexible operation.
“The aluminium and Enkamat combination was also highly effective. We managed to load in over 50 tonnes of steel for the stage and production build with four 135 foot boom lifts and two 60 tonne cranes operating for five days. With heavy production on the aluminium and 30,000 patrons on the Supatrac it is remarkable that none of the turf required replacing after the event – this is a great result for the Sydney Showground. Supatrac is the benchmark for stadium shows to minimise impact on the pitch.”
13th December 2017
Miss Moneypenny’s Night at the Proms Lit with Elation Rig
UK – On Friday, 24th November, England’s infamous club and house music brand, Miss Moneypenny’s, finally got its Night at the Proms with a lavish party celebration marking 25 years since the internationally recognised club brand began in Birmingham.
Held at Symphony Hall in Birmingham, full service production company, Stage Production Co., were called on to produce all the technical elements of the show and used an Elation Professional lighting system as an important element of the lavish visuals. Known for its flamboyance and glamour, Miss Moneypenny’s Night at the Proms was no different than a night at the historic club as house and dance classics were fused with music by the Birmingham Gay Symphony Orchestra in a sensational show.
“We needed to create a combination of big stage looks, nightclub vibes and a festival feeling and once again Elation were our go-to products for the show,” said Stage Production’s Jordan Lake, managing director at the Birmingham-based company that also handled rigging (Duratruss) and sound. Production design was by Jordan himself with lighting programming and operation by Ben Butler, Stage Production’s full-time lighting designer.
“We had to make sure the orchestra was evenly lit throughout the show so we needed a nice solid wash, but it couldn’t overpower the stage as this show was just as much about the visual impact than it was the orchestra,” Jordan states. “We wanted to make sure the audience saw the stage and the show as a whole, so they were almost over-whelmed by lights, musicians, performers and effects. We needed to build a really intense show but all the while keeping a bit of clarity so each show element could shine in its own right.”
Jordan chose a mix of Elation Platinum Beam 5R Extreme moving head beam lights, Rayzor Q12 LED moving heads, ACL 360 Matrix LED moving panels, Protron 3K LED strobes and Cuepix Blinder WW2s and explains that there was quite a dramatic raking of four main trusses with the downstage truss trimmed at 17 metres and the most upstage truss trimmed at only nine metres. “That meant we had a big expanse of kit to get creative with,” he says. “We had all the lighting fixtures laid out in different grid patterns so each fixture group had its own identity on stage and changed the shape of the rig.”
Platinum Beam 5R Extremes provided the bulk of the mid-air lighting effects throughout the show. “You can paint the air with them all night long and define the feeling of a particular track just by changing their focus position,” Jordan said of the powerful colour-changing light with three-degree pin spot beam. “For big string section build-ups, we could lift the beams tilt position slowly and you could see people raise their arms at the same time.”
An element of the show that Jordan says they needed to be careful about was not causing difficulties for the orchestra with strobe lighting while all the time having lots of strobes! Jordan solved the issue by arranging Protron 3K LED strobes in a diamond grid above the stage spread over four trusses. “When we used them to blind the audience it looked as though you had some kind of celestial body of lights hovering above the orchestra,” he explains, then adds “Naturally we had Cuepix WW2 Blinders to give those essential arms-in-the-air moments!”
The stage was very busy with a 65-piece orchestra, monitor desks, front fills, a conductor, solicit singer, props, and a cast of 30 dancers and acrobats, Jordan says, so a small but powerful fixture to outline the orchestra rostrum and the stage edge was needed. Compact and high-speed Rayzor Q12 LED wash luminaires were chosen as the floor package and, reports Jordan, worked brilliantly. “The layout of the LEDs on the Q12s is cool because you can get loads of nice looks, and a particular favourite of ours is to take out the top and bottom row of pixels and then you have this little block of less moving around, a really cool look.”
Across the back of the orchestra riser, around the curve of the stalls, were placed ACL 360 Matrix fixtures, Elation’s popular continuously rotating 5x5 matrix LED panel that projects a distinctive beam. “They’ve got this great square beam they put out in the air. And the pixel mapping capabilities meant we could get some slick linear looks similar to the ACL 360 Bars,” Jordan says, adding that they worked great for some of the more edgy musical numbers.
A Night at the Proms marked Miss Moneypenny’s first show in Birmingham in nearly ten years. The show was recorded for Facebook and social media broadcast with audio recorded for future use.
Jordan concludes: “The show was a big hit and the lighting played a big part in creating a great atmosphere. Beams, strobes and blinders are our most in-demand kit. Every day of every week we send them out the door onto a show, and they just keep going.”
13th December 2017
The Netherlands – drs. Down! is part musical, part drama, part medical case study and the brainchild of Dutch TV presenter and chat show host Ivo Niehe, making his debut as a playwright.
He boldly tackles some of the complex, dramatic, delicate and serious issues associated with Down Syndrome: judgements, prejudices and how it can shape and define lives, told through the true story of Pablo Pineda-Ferrer, who overcame the odds to gain a university degree in psychology.
Luc Peumans of visual design practice Painting with Light was asked to join the creative team and produce scenography plus lighting and video designs that captured the spirit of the performance and were also practical and tourable for the production, which launched at the DeLaMar Theatre in Amsterdam and is now touring through the Netherlands until January 2018.
A minimalist set was proposed as key chunks of the narrative and dialogue, including the dreams and aspirations of main character Lucas, are explained and expressed via pre-recorded video content. It was important to have a clean and clear stage.
Luc drew on many avenues of inspiration, including his ground-breaking work on Ben X in 2012 for which he was also set and lighting designer. Touching on a similar theme, that show was about a boy with autism who escaped bullying via a fantasy computer game world.
In the case of drs. Down!, the starting point for Luc was talking extensively with Ivo and technical producer Frank van der Weij from Senf Theatre Partners in Amsterdam. Using their general vision, he produced the basic building blocks for the staging.
It was a process that also involved the two main actors, Nando Liebregts as Lucas and Rutger Messerschmidt as his best friend Tom, who both have Down Syndrome.
Three 5.7mm upstage video screens were proposed, one measuring six by three metres in the centre, flanked by two of three by two metres left and right, positioned to give everyone in the audience a good view of the material being played out.
The DeLaMar Theatre is a compact space and the high-impact video content which was all produced by Ivo Niehe himself, adds physical depth and a huge amount of detail to the story. It is programmed onto and run from a Christie Pandora’s Box media server specified and supplied by Painting with Light.
Leading Benelux rental company, Phlippo Showlights is delivering video screens and all lighting equipment.
The lighting rig is designed to be hung on a standard theatre fly bar system, and the main production moving lights are 25 URC Zoom 210 LED wash fixtures, Phlippo’s proprietary brand, and 19 Martin MAC Viper Performances.
These production lights are augmented at each venue with around 28 profiles on the FOH Bridge and another 12 rigged closer to the stage on the portal bridge or side bars.
The lighting is stark and symbolic. It combines elements of classic drama like lighting faces and figures realistically with more contemporary considerations like contrasting and balancing the qualities, temperatures and textures of light that work best alongside the different video treatments.
A number of square cubes are used as multi-purpose set props making up a variety of objects to denote locations and scenarios.
Luc relied on the shuttering capabilities of the Vipers to ‘fit’ light precisely to these objects at different times, a concept that permeates the whole show and works elegantly as a theatrical vehicle. It also allowed him to divide the stage into different zones and working areas.
It’s a no-frills straightforward approach to support the acting and visuals that demanded a lot of thought and some complex plotting and programming.
The script kept evolving until late-on, so Luc had to think on his feet and adapt the lighting and set concepts as the action changed and developed, almost like an exercise in live editing which: “Really crystallised the moment I arrived on site at the theatre for the technical period,” he says.
Some of the storyboard even stayed fluid until the very last moments before opening night, which was an exciting and invigorating way to work. Luc enjoyed the “great dialogue” between all on the creative team and he really liked the story. “A massive amount of time went into the pre-production phases, so getting into the venue and finessing the final details was extremely rewarding.”
Lighting was programmed by Jeroen Opsteyn for Painting with Light on a grandMA2 light and then transferred to an MA OnPC Command Wing for the tour, and Painting with Light’s Katleen Selleslagh programmed all the video which is being operated by Pommeline Claesen.
photos: Annemieke van der Togt
12th December 2017
Tales of the Tripping in 360
Israel – The cavernous Shlomo Arena in Tel Aviv was brought to life for the first time ever with the buzz of dance music, as the fantastic sounds and musical distinction of Tale of Us swirled around the environment in a limited-entry show presented by The Tripping, the country’s most discerning electronic music promoters.
The event was atmospherically engineered by visuals designer Eran Klein who utilised Robe Pointes and Spiiders and PixelPATTs at the core of his design.
Eran has worked with The Tripping for the last couple of years. His reputation for innovation and creative daring is a great match with their fast growing oeuvre for staging sought-after shows for raw music lovers embracing the cool side of unbranded.
Central to The Tripping’s show philosophy is the belief of putting guest experience at the heart of the performance, and with this, the right production values are always high on the agenda.
For this event, staged in-the-round (another first for the alternative dance community in Israel) the 360 degree performance space which also revolved, was the starting point for Eran’s design for which there was huge expectation, along with the venue itself.
Robe is always his moving light brand of choice, so he picked 42 Pointes and 24 Spiiders, together with five PixelPATTs which were positioned above the DJ booth, all supplied to the event by rental company Gil Teichman Ltd.
The in-the-round format automatically meant there were more audio speaker arrays around the booth for Eran to consider when lighting the space than with a standard end-on format, and in addition to that, the extra amount of roof points needed for audio resulted in fewer being available for lighting. This, and the fact that the arena’s central video cube scoreboard could not be de-rigged for the event, resulted in the majority of the lighting rig having to be ground supported.
A large structure was erected around the DJ booth in the centre of the arena and lighting fixtures were also positioned along the upper bleacher seating areas which were closed off to the public.
The 42 Pointes were the main lights of the design. Eran likes the power, punch and flexibility, which is ideal for all genres of dance music, and especially for the more spacey and cerebral journey embarked on by Tale of Us – Canadian Carmin Conte and Matteo Milleri from New York who met when studying music and sound engineering in Italy in 2008.
The overall idea of ‘layering’ the lighting for this event was inspired by images of satellites and power generation, and a cone of trussing was flown (off the ground support) above the DJ booth created with a six-metre diameter circle at the top with four- and two-metre circles below that, with the three spheres connected via 12 scaffolding pipes.
Eran likes a design to have a definite shape, which can then be morphed and transformed into others, like a chameleon with the intelligent application of lighting.
When positioning the Pointes onto the circles, he imagined how it would look having similar elements but at different levels and how the slightly changed perspectives brought by these subtle differences could play out in the arena as the night progressed.
“I wanted the lighting to function just like a power generator in the centre of the room, pushing pulses and bands of energy out into the crowds for them to absorb and regenerate.”
He took full advantage of the speed of the Pointes and them looking equally as good as a hard or soft-edged fixture. “There are really a lot of elements you can play with using Pointes.”
The Spiider is actually his favourite lighting product right now. He was the first to use them in Israel, on a gig where they were cleared through customs at the airport and delivered directly to the gig by Robe’s Israeli distributor Danor Theatre & Studio Systems.
For Tale of Us, 16 of the 24 Spiiders were on the cone with eight on the floor around the DJ booth where they were used to shoot upwards and out around the arena.
“The zoom is amazing – taking the light source from a potent fat beam to a soft wash in an instant,” declares Eran. “The colours are fantastic and there are absolutely no limits to them,” and he loves the fact that the effects engine adds another layer of surprise to any look and scene.
With the structure and musical journey of most dance genres built on transitions and transformations, dramatic or subtle: “It really is the perfect tool for sculpting this type of light-art”, he says, and being so light, you can have more fixtures when there are lesser weight limits!
Eran has actually been using Robe fixtures since 2004, when they first arrived in Israel and were the new brand on the block! Now it is the best established and most popular moving light in the country thanks to the hard work of Danor and the growing international reputation of Robe.
Cochavi & Klein also works extensively around the world on a range of premium clients as well as on selective dance events which is an eclectic mix of events that harmonise nicely together and Robe is always on his specifications.
He observes that Robe is available “almost everywhere” now, “especially in the US” where they recently lit a large party in San Francisco where Robe moving lights were supplied by Felix Lighting.
He operated lighting for Tale of Us using a grandMA2.
As always, the challenge is what everyone is going to say about dance events on the following day – in general conversation, word-of-mouth on the underground networks and via social media – and how something looks and sounds is often a topic so production is important from all angles.
Eran has been lighting dance events since the essence of the movement germinated in the 1990s and so it’s second nature for him to synch the lighting and visuals with the flow and rhythm of the music. “Especially with The Tripping events, it’s about the life and soul of the party and making the space special and magical for the duration of the experience, rather than being about the DJ.”
This alternative curation is part of what makes The Tripping different and desirable. Eran enjoys the creative challenges of imagining new and fresh ideas and the creative space they give him to innovate and suggest ambiences to bring to the party.
Tripping founder Oren Heknin started off running a small club which organically grew into larger shows and the phenomenon it is today. Their shows shy away from featuring overpowering LED screen elements, instead choosing to experiment with technicals like new lasers and lighting coming to the market which is more suited to their sense of musical adventure.
Also central to the event’s smooth running were technical producer Elad Mainz, stage manager Eyal Ben Natan, sound designer Yohai Fachima and lighting crew Chief Moti Aroshas. Sound was supplied by a combination of two companies Kolot Ramim and MorKol and lasers by Saar Lasers.
photos: Albert Lalamaiev
12th December 2017
Robert Juliat Lancelot gives satisfaction to The Rolling Stones at new U Arena in Paris
France – Paris’s newest arena space, the U Arena, threw open its doors in spectacular fashion this autumn when The Rolling Stones performed the final three European dates of their No Filter tour to sold-out audiences of 40,000 people each night. As an inaugural event, it doesn’t get much bigger, and Robert Juliat was proud to be part of it – in its home city – with eight RJ Lancelot 4K followspots playing a key role in the action on stage.
U Arena is now France’s largest indoor arena, and one of the biggest in Europe, and a prime host for the Stufish-designed set comprising four massive video walls over-reaching a part-canopied, 60-70m wide stage and 14m thrust which only just succeeded in containing the exuberant performances from these eternal legends of rock.
The Rolling Stones’ long-term lighting designer, Patrick Woodroffe and associate lighting designer, Terry Cook, of Woodroffe Bassett Design, specified Robert Juliat’s most powerful followspot because they wanted them as the prime source of front-of-house illumination for the artists on stage. “The minimalist, clean lines of the stage design had no advance truss, so most of the front lighting on the artists relied on followspots, with just some LED fixtures located on the rooflette to provide some key light, and footlights to outline the main and B-stages and catwalk,” explains lighting crew chief Andy ‘Fraggle’ Porter of Fraggles Rock Lighting Ltd. “Lancelot was ideal, not only to cope with the long throw distances, but for several other factors.”
The Rolling Stones like their followspots to deliver a big rock and roll look with beams passing across the auditorium to draw the audience’s focus directly onto the artists. “This is a very important function on some of the larger shows,” says Fraggle. “The audience come to look at the band, but an LD often wants to make a statement with the rest of the lighting that doesn't necessarily involve lighting the band. As technology advances, there are new ways of achieving this and having a 4000W followspot pointing directly at the artist from out front is a very strong, dynamic look.
“Also in the sheer vastness of some of the arenas on the tour, a bit of direction is often needed – not only from the audience’s point of view, but for the ever-present cameras, whether they are for broadcast or for IMAG input. Lancelot is particularly valuable in this respect because it has a flicker-free electronic ballast and a very uniform field. The fixed optics on RJ spots make it much easier to achieve a consistency across all eight units and much quicker to set up, which is a great advance on tour. A few years back it would have taken several days to achieve this.”
The Lancelot followspots were rigged on two front-of-house towers located mid-field beside the lighting and sound pits, from where a pair of each were trained on Jagger, Richards and Wood, with the final pair lighting the bass player, Darryl Jones, and acting as a spare when guests were not on stage.
The highest followspot position was occupied by veteran followspot operator, Barry Branford, who reprised his long-term role as Jagger’s chosen followspot operator, having worked with the band for over 20 years. This topmost position is reserved for Jagger’s followspot as it gives the best angle and shadows to show the energetic and highly mobile lead singer to best advantage, on stage and screen. This was mirrored on the opposite tower where the top position is the reserve of Richards’ spot, with each artist also having a second spot at no 2 position on the opposing side. Branford has used many followspots in his long career: “Lancelot is the easiest spot of its size to use in these kind of situations,” he confirms.
Woodroffe and Cook’s design emphasised the hard edge beams and shadows of the followspots and, in keeping with the minimal colour palette, used just a couple of colour correction filters and a new colour, Marlene, (rose blush) to add warm tones to the artists’ skin colours.
“Good, consistent spotlights are key to lighting a Rolling Stones show,” says the tour’s lighting director, Ethan Weber. “Our goal is to make sure that all band members – principals and back-ups – are lit well enough that the audience can watch whomever they want at anytime during the show. I think, largely due to the Lancelots, that we’ve achieved that.
“I’ve always been very happy with the quality of light that comes out of Robert Juliat spots. I also appreciate very much the clever fader that makes ins and outs much smoother; and the fact that the bulbs don’t need to be removed for travel. It saves a good hour or so a night not having to tweak them.
“Years ago, the general consensus was that RJ spots were great lights, but best for permanent installs as they were not really robust enough to tour. It seems, in the past few years, that the company has addressed this and is now making lights that are good for any application. In our two-month trek around Europe, we had just two minor problems that were dealt with quickly and easily by Dan and Fraggle and had a full complement of lights for every show.”
The contrast created by the four enormous, and very bright, video screens also posed a challenge which the Lancelots were able to handle with ease. “The Lancelots were definitely powerful enough, and very controllable,” says Fraggle. “In fact, we had to rein them in a bit at times, but it’s always useful to have a little in reserve, especially with the brightness of the video screens. Managing the contrast could be very difficult, particularly from a long distance away, and from the audience point of view you can lose some of the depth of field, but the Lancelot helped moderate this considerably.”
WBD also looked after the visual video integration for the No Filter tour: a d3 media server system was put in place to playback content, produced by Sam Pattinson and Treatment, format IMAG feeds coming from video director, Nick Keiser, and to give the band some extra love with effects and tints. Roland Greil from WBD, in the role of screens director and d3 programmer, was responsible for keeping the balance between all visual elements, which is key in such a show as this, to ensure a fitting visual look between the elements of lighting and video is maintained.
The RJ Lancelot fixtures were supplied as part of the total lighting inventory by UK-based Neg Earth Lights which uses Robert Juliat followspots exclusively on most of the tours it supplies. The job of rigging and setting up the Lancelots at each venue fell to the tour’s followspot technician, Dan Wiseman. Wiseman is a great advocate of Robert Juliat and was very happy to join Fraggle on a tour of the Robert Juliat factory before the final show.
“Any time we have a question for Robert Juliat, or have given feedback towards improving their new generation of followspots, Robert Juliat has always acted upon it in an extremely proactive way and come up with solutions,” says Wiseman. “RJ is traditionally big in the theatre market rather than hard-core rock and roll, and our requirements on tour are quite different. We find RJ listens well and is very responsive to what we want, and as a result has succeeded in creating followspots more appropriate to our usage.”
Fraggle agrees: “With my background in engineering, it was a pleasure to see the Robert Juliat factory, and to see a small manufacturing company functioning in a fashion which is so calm and considered – it was like you could see the quality being built-in to the followspots right from the start.”
12th December 2017
Stage Sound Services Invests In Sennheiser Digital 6000
UK – With over 15 years in business, Stage Sound Services (SSS) is a well-established rental company, providing technical solutions for sound and video projects for large-scale musical theatre productions and corporate events. The company has recently invested in Sennheiser’s new Digital 6000 microphone system, citing it as the perfect solution in today’s crowded RF environment.
“We've been working with Sennheiser from the very start of the company, starting out with their wired microphones,” says SSS commercial manager, James Lewis. “A large proportion of our business is professional theatre, from small plays to full-scale musicals and, in recent years, our stock of Sennheiser and Neumann wired microphones has increased dramatically to accommodate these shows. Last year we started to add Sennheiser wireless into our rental stock, with the purchase of 32 channels of its SK 5212 system for the Funny Girl UK tour. Sennheiser is on many specs, so it wasn't a hard decision to make.”
SSS’s main motive for investing in Digital 6000, which offers the outstanding audio quality of its flagship Digital 9000 in a two-channel receiver, is the future opportunities it will provide for sub-hire and its rider specification friendliness.
“Kevin Gwyther-Brown and Andy Lilywhite from Sennheiser came down to give our guys and the show’s crew an insight into the features of the Digital 6000 system, along with the monitoring and scanning functions that they need to use when on the road with the show,” says James. “Sennheiser’s Tim Sherratt also gave us a very insightful overview session about Digital 6000 and digital radios, which answered lots of questions that we didn't know we had. It was very informative.”
James adds that the sound quality was also a major factor, as well as the system’s environmental credentials. “As with most companies, we are keen on green energy,” he says: “so the rechargeable battery and the neatness of the charging system is also important to us.”
Dan Samson, sound designer for Cilla and Cabaret, had used digital radio microphone systems on a number of previous shows and specified them again for both productions, where SSS’s Digital 6000 systems were immediately put to work.
“The timing of Cilla and Cabaret coincided with Digital 6000 coming on to the market,” James explains. “The system is based on proven technology in the Digital 9000 system, so any questions about reliability, RF performance, or audio quality, etc. were quickly answered. Cilla has over 45 channels of RF including IEMs, so the licensing cost of touring that particular show also played a major part in the decision.”
By using Digital 6000, which is intermodulation-free and therefore allows frequencies to be placed in an equidistant grid, SSS is able to get these 45 channels of RF into just three TV channels.
“The shows have only just loaded in, so we haven’t tested them out on an extensive run,” concludes James. “But they are performing well so far and everyone is very pleased with them.”
12th December 2017
Steps – UK Tour
UK – VER join 90s pop sensations, Steps, treading the boards at venues throughout the UK, mixing tracks from recent album ‘Tears on the Dancefloor’ with their string of crowd pleasing chart-conquering hits.
Working closely with production manager, Steve Reeve and Pull the Pin Out Productions, VER London provided the multi layered, custom built LED video walls used to deliver the shows’ suitably vibrant backdrop.
Featuring stunning content by Jack Jones and Nic Drew at Really Creative Media, the video imagery was splashed across the layered screen installation, which has been designed to incorporate a 18m x 10m upstage back wall built behind a three tier, on-stage riser, complete with bespoke sliding doors on two levels to allow the performers direct access to and from the stage area.
To help heighten the audience experience, VER also provided video director Phil Jennings with a suite of cameras plus Imag screens used to deliver real time performance footage, captured on stage throughout the show.
The full service video provision has been headed up by VER crew chief John Wynne, whose six person team has remained hands on with the production from the live rehearsals, hosted at Fly By Nite Studios through to the month long string of UK arena dates.
Speaking about the production, VER business development manager Lester Cobrin says: “The Steps Shows have been immensely well received, so it’s hugely satisfying to see the video installation playing such a great supporting role. John and the crew have done a super job with the custom built LED installation which Steve Reeve and the video team have used to full effect, delivering stunning visuals to each performance.”