Production News Headlines
Claypaky Xtylos Fixtures Earn a Place in Coldplay’s World Tour Rig After Shining at Coldplay’s Sold-Out Seattle Concert
Shure’s Axient Digital Wireless System first choice for Patchwork London on NME's "Best Live Act 2022”
L-ISA Immersive Sound Brings Clarity to the Singapore Chinese Orchestra Opener at Singapore International Festival of the Arts
Vasco Rossi Live 022 Stadium Tour
Italy – Italian superstar and showmaster Vasco Rossi roared back to live performance action this year with his “Vasco Live 2022” stadium tour which played 11 venues around Italy all of which were completely sold out.
The production was run to strict Covid guidelines with a goal of keeping the environment safe and ensuring that the show could go on, as the latest variants of the virus demonstrated that they are still capable of causing havoc, the consequences of which no large tour wants to deal with.
Lighting designer Giovanni Pinna created another spectacular show, choosing nearly 300 Robe moving lights to be the heart, soul, and backbone of the rig, with MegaPointes, Spiiders and LEDBeam 150s.
A 71 metre wide stage and over 1,000 square meters of video in Gio Forma studio’s set concept offered up a fresh new variation of the epic high-impact widescreen aesthetic that Vasco loves for presenting his live work. Giovanni took this as a major starting point for the lighting creative.
“I knew immediately – and obviously – that I needed a lot of super-bright light sources to cut through and still make an impact with the video whilst also complementing it and not taking over,” he declared, for which Robe proved a good and reliable choice that fitted the budget.
Giovanni also wanted to limit the amount of fixture types when it came to choosing lights, so these three Robe fixture types were combined with two other genres of luminaires.
He based the structural element of the lighting rig on a series of curves and circles, with four main circle trusses flown under the roof, all on a Kinesys automation system. The largest was a central 14 metre diameter with a six metre diameter one inside it and two four metre diameter side circles.
All of these were custom made to fit this design and moved up and down and tilted and pitched, a great effect that helped Giovanni keep the visual surprises coming right through the two-and-a-half hour set.
There were numerous side stage trusses and more between the PA and screen wings. Giovanni added eight two-metre diameter Roll Star motion circles hung in the roof and side wings downstage facing into the audience. They rotated a bit like a giant Gobo and were “a lot of fun” to integrate into the show, also augmenting the architectural elegance and style of curves.
Giovanni has been a keen Robe user for several years and knew that MegaPointes and Spiiders would deliver exactly his required effects, the challenge was getting enough of them for the duration of the tour!
The logistics were left to lighting vendor BOTW, who “came through with everything I wanted and were fantastic as always,” he noted.
The 186 MegaPointes, 164 Spiiders and 24 LEDBeam 150s were positioned all over the rig: on the circles, in the overhead trusses, across side and wing trusses, and on the stage deck. Basically, anywhere a fixture could be rigged! Eighteen Robe Pointes were deployed in the four metre circle.
Many were on the floor and around the scenery which provided a topological environment for Vasco and the band. Other lights were positioned along the downstage edge of the stage where there was a special balcony that included four triangular frames – two onstage and two in the wings – for lighting positions, together accommodating 48 MegaPointes and 36 Spiiders for low level lighting which was highly effective.
The set and scenic elements were specially fabricated by BOTW.
“Using MegaPointes to produce all the fantastic massive looks and effects was incredible,” Giovanni enthused, explaining that for once, they had a decent amount of time to tech and programme the show during production rehearsals ahead of the first gig in Trento.
In addition to being able to create all the dynamics and spectacular moments he wanted, Giovanni knew he would have a reliable rig in the heat and dust of a particularly hot Italian summer. “The Robes were rock solid, we only had to change out one fixture on the whole tour,” he reported.
Thirty-six of the fixtures, mostly MegaPointes with some Spiiders, were controlled via a zactrack system for specific numbers, with the positional information and triggers integrated into the lighting cues on his grandMA3.
With video and lighting inextricably entwined, Giovanni and playback video operator Marco Piva worked closely to craft those huge looks and awesomeness; the two have worked together with the artist for several years and enjoy a great synergy together with live camera director, Giuseppe Romano.
On this tour, they had a dedicated Notch operator and d3 specialist Nicolas Di Fonzo was also integrally involved in producing the big visual picture.
The 31-truck tour was production managed by Danny Truhlar. The timescale for each show was a two-day set up followed by a show day, and ER once again supplied a spectacular laser system used for six songs, adding richness and texture to the visual mix. Video kit was supplied by Event Management.
For Giovanni and all of the crew, it was fantastic to be back on the road after an enforced break of two years due to the pandemic. “It was just amazing to be back together again following our passions, enjoying the camaraderie, producing great shows and entertaining so many people,” he concluded.
photos: Event Management and Giovanni Pinna
9th August 2022
Squeek Lights Gives Coheed and Cambria Unique Looks with 27ft Inflatable and Chauvet Professional
USA – Like some ancient deity of the underworld, Quintillian Speakers are shrouded in mystery. Even readers engrossed in the Vaxis 2 story, from which they sprang, know little about this ancient race of beings, other than that they are made of energy, and can turn up anywhere, even at this summer’s Coheed and Cambria tour across North America.
The band’s frontman Claudio Sanchez conjured up these enigmatic entities as part of The Amory Wars, an ongoing series of science fiction comic books and novels he created. His imaginative vision is brought to life on the group’s current tour, not just through its thematic music, but also by a commanding 27-foot tall inflatable rendition of a Quintillian Speaker.
Animating this impressive figure on the tour, and endowing it with a distinct persona, while also reflecting its power to transmit energy, is a bold and colourful lighting design created by Victor Zeiser and run by touring designer Ben Jarrett that features 68 Chauvet Professional fixtures supplied by Squeek Lights.
“Since the Quintillion Speaker is a major component of this show, we have built much of our design around it,” said Zeiser. “We have no traditional backdrop on this tour. The inflatable is our backdrop, and it defines much of the stage presence.”
Getting the tall inflatable off the ground and fitting it within the stage trim has been a key challenge when setting up this show according to Jarrett, who credits his team, including lead LX technician 'Chud' Williams, rigger/stage manager Spencer Smyth, and lead LED technician Andre Dionne, with helping the tour run smoothly. Working around the inflatable, Jarrett tiers the upstage and midstage truss to fit within the remaining trim.
Jarrett made sure to account for the distinctive centrepiece when programming the 110-minute 17-song show. “I keep the inflatable the key scenic focus in the songs from the new album,” he said. “Then, I let it recede a little into the background for some of their older songs in the set. There are times when the Quintillion Speaker is woven very tightly into the show. One of my favourites is for the song ‘Disappearing Act.’ It gets me every night when we get these greens and purples to flow perfectly with the video content to give the stage a spacey energy club feel.”
To evoke this kind of “space themed mood,” the design team relies on the rig’s 36 Rogue R1 BeamWashes flown on midstage truss to create lots of lavenders and deep purples punctuated by reddish oranges and CTO, the latter used to convey a sense of travelling through celestial galaxies.
“We angle the BeamWashes at 45 degrees on six bars, each with six fixtures, to give the lighting rig tentacles of its own, just like a Quintillion Speaker,” said Jarrett. “The idea is to create the impression that the stage is reaching out into the audience to pull them into the story.”
Also drawing the audience into performance on stage are the rig’s 17 Color Strike M fixtures. The recently released IP65 rated motorised strobe-wash is used throughout the show as an audience light, in addition to strobing at key moments. Contributing added colour and excitement to the show are the 15 Rogue R3X Washes, eight of which are arranged on the deck to provide side lighting, while the remainder are flown on upstage truss.
The intense output of the Color Strike M fixtures also play a key role in creating a dramatic entrance for the Quintillion Speaker at the start of every show. “Given its size, it’s difficult to keep the QS hidden until the reveal moment,” said Jarret. “However, the backdrop of the opening acts keep it out of sight until our show starts. Then we fly it up the truss and inflate it during the band’s first song, which is rather long, to give us time. Meanwhile, as we’re inflating the QS, the bright Color Strike M fixtures are being directed at the audience, so the inflatable is behind a wall of light.”
When the inflation process is completed, the Color Strike M fixtures are turned off, and the Quintillion Speaker appears as if emerging out of the energy of light. It is, says Jarrett, a “magical moment,” adding “it lets fans know this is going to be a special night.”
8th August 2022
Claypaky Xtylos Fixtures Earn a Place in Coldplay’s World Tour Rig After Shining at Coldplay’s Sold-Out Seattle Concert
USA – When Grammy Award-winning Coldplay performed a sold-out show in Seattle’s Climate Pledge Arena last October lighting designer Sooner Routhier of Sooner Rae Creative used 64 Claypaky Xtylos luminaires that dazzled the audience. The fixtures were the centrepiece of her design for the show that ringed a massive circular truss mounted over the stage.
The stand-alone concert, presented by Amazon Music and live streamed worldwide on Amazon, was part of a global promotional tour of single shows in support of the band’s ninth studio album, “Music of the Spheres.”
For the ambitious Seattle show Routhier and her team “essentially created a full-size arena production for a 20-plus-camera, global live broadcast with three days on site and five days of previs,” she points out. “It really does come down to the team; it’s a massive collaborative effort to get something like that off the ground, and every person on the crew was essential to making the show happen. We were able to do previs in a ballroom at the hotel to minimise our travel (and carbon footprint) while Claypaky and Upstaging collaborated on logistics to get us Xtylos units in previs to play with. That was a total game changer for us.”
The Seattle show’s lighting programmer/lighting operator Shaheem Litchmore recalls: “Everyone was raving about the Xtylos! The physical style and design of the fixture fit the aesthetic of our show flawlessly, while the impressive laser source output allowed us to keep our power consumption low.” In addition: “No challenges presented themselves while programming this show,” he says. “I was very impressed with the Xtylos’s versatility. It can go from a tight, razor-sharp beam to a nice wash output and can also give you the opportunity to create lovely room filling gobo looks. Simply perfect.”
A prime example of Xtylos performance at the Seattle show was its use on the song “People of the Pride,” which progressed from a colour to a black-and-white look. “The band wanted to feel the energy of this song on stage: The beat of ‘People of the Pride’ is very heavy and quite uniform in the hooks. It has a different feel from the rest of the more melodic set list,” explains Routhier. “We needed this song to stand out and were happy that director Paul Dugdale wanted to shoot it in a unique way. The idea to go from colour to black and white on camera was all him. We just made sure he had the proper light to keep his vision alive!”
“The Seattle show came off beautifully, with all the disparate elements combining to create a stunning final result,” says Claypaky strategic marketing manager, George Masek. “What was most impressive to me was the way everything was achieved with such tight timelines and logistical limitations.”
With such a positive experience with Xtylos under their belts it’s no wonder that Routhier and her team wanted to use Xtylos again when Coldplay commenced their “Music of the Spheres World Tour” in April. “They were the perfect fixtures for our current creative on the tour,” Litchmore, who serves as the tour’s lighting operator, points out.
Routhier explains how Misty Buckley and Phil Harvey, the co-creative directors of the tour, developed a production design and creative direction inspired by Pythagoras’s Music of the Spheres theory. “There’s a specific diagram that displays the arcs and movement of the solar system and its celestial bodies that we leaned on for inspiration,” says Routhier. “Thus, the architecture for the lighting design and the cuing of the system is heavily based on spheres, circles and arcs.”
Seventy-four Xtylos are deployed on the tour with the majority placed on a large upstage arch directly behind and above the upstage videowall, she points out. Some also are suspended from delay towers and onstage audio towers.
“We love colour! And the Xtylos provide such a beautiful beam in stunning, vibrant colour,” says Routhier. “They also provide a nice, solid beam of light over extreme distances, perfect for a large stadium show.”
Routhier and Joe Lott particularly like the rainbow colour effect programmed across the Xtylos for the song, “Adventure of a Lifetime” while Litchmore cites “Something Just Like This” as a favourite showcase for Xtylos. “During the chorus, the Xtylos in the arch position perform a grand circle effect that illuminates the entire venue and loses no impact to the arrangement of lasers going at the same moment,” he says.
Lott, who serves as the tour’s lighting programmer with Matthew Kemp, notes: “With the show having such a wide and often saturated color palette the Xtylos always stand out with their ability to mix deep saturated reds and blues without dropping any noticeable output. It’s very impressive and allows us to create really strong looks like in the song ‘The Scientist,’ where we use the Xtylos in a deep saturated blue combined with the prism while still creating a very bright aerial effect, a look which would be difficult to achieve with any other fixture, especially one this small.”
Routhier also cites the Xtylos interaction with a stunning mirrorball with laser units inside created by Misty Buckley and David Kennedy, SFX designer with Strictly FX. “The Xtylos hitting the mirror ball is an effect I’ve never seen before,” she says. “Sure, we’ve all seen fixtures hitting a mirror ball. But there’s just something really incredible about the light that is emitted when a mirror ball is hit with a bunch of Xtylos.”
As the tour enters its sixth month, Litchmore reports that the Xtylos “continue to amaze.
“Despite difficult weather conditions, including extreme heat, rain and more, the Xtylos never fails. With our outdoor show the fixtures [are subject to] the usual wear and tear one would expect, but I’m never worried. Come showtime, they are always ready to go and continue to be one of the essential pieces of our show.”
The support that Routhier and her team have received from Claypaky for the tour is nothing short of “amazing,” according to Routhier. “We’re always so well taken care of when George Masek is our representative. Claypaky does an incredible job of following up with us throughout the tour. And they were extremely helpful with FAA and FDA regulations giving us assistance to make sure we were all squared away with permits.”
photos: Ralph Larmann
8th August 2022
Adlib's MAC Ultra inventory lights up Glasgow's TRNSMT festival
UK – The main stage of Glasgow’s TRNSMT festival featured a house lighting rig that comprised an impressive assortment of fixtures, among which were Martin Professional’s all-LED MAC Ultra Wash, MAC Ultra Performance and MAC Aura PXL. Set within the city’s Glasgow Green on 6th-10th July, TRNSMT had a line-up including Paolo Nutini, Lewis Capaldi, The Strokes, Nile Rodgers & CHIC, Wolf Alice and Sam Fender.
Adlib supplied the house lighting rig, further complemented by the headliners’ touring lighting packages. The house lighting design was by Adlib’s Andy Green and in-house project management was by Mike Blundell.
A total of 24 Martin MAC Ultra Wash, 44 MAC Ultra Performance and 16 MAC Aura PXL were deployed on the main stage. Three overhead trusses each featured an alternating design of eight MAC Ultra Wash and nine MAC Ultra Performance, with a fourth truss containing an additional 17 MAC Ultra Performance. Two side trusses each featured eight MAC Aura PXL.
Adlib invested early in Martin's flagship MAC Ultra moving heads, purchasing 100 MAC Ultra Performance and 30 MAC Ultra Wash fixtures in preparation for the summer season from Martin UK distributor Sound Technology Ltd.
The MAC Ultra Wash and Performance are incredibly bright fixtures offering a 63,000-lumen output for the Wash and 46,500-lumen output for the Performance; a new LED light engine, exceptional colour rendition and optics, and a brand new framing system in the Performance. Their quality and output make them the perfect fixture for daytime festival use.
Adlib's account manager, Jordan Willis, commented on MAC Ultras and Aura PXLs: “TRNSMT is one of our annual festival highlights, which brings the biggest artists with incredible productions that always push the visual boundaries. That’s why we believe the house lighting rig must provide a solid foundation for headline artists and daytime artists alike. For this reason, as part of our lighting set-up, we’ve specified MAC Ultras and Aura PXLs, which are powerful enough to provide a great show for the daytime slot whilst simultaneously adding to the expansiveness of the headliner performance. They have proven extremely reliable, with many visiting LDs commenting on their fantastic operation.”
photos: Euan Robertson
8th August 2022
L-Acoustics Powers Mark Tuan’s PULL-UP Concerts at Thailand’s Impact Arena
Thailand – As large-scale live shows begin to return to delight fans across Asia Pacific, one of the region’s biggest stars recently wrapped up two sold-out concerts and fan meets at Bangkok’s Impact Arena. California-born Mark Tuan made his mark on the K-Pop genre with superstar boyband Got7 and has since confirmed his place as a multi-dimensional celebrity recognised internationally as a rapper, singer, songwriter and model. The multi-purpose Impact Arena, which includes a convention centre that can be used for sporting events, conferences and concerts, was chosen as the perfect place for Mark Tuan to perform and meet with more than 10,000 fans over two nights.
Bangkok-based 4NOLOGUE, an event organiser, talent management agency and television and music producer promoted the event. They turned to local audio-visual provider PM Center Co. Ltd’s trusted team of audio professionals to deploy pristine tour-level sound in the largest concert venue in Thailand. “Our first choice for concerts of this size is always an L-Acoustics system,” says Mr. Thanakorn Tangsereewongsa, head of business development at PM Center, which boasts an inventory of L-Acoustics products from certified provider distributor Vision One. “Most artists’ concert riders specifically list L-Acoustics above others. In our experience, a comprehensive L-Acoustics system provides our engineers with dedicated tools for system optimisation and calibration.”
The Impact Arena, with 24-foot-high ceilings and smooth, hard walls, is a difficult venue for sound designers. “Our team knew that reflections would be their main challenge,” explains Mr. Thanakorn. “The team relied on L-Acoustics K2 with Panflex horizontal directivity to reduce reflections and keep the powerful sound on the audience area only.” Using Soundvision 3D modelling software, a system consisting of main arrays of 20 L-Acoustics K2 was deployed with two arrays of eight K1-SB subwoofers flown behind. Out-fill arrays consisting of nine K2 over three Kara II down per side were added, as well as two arrays of six K2 per side for delay. To add more power to the low end, the team deployed 24 L-Acoustics SB28 ground-stacked subwoofers across the front of the stage. The entire system was powered by 32 LA8 and six LA12X amplified controllers.
“Soundvision ensured PM Center’s design would be the perfect configuration for the venue space,” says front of house engineer and system designer Mr. Chayut Boonchuayjaroen. “Then, when we were on-site, tuning the system via LA Network Manager was swift and decisive, thanks to our pre-calculations: This assured me that I would be able to mix intuitively on a clear, pristine-sounding system.”
The team from PM Center was confident that the reliability of the L-Acoustics system would ease them back into supporting high-profile live shows, delivering uniform coverage and ideal SPL to each fan. “As our first choice system for the PULL-UP concerts, it did not disappoint. The complete control and optimisation our team applied to the project yielded fantastic results that were felt and heard by all of Mark Tuan's die-hard fans in the arena,” concludes Mr. Thanakorn.
production photos: 4NOLOGUE
5th August 2022
Robe Helps Maluma Put Medellin on the Map!
Columbia – Not that Medellin needs putting ‘on the map’ of course, but the Colombian reggaeton superstar and the city’s very own pretty boy / dirty boy sold out its Atanasio Girardot stadium in a matter of nanoseconds for this one-off homecoming show that was as spectacular as it was popular, complete with an amazing light show created by Alain Corthout using over 200 Robe moving lights.
Alain is already working on the artist’s ongoing US and Latin American tour with runs until November 2022, so for this special concert complete with a 22-camera shoot streaming via Amazon Music, he substantially upscaled set and lighting. It was also the first time that Maluma has staged such a big show in his lively and significant home town, so the anticipation levels were ramped to the maximum.
Amplifying the touring set and lighting, Alain specified 125 Robe MegaPointes, 80 Spiider wash beams, 32 Tetra2 LED battens, 28 ColorStrobes and eight BMFL WashBeams for the in-the-round show.
A massive ground supported roof and stage system with 23 metres of trim height was installed in the middle of the venue, together with a cross-shaped video floor below which had the band positioned on risers in the four corners. Most of the lights, which also included blinders and some others, were rigged on and around the roof structure.
Paying in-the-round is a trendy concept right now as many artists want to feel physically close to their audiences again after two years of pandemic isolation and no large shows with real audiences. As we all know, it is also a more challenging environment to light and the aesthetics must be considered from all angles.
Eight motion controlled vertical trusses around the stage were each rigged with 12 MegaPointes, and these flew up and down during the show.
Another 24 MegaPointes framed the seven metre wide by ten metre high video cube which was the set centrepiece. These lights and the video cube also moved up and down independently together with an outer shallower square of video panelling, all of it unfolding like layers of a giant chandelier.
Five MegaPointes were positioned directly in the centre of the video cube’s structure, with 48 Spiiders rigged on trusses sitting just inside the bottom edges the four large screens, which could cover all the required stage washes.
The balance of the Spiiders and MegaPointes were deployed above the roof trusses, with 32 Spiiders allocated for keylighting dancers.
The 32 Tetra2s were ensconced under the transparent floor, up lighting the band and Alain also sourced 28 Robe ColorStrobes to use around the front of the stage as footlights. He had used the product before, but not in this context, and was pleased with the results, particularly with the way the colours matched with the other Robe luminaires on the rig.
The eight BMFL WashBeams were rigged on the four legs of the ground support structure, two per tower, and these were controlled via four Robe RoboSpot systems with the operators stationed at FOH. They worked as keylights and specials, and Alain was delighted to be able to get them so close to the stage action. He found that adding the half-green and tiny amounts of magenta helpful to ensuring a great look on camera.
All the Robe lights were supplied by Genesis, one of the largest rental companies in Colombia whom Alain noted were “fantastic”. He has worked with them before and likes the fact the kit is well maintained and in immaculate condition, and from a production continuity angle, he was keen to get all the moving lights supplied by one company.
Alain is a great brand advocate for Robe and has used various products in his designs. He wanted plenty of MegaPointes on this show for their “brightness and massive versatility, especially for such a compact fixture,” and he also appreciates the speed, gobos and colours.
Spiiders were chosen as a “solid workhorse fixture that can be used on any rig in any circumstances.”
It was however, his first encounter with the sturdy Robe Tetra2, and he was very satisfied with the results: “They did exactly what I wanted in terms of dramatically up-lighting the band,” he said.
The galvanising elements of any large scale, high profile one-off show like this is delivering all the energy, colour and vibrancy expected from the production to everyone’s expectations which is “a colossal team effort,” stated Alain.
He directed the show over five days on site in Medellin with programmer Menga Cruz. The main grandMA2 console was operated on the night by Esteban Tosta Gil.
Maluma’s special guests for this highly acclaimed extravaganza included Madonna, Grupo Firme, Feid and more. It was a fantastic night of music, dance and performance and a huge success in getting Medellin even more ‘on the map’.
5th August 2022
CPL Helps the Chill Factor for Tropic Fest Event
UK – Celebrating the spirit, joie de vivre, colour and vibrancy of live music, the arts and the essence of in-person community, technical production specialist CPL co-ordinated and delivered staging, sound, video, lighting and other associated BTS (behind the scenes) infrastructure to Tropic Fest, a two-day festival style event staged in the beautiful grounds of the historic Chillington Hall in Staffordshire.
CPL was working for production company Pandora Events and their end client, Tropic Skincare with a team led by Lee Gruszeckyj. They asked Star Events onboard to supply the 15-metre orbit stage on which all the performance action took place.
The sound, lighting and video production design was based on the requirements of several artist riders from a lively line-up that included acts like Rob da Bank, Our Girl G, Queenz, Mr Motivator, Air Guitar Band, Magic of Marley, Twinnie, the Strictly Come Dancing Band with headliners Gok Wan, Bjorn Again and the Ministry of Sound Disco.
This eclectic line up – from electronica and the cool sounds of Ibiza and urban house music to the iconic rock of Queen and pop of Abba – meant that flexibility was essential for all technical departments.
CPL’s vast experience of servicing festival events like Glastonbury, Hay on Wye, Camper Calling and many others was a massive asset in staging Tropic Fest, a small and perfectly formed festival environment for approximately 1,200 of Tropic’s top ambassadors who relaxed, partied, inter-reacted and enjoyed great music, vibes, production values and gorgeous weather!
A 5.4 metre wide by three metre deep LED screen was hung at the back of the stage which features cantilevered PA supports for a neat, streamlined finish and clear sightlines.
The LED screen and a variety of lighting was rigged on four trusses sub-hung underneath the roof. Lighting comprised 40 moving lights: Claypaky Mythos2s for specials and effects, Martin MAC Auras for washes and Ayrton Perseos for beams and additional effects, plus ten Philips Nitro strobes and four Portman P1s for eye candy.
All of these were chosen for their features and adaptability and the design was calculated to fill the stage with lumens and movement whatever act was playing, from a single DJ to a full 18-piece orchestra.
Lighting was programmed and run on a ChamSys console and operated by Pete Sarson and Paul Smith, with the MoS Disco bringing their own lighting operator.
An L-Acoustics Kara II PA was specified and supplied because “we needed a good, solid and proper festival PA, and this is ideal for this size of stage and to cover the audience area with great sound,” commented Lee. L-Acoustics SB18 subs were used as side fills and KS28s as the main bass at ground level in an arc around the front of the stage.
L-Acoustics wedges were utilised for monitors and the consoles were a pair of DiGiCo Quantums: a 338 at FOH and a 225 for monitors. Louis Hodge was CPL’s FOH engineer while Callum Holmes took care of the patch and mixing monitors.
A comprehensive mics and stands package included Shure classics and IEMs, DPAs for the instruments and Shure Axients.
The video element was deliberately simple with the single Roe CB5 LED screen. No side screens were necessary as there was adequate space for all guests to get close to the stage. Stuart Dowdell, with whom CPL recently worked closely on the Hay literary festival, headed up the video department and used a Barco PDS4K switcher with a QLab machine running playback. A couple of Agile remote-controlled cameras onstage offered some straightforward IMAG inputs.
A collection of pyro and other effects – Stadium Shot confetti and streamer blasts, CO2 jets and Sparkulas – were organised by CPL together with lasers, with Danny Mason at Reach Lasers delivering ten 32000 RGB units to enrich the visual picture.
CPL’s crew numbered around 25 including two stage managers to ensure that everything ran to time.
Lee also specified all the site electrics, power, and lighting although this whole area was subbed out to another company to supply who worked under the CPL remit.
Lee was also responsible for specifying and supplying other backstage elements including trackway, artists village, production Portacabins, toilets, barriers, ramps, buggies for crew site transit, etc., all overseen by Alice Hunt. She ensured that everything arrived on site at the correct times and was built on order and on schedule.
Being the first Tropic Fest, there were several challenges of which access was a brainteaser as the venue does not often stage full festivals like this and some lateral thinking was required!
Lee and stage truck driver Danny Robinson had to think out-of-the-box when getting the special extra-large 46 tonne staging truck on site.
The current sumptuous Grade I listed Chillington Hall Georgian country house is home to the Giffard family and was designed by Francis Smith in 1724 and John Soane in 1785 with a park and lake landscaped by Capability Brown. It’s the third building on the site, the first being a stone castle dating to the 12th century.
The impressive 50 metre wide front façade of the house was illuminated with a combination of IP rated SGM P6s and Ayrton Perseo Profiles with Avo control as part of the site lighting scheme. This provided an eye-catching backdrop and numerous Instagram moments for guests at the end of each evening as they made their way back to the camping areas.
By scouring the plans Lee and Danny discovered ‘Upper Avenue’, an old route now overgrown and unused for many years that skirted around the lake which could still be accessed through a series of ancient wrought iron gates. They walked the route, measured up and calculated that the truck would fit along the road and through the gates with about 100mm to spare!
So that’s what they did, with some precision driving by Danny and it worked! The hosts were happy and aside from herding some sheep out of the way, the truck passed without obstruction onto to the site.
Around 80 RVs and motor homes had to be parked up and accommodated for the event duration, fed with water and generator power, plus another two fields of pre-pitched tents for overnight camping. More regular festival goers among the guests rocked up with their own tents.
Showers, nice toilets, 24-hour food facilities and fairground rides were all on hand, together with other comforts like charging stations and even jacuzzies!
“We had a fantastic team and were proud to deliver this great event for Tropic,” commented Lee. “Everyone worked brilliantly and very efficiently together, we offered many complementary talents and enjoyed a great synergy, including with the venue staff who were amazing and helped make it a very special event workplace.”
5th August 2022
Brit Row The “Obvious Choice” for the Smile’s Debut UK and European Tour
UK & Europe – English rock supergroup, The Smile, embarked on their first ever UK and European tour with audio support from Britannia Row Productions.
The band, comprisind of Radiohead’s Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood and Sons of Kemet’s Tom Skinner, chose a selection of intimate venues for their debut tour, which meant that house PA systems were the order of the day, and the Brit Row control package would take on a lot of the heavy lifting.
FOH Engineer Mikko Gordon has worked with The Smile’s frontman, Thom Yorke, for ten years both live and in the studio, most recently serving as engineer for the band’s debut album, A Light for Attracting Attention.
“It felt natural for me to be the one to take this show out into the world,” says Mikko. “We spent some time at Rak Studios for production rehearsals and this allowed me to create my mix in a controlled environment. I used a lot of the same mic placements as when recording the album and spent a lot of time with the band refining the sounds. One studio technique I've tried for the first time live is using a Neumann FET 47 on the kick drum, which has worked really well.”
The show is a detailed and dynamic one, ranging from as low as 80db all the way up to short bursts of 105db. Mikko explained that this variability stems from his desire to capture the essence of each album track, heightening its emotional impact for the audience.
“They are only a trio but there's a lot going on,” he says. “Johnny plays synths with foot pedals on some songs and even plays piano and harp at the same time. I’d say that the drums are more prominent live than they are on the album, but I prefer to avoid the typical ‘rock’ sound. The biggest challenge is dealing with boomy or reverberant rooms or venue PAs that aren't always ideal.”
Mikko singled out London’s Roundhouse as being a particularly ‘boomy’ in the 100-200hz area, which is exactly where his mix for The Smile has a lot of energy.
“I was grateful to have system tech Adam Smith with me for the Roundhouse shows and I was very happy with the results in the end,” he notes. “Other than that, the venues have mostly been great. Outdoors at Primavera festival, the clarity of the L-Acoustics K2 PA was incredible and it felt like sitting in a studio mixing the show.”
In order to tame some the more unruly house PA systems, Mikko chose a console he was comfortable with; the Avid Venue S6L complete with a Waves SoundGrid server and a Tubetech CL 1B compressor for Yorke's vocals.
“I'm used to Pro Tools so the S6L is a natural fit for me,” he says. “Along with Waves and AAX DSP plug-ins it does everything I need. We’re playing lots of festivals and smaller shows on this tour so keeping the footprint down is also important.
“These days, some kind of intelligent vocal gate like the Waves PSE or Portico 5045 is an essential tool for me and one of the biggest innovations in live audio in the last five to ten years, in my opinion. I'm making heavy use of the PSE across a number of channels to control spill and add clarity to the mix. I also use multi-band compressors like the Waves C6 and 1176 plug-in emulations, the 1176 being my go-to hardware compressor in the studio.”
Another renowned engineer, Simon Hodge, took the dual role of production manager / monitor engineer for The Smile’s UK and European tour, choosing a DiGiCo SD5 control surface with an SD-Rack to stay on top of the band’s detailed and exacting requirements.
“All three of them are very specific about their monitor sound, so I don’t really have any time to relax,” he says. “I’m in awe that they can be playing such complex music and still have time to think so hard about their mixes! In addition, the crew, who each have their own mixes too, are musicians, producers, and engineers in their own right, so I’m certainly kept on my toes.”
The band use a mixture of IEMs and wedges, with eight d&b audiotechnik M4s on stage and a Y-SUB for drum fill, all of which is driven by three d&b D80 four-channel amplifiers. Brit Row also supplied five Shure PSM1000 IEMs with one beltpack per channel, as well as an IEM antenna combiner/antenna package, two Shure Axient SBRC/AXT900 rackmount eight-battery chargers and ten Shure SB900 rechargeable batteries.
“We’re up to 64 inputs, which is quite punchy for just three people,” Hodge says. “There’s some fairly complicated routing in terms of sends back to various FX loops, MAX MSP, and the vocoder they use, so I need plenty of flexible bus options. I’m familiar with the DiGiCo sound and surface and the band seem happiest in the analogue domain. To my ears, DiGiCo is the closest thing to that, and I’ve used them almost exclusively since the D5 days.”
Both Mikko and Hodge were quick to praise the equipment and service provided by Brit Row, the latter naming them the ‘obvious choice’.
“When the band first started for the Live from Worthy Farm project last year during lockdown, we needed to meet their needs exclusively from within the UK,” Hodge explains. “At the time I was basically a one-man audio team and needed all the help I could get in making the system as compact and easy as possible. Brit Row were fantastic for this, and they continue to be fantastic on this tour.”
“I've worked with Brit Row on lots of shows before but not on full tours,” concludes Mikko. “They have a great reputation for a reason, and I've always been well looked after. This year has been intensely busy for audio companies and, despite running low, Brit Row always have gear available at the warehouse and a team working really hard to fulfil all of our needs.”
Brit Row is pleased to have been able to support The Smile and their team during this first campaign. From the pre-tour streamed shows, to the intimate UK venues and enviable European ones, the band provides a top-tier show with assured live mixes from a world class crew.
5th August 2022
PYTCH and Chauvet Professional Rock World Procurement Awards
UK – Rock & roll is an attitude, as much as a musical genre, according to many social historians. This attitude was on full display in all of its free-thinking, glory at the 02 Intercontinental Hotel recently as the famed site hosted the World Procurement Awards.
Organisers of the event, which celebrates the achievements of companies and individuals involved in the procurement supply chain, wanted to endow it with a 'rock vibe' to reflect the bold convention-challenging attitude that drives that industry. Helping to convey this mood was a dynamic production and lighting design by PYTCH that emulated the look and feel of rock shows throughout the venue.
PYTCH, which has looked after the production design of this event for many years, created this compelling aura without distracting from the its core purposed. To do this, the design team created one of the largest scale of productions the 02 has ever seen. This required a very complex rigging system, incorporating a large mother grid and a Kinesys based motor system to accommodate unique angled automated diamond LED wall. There were also over 400 panels of LED for the stage set. The size and scope of the production meant that load in and load out were challenging, with only six hours between the end of the Awards show, and deadline to clear things for the next event.
Although the proceedings covered a wide area, and involved many different activities from awards ceremonies, to entertainment and speaking sessions, the design team tied everything together around the rock theme. “Creating a unified look was fairly straightforward,” said Chelsea Hopkins, head of brand and marketing at PYTCH. “We simply stuck to our brief of building everything around the rock & roll look.”
Helping the design team accomplish this feat was a collection of over 100 Chauvet Professional fixtures. Key among these were 12 Maverick MK1 Hybrid, ten Rogue RH1 Hybrid and eight Rogue Outcast 1 BeamWashes. Being multi-functional, these fixtures expanded the array of creative options open to lighting lead Dan Giddings and his team. The flown Maverick and Rogue RH1 units were most notably used for mid-air breakups and beam effects. Complimenting these units were eight Rogue Outcast 1 BeamWash fixtures positioned on the stage deck.
“The impressive, combined punchy output of the Rogue Outcast 1 BeamWash, Rogue RH1 Hybrid and Maverick MK1 Hybrid fixtures helped our team create energetic sequence of movements during the awards ceremonies,” said Hopkins. “This ushered in in a combined effect akin to that of all-encompassing ‘Gesamtkunstwerk', reminiscent of the kind of stage show one would normally expect from a stadium rock concert.
Complementing these dynamic effects were bold, richly textured colour washes from 20 Rogue R2 Washes. “They provided the flexibility and colour required to make the event feel truly rock and roll,” said Hopkins. “Using the same fixtures that bands would use for performances and our experience working live music shows, we were able to bring the atmosphere of a rock concert to a corporate conference.”
Adding an extra element of engagement were ten Strike P38 fixtures used for audience lighting, 24 WELL Fit uplights that accented different features of the venue, and 20 Rogue R1 FX-Bs that served as a captivating scenic element.
“The FX-B fixtures were positioned around the central diamond screen,” said Hopkins. “Directed downward, they provided gorgeous beams that surrounded the speakers, which really created a memorable effect.”
Video content was fed to the screens from a variety of Mac Pro and Mac Studio playback machines using QLb. “The entire set was treated as a single canvas, with various overlays, PiPs, and states to achieve the transitions between sessions,” detailed Hopkins. “All of the stage content was created in house by PYTCH, a combination of power point slides, video backdrops, creative after-effects content, and VTs filmed and edited on site during the show. Ultimately, over 73 people were involved in this production.”
In the end, however, the all of the effort and team work paid off, just as it does in the best rock shows. “The stage set really blew people away,” said Hopkins. “So many guests came up to us and said it felt like a great concert experience.”
That, notes Hopkins was music – make that rock music – to the PYTCH team’s ears.
4th August 2022
Sennheiser Digital 6000 takes centre stage with Ed Sheeran
Worldwide – Sennheiser has been an essential part of Ed Sheeran’s touring inventory since the start of his career, with his long-time production company, Major Tom, providing Sennheiser’s flagship Digital 9000 system for him in recent years. Now on a tour that takes in some of the biggest venues in the world, including London’s Wembley Stadium, the Stade De France in Paris, the Olympic Stadium in Helsinki, New Zealand’s Eden Park and Sydney’s Accor Stadium, and with a show that has expanded significantly from his one man and a guitar days, a switch has been made to Sennheiser’s Digital 6000.
“Digital 6000 delivers the same sonic excellence, but with added flexibility,” says RF engineer Dave White. “The 9000 Series served us incredibly well, but with large shows on multiple nights with a band and the addition of guest artists, we needed some extra flexibility. The 6000 system, coupled with the extension of Sennheiser’s Wireless Systems Manager application and a wider bandwidth, provides us with that.”
Digital 6000 Series transmitters are coupled with a Sennheiser MM 435 capsule for Ed’s vocals, chosen for its cardioid polar pattern, and a 945 capsule, a favourite for many years because of its tight pickup pattern, for his loop vocal. “The 435 is a specific choice for this tour as we have a lot of PA and don’t want any spill,” says White. “Although Ed is close to the mic for a lot of the time, he’s dynamic in the way he uses it and the 435 allows a little bit more range and pick up.”
There are a total of 16 channels of Digital 6000 for Sheeran’s guitars (of which he has five in rotation), three main vocal mics (a main and two spares) and three loop vocal mics (two main and one spare). Sixteen channels of Sennheiser 2050 IEMs are used for Sheeran and his band, which comprises drums, bass, two guitarists and keys, who are positioned on ‘islands’ in front of the PA and also use a selection of Sennheiser dynamic mics.
“We always carry spare mics for guest vocals and instruments because you never know what’s going to happen on this tour,” smiles White. “At the moment we have a fiddle player with us who comes on for just one track and Gary Lightbody from Snow Patrol came in for one show in Belfast.”
The Sennheiser system is coupled with a Meyer Sound Panther PA, the first in the world to be used on a tour, and DiGiCo Quantum 7 mixing console, from which Sheeran’s production manager, Chris Marsh, mixes both FOH and monitors.
Along with a robustness and stability that are the reason White has trusted in Sennheiser products for many years, he finds the fact he can use Digital 6000 as a wideband RF scanner extremely useful, which negates the need to carry an external scanner.
“Sennheiser’s support is also great, and what we’ve had from the team for this tour has been really helpful,” White concludes. “To give us the best coverage throughout, we’ve got over stage antennas and walkway antennas with splitters and combiners. It’s a complicated system, so we really appreciated the help we got from the Sennheiser team, including Jonas Naesby, Marcus Blight and Volker Schmitt, who joined us for the start of the tour in Dublin to make sure the system was responding correctly. I learnt a lot from them. Peter Craig from the relationship management team was also really helpful, and we always appreciate Pierre Morant, who’s been supporting us for years.
“Sennheiser always hits the mark in every way, which is why we’ve used their mics and IEM for years. They have a very logical way of attacking problems, and the kit is stable and reliable with a great sound. And that is exactly what you need.”
3rd August 2022
Dustin L. Derry Expresses Flamenco Passion with Chauvet Professional
USA – There are many reasons why Dustin L. Derry always embraces the opportunity to light dance performances. High on this list is the opportunity it affords him to depart from the conventional use of colours and patterns.
“What’s nice about dance, is you don’t have to think so literally about 'natural' lighting,” said the Chicago-based designer. “In dance, you can push deep into the surreal and express yourself in new ways to support the choreographer’s vision. You can focus on individual elements like live musicians and help blend them into the background, and then pull specific dancers or ideas into the foreground and vice versa depending on the needs of the moment. I don't think this presents any challenges, so much as it opens new doors for me creatively.”
Derry stepped boldly through those doors recently, inventively using gobo patterns and coloured keylighting to accentuate shapes and movements of dancers when lighting La Caña, a 14-minute piece that was part of the Flamenco Passion, annual Spanish dance festival sponsored by Ensemble Español Spanish Dance Theater. Helping him along the way were six Maverick Force 2 Profile and eight Rogue R2X Wash fixtures from Chauvet Professional.
“In this piece, texture became everything for our choreographer Susana Lupiañez ('Lupi') Pinto and me,” he said. “Lupi a really wanted to feature the floor patterns the dancers were making as well as the shapes of their bodies. Two great ways to accomplish this sort of thing are by using gobo/textures that pay homage to the shapes of the dancers and also silhouettes. We spent the majority of the piece in all of these complex layered looks, my programming literally dancing with the performers on stage, and with a powerful stomp of the feet.
“This created some incredibly dramatic looks, such as when we snapped to a full cyc red silhouette,” continue Derry. “At that moment, there was silence, and then red filling the visual field with the stark, black, shapes of perfectly positioned dancers. That slowly rebuilt into our final push to the climax of the piece.”
Positioned, three apiece on the second and fourth electrics, the Maverick Force 2 Profile fixtures were key to helping Derry achieve such dramatic moments. “We arranged the Mavericks to mimic our conventional 'quarter down' specials that you find in most modern dance rep plots,” he explained. “This allowed use to use them as specials, but also full stage washes with a minimal number of units. The choice of gobo patterns they gave us were a great tool. We also had four Rogues on the second and four electrics. They are my workhorse, constantly shifting from producing full stage washes of intense colour, to creating soft edge specials that highlighted moments without being too literal.”
Throughout the performance, the artful blend of dance, music and light unfolded an evocative narrative that conveyed nuanced emotions and passions out of the simple and familiar. “Susana, was very focused on the sombreros, and showing us how much power and magic something as basic as a hat can be,” said Derry. “The winding path that the music takes I feel is an exploration of life, finding one's power and own voice in the crowd, and impermanence of life as each dancer drops their Sombrero as they leave the stage, with last notes of the guitar being reminiscent of bells tolling for the death of some unseen force.”
Adding another dimension to the dance performance was the presence of musicians seated in a row along the upstage deck. “Adding live musicians to dance is always a bit of a challenge,” said Derry. “First being, how to keep them interesting without being the focal point of the stage unless you are specifically choosing to highlight them. The extra bit of zoom one gets in the Mavericks and Rogues, makes this pretty easy to blend seamlessly.
“Our musicians were brilliant and always performed this piece ending consistently within a few seconds, but even so, the timing is such in some sections that there was no way we could timecode the show, “ continued Derry. “Instead we needed to rely on our brilliant stage manager Sarah Lackner, who was a pure joy to work with, to call sequences correctly. I know some would ask, ‘well why not get the musicians to put in some IEM'S and push a click track?’ My answer is ‘have you ever tried to get musicians who have been doing things the same way for years to change?’,”
Having musicians on stage during a dance performance presents some challenges, acknowledges Derry, but that’s precisely why he welcomed this arrangement. Expanding your creativity to meet challenges, he says, is what makes dance lighting special.
3rd August 2022
Swedish Singer/Songwriter LÉON tours with Dual dLive
Front of house engineer Clint Rowland was looking for a mixer that was both compact and versatile for his tour with Swedish music sensation LÉON. “I wanted to streamline our set-up and avoid the complications of an analogue split,” recounted Rowland. The final system included a compact Allen & Heath dLive CTi1500 19” rack-mountable control surface, along with a CDM32 MixRack for FOH.
Rowland remarked that the smaller footprint of the CTi1500 was not an obstacle in mixing a large-scale tour. “I have all my groups and DCAs on the top layer. If I need to adjust an individual channel, I can always bank down and tweak parameters as needed.”
Next to the stage, monitor engineer Julian Higareda was working with a dLive C3500 surface and a CDM48 mixrack which fed back to Rowland via a digital Dante split. “We used the same Dante network to patch in our wireless mics and for our FOH/Monitor split” explained Higareda. “Having that Dante versatility and simple integration was a big deal for us on this tour.”
Both Rowland and Higareda noted that the dLive’s DYN8 engine, which features a multi-band compressor and dynamic EQ, came in handy during LÉON’s performances. “It’s just a game-changer,” said Rowland. “Especially with the way LÉON sings, she uses her entire range and she uses it differently from song to song. I used to be constantly adjusting the EQ and dynamics for each song, but the dLive did all that work for me.” All dLive systems can support up to 64 instances of DYN8, inserted on input or mix channels.
For changing quickly recalling settings, Higareda made use of the fully granular scene controls on dLive. “I loved how easy it was to build scenes and change them so quickly. I didn’t have to dig in to make updates, I could do that in real time with the built-in update function.”
“We continue to see hip uses of CTi1500 around the world,” commented Allen & Heath USA marketing director Jeff Hawley. “In this case Clint and Julian not only designed a system around meeting the basic needs of the tour, but also around the musical needs of the artist. Being able to put dLive to work in taming and enhancing vocal dynamics, achieving an optimal song-to-song mix balance, setting up scenes to consistently manage those changes night after night; really cool!”
In future tours, Rowland wants to expand on his dLive system with some additional components. “The goal is to dig in deeper and maybe take advantage of some DX or DT stageboxes for additional I/O” explained Rowland. “This system has made me look like a rock star, and it’s made things more convenient on all fronts. This is how we’re rolling from now on.”
3rd August 2022
Christie HS Series lights up the stage of The Masked Singer Vietnam with astounding visuals
Vietnam – Christie HS Series 1DLP laser projectors are lighting up the grand stage of reality music and costume art show The Masked Singer Vietnam with astounding visuals that complemented the performances and costumes of vocalists whose identities are concealed.
The highly anticipated television programme features celebrities in outlandish costumes competing against each other to win the coveted Masked Singer trophy. It recently premiered on two subsidiary companies’ platforms owned by DatVietVAC Group Holdings – VieON (a streaming service for movies, series, shows, and live TV) and Vie Channel – HTV2 (which owns and broadcasts entertainment programmes on multiple platforms in Vietnam). The producer has made significant investments in contents, costumes, stage design, and cutting-edge AV equipment for The Masked Singer Vietnam to wow audiences and bolster the show’s success.
The circular stage of The Masked Singer Vietnam is flanked by two huge face-like structures that have become synonymous with the show, serving as tunnel entries for the contestants from backstage. They are ingeniously lit by four Christie D20WU-HS laser projectors installed and commissioned by Christie’s trusted partner Alta Media, which specialises in systems integration, digital content and show entertainment technology.
“The gigantic faces of The Masked Singer Vietnam are the show’s biggest scenic elements on stage and we needed to ensure that both live and TV audiences are able to appreciate the eye-catching visuals projected onto the polygonal surfaces of these iconic structures,” said Tai Hoang, co-founder & CEO, Alta Media. “Having used the Christie D20WU-HS on several occasions including the Dam Sen Park lake show, we decided that it is the perfect projection system for this project due to its high brightness, accurate colour reproduction, compact footprint, quiet operation and omnidirectional capabilities.”
Hoang noted that the four D20WU-HS projectors are double-stacked, fitted on a truss and cross-installed with a throw distance of 24 metres. “This specific configuration enables us to achieve optimal visuals on both face-like structures each measuring five metres high,” he said. “The projected contents comprising an array of dynamic visual effects are then altered according to the visual script that matches the performance of each vocalist.”
Since its launched in mid-July, The Masked Singer Vietnam has captivated audiences nationwide with glitzy performances and impressive stage visuals infused with fun and humour. Hoang added that Vie Channel is very satisfied with the end results.
Jason Yeo, senior sales manager for Southeast Asia, Enterprise, Christie, commented: “The Masked Singer Vietnam is highly entertaining reality singing TV series that has enthralled audiences and we are thrilled that the D20WU-HS laser projectors have been used to deliver fascinating visuals on the iconic faces onstage to heighten the audience experience. Alta Media has accomplished an amazing job and we look forward to more exciting applications involving our projection and integrated solutions for television and entertainment industries in Vietnam.”
Ranging in brightness levels from 7,000-20,600 lumens and resolutions including WUXGA, HD and 4K UHD, Christie HS Series offers a powerful, reliable and cost-effective option for almost any high-use application. Setting benchmarks in brightness, colour accuracy, power requirements, and form factor, the HS Series pushes the envelope of what’s possible with 1DLP technology.
Colours look natural and true-to-life thanks to Christie BoldColor Technology while the on-board Christie Twist warping and blending software and optional Christie Mystique automated camera-based alignment tools make set-up, alignment, recalibration and maintenance of multi-projector systems quick and easy. With their compact and lightweight form factor and omnidirectional capabilities, HS Series projectors are perfect for challenging, space-limited installations.
29th July 2022
Big Presence at 2022 Balaton Sound Festival
Hungary – The infectious beats of EDM music fused with the vibrance of festival culture returned to the picturesque shores of Lake Balaton at Zamárdi in Hungary (AKA The Hungarian Sea) with the 2022 Balaton Sound event which was completely sold out. An impressive line-up included Martin Garrix, Alesso, Marshmello, Sven Väth and many more talented international artists performing across multiple stages.
Robe moving lights had a big presence on the main stage with over 200 fixtures in a high impact production design created by LD Mark Kontra and delivered by Budapest-based rental company, Colossal LTD.
Apart from the Main Stage, there was even more of a Robe buzz on site this year as the brand’s own Show Truck rocked up fresh from a four-date tour in Switzerland and became an integral part of the backstage village. The Show Truck’s tent extension provided a hub for the media and press, while VIP guests of Robe’s Hungarian distributor AVL Trade could chill out in the lounge area or enjoy a unique view of the extensive festival site from the sun deck above.
The starting point of Mark’s Main Stage lighting design was to incorporate the general wishes of all the headliners and with that in mind, to be as flexible as possible to ensure that all appearing on the main stage looked spectacular.
While Colossal does have plenty of Robe in the inventory, he chose “the best lights for the job” and this included 42 BMFL Spots, 52 MegaPointes, 40 ColorStrobe Lites, 12 ColorStrobe IPs and 52 Spiiders, plus some other luminaires.
These were all installed in trusses flown from the StageCo roof / stage system, having been picked for their “brightness, features and adaptability,” reported Mark. Only the headliners on the Main Stage enjoyed full darkness, so the most intense and highest impact lights were needed for effect. BMFLs and MegaPointes were a “festival no-brainer,” Mark confirmed, adding: “You know exactly what you are getting with these flagship fixtures!”
His mission was to give all the guest LDs / operators sufficient latitude and multiple options as well as ensure that Colossal’s operators who lit any artists not touring with an LD / operator could create great looking lighting.
“We know these Robe fixtures are robust and rock solid,” he commented. This is a major consideration for EDM events where the kit routinely gets a good hammering due to the lightning quick nature and style of the lighting.
The Spiiders and ColorStrobe Lites were rigged in three shrinking perspective arch shapes made up from overhead and side trusses, with the BMFL and MegaPointes also deployed overhead and along the side trusses.
The ColorStrobe IPs were along the front of the stage in more exposed positions, although rain was not an issue this year! ColorStrobes are a great choice for festival lighting rigs as they can do so much more than strobe. Lots of bold and more subtle zoned effects used properly can provide unique signature looks and bring plenty of depth to a stage space.
Some fixtures were retained for use on the floor, and several artists also brought in their own floor packages that were used in conjunction with the house top rig.
The production lighting control desks were two grandMA3s and a Network Processing Unit.
Joining Mark on the Colossal lighting team were Aron Kovacs and Attila Lenzser who shared most of the Main Stage operating duties, working alongside lighting technicians Gabor Balint, Gabor Fitos and David Kovacs.
Balaton Sound was the first full music festival for Robe’s Show Truck, an inspiring new concept which will be steaming around Europe this summer following its reveal at Prolight+Sound in Frankfurt.
It offers up to 180 square metres of fully mobile space to showcase Robe’s current trend-setting fixtures wherever they are needed for events and demonstrations, bringing the show to wherever it is needed. The trailer has specially designed roller shutter doors that open to reveal a rig of up to 50 fixtures, which is fully configurable to suit the demonstration location.
With the black box tent extension rigged on the side as at Balaton, it can be a slick and streamlined mobile showroom or versatile multi-use space as it was here for the press centre.
The body of the truck features an air-conditioned VIP zone with bar plus access to a roof terrace that can be utilised for anything from meetings and discussions to a high-level chill out space for enjoying the summer sunshine.
AVL Trade was delighted to be the first company to use the Show Truck at a full-on music festival where it provided a unique platform for their guests and customers to enjoy the festival over the four days.
The press enjoyed the convenience of being able to file reports, process and upload photos, videos and do interviews, etc. “The Show Truck proved to be very mutually beneficial,” commented AVL Trade’s Csaba Csanadi who thinks the idea is “imaginative, practical and fun.”
The positioning and facilities were also a great hit with the crew onsite who used it as a pop-up green room during the build days and somewhere to escape for brief respite from the sweltering heat, in addition to jumping into the waters of Europe’s largest freshwater lake!
Following this success, the AVL team and festival organisers are now discussing other potential events for the Show truck in 2023.
The truck is currently fully booked this year through October, with its next festival stop being the 2022 Colours of Ostrava in the Czech Republic at the old Dolní Vítkovice steelworks heritage site in Ostrava, another impressive and completely different space.
Balaton is the second major Hungarian festival this year for which Colossal supplied a Robe lighting package for the main stage. Volt in Sopron near the Austrian border was the first, presenting mainly Hungarian artists, and this will continue with Sziget in August in central Budapest, also back for the first time since 2019.
“It’s fantastic to be back working on real live events and seeing artists playing to real audiences who are enjoying the energy and community of live music,” commented Csaba. “After a couple of tough years, all of us can get back to engaging properly in our passion and commitment to the industry!”
photos: Louise Stickland
29th July 2022
Showtec and Infinity Light Up ParkCity Live
The Netherlands – Heerlen in the Netherlands was the place to be for the tenth edition of ParkCity Live on 16th and 17th July 2022. Headliners on the main stage on Saturday night were BLØF and Limburg legends Rowwen Héze, while Sunday night ended with performances from Danny Vera, Anouk and renowned Dutch DJ duo Lucas & Steve. The main stage looked fantastic thanks to lighting provided by Ampco Flashlight Group, while spectacular lighting effects for the tented dance area were provided by SLF Group.
ParkCity Live is an event that's gone from strength to strength since its inception in 2010 and this edition welcomed around 35,000 festival goers over the course of two days. An event of this size clearly needs to be well organised and that involves everything from catering to toilets, as well as great sound and lighting.
As its name suggests, the main stage is where the biggest names play and where the biggest crowds gather. It's important, therefore, that the main stage makes a big impression on the performers as well as the audience. To that end, 24 iFX-640 effect moving heads by acclaimed brand Infinity were used. These versatile light fixtures ensured that the main stage was illuminated with an ever-changing variety of colourful light effects. With an endlessly rotatable, bi-directional front lens that creates prism beam effects, a diffraction filter that creates flower effects, beam diffusion blades that create a wash, a strobe function, 4 dimmer curves and more, the possibilities are virtually endless.
SLF Group was the company responsible for supplying lighting equipment to the tented dance area and they used a large number of light effects by Showtec and Infinity to create the ideal atmosphere. Beam, spot and wash effects were provided by 20 Showtec Phantom 12R hybrid moving heads and 28 Showtec Spectral M1500 Zoom Q4s. Additional effects came from 24 Showtec Sunstrip Active MKII blinders and three Showtec Festoonlight Q4 Strings. The icing on the cake included top-quality lighting from Infinity with 36 iW-741 wash moving heads, 12 Infinity Furion Series B401 Beams and six Infinity iFX-615 moving light bars. The Infinity Chimp 300.G2 light controller offered optimal management over all of the lighting fixtures.
Live music, great lighting and a fantastic atmosphere are what ParkCity Live is all about and after another successful edition, the organisers have already set the dates for 2023.
29th July 2022
KLANG:konductor Gives Monitor Engineer César Benítez Plenty of Options for Ricky Martin on Stage
USA – Last year, César Benítez Seilhamer became a fan of KLANG’s unique approach to immersive in-ear monitor mixing on a co-headlining tour with Latino superstars Ricky Martin and Enrique Iglesias, using a DMI-KLANG card mounted into one of the slots on the back panel of his DiGiCo Quantum5 console. And the shows keep getting bigger; Martin is doing a series of one-off orchestral dates this year, including two recent nights at the Hollywood Bowl with the 100-plus-member Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra in July but Benítez has a new way to keep up with that, as well as giving the artists and musicians the most effective sonic environments possible on stage. His solution is the new KLANG:konductor, the most powerful and versatile immersive in-ear mixing processor ever. Able to deliver 16 immersive mixes and process 128 input signals at up to 96kHz at an astonishing internal latency of less than 0.25ms, the KLANG:konductor gives Benítez the tools and power he needs now and in the future.
“The shows I was working on kept getting larger,” says Benítez, who began his stint with Ricky Martin doing awards shows, which led to the 27 dates on the 2021 tour with Iglesias, named Pollstar’s number-one Latin tour, as well on shows with singer/songwriter/producer Tommy Torres and Wisin & Yandel, with whom he’s currently on tour and who will later have 14 shows at the Puerto Rico Arena in December. “As the shows became more complex, I needed a new monitor mix solution. The KLANG:konductor was it, it’s not only what I need now but it’s also the future of monitor mixing for everyone.”
Benítez is using the KLANG:konductor fairly conventionally for now, doing the mixes for each musician on stage from the console and the KLANG:konductor’s front-mounted seven-inch colour touch display, which allows for direct mix control, audio set-up, routing and metering. “It will take some time and training before all of the musicians are ready to do their own mixes on stage, so I’m doing the mixes in the KLANG processor now,” he explains. “But they are all already totally into the immersive-audio aspect of the KLANG:konductor, which is connected to the console via MADI. They love it. Once they’ve experienced immersive sound, stereo is no longer enough. They have this space around them that gives them a tremendous amount of creative freedom. They tell me it’s like they’re not using in-ear monitors at all, but just hearing the music in the space around them.”
But the best part for him, says Benítez, is the freedom he gets from all those discrete channels. “There are 128 channels available and we’re using 106 every night with Ricky, the band, and the orchestra,” he says. “Every feed every night from every show is available, and all of it goes through the immersive processor with virtually no latency. That also means the overall volume of the in-ear mixes can go down which is the magic of KLANG, that you get a better mix and protect your hearing. Plus, the seamless integration with DiGiCo consoles,” – he’s used the KLANG:konductor with a Quantum5, an SD7 and an SD10 so far – “gives me direct control and makes the entire process so much easier. I really do believe that KLANG is the future of monitor mixing.”
28th July 2022
Hippotizer Tierra+ MK2 feeds kaleidoscope of visuals for Electric Forest festival
USA – Michigan’s much-anticipated Electric Forest Festival returned for 2022 with an expertly curated line-up of EDM stars, jam bands, dubstep heroes and multiple other genres. On the Sherwood Court stage, a massive 7056 x 2864 canvas of LED screens made up of 180m2 of Roe MC7 and 150m2 of YesTech MG7 featured mind-blowing visuals created by Observatory and powered by Hippotizer Tierra+ MK2 media servers.
Notable on the Sherwood Court stage were US ‘heaven trap’ DJ duo Slander, bass-heavy Mersiv, and ‘chillwave’ pioneer Toto y Moi. Observatory’s brief was to create the scenic visual content for the Sherwood Court stage’s proscenium arch LED screens, and the upstage LED screen when there wasn’t a guest VJ or content supplied with the performer. The team was commissioned by Electric Forest organisers Insomniac events and Leisure Expert Group, on the back of a successful visuals collaboration on the Beyond Wonderland festival in Southern California earlier this year.
“Creative briefs from Leisure Expert Group are second to none as their attention to detail and overarching themes are crystal clear,” says Observatory’s director of production, Simon Harris. “Their initial brief was to focus on the Sherwood Elephant stained glass styling, which was the main content used throughout the day. In the evening and into the night we introduced more diverse themes including an art nouveau greenhouse structure, lush trees, growing flowers, animated branches and vegetation, natural kaleidoscopes, growing roots, waterfalls and graphic patterns.”
Harris and the team created the content in Cinema4D, Octane and Redshift and sequenced in Adobe AfterEffects and Premiere. They used a range of third-party control equipment via Hippotizer’s multi-controller component to control two Tierra+ MK2 servers – one as main and one as backup – which were supplied by Screenworks NEP and sub-rented from DMDs7udios.
“We specified Tierra+ MK2 due to its power,” Harris continues. “We needed the system to run multiple layers of 7K content mapped to two 3840 x 2160 outputs in addition to scenic overlays and any additional content supplied by the performer. We also wanted to utilise Hippotizer’s X-Fade mode across all mixes to maintain seamless transitions between content and scenic overlays.”
Harris notes that one of the biggest challenges was not only creating visuals for such a huge canvas, but also receiving content from a variety of performers that arrived in differing formats and dimensions.
“Hippotizer remains the ultimate video toolbox for me, and its flexibility is the ideal solution for running house video on festival stages,” he says. “I’m often asked that age old question that begins with ‘can you just…’ and I’m confident in being able to do what is asked of me when I have such a multitude of real time functionality at my fingertips.
“Hippotizer Zookeeper allows me to build an interface to suit the needs of the project, access to all the controls I need as well as performance information across both main and backup servers. In addition, Hippotizer VideoMapper allows us to output to non-standard configurations of LED screens across multiple outputs; we had differing sized DJ booths for different acts, which can easily be dealt with by quickly and easily creating an alternate mapping to suit. The servers ran flawlessly, often in very hot and dusty conditions!”
Harris managed the incoming visual content using Hippotizer MediaManager and says the Tierra+ MK2 media servers continued to playback without any noticeable change in quality even while importing or syncing new content in a variety of shapes, sizes and codecs.
“This was the first project whereby I was able to utilise MediaManager sync across a 10GB network. Synchronising more than 200GB of show content and then updating the servers when guest visuals were added throughout the weekend was seamless and seriously quick,” he adds.
This year marked the tenth anniversary of Electric Forest, and a return after a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic. Electronic music sites were abuzz with news that the festival was confirmed for 2022, with fan favourites such as EDM Identity writing about how ‘the magic was back’ and ‘every performance, every memory made was amazing'.
Harris concludes: “There were some really standout performances when both guest VJs and our team were able to concurrently deliver a great looking show and to be thanked by incoming teams was a great feeling. Mersiv, in particular, loved the visuals and gave me a hug after his performance! I was also proud to receive such positive feedback from management, production and incoming artists regarding the quality of the scenic content we had created for the stage. Our team did some incredible work on this show and it’s always great to hear it from a range of different sources.”
28th July 2022
Gil Perron and Guy Laflamme Set Tone For Il Volo Theatre Show with Chauvet Professional
Canada – Few things in life are “all one way,” believes Gil Perron. Usually, one must take the pros with the cons. So, while lighting a musical performance in an actual theatre with a fly system has its advantages, it also brings some distinct challenges with it.
Perron experienced both first hand in early July when he lit a special, private show by the award-winning Italian trio Il Volo at Montreal’s Teatro Leonardo DaVinci. Although rigging was a lot easier at this beautiful facility, the design team had to be much more mindful of load capacity.
This was “sort of a big deal” for Perron, given his penchant for grouping fixtures in clusters to create unique multi-directional light angles. “It’s kind of my thing; I like clumping fixtures in groups of three and then layering them vertically and horizontally,” he said. “This is tougher on a fly system than on truss, but it’s well worth the effort. Doing this, I can use colour theory to create either triadic or analogic colour complementariness.
“Working with another proponent of colour theory, our programmer/operator Guy Laflamme, made this a lot of fun; you pick the primary and then, as if by ‘magic,’ the complementariness appears,” continued Perron. “Guy is an established LD in his own right and he deserves a lot of credit in bringing so many stunning 'images' to the show. He completely understood my mind’s eye and I just let him run with it!”
Helping Perron and Laflamme work this magic, while also reducing the load demand on the fly system, thanks to their efficient design, was a collection of over 100 Chauvet Professional fixtures supplied by LSM Ambiocreateurs’ Montreal office.
“This was a one-off, so I was handed a global budget that included scenery and lighting,” said Perron. “We did a very simple gala-type riser set-up and used a star drape in the back to create depth. The orchestra was positioned on the levels while the singers occupied a large unobstructed area. We relied on lighting to be a visual element, in addition to serving as a source of illumination.”
Directing light from Maverick and Rogue fixtures through the tiered orchestra section, Perron animated the musicians with a vibrant interplay of colours as they performed, which engendered a sense that this was indeed a special occasion. He also relied on the Maverick Force 1 Spot to create captivating moving gobo patterns on the stage that seemed to flow with the music.
“This was my first time using the Force1 and while I had seen the beta and the gobo package on paper, doing the thing live was a lot of fun,” he said. “To me this package is a big wow. Especially the 'I' gobo – double wow. So, we used these lights quite extensively and layered their output with the prisms and the effects wheel. The light has sufficient output to use so much stuff and saturated colours and still have impact.”
Perron positioned six of the Maverick Force 1 Spot fixtures, corrected to 4600k on the secondary FOH, and used them to light the orchestra. Another 30 units of the fixture were hung on four different electricals and relied on for texture and general lighting.
A collection of 32 Rogue Outcast 1 BeamWashes was positioned on custom welded ladders with a mix of COLORado PXL Bars (8 and 16 models) on the top of these structures, as well as on the deck, from where they were used to direct hard blades of light between the set and the audience, enhancing the sense of depth on stage.
From their position on the ladders, the Rogue Outcast 1 BeamWashes served as beams as well as eye candy with their halo feature. “The performance of this fixture was even better than anticipated,” said Perron. The actual smoothness of the beam compared to a classic beam light is stunning and obviously very much aligned with this type of performance. I can see this device being in so many applications now.”
Along with the performance of his fixtures, Perron credits his crew with making this project turn out so splendidly. In addition to Laflamme, this group included TD Eden Ashby, master electrician Pascal Lucas and Archie Cifellie the account executive at LSM.
“Regardless of the project, in the end it always comes down to success depending on good people,” declared Perron. That’s one statement he can make unequivocally, no pro or con about it, people, he says, “always make the difference.”
28th July 2022
Shure’s Axient Digital Wireless System first choice for Patchwork London on NME's "Best Live Act 2022”
UK – Shure, a leading manufacturer of microphones and audio electronics, supports Patchwork London on NME Best Live Act 2022 winner Rina Sawayama.
Japanese-born singer-songwriter, model and actress Rina Sawayama, released her debut album during lockdown on the Dirty Hit Label to rave reviews, from ‘strongest album of the year’ (Elton John) to ‘something truly beautiful’ (NPR). Her diverse sound from straight-up pop to the metal influenced heavy guitar riffs, has something of a diverse appeal.
In support of the album, Patchwork London were selected by Rina’s management / record label to record live video shoots during the lockdown period, providing monitoring and multi-track recording, which led to Patchwork being asked to support the UK Tour, followed by her biggest show to date at Roundhouse and ultimately the NME Awards 2022 show.
With lots of energetic choreography and dancing, on her first large scale tour a premium wireless microphone system was a necessity. Patchwork London’s touring director and Rina’s production manager / front of house engineer, Calum Mordue selected the Shure Axient Digital Wireless System and AD2 microphones with the Shure PSM1000s in-ear monitoring system.
The solid stability of the digital set-up on the Axient Digital, paired fantastically with the demands of the large video wall at the Roundhouse. Aside from the video wall, the set including riser platform, staircase, lighting and sound was used throughout the tour, to ensure each audience received the same experience. Freedom on stage was important and Axient Digital Wireless System allowed this, with the faith that there would be no signal degradation.
On the tour, Patchwork found the sound quality of the Axient Digital system to be faultless, with extremely low latency. Calum was keen to keep the show as digital as possible and was particularly impressed with the RF and sound quality, whilst keeping the full signal chain digital from the AES outputs from the wireless transmitter into the desk, digital processing by the desk and then out to the amplifier rack without multiple conversions.
Calum adds: “The NME show had particular RF challenges with five acts playing the award show with huge numbers of channels of RF, using Shure’s Axient Digital meant we could licence in a broad range of wireless spectrum which was really useful.”
Along with being impressed by the sound quality, the Patchwork prep team found the system very easy to use: “The Wireless Workbench integration is fantastic, the speed at which we could change and deploy frequencies to units was astounding, and the four channels receiver in one rack is such a winner – I don’t know any other manufacturer where you can get four channels in one 19” rack,” concludes Calum.
Shure are well known for their dedicated in-house training and support, though in this case Patchwork found no training was required to set-up and use the system, which they stated was “further testament to how easy it is to use.” Calum was keen to praise the support, adding that “Working with Jack Drury from the market development team at Shure is fantastic. Any niche request is dealt with: on another project, last minute we were asked for a Chrome AD2 microphone which resulted in him personally hand delivering it within two hours, I was very impressed.”
28th July 2022
Elation Smarty Hybrid main mover for sold-out Deorro shows at Hollywood Palladium
USA – DJ Deorro played two shows at the Hollywood Palladium in early July and electrified the sold-out crowds using a lighting rig that included Elation’s multi-functional Smarty Hybrid CMY colour mixing moving head as the main moving effect light. The atmosphere at the 4,000-capacity venue both nights was raging, reflecting the EDM communities excitement to be back live, as well as the hype around the artist’s new album 'Orro,' which was released just days before.
“The Smarty's were an excellent choice because they can move as fast as a typical beam fixture, but also provide all the core attributes a spot fixture has to offer,” said Lorcan Clarke of the full-featured 11,000-lumen moving heads. Clarke served as lighting director, programmer and operator on the shows, co-ordinating 12 Smartys on the downstage floor plus another 12 on the downstage overhead truss with a rig of LED battens, strobes, beam lights and lasers. According to the Hollywood Palladium production team, it was the largest rig ever hung at the venue. Lighting design was by Jaycob Luque of MJL Visions.
Capable of beam angle adjustment in all modes and housing plenty of colour and graphics options, Clarke says the Smartys operate well as both a beam and spot. “Other hybrid lights often do either the beam side of things really well and lack the spot values, or vice versa,” he says. “Deorro's high energy house music calls for lots of your typical fast, sharp beam looks but he can also quickly mix into much slower traditional Latin/Mexican music. This is where I needed to be able to create slow, pretty looks with the movers. The Smarty's gobo wheels and zoom range did the job perfectly.” One other Elation moving head was used on the shows, a single Artiste Monet LED moving head that was placed behind the artist and used as a backlighting ‘godlight.’ “We chose the Monet as godlight as it zooms really wide and is powerful as hell so it could cut thru video wall brightness,” Clarke states.
Full-service lighting company Volt Lites of southern California supplied the lighting gear. “The team at Volt Lites were amazing,” Clarke continues. “We spent three days in previz at CenterStaging where they supplied the equipment and brought over a few different fixtures for us to test and adjust.”
Clarke timecoded many tracks for the shows and especially liked the intro, where he introduced the Smarty's about 90 seconds in. “I had them swing out to the crowd on a big impact,” he explains, “then alternate between positions in sync with the changing chords in the tracks. This was actually an idea the artist had and it came out really well. We got a big crowd reaction on this cue! That's when you know you've done something right!”
28th July 2022
L-ISA Immersive Sound Brings Clarity to the Singapore Chinese Orchestra Opener at Singapore International Festival of the Arts
Singapore – This summer, the Singapore International Festival of Arts (SIFA) returned to the Southeast Asian city island for the first time in two years. Titled The Anatomy of Performance – Ritual, the event featured over 70 performances staged at seven unique sites and venues, all designed by creative designers in various performance art disciplines. Opening the festival with a performance in a defunct power station, SIFA presented the Singapore Chinese Orchestra in L-ISA Immersive Hyperreal Sound provided by J5 Productions.
The Singapore Chinese Orchestra, together with the Tuyang Initiative, a Sarawak-based creative agency that focuses on the cultural heritage of indigenous Borneans, opened the festival with their performance of MEPAAN. In the language of the Kayan peoples of Borneo, mepaan means ‘always,’ and the performance was a sonic and visual voyage through the spiritual and cultural nuances of the Kayan. Backed by an orchestral score, the 75-minute performance was directed by SIFA Festival Director Natalie Hennedige and featured song and dance by lead performers Adrian Jo Milang and Mathew Ngau Jau from the Tuyang Initiative.
Staged in the decommissioned Pasir Panjang Power Station, a cavernous industrial space built in steel and concrete, the show brought together costume designers, photographers, film-makers, set, lighting and sound designers, as well as multimedia artists to transport audiences into the pristine rainforests of Southeast Asia. SIFA appointed Jeffrey Yue of Ctrl Fre@k to design and manage the audio system. Ctrl Fre@k is no stranger to the festival, having designed sound for the Singapore Symphony Orchestra’s performance at the Singapore Botanic Gardens and for Ryuichi Sakamoto’s intimate "Fragments" concert at the Esplanade Theatres.
“When designing the audio system, I knew that the space’s 30 metre high ceilings and floor-to-ceiling metallic pillars would generate heavy sound reflections throughout the cavernous power station,” says Yue. The experienced sound and system designer knew that achieving a high degree of intelligibility and faithful reinforcement of the orchestra would be an immense challenge. The absence of acoustical treatment in the space and the audible fan noise of an air conditioning system added to the challenge.
Yue had attended hands-on L-ISA sound workshops at Concept Systems Technologies L-ISA Auditorium in Singapore led by Chung Wah Khiew, L-Acoustics Application Project Engineer for APAC. Yue knew of the advantages of object-based mixing to achieve clear, natural sound, so he turned to Khiew for advice on deploying L-ISA technology for the MEPAAN performance. “Khiew and I were sure that object-based mixing and localisation would enhance the lush orchestral sound in the venue,” continues Yue.
“Jeffrey [Yue] shared details of the MEPAAN project and the difficulties presented by the venue’s acoustics. We worked together to plot the architectural set design and audience seating elements of the space in Soundvision to create an L-ISA configuration that would provide pristine clarity to the show’s audience of 350,” explains Khiew. “Due to the nature of the space, different frequencies respond differently in various areas. With the orchestra’s wide dynamic range, and dynamic score, achieving uniform coverage was our top priority,” Yue resumes. “We worked with the production team to adapt set and seating design details. We were confident that our ability to localise elements of the orchestra in the mix using L-ISA technology would bring production values to the next level.”
The duo landed on a design based on L-Acoustics A Series to achieve precise horizontal and vertical coverage that would bathe the audience in sound while avoiding the venue’s bare concrete and steel skeleton.
Five hangs of two A Series, one A15i Focus and one A15i Wide each, were hung at the height of six metres to ensure the precise coverage of the audience seating area only. Two SB28 subwoofers were deployed in cardioid mode to minimise low-frequency interference on the stage, where a total of 56 microphones were used to capture the various instruments of the Chinese orchestra. L-Acoustics X12 and X8 coaxial enclosures were used for onstage monitoring. The whole system was driven by LA8 and LA4X simplified controllers.
Their calculation proved effective for the application, with 94.7% of the seated audience falling inside the L-ISA zone of immersive coverage.
The performance was mixed using the L-ISA Controller natively integrated into a DigiCo SD5, backed by an L-ISA Processor, before output via L-Acoustics amplified controllers to the main scene system.
Upon a successful run of opening shows for the festival, Cindy Yeong, production manager of SIFA at PPPS, felt that MEPAAN was one of the best-sounding shows of any she had been involved in at the Pasir Panjang Power Station.
“I believe we would not have achieved the results we did without A Series and the L-ISA technology,” Yeong says. “Composers and Singapore Chinese Orchestra management commented that object-based localisation in L-ISA helped position the individual orchestral instruments for great clarity and a high level of intelligibility,” she concludes.
photos: Arts House Limited
27th July 2022
Bandit Lites Invests Big in Khamsins
USA – In late 2021 Bandit Lites made a purchase of several hundred Ayrton Khamsin S fixtures with no real work planned from them; however, the Ayrton name, the high quality of service from the team at ACT and a great relationship with Ben Saltzman made this a low-risk opportunity. As it played out, every Khamsin, as they arrived, went straight on the road.
In early 2022 Bandit again made the decision to buy another large quantity of Khamsin S units, with no real work booked for them and again, as in 2021, they all had a home by the time they arrived.
In 2022 the new lights went out on Shinedown (designers Mitchell Schellenger and Carter Fulghum), Zac Brown Band (designer Chris Cockrill), and with Maren Morris (Silent House designer Alex Reardon), as well as a few other shows. This was the first experience with Khamsins for these designers and all were very happy; the Khamsins were a home run from day one.
“The power and versatility of the Ayrton Khamsin makes it a perfect fixture for our inventory,” stated Bandit vice president of business and innovation, Jake Tickle. “Every designer loves the feature set, output, and optics. These units have been rock solid on the road as well. This fixture has become a go-to for our clients.”
With Bandit now waiting on more Khamsins, Bandit chair Michael T. Strickland shared: “We simply cannot have enough Khamsins. Bandit is extraordinarily happy with the fixtures, the features, and the service. Ayrton and ACT has hit another home run. Thank you!”
The second half of 2022 promises to be an even bigger success for Bandit and their clients than was the first half. Partnerships like the one with Ayrton and ACT have proved to be beneficial to both parties, as well as the artists and designers. Bandit continues to allow their clients to Experience Excellence and will do so on an ongoing basis.
27th July 2022
Texas Rock Band ‘Nothing More’ Tours with Paired dLive System
USA - Veteran audio engineers Ross Landis and Andrew Crow had the opportunity to demo an Allen & Heath dLive system earlier this year, and they both fell in love with the open format. “You can do basically anything, and set it up how you want,” recalled Landis. When it came time to tour with Grammy-nominated rock group Nothing More, the pair opted to each bring along a dLive S5000 surface, one at front of house, and one for monitors.
Both Landis and Crow appreciated how many user-defined SoftKeys were available to them on the large format 28-fader dLive surface. “I was able to use those for mute groups, stopping and starting my recordings, FX controls, and even selecting certain channels that aren’t always visible on my fader banks,” noted Landis. “To be able to mix how I want to mix without having to navigate through layers, that was huge.”
Their system incorporated a DM64 MixRack, which features 64 mic preamps and 32 line outputs, and a compact DM0. Allen & Heath's DM0 MixRack adds a fully-featured 128-channel 96kHz dLive FPGA mix engine in a compact format, always a great choice for applications like this where additional analogue I/O isn't necessary. The addition of two gigaACE cards allowed for a full digital split between the two engines.
Landis’s front of house console also housed a 128-channel 96kHz Waves module, which he used for multitrack recording. “I originally planned on using the card for running outboard plug-ins,” recounted Landis, “until I realised there was no point. With 64 instances of DYN8 (dynamic EQ/multi-band compressor) and plenty of great reverbs built-in to the dLive, I had it all in the box already.”
At monitors, Andrew Crow also made use of dLive suite of DEEP plug-ins for shaping and colouring sound, especially the 16T compressor models. “I was very happy with the sound of those compressors,” noted Crow. “I used to have racks of those back in the day, so it was familiar to me.”
“It is great to see Ross and Andrew rolling with dLive for Nothing More,” says Allen & Heath USA marketing director Jeff Hawley. “The combination of those hard and heavy ‘walls of sound’ and amazing dynamic leaps that the band is known for are giving the DYN8 and on-board DEEP compressors a real workout, I’m sure. It is a real testament to the power packed inside the FPGA engine to be able to tackle all of that processing without running up the latency or smearing the phase across their mixes. You can’t beat the combo of a great band, great engineers and a truly rocking tour rig.”
Crow added that this was his first tour with a dLive, but he sees it becoming a go-to in the future. “I think it’s ahead of the curve. It’s very rider-friendly and user-friendly. At that price point, it’s crushing everything.”
27th July 2022
Vari-Lite VL5LED WASH Brings Rich Retro Style to Mountview’s Production of Carrie: The Musical
UK – When Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts decided to bring a bold new actor-musician interpretation to the Royal Shakespeare Company’s musical adaption of the Stephen King classic Carrie, it was Mountview’s former head of lighting training, Louisa Smurthwaite, who worked with the students to create the visceral, yet retro lighting design. Keen to introduce fixtures that bought an era-reflecting feel to the classic story, yet still introduce the students to the latest lighting technology, Smurthwaite specified the VL5LED WASH luminaires by Vari-Lite, the originator of the modern moving head and a Signify entertainment lighting brand.
With a lighting design brief from show director Rich Fitch that specified ‘Stranger Things meets 80s' horror game show,’ the scenic design, created by Sophia Pardon, was a torn-up school, ravaged by the powers of Carrie. “The set design exposed the wings and back wall of the venue,” says Smurthwaite. “With lighting, this gave a deeper perspective to the playing space and allowed us to manipulate the atmospherics. What I like about the Vari-Lite VL5LED WASH is the impact of the LED feature around the rim of the lens and the 1980s' classic fixture aesthetic. It’s bold, it says, ‘I’m here’, which is not the usual approach for a theatrical production.”
Carrie: The Musical, with its moments of horror, demanded numerous, contrasting atmospheric looks. This meant Smurthwaite required a lush creative palette offering vivid colours, soft pastels plus good whites. “The VL5 combines the high output I needed with a colour palette that satisfied my design objectives for every scene,” says Smurthwaite.
Of course, the scope of a lighting designer is much broader when you are designing at a drama school that offers a dedicated lighting degree and masters. Smurthwaite’s role encompassed a great deal more than the obvious tasks of an LD, such as delivering the design concept, producing plot and cue synopsis, programming, and the entire tech process to opening night. “My role was to engage with the students in a way that encourages critical thinking of process and self-examination and reflection of creative drivers and motives,” she explains. “I took time to discuss the design, not only with the lighting students, but with stage management, scenic art students and directing students. All gave valuable feedback that had an impact on the design. We agreed that we wanted the lighting to have a retro feel but without compromising on the effects, atmospherics and dramatic impact that modern lighting can bring.”
To satisfy that objective, Smurthwaite ensures that she maintains good relationships with lighting technologists and manufacturers. “While Mountview has a great stock of technical equipment, as the productions continue to raise the bar in terms of production and design, there is always technology that students want to use that isn’t on the shelves,” she says.
Smurthwaite was introduced to the VL5LED WASH by Grant Bales Smith, regional sales leader, EMEA & APAC, Vari-Lite for Signify, and Darren Howard, technical support for Signify. “I was struck by the VL5’s obvious nod back to 80s' design, which made it stand out to me as an attention-grabbing fixture for Carrie: The Musical,” explains Smurthwaite. “It’s critical for me that the students get used to new lighting fixtures that will ultimately be popular in the professional world. The VL5 fits that bill. Students must be able to confidently explore and embrace new tech and that isn’t always achievable on drama school show budgets. That means that the support from companies such as Vari-Lite and other entertainment technology manufacturers is invaluable.”
Grant Bales Smith concludes: “Vari-Lite has established a strong reputation for supporting lighting designers and teaching establishments by loaning them our latest technology. We appreciate how important it is for future designers to get real world experience using our products and gain clear understanding of the latest technology. For that reason, we were delighted to see Louisa and her students create such a stunning lighting design for their production of Carrie: The Musical by incorporating VL5LED WASH fixtures.”
26th July 2022
DiGiCo Quantum338 Pair Keeps Tash Sultana Grounded on North American Terra Firma Tour
USA – Australian singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer Tash Sultana is back out on tour for the first time in three years supporting their sophomore 2021 release, Terra Firma. Following an initial 15-date jaunt across Europe and the UK in March and April, Sultana has just now completed a 32-show North American trek, which kicked off on 10 June in Las Vegas and wrapped up on 24 July in southern California. For the run, Nashville-based Worley Sound supplied the tour with its FOH and monitor control packages, both of which were built upon DiGiCo Quantum338 consoles.
Although Sultana is likely best known as a “one-person band” for their looping and layering of riffs, beats and vocals perfectly exemplified on the artist’s 2016 social media breakthrough, “Jungle”, the current 2022 world tour finds Sultana morphing from a solo act to a full band set-up for the first time.
“I started touring with Tash in 2017 and carried a DiGiCo SD11i system that I loved on many dates around the world for the solo years,” says Perth-based FOH engineer Sam Perrignon. “I had it racked in a case above a 12U rack housing my Lake processor, Waves servers and RF measurement receiver, with an array of Ergotron arm mounts, and I really appreciated its efficiency and being able to maintain a very small footprint at festivals.
“However, as our channel list has now significantly grown, mixing on a larger surface is certainly an improved experience and I am really enjoying the Quantum338 with its centre-screen processing section, daylight viewable screens, and bridge-light/sun-shield. The console’s worksurface is great; I have speedy access to everything I need and the DiGiCo-Waves integration is nice and fast, keeping my fingers away from the touchscreens as much as possible. Also, software-wise on the Quantum series, I’m already a big fan of Mustard processing across all of the acoustic drums, with the VCA compressor type being a particular favourite.”
Excluding talk and utility inputs, Perrignon notes that there are approximately 70 inputs coming from the four members on stage where he shares a 32-bit module-loaded SD-Rack with another Quantum338 carried for monitors. “There is a mix of analogue inputs from the SD-Rack and MADI inputs from playback that are piped into the monitor console and copied onto the Optocore network,” he describes. “The band side is fairly conventional, but for Tash's solo section, a lot of the show is mixed on groups. As I receive direct and looped inputs, this avoids doubling up on external processing.”
He adds that he also has a few choice pieces of outboard gear on his SD-MiNi Rack at FOH and uses the console’s Waves port for all Waves processing, plus two DiGiGrid MGBs on a separate network for recording and Smaart I/O. “I use Waves primarily on groups, Tash's vocal and FX as well as an outboard Smart Research C2 on my LR, API2500+ on drums, Rupert Neve Designs Portico 5045 enhancer for vocal, and a Bricasti M7, but a lot of the processing is nicely handled onboard the Quantum338.”
Hailing from Wollongong, just south of Sydney, monitor engineer Jordan Tanner has also been working with Sultana since 2017, when he and Perrignon established their touring and production management company, RTA Touring. “When Tash decided to add a backing band, it became apparent early on that we were in for a busy gig,” Tanner says. “Given our input list, once you consider FX and utility inputs, the number of required channels blows out pretty quick. I'm using over 120 input channels, and it’s imperative that I’m able to make things happen very fast and without fuss. Having worked on all SD surfaces, I feel that the Quantum338 surface is right up there among the fastest. I find the master section particularly well laid out, as far as macros, snapshots and talk sections go, and two master faders is of course a huge win!”
Tanner points out that he prefers to keep things “as onboard as is possible,” he says. “I do have a Waves system out with me for a couple of specific plug-ins that Tash likes to hear to replicate their studio chains, but for the most part it’s all onboard processing. Keeping things centralised within the console means my attention isn’t divided across multiple platforms and keeps my automation reasonably straightforward. I find there are more than enough routing and processing options to get me where I want to be, especially so at stage left.”
As for Quantum338-specific features, like Perrignon, Tanner enjoys the new Mustard processing, particularly its compression options. “I’ve found that it’s so much easier to get the sound I’m looking for out of the wider range of compressor styles offered in the Mustard channel. The full processing controls for the centre section of the 338 are also excellent. I feel much more fluid working across three identical banks of the console, which is big part of the reason for my love affair with DiGiCo’s SD12.”
Another amenity that Tanner appreciates on tour is working with the new console’s MIDI functionality. “Our playback guy, the illustrious James Luscombe, has a MIDI controller at his station that can fire macros on my console to route his talkback mics to particular performers and crew. He’s also sending me program changes out of Ableton to automate the firing of my snapshots. Said snapshots also output MIDI to my Bricasti M7 to recall song-specific reverb presets, which means I’m not having to constantly reach down and adjust it.”
Both engineers are quick to praise Worley Sound, which furnished the consoles for the North American trek. “When Tom Worley launched his company last year and we saw the quality of the control packages he was putting together, we knew it would be a great fit as Jordan and I are massive fans of a nice rack build, having spent a lot of time building them ourselves. So big thanks to Tom for providing such an excellent package, it’s been a pleasure to load in every day, and to audio tech Steve Donovan and the rest of the crew who have been on the road with us. They’re excellent humans and we’re very much looking forward to working with them again.”
“And, of course, big props also to DiGiCo and their support,” adds Tanner. “As everyone is no doubt already aware, they’re the best in the game.”
Sultana’s recent North American leg of the Terra Firma Tour found them performing at Denver’s Red Rocks Amphitheatre, NYC’s Pier 17, Vancouver’s Orpheum Theatre, the Hollywood Palladium and numerous other venues in addition to a slot at the Bonnaroo Music Festival.