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Maarten de Man of mdm productions Lights Tourist LeMC with Help from Chauvet Professional
Belgium – The letter “T” comes to us from the ancient Greeks, who modified the Phoenician letter “taw” by putting together two perpendicular lines, the vertical meeting the horizontal precisely at its midpoint. In the centuries since, the familiar letter has gone on to become one of the most commonly used consonants in western languages. It’s also one of the most reassuring, projecting an image of balance, strength and stability, not to mention geometric perfection.
Lighting and stage designer Maarten de Man of mdm productions channelled the power of this venerable letter for a pair of recent Lotto Arena shows by chart-topping Flemish stars Tourist LeMC. Dominating the stage’s backdrop, his T was not the formal straight-line sort found in grade school alphabet books, but a dynamic visual element, with a vertical component that spread its wings wide from its narrow base as it rose to meet its horizonal counterpart.
The resultant display commanded attention while projecting an air of excitement. Enhancing this effect was an intense, beautifully balanced lighting design that featured a collection of close to 80 Chauvet Professional fixtures supplied by Splendit.
“I have been doing the light for Tourist LeMC for some years,” said de Man. “So, I am familiar with their vision. For this show that vision was to have the letter T serve as the core of the stage design. Our creative process started with the having the gigantic T on stage and then framing it with light.”
True to the great literary tradition of this letter, the vibrant T created by the design team contributed to a flowing narrative on stage as it presented an ever-changing succession of images on its LED video wall core. Sometimes it displayed IMAG images, at others it was used more as a lighting element, matching the colours created by the rest of the rig. Then there were moments when the vertical component disappeared, leaving only the horizontal bar to display images. The result was a panorama that reflected the bold style of this hip hop superstar.
Making the T even more compelling was the high contrast on stage between shadows and brightness, and the evocative light angles used by de Man. “I don’t like to use followspots, because I prefer contrasts,” he said. “In this show, the side wings were perfect as starting points for light. With the Rogue Outcast’s beams I could make the perfect beam or wash backlight. I used on spot for backlight for solo parts with no front lighting. I like to follow the idea that less light is more.”
A total of 42 Rogue Outcast 1 BeamWashes, most of them positioned stage left and right, were used in the show. Joining them were 11 Maverick MK2 Spot and 11 Maverick MK2 Profile fixtures. Flown on three rows of overhead truss, these units were used to create crossing panels of light that played off against the colours and images shown on the T set piece. They also were called upon for specials and to highlight individual performers on stage.
Helping to connect those performers to the stage were ten Strike 1 blinders, which were flown on the highest level of truss and used for audience lighting. The warm white glow of these fixtures created an immersive mood in the arena and gave the artists a chance to see their fans. In so doing, they helped strengthen a bond between the two, which like the vertical and horizontal components of a T, formed a perfect union.
22nd July 2022
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