Production News Headlines
White Light Supports Jo Cox Tribute Event in Batley
UK – The Batley and Spen Youth Theatre Company was recently set up to celebrate and pay tribute to the life of the late Jo Cox, MP for the constituency. Its aim was to create a lasting legacy in the town which will benefit young people for many years to come. Its inaugural project was a three week event led by a West End creative team which included a performance of Jo’s favourite musical Les Misérables, using an entire local cast. In support of the project, White Light provided the lighting equipment.
The project was entitled Hear the People Sing and celebrates the values that Jo stood for: togetherness, collaboration, comradeship and equality. The performances of Les Misérables were made possible by Cameron Mackintosh generously granting the rights for free. The creative team included renowned director Nick Evans, producer Donna Munday, musical director Steve Moss and choreographer Julie Hobday. The lighting designer was Tim van ’t Hof, who comments: “I was asked in March to come on board and I didn’t think twice about saying yes! It sounded like a really exciting project, one that I was honoured to be part of, and all for a brilliant cause.”
Tim flew over from New York in April where he attended a week’s worth of workshops as the local cast were selected and put through their paces. Tim adds: “I had never actually seen a live performance of Les Misérables (something I probably shouldn’t admit!). However, it meant that I could approach the show from a completely fresh perspective; something that was ideal with the bespoke nature of this piece.”
Rather than have the performances take place in an existing theatre, the company transformed the Oxfam Wastesaver warehouse in Batley into a traverse theatrical venue, with the Oxfam charity partnering the project. Tim explains: “Initially we were planning to perform in a renovated mill, but for several reasons, we had to transfer this to a venue three times the size only a few weeks before the load-in! That said, the most special thing was that we were in the heart of Jo’s town."
From a production perspective, Tim had to design a show for an ensemble of 60 people, with a 14 strong West End orchestra on a stage of 25m wide and 10m deep and audience members on both sides. He explains: "I was lucky that WL so generously jumped in and proved to be extremely helpful by giving me access to their extensive inventory. A key idea in my design was big stage filling directional lighting to transform the space and give dimension to our world of Les Misérables. That said, I always wanted to have the adaptability to focus on the individual to highlight the more human elements of a show about revolution.”
As a result, Tim positioned 7m high lighting towers on the four corners of the stage, on which sat six ETC Source Four Pars with Scrollers. He explains: "I needed output, full stage coverage and the feel of light coming from one direction.” He used a range of Claypaky Sharpy Washes, VL1000 ASs and Martin Quantum Washes to sculpt the scenery and shape the more intimate moments. There were also four followspots to highlight individuals in bigger ensemble scenes. He adds: “Despite us literally having only a few days to set up in this empty warehouse space, we wanted to ensure that this had the same feel and quality as a West End production, which we all knew would be a fitting tribute to Jo’s memory.”
Tim and his team spent two days in technical rehearsals and he worked closely with programmer Tom Young to ensure that the technology did not limit the artistic vision. He states: “With a show like this, it’s about expanding your horizons and dealing with what’s in front of you. We were working in a non-traditional space where you didn’t have a wide variety of positions to hang fixtures from and you needed to work with what you had. It was mainly about getting on with it and working collaboratively with a team who all wanted to achieve a similar goal.”
The performances took place from 9th to 12th August and were seen by over 3,000 people, with an additional matinee added by popular demand. The project aims to have a lasting legacy and will encourage the young participants to take the skills and experience from this initial event into future projects.
Tim concludes: “This was a really special project to be involved with. It was a fantastic way to celebrate Jo Cox’s life, in her home town, by recreating a piece of work that was close to her heart. I want to thank the team I worked with for being so supportive along with WL who were an incredible help throughout.”
photos: Marilyn Kingwill
21st August 2017
CDC seven mixes Glade Stage at Glastonbury
UK – Leading Funktion-One rental house and sound production company, Sound-Services Ltd., worked together with the iconic loudspeaker company to produce the Funktion-One ‘Experimental Ambisonic Soundfield’ for The Glade Stage, the major electronic and dance music stage at The Glastonbury Festival. Sound-Services put in a Cadac CDC seven live sound console FOH, for its superb and unrivalled audio performance, allowing the audience to fully appreciate the ambisonic configuration of the Funktion-One Evo system.
Sound-Services installed a Funktion-One Evo Touring system, comprising a main-stage FoH system with four additional positions; the six loudspeaker positions arranged in a perfect hexagon, 36 metres in diameter, to create the sound-field. The ‘Experimental Ambisonic Sound-field’ was not a discreet configuration but a system design wherein all loudspeaker positions conjoined to generate a sound location within the sound-field, with various sounds emanating from particular loudspeaker positions.
The complete CDC seven mix system included a CDC I/O 6448 stagebox and CDC MC Dante Bridge. The 96 input, 56 buss CDC seven features a 36 fader, dual 23.5 inch high contrast HD touch screen hardware control surface. Combined with the CDC OS, this provides Cadac’s uniquely intuitive, “high-agility” swipeable graphical operator experience. The other unrivalled performance feature is the proprietary MegaCOMMS HD audio protocol. With a total through-system propagation delay from on-stage inputs to outputs, including all console processing and A-D / D-A conversions, in 37 samples (at 96kHz) – under 400μs – it is the industry’s lowest latency protocol. Additionally, MegaCOMMS synchronizes all audio samples before summing, resulting in absolute phase coherency at all outputs. The resulting sonic performance is audibly superior to any other mixing console (digital or analogue), and described by Sound-Services’ FoH engineers, Flynn McBurney and Danny Cooklin as “out of this world!”
The Glade Stage featured a diverse roster of artists including house act Paranoid London, melodic house duo Gorgon City, rave hero A Guy Called Gerald, Steve Hillage’s cosmic trance band System 7, The Orb, prog house duo Way Out West, the dubtastic Jah Wobble & The Invaders Of The Heart, ska legends The Beat, and tech-house duo Layo and Bushwacka. Proceedings were brought to a close on Saturday night with back-to-back sets from renowned progressive house DJs Sasha and John Digweed.
Sound-Services managing director, Curtis Gilmore, said:, “We were nervous at first about using a brand new desk on a show of this size but after hearing it on a demo, we decided that we couldn’t do without it. The sound is so pure and clear. It is definitely one of the best sounding shows that we have been a part of and the Cadac CDC seven played a huge part in this. We look forward to using this desk at many shows in the future.”
21st August 2017
First Proteus Hybrids land in the Hawaiian Islands to Eggshell Light Company
USA – Eggshell Light Company of Honolulu, who has handled professional lighting needs on the Hawaiian Islands for decades, continues their reputation for innovation by taking delivery of Elation Professional’s new IP65-rated Proteus Hybrid multi-functional moving head.
Bob Harmon, CEO and president of Eggshell Light Company, commented on the addition of the award-winning hybrid lights to Eggshell’s rental inventory. “We often put moving lights outside for a number of events, always with the caveat that if it rains we have to shut them down. On a few occasions that was indeed the case but now we don’t have to do that thanks to the new Proteus in our rental fleet."
Ideal for outdoor production applications, Eggshell’s new weatherproof Proteus Hybrid units made their Hawaiian Islands debut at the infamous Waikiki Shell in Honolulu August 4th and 5th for a pair of Jack Johnson performances. Harmon describes the challenges the iconic venue poses with regard to lighting. "One of the inherent challenges when doing shows at the Waikiki Shell is the lack of a front truss position,” he says. “Also, the in-house spot positions are low and dead-on, so artists complain about not being able to see their audience. With fixtures being off to the sides, the Proteus solution gives us a proper stage wash and solves that spot issue.”
Harmon also explains that at the base of the venue’s house poles are outlets that they had never used before because comparable lights in similar output required 220V. “Now I can plug the Proteus in directly to 120V power!” he says.
The second luminaire in Elation’s Proteus series of IP65-rated, discharge-lamp moving head lights, the three-in-one Proteus Hybrid is a next level intelligent lighting solution with spot, beam, and wash modes. Featuring a multi-environmental IP65 design that gives designers the freedom to utilise this latest technology at any event, indoors or out, the luminaire also houses a host of professional design features like zoom (all modes), CMY colour mixing plus colour wheel and CTO, gobos, bi-directional animation, eight- facet and six-way linear rotating prisms, and more. Along with the Proteus Beam, the Proteus Hybrid was a 2016 LDI Best Debuting Product Award winner.
18th August 2017
ProPlex “Rock Solid” on TV
UK – BBC One’s musical show Pitch Battle recently completed a successful opening season with five pre-recorded episodes, plus the live finals. Live broadcasts have zero tolerance for malfunctions and equipment must be 100% reliable. For this reason, lighting designer Mark Kenyon insists on ProPlex data distribution devices for all his show data networking.
In addition to Pitch Battle, British television credits for ProPlex include six seasons on the hit show Strictly Come Dancing, five seasons of Saturday Night Takeaway and the new game show Big Heads, all designed by Kenyon.
“ProPlex just keeps working,” says Mark Newell, lighting gaffer and Kenyon’s chief systems technician. “For Pitch Battle, we used ten ProPlex Opto-Splitter 2x8 RDM units, plus a user-friendly, versatile ProPlex IQ Two 1616 node for output streaming. We love this unit’s ability to be easily changed on the fly. After many shows, over many years, we’ve had no performance issues with any of these units. They perform flawlessly and are an indispensable tool for our work. ProPlex devices are rock solid!”
ProPlex data distribution devices and cables offer a truly integrated, complete data management and networking solution for entertainment production and staging. Products in the range include the GBS 10-port and 6-port GBS Mini, 10GBS 10-Gigabit switch, EZ-LAN Managed Gigabit switch, IQ One and Two Ethernet-DMX Nodes, Opto-Splitter DMX splitters, SceneSwitch 8 DMX/A/B switcher, ProPlex Software plus ProPlex DMX, Ethernet and fibre cables, and much more.
Built for extreme conditions with Neutrik connectors, shock-mounted circuitry, and advanced thermal management, ProPlex devices are available in RackMount, PortableMount, Mini, Micro, DIN Rail, and IP Rated formats of various sizes. ProPlex data cables are world renowned for combining unparalleled data integrity with extreme durability.
18th August 2017
Specialz deliver the goods for Clean Bandit
UK – As Clean Bandit continue their touring progress towards a transatlantic sojourn in the USA in the autumn, it seems an appropriate moment to consider the merits of Rob Sinclair’s production design. In particular, the unique constructions that inhabit the upstage area from left to right, manufactured by specialist show and event design house, Specialz Ltd. These pods are four metres high with eight VDO Sceptron 10 fixtures in each pod. Each one is rigged on a stand that enables the pod to be rotated 360° to be either facing downstage or at 45° degrees making them all but invisible to the audience.
Sinclair elaborates on the basics: “The idea was to have the mirrored pods located behind a black mirrored riser – lots of reflection – with neon edges. They needed to be able to turn so we could choose to see or obscure a video screen upstage. From that original concept we fired ideas back forth between Specialz, myself, our lighting designer Liam Griffiths and our rather excellent PM, Tec Beint. The choice for the Sceptron LEDs strips – we opted for the 10s with a flat diffuser – was simple, it needed to be something reliable, easily rentable, not too expensive and above all, effective.”
“Rob and Liam had a very clear idea of what they wanted to achieve,” opens Specialz MD, Dave Smith. “We balanced the mirrored conceit with the more prosaic demands of weight and logistics by using laser cut mirrored acrylic to resemble a mirrorball, but much lighter. This was to be a festival package and had to move on and off stage quickly. The towers were built offstage and then hoisted aloft, the Sceptrons were all pre-wired in their pods and the support tube also had integral cabling built into it so that once each unit was wheeled to stage and the castors locked down, mains and data were connected up through the base unit very quickly. Each pod was equipped with a DMX controlled motor driven base. Utilising a Specialz cable management system, they were capable of rotating 360° in either direction before having to be reversed.”
“It is this combination of common sense and creative design that makes working with Dave such a pleasure,” returns Sinclair. “From my end, I needed them to be programmable, individual and able to roll on and off in those tight festival changeovers. As for the rest of the sensible logistical stuff, I knew Dave would work that out for me. I’m not allowed near trucks – my mum says so!”
As with many uniquely designed fixtures, their deployment on tour reveals, not only their original potential, but more besides. Liam Griffiths is the man on the faders: “The lighting design is completely designed around the rotating pods and risers. Side towers which consist of Solaris Flares and Martin MAC Axiom fixtures are off stage, the movers are purely located to the sides to hit the rotating pods and side washing the band. We also have a row of Solaris Flares upstage to make the risers really stand out. Both Rob and I have been surprised by what we’ve been able to do with them. The show starts with the pods rotated at 90° so you can't see them really and after the intro it drops into the song "Stronger" and the pods rotate out showing a nice beautiful Congo blue glow from the Sceptron bars, perfect introduction to our design. One look I really love is having the pods rotated at 45° and having the reflection of the Sceptrons in the rear mirror, it's very subtle.”
In all, Specialz built seven of the pods, within budget and delivered on time but that wasn’t quite enough for Sinclair: “We wanted a mirrored cello for Grace and needed to get it in a hurry to match the Glastonbury outfits. Dave got it to us in eight days; a day early and tuned into the bargain! It looks amazing and we’re going to be using it a lot on TV.”
The rather excellent PM, Tec Beint has the final word: “The light installations that Dave Smith and his team at Specialz have created for Clean Bandit are the culmination of clever design, courtesy of the ever inventive Rob Sinclair, coupled with Specialz outstanding workmanship, engineering finesse and attention to detail, not just on the finished items but also bearing in mind the need for future adaptability.
“During the whole process from concept to delivery, it was always a pleasure to work with Dave, deadlines were tight and processes were tricky but there was never a moment when I felt that I wasn’t going to get a well-made product or be let down at the last minute, something that, as a production manager, you really need to rely on.”
photos: David Stewart and Liam Griffiths
18th August 2017
B-Eyes burn brightly for Marklew Productions
UK – “This was our first ever Claypaky purchase,” opens Kieran Marklew of Marklew Productions. “We had been looking to invest in some new fixtures and one of our clients had specified the K20 B-Eye so we thought it was time for us to investigate.”
Marklew Productions has been in business since 2007 and has built up a very healthy clientele, from local Birmingham businesses opting for dry hire to those looking for a full production service alongside an extensive number of college and university customers and requests for weddings or special event lighting. “We contacted Ambersphere Solutions and spoke to Thor Andre from Ambersphere Sales. I was so impressed with the fixture it wasn’t a difficult choice to make. I especially like the added feature of the front lens rotation. It gives an amazing vortex effect which is totally unique to the B-Eye. The colour palettes are the best I’ve seen making the fixture perfect as an open white Fresnel if required; flexibility is always an important factor when deciding whether to invest. We had looked at a couple of other brands but the K20 was the number one choice, pure and simple.”
The first few jobs for the B-Eyes are a good example of how flexible they need to be. “The first show was a ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ style event at the ICC Birmingham in Hall 3. We needed something that would be the centre piece of our light show. We used drop-down bars off the centre square truss which facilitated the perfect hanging position and gave a great eye candy effect towards the audience and also the perfect angle for the dance floor. They complemented the moving beams coming from around the dance floor, giving unique shape macros with endless creative options.”
The B-Eyes second time out was for the Birmingham City University Graduation Ball at Edgbaston cricket ground. The brief was to create an amazing lighting show for a band and a DJ. “We used the B-Eye K20 above the band so we could use the amazing visual effects towards the audience as well as lighting the band. The client said it was the best lighting show they have ever had. It doesn’t get better than that!”
“I established Marklew Productions in 2007 having worked freelance since leaving school in 2000. I wanted to feel free to create my own ideas and designs for clients and investing in a fixture like the K20 certainly offers my creatives ideas scope that I hadn’t been able to consider before. Apart from buying more K20 B-Eyes, we very much plan on buying some Claypaky Scenius Unico units because of their high output and amazing framing system; they will be the perfect fixture to complement our hire stock.”
“The buying process with Ambersphere couldn’t have been any easier,” finishes Marklew. “And I would like to thank Thor for taking special time out to visit us and make sure we were happy with everything. That kind of extra-curricular customer service gives you confidence in the brand, the fixture, the purchase process and, all important, what comes after.”
In picture: Kieran Marklew and Craig Price.
18th August 2017
John Farr Lighting Design Creates Thematic Looks at Smithsonian with Chauvet Professional
USA – Over two million visitors come to the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History every year to view pieces of American culture, from the original Star Spangled Banner, to iconic McDonald’s signs, to a pair of Mohammed Ali’s boxing gloves. It is pure and simple, one of the most concentrated celebrations anywhere of the American spirit and creative innovation.
For one night in July, not all of that famed “Yankee Ingenuity” was on display in the museum’s exhibits. Eric Hertsch of John Farr Lighting Design also exhibited some impressive resourcefulness in the museum, as he overcame a limited power supply and tight schedule to transform sections of the building into a sparkling red, white and blue colourscape with a rig made up entirely of Chauvet Professional and Chauvet DJ fixtures.
As soon as visitors entered this private donor event, from the National Mall, they were greeted by a stunning visual of the Abstract Flag. An impressive sculpture made up of mirrored polycarbonate ribbons, the flag reflected brilliant blue hues created by the WELL Fit uplights. Hertsch positioned 36 of the battery powered RGBA fixtures around the flag and the surrounding wall.
Adding to the patriotic atmosphere were the five-point stars projected throughout the room that housed the flag sculpture. Hertsch created these images with 16 Ovation E-910FC colour mixing ellipsoidals that he positioned on truss towers in the mezzanine overlooking Flag Hall.
On the rooftop deck of the five-story building, the patriotic mood was set by red, white and blue wall washes created with 48 Freedom PAR Quad 4 uplights. The building’s corridors were also adorned with the colours of the US flag courtesy of 48 Freedom Par Hex-4 units.
“We used a red, white and blue colour scheme to represent the themes of American History found throughout the museum,” said Hertsch. “The colours from all of our fixtures were rich and vibrant. In the Flag Hall, the WELL Fits’ output was critical. Their throw distance allowed us to saturate the entire area with its high ceilings in colour. The Ovations produced a brilliant white colour temperature, which easily fit our red, white and blue theme.”
Although Hertsch’s lighting design seemed to flow naturally through the building, it wasn’t without its challenges during the creative process. “There were things we had to address,” he said. “Power is very limited near the flag sculpture, a single circuit, which typically is used by the entertainment act. So, it was essential to use a battery powered fixture. Of course, as a bonus, this also eliminated unsightly cable runs.”
Adding to the challenge was the limited setup time at the museum. “We weren’t allowed to set lights in that area until 5:30pm, and we had guests at 6:30pm,” said Hertsch. “However, by presetting colours in the cases, we simply were able to lay out the fixtures in the desired locations and go, which saved huge amounts of time.”
In the end, Hertsch and the John Farr Design team were able to complete create a stunning design despite the challenges they faced. In true American fashion, they made it look easy.
18th August 2017
Prolyte Group lets Arena Events Dream Big for Untold Festival
Romania – Organising a range of large-scale festivals in a short time frame, Romanian production company Arena Events relies on Prolyte products to support the elaborate and signature design of its stages and safety of its audience.
Forza Zu and After Hills in June, Neversea and Electric Castle in July and finally Untold in August. A full production agenda for Arena Events, to say the least. Prolyte Group works closely together with the mastermind behind these events, Corneliu Ladin. Prolyte fan from his first encounter with Prolyte and Prolyte products, he simply trusts Prolyte to deliver and perform.
Prolyte supplied lots of equipment for the above shows, with Untold being the absolute highlight. Winning the award for Best Major European Festival 2015, motivated the Untold team to stage an even more outrageously looking festival, including a line up which encompasses almost every name on the DJ top 20.
Being informed on the BGR70 truss at an early stage, this helped Arena Events in creating and designing for the above mentioned events.
“With the qualities and specs of this truss type we we’re able to create a more elaborate design, being able to use both the high load bearing of the truss and the fact that it can be build to have zero deflection. This is ideal to create stunning front facades, like for the Neversea main stage”, states designer BigVis. “We used two spans of 22 metre of BGR70 truss to support the curved LED panels, mounted on truss, which really gave depth to the complete stage structure.”
Arena Events is one of the first companies in Europe to own this latest invention from Prolyte. Due to its low volume and height, combined with a high load bearing capacity, the BGR70 truss is extremely suitable as a mother grid, or to support a front façade for large sets, like on dance festivals. Due to its zero deflection, the BGR70 truss is ideal in applications with motion or LED screens.
In order to create the striking front façade for the Untold main stage, three spans of 26 metre BRG70 were used, supported by six two-tonne hoists per side, creating just enough load bearing capacity to mount the extravagant decoration, lighting and LED panels that were all part of the design.
This was the stage and crowd that inspired Armin van Buuren to extend his set to five full playing hours!
Corneliu Ladin concludes: “Apart from the new BGR70 truss we use many more Prolyte products, like the crowd barriers, lots of truss in various sizes, roof systems, StageDex, you name it. That’s why Prolyte really is a great partner for us, they supply all the hardware you need to organise your event or festival. And, more important, they really do care about audience safety, all their products are absolutely reliable.”
photos: Arena Events
18th August 2017
Yamaha Rivage PM10 Gets Funky at the North Sea Jazz Festival
The Netherlands – In July the Dutch port of Rotterdam hosted the 42nd North Sea Jazz Festival, attracting over 75,000 people to enjoy a rich variety of music. Headlining the Nile stage on the final night was Jamiroquai, where a Yamaha Rivage PM10 helped a capacity audience of 10,000 to get funky.
Taking place across 15 stages in the city’s Ahoy arena, the North Sea Jazz Festival is so popular that it sells out every year. This is partly due, no doubt, to the variety of music on offer. As well as classical, contemporary and futuristic jazz from across the globe, the festival features blues, pop, hip-hop, dance, soul, world and funk.
Yamaha Music Europe supplied the pianos and drum kits for all stages at the festival and actively helped to provide a range of backline for many of the artists.
Funk / acid jazz specialists Jamiroquai brought the festival to a close on the Nile stage, with a Yamaha Rivage PM10 helping front of house engineer Rick Pope to produce an exceptional mix in potentially difficult circumstances.
A Yamaha console user for around 20 years, Rick was very keen to adopt Rivage PM10 as soon as it was announced and is manning one throughout Jamiroquai’s current world tour.
Unfortunately, back problems for Jamiroquai lead singer Jay Kay meant that the first few dates of the tour had to be postponed, so North Sea Jazz was only Rick’s second show on the Rivage PM10. Added to that, the nature of a festival meant that Rick was unable to soundcheck.
“Festivals are always a challenge, because of the tight turnaround times, but I have been working with Rivage PM10 for some time and it’s a fantastic desk,” says Rick. “It really is the easiest console I’ve ever used and, thanks to the quality of the onboard processing, I don’t need any outboard. I already had the show on a USB stick, so I was able to turn up, switch the desk on, load the show and was ready!”
The console’s ease of use meant that Rick was able to make any necessary adjustments very quickly, ensuring the capacity audience enjoyed a great-sounding set.
“Rivage PM10 just works fantastically well. The sound of it is so good, it’s not difficult to create something wonderful,” he concludes.
18th August 2017
PRG XL Video Goes Back to the 80s with Rewind Festival
UK – Celebrating some of the finest music and artists from the 80s, Rewind festival takes place over three weekends each summer. Starting in Scotland at Scone Palace, near Perth, then moving on to Capesthorne Hall in Cheshire, and with the final weekend at Henley, the festival includes performances from a variety of eighties superstars including Human League, Nik Kershaw, Go West, Level 42, Kim Wilde, the British Electric Foundation, and the Trevor Horn Band.
PRG provides support to production manager, Keith Morris, lighting designer, Martin Nicholas, and video content director, Miguel Riberio, supplying lighting and video technology, and experienced technical crew for all three weekends.
Unlike many festivals which take place over a single weekend, sometimes in dual locations, Rewind is a ‘touring’ festival, taking the same production package to different sites over several weeks. As well as the main stage, the site includes a silent disco, tribute band tent, funfair, and even an inflatable wedding chapel!
For the production, PRG XL Video’s senior account manager, Paul McCauley, supplied three large LED screens, plus cameras and PPU system for IMAG. The rear upstage LED wall formed the backdrop to the stage, and two large portrait screens were flown one either side of the stage. Ian Jones oversaw the video crew on site, which, for the Scottish show, consisted of Chris Johnson, Mark Eisen, Steve Wood, and Fabrizio DiLelio looking after LED, and Rod Williams on cameras. Mark, Steve, and Fabrizio also doubled as cameramen over the weekend.
The side screens were used to display a combination of IMAG footage from the cameras, and content created by Miguel Riberio. The side screens were a new addition for 2017, and Miguel took full advantage of them, creating content which spread out from the centre screen and across the side screens, which made for an immersive experience for the enthusiastic crowd. The IMAG footage was presented in a picture in picture format over the content.
Two HD cameras were used for IMAG, one positioned at front of house with a long lens, with a further camera in the pit for close-up shots. The live camera mix was directed by Jerry Rosenfield using one of PRG’s Panasonic AV-HS450 desks with the PPU engineered by Glenn Austin.
For his content, Miguel used d3 media servers to serve the content, controlled via one of PRG’s v476 desks. He paired this with a v276 on his laptop which enabled him to make small changes and adjustments on site or in the hotel over the weekends.
Paul McCauley commented: “It’s a real pleasure to continue working with Keith and the team. It’s great to see Rewind growing and employing new technology and bigger set-ups each year. These really engage the audience, and increase their enjoyment of the event.”
PRG XL’s director of music, Yvonne Donnelly Smith worked with lighting designer Martin Nicholas to supply lighting for both the main stage, and for the silent disco, which takes place in a large marquee tent on the Friday evening of each weekend, and after darkness on the other evenings.
For the main stage a package of GLP impression X4, PRG Icon Beam, 2-Lite Molefays, and VL3000 spot fixtures were used. These were complemented by a set of Sky Pan and Arri 10kW vintage lights, which Martin restored and maintains himself. They line the sides of the main stage as Martin says: “To create a bit of eye-candy and extra interest for the cameras.”
To create a different look for the lighting, Martin used ladders flown at the side of the stage and in front of the rear LED screen. These held a number of the GLP X4s and 2-Lite Molefays, and with the LED screen in use the ladders could barely be seen, giving the impression that the lights were floating in mid-air.
With a lot of performances taking place during daylight, it was key for Martin that the lights he chose were bright and punchy, so they were visible alongside the LED screens from day into night. He used an Avolites Pearl desk for control. The lighting crew for Scotland was overseen on site by Kal Butt, and included crew chief Paul Makin, Simon Swift, Mark Clough, and Richard Griffin.
Technicians Mark Scrimshaw, and Dave ‘Lights’ Beazley looked after the silent disco lighting, which included an almost mandatory mirrorball. Festival goers were enticed to take part by two Supernova searchlights, which threw beams into the sky to let everyone know the disco was open.
The silent disco consists of two DJs each playing out a mix of 80s hits. Audience members each wear headphones with two channels, and people can choose which channel they want to hear. Effectively the DJs compete for their audience, and the lighting reacts in time to the most popular song.
Hazers create an atmosphere in the tent, and GLP X4 LED lights, and Icon Beams are used to pan around the space and bounce off the mirrorball. For added eye-candy and sparkle, Miltec LED battens lit up the space behind the DJs.
The main stage’s combination of brightly coloured lighting and beautifully crafted video content echoed back to a decade of great music, and crazy fashion, and many of the attendees immerse themselves dressing in 80s fashion or as their favourite characters from the time. It all makes for a huge party atmosphere, and Rewind grows in popularity every year.
Yvonne Donnelly Smith sums up: “Rewind is a great fun event to work on. PRG has been involved for several years, and Martin’s design grows in tandem with the popularity of the festival. Keith, Martin, Miguel and the team are a pleasure to work with!”
photos: Alison Barclay
18th August 2017
Adamson Provides the Total Package for New Kids on the Block
North America – Nostalgia sounds mighty sweet on New Kids on the Block’s Total Package Tour thanks in large part to a high-performance audio system comprised of Adamson Systems Engineering’s E-Series and S-Series loudspeakers, supplied by Cleveland, OH’s Eighth Day Sound.
The Total Package Tour finds the beloved five-piece boy band hitting major arenas alongside Paula Abdul and Boyz II Men, bringing their energetic and dance-heavy performances to ‘90s nostalgia seekers and new fans alike. Considering the range of styles represented by the three acts, a dynamic and consistent loudspeaker system was critical.
“I chose the Adamson E15s for this tour after testing them out side-by-side with some other high-end boxes,” comments New Kids’ FoH engineer, Kevin Elson. “I’d read earlier reviews of the system from F0H engineers I have a lot of respect for, and they were all loving its sound and performance.”
The system for the Total Package Tour features main hangs of 15 Adamson E15 three-way, true line source enclosures and three E12s as downfills per side. The side hangs feature 12 E15s and 3 E12s per side, and when required, arrays of 12 S10 two-way, full-range compact boxes are flown as 270-degree fills.
“I’ve been working with Adamson products since Eighth Day Sound first became a partner,” comments Eighth Day system engineer and audio crew chief Kyle Walsh. “First off, it’s a great box to rig, and the sound is powerful and consistent across the board, with no audible transition between the E15s and S10s when walking around the venue.”
With ground space at a premium considering the elaborate stage set-up, the crew opted to fly the Adamson E119 subwoofers in arrays of eight per side and have been more than pleased with their performance.
“The marriage of the subs to the full-range boxes is very, very smooth,” Elson notes about the system. “Overall, everything has been great, even in some challenging arenas. It’s very detailed from top to bottom and the vocals are very present, which is obviously critical to a group like New Kids on the Block. It feels like I’m working with a high-SPL reference studio monitor that enables me to reproduce our vision of the sound into detailed reality.”
Elson also praises his partners from Eighth Day Sound, noting that the unique stage set-up necessitated plenty of advanced collaboration for speaker placement and alignment.
“Eighth Day has been very supportive with any and all needs that have come up on the tour,” he says. “The Adamson education and support team has also been very helpful, and I appreciate having that depth of support to go with such a great sounding system.”
In picture: PA technician Mark Phillips, system engineer/audio crew chief Kyle Walsh, FoH engineer Kevin Elson, monitor engineer/RF technician John Eline, monitor technician Nathan Fenchak and PA technician Marty Tarle.
18th August 2017
Yamaha RIVAGE PM10 Tours Brazil with José Carreras
Brazil – As one of the world’s most famous tenors, tickets for the final world tour by José Carreras have been in huge demand. The A Life In Music tour has seen sold out shows around the globe, but a particular highlight for Front of House (FoH) engineer Peter Schneekloth (pictured) was the Brazil concerts, which he mixed on a Yamaha RIVAGE PM10 console.
Peter has been the live sound engineer for Carreras for 16 years, mixing hundreds of shows in concert halls, arenas and stadiums in more than 50 countries. The A Life In Music tour started in 2016 with a sold-out show at London’s Royal Albert Hall and has included concerts throughout Europe, the Middle East, the Far East, USA, Central and South America, Australia, Russia and other territories. Sell-outs and standing ovations have been a regular feature, with Carreras’ management hoping to book more for 2018.
Because of the size and complexity of the tour, it is impractical for Peter to tour with his own mixing console, so he has used desks supplied by local rental companies. The four sold-out Brazilian shows in May 2017 meant he was finally able to use the Yamaha RIVAGE PM10.
Peter attended an early RIVAGE PM10 presentation at Yamaha Commercial Audio’s European HQ at Rellingen, Germany, in June 2016. “Peter immediately understood the potential of the console, even at that early stage, and he promised to add it to the requested consoles list for Carreras shows,” says Yamaha’s Arthur Koll, who ran the sessions. “He’s always been a fan of Yamaha consoles and we enjoyed frank discussions about features for upcoming firmware versions.”
The RIVAGE PM10 for shows in Rio de Janeiro, Fortaleza and two in São Paulo was supplied by Gabisom Áudio Equipment of Santo André, with Peter Racy as Head of Sound. Giuliano Quiqueto of Yamaha Brazil was on hand to assist, if needed, but Peter found the console so intuitive that Giuliano had a few very quiet days!
“I think it was a bit boring for him, because there was not much to explain,” smiles Peter. “It was a great pleasure working with the RIVAGE PM10, after a few minutes I felt completely home on it. It is very simple to handle, I found it easy to get a full, warm, detailed sound. The new preamps with the Rupert Neve Designs Silk option are amazing.
“Throughout the tour I have been working with over 10 different types of mixing console, but RIVAGE PM10 is my favourite!”
17th August 2017
Bandit Lites Assists Nashville Sideshow Fringe Festival
USA – When the team at Nashville’s annual Sideshow Fringe Festival found themselves in need of fast lighting assistance, they turned to the lighting industry’s leader who happened to be located minutes away, Bandit Lites.
The Sideshow Fringe Festival celebrates a variety of performing arts, with the two weekends of shows running the gamut of entertainment, from circus acts, dance, performing arts and clowning to improvisation and storytelling. The event took place at Belmont University’s Black Box Theater.
“Nashville has a diverse and active community of artists, including lighting designers, that pour their hearts and efforts into performances only for the sake of giving of themselves,” said Bandit sales and design associate Rudi Aldridge. “Participating in events like this gave me a chance to design at a very formative time in my career, and it feels good to give back.”
Each act was given four hours of technical planning before taking the stage, putting the performers in a high pressure situation of having to coordinate all the technical aspects of their show in addition to rehearsing.
Bandit Lites provided GLP X4S, the compact, nimble and high-powered LED fixture that allowed the rotating acts the ability to customise their lighting looks, whether it’s a comedy troupe, dance team, theatre, puppetry or aerial arts.
“A moving head fixture gives the LD a chance to give each part of a performance a look and feel created for just that moment,” said Aldridge. “The GLP X4S’s colour mixing allows for emotionally intense colour to fade into softer hues for single light source transitions and tableaux that make it impossible to look away.”
17th August 2017
tube gets uplifted
UK – Taking the concept of ‘lift music’ literally to new levels of excellence and context, audio specialists tube uk designed an ingenious solution for an interactive sound installation by UK composer Anna Meredith, part of Manchester International Festival 2017’s “Music for a Busy City”, taking six leading composers out of the concert hall and commissioning each to create a new ten-minute piece.
The idea was to bring music to different spaces through which people pass every day and they were all carefully designed by tube’s project manager, Adam Taylor.
Anna’s totally ‘live’ and unique art took advantage of four lifts and a concourse linking two high profile city centre retail spaces: Selfridges and Marks & Spencer.
“This was one that really stood out as different and interesting,” enthused tube uk’s Melvyn Coote, “both for the challenges of accessing the unusual location and the lateral thinking involved in finding a solution to mix the music live.
The two Selfridges' shafts are over 22 metres tall and the installation associated with this side of the concourse involved four pairs of Tannoy V8 speakers which were positioned equidistantly on the back-side of the exposed lift shafts, starting at the top and graduating down the shaft, with a pair at each floor level below.
The Marks & Spencer lifts are three stories high and on the opposite wall of the concourse, so three sets of speakers were attached to these, again starting at the top with a pair corresponding to each floor.
The lifts each had its own ‘vocal range’ – soprano, alto, tenor and bass – and the height of each lift at each floor determined the pitch, with lower tones on ground floors and below and higher tones as the lift levels increase.
Access to rig the speakers involved sourcing a 'spider' MEWP (mobile elevated working platform), with caterpillar tracks to avoid damaging the floors and folding feet so it would fit through the double doors at the end of the passageway. It also needed to have enough reach to access the highest rigging points.
For the artwork, Anna Meredith created 14 tones of music each related to a specific floor and lift position. A QLab control system is programmed so different tones are triggered when the lifts reaches different floors, based on the four vocal ranges.
She also made 20 transitional pieces of music which play when the lifts are in transit between the floors, depending on whether they are going up or down and which floors they are moving between, resulting in a complex and beautiful series of sounds.
The very clever bit was getting the music, which is stored in Qlab, to play out as the lifts moved up and down, randomly activated by members of the public, completely unaware that they were creating live art as they browsed around the stores.
Melvyn and Adam enlisted another member for the tube team, engineer and programmer Dan Steele and collectively chose programming platform Max to realise the concept. Max is a flexible and dynamic visual programming language for music and multimedia developed by Cycling 74.
tube worked with the two different lift service companies who both came on-board with the project and provided contact closure interfaces to allow the positional lift data to be accessed. This was converted into a MIDI stream which MAX was able to use and manipulate. MAX then sent MIDI message along to QLab to trigger the correct samples at the right times.
It took five intense days of R&D and programming to get all the control systems communicating with one another.
The physical installation was further galvanised by elements like cable runs which had to be run up the lift shafts and through the lift motor rooms on the roof of the store and a 50 metre data and signal loom which had to be installed between the two lift motor rooms. The roof work took a day and a half and getting the 14 speakers positioned and rigged took ten hours overnight.
Once that was all complete, Melvyn and Anna spent time completing the acoustic set up and programming; the lift and sound alignment was done via walkie-talkie between the concourse and the roof and this process alone took around five hours.
The results were amazing! An exclusive interactive music ‘show’ took place for ten minutes every hour, each one individual and different from the last. For the other 50 minutes, Anna created an alternative simplified soundscape which used only 14 sounds and no transitional elements.
tube work on many interesting arts projects, “but this was one of the most stunning, resulting in an incredible organic music composition that presented us with all the technical brain-teasers we love!” summed up Melvyn.
The installation was part of the Manchester International Festival 2017 programme and was produced by Tom Higham.
The tube team consisted of Melvyn Coote (project lead), Adam Taylor (project manager) and Dan Steele (MAX & QLab Programmer)
Other “Music for a Busy City” works were created by Mohammed Fairouz, Matthew Herbert, Huang Ruo, Olga Neuwirth and Philip Venables. Together with Anna Meredith’s composition featured here, they created six totally new pieces of music in response to specific spots around Manchester, from shopping centres, streets and train stations to the Town Hall and St Anne’s Square.
photos: Louise Stickland
17th August 2017
Miss Saigon Takes off on UK Tour with White Light
UK – Considered one of the greatest musicals of modern time, Miss Saigon tells the epic love story of young bar girl Kim who falls for American GI Chris during the fall of Saigon. Cameron Mackintosh’s acclaimed production of Boubil and Schonberg’s classic embarked on a record-breaking run in the West End and is now touring the UK. Having supplied the most recent revival, along with the original run thirty years ago, White Light has been called upon to provide the lighting equipment for this latest UK tour.
The lighting designer for the tour is Olivier Award-winning Bruno Poet who also lit the West End revival. He comments: “When Cameron asked me to light the 2014 production for the West End, it was daunting to start work on a production with so much history, yet thrilling to be asked to approach it with fresh ideas. I treated it as a completely new show. After the successful West End run, and revisiting the show for Broadway, the UK tour has been an opportunity to revisit my design and hone it for touring.
He adds: “It’s a challenging show to light – extremely fast-paced, with many changes of mood and location, from the smoky sleaze of Dreamland, to the bleakness of the refugee camp, to the military formality of The Morning of the Dragon, and the fantasy of the American Dream. At times it needs to be as epic as an opera, and at others as intimate as a play. A lot of my job would be as much directing the darkness as directing the light. Many moments of the show rely on hiding things with darkness and smoke.”
In terms of feel, the touring production still remains very similar to the West End. Bruno comments: “The main difference with the rig is that the touring version uses far less conventional fixtures and a few more moving lights. We’ve also replaced all of the scrollers with ETC Source Four Lustr 2 units which are great touring fixtures.”
For the tour, Bruno once again approached WL to provide him with the exact fixtures needed for this ambitious show. He states: “We have 36 Martin MAC Viper Performances on the rig which are fantastic for creating directional keylight and beams through the haze. Working closely with Vicky Fairall at Goboland, we created custom-made gobos which helped the lighting blend in with the set and projection. For instance, the set features scenic borders that have a bamboo criss-cross pattern. We created a gobo which reflected this so the shadows feel like a part of the set. Similarly, during American Dream, we use custom Dollar Bill artwork to match the projection and the themes of the song. They also make a great air look.”
Bruno also drew on 52 Martin MAC Auras. He states: “I packed the Auras close together so that they worked parallel with one another, creating almost light curtains. These offer big backlight looks and proved ideal for the big numbers. I also used the Auras at the side of the stage for sidelight, due to the fact they are so compact and can be hidden within the scenery.” Bruno also used the GLP X4 Battens for the other big number sequences, in particular American Dream.
Bruno’s lighting design worked alongside the award-winning set design by Totie Driver and Matt Kinley. He states: “At the back of the set is a skycloth made with layers of painted BP screen and gauze. I wanted to create many different looks in the sky so, to work with these layers, I chose EvenLED Panels. They can be pixel mapped with detailed video content and are therefore extremely flexible. We also had very limited space, only 300mm between the BP and the back of the theatre in some venues. It would never have been possible to light the cyc in a conventional way.” Chroma Q ColourForce 12 LED Battens are also used to skim across the gauzes.
Another significant fixture on the rig was the ETC Revolution. Bruno adds: “I still prefer the quality of tungsten light on faces. The Revolutions are used mainly in the warmer scenes and give a good contrast to the rest of the rig which is so LED and HMI heavy.” Bruno also utilised the Leader Light Stage Beam 6-06D Battens on the floor upstage during the This is the Hour sequence to backlight rows of soldiers. He explains: “Their super bright beam cuts well through the haze, and is so narrow that it can terminate on the circle fronts and avoid blinding the audience.” He also drew on Martin MAC Viper Washes and five followspots for punchier washlight effects, including three Robert Juliat Cyranos out front and Source 4 Lustr2s positioned on the side towers.
It’s not just lights that play a significant role in Bruno’s design. He adds: “This show has a lot of smoke machines in it. We have nine Look Solutions Unique Hazers positioned so that the haze can be pumped through lines of holes drilled through the floor There are four more Unique Hazers above the ground along with five Look Solution Viper 2.6 Smoke Machines. We also have two MDG ATMe haze generators that WL invested in specifically for this production. These create the best fine haze which allow beams of light to be seen without obscuring the action of stage. For low lying fog we have two Cryofogs and real dry ice is built into the Cadillac which is featured in the show.”
Miss Saigon is currently in Birmingham where it has achieved critical acclaim from critics and audience members alike. It will stay at the Hippodrome until 23rd September before visiting venues in Dublin, Edinburgh, Manchester and finally concluding at Norwich Theatre Royal in August next year.
Bruno states: “This is a stunning show and it’s great to take it on a UK tour for the first time in over a decade. I’m extremely proud of my design and playing a part in telling this now iconic story. I have been brilliantly supported by my associate Warren Letton and programmer Dave Totaro as well as the dedicated touring electricians Jim Bristow, Stuart Moorhouse and Leoni Withers. I am also grateful to Jedd Hamilton and everyone at WL for their support throughout.”
photos: Johan Persson © Cameron Mackintosh Ltd
17th August 2017
MLA Takes Main Billing at Ramblin Man ‘Classic Rock’ Festival
UK – Now in its third year, the three-day Ramblin Man Fair is an annual music festival celebrating classic and contemporary rock, progressive rock, blues and country music, promoted by Spirit of Rock it is billed as “A rock festival designed for rock fans by rock fans.”
Set in Maidstone’s familiar Mote Park, sound production company Capital Sound was contracted to provide the audio infrastructure for the first time this year, and the company was eager to show off the power of Martin Audio’s game-changing MLA PA to Kent’s rock community.
Project manager Robin Conway was himself responsible for winning the contract after meeting with the event’s technical production manager, Kev Sutherland. “I think he was impressed that we were able to come up with a total production package built around MLA,” he said.
Capital provided sound reinforcement for all four stages but it was the Main Stage (Planet Rock) hosting acts such as ZZ Top, Saxon, Extreme and Glenn Hughes, that benefited from MLA.
Capital rigged ten MLA elements each side, supplemented by an MLD Downfill at the base of each hang. Underpinning this were 13 MLX subwoofers, designed in a ‘castled’ broadside cardioid array. Eight W8LM Mini Line Arrays provided front fills, while onstage 14 LE1500 monitors – classic wedges for a classic rock event – provided the bands’ reference sound alongside WS218X sub and other sidefills. With a 70-metre throw distance, no delay points were necessary.
Capital also provided its consolidated Digital Dante system drive, with Lake LM44 processors and BSS Soundweb BLU-806 switcher plus an array of digital desks.
The site itself was described as like a contained amphitheatre-style bowl. But with a residents home in the direct line of fire of main stage, propagation issues had to be dealt with (complying with off site levels set by consultants Aria Acoustics). But experienced system technician Joseph Pearce was able to programme a series of optimisations in the dedicated Display software to handle all eventualities with ease.
“Everyone was delighted with the sound and all the headliners achieved the levels they were hoping for,” confirms Robin Conway. “The sound couldn't have been any better. You always want to give bands the best level you can, and we achieved that.”
He also commended the scale of the stage – a Star Events 20metre VerTech stage – that afforded plenty of room to manoeuvre and to position the large sub array without compromise.
Summing up the sound system, he said: “MLA sounded great, but then again, it always does!”
Other crew on duty were FoH technician Micky Griffiths, who mixed many of the acts, George Breacker and Matteo Noviello (monitor technicians) and Harry McCann and Finlay Watt (PA/stage technicians). Overall production manager was Rachel King.
16th August 2017
MDG ATMe gives perfect haze control for Miss Saigon
UK – Miss Saigon, Messrs Boublil and Schönberg’s legendary musical, has recently embarked upon a major UK tour, taking the full West End production to every corner of the UK. The show opened at the Curve, Leicester in July before moving to Birmingham Hippodrome, from where it travels to Ireland, Wales, Scotland and back to England, culminating at Norwich Theatre Royal in September 2018. Travelling with the show, with its lighting design by the equally legendary Bruno Poet, are two MDG ATMe haze generators, purchased specifically for the tour by White Light.
“My associate LD on this show, Warren Letton discovered the ATMe hazer and recommended that I take a look at them,” says Poet. “I have used MDG’s Atmosphere machine many times before and love the fabulous haze they deliver. And we used two Atmospheres on both the West End and Broadway productions of Miss Saigon where they stood the test of time. But it was the extra control of the new ATMe hazer that really appealed to me. It produces the finest haze, just like the Atmosphere, but instead of simply turning them on and off, the ATMe’s DMX/RDM control and 0-100% variable output allows us to carry out that vital fine tuning directly from the lighting console.”
As one would expect from the Cameron Mackintosh stable, production values are never less than superlative and the show’s setting of dingy nightclubs and war-zones in the dying days of the Vietnam war requires endless supplies of atmosphere-evoking smoke and haze, which are provided by a variety of different generators. Poet states: “Haze machines are often overlooked but are a totally essential piece of equipment to bring out the best in the lighting. We chose the ATMe for the ambient cover because it produces the best fine haze which allows the beams of light to be seen without obscuring the action or set on stage, which is so important on a show such as this. The MDG machines are good for delivering a floor to ceiling haze that means you see the full beams very cleanly, where the others smoke and haze machines give denser looks where I want to see the smoke swirling around in the beams.”
The two ATMe units are rigged either side of the fly floor, each with a fan to help direct the haze onto stage. “Now we have left the comfort of the West End and Broadway and are touring the show, the controllability of the ATMe has really made its value felt,” continues Poet. “We will be dealing with very different venues and slightly different locations for the machines in each and, of course, different atmospheric conditions on every stage. But the ATMe has the advantage of fine control over the output which gives us more flexibility to get the balance just right.”
With Miss Saigon’s UK tour now in progress, Poet remains confident that the ATMe is the right haze generator for the job: “The fluid consumption is excellent, the best on the market I believe and the touring teams are very used to dealing with CO2 these days so they have it down to a fine art. Plus we have the security of MDG’s build-quality which means you know you can rely on them whatever the conditions.”
Jedd Hamilton, hire manager at White Light, agrees: “As a supplier, we always work closely with lighting designers to ensure that we supply exactly what they require for their productions, sourcing particular fixtures where we need to. When Bruno specified the ATMe haze generators, we knew this would be a fixture that would be able to achieve the exact feel he required. They have proven extremely beneficial on the Miss Saigon tour and we intend to use them on other productions in future.”
photos: Johan Persson © Cameron Mackintosh Ltd
16th August 2017
WI Gets Hysteretical for Tiziano
Italy – I talian singer/songwriter and producer Tiziano Ferro is known as the modern face of Italian pop music and his phenomenally successful career has seen one chart-busting album and single after another earning him a dedicated fan following.
His live shows are also known for their visual flamboyance and style and the recent Italian stadium tour was no exception. Belgian engineering and automation specialist WIcreations was commissioned to find solutions for two primary motion-control ‘brain-teasers’.
The show was creatively directed by Claudio Santucci working in close collaboration with video designer Romain Sabella from Clonwerk and lighting designer Giovanni Pinna.
The two automation challenges were to provide a fluid and smooth movement system for a large video ceiling weighing 11 tonnes, which moved in all directions, and to track two massive upstage LED screens into different configurations throughout a very dynamic set.
In addition to these, also required to move were two lighting trusses either side of the video ceiling, a water screen in front of the video ceiling rigged on two moving hoists and a pyro effect circle upstage of the video ceiling that also shifted position.
WIcreations’ Hans Willems project managed from their end, after the company’s extensive skills and knowledge in the field of automation technology was sought by main lighting and video contractors, PRG Belgium.
The video ceiling was a show-stopping moment in a production full of 'wow factors'. At one stage, it tilted downwards with water content pouring off the ‘end’ of the LED, while an actual water feature was simultaneously flown into place to meet the downstage edge of the screen, with real water tumbling down onto stage in a spectacular fountain.
The 7.2 metre wide by 19.2 metre long video ceiling was made up of Pixled F12 LED product and weighed 11 tonnes. It was moved by 18 EVO motors specified by WIcreations and tipped, tilted and pitched in all directions.
WIcreations devised a custom hydraulic load censoring and control system which integrated the hysteresis from each individual motor and applied some clever maths and triggering calculations so all the chain hoists could be made to act as if they were one enormous motor!
This virtually eliminated any vibrations and latency, ensuring exceptionally smooth motion so the creative team could programme very elegant ‘liquid’ moves. As the motors were all moving at exactly the same moments with no delays, it also ensured that none of the motors were ever overloaded, dramatically reducing danger of any one of them triggering its E-Stop, which in this scenario would shift the load disproportionately onto the others.
The upstage tracking video screens measured 3.6 metres wide by 13.2 metres high, weighed around three-tonnes and moved along a 21 metre stretch of track, for which WI utilised its proven touring tracking system which also assisted with fast load ins / outs.
WI also supplied 13 EVO half tonne and two EVO 800kg hoists to fly and move the two 18 metre long lighting trusses at the sides of the video ceiling, the water curtain truss and the FX circle at the back.
The 18 motors on the video ceiling and the 15 moving the other elements were controlled using customised WI 3D software, operated by Joey Poortman.
Claudio and Romain spent some time ahead of the tour at WI’s office at Heist-op-den-Berg discussing the show programming and integration of the automation and video cues so they worked harmoniously with Hans and his team.
Says Hans: “It was a pleasure to work with this artist again and assist Claudio and Romain in realising their ambitious visions. As usual, they pushed the envelope of creativity and technology , and these are the challenges that we love!”
photos: Giovanni Pinna
16th August 2017
Illuminating Shawn Mendes
UK-based creative design practice Okulus – James Scott and Louis Oliver – was asked to create a production design the first major production world tour for rising Canadian singer/song-writing star Shawn Mendes.
This followed their work for the launch of his second studio album, “Illuminate” at Madison Square Garden in September 2016, and Okulus’ penchant for bringing fresh and interesting visual perspectives to a show.
Thirty-nine Robe Spikies are incorporated into the lighting scheme, crafted with Okulus dexterity and imagination in close collaboration with the show’s creative director, Paul Caslin and 24/7 Productions. The overall stage look is clean and definitive with attention focused on the artist.
The set is built from a multi-layered fixed riser system with curved frontage and a high-gloss black floor fabricated by TAIT. It keeps the band positions balanced across the upstage area, creating a geometric flow for the performance. Under-lit by strobes, the set also becomes like a lightbox at certain moments.
A 60ft wide LED screen at the back ran stunning content produced by Sam Pattinson from Treatment.
There are eight overhead trusses including a distinctive 20ft diameter circular truss flown directly above Mendes’ central marks, dubbed the ‘halo’ by the creative team. Two of the trusses are upstage of the screen for blow-through lighting effects and another two wing trusses extend the stage sideways into the arena.
Sixteen Spikies are rigged around the halo truss, with the other 13 in the footlights position around a circular B-stage, positioned just in front of the FoH mixer platforms.
James and Louis first thought of using Spikies after the ‘Illuminate’ album launch at Madison Square Garden, where they used another product to create lots of tight beamed effects. After this, they saw the Spikie in action and decided that the fixture offered a lot more options, so Spikies earned their place on the plot. “They are seriously small, lightweight and have numerous very useful features,” stated James.
The halo truss Spikies are sometimes used to create a cage around the singer as well as for other architectural looks. For the ones around the B stage, their use is more textural.
Mendes is playing the piano whilst in this position in the middle of the audience, so the punchy Spikie beam is perfect for close cover or special effects which include some eye-catching aerials.
“We love the split and dual color effects and the texturing looks that can be programmed are very cool,” commented Louis. “There’s no other fixture around right now that could do what we needed in these vital positions.”
The show aesthetic is diverse and free-flowing. It moves along quickly, embracing a range of styles and sounds from soft ballads to catchy folk-pop with the odd rock & roll power moment – it’s all extremely accessible and fast-fueling Mendes’ soaring career trajectory and chart successes.
Ryan Nixon is the Okulus touring lighting director. Starting in Europe, the tour now embarks on the first US leg, and is scheduled to continue until at least spring 2018.
All lighting and video equipment is being supplied worldwide by VER, who have invested heavily in Robe Spikies over the last 12 months. Small is certainly proving beautiful and Spikies are out on other high profile tours including Bruno Mars, The Weeknd and Martin Garrix.
photos: Kris Goodman, the Flying Lampie
16th August 2017
1, 2 or 3 Celebrates 40th Anniversary with GLP
Germany – Forty years on the air and 1,000 episodes are really a reason for celebrating 1, 2 or 3, the legendary children’s quiz show from ZDF, with a 150-minute prime time show from the MMC Studios in Cologne. Moderated by Steven Gätjen and Elton, prominent guests included actress Stephanie Stumph, comedian Bülent Ceylan and singer Mark Foster. Günther Jauch, who presents Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, also made an appearance and superstar Helene Fischer appeared on stage.
For the lighting design of this special anniversary show, MBTV, the production company for ZDF, awarded the design work to mo2 design, run by lighting designer, Manfred Olma. Olma is one of the long-time users of GLP fixtures, and on this occasion he also made the most of it, specifying more than 100 impression X4 atom, as well as 92 GT-1 hybrids and 60 impression X4.
"We arranged the atoms in two rows, next to and underneath the videowall. Together with the performing area in front, this videowall is a central part of the show and it was accentuated by the atoms. The idea came up because we originally decided to use the compact atom only as an effect light; however, due to the rich output, the 30 Watt LED engine and the zoom, these lamps are actually great all-rounders,” says Manfred “Ollie” Olma, speaking of one aspect of his show design. Matthias Allhoff, who is responsible for planning at mo2 design, also makes an important point about these LED spots: "The highlight of these fixtures is the connectors which make it possible to link large quantities very quickly, without problem, and maintain visual harmony. This makes these small lamps very flexible.” In fact they are so flexible and universal that Manfred Olma says this will not be the last time he will be using these lights. "On the contrary, my head is full of ideas, as to what can still be achieved with these lights." One can only speculate as to what will come next.
As for the GT-1 hybrids Olma used these mainly in the show performance to achieve a basic look, mainly using the beams as effect lights to accentuate his lighting design. The impression X4, on the other hand, was mainly used as a work horse for audience light, bathing the guests at the TV recording in a rich colour palette.
Technical equipment for the production was provided by the Cologne-based MLS magic light + sound.
photos: Paul Gärtner
16th August 2017
Ayrton IntelliPix-XT Support Heavy Entertainment for Robbie Williams
Europe – Robbie Williams’ latest European tour takes in all points east and west of the continent throughout the summer, culminating in two shows in the Russian cities of St Petersburg and Moscow in early September. Touring in support of Williams’ 11th studio album, The Heavy Entertainment Show, the production reflects the nature of both the artist and the album, mixing full-on schmaltz with in-your-face entertainment in an atmosphere that is cheeky, loud and proud to be brash.
In a design set to dazzle in keeping with the effervescent star, lighting designer, Mark Cunniffe, opted to use 200 Ayrton IntelliPix-XT LED matrix fixtures to line the front edges of the stage, which is star-shaped. “One of the major challenges of a stadium show is that 50%-60% of the show is played in daylight, before transitioning into night time later on. The further north in Europe, the longer the sun lingers, so it is important that we have a visual show for that first portion of the show, as well as beyond into full darkness. Whether it was lighting-based or screen-based, I wanted something that would work in daylight and was looking for a punchy pixel-based source that provided really serious impact – which IntelliPix-XT does in spades!
“I wanted there to be no separation between the staging and the lighting. By rigging IntelliPix-XT on the front of the band risers, the main stage and the star shaped forestage, I could clearly delineate the three stage levels and tie in the overall look and feel of the show.”
The IntelliPix-XT is a development on from the original IntelliPix-R delivering six times greater efficiency from its nine independently-controlled RGBW multi-chip high-power LEDs which emit narrow 2° beams from their 126mm diameter optics. These are configured in a three by three matrix, with a pixel pitch of 175mm, each of which can be aligned precisely to form highly complex assemblies that deliver large-dimension 3D volumetric lighting effects. An efficiency rating in excess of 95% of its PSU enables IntelliPix-XT to run continuously at full power without any loss of performance.
Cunniffe had not used the IntelliPix-XT before so his choice reflects a good deal of faith in the Ayrton brand: “I was looking for a really bright parallel beam to accent and clearly define the star-shaped stage edge, it is clearly an important visual indicator of the show’s character. Other LED sources were considered but were far more wash-orientated making that sharp clarity difficult to achieve, whereas the IntelliPix-XT is much more of a beam light and provided the necessary ‘punctuation’, especially in a stadium-size show which requires a lot of LED. They did a great job!”
It isn’t only the brightness and clarity that has impressed Cunniffe as he explains: “I particularly like the pixel mapping facility of the IntelliPix-XT. The beauty of the feature is that you have nine separate cells to map which, multiplied by 200 units, gives you an awful lot of pixels to play with: 1,800 in all. When pixel-mapping them it is easy to match them into other products. I run a lot of video content through them but can pixel map many other effects too.”
As part of such a vibrant stage and light show, the IntelliPix-XT have more than proved their mettle and Cunniffe is enthusiastic about their performance: “The IntelliPix-XT are a signature unit of the show and are used on nearly half of the 20-song list. In between, I run them at 20% as stage trim to delineate the edges of the star-shaped stage. I’ve been really impressed with the fixtures, their output, the pixel mapping and their flexibility. I wouldn’t hesitate to use them again.”
Ayrton is distributed exclusively in the UK by Ambersphere Solutions, and the 200 IntelliPix-XT units were supplied to Robbie Williams’ The Heavy Entertainment Tour by the UK’s favourite lighting hire company, Neg Earth Lights.
photo: Robbie Williams Management
15th August 2017
Bandit Celebrates ‘Days of Future Passed’ with The Moody Blues
USA – The Moody Blues, the world renowned British rock band, have been touring since the fabled moment in music history referred to as the British Invasion, and while they have 18 platinum and gold albums, retail sales of more than 70 million units and decades of touring behind them, the trio, consisting of Graeme Edge, Justin Hayward and John Lodge shows no plans of stopping any time soon.
The band’s illustrious career stretches across more than half a century with their second album, Days of Future Passed, long held as the world’s first art rock album, and in celebration of its 50th anniversary, Bandit Lites was honoured to supply the lighting and video elements for the legendary group.
Bandit Lites supplied lighting designer Mick Thornton, now in his 15th year with the band, their exclusive GRNLite Moving Washes, GLP X4, Robe Pointes, 4-Lite Moles and LED Pars, along with Chauvet Video Panels (6mm) and Claypaky Mirage Video Panels (20mm).
“The balance between the two video panels worked extremely well and gave a real dimension to the show,” said Thornton.
With the production design specifically based around Days of Future Passed, Thornton had to account for the video element, while choosing fixtures that would complement the video wall and make sense for travel.
“As with a lot of productions these days, the budget and truck space plays a large part in the design,” said Thornton. “We were working with only two trucks, so I had to be careful with the gear list. The Robe Pointes worked perfectly in balance with the output of the video wall and certainly cut through.”
Thornton spent five days at Bandit Lites’ Venue One Rehearsal facility, using that time to craft the lighting and video components for the visually impactful show.
“This tour was very much video orientated as the album tells the story of an everyday man going through his day and had to have a very strong visual aspect that fitted the lyrical content,” explained Thornton. “This process took a long time to create and worked well with the feel of the show.”
“This was a very important tour for the Moody Blues being the 50th anniversary of their groundbreaking album Days of Future Passed,” said Bandit client representative Dizzy Gosnell. “They planned a few shows through the tour with a full symphony orchestra playing behind them. The Hollywood Bowl show came right near the beginning of the tour, and it was the season opener for the Bowl for 2017, with a massive firework show at the end, and a DVD shoot, too … not much pressure then! Mick did a fantastic job along with Lucky [John Lucksinger] and Dave Stabley and resulted in this being a truly benchmark production for the Moodies.”
“As always Bandit gave me the support and help with numerous aspects of this tour,” finished Thornton. “John Lucksinger, as always, was exceptional and is a joy to work with. His knowledge is priceless.”
15th August 2017
Startle Signs Agreement with BBC for Nationwide Popmaster Pub Quiz
UK – Leading providers of disruptive technology solutions, entertainment services and interactive music tools, Startle International Limited, has signed an agreement with the BBC to take its PopMaster quiz to pubs nationwide.
The brainchild of Startle’s head of music, Phil Swern, and BBC Radio 2 presenter Ken Bruce, the PopMaster Quiz is the UK’s most popular music quiz, enjoyed by 8.2 million people every week-day morning on BBC’s Radio 2. The agreement will see Startle roll PopMaster out to pubs across the country as an interactive nationwide pub quiz in which each partaking venue will compete simultaneously against one another.
Michael Lawrence, director of Startle Quiz comments: “The technology we have developed to enable multiple venues to play against one another during a quiz has been in the making for a few years. A trial run was rolled out at a number of pubs and after some fine tuning, including adding new features, we’ve created a product we are really proud of and one that has so far been received really well.
“By integrating Startle Jukebox, PopMaster Quiz and digital signage platforms, the interactive nature of what we offer means the traditional pub quiz has been transformed into something more suitable for today’s tech savvy audience.”
The PopMaster Quiz is a fully digital offering, with pre-prepared questions and an automatic digital scoring system, meaning customers can enjoy the quiz whilst alleviating added pressure for bar staff. The option to play against other pubs throughout the UK allows for a bigger prize for the winning team and in turn encouraging more pub-goers to join in.
Startle’s Head of Music, Phil Swern comments: “It’s great to see how far PopMaster has come in the last 15 years. I really believe that the technology we’ve developed will revolutionise the pub quiz.”
“This agreement with the BBC will allow us to extend the UK’s most listened to quiz to allow a much wider audience to participate and I’m excited to continue to think up new questions for the nationwide PopMaster.”
BBC Radio 2 presenter and PopMaster quiz master Ken Bruce said of the agreement: “It has been a real pleasure working with the Startle team, since we first developed the interactive nature of PopMaster for Children In Need in 2014. During this time, I have seen the technology develop into something that never fails to deliver a good time.”
“We only have two people competing on the radio show each day, but there are millions who are participating in their homes and offices around the country. What better way for them to join in than down at their local pub.”
15th August 2017
Adlib Laughs Long and Loud with Mrs. Brown and Her Boys
UK – The hilariously funny, successful Brendan O'Carroll comedy creation ‘Mrs. Brown’s Boys’ continues its popular live touring version, leaving a wake of smiles and laughs, with full technical production including lighting, sound, video, rigging and crew, supplied by Adlib.
Adlib has been involved with Mrs. Brown’s Boys live since its very first theatre tour in 2000, and since then it’s become a multi award winning TV show and a massive arena live show phenomenon.
The show has continued to invest in production values and technology to keep everything moving forward along with the humour. Adlib’s director and account handler Dave Jones looked after the Audio elements alongside senior account manager Dave Eldridge who oversaw the lighting and video requirements. Jones comments: “We are immensely proud to have worked with Brendan and the cast over the years and to see the concept grow and develop. We’ve enjoyed a fantastic, very honest relationship for over a decade and it has been an amazing journey.”
The opportunity of a long-term relationship has also given the chance for a fluid dialogue to develop, and for Adlib to be very much in tune with the client’s requirements, the show itself and exactly what’s needed in terms of cutting edge production technology.
For this latest run of arenas, Adlib’s project manager Kevin Byatt returned to oversee the team.
Dave Jones, Dave Eldridge and the Adlib team worked closely with the show’s producers Gareth Woods and Fiona Gibney, executive producer Martin Delany and SJM tour manager Neil Brighouse, combining talents and experience to deliver another ground-breaking production package.
Lighting was again designed by Mike Summerfield, who has been on the Mrs. Brown production team for some years, each tour creating something new and original.
This time he was also lighting for the video cameras as well as the live audience, so wanted to use powerful lights to get the full stage wash effect, and also be able to approach lighting the stage from several different physical angles.
For this reason, and for their excellent CTO, he chose Martin MAC Viper Wash and Viper Profiles for the primary moving lights. These gave him both the tungsten emulated warmth that suits elements of the show and all the features needed to create additional dynamics.
There were three main over stage trusses, front, back and mid. The back truss was loaded with MAC Viper Washes and profiles plus Claypaky Sharpy Washes which were used to hit a 24 inch mirror-ball rigged on its own personal truss and flown in and out at strategic moments.
The mid truss contained a row of Viper Washes to fatten up and enrich the overall stage wash, and then on the front truss, 14 more Viper Washes were added, together with four Viper profiles for keylight and specials.
A tab-track truss was flown in line with the downstage edge of the set carpet with returns on each side, so the tabs could draw open and then be concealed from view. An ‘offstage truss’ then mirrored the line of the tab-track along the front and around the sides, which provided positions for another nine Viper Washes and two Viper profiles. These fixtures were invaluable to help with extreme sidelighting. So, it was a case of good all-round placement of fixtures for the maximum coverage.
Atmospherics for the final scenes were supplied via two DF50 hazers left and right of stage.
A Road Hog Full Boar was Mike’s console of choice, fully networked with a second desk for backup, and Mike also controlled six set practicals (wall lights) powered from an Avo ART2000 dimmer, together with all the stage lighting.
Mike worked closely with Kev and lighting technician Jordan Willis.
Mike loves going on the road with Mrs. Brown’s Boys, commenting that they are: “Unique in the way that all the cast and production are like family, a vibe that’s generously extended to all the crew.”
The video factor of the tour expanded dramatically with the 2015 shows, a trend that has continued. Taking what is basically an intimate theatre presentation concept into arenas means that the IMAG screens are crucial to conveying all the facial expressions and punch lines that deliver the comedy so brilliantly.
With the screen direction they also aimed to bring some distinctly televisual touches, as they were effectively shooting a live sitcom.
Iain Christie headed up the camera team as systems tech and lead camera operator, while Eric O’Carrol cut the camera mix, created from four Sony HXC-100 cameras fitted with Canon HJ40 lenses.
Two cameras were stationed at FoH with the other two house left and right, closer to the stage. The FoH cameras primarily picked out group shots, character movements and specials, while the left and right ones captured more of the close-up action, focusing on those essential facial expressions and ensuring that they remained key to delivering comedy successfully in a large venue.
Eric used a Blackmagic design Atem 2m/e switcher to process the camera channels and output them to screen. In addition to feeding the three IMAG screens – left, right and delay – feeds were sent to the green room and dressing room areas and to a series of small monitors deployed around the back of the set to allow cast members to see what’s happening and fine tune the timing of their entrances.
Behind the main set was the ‘cinema’, a seated area with sofas and a large plasma screen allowing cast members to gather and follow the action.
A new addition for this tour was the pre-show Fan-Cam, which worked well as an audience warmer and allowed the video team to capture some truly hilarious moments and great characters in the audience. They could key in graphic images designed by Conor Gibney over the live picture from the console’s on-board media library.
There was also a pre-show VT package comprising a soundtrack and a mash of behind-the-scenes footage from Mrs. Brown D’Movie, TV show and previous tours, played out from a Mac running PlaybackPro.
The screens themselves were looked after by Adlib’s Rob Bickerstaff and were made up from Adlib’s Absen 3.9mm A3 Pro HD product.
The biggest challenge for Kev and the crew has been the load ins. With a lot of infrastructure having to be in, up and running the same day whilst factoring in an elaborate set build all happening simultaneously, Adlib supplied additional technicians for the ins and outs who assisted Rob with the screen builds and de-rig, while Ian and the touring video crew looked after the rest of the video set-up. It is a formula which has worked extremely efficiently.
Lighting and video manager Dave Eldridge commented: “It has been an exciting challenge to devise a plan that ties all disciplines together and can be delivered efficiently. The speed of the process is a testament to Kev and the team.”
Joining Iain, Rob and Eric on the video crew were Matt Dipple (camera technician / operator) and assistant technicians / operators Darragh Smith and Evan Rogers. On load-in and -out duty were Mark Taylor, Dan Brown, Liam Murray and Ben Caunt.
Audio crew chief Alan Harrison led a four-strong Adlib sound team of Hassane Es Siahi (FoH engineer), Shona Steadman (monitor and stage engineer) and systems engineers Steve Norman and George Puttock.
Getting the right sound for comedy shows is as vital as lighting them correctly, it’s all about the vocal delivery, the tones, nuances, enunciations, etc., and that’s why Alan specified Coda Audio. The products are: “Astoundingly clear, detailed and with less distortion than I have ever heard,” he said, adding that coverage is extraordinarily predictable and will throw for miles.
All these combined to provide a “beautifully smooth, homogenous, highly intelligible sound across the whole arena,” says Alan, so what Hassane is hearing is exactly what the audience are hearing.
Alan also mentioned that it’s near-impossible to make the Coda feedback even with 14 DPA headsets onstage! “I’ll be honest” he insists, “There is literally no other speaker type we would want to use on this show!”
Two 16-deep Coda AiRAY arrays made up the main hangs, with eight Coda LA12 / 4 ViRAY downs for the side hangs plus a centre cluster of four Coda ViRAY. They used TiRAY in / outfills and eight SCP-F subs, with two hangs of eight ViRAY a side for delay, (three of six in Glasgow), completing the system.
As well as delivering the usual superlative quality audio, there are a few sonic brain-teasers with this show.
There were no speakers on stage, both for the overall show aesthetics and for sightlines, hence the use of the centre cluster to fill the triangle between the main stage hangs and the front of the audience.
Being a spoken word show, creating a focus towards the stage is important for the audience. So, by using multiple overlapping sources as centre / main infill or main and delay and adjusting levels and delay times, it draws the audience towards the stage and – naturally – in the same direction as their eyes.
The system was powered by 36 Coda Linus 10 amps with inbuilt DSP. Alan describes the speaker presets on these as “insane”, explaining: “They are phase linear right down to the sub / low crossover area, so although there are multiple speaker types, achieving a seamless transition between all of them is super easy.”
They are also low latency, another given for a spoken word show, especially where cameras will expose any lag in audio processing!
For zonal and EQ control they utilised three Lake LM44s at FoH feeding a pair of LM26s and a Focusrite Rednet. These were networked with redundant Dante for audio over TAC-4 fibre. The stage rack streamed AES into the Linus amps which utilised AES over Cat5 up to 96kHz, and the whole system was clocked at 96 via an Apogee Big Ben to preserve the full clarity and detail from the DPA mics, which the Coda speakers excel at delivering.
The FoH control, a DiGiCo SD10 with SD rack, was also clocked by the Big Ben at 96kHz, with a Lake LM44 for EQ inserts, a fully redundant dual QLab system for cues and stings and a MacBook at front of house using a DAW to perform virtual soundchecks.
The SD10 is Hassane’s console of choice for a number of reasons. It’s a familiar surface that makes it easy to create a powerful snapshot system (there are 120 snapshot cues in the show) and audio processing which he reckons is “sonically perfect”.
The monitor console was a DiGiCo S21, taking post mute stems from FoH of the Boys, the Girls and Mrs. Brown’s mics, blending these with various QLab stings, VTs, etc.
The monitors comprise two flown L-Acoustics ARCS per side, a legacy going back to the start of the show’s touring history, allowing the cast to receive precisely the fold-back they are used to.
Backstage are four Adlib AA61 speakers to relay the programme feed to the waiting cast.
The mics are DPA d:fine 66 headset directional mics for the cast, with Brendon using two DPA 4061 omnidirectionals (main and spare), which sound “fantastic” enthuses Alan. The RF system was Sennheiser EM2051 receivers with SK2000 bodypack transmitters.
Alan, Hassane and the team all enjoy various sonic brain-teasing challenges of the show and solving them, which can be really satisfying.
There’s a lot of improvisation in the show, so everyone is kept on their toes night-to-night, but the one constant is that through the years of working on the production team for interesting and hilarious production, it is the overriding and hugely welcoming family atmosphere that makes it a real pleasure to work hard and do the gig!
In picture: Mrs Brown and Adlib’s touring crew together on set.
Photo: Steve Sroka
15th August 2017
TRANSCOLOR Invests in More Robe
Poland – TRANSCOLOR Lucjan Siwczyk, one of Poland's major rental companies, is located in greater Warsaw, since 2010 in a substantial purpose-built warehouse and office complex complete with two large studios which are regularly hired out by TV production companies to record a range of series and programmes.
Television is a core market for TRANSCOLOR which also services other studios with lighting and video equipment, together with concert touring, special events and long term installations.
To assist with the busy schedules, there are now over 300 Robe fixtures in the rental inventory including over 200 LEDWash 800s and over 100 Spikies.
The company started looking at Robe in 2012, having been a distributor for a competitor brand for several years and consequently having a big stock of their fixtures, it was a big moment explained technical manager Szymon Kosicki.
Having noticed Robe’s star rising for some time, they approached Rafal Rzeczkowski of Robe’s hard working and enthusiastic Polish distributor, Prolight, with whom they already enjoyed an excellent relationship. TRANSCOLOR wanted a good quality and powerful LED wash light at this point, and after carefully looking at all the options, decided Robe was the best choice.
The first batch of LEDWash 800s was soon followed by several more. Szymon notes they have been impressed with the continuity of colours, quality and appearance of the LEDs, etc. between batches, an area where they’ve had real issues with other brands.
"They are small, handy, lightweight and a very universal product that is easy to handle and very reliable," and as a result, their LEDWashes are out all the time on various shows and events, a scenario that’s ideal for any rental enterprise!.
The Spikies were purchased in the last year. and in Poland currently seen to be the trending product with top TV lighting designers. "We really like the concept of this fixture," says Szymon, listing some recent Spikie shows including 'Who Wants to Be a Millionaire' (LD Marcin Michna).
"New technologies are always interesting and we have our ‘ears to the ground’ constantly to discuss what’s good and what’s cool," says Szymon.
Talking generally about Robe he likes the ideas and philosophy of CEO Josef Valchar who is extremely approachable and personally in tune with market needs and demands: "We feel that Robe is currently heading at the top of the industry," he concluded.
TRANSCOLOR is owned by Lucjan Siwczyk who founded the company 25 years ago. Previously he was a lighting technician, then a lighting operator and designer in Estrada Śląska and Spodek Arena in Katowice where his passion for the production industry and the technologies that create the magic began. Currently TRANSCOLOR has an optimal group of management and administration staff and around 50 regular full-time freelance technical crew including lighting designers, programmers and operators, several who have been with the company many years. They concentrate on supplying kit with full crew rather than dry hires and provide full technical production to clients using the two studios, the largest of which is 1,500 square metres with a generous 12 metres of headroom to the roof catwalks, and an impressive eight tonnes of weight loading on each of the structural beams.
With business enjoying great buoyancy at the moment, on most days TRANSCOLOR trucks, with their striking black and white livery, can be spotted zooming around the country moving kit between projects.
In picture: Prolight’s Rafal Rzeczkowski with TRANSCOLOR’s technical manager Szymon Kosicki.
photo: Louise Stickland