Production News Headlines
New Flare Q+ on Clean Bandit Tour
Europe – Grammy winners Clean Bandit are an EDM tour de force. Following their critically acclaimed appearance at the Isle of Wight Festival earlier this month, the band is billed at Glastonbury and other summer festivals around Europe through August. The American leg of their tour is scheduled for October. In large venues and small, 18 Solaris Flare Q+ fixtures are integral to the band’s show.
Befitting a band whose music is inspired by the classics, the new Flare Q+ is the next generation of the world-famous, classic Flare. “We’re using two sets of six for side washes, and seven units upstage, all with Kasmer diffusers for a really clean look,” says tour lighting designer and programmer, Liam Griffiths. “I wanted the diffusers to hide the LED sources, which can be harsh on camera. I use the fixtures in two-pixel mode and as strobes. I've used Flares on almost every tour I've done and the new Flare Q+ is far brighter. Most of the time I actually find myself restricting them to 75%!”
Show design is by Rob Sinclair, with the entire lighting package for the European tour provided by Entec Sound and Light of London. “We had been speaking with Paul Hartley at TMB about the new Flare Q+ and were aware of its power and potential,” says Adam Stevenson, Entec’s assistant head of lighting. “When Sinclair and Griffiths specified Flare Q+ and Kasmers for the tour, it was a perfect opportunity to make the investment. The fixtures are everything we thought they would be and way more. Their increased output and versatility as a combination wash, strobe, and blinder, with the new quiet mode for theatre or studio use, make Flare Q+ ideal for a variety of applications and an excellent investment.” Co-founded by Harold Pendleton who also owned the iconic Marquee Club in the 1960s, Entec will celebrate its 50th anniversary next year.
Solaris Flares have become a standard worldwide. The new Flare Q+ has all the features of its renowned predecessor, plus the added benefits of Solaris’ revolutionary Q+ Technology. This new proprietary LED driver technology almost eliminates fan noise, while increasing brightness by over 40%. Up to an amazing 52,000 lumens in the classic 96-LED format, and 58,000 lumens in the new Flare Q+ LR 108-LED linear unit. In theatre mode, the Flare Q+ is effectively silent, yet still 8% brighter than the original Flare. Of particular value in the rental market, all Flares now have a calibration function that allows matching of intensity and colour between Flares of any vintage.
23rd June 2017
PRG XL Video Invests in Robert Juliat Dalis LED Lighting Battens
UK – PRG XL Video, the UK operation of Production Resource Group LLC (PRG), has announced an investment in new Robert Juliat lighting technology, adding the Dalis 862 asymmetric LED footlight to its inventory.
Used as front-edge stage lighting, the rear of the batten is black, and so inconspicuous from the audience’s viewpoint. The fixture outputs white light which is tunable from 2200K to 6500K, and has 48 asymmetric reflectors arranged in two rows. Each row can be controlled independently, and this enables the footlight to be used for both short and long throw capabilities for upstage and downstage lighting.
Units also include small discrete red and blue mark LEDs which can be used as position markers or cue lights. They can also act as safety indicators marking the edge of the stage.
PRG’s European head of asset management, Paul Weaver, comments: “The Dalis fixture adds an extra dimension into the PRG fleet. Its unique functionality of stage marking within the unit itself is a step forward in theatrical lighting fixtures, and makes them ideal for all lighting disciplines.”
Robert Juliat’s Managing director, François Juliat observes further: “The ability to carefully manage upstage and downstage lighting in a good quality white light is very fundamental to a footlight. By investing in our new Dalis 862, PRG has chosen a unique exciting product, providing their clients with the right features to serve their creative productions.”
The fixtures have been put straight into action, and are currently working their magic on Little Mix’s European tour.
23rd June 2017
Killthrax Tour Goes Rogue
USA – It was a happy union for metal fans when Killswitch Engage and Anthrax, two of the genre’s most influential bands, announced earlier this year that they would be joining forces on the Killthrax Tour. The 34-city tour, which concluded in May, more than lived up to its advance billing, serving up heaping helpings of KSE’s signature metalcore sound with its heavy guitar riffs and Anthrax’s compatible, but distinctly different, thrash brand of metal music.
Helping to set off the KSE section of the dual concert was a fast-paced multi-dimensional and richly coloured light show anchored by Chauvet Professional Rogue R1 FX-B and Rogue RH1 Hybrid moving lights supplied by JDI Productions. Josh Mihlek, KSE’s production manager, designed the rig with the JDI Productions team.
“The idea behind our show was to use a lot of colour and big looks but at the same time position the beams of the FX-Bs in a way that they almost wrapped around the band members,” he said. “The RH1 Hybrids were used for aerial and crowd looks and for top lighting the band in colours. KSE has a very emotional sound and our colourful lighting supported that.
“On the other hand, Anthrax has more of a 80s/90s metal sound and their light show reflected that,” continued Therrien. “Their LD Jeremy Skoorka did an amazing job using a big open stage with risers. Our rig was kind of encased by four 6'x6' scrims and lighting towers, so it almost made the band feel more on top of the crowd and in their face, which plays along great with their music.”
Therrien and his fellow JDI Productions lighting designer Cody James, who replaced him near the end of the tour, positioned most of their fixtures on four towers that ran across the back of the stage. The two towers at the edge of the configuration were five feet high, while the two in the centre were seven feet. A single Rogue FX-B was front hung on each five foot tower, which was topped off with a Rogue RH1 Hybrid. The two seven foot towers had two FX-Bs front hung and a RH1 on top.
An additional three FX-Bs were positioned on an eight foot truss that ran horizontally behind the drum kit. For atmospherics, their design relied on two Vesuvio RGBA foggers and two Chauvet DJ Geysers.
“We especially loved having the FX-Bs and hybrids on this tour because they’re compact and versatile,” said James. “The FX-Bs created the impression that we had 45 beams on stage, when in reality we had only nine fixtures. Plus, the RH1s allowed us to create very bright beams and spots from a single light that was very compact.”
Versatility and compactness were even more important than usual on the Killthrax Tour, because KSE and Anthrax alternated being headline acts. “At some venues we were the headline and at others Anthrax was,” said Therrien. “Having fewer fixtures that could create a greater number of looks, and having compact fixtures, were important to our smooth set changes night after night.”
Beyond the stellar lighting design, a highlight of the tour for Therrien was the teamwork on display throughout its three month run. “I have so much love for both bands and both crews,” he said. “Everyone really pulled together and when I left near the end for another project, Cody filled in beautifully. The whole experience was about teamwork.”
23rd June 2017
TiMax stage manages Eurovison2017
Ukraine – Within the vast sound production called upon for this year’s Eurovision2017 in Kiev, a pair of TiMax SoundHub audio delay matrix units were supplied by Black Box Music (BBM) to manage multi-zone PA level and delay alignment between Main and B-stage performance areas.
The set-up revisits a technique pioneered for Adele’s recent record-breaking world-wide arena tour. The TiMax SoundHub-S16 systems were inserted between Digico SD7’s and Lake master system processing feeding the amps, which in turn fed multiple distributed L’Acoustics line array hangs, subs and fills.
As the performance switched between the two stages, the TiMax dynamic delay-matrix delivered all mix outputs from main and backup console/system processor chains via on-board 96KHz SRC’s, to seamlessly re-align and focus all PA elements onto the current stage.
The power and versatility of TiMax came to the rescue with, what head of sound, Kai Reiss, describes as an interesting ‘side effect’. He explains: “We were asked to provide an emergency announcement for the security office. We recorded it for them [in English and Ukranian] and then gave them a button in their office that allowed them to simply press to pull down the show sound automatically and play the emergency announcement, all from within TiMax. Simples!”
More often used for spatial audio and vocal localisation in premier theatre, presentation and immersive AV applications, the dynamic delay-matrix capability unique to TiMax also allows real-time smooth delay-morphing algorithms across multi-zone PA systems as necessary, all recalled as simple show control cues presets.
The main TiMax SoundHub unit was provided from BBM’s rental stock with the backup unit supplied by German spatial audio specialists Panix.
23rd June 2017
Star Events stages Stone Roses Wembley triumph
UK – Star Events helped carry the Stone Roses’ perfect 90 minutes across Wembley Stadium as the band performed for a capacity crowd on Saturday.
Following the tantalising trail of their era defining debut album, opening with I Wanna Be Adored and closing with I Am The Resurrection, this was a first London show for the Stone Roses since Finsbury Park 2013.
Getting the sound right was crucial and production manager Michael O’Connor liaised with Star Events and SSE to ensure Stone Roses’ FoH engineer’s requirements were fully met.
Star Events’ design team customised the VerTech stage wings to accommodate Wembley’s steep rake, elevating four twin hangs of sub bass and main audio boxes some 19m above the stadium bowl.
Upfield, the company’s 20m high Z Towers pointed the delays to the gods, their narrow gauge design leaving sightlines unspoiled, and sun-soaked Wembley was the one for 70,000 Stone Roses fans.
Pete Holdich, head of structures at Star Events, comments: “This was our first VerTech show at the new Wembley Stadium. We know what the challenges are and, together with SSE, we were able to deliver a stage solution that ticked all the audio boxes while facilitating the tour’s stunning video and lighting design.
“There’s a very good event team Wembley and we’re looking forward to going back with Adele later this month.”
Star Events supplied the stage for the Stone Roses’ legendary Spike Island show in 1990 and has provided for the band’s headline outdoor shows in the UK ever since. Next stop Hampden Park on 24th June.
22nd June 2017
Bandit Helps Draw Crowds to Budweiser Dome at CMA Fest
USA – Tens of thousands of people poured into downtown Nashville for CMA Fest weekend, where Predator’s pride, music lovers and tourists took in the city for the biggest multi-day celebration of all things country music. Bandit Lites provided the lighting for Universal Music Group’s Budweiser Dome, a structure that boasted a 35 foot ceiling with a 360-degree projection dome featuring live concerts and the debut of live 360◦ concert films, including immersive performances from Kip Moore, Jimmy Buffett, Eric Church and Gary Allen.
The lighting of the dome was designed by Bandit vice president Mike Golden, and brought to life by lighting director and programmer Andy Knighton.
Bandit supplied twelve truss towers mounted with Claypaky Spheriscans, Bandit’s exclusive GRNLite LED Pars and Iluminarc Ilumipanels to provide vivid, vibrant colours on the exterior of the dome, even during the sunny Nashville days.
“Brad Turcotte from UMG contacted me with the challenge of lighting the exterior of this dome for a week,” said Golden. “We recognised immediately that due to the situation, the fixtures would be sitting outdoors for a week with no real ability to protect the gear in the event of rain. For that reason we chose to surround the dome with Ilumipanels for wash and Spheriscans to add gobo and movement. With those two fixtures we had complete confidence we could light the dome each night without concern of needing to shut down or cover the fixtures.”
The interior of the dome, where audience members enjoyed both live music and 360 degree, enveloping performances streamed on the dome’s ceiling, featured lighting towers outfitted with Claypaky Sharpys, GLP X4S and lekos. Lady Antebellum launched their newest album, Heart Break, with multiple performances, while Gary Allen, Suzy Bogguss, Maddie and Tae, Lauren Alaina and the Bellamy Brothers also took the stage.
Bandit’s crew navigated the logistics of lighting the dome amid Nashville’s numerous construction sites, civilian foot traffic, a cramped interior and an uneven lot to make the temporary building both stand out and integrate in the heart of Nashville’s downtown scene, offering country music fans another way to enjoy CMA festivities.
“Andy Knighton worked with the UMG team to tastefully highlight the dome from every angle and to attract attention to the event,” Golden finished. “We look forward to working with this team in future.”
22nd June 2017
ProPlex Gigabit Switches at iHeartSummer '17 Weekend
USA – This month, new and classic stars are performing at the iHeartSummer ’17 Weekend at Fontainebleau, Miami Beach, culminating in a TV special and live, two-day national broadcast across 130+ iHeartRadio stations, websites, and apps. Integral to the show lighting’s networking and data distribution are four ProPlex GBS Gigabit switches.
“We have four GBS switches on the job: two at FoH and two at pits backstage,” explains show lighting director and programmer, Michael Appel. “We have an A/B network set up at FoH with A side switch and processing for the main show. B side is a full backup to an A/B CAT5 switch that feeds down the fibre net to various sACN nodes.”
Appel adds: “We have used ProPlex GBS on massive shows including Kids Choice Awards, Teen Choice and the iHeartRadio Festival in Las Vegas. The switches are very robust and we trust them to handle the load of a massive rig. We always love to see ProPlex GBS. They give us confidence that our network connections from control out to the rig will be solid.”
Equipment for the show was provided by Main Light to specifiers and installers Beach Sound of Miami, whose key personnel include Juan Ugas rep, Corey Felgenhour systems and Rafael Mojica lead technician. Making iHeartSummer ‘17 happen are Tom Kenny lighting designer, Michael Appel lighting director/programmer, Jason Uchita lighting director/gaffer, Adam Hagin and John Cox production electricians.
GBS configurable Gigabit switches are members of the ProPlex family of rugged, tour-grade data distribution systems. ProPlex devices and cables offer a truly integrated, complete data management and networking solution. Other products in the range include the 10GBS 10-Gigabit switch, EZ-LAN managed Gigabit switches, IQ Ethernet-DMX Nodes, Opto-Splitter data splitters, SceneSwitch 8 DMX/A/B switcher, ProPlex Software, ProPlex DMX, Ethernet and fibre cables, and much more.
Built for extreme conditions with shock-mounted circuitry and advanced thermal management, ProPlex Data Distribution Devices are available in rackmount, portable mount, mini, micro, DIN rail, and IP rated formats of various sizes.
22nd June 2017
Artists to Headline Glastonbury Festival Main Stage with Chroma-Q LEDs
UK – Chroma-Q's award-winning Color Force II and Space Force luminaires have been selected to help a roster of international artists deliver star performances on the iconic, premier Pyramid Stage at this year's Glastonbury Festival.
The Festival's Pyramid Stage provides a global showcase for some of today's biggest artists including this year's headliners, Radiohead, Foo Fighters and Ed Sheeran, so only the very highest stage production values will do.
Andy Porter, head of lighting for the Pyramid Stage and rental company, Neg Earth Lights, felt that the Chroma-Q fixtures would be ideal for the high-profile slot, so specified nearly fifty Color Force II 48, 1.2m LED battens and six Space Force LED soft sources.
The Color Force II fixtures are being used to provide coloured illumination of the stage from the distinctive Pyramid-shaped enclosure, with the Space Force units providing soft, white side lighting.
Designed to deliver a premium performance, the Chroma-Q LED solutions offer formidable output, superior homogenised optics and theatrical grade dimming.
Catch the Glastonbury Festival from 23rd - 25th June via various TV and online media sources.
22nd June 2017
Drumspirit Gets Theatrical Looks with Chauvet Professional
Belgium – The Belgium-based percussive entertainment group Drumspirit has consistently pushed the boundaries of performance for 35 years with its unique blend of dance, theatre, comedy and music. Continuing with this tradition, the group has added a new more theatrical feeling to its current series of Hexahedron shows featuring Milk Inc. drummer Michael Schack and Netsky. Key to creating this new mood is an evocative Bart Rogge light show that features 12 Maverick MK2 Spot and 48 Rogue R2 Wash moving lights from Chauvet Professional.
“Given the genre-defying performances of Drumspirit, to bring a theatrical feeling to the Hexahedron shows was no easy feat,” commented Rogge. “The versatile Maverick and Rogue fixtures, however, proved to be essential elements in the implementation of my theatrical lighting concept.”
Both the Maverick and Rogue fixtures were positioned above, behind and to the sides of the stage for a variety of visual purposes. Thanks to the Maverick’s generous selection of effects such as rotating slot and lock gobo wheels, a three-facet prism and 13–37 degree zoom range, Rogge was equipped with a toolbox of visual tricks to create dramatic looks in accompaniment to the stage performances.
“I was able to easily create instantaneous atmosphere on stage using the Maverick’s gobo effects and prisms,” commented Rogge. “Combined with exceptional zoom, the sheer power and reach of the fixtures meant that I could create powerful atmosphere with a relatively small number of fixtures.”
The Rogue R2 wash fixtures, on the other hand, provided an all-encompassing curtain of colour which provided the visual backdrop to the entire venue, which was a disused warehouse. Thanks to features such as 19 x 15W pixel mappable RGBW quad-LEDs and a 12 – 49 degree zoom range, Rogge was able to create a blanket of saturated and evenly distributed colour on stage.
“The rich colours of the Rogue fixtures gave me a brilliant canvas to work with,” commented Rogge. “Coupled with the fantastic zoom, I was able to transform the confines of the old warehouse into a true space with the credentials of a genuine venue.”
To accentuate the intense, loud and energetic performances of Drumspirit, Rogge utilised both the Maverick and Rogue fixtures for improvised strobe effects, punching light and colour in time with the music.
“The rhythmic nature of the music and performances meant that I could create some excellent repeating looks such as strobing,” continued Rogge. “Seeing as both fixtures are super bright, I was able to create a grandiose strobing effect without having to specify dedicating strobe fixtures: such is the versatility of the fixtures.”
Despite the intense and rigorous use of the full set of Chauvet Professional fixtures throughout the three different evenings of performances, Rogge was able to perform his lighting duties without a hitch. “The reliability and performance of the Mavericks and Rogues was flawless,” he concluded. “With a few visual tricks, I was able to create an epic visual canvas for Drumspirit’s wild performances.”
22nd June 2017
Claypaky is on the ‘A Team’ for Ed Sheeran world tour
Worldwide – The Claypaky Scenius Unico and Claypaky Mythos2 have been selected by award-winning lighting and production designer Mark Cunniffe and lighting director Matt Jones as the workhorse fixtures for multi-award-winning artist Ed Sheeran in his current record-breaking worldwide new album tour.
Cunniffe has been working with Ed since the artist began touring in 2011, developing a close creative partnership that has evolved over time as the star’s music has spread to reach international acclaim.
“The first thing that we created for Ed was so small it fitted into the back of a truck,” says Cunniffe. “Since then the shows have grown to reflect Ed’s natural career progression. For this tour, we wanted a show that could go from arena to stadium. We wanted it to play as wide as it possibly could.”
To achieve this, Cunniffe designed a goblet-shaped set, fondly named ‘the chalice’ by the designer who worked closely with production manager Chris Marsh and Jeremy Lloyd from international technical production practice, Wonder Works, in blue-printing the construction of the concept. The chalice comprises five curved video screens that begin at stage level and run up a central stem to flare out to create a live stage ‘ceiling’ of video and light before curving upward again to form a top rim. The structure was engineered by Tait Industries.
Between each of the video screens forming the chalice’s ceiling is a triangular pod, there are four in total containing ten Mythos2. Each pod moves in and out of the set via a Kinesys system recommended by UK rental experts Light Control Rigging (LCR). LCR, operated and owned by Mike Oates and Ryan Hopkins, worked in collaboration with US outfit SES to supply all the lighting fixtures, control, cable and crew for the duration of the World Tour.
“The new Clay Paky fixtures are brilliant,” says Oates. “They are very reliable. We needed fixtures that were tough and durable and able to withstand getting shipped all over the world. The Claypaky range have a wonderful colour mixing system and consistent bright output across all fixtures which helps give the show the impact it needs.”
Cunniffe also cites the size of Claypaky fixtures in being instrumental in his decision to select them, “With the Mythos2 I knew I could hang the fixture on its side,” says Cunniffe. “It is relatively light and it can fit through an aperture. I can hide 30% to 40% of the unit behind the structure and you just see the aperture and the lens. It looks as though it’s built into the production, as opposed to being hung on it.”
On working with Cunniffe, Oates remarks: “Working with Mark has been an absolute pleasure. He is a true professional at the top of his game. His vision and ideas are incredible and he gets across what he wants so well that it takes away some of the stress of bringing his design to life. With LCR being such a young company, it’s a fabulous opportunity for us to show what we can do. We love a challenge and this certainly has been one! Working with Mark and Claypaky has been a wonderful start for us as a young, fresh, ambitious company.”
As well as supplying the 128 Mythos2, LCR supplied the 32 Scenius Unico, 16 of which are hidden in the mother gird in four trusses of four, with a further four fixtures positioned on either side of the stage.
“When the lighting pods come in, upstage of that are four linear trusses with 24 of the Scenius Unicos that shine through the holes,” says Cunniffe. “However, you can’t see source, as the source is 56ft high. What you can see are the beams of light. It’s a secondary level of lighting that’s not visible.”
Discussing why he chose Claypaky’s multi-functional Spot and Wash light, Cunniffe says: “The Scenius Unico is the midpoint between theatre and rock and roll, so it has a bright beam, it’s at least twice the size of the Mythos and it has full shuttering. I think the Scenius Unico is a fantastic stadium profile, because it’s so bright and has such an advanced shuttering system. It just has a bigger presence.”
Adding to Cunniffe’s reasoning behind the selection of the Scenius Unico is Jones who, as the tour’s lighting director, is in direct contact with the units nearly every day.
“What is useful about the Scenius Unicos is that they offer us a dynamic output; they can go from a wide flood to a narrow spot,” says Jones. “The fixture’s shaping system also allows us to go wide with the fixture and still trim down the horizontal plane of the beam.”
Lastly, in order not to undermine the production’s attention-grabbing video content created by Montreal-based Moment Factory and Bristol, UK-based Shop, Jones and Cunniffe were keen to access fixtures able to provide a smooth and reliable dimming curve, devoid of any flickering.
“Ed is just one man on stage with a guitar, so what happens on stage in terms of light and video is extremely important,” adds Jones. “The audience would notice an imperfect dimmer curve. The Mythos2 dimmer curve is doing a great job of being uniform. It does well down at the low end, and it does well quite high too. Overall, equipment-wise it’s been a pleasure to work with the Claypaky fixtures, they just have great dynamics.”
Cunniffe agrees: “They’re a great bunch of people at Claypaky, and they’ve designed some really good products. They asked me for my input when designing both the Mythos and the Scenius Unico. I worked closely with Francesco Romagnoli, Paolo Dozzo and Marco Zucchinali at Claypaky who listened and incorporated my resulting opinions into their final product design, for which I will be forever grateful.”
The Ed Sheeran world tour is currently in South America. Following his headline slot at Glastonbury 2017, the US leg of the tour will commence in Kansas City on 29th June. The artist’s third studio album, Divide, has reached number one in 14 countries.
photos: Ralph Larmann
22nd June 2017
Triple E branches out for Greenpeace at Glastonbury
UK – Triple E has supplied a ModTruss centrepiece for the Greenpeace Field at Glastonbury Festival.
Commissioned by Factory Settings and designed to highlight the Greenpeace campaign to protect forests, the 20m tree comes alive at night, serving as a hub for exclusive DJ sets and a beacon of the Stand for Forests campaign.
A must see feature at Glastonbury 2017, the ModTruss structure is simple to put together. The Factory Settings team was able to build the tree at Worthy Farm from Triple E drawings, ticking the requisite safety boxes in the process.
Lucy Edelstein, project manager at Triple E, comments: “We were delighted the Factory Settings’ team approached us with their designs. We made a 3D drawing for approval, test built the tree and shipped the parts.”
Factory Settings’ director, Lucien Mansell, says: “ModTruss is a unique product ideally suited to a one-off bespoke item like this because it doesn’t require custom components.
“Building a 20m tree in a field is a demanding project but it’s something ModTruss’ versatility and strength is well suited to.”
With help from its supporters, the Greenpeace Stand for Forests campaign is stopping illegal timber from Cameroon reaching European ports, barring the expansion of soya plantations into the Amazon, fighting fires in Russia and getting in the path of bulldozers, again and again. That is the vision of hope and direct action that the Greenpeace Field will represent this year at Glastonbury Festival.
21st June 2017
Fountain and Tree for Islamic Solidarity Games in Baku
Azerbaijan – Entertainment engineering specialist WIcreations specified and fabricated two large and spectacular set pieces – a water fountain and a Tree of Life – for the highly acclaimed Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the 4th Islamic Solidarity Games, a multi-national, multi-sport event staged in Baku, Azerbaijan from 12th to 22nd May 2017.
WI’s team, project managed by Yves Vervloet, was working for Betty Productions Ltd. who co-ordinated all the creative and technical production elements for the ceremonies on behalf of the Islamic Games Operations Committee.
The ceremonies both took place in the 70,000 seater Baku National Stadium, a venue already familiar to the WI team after their ground-breaking work there for the 2015 European Games.
The water vessel and the tree, integral parts of production designer Thanassis Demiris’s visual treatment for the two ceremonies, were realised and constructed at WI’s HQ in Heist-op-den-Berg, Belgium over a two month period. Approximately 60 tonnes of kit was road-freighted to Baku on five trucks.
The eight-metre diameter water bowl was an essential part of the Opening Ceremony (OC) set and narrative.
The Games were officially opened by Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev amidst an array of dancers, musicians, fireworks, horses, camels and donkeys. The teams of the 2,800 athletes were led onto the field-of-play by women carrying water collected from around Azerbaijan, which was poured into the massive bowl.
Weight calculations were crucial, as the loading data for the stage perimeter at the point where the bowl was located was 17 tonnes, so the piece when filled with water could not exceed that.
The base was constructed from a 200mm high rigid steel frame with custom steel-flanged castors which alone weighed 1.7 tonnes. It was designed to take 15 tonnes of water in tanks below and still be manually movable (into the final stage position) via a pair of 30-metre steel track beams that were integral to the stage structure.
The tracks were built to WI’s specification by Stage One Technologies, who constructed and delivered the stage.
Sitting on top of the steel frame base was a 4mm aluminium centre section housing all the pumps, pipes and connections. This was covered with a removable aluminium hatch to conceal all the technical apparatus.
Four small hatches were made in the middle of this centre section which could be opened during the filling process to relieve the vertical water pressure as the tank filled.
The bottom of the bowl itself was made up of 16 x 3D cut Styrofoam segments reinforced with an aluminium framework and were fixed on to the aluminium centrepiece.
To achieve the required authentic hammered copper finish, Yves and the team conducted several tests before producing a laser-cut plastic plate surface which was glued onto the exterior of the 16 segments making up the bowl.
Each piece was then sprayed with a 4mm Polyurea hot spray coating (as used in swimming pools). The heavy viscosity of the hot spray gave the authentic rounded hammered look on the outside and a smooth interior surface, just as the creative team had requested.
“The result was absolutely perfect,” commented Yves with some satisfaction.
The final copper metallic finish was sprayed onto the water fountain on site in Baku.
When it came to designing the pump section they needed to achieve three main effects, a swirl, 16 three-metre high outer jets and a ten metre high central jet.
WI has built some water effects before, notably for Russian superstar Philipp Kirkorov’s 2016 tour, but nothing on this scale, so for this aspect of the project, WI enlisted water effects specialists, The Crystal Group from Paris.
Sub-stage, a basin was built to hold the 20,000 litres of water and inside this pool, two quick-fill pumps were connected to the vessel via a Camlok system.
Inside the vessel were 24 pumps. Sixteen created the small perimeter sprays of water, one dealt with the central jet effect, eight made the swirl effect with one empty pump as contingency for backup. All the pumps were DMX controlled via a single channel and programmed and run from a ChamSys console.
It took six days to build the water vessel on site in Baku. The empty weight of the final piece was around three tonnes, and 12 tonnes of water were utilised for the performance.
It was pushed manually into show position via the 30m tracks by the stage crew. Once located, three hatches opened in the stage to allow the crew to hook up the water effects pumps and the two hoses to commence the water filling, via seven Harting connectors.
For the stunning Closing Ceremony (CC), the stage set was laid out in a grid referencing the geometric designs and precision that are characteristic of Islamic art and found in traditional Azerbaijan carpets. The water bowl was used again – assembled for a second time – and right beside it, centre stage was an impressive 27-metre tall Tree of Life.
The crown of the steel tree was 18 metres in diameter and its base measured 12 metres. It involved approximately 2,000 bolted connections, weighed a mighty 25 tonnes and needed 22 tonnes of ballast to ensure stability.
The bespoke base was constructed from elements of WI’s standard rental towers system with some special adaptations.
The tree was designed in eight sections, horizontally divided so they could be craned up and fixed on top of one another. Each section was in turn divided into 12 frames that also bolted together.
On site, it was assembled in two shifts. The first one saw the base frame of the tree built, and the upper crown complete with all the branches. The leaves were supplied by Stage One and these alone required a 24 hour shift to be attached to the upper crown!
In the second shift, the WI team built the roots, trunk and the water vessel, and then oversaw the most challenging aspect of the tree build – the crane lift of the eight tonne top section (upper crown), complete with leaves.
It had to be achieved in one lift, a truly impressive manoeuvre with some seriously expert crane handling, which saw many dropped jaws on site, even from the most seasoned technical and production personnel!
After that, the fabric materials and finishing were applied to the trunk.
The entire CC set was installed in just 36 hours, following the end of the final Athletics event on 20th May.
The CC was energised by a cast of 1,500 plus volunteers, with music performed by over 100 musicians with traditional and contemporary pieces written by Azerbaijani composers and six music acts who also helped celebrate the ten days of excellent sport.
The OC and CC were created by Betty Productions Ltd, led by director and executive producer, Catherine Ugwu and artistic director Nathan M. Wright. The production designer was Thanassis Demiris, lighting was designed by Adam Bassett and the visual content director was Richard Lindsay.
Says Yves: “As a company, WIcreations was extremely proud to be part of these two world class events, which united some of the best and most creative international technical talents available. It was a pleasure working with Betty Productions and their great team; we all enjoyed the challenges, the hard work, the brain-teasers and the amazing final results!”
21st June 2017
White Light Supports Rose Bruford Graduate Exhibition
UK – Rose Bruford College of Theatre and Performance is London’s International Drama School. Students from over 40 different countries study on the 15 different vocational and professional degree courses, with notable alumni including Gary Oldman, Hayley Squires and Tom Baker. Every year, the College hosts a Graduate Exhibition in order to give its graduating students a launchpad into the industry. Having worked with the College for over ten years now, White Light was called upon to provide the complete technical solutions.
This year’s Graduate Exhibition was named Beginner’s Call and took place at the Ugly Duck in central London. The head of production was Anthony Sammut, the production manager was Toscane Luckett whilst Sam Jackson was the technical manager. Sam states: “My role on the exhibition was to work closely with Ollie Brennan (technical supervisor) and oversee the technical elements. This was one of most ambitious showcases we’ve ever held, with the upper two floors showcasing our technical students’ work and the ground floor being used for four performances in rep. We chose the Ugly Duck as it’s quite an open venue and would allow us to showcase all of the students’ work.”
Sam had to create a technical infrastructure including a power and network system design that would not only work practically within that space but highlight the work on display. Sam comments: “We made several site visits down to the space to see how we could use it. It took us around six weeks of planning to finalise a design along with a kit list which we knew would be ideal for the exhibition. It was at this point we approached White Light.”
Working closely with WL’s senior hire co-ordinator Dan Last, Sam drew on an extensive range of WL’s technical equipment. Sam states: “We approached WL as we knew they were an organisation who could offer the complete technical solutions. As the showcase is attended by industry professionals whom our students are hoping to impress, we need the standards to be as high as possible”.
For the lighting, WL supplied Chroma Q Color Force 72 LED Battens, Rainbow Scrollers, Selecon Fresnels, Minuette Fresnels, ETC Source Four Juniors and Coemar Silver Parlites. These were all programmed on an ETC Ion 1K Console. Sam adds: “It was important that we had enough lighting for the actual exhibition itself and that we could highlight the work on display. However, we also had to ensure that the lighting designers working on the performances on the ground floor had enough options to achieve their vision.”
Sam also worked closely with Oscar Cotran, who was Head of Sound for the performances and drew on WL’s extensive audio inventory. Sam states: “We employed a Dante system which drew on EMS 51, 61 and 81 Loudspeakers, EMS 115 Sub Bass along with Shure Wireless Mics. This had a particular importance for the musical performances and it ensured that there was even audio coverage throughout the space.”
WL also supplied several the entire rigging system, which included Prolyte X30D and H30X trusses, along with Doughty Clamps, scaffold clamps and even sand bags!
Beginner’s Call ran from 14th - 17th June and the work on display came from seventy-nine students graduating from seven courses. With the Ugly Duck being in constant use, this meant that Sam and the team had a limited time to prepare for the event, despite the vast amount of equipment involved. He states: “We literally had two days in which to build the infrastructure, set up the equipment, drape off the dressing rooms, install the emergency lights along with a thousand and one other things! That’s why it was so vital to plan beforehand and assure that we had drawn on the most reliable technology.”
This marks another student showcase that WL has supported, having worked with Rose Bruford since 2004. Sam adds: “What was so great about WL is that they supplied all of the technical equipment. From the largest lighting fixtures to the cables to the speaker stands, they had absolutely everything we required. The service they provided was fantastic, the staff were extremely friendly and their equipment allowed our graduates to get the most out of their work.”
photos: Ben Wilkin, Michael O’Reilly, Sam Jackson and Alec Brand
21st June 2017
Sennheiser’s Team Connect Wireless Helps S&ME Consulting Achieve Meeting Success
USA – For S&ME, a consulting firm specialising in engineering, design, planning, environmental, and construction services for the built environment, strong communication with both clients and colleagues has long been a key to success. But with 36 offices across the United States and projects throughout the country including everything from hospitals to industrial plants to reservoir dams, many times staying in close contact means keeping in touch remotely.
S&ME uses Skype for Business to facilitate its online meetings, which have increased in number by 80% in recent years, but poor audio quality was a nagging issue for the company. To resolve it, technology director Chris Headley turned to Sennheiser’s Team Connect Wireless to raise the bar for inter-office conferencing.
With S&ME’s old conferencing system, any meeting participants not in close physical proximity to a microphone were unlikely to be heard. Headley also noted that in meetings of six or more participants, incoming audio was often unintelligible. These problems came to a head when S&ME CEO Randy Neuhaus delivered a clear marching order to Headley: “We have to solve the audio issue.”
Headley needed a solution for the company’s mid-sized conference rooms that could handle up to 24 participants with far better sound pickup and distribution. At first it seemed like there was nothing suitable in the market, which was overrun with expensive hard-wired systems that were complicated to use and inflexible. Fortunately, at an AV conference organized by S&ME’s AV service provider, Whitlock, Headley was introduced to Sennheiser’s TeamConnect Wireless mobile conference solution.
TeamConnect Wireless is the first portable wireless conference system for online meetings. Designed as a turnkey audio solution, it is exceptionally easy to set up and use and is both compact and flexible. It also delivers crisp speech and high-grade audio that helps make online meetings more natural and productive. An attractive modern aesthetic ties the whole package together, including a touch sensitive glass control panel that lets you connect and control online meetings with ease and style.
After witnessing a demonstration by a Sennheiser representative, Headley was impressed with the features, sound quality, and ease of use of the system. “It was exactly what I was looking for, “ he says. He gleaned additional confidence from his existing familiarity with the Sennheiser from first-hand experience with other Sennheiser products, including microphones.
Sennheiser provided Headley with an opportunity to test the TeamConnect Wireless system on-site at S&ME without obligation. He seized the opportunity, and it quickly led to a decision to purchase a TeamConnect Wireless Case Set featuring four satellites units and facilitating up to 24 participant conferences.
The results have been convincing. With TeamConnect Wireless, now S&ME employees are ready to conference anywhere at any time. A member of S&ME’s IT department simply brings the set in its convenient carry case to the relevant meeting room, then effortlessly connects it to the PC, notebook, tablet, or smartphone located therein. With NFC enabled Bluetooth Wireless as well as USB/3.5 mm jack, TeamConnect Wireless can interfaces effectively with a wide range of host systems.
“It takes between 30 and 60 seconds to set up,” Headley says. “It’s really very easy. Anyone can do it,” and though his department administers each setup for the time being, he foresees a day where users will be able to set up and connect the set themselves.
Most importantly for Headley, any audio quality issues with their previous system have been completely resolved by TeamConnect Wireless. Both incoming and outgoing audio is crystal clear. That means meeting participants are now able to hear and be heard better than ever, and with TeamConnect Wireless’s six person per satellite capacity, large meetings are easily accommodated with a minimal footprint.
The build quality also gives Headley confidence that his TeamConnect Wireless Case Set will be helping conduct successful meetings for years to come. “The good design and nice finish both leave a strong impression,” he says. “It feels solid and full of quality.” He also appreciates the highly functional case design, which both automatically powers down the satellites when they are stored within it and displays battery charge level at all times, in addition to making them easy to transport.
Neuhas has added his voice to those championing TeamConnect Wireless, grateful that his erstwhile audio concerns have been alleviated. "The ease of use and true portability of the TeamConnect Wireless will yield a lot of value for us,” he says. “We had struggled to get good audio with our larger rooms in the past, but this system should make me a rock star with management.”
Though TeamConnect Wireless has only been deployed at the company’s main headquarters in Raleigh, Headley says plans are already underway to acquire more sets for Raleigh and elsewhere, including some of the new two-satellite Tray-M sets for smaller meeting rooms. Headley is also still discovering new useful implementations of the versatile system all the time, including using it to stream Christmas music to multiple rooms at this year’s Christmas party. “I suspect the Sennheiser developers did not anticipate this particular application scenario,” he jokes.
21st June 2017
Cosmic Trigger at The Cockpit Theatre
UK – The Cockpit Theatre in Marylebone, London has just completed a three-week run of Robert Anton Wilson’s play, Cosmic Trigger, which was directed by Daisy Campbell and produced by The Cockpit Theatre.
Dave Wybrow, artistic director at The Cockpit contacted PRG XL Video for help in solving a video projection conundrum they encountered whilst planning to stage Cosmic Trigger. Dave discussed the challenges they faced, bringing their creative visions to life: “We’d wanted to produce Cosmic Trigger at The Cockpit for a long time, I’m not only a huge fan of Robert Anton Wilson, but also the 70s' American counter-culture he represents so well. Cosmic Trigger is a complicated piece to produce, it’s basically a play within a play within a play and is more a play about ideas than it is about characters. Previous productions have been presented in an end-on staging format, with projection on the three walls visible by the audience. However, because of the unique layout of The Cockpit, it became clear very early on that we would have to stage Cosmic Trigger in the round because that’s the best use of the space, and we’d be able to sell more seats, thus increasing the production budget and ensuring we could afford everything we needed.”
“The story of Cosmic Trigger is told not only by the character’s actions and dialogue on stage, but also by the projection; a host of videographers, artists and animators have been involved with the project. As soon as we realised we needed to project onto four surfaces rather than three, we recognised that we needed some help for a professional video projection company who specialise in working with theatres.”
Nilkanth Patel, video project manager for PRG XL, described the projection solution we provided: “We supplied a QLab media server system running off of Apple Mac Pro towers, which was stationed backstage and included a back-up system to cover the eventuality of any system failure. To connect the media server to each projector, we used Lightware TPS-TX95 signal extenders, and a Modex keyboard video mouse (KVM), so the video technicians were able to operate the media server from the front of house position. We provided a media server programmer to load all the content into QLab and configure the outputs, then left it with the capable technicians at The Cockpit Theatre.”
The Cockpit was built in 1972 and is a purpose built, stand-alone, 'black box' theatre with an 11-metre square auditorium which can be configured in the round or as a thrust stage. It is independently run, and is owned by the City of Westminster College, who maintain the building as custodians. Although there are no longer any college courses run at The Cockpit, education still plays a large part in the programming of the venue, in the form of classes and courses for professional development, as well as hosting many other productions for emerging companies, rather than beginner companies, who are looking to move forward with the scale and professionalism of their current productions. Dave describes The Cockpit as: “A theatre of ideas and disruptive panache.”
Dave commented on working with PRG XL: “As soon as I spoke with Nilkanth and connected him with my production team, it was clear that PRG XL not only knew their stuff video-wise, but are also very experienced at dealing with theatrical productions; they understood our needs and found the most effective solution to our projection conundrum, from both a budget and practicality perspective.”
Peter Marshall, director of Theatre for the UK market at PRG XL, said: “Working with fringe theatre is very important to PRG XL. We are well known for working on the big shows like Mamma Mia and Wicked, amongst many others; but we are just as passionate about supporting fringe venues and emerging talent, as it is from this pool that the next big things will come from.”
21st June 2017
Making a Great Impression
Belgium – Tegen de Sterren Op (TDSO) is a highly popular, hilariously funny slickly presented TV series on Flemish commercial channel VTM that uncompromisingly satirises and sends up politicians, celebrities and anyone else on the ‘fair game’ radar, all in the name of incisive entertainment by a very talented cast.
Of course, there is also an equally talented production team behind this success, including creative practice Painting with Light, who were tasked with designing a completely new set together with lighting and video.
They worked on the set elements with scenic specialist Deusjevoo, their near neighbours at Genk’s C-MINE complex. It was a visual concept that brought an urban chic feel to the seventh TDSO series, also delivering dynamic lighting and video.
The show was recorded in the NEP Studios in Londerzeel with a live audience and was produced by Dedsit.
Two interconnected stages were positioned at 90 degrees to one another, with a catwalk in between going out into the audience, which sat each side of the runway and at the back of the room, ensuring the look stayed contemporary, whilst giving everyone a very close-up and personal ‘stand-up’ feel. The key was to make the space very flexible.
The set walls were constructed from corrugated wood panels and lit with 322 integrally mounted two-metre SGM LT-200 LED graphic tubes. These comprise two sides of 54 LEDs giving a 35mm pitch, which can be DMX controlled and mapped. They back-lit and highlighted the set highly effectively, setting the tone for the wide range of sketches and skits unfolding on stage.
Luc had used the LT-200s before on a musical project, so he knew they were an interesting and adaptable fixture. In conjunction with the wooden set panels, they were a perfect solution for both for lighting the set and creating jazzy, eye-candy effects when needed.
The main stage featured two projection screens. When a narrow stage was needed, an electric roll-up front projection screen nine metres wide by five high came down and the action took place in front, with the screen acting as a digital backdrop. When rolled up, it revealed the full depth of the stage behind, complete with an upstage projection screen measuring 11metres wide by six high, which was back projected. Both screens were in 16:9 perspective.
The front screen was also used as a general display or IMAG for the audience and allowed quick scene changeovers to take place behind.
The screen projections were produced using three Christie 18K Roadster machines, one for the front, and a double stacked pair at the back.
Lighting also had to be versatile, fluid and properly multi-purpose, so Luc specified 36 Robe Pointes, 24 Vari*Lite 3500Q (quiet) Spots, 48 Phlippo URC 210 Zooms (a proprietary unit from lighting and video vendor Phlippo Showlight) 24 Claypaky Alpha Spot 1500s and 24 Claypaky Sharpy Washes.
“There was a lot of space and numerous different scenarios to cover,” explained Luc: “So every light had to be able to multi-task!”
In addition to these he added 18 2kW Fresnels, 29 halogen PARs and 36 LED PARs to the rig.
Most of the lighting was rigged in the studio roof to keep the floor clean and clear. They made use of the house trussing grip and positioned spots and washes all over this to get the best coverage across the entire set, and also added two trusses that could be moved into higher or lower positions to facilitate further options.
Ten of the Robe Pointes and 14 URC power-LED strips were ‘floating’ fixtures available to deploy on the deck as and where needed.
Every two-weekly recording day was preceded by a production and creative brainstorming session a week before, an intense period where the director, video, lighting and sound departments all pitched ideas for how each sketch should be delivered. At the end of it they had a list of technical add-ons for every episode like lasers, smoke, pyrotechnics, etc. all of which Painting with Light would order, co-ordinate and integrate into the show.
There would then be one day of rehearsals without cameras, one day with cameras and one official show day where they shot two episodes – one take straight through to get it as ‘live’ as possible – which were broadcast a few days later.
Luc comments that this is a challenging but very inspiring and invigorating way to work. “Teamwork is essential, and we are all working and thinking spontaneously and on our feet because the director is expecting ideas to flow super-quickly! It is quite an adrenalin hit!”
Painting with Light supplied the lighting and video control package. Paco Mispelters was the lighting director and the lights were programmed onto a grandMA2 by Jeroen Opsteyn. The Pandora’s Box media servers were programmed by Painting with Light’s Katleen Selleslagh, while video content was created by Bart Tauwenberg from New Solid.
21st June 2017
Tripping the Spiiders Web
Israel – Tel Aviv-based Light Architects Cochavi & Klein are known for their style and propensity for invention, and they are also really impressed with Robe’s Spiider LED wash beams!
The leading designers seized the opportunity of the ‘Picnic Passover with Black Coffee’, a pumping electronic music event presented by The Tripping in Tel Aviv’s most famous urban oasis, Hayarkon Park, to utilise 48 Spiiders and 24 Robe Pointes on a circular trussing structure, forming a massive ‘sun’, which was winched above the crowds on a crane.
The sold-out event featured incendiary sets from award-winning, rising-star South African DJ and music producer Black Coffee, plus DJs Jenia Tersol & Benji. They, together with a hugely enthusiastic audience, enjoyed the unique setting of the park, which is known for its magical aura and ancient rocks brought from all over Israel, including yellow sand rocks from Mount Hermon, reportedly over 70 million years old!
These rocks provided a perfect backdrop to the show. The Tripping is also known for its staging concept of having a large VIP area around the DJ booth that promotes harmony, inclusion, peace and encourages positive energy and connection between humanity and the environment.
Eran Klein explains that taking all this into consideration, together with Oren Heknin mastermind of The Tripping group: “We all dreamed about creating our own artificial sun that would rise behind the DJ booth and create a focal point for the party.”
Cochavi & Klein were one of the first design practices to use Spiiders when they arrived in Israel via distributors Danor at the end of 2016 after their launch a couple of months earlier. In fact they debuted the idea of a circular structure loaded with Spiiders at an indoor event at Tel Aviv’s Hangar 11 the end of the year, which was a huge success.
Since then, they had been wanting to make it larger and even more striking and here was the perfect opportunity!
For obvious reasons, they needed lightweight fixtures and ones that provided the right dynamics and functionality to sustain the vibes and excitement so essential to dance music.
Three concentric circles of trussing at 8m 5m 2m diameters were cross braced by 12 four-metre scaffolding poles to make the sun skeleton rigid. The Spiiders and Pointes were rigged on the front and back rails of the trussing circles in an alternating pattern for balance.
Forty-eight blinders were also rigged on the structure between the Spiiders and Pointes to create a classic warm halogen feeling that contrasted with the LEDs.
The 'sun' was lifted in to place behind the DJ booth using a 66 metre high crane and trimmed at 20 metres so the lights on it had to throw at least 30 metres to the dance floor and audience and still be powerful and effective.
The Spiiders were run in extended mode and pixel-mapped through an MA VPU media server allowing Eran and his team to create an entire new world of looks and effects with video treatments.
The single pixel functionality of the Spiider and the flower effect is “super cool” says Eran, “this added a very nice twist to the show even at that throw distance!”
He continues that they “absolutely love the colour system, the sharp fast optics and wide range zoom” of the fixtures which helped create different ambiences throughout the show.
“Spiiders are probably the best moving LED fixtures of their class on the market today,” he concluded.
In addition to that, eight BMFL Spots were mounted on vertical truss towers positioned in an arch upstage of the DJ booth adding depth to the stage and extra punch to the dance floor.
Early in the evening, the audience had the impression that these back BMFLs were in fact the main lighting rig, so the surprise element was maximised when the sun burst into action!
Another four BMFL spots were located behind the hill throwing backlight across the entire scene and making magnificent silhouettes of the rocks.
For key lighting the DJ booth two PATT 2013s aside brought a warm tungsten glow and their distinctive shape also assisted photographers in getting a nice background in which to frame their artist shots.
Lighting was controlled using a grandMA2 system, programmed by Omer Israeli for Cochavi & Klein, the lighting crew chief was Dor Aichner and stage manager was Itay Harpaz
Lighting and audio equipment for the event was supplied by Argaman Systems, one of Israel’s leading production and rental companies. Structures and trussing came from Stage Design, lasers from Saar Lasers and the crane was provided by Dror Cranes.
photos: Yosi Mamia and Albert Lalamaiev
20th June 2017
Bonnaroo Parties with Bandit Lites Again
USA – The Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival returned to the 700 acre field known affectionately as “The Farm” with more than 65,000 in attendance in search of good vibes and great music. Bandit Lites was asked by Lambda Productions to provide a lighting package for multiple stages, the iconic Tower at Bonnaroo, along with several floor packages for artists in attendance.
This year’s line-up of more than 100 acts included U2, Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Weeknd, Chance the Rapper, Major Lazer, Flume, Lorde, The XX, Travis Scott, Cage the Elephant, Marshmello and The Head and the Heart.
U2’s show designer, Willie Williams, designed the main stage festival system for U2’s immense show on Friday night. It was then dropped, re-hung and re-configured for the acts to use on Saturday and Sunday.
“Willie’s design had a similar flavor to their current touring system in stadiums,” said Bandit production manager Dizzy Gosnell. “Lots of tungsten DWEs and scrollers on the Atomics and very high trims to allow for the 40ft high video screens. For a variety of reasons we decided to re-configure most of the lights and trusses over the stage after U2. It was Willies design tuned to U2’s needs and made total sense for their show, but some of the real estate in the air was needed on the following days by the Chili Peppers, Chance the Rapper and the Weeknd, all bringing their own large flown elements for their shows.”
Lighting for the main stage consisted of nearly one hundred Martin MAC Viper Profiles, Robe BMFLs, Martin Atomic 3000 Strobes and scrollers, Lycian M2 Spots, Lightning Strikes, and two grandMA 2 full consoles for control.
“The massive permanent Bonnaroo main stage can hang a battleship, so being able to fly a 21,000 lb video wall upstage, Red Hot Chili Peppers’ rig, Chance’s rig, the Bandit system and the full sound package at the same time was a testament to that roof,” added Gosnell. “It really helped for the logistics. Looking at the large elements for the three days on paper on my desk it was a lot like playing Tetris. It was nice to be able to work with Jake Berry and Willie again on this show, U2’s second ever festival which was both amazing to me and cool.”
The Which Stage, Bonnaroo’s second stage, saw artists such as Major Lazer, Travis Scott and Tove Lo, and needed to allow space for additional lighting, scenic designs and pyro, while still giving all other acts bold looks no matter what time of day they performed.
Bandits system for the Which Stage included dozens of VL fixtures, Claypaky Sharpys, Claypaky Mythos, Solaris Flares and various grandMA 2 full desks at FoH.
In addition to the stage lighting, Bandit Lites also supplied Major Lazer a floor package featuring Martin MAC Auras, Claypaky Mythos, Solaris Flares, Tove Lo’s floor package of VL 3000 Spots and Elation Color Chorus 72s, along with a floor package for Travis Scott’s with additional Martin MAC Auras, MAC 2000 Washes, MAC III Profiles and Solaris Flares.
“Hadden Hippsley and his crew of Marc Immerman on the main stage and Joe Gordon on the Which stage were so good to work with,” said Diz, “but massive thanks, kudos and a polite golf clap must go to our crew of Ryan Waldron, Shawn Worlow, Elizabeth Weller, Michelle Saintey, Wayne Lotoza, Chase Strickland, Craig Richter, Sam Morgan, Savannah Harden, Scott Wesson and Patrick Sieg. They worked their socks off for seven days making this all happen, while Gene Brian, back with Bandit again after a sabbatical, was tireless in the shop as project manager.”
20th June 2017
VME Conjures up MLA Magic on the Fly at Hopetoun House
UK – Having successfully produced Edinburgh’s first open air dance festival for the Fly Club in the city centre’s Princes Street Gardens last Autumn, alongside sister company Creation Live, Martin Audio partners VME moved to the outskirts of the Scottish capital, and the spectacular 6500-acre Hopetoun House Estate overlooking the River Forth, for the second Fly Open Air Festival.
Unlike the fixed Princes Street bandstand a festival infrastructure needed to be created in the grounds of the 17th century mansion and sound levels closely observed, a challenge that Martin Audio’s award-winning MLA Multi-cellular Loudspeaker Array was more than equal to.
“The scaffolding structure didn't help us, we couldn't get the height we wanted, which created a number of physical challenges,” admitted VME head of sound, Mark Cleator. “This required some late changes to the loudspeaker array.”
But the company is used to working on the fly (no pun intended) and the reduction to two hangs of four MLAs per side, flown off the scaff and bolstered by an MLD downfill on the stage lip to provide front fill coverage, was without compromise.
VME’s skill was in in the way they created a broadside cardioid ground array of nine MLX subs, seven forward facing and two reverse, to optimise the levels without threatening thresholds. This enabled VME to crank up the levels for artists such as Artwork, Bicep, Midland, Denis Sulta, Hunee, and Fly resident La La.
“As a result the rejection was really good,” said Cleator, who system teched the event while VME’s Oliver Fallon mixed the sound. “Without that rear rejection the turntables would simply have bounced around on a stage that needed to be underpropped.”
Concerns about shaking the windows of the 17th century mansion were allayed by the clever way in which the sound was tapered off in the Martin Audio Display software towards the perimeter, without the need to use the Hard Avoid function.
“We delivered sound at an SPL of 95dB(A) to the concession areas back to the road but were able to maintain 100dB(A) in the main arena,” said Mark. Meanwhile, his off site readings showed just 57dB(A) at the rear point of the properties estate, whilst it was 70dB at the front which faces the bridges (the majority of this low end).
Tom Whittle who worked with promoter Tom Ketley to deliver the event from a production and logistical point of view said, “Once again I was impressed by Martin Audio’s MLA product; it delivered a good coverage whilst giving the central audience a very high level for an outdoor event.
“Headliners Bicep passed comment that they thought it was among the loudest and highest quality systems they had played on.”
Thus MLA had the dual purpose of satisfying both the 4,000 dance aficionados attending the sell-out event, the local environment requirements, and of course the landlords, Hopetoun House.
As for the promoters, they were so impressed they have rebooked Creation Live and VME for their next event this Autumn, back at the Princes Street Gardens Bandstand.
20th June 2017
Ricky Martin Spanish tour underlines advantages of DiGiCo consoles
Europe – For Ricky Martin’s monitor engineer, Steve May, DiGiCo consoles hold two big advantages: their I/O capacity – which means he never worries about running out of inputs or outputs – and the ability to switch seamlessly between consoles in the range. Both have made life easier as he and front of house engineer Chris ‘Privet’ Hedge travel around Spain and Portugal on the current leg of Ricky Martin’s tour.
Running from 22nd May to 11th June, the tour has taken in many of the major cities in Spain, including Madrid, Granada, Valencia, Seville, Barcelona, as well as the Portuguese capital of Lisbon, and finishes in Bilbao. Three rental companies are supplying equipment, with PRG Spain and Llusovi each handling six shows and Fluge two. The equipment inventory varies from company to company and although Steve specifies an SD7, depending on availability, he has used both this and an SD5 as his monitor console, whilst Privet has been able to use his preferred SD10 throughout.
“I’ve been using DiGiCo consoles pretty much continually for the past ten years,” says Steve. “I like the way racks work, the sonic quality of the consoles and the way the inputs and outputs work, you can put channels anywhere you want to on the board.
“I originally specified the SD7 for Ricky because of the number of inputs and outputs it has available. As well as touring, he’s been a judge on the Spanish, Mexican and Australian versions of The Voice, so it’s really useful to have enough capacity to leave scope for guests on the show.
In general, Steve has around 95 inputs and 64 outputs that include vocals – both main and backing – drums, guitars, bass, percussion and keyboards, as well as effects, his Pro Tools rig, and comms. He uses no outboard effects, relying solely on those onboard the console.
“There isn’t much rehearsal on this tour, so having a familiar board is always a big help,” he continues. “Ricky likes to do duets with guest artists. Sometimes it happens, sometimes it doesn’t, but you can guarantee that if I didn’t allocate the channels, it would. That’s another reason why the capacity of the console is important.
“I always try to keep things as simple as possible, because when you swap between consoles it makes things less complicated. When you’re using the software to convert from one console to anther – in this case the SD7 to the SD5 – and you have to take channels off, there are always bits you forget to do, so I try to reduce the risk of that happening to a minimum. However, this isn’t a complicated show, so I don’t have masses of cues.”
Each show is recorded using via a DiGiGridM recording interface, with the video and Pro Tools engineers taking an audio recording from Privet, allowing them to add videos to Ricky’s website and social media sites.
In terms of wear and tear on equipment, the tour has been gruelling, with bad roads between venues and dusty bull rings on the itinerary.
“The equipment is all really good and has performed extremely well, but the climate alone has taken its toll,” says Steve. “All the rental companies are great though, and anything that needs replacing gets replaced. I’ve also had a bit help from DiGiCo due to a network problem. Having a direct line to people I know and being able to talk it through on the phone is invaluable.”
photos: Leandro V Comisarenco
20th June 2017
Meeting de Paris Indoor Gets Impactful Looks with Chauvet Professional
France – The Accor Hotel has played host to its share of high profile sporting events, such as the World Indoor Athletics Championships. Recently, the 18,000 capacity venue was the site of another sports spectacular as it welcomed the Meeting de Paris Indoor, a one day track and field event that featured some of France’s top Olympic athletes such as Kevin Mayer and Renaud Lavillenie. French production house Franck Sono provided suitably energetic visuals for the meet with a collection of Chauvet Professional fixtures supplied by Algam.
A total of 15 Maverick Hybrids, 16 Rogue R1 FX-Bs, 15 R1 Beams and 18 Nexus 5x5 fixtures lent added impact to the competition by creating a variety of impactful, and often contrasting looks throughout the venue. This was especially evident at the main podium, which was the centre of spectator and media attention.
To illuminate the central focal point of the entire stadium – a podium complete with red carpet for the winner’s award ceremonies – Algam supplied a matrix of Nexus 5x5 fixtures complemented by two rows of Rogue R1 FX-B fixtures lining the red carpet.
“As the podium was particularly crucial to the overall visual concept of the event, it was decided upon a combination of fixtures to provide interesting contrast and energy,” commented David Deforge, chief of production at Algam. “The resulting synergy between the Rogue R1 FX-B and the Nexus fixtures looked spectacular.”
By positioning the fixtures in two parallel rows, the R1 FX-B’s infinite rotation of both pan and tilt with five individually controllable heads resulted in dazzling multifaceted award ceremony worthy visuals.
In contrast, the Nexus fixtures made up the visual backdrop to the podium itself thanks to their pixel mappable quadratic shape. The fixtures were used heavily during the award ceremony itself where the saturated colours of the RGBW quad LEDs provided interesting eye candy both as a stand-alone fixture and when used in conjunction with the Rogue R1 FX-B.
Another central element to lighting concept were the selection of Maverick MK1 Hybrid and Rogue R1 Beam fixtures, which served to provide punchy aerial effects around the stadium during the various athletic events, including the 60-metre sprint, hurdles and pole vault.
“We wanted to achieve pulsating looks throughout the stadium to provide accentuation to key moments on the track,” commented Deforge. “With the beam, spot and wash combination of the Maverick and Rogue fixtures, we were able to create some extremely strong looks to accompany the events.”
Six Maverick MK1 Hybrid fixtures were positioned behind the six starting blocks behind the 60-metre track with a further nine fixtures placed strategically around the upper tier of the stadium. The Maverick’s multi-facet prisms, versatile gobo wheels and excellent zoom produced a seemingly endless array of beam and spot punches, with long powerful throws assured thanks to the 440W Osram light source.
Flown from upper tier trussing in the stadium, the Rogue R1 Beams performed a variety of functions, including providing complementary side lighting and further aerial effects to work in unison with the Maverick fixtures. Thanks to the RGBW fixture’s wide zoom angle of 12°-49°, an incredibly wide area of coverage was assured for all manner of looks during the various track and field events.
While Parisians may have waited almost seven years for an indoor athletics event of this calibre, the combination of world-class athletes and first class production guaranteed a memorable occasion for spectators, ensured in no small part by the inclusion of the Chauvet Professional fixtures in Franck Sono’s lighting concept.
20th June 2017
LED Creative Pulse Wands help create the look for The Late Late Show London run
UK – Illumination specialist LED Creative supported set designer Rudi Thackray and lighting director Gurdip Mahal, in helping set the scene for James Corden and The Late Late Show’s recent visit to London.
Filmed in front of a live studio audience, The Late Late Show transferred it’s regular format of star guests, sketches and musical performance from its US home for a run of shows at Central Hall Westminster. Maintaining the general feel of the US show, Rudi Thackray’s fabulously vibrant set, shrouded in fluorescent pinks and blues, was a perfect backdrop to the show, contrasting perfectly against the grandiose surroundings of the venue.
One of the key features in the design was the inclusion of over 40 LED Creative Sigma Pulse Wands, cleverly placed throughout the set to provide ultra convenient, colour shape and movement. Quick to install and easy to control, Pulse Wands are Part of the LED Creative Sigma range offering precise, individual pixel accuracy controlled either directly from a lighting console or pixel mapping via a media server. Available as pre-packaged comprehensive rental kits, the system proved the ideal solution to complement the neon-like effervescence of the Westminster Hall installation.
Speaking about the production, LED Creative director Adam Howard commented: “We were delighted to be able to be part of such a high profile production. Rudi created an incredible setting for the show which was beautifully lit by Gurdip Mahal and his crew. The team certainly succeeded in transforming the venue and delivering a stunning look to the entire show.”
20th June 2017
Compact dLive Tours with Northlane
Europe – Popular Australian progressive rock band, Northlane, is currently travelling the European festival circuit with an ultra-compact dLive system from Allen & Heath to manage both FoH and monitor sound.
“I’ve come straight over from two years on a dLive S Class S5000/DM64 system on monitors with Bring me the Horizon, and wanted to keep the same workflow with Northlane,” explains engineer, Jared Daly. “As the band are from Australia, their gear is nearly always in a fly-in configuration; everything is in custom wooden racks that slot into fly-able pelican cases that all weigh 32kg. For this reason, the band decided to purchase the C1500 Surface and DM48 MixRack to manage both FoH and monitors.”
The C1500 is equipped with a Waves network card to allow virtual sound-checks and live recordings of all the band’s performances.
“The dLive surface is small enough to fly anywhere we need, and we had a custom Scott Dixon case built for it so it can be wheeled anywhere with ease,” explains Daly.
A DM48 rack was selected on stage for the ability to add input channels when needed, and to have dual power redundancy. The band pair a Macbook Air with the Rack on stage and use the Director control software to run their own monitor mixes, gain sharing but with separate FoH and monitor channels.
“With the use of Soft keys, the band have found navigating the software during the show very easy, and if something requires my attention, I have a scene set up to load the monitor input faders to the C1500 and I can manage their mixes directly from FoH.”
19th June 2017
Colourblind on the Road with Hog4 and Green Hippo
Australia – Melbourne-based lighting and production company Colourblind is having a huge 2017, with lighting director Nicholas Beachen out on the road using High End Systems Hog 4 on the Hot Dub Wine Machine tour through March and April, and the company’s new Hippotizer Karst and Portamus media servers joining Melbourne hip-hop artist Illy as he traverses the country at the same time.
DJ Tom Loud’s genre-and time-spanning Hot Dub Time Machine has been a regular gig for Colourblind’s Nicholas Beachen for three years. But December 2016 saw the birth of a new concept from the artist, a curated, boutique festival that debuted at Serafino Winery in South Australia’s McLaren Vale. Gloriously named ‘Hot Dub Wine Machine’, the concept of combining a bill of bands and DJs with gourmet food and wine and a strictly limited number of tickets in an idyllic setting was a huge success. So much so that a mere two months later, a national tour was underway.
Starting in Tasmania’s Huon Valley on 4th March and ending in Western Australia’s Swan Valley on 8th April, Hot Dub Wine Machine takes in five of Australia’s iconic wine regions, accompanied by party-starting acts like Pnau, Confidence Man, and Miami Horror, all culminating in a two-hour Hot Dub Time Machine set. Nicholas is running the whole light show on High End Systems flagship Hog 4. “I find the Hog 4 easy to use because of things like the rate wheel, that changes everything completely,” Nicholas reported. “I’m running the latest software with the new speed control ‘Batches’. Having two screens with the 48 Soft-Keys around them makes doing the things you need to do a lot easier. I will always try use a Hog 4 full-size console first.”
“I have a Hog4 show file I’ve been using on multiple different hot dub tours for the last year or so, every once in a while, I will start this file again,” Nicholas continued. “Tom (Hot Dub) plays roughly 350 songs in his set. I’ve programmed the whole show before and it was actually quite confusing, but now I ‘busk it with intention’. It’s a heavy show to operate, he plays for two hours on this tour. When I get to a show, I know the things I need for Hot Dub cues, and I can create them very quickly with the Hog. People get too caught up in the tech and the tricks of consoles, and can lose sight of the end result. I try to focus on getting the lights looking good, and the Hog 4 helps me achieve that quickly and easily.”
When on tour, Nicholas is accompanied by Colourblind’s High End Systems Nano wing and MiniWing 4, the portable control unit that he connects to Hog 4 PC via USB. “I travel with it everywhere I go,” confirmed Nicholas. “So I can use it to do previs in my hotel room or use it to control smaller shows that I can’t get a console for. Who really wants to be on site late at night programming anyway?”
Meanwhile, Colourblind have purchased Green Hippo Karst hardware Media Servers and Green Hippo Portamus software. Their first outing was on ARIA Award-winning rapper Illy’s ‘Two Degrees” Australian tour, kicking off in Fremantle 25th March, and ending five cities later in Brisbane on 8th April. The 2-RU Hippotizer Karst includes two HD-SDI outputs and DisplayPort 1.2 connectivity, giving Colourblind the ability to drive 4K displays with a single cable. Green Hippo’s Portamus software is designed to run on an Apple Macbook Pro, with all the tools necessary to perform world-class events, and includes all the well-loved features from the Hippotizer V4 range. They were also then used on the Australian Logie Awards in April.
Colourblind enjoy a close relationship with Australian and New Zealand High End Systems and Green Hippo distributor Lexair Entertainment, back by their unbeatable pre and post-sales support.
19th June 2017
Elation Lights on Skinny Puppy “Down the Sociopath” European Tour
Europe – Canadian industrial band Skinny Puppy might not be mainstream airplay but the band has been around for decades and is currently touring Europe beneath an intelligent lighting rig that includes Elation Professional ACL 360 Bar effect lights and SixBar 1000 LED colour-changing battens.
Pioneers of the electro-industrial genre, Skinny Puppy, known for their theatrical and sometimes controversial live performances, enjoys a dedicated following and has charted in both North America and Europe. They are currently out on the European leg of their “Down the Sociopath” tour, which runs until 16th June.
Lighting has been designed and is under the direction of Eric Price (Thrice, Underoath, Bayside), who, although working with the group for the first time, has meshed with the band to create a design that complements the band’s complex and layered sound. “For the Skinny Puppy design, everything needed to be angular since they wanted to incorporate a triangle projection screen right in the centre of the stage,” Price says of the design, describing his overall approach as 'textured'. “I try to put a lot of emphasis on visual depth and maximize what is available on a day to day basis at venues.”
Price says that initially he was using the ACL 360 Bar RGBW moving bar effects as a “third level” ancillary fixture. “But once the band and myself saw them on stage, everyone got ideas for ways to make them more of a focus over the course of the show,” he said. “I'm able to mimic the shape of the projection screen while also creating windows of negative space, so you can still see the musicians upstage on the risers.”
The ACL 360 Bars are hung on 6' truss towers mid stage left and right and can also be used as side light for the downstage musicians. “I love the infinite pan and tilt capabilities of the fixture. So fun to play around with,” Price says, referring to the ACL 360 Bar’s continuous 360-degree rotation. “The band and I are extremely pleased with them!”
Skinny Puppy live shows are visual treats and because the band’s lead singer uses a lot of masks and paint throughout the set, Price needed a UV option to make those elements stand out. “The SixBar 1000 fixtures are extremely important and the UV option is a huge advantage on this design,” he said of the one-metre long multi-purpose LED battens with six-colour LED multi-chip (RGBWA+UV). “We’ve placed two fixtures on the downstage deck left and right (four total). They also give us a great general side wash. The SixBars make for a perfect contrast when venues have a more traditional front colour wash.”
The band gave the designer some very basic direction on what they wanted to see lighting-wise, which meant he was allowed to experiment and do what he thought worked best. “Fortunately, they liked what they saw!” Price says, and thanks Skinny Puppy for the opportunity to work with them. “It’s a great band and crew, who have been an absolute pleasure to work with!”
The entire lighting package for the Skinny Puppy European tour was provided by VER, which Price co-ordinated via VER shops in Chicago and London. “The fixtures have been outstanding! No complaints,” he says. Price thanks Terry Heisler from VER Chicago and all the VER staff “for all the help putting together everything I needed.”
photos: Alex Jung and Dani Vorndran