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Patrick Dierson reunites with Artiste Mondrian for iHeartRadio ALTer EGO
USA – iHeartRadio’s ALTer EGO concert 15th January at The Forum in Los Angeles was a rocking affair whose ruckus energy reflected the sold-out crowd’s joy to be back at a live event. Production designer Patrick Dierson of The Activity was delighted as well and lit some of the biggest names in alternative rock using a large lighting package that included Elation Professional’s Artiste Mondrian LED profile supplied by 4Wall Entertainment.
Coldplay, All Time Low, Imagine Dragons, Kings of Leon, Måneskin, Twenty One Pilots and Willow all rocked the venue with a surprise appearance by Avril Lavigne. Presented by Capital One, the show was streamed live on LiveXLive and broadcast on iHeartRadio stations. The Activity was first engaged with the event back in 2017 in what Dierson calls “one of the most fun shows in which we were ever involved.”
The Activity handles the overall production design of the show, which includes the scenic, video, staging and lighting elements. Associate LD Justin Cheatham handled lighting director duties on this latest iteration, working directly with each of the guest LDs. 4Wall’s Hayden Katz handled all video media server needs and The Activity’s John Ellar was the overall project manager. Besides the management and scheduling of the guest LDs and VJs, The Activity spent a lot of pre-production time liaising with the various equipment vendors, including close cooperation with 4Wall Entertainment and C2W Rigging, to make sure all details were covered. All of these elements were perfectly choreographed with stage manager, Seth 'Berger' Goldstein.
Seeking a powerful, full-colour LED profile unit, Dierson hearkened back to a fixture he had test driven in early 2021 but had not yet used on a show. In the middle of the pandemic shutdowns, the designer was able to get a sneak peek of Elation’s Artiste Mondrian much earlier than most of the public when he produced a demonstration release video that introduced the fixture to the world. “We filmed it over the course of several days at the studios of AG Production Services in Las Vegas and it allowed us to get a first-hand look into all of the intricacies of the fixture,” he recalls. “In the end, we were extremely impressed with the unit and were looking forward to being able to utilise it on one of our concert productions en bulk.”
Dierson and the team at The Activity eventually got their chance to put them to the test in the real world when, in anticipation of the 2022 ALTer EGO event, they started creating a base design in October of 2021. “When it came time to start designing iHeart ALTer Ego, we naturally shifted into looking at finally being able to take the Mondrians for a spin and they sure didn’t disappoint. The unit is feature-packed with a ton of great gobo options, lots of effects, beautiful colour mixing ranges, and a very fast shutter system that lends itself well to aerial beam effects.”
A total of 26 Mondrian units were used in a design comprised of multiple 'pods' of equipment that combined both lighting and video elements. “Given how feature-packed the unit is, we decided to use it as the main profile unit for this show,” said Dierson. A powerhouse at over 51,000 lumens, the Artiste Mondrian utilises a custom hotspot LED engine to produce a narrow 3° beam from a wide 222mm PC lens. An all-inclusive FX package includes Elation’s pioneering seven-flag SpectraColor colour mixing system as well as endless rotation framing.
“We placed them in symmetrical fashion at varying heights and angles to produce as versatile a rig as possible, as well as on the deck as low ‘shin kickers’ that allowed all of the LDs to really model up their acts,” Dierson explains. “They also shared duties with other instruments to create some truly unique aerial focuses.”
Given the amount of LED video elements on shows these days, Dierson says that output is always the feature that he looks to first. “With 51,000 lumens of output from an LED light engine, the Mondrian solved that concern immediately. Next up is colour mixing and the Mondrian’s SpectraColor system delivered that in short order. Once we had those basic needs covered, everything else was just gravy.” Another of the Mondrian’s features that the designer was interested in seeing put to work is the framing system. “The Mondrian’s 360-degree rotating framing shutter system combined with the very fast speed at which the shutters can operate, lends itself very well to some incredible aerial effects.”
The Activity handled its role expertly and despite trials like The Forum’s single, narrow chute loading dock combined with a show produced on a 48’ turntable that allows for set changes of less than five minutes, the show came off without a hitch, including Dierson’s reunion with the Artiste Mondrian. “In the end, the show was a success and we were impressed with the real-world performance of the Mondrians,” he concludes. “They looked great and didn’t give us a single issue the entire run.”
photos: Skye Morse-Hodgson
24th February 2022
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