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ChamSys Powers Luciano’s Majestic Tour


Ecom Events Adds to the Enchantment of Fiers à Cheval with Chauvet Professional


Ennio Morricone – Official Concert Celebration


Significant Investment in Latest Equipment Puts WL on Right Track for Christmas Trails


Vari-Lite VL1600 Profile adds textures and effects at Northwest Bible Church, Dallas


IPS and Elation IP65 an unbeatable team on Space Needle New Year’s Eve show


Getting Extreme with Robe


Kinesys Gets Around with GES


Allen & Heath dLive to Handle Front of House and Monitors for Upcoming Maggie Lindemann Tour


Ayrton Festival Fun in Switzerland


Patrick Dierson Creates Smooth iHeartRadio ALTer Ego Rig with Chauvet Professional and 4Wall


IPS provides Stage for Trafalgar Square Celebration


GES Circle Around with Robe


Ayrton Domino Profile accompanies Luchè on his 'DVLA' tour


The 25th MOBO Awards rely on DiGiCo consoles to deliver the UK’s biggest celebration of music of black origin


Vari-Lite VL3600 helps HiJinx Festival deliver a dazzling light show


impression FR10 Bars ‘at their very best’ with The 1975


Robe Gets into More Panto Madness


IIIMAGINE Mixes Music and Light to Capture Spirts of Flight with Chauvet Professional


Royal Swedish Opera plays DICE with Ayrton Cobra


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DiGiCo’s Quantum Range is Key for Gateway Studios & Production Services


CT delivers largest broadcast studio at FIFA World Cup


ChamSys Powers Luciano’s Majestic Tour

ChamSys Powers Luciano’s Majestic Tour

Germany – He’s had six albums chart in the Top 10 and sold out Germany’s leading concert venues. Last year, in September, he became the first German rapper to reach over seven million Spotify listeners. But through it all, musical phenom Luciano hasn’t lost touch with the creative forces rising from the streets of the Schöneberg district of Berlin; they continue to drive his music today, just as they did when he burst upon the scene in 2012.

 “I come from the street. I have characteristics from the street, and the streets can teach positive lessons as well,” Luciano once told an interviewer. However, as his career has flourished, the irrepressible rapper has enlarged his musical footprint and stage charisma, creating a uniquely powerful style. His impressive presence was on full display on his recent “Majestic Tour” of Germany and Austria.

Reflecting the spirit of Luciano’s impassioned performance visually was a bold and ambitious light and video show that was programmed by Stefan Gunkel on a ChamSys MagicQ MQ500M Stadium, and run by lighting operator Norbert Wolf using two MagicQ MQ250M units supplied by Robin Masters Veranstaltungstechnik (Björn Dietsch), who recently invested in the consoles

“The show captivated audiences, not only through its music, but also with a lighting and stage design that were majestic too,” Gunkel explained. “The central element in the show was made up of two ten metre high LED blocks, which were covered with content as well as live camera images.”

Playing off against the transformative images on these large, vertically oriented video walls, was light from over 100 high-output fixtures, which crisscrossed the stage and reached out to the crowd with engaging audience lighting. Monochromatic colour palettes and evocative silhouettes from these lights also added to the dramatic impact of the show.

The task of programming this video and light show was made much easier by several performance features on the MagicQ MQ500M, including its encoder playbacks and fully motorised faders, which collectively provided 42 playbacks. Also aiding int the programming was the console’s inbuilt MagicVis Visuliser.

Out on the road, the pair of MagicQ MQ250M consoles, made life easier for Wolf who has been operating light shows for Luciano for quite some time. During the rehearsal days at BBMClair in Berlin, he and Gunkel adapted the programmed show to the live setup.  

“Thanks to structured programming and the clear workflow of the ChamSys MagicQ software on the consoles, I was able to quickly familiarize myself with the new MQ250M,” said Wolf, who noted that the intuitive layout of these consoles saved him “valuable time” during each tour date. That was time he spent very well doing something else, namely running a light and video show that could best be described as “majestic!”

ChamSys Powers Luciano’s Majestic TourChamSys Powers Luciano’s Majestic Tour

9th February 2023

Ecom Events Adds to the Enchantment of Fiers à Cheval with Chauvet Professional

Ecom Events Adds to the Enchantment of Fiers à Cheval with Chauvet Professional
Ecom Events Adds to the Enchantment of Fiers à Cheval with Chauvet Professional

France – “We think of our creations as an invitation to dream,” Jean-Baptiste Duperray, founder and artistic director of La Compagnie des Quidams has said. This invitation was eagerly accepted recently by all who visited the historic Château des ducs de Bretagne on the banks of the Loire to see the talented street art group’s “Fiers à Cheval” performance. There, as the show’s large, self-lit inflatable horses floated in the air, flowing in harmony with metamorphic human artists, the imagination of spectators took flight.

Like all Compagnie des Quidams performances, “Fiers à Cheval” (Proud on Horseback) is an enchanting and colourful open air presentation, where music combines with the swirling, synchronised motions of humans and large (3.5m high by 2.5m wide) self-lit inflatables to transform any public spaces into a dream-like wonderland.

Enhancing the magic of the moment at the group’s Château des ducs de Bretagne performance was artful lighting design by Mathieu Simon and the team at Ecom Events that featured Chauvet Professional fixtures.

“Our client wanted lighting that could fill a variety of roles,” said Simon. “We created different lighting atmospheres. There was the need for homogenous lighting throughout the event, scenic lighting on the grounds and architectural lighting, all with a harmonious colour scheme. The vision was to highlight the performance without distorting the elemental way it connects to people. To accomplish this required outdoor-ready wash lights with excellent colour qualities.”

Among the fixtures chosen for the task were 12 COLORado Panel Q40 rectangular washes. Simon and his team, stage managers Tom and Jérôme, positioned these RGBW fixtures to form the top arc of a semi-circle on one side of the performance area. Connecting to that arc on either side were two perpendicular rows of WELL STX 360 battery-operated free-standing LED tube lights, each row being made up of six individual units.

Together the panel and tube fixtures, provide a richly textured blanket of colour over the ground. Adding an element of soft light to the space were four onAir IP Panel 1 units mounted two-each on tripod truss stands.

The wall of the Château des ducs de Bretagne served at the base of his semi-circle and also the backdrop of the area where the outdoor performance took place. Endowing this wall/backdrop with vibrant colours that added to the impact of the performance was a collection of WELL Fit uplighters that ran along the base of the building. This installation was carried out in a very short time frame, thanks to the use of WDMX, all without any weather risks to the fixtures thanks to their IP65 rating.

“We wanted to create a scenic space that framed the space, but at the same time also made it feel like part of its surroundings,” said Simon. “We believed that this would make the visitor experience more engaging.” As daylight faded into dusk, and the players and inflatables entered into a field of colourful light at the iconic castle, his words were proven very true.

Ecom Events Adds to the Enchantment of Fiers à Cheval with Chauvet ProfessionalEcom Events Adds to the Enchantment of Fiers à Cheval with Chauvet Professional

9th February 2023

Ennio Morricone – Official Concert Celebration

Ennio Morricone – Official Concert Celebration
Ennio Morricone – Official Concert Celebration

The Netherlands – Friday 2nd December saw ‘Ennio Morricone – The Official Concert Celebration’ take place in the Rotterdam Ahoy. Conducted by his son Andrea, the music was played by the Philharmonic Orchestra Flanders and sung by a 50-strong choir. The lighting was by the Art of Light and included products by Showtec and Infinity.

Ennio Morricone is regarded as one of the greatest film composers of all time and many of his most famous pieces from films like Once Upon a time in America, The Good, The Bad and the Ugly, and The Untouchables could be heard in the show. The production was put together by Ennio Morricone before his death in 2020 and, in addition to showing many of the iconic movie scenes he wrote music for, also featured never-before-seen footage of Ennio himself. Art of Light enhanced the overall atmosphere with lighting and effects by Showtec and Infinity. These included 16 Showtec Helix S5000 Q4 washers, three Showtec Mistique CO2 Hazers and 36 Infinity iW-1941 RDM moving washlights. The combination of professional lighting, iconic footage and live music made for a fitting tribute to Ennio Morricone.

photos: Charles Batenburg

Ennio Morricone – Official Concert Celebration Ennio Morricone – Official Concert Celebration

8th February 2023

Highlite International

Significant Investment in Latest Equipment Puts WL on Right Track for Christmas Trails

Significant Investment in Latest Equipment Puts WL on Right Track for Christmas Trails

UK – For the past few years, White Light (WL) has worked closely with Culture Creative and Sony Music to supply the lighting and technical support for their renowned Christmas trails. Taking place at much-loved and famous locations across the UK, the trails feature trees and woodland drenched in Christmas colour, shimmering waterside reflections, tunnels of light as well as fire gardens. WL once again supplied the Trails in 2022 and not only invested in several new fixtures for the illuminations but also helped develop a new unit that is now part of the company’s extensive hire stock.

The 2022 Christmas Trails featured a more expansive list of locations than ever before, ranging from Kew Gardens and Blenheim Palace to Leeds Castle and the Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh. As always, WL’s role was to work closely with Culture Creative, Sony and the designers involved to bring their vision to life. WL’s technical director Dave Isherwood comments: “We’ve worked with Culture Creative and Sony for over a decade now and have a very strong, collaborative relationship. We also work specifically with their lighting designers, such as Tony Simpson and Adam Povey, in order to help fulfil their designs for the various locations. With the trails taking place outside, it’s vital we supply them with the appropriate equipment, fixtures that are able to sustain the often quite harsh weather conditions whilst also being flexible enough to deliver their artistic vision.”

Wanting to ensure they continued to offer an unparalleled service for the 2022 Trails, WL decided to specifically invest in a range of new fixtures. Dave explains: “Over the past couple of years, we’ve been monitoring the exciting development of outdoor fixtures, given we often supply projects based outside. As a company, we want to be able to offer LDs the full functionality they are familiar with on interior products, but on exterior rated fixtures without massive size and weight penalties. After looking at many options, we decided to invest in several specific ones which we knew would be perfect for the Trails and beyond.”

The fixtures WL invested in included the Chauvet Professional E910 FC (IP65 Profile), Chauvet Professional Color Strike M (IP65 strobe/flood/blinder with tilting head), Chauvet Professional PXL Bar 16 (IP 65 tilting batten), Ayrton Perseo (IP65 framing moving head profile) and Martin MAC Aura XIP (IP65 moving head wash). Dave explains: “We invested in these fixtures for numerous reasons, all of which we believe will be to our clients’ benefit. The E910 FC is a high-performance ERS-style fixture with full RGBA-lime colour mixing and colour temperature presets of 2800 to 6500K that match the output of a tungsten source to perfection, whereas the ColorStrike M is an IP65 rated motorised strobe/wash with two ultra-bright, white light tube elements surrounded by an electrifying, colour-mixing and pixel-mappable face. Similarly, the Aryton Perseo is the first compact multi-function luminaire with an IP65 enclosure rating developed by Ayrton for intensive outdoor use whereas the Martin MAC Aura XIP is the first of the MAC Aura family to be rated for outdoor use, with close to zero compromises in weight, size and aesthetics due to Martin’s smart outdoor-capable design.”

Another fixture that WL invested in was the Chauvet Professional Expo PAR (IP 65 WW PAR). Yet, rather than simply investing, the company actually had a hand in its development. Dave explains: “We started talking to Culture Creative and Sony early last year about what they wanted from their lighting fixtures both in terms of artistic output and energy usage. At Kew Gardens, one of their most well-known sites, they were keen to dramatically reduce their use of tungsten; although the challenge would be to find a unit that could replace the hundreds of 1K parcans they are usually reliant on. As such, I spoke to Chauvet Professional as I knew they were developing a prototype which I thought would satisfy the needs of Culture Creative and Sony and which would eventually become the Expo PAR. We were invited along to look at the product and offer our feedback on its features and application. It was fantastic for us to pass on our client’s specific requirements and see them implemented as we knew there was a strong market for this product. The end result is a warm, white LED PAR that has the same intensity as a 1K tungsten parcan. We ultimately ended up investing in over 500 of them, 450 of which were used on Kew!”

Another hugely significant feature of the Expo PAR is the energy saving it offers clients. In total, there is also an energy saving of about 85% compared to the PAR they replace on a like-for-like basis, making it much more economically and environmentally viable. Dave adds: “As a company with a strong commitment to sustainability, this is another reason we’ve invested so heavily in this particular fixture. We are always looking at ways in which we can lower our power usage and now even report on the (theoretical) power consumption of the equipment on our rental contracts. For instance, we recently calculated a total energy reduction of around 36% from 2021, a fact we’re extremely proud of.”

Dave concludes: “Whilst the products we invested in were initially for the 2022 Christmas Trails, these are now available to anyone working on any form of outdoor project. Ultimately, our investment in these fixtures signifies our continued commitment to the latest technology, fulfilling designer’s needs as well as our sustainability and environmental aims.”

photos: Kat Gollock, ©Sony Music

Significant Investment in Latest Equipment Puts WL on Right Track for Christmas TrailsSignificant Investment in Latest Equipment Puts WL on Right Track for Christmas Trails

8th February 2023

Vari-Lite VL1600 Profile adds textures and effects at Northwest Bible Church, Dallas

Vari-Lite VL1600 Profile adds textures and effects at Northwest Bible Church, Dallas
Vari-Lite VL1600 Profile adds textures and effects at Northwest Bible Church, Dallas

USA – The multi-generational Northwest Bible Church in Dallas, Texas, ramped up atmospheric looks and festive lighting effects for a series of concerts in December, rigging Vari-Lite VL1600 Profile luminaires from Signify.

The church’s lighting director Matthew Hughes worked with Tyler Gannaway, Vari-Lite business development manager central and eastern rental and touring at Signify, to source the VL1600 fixtures. Hughes’s aim was to utilise the VL1600’s VL*FX wheel to add movement to the textures projected on the walls, and the tuneable white engine and wide colour range to create the perfect atmosphere for the concerts.

“I wanted the service to have a delicate feel, as Advent services are often full of reflection and preparation and require a bit of theatrical finesse to pull off in a tasteful manner,” says Hughes. “Many of the songs we did were very slow, so it was important that the transitions moved seamlessly from one moment to the next.”

The concert opened with a modernized rendition of the Christmas classic, Little Drummer Boy, which included percussive and rock elements. “The VL1600s provided strong backlight and texture that really helped pull the look together,” says Hughes. “They made a significant difference in the overall look of the service and allowed me to achieve exactly the mood and atmosphere for each moment that was needed. These fixtures were a great fit for us because they worked within the power constraints of our space and at the same time provided enough punch to render clear images even after layering multiple gobos with deep colours.”

Hughes and the team rigged the VL1600 Profiles at balcony level, at the front of house position and on the stage behind the concert vocalists.

“This was my first experience with a tunable source and it’s my favourite part of the fixture,” Hughes continues. “Vari-Lite makes it extremely easy to navigate between the two temperatures. Often times when using a CTO flag you can lose output or it won’t quite match the rest of the fixtures on stage but that wasn’t the case here. Being able to manipulate colour temperature at the source of the fixture allowed me to approach each scene with a greater level of control and precision. There’s also a sweet spot in between the cold and warm sources that can give you a noticeable boost in output when you need it.”

Hughes’s design primarily focused on using the VL1600 fixtures to render texture on the walls and ceiling, creating magical effects. He used the on-stage VL1600s to add backlight for the vocalists. Hughes also took advantage of the framing shutters, using them to frame walls on the stage to create modular looks. “They were very effective and essential to the design of the service. The edge of the frame never lost its focus, specifically when focusing between two gobos the shutters never had to be corrected,” he says.

“I also often found myself using the VL*FX wheel to add movement to the texture projected on the walls. It’s a very innovative effect. Having five beautifully designed patterns to choose from is fantastic. The replication of organic elements in the wheel and the ‘endless’ movement is what makes it fun to use.”

Noise within the space during the sermon elements of the service required quiet operation and control. “The fan control was a huge win, there are some very quiet moments in the service and having the option to sacrifice a little output to significantly reduce the room noise made my directors really happy,” he says.

“Vari-Lite has a track record of making industry staple luminaries that push the boundaries of automated lighting and they’ve done just that with the VL1600 Profile.”

Vari-Lite VL1600 Profile adds textures and effects at Northwest Bible Church, DallasVari-Lite VL1600 Profile adds textures and effects at Northwest Bible Church, Dallas

8th February 2023

IPS and Elation IP65 an unbeatable team on Space Needle New Year’s Eve show

IPS and Elation IP65 an unbeatable team on Space Needle New Year’s Eve show
IPS and Elation IP65 an unbeatable team on Space Needle New Year’s Eve show

USA – Once again, the company responsible for creating the light show at Seattle's New Year's Eve event at the Space Needle, Illuminate Production Services (IPS), turned to Elation Professional's leading line of IP-rated products to bring their vision to life. New to this year’s design were Elation Proteus Rayzor Blade linear effects, which joined other Proteus range luminaires and other Elation IP-rated lights on the dazzling show.

The New Year's Eve celebration featured a choreographed 11-minute show with synchronised drone footage (Sky Elements), fireworks (Pyro Spectaculars) and Elation lighting. The show was set to a playlist highlighting significant music and pop culture events of the year, and included a tribute to Ukraine. Broadcast locally on KING 5 and streamed online, the night also included two ten-minute light shows prior to the New Year’s countdown used to build anticipation.

IPS president Rick Franke managed the lighting project for the IPS team while IPS vice president of design and operations, Caleb Franke, served as lighting designer and programmer.

New to this year’s design were 30 Proteus Rayzor Blade linear lights used to illuminate the structure’s core. “We were extremely pleased with the addition of the Rayzor Blade fixtures on this year’s show,” stated Caleb Franke. “Their movement and strobe aspect for the Space Needle’s core was phenomenal.” Driven by independently controlled 60W RGBW LEDs, the Proteus Rayzor Blade is a striking visual combination of linear wash, high-intensity strobe line and SparkLED FX inside a compact IP65 linear fixture design.

Caleb adds: “As a three-in-one fixture with strobe, zoom and motion they looked amazing both lighting the structure and through the pyro smoke. And of course, we love that the fixture is IP rated. This is crucial for an outdoor project like this with extreme weather considerations, but knowing these fixtures and others on this project can also handle the massive amounts of pyro smoke and dust is a key benefit.” After adding the Proteus Rayzor Blade fixtures to inventory at IPS’s recently opened East Coast facility, Caleb says they decided to add more units to their overall inventory.

IPS used several other Elation Proteus line luminaires on the show, including Proteus Maximus (six), Proteus Hybrid (12) and Proteus Beam (24) moving heads, in various locations on the 605ft tall structure. They also placed 12 Proteus Excalibur narrow-beam sky effects on the Space Needle's saucer roof, which were a key part of the light show that could be seen from far away and rendered great on camera.

Other Elation fixtures used on the Space Needle NYE show included (24) IP65-rated Paladin wash/strobe/blinders used to colour wash the entire structure. As the event is hosted by T-Mobile, the Paladin’s were key in washing the Space Needle in the company’s signature magenta brand colour, also on days leading up to the celebration. Additionally, (12) Cuepix 16 IP LED matrix panels colour washed the top of the saucer.

“The IP-rated Elation fixtures we use are designed for extreme conditions,” Caleb stated. “They are used worldwide in extreme climates ranging from the arid heat of Dubai to the freezing cold of Alaska and worked flawlessly for us on this project.” All of the lighting for the show was designed and preprogrammed using Capture design software.

As always, the Space Needle presents unique challenges for the load-in as the elevator only stops at the 100ft level and 580ft level. “Access to our lighting positions is often a challenge with much of the gear being manually carried up ladders, stairs and through narrow access points,” explains Rick Franke. IPS workers were often required to negotiate two sets of 960+ exposed stairs that run from top to bottom of the structure, just one obstacle of many that the IPS crew had to overcome.

“We do not shy from physical lobar,” Rick continues, “but adding the structure’s height, and often harsh weather conditions, the project is definitely one where we all need to be at peak performance! Special thanks to the IPS crew for their diligent work and Space Needle facilities team, once again, for their warm welcome.”

In past years, inclement weather has been a problem, with last year being particularly challenging due to snow and record low temperatures in the week leading up to the event. However, this year the weather did not pose any difficulties. “Everything turned out really well,” Rick concludes, “and we're happy to report that this year even the weather co-operated!”

photos: Sigma Sreedharan and courtesy of IPS

IPS and Elation IP65 an unbeatable team on Space Needle New Year’s Eve showIPS and Elation IP65 an unbeatable team on Space Needle New Year’s Eve show

7th February 2023


Getting Extreme with Robe

Getting Extreme with Robe

Poland & Germany – German event technology service provider DLP Motive supplied full technical design and production (staging, automation and kinetic elements, lighting, sound, video and LED screens) to ESL Gaming for the tenth anniversary of the Intel Extreme Masters (IEM) e-gaming tournament, including two three-day events staged at the 10,000 capacity Spodek Arena in Katowice, Poland, and the 18,500 capacity Lanxess-Arena in Cologne, Germany.

Striking lighting designs by Andreas ('Andy') Mohl for these two events included over 250 Robe moving lights, part of 15 trucks worth of production kit that helped ensure the delivery of a colourful, adrenaline-fuelled, all-action three days of superlative e-gaming enjoyed by both live and streamed audiences.

The Robe luminaires included 48 ESPRITES, 70 Spiiders, 60 LEDBeam 150s, 54 Pointes and 22 MegaPointes, and the event included all the games and associated elements plus a series of live show segments which were presented on stage in the arena.

Starting points for these two stage and lighting designs included presenting the show and players who were right at the centre of the action; and simultaneously ensuring the whole ‘being there’ experience was memorable for the live audiences. Highlighting the artist segments onstage was a big part of this objective.

Over 400 square metres of LED screen were integral to the set and staging which followed the same concept but was physically different for the two events.

Bespoke video content produced by ESL’s creative team infused each event and each individual game with a fresh look and vibe, so the lighting also had to match and work with this.

Other visual highlights included the team entrances and exits plus a range of other ‘stings’ capturing raw emotions like the jubilation and euphoria of winning moments, etc., all of which needed dramatic lighting.

The events were also designed and lit carefully so there were no distractions for the competitors, however as the action was streamed using a multi-camera system including a spider cam, it had to be effectively lit like a full TV spectacular or a major live sporting event.

All these demands meant Andy and the DLP Motive team drew on techniques from many different lighting and staging disciplines: theatre, TV, arena concerts and even architectural, ensuring that parts of the building also became features of the show and broadcast.

In each case, the venue’s rigging capacities were also a consideration and this dictated the front truss positions.

In Katowice, these were hung so they resembled a circular shape to spread the weight, with fixtures additionally rigged to the building’s structural columns above the upper balcony to maximise audience coverage.

A 14 metre high by 30 metre wide triangle made from Layher decking with side wings was built for the projection screen which related all the gaming action plus effects.

The Robe ESPRITES were rigged all over the main arena and in the Layher grid with Spiiders also overhead and behind the audience.

“The ESPRITES were great for all the stylish TV studio style work happening on stage,” stated Andy, explaining that they also used ESPRITES for keylighting within the player’s booths, an extremely tricky position to reach! All the competitors had to look good on camera, especially for the small personal ‘player-cams,’ and the task here was to do this without blinding them during the gaming sessions.

When Andy was asked by DLP Motive to light the show, he and their team including project manager Moritz Finke conducted a shoot-out to choose the right keylighting, then picked the ESPRITES, mainly as they were impressed with the optical system.

MegaPointes were positioned vertically and horizontally in the Layher grid building a gateway together with a sliding LED door used for stage entrances and exits. MegaPointes were also fanned out from the top of the stage like a crown and used for all the big 'wow's and high impact accents including doe the opening ceremony, player entrances and winner celebration looks. They were ideal for boosting the brightness levels and saturated colours in beam or spot modes.

“You know exactly what you are getting with this fixture,” noted Andy. “There is still no other luminaire quite like it on the market!”

The Pointes were deployed vertically on the grid and on top of the delay projection screens where they worked as an ‘extension’ or repeat effect to the MegaPointe beams, and for the smaller but more frequent accents which were primarily triggered by the media servers as they had to be so quick and precise. The super-fast movement of the Pointe was perfect for this.

The Spiiders did an excellent job of washing the arena during the games and providing excellent light levels and colour temperatures across the audience during the breaks.

LEDBeam 150s were positioned around the arena and behind the LED doorway in a matrix pattern which looked cool for player entrances and trophy presentations. The high output and excellent zoom made them perfect for silhouetting people, with some illuminating the arena roof.

These and a range of around 300 other moving and LED lights and effects were all programmed and ran by Andy on two grandMA3 consoles.

In Cologne, a large central LED screen was flanked by five LED columns, and in between each of these were ladder trusses rigged with a combination of LEDBeam 150s and generic blinders. The 20 LEDBeams per ladder closed the gap between the columns and the LED walls and effectively extended the overall LED area, giving an epic widescreen look.

ESPRITES in combination with Robe’s high powered FORTE fixtures took care of all the TV lighting, rigged above a 40 metre long catwalk emanating from the stage used for some dramatic player entrances. Both these types of fixtures were also used for the studio scenarios inside the arena.

Spiiders again proved a popular choice for audience illumination, often blended with the ESPRITES which were great for for highlighting specific areas in the crowd.

The Pointes were all mounted on horizontal trusses above the stage with some cues triggered from the media servers and they contributed to all the general lighting power-looks.

MegaPointes were rigged on two trusses above the catwalk dropped down to below the ESPRITES. The theme of this event was the Cathedral of Counter Strike and the MegaPointes created great ecclesiastical style columns of light.

The biggest lighting challenge in both cases was the short time-frame on site for creating a completely original show, plus a new stage design in Cologne. On top of this, it was building the numerous lighting looks and scenes needed to cover all the games giving each one a distinctive ambience and supporting the screen content with completely individual sets of lighting cues.

Lighting also had to be devised and imagined from scratch for the live entertainment slots and other special moments.

There were no full rehearsals in advance and while Andy did as much as possible in pre-viz, some long days and amazing teamwork and co-ordination was needed at the venues with up to 80 crew working during the peak times in the two-day set up periods.

Working closely with Andy on the ground included DLP Motive project manager Moritz Finke, lighting systems tech Alexander Bajew and lighting technician Max Waldmüller.

photos: DLP Motive

Getting Extreme with RobeGetting Extreme with Robe

7th February 2023

Robe Lighting

Kinesys Gets Around with GES

Kinesys Gets Around with GES
Kinesys Gets Around with GES

Sweden – Automation and a Kinesys system was right at the heart of Palle Palme’s spectacular lighting and video design for Swedish pop supergroup GES’s popular 2022 tour, which culminated in a month-long residency at Stockholm’s famous Cirkus venue.

The band, which features three of Sweden’s biggest singing stars, romped through a playlist of greatest collective and individual hits, and to keep the energy and pace pumping throughout the set, Palle’s design included two circular lighting trusses: ten metre and three diameters that moved, plus a five metre diameter semi-circular LED screen which flew in and out at strategic moments.

“Automation was an essential element of this show’s aesthetic,” commented Palle, who wanted the additional dynamics of movement to make the stage design really rock. “It was an ideally suited performance environment for the extra visual thrill of automation,” he stated.

The two circles and the lighting on them physically interacted beautifully and fluidly throughout the performance, controlled by automation operator Emanuel Hochholzer using Kinesys Vector control.

The Kinesys system, which also featured Elevation drives working with eleven 500KG EXE hoists, was specified and supplied by Sören Durango at Sundsvall based Scandinavian Rigging Service.

Palle wanted to use the three-dimensionality of automation to change the shape and architecture of the stage space. With over 40 cues in the Vector console. This started subtly, building up to more extreme and intense moves towards the end of the set with the circles pitching dramatically.

“It is important to make everything fun in this show, so having the ability to move the whole rig offered so much more scope for engaging the audience and keeping them guessing as to what might happen next,” commented Palle, adding that all of the songs were “fantastic” material to light and to animate.

The LED screen was used judiciously in around a third of the songs in the set, so when not in use, it flew out of the way leaving the stage neat, clean and uncluttered.

Both circle trusses were rigged using four 500kg EXE hoists running with Kinesys Elevation drives with another three deployed for lifting and lowering the LED screen truss.

Emmanuel, a freelance lighting and automation technician and programmer, has been working with Palle for several years, and noted, “Kinesys is an excellent system and I enjoy working with it every time.”

From a practical point of view, he finds Kinesys easy to programme and intuitive to use especially for those with a lighting background. Learning to set the system up is also “relatively straightforward” and he enjoys programming quickly once this is complete.

“Above all, the kit is reliable,” he observes.

Emmanuel first encountered Kinesys about 12 years ago and has been working regularly with the products on automation projects for the last two years for numerous shows and events both indoors and outdoors, dealing with all sorts of weather. The Kinesys systems have always been “very stable and solid.”

The GES tour had been running throughout 2022 by the time they moved into Cirkus for their pre-Christmas residency in December.

photos: Louise Stickland

Kinesys Gets Around with GESKinesys Gets Around with GES

7th February 2023

Allen & Heath dLive to Handle Front of House and Monitors for Upcoming Maggie Lindemann Tour

Allen & Heath dLive to Handle Front of House and Monitors for Upcoming Maggie Lindemann Tour

Worldwide – Audio engineer and tour manager George Adrian was first introduced to Allen & Heath’s dLive platform at a music festival when he saw a fellow engineer using one. “I was really blown away by the compact form factor,” he recalled. Adrian later began to realize the advantages of owning his own touring desk, and dLive was a top contender. After evaluating his options, he landed on a 20-fader dLive C2500 surface and a CDM64 MixRack, which features 64 dLive mic preamps and 32 line outputs. Although he obtained it just before the COVID pandemic, Adrian has already taken his new dLive rig out for several major live runs. “The palette of creativity and flexibility is unbelievable,” he noted. “I’m learning new things all the time, and the workflow makes a lot of sense to me.”

Next up for Adrian and his dLive system is an upcoming sold-out tour for American pop punk artist Maggie Lindemann, who released her debut album Suckerpunch in 2022. Adrian is preparing to simultaneously run both front of house and in-ear monitors for the tour which will make full use of dLive’s flexibility and processing power. “I try to use minimal compression for in-ear mixes,” said Adrian. “So that means double-patching some of the inputs and sending a different processed version to the front of house mix.”

dLive’s DEEP plugin package also comes in handy for Adrian, including the new dual threshold expander introduced in dLive firmware 1.9. “I like it a lot for drums,” he explained. “I use it on basically all my channels.” Adrian also makes use of the DYN8 Dynamic EQ for things like lead vocals and kick drums. “I like to be able to boost certain frequencies only when that frequency crosses a set threshold and avoid just boosting everything in that signal at that frequency all the time, like you would with a static EQ.” Adrian notes that dynamic EQs can help a lot with minimising feedback as well as minimising the emphasis of undesirable bleed or spill from the stage or crowd. In the case of vocals, Adrian uses a fast attack to grab and control peaks and then uses the dLive’s OptTronik compressor to add steady compression and balance out the signal.

Adrian also has a Dante card installed in his dLive, which allows for flexible connectivity and expansion. “Using Dante, I can get audio to and from my SMAART rig, I can record multi-tracks and also run Virtual Soundcheck,” he explained. dLive’s Virtual Soundcheck feature has become a crucial tool for touring engineers on a tight schedule by providing input sources to the PA without needing the actual band present. “On this run, we’re going to have limited time before each performance,” noted Adrian. “We have to get a soundcheck done pretty quickly, and I can even check the IEM mixes without the artists actually playing on-stage.”

Lindemann’s tour begins in March of 2023 with US tour dates, then moves internationally to Australia and Europe in May.

7th February 2023

Ayrton Festival Fun in Switzerland

Ayrton Festival Fun in Switzerland
Ayrton Festival Fun in Switzerland

Switzerland – As the European festival scene kicked back into action following the upheaval and restrictions of the pandemic, Ayrton teamed up with some established Swiss rental companies to support festivals across the country and showcase some of Ayrton’s latest groundbreaking fixtures. Stagelight AG Showtechnik supplied kit to the largest hip-hop festival in Europe at Frauenfeld, the Gurten Open Air festival in Bern and Schaffhausen’s Stars in Town across July and August.

Stagelight AG Showtechnik used the same equipment package from Ayrton for each festival: 16 Zonda 9 FX, 16 Cobra and four Domino LT with every fixture adding its own unique features to the stages.

“Each of these fixtures brings a new dimension to meet open-air design challenges,” opens Stagelight’s Stefan Rüttimann. “We have a long and mutually trustworthy relationship with Ayrton, and having Marc [Lorenz, Ayrton designer relationship manager for Europe] on board gave us the confidence this kit would really perform for us across all three festivals and they didn’t disappoint!

“At Frauenfeld in early July, Zonda 9 FX provided an excellent solution for that essential fill lighting, particularly for floor/groundrow effects that can provide perspective and effects. I loved its LiquidEffects layers which give a really exceptional background. Plus, they are so, so bright and you have the endless pan and tilt features which, for hip-hop, is great. This was my first experience of the Zonda but it certainly won’t be the last.”

Marc Lorenz observed how enthusiastic the visiting LDs were to explore Zonda 9 FX’s LiquidEffects. “It was interesting to see how easily the LDs understood the fixture and were able to implement even quite complex effects easily and adopt Zonda into their shows.”

The middle of July took the Ayrton kit to Bern for the Gurten Open Air Festival. Bertil Mark, LD for Die Ärzte, is no stranger to the Zonda 9 FX and was able to make extensive use of the LiquidEffects. The results really showed what Zonda 9 FX can do in the hands of someone familiar with the fixture.

“At Stars in Town in Schaffhausen we hung the Zondas as the stage was too small for floor kit and a band,” continues Lorenz, “which shows just how versatile the fixture can be. Rigged as a horizontal line on a truss just below the upstage truss, Zonda provided all the eye candy and visual features, adding another layer of light in the background.”

Ayrton’s ground-breaking Cobra accompanied the Zonda 9 FX units on the 2022 festival run. Capable of projecting for several kilometres, this laser sourced fixture is extremely bright. Its gobo features, beam shapers (capable of an incredible 0.6° beam) and unique white source ensuring a fabulous colour spectrum, make Cobra a tool that can really make its mark.

Cobra is, of course, IP65 rated as Rüttimann explains, “We were able to use them on the wings across all the festival come rain or shine. I love these fixtures; this is the future, laser engines: we need a bigger word than bright. Beams could be seen on clouds showing how powerful Cobra really is.”

At Frauenfeld, Cobra supported Zonda 9 FX’s role of filling the stage and giving a huge look to enhance the single artists on stage. Rigged over the main stage and on the floor in both wings, the Cobra were put to work as both beams and spots. As Rüttimann comments: “They are so bright in beam mode, it opens up a whole new aspect to what they can deliver. The combination of the brightness of the laser source from such low power consumption makes the Cobra the ideal workhorse for festivals: massive output from a small, IP65 rated unit with fabulous colours and gobos, which doesn’t require heavy cabling. LDs were stunned how bright their output was even in the sunlight that often camouflages the best efforts of a festival lighting rig.”

“At Schaffhausen,” adds Lorenz, “we used Cobra above and below the LED screens to create iconic long throw aerial looks that reach far beyond the stage. In Frauenfeld, the technicians sitting in the crew hotel 10km away called to help adjust the focus: ‘A little bit more to the left etc!’, it was a fun moment but shows how clearly the beams could be seen from that distance.”

The third Ayrton fixture Lorenz accompanied on their festival journey was Domino LT (Long Throw) which emits a massive 51,000 lumens and is designed for intensive outdoor use in any adverse weather. With a precision beam range of 3.5 to 53 degrees the Domino LT is the perfect tool for stadiums, large arenas and, of course, festivals. The Domino LT fixtures were employed as audience lighting at Frauenfeld, but the team also tested it as a followspot in conjunction with the Follow-Me system; all agreed they were an unrivalled success, knocking previous solutions out of the park.

“Once we had successfully tested Domino as a followspot fixture at Frauenfeld, we knew they would be the perfect followspot choice at the Stars in Town festival in Schaffhausen, replacing conventional followspots on spot towers,” says Lorenz. “Cyril Union (Ayrton R&D) had already developed a special software for the Ed Sheeran tour which allows the use of Domino LT in followspot mode. We were the first mainland European show to use the new software. We went on to use the Domino LT at Gurten to light the branding on the wing covers, placing them on the delay towers. The shutters and light frost delivered a lovely clean look with zero spill.”

“I have never seen an LED engine so bright before!” agrees Rüttimann. “The intensity delivered enough power to light the wings but focus on the sponsor logo, even with colours in. Clever use of barn doors and light frost created the illusion that the logo was backlit despite it being actually illuminated from the FoH Dominos. We were able deliver one of the main requests from the festival organisers: that the sponsor logos shouldn’t be directly visible but should ‘pop out’ somehow.”

Lorenz sums up the premise of Ayrton’s Swiss festival tour of 2022: “With all the pandemic restrictions, many LDs couldn’t make it to the usual demos and trade shows, but the festivals gave them time to play with our fixtures and discover what each one can do in real time. At Ayrton, we really value the kind of feedback these opportunities give us; it is an invaluable tool for us to continue delivering the very best lighting fixtures on the entertainment market.”

Photos: © Stagelight

Ayrton Festival Fun in SwitzerlandAyrton Festival Fun in Switzerland

7th February 2023

Patrick Dierson Creates Smooth iHeartRadio ALTer Ego Rig with Chauvet Professional and 4Wall

Patrick Dierson Creates Smooth iHeartRadio ALTer Ego Rig with Chauvet Professional and 4Wall
Patrick Dierson Creates Smooth iHeartRadio ALTer Ego Rig with Chauvet Professional and 4Wall

USA – For Patrick Dierson, it was a case of really bad timing. The day before he was scheduled to travel to The Kia Forum for the iHeartRadio ALTer Ego concert, he had to cancel his flight after testing positive for COVID.

“It was a real bummer, as this is one of my favourite projects,” said Dierson, the production designer for the big alternative music concert. “It was particularly disheartening given what a non-event my sickness turned out to be. So, I had to work on this one remotely. In the end, though it proved to be way more of a personal disappointment than an actual production challenge. Things went smoothly because of the team we have on site, beginning with our project manager and gaffer, Zack Guthimiller, and our LD, Justin Cheatham, as well as the crews from 4Wall Entertainment, C2W Rigging, and Diversified Production Services.”

There was another reason why the livestreamed concert came off without a hitch, and it went way beyond the skill of a hard-working on site crew. It was the result of the effort that Dierson and his team at Th3 Activity put into designing a rig that could be set up quickly, while having the flexibility to meet the needs of visiting LDs and, of course, still coming in within budget.

“The main goal for us with any of these rigs is to provide all the various types of lighting elements that will help our guest LDs have the tools they need to clone over their existing shows easily,” said Dierson. “This event had only a single load-in day, followed by overnight programming, which led straight into morning and afternoon sound checks right up until doors. It’s a challenging schedule to say the least, and there are many guests to accommodate. We just want to make it as easy a process as it can be for everyone.”

Critical to helping Dierson thread this challenging needle was a versatile lighting rig supplied by 4Wall Entertainment that was anchored by a collection of 66 Chauvet Professional fixtures.

“We wanted fixtures that could fill multiple roles, with as much output and compactness as practical,” said Dierson. “Once all the various elements of wash, profile, strobe, batten and blinder are selected, the rest of it primarily falls upon the architecture of the rig and the ability of our guests LDs to morph their existing shows into this one. If one LD has a compromised show because we didn’t do our part, we would consider that a failure and that’s certainly not the business we’re in.”

Among the fixtures that were multi-tasking for guest LDs were 21 Color Strike M motorised strobe washes. The IP65 rated unit, which features two bright white tube elements surround by pixel mappable face, did double duty at the Diversified Production Services produced show, serving as a traditional strobe effect and an audience blinder.

Mounted on the front of each piece of overhead truss, the Color Strike M ensured that the guest designers got an even spread of light across a 220degree arched stage and beyond. “This show usually sells out within a few hours,” said Dierson, noting that the show featured The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Jack White, Muse and other top artists. “Being aware of this, we naturally try to build the rig in a way that we know will work past the typical 220 degree on-sale seating plan. We want the ability to release more seats to the 240 and sometimes 270 without having to sell them as ‘obstructed view’.” Having big, broad instruments like the Color Strike M that can help wrap that production value around the sides of the stage is a lifesaver in terms of being able to justify more ticket sales.”

Joining the Color Strike M units on the main overhead truss are 15 COLORado PXL Bar 16 fixtures. The design team positioned an outrigged Color Strike M on the front bottom cord of each truss and had a PXL Bar 16 placed on the top cord.

“Placement can be critical depending on viewing angle, but we’ve found through experience that this choice of configuration seems to give the best effect without one unit blocking the other,” said Dierson. “The PXL Bar 16s were great given their versatility, especially their movement and zoom range. This opens up the possibility of creating a lot of varied looks.”

In keeping with his philosophy of increasing the rig’s flexibility, Dierson always makes sure that his rig includes a row of strong backlights. This not only allows designers to set their clients off against different backdrops, such as massive columns of light, without overly depending on video walls.

“For this particular show, we knew we were not going to be able to get a rear truss spot up there,” said Dierson. “When we don’t have a designated backlight, we like to get some strong tools coming from upstage; that’s what we relied on a dozen Maverick MK3 Washes to do in this show. The MK3 has been a workhorse for us in this regard; I love its powerful output.”

Given its tight schedule, iHeartRadio ALTer Ego had a 48-foot-wide turntable stage to provide quick changeovers from one act to the another. To keep the stage deck clear, Dierson minimised ground lights in his plan, especially since, as he knew, many of the guest LDs would be carrying their own floor packages.

“Most acts chose to bring their own LDs and media server directors, but a few did rely on us to handle their performances for them,” said Dierson. “In particular Rosa Linn and Beach Weather were both handled by our associate LD, Justin Cheatham, who is really very good. He’s one of the reasons I wasn’t worried when I had to miss being at the show physically because of COVID.

“Having a good team helps things go smoothly,” added Dierson. So too do inspired design and some thoughtful advanced planning.

Patrick Dierson Creates Smooth iHeartRadio ALTer Ego Rig with Chauvet Professional and 4WallPatrick Dierson Creates Smooth iHeartRadio ALTer Ego Rig with Chauvet Professional and 4Wall

6th February 2023

IPS provides Stage for Trafalgar Square Celebration

IPS provides Stage for Trafalgar Square Celebration

UK – Staging and structures supplier IPS provided performance stage and projection towers for the Lunar New Year celebration in London’s Trafalgar Square.

From Chinatown to Trafalgar Square Londoners and tourists experienced customs and traditions that go back for centuries and 2023 is the Year of the Rabbit which marks the transition from 2022’s Year of the Tiger. The ancient tradition of Chinese New Year, also referred to the Lunar New Year is one of the biggest celebrations for Chinese communities around the world, with London hosting the largest outside of Asia. Celebrated with a procession through the streets before arranging at the iconic Trafalgar Square location, large crowds gathered to enjoy the spectacle.

Organised by the London Chinatown Chinese Association (LCCA) and working alongside event experts Dick and Frankie Tee of EnTEEtainment Ltd, IPS delivered staging and structures for the event including its impressive smartStage 180 Trailer stage in the iconic Trafalgar Square which played host to colourful live performances and speeches with a spectacular pyrotechnic display to mark the end of the festivities.

The 15m Trailer Stage was carefully moved into position between the lions at the base of Nelson’s Column and was ready for operation in less than a day. It is one of the largest mobile stages that can fit in this location the quick build time allows production maximum time to load in and the quick de-rig meant the square was cleared within a few hours of the event finishing.

This was the first time the IPS 15m trailer had been in the square, and the “neat finish of the stage fitted elegantly with the bright branding of the occasion” commented Jane Russen, IPS sales manager who has lots of experience working in this location, continuing: “The stage looked great, and dressed in large banners and lanterns provided an ideal centrepiece for the event.”

Careful planning and precise measurements from IPS technical co-ordinator Dan Ainsley ensured that everything went smoothly on site, and all the requirements that come with working in a Grade 1 listed location in central London were addressed.

“I knew it would fit,” said Ainsley talking about the installation, “but there were a series of elements that all had to be completed in sequence, and to very precise measurements for it all to come together correctly.” Needless to say, Dan and the IPS team ensured that everything all went to plan for the event.

IPS also supplied a front of house structure, camera platforms and a series of projection structures around the square to provide secure weatherproof locations that enabled the bold imagery to be shown all the way up Nelson’s Column.

The event represented a great start to the Year of the Rabbit, and an ideal way to extend the sentiments of wishing happiness, peace and prosperity to all.

IPS provides Stage for Trafalgar Square CelebrationIPS provides Stage for Trafalgar Square Celebration

6th February 2023

GES Circle Around with Robe

GES Circle Around with Robe
GES Circle Around with Robe

Sweden – Hugely successful Swedish pop supergroup GES (a nifty acronym derived from the surnames of three of the country’s biggest singing stars – Anders Glenmark, Orup [Thomas Eriksson] and Niklas Strömstedt) continued a rollercoaster tour that started in 2021, wrapping up 2022 with a 33-date sold-out residency at Stockholm’s famous Cirkus venue.

A stunning lighting and visual stage design was created by Palle Palmé, based around the architecture of this unique circular-shaped venue which was also where the tour had originally kicked off all those months ago after the first Covid restrictions were lifted.

The design featured two truss circles and a curved LED screen on an automation system, with an all-Robe lighting rig in the air.

Think elegance meets superlative pop: lots of dynamics, colour and movement and an environment where dynamic lighting and visuals reinforce the fun, joy, and exuberance of superlative pop music.

Palle chose Robe to give him all the versatility and energy needed to make this show rock and to match the enormous energy and enthusiasm of the band, who are among Sweden’s finest pop aficionados. GES and their three individual careers started in the 1990s, so Palle was inspired a little bit by other artists of that era like Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) who brought a spherical spaceship theme to their landmark creative work, but with a bang-up-to-date look and feel.

Palle was also informed by working with two of the GES stars back at the start of his own career, one of the reasons he was asked onboard to design this tour.

Backed by a fantastic band, the whirlwind-paced show romped through a string of hits from the collective and individual careers of GES to which the audience knew all the words! The energy pumped relentlessly from the first bars to the last strains of the final number and Palle’s major task was keeping everything looking fresh and vital for two hours.

The overhead rig comprised 64 Robe LEDBeam 150s, 16 MegaPointes, 17 BMFL WashBeams, with three RoboSpot systems running six of the BMFL WashBeams: two for each member of GES. The RoboSpot system had also been an important element of the touring lighting system.

All of these Robe fixtures, supplied to the Cirkus dates by rental company Musiklagret from Borås, were chosen for their versatility and power, the essential requirements needed to create lots of dynamics and fluidity.

The 64 LEDBeam 150s were equidistantly spaced out around on the larger ten metre diameter circle truss, which offered the perfect size and geometry for this set up, a format extremely easy to programme this quantity of fixtures with as it was divisible by eight.

Palle wanted LEDBeam 150s for their small size, speed and uniqueness as a compact LED wash luminaire. He loves the “fabulous” zoom which adds a different dimension and finds them effortless to handle.

A volley of 16 MegaPointes rigged in the smaller three metre diameter truss worked in conjunction with the LEDBeam 150s.

MegaPointes are a go-to light for effects and Palle maximised the gobos, prisms and other features that make this fixture an ultimately useful addition to any light show.

Palle remarked on how well the two fixture types (LEDBeam 150 and MegaPointe) blend and contrast in this case and notes the great match in colours. The interaction between the two fixture types becomes more pronounced during the closing numbers of the set where the circles are flying into multiple dramatic positions, pitching and flying in and out within one another.

Automation was also integral to the show, used judiciously and carefully to bring an edge to an already spectacular looking stage.

Eleven of the BMFL WashBeams are on the front truss, used for keys and specials, with the other six upstage on the floor, shooting through from the back.

The six RoboSpot controlled BMFL WashBeams were all on the front truss, with two lights dedicated to each member of GES.

“I’ve tried a lot of different remote systems in recent years, and this is one of the best and the most straightforward to set up and use,” Palle stated.

All the BMFL WashBeam parameters were run through the grandMA console, so all the RoboSpot operators had to do in this case was concentrate on following their targets.

For one song, “Rain with Me” (Regn hos mig) a fixed breakup gobo together with the animation wheel in the BMFL WashBeam is used on Orup, a rain-effect that would have been impossible using a standard follow spot. Palle thinks that having access to these possibilities adds real value to the RoboSpot package.

While he loves traditional followspots and respects the associated art of operating these, he feels that RoboSpot, with its human element, combines new tech with traditional skills very well, adding that his followspot operators have been fundamental to this show. “It’s always been a really vital role,” he confirmed, “which continues whether it’s a manual or technology assisted operation.”

The show’s grandMA2 lighting console operator Edvin Nyström worked on the whole tour and will also work for Palle on pop and country singer Jill Johnson, who plays multiple dates at the same venue through the first months of 2023, also using a large Robe lighting rig.

Palle, who also designs for major theatre, musical and opera productions, really enjoyed working on the GES show.

“There was much scope for interdisciplinary and crossover techniques,” he enthused, which resulted in creating a fabulous pop aesthetic that merged moments of theatre with arena show and classic pop, rock and EDM lighting as the band ripped through a masterwork of GES’s individual and collective hits, to the massive delight of their diverse fanbase.

photos: Louise Stickland

GES Circle Around with RobeGES Circle Around with Robe

3rd February 2023

Robe Lighting

Ayrton Domino Profile accompanies Luchè on his 'DVLA' tour

Ayrton Domino Profile accompanies Luchè on his \'DVLA\' tour
Ayrton Domino Profile accompanies Luchè on his \'DVLA\' tour

Italy – Neapolitan rapper and record producer Luchè, former member of the hip hop group Co'Sang, landed in arenas across Italy with his latest platinum-selling album DVLA – Dove Volano Le Aquile. The sell-out tour has crossed Italy from Naples to Milan via Rome and Rimini and will reach London in March 2023 for a special one-off date. During the tour the singer was joined by other stars of the Italian music scene such as Shiva, Elisa, Marracash, Sfera Ebbasta, Paky and Guè.

Lighting designer Giorgio ‘Josh’ Geromin chose 42 Ayrton Domino Profile S fixtures as the main light source and keylighting for the tour. The concept started from the idea of an eagle's flight, echoing the name of the album Dove Volano Le Aguile (Where Eagles Soar) and symbolising a human being’s attempt to rise up and land on Mars. From this was born the idea of approaching the stage as if it were a first outpost on Mars through the use of visuals and set design.

"I used Dominos for their great versatility as spots, with intensive use of zoom changes and prism rotations,” says Josh. “The Dominos were rigged both vertically and horizontally along the five trusses that formed the scenic structure. Because of Domino’s wide zoom capability, in some scenes we were able to light the structure directly to emphasise the 'ironwork' of the structure, while in other scenes they were used to expand the stage space through the use of gobos which gave a sense of ‘air’ to the light. I was impressed by Domino’s ability to achieve and maintain gobo focuses with great precision even during the transitions.

“We were able to use the colour very well because of Domino’s precision and great ability for saturated colours. In particular, I was pleasantly impressed by the uniformity of colour between the devices, I don't remember ever having to correct a fixture individually to obtain a colour.

“Thanks to the uniformity of the light emitted, we were able to work easily with the cameras even in situations using strong saturation.

“This is the first time I have used Ayrton but I will definitely use them again, especially for the IP65 component, which unfortunately I was not able to experience due to the indoor location, but I know will be very useful on other projects. In terms of reliability, the Dominos are exceptional, we have not experienced any kind of technical problem and they have proved to be excellent devices, versatile and precise."

The Ayrton Domino Profile S fixtures were supplied by the Italian service company Agorà.

photos: ©Virginia Bettoja

Ayrton Domino Profile accompanies Luchè on his \'DVLA\' tourAyrton Domino Profile accompanies Luchè on his \'DVLA\' tour

3rd February 2023

The 25th MOBO Awards rely on DiGiCo consoles to deliver the UK’s biggest celebration of music of black origin

The 25th MOBO Awards rely on DiGiCo consoles to deliver the UK’s biggest celebration of music of black origin

UK – The MOBO Awards, which recognise and celebrate black music and culture, returned for its 25th year in October last year. With Craig David, Little Simz, Central Cee and Knucks among the artists recognised, the annual ceremony took place at the OVO Arena Wembley, where a star-studded line-up of artists including Nile Rodgers, Kojey Radical, Tion Wayne, Fireboy DML, Cat Burns, FLO and Eliza Rose all performing on the night. DiGiCo’s SD10, SD12 and S21 digital mixing consoles offering ultimate flexibility, sound quality and reliability to the technically challenging event.

Simon Purse, head of audio at South West Group Events (SWG Events), who also acted as audio crew chief at MOBO Awards, explains that, for the first year, SWG Events was sole audio supplier for the event.

“The MOBOs is a technically challenging event to pull off,” says Purse. “It was also an extremely quick turnaround from when SWG Events won the project to when the event happened, so prep time was limited.”

The company’s own DiGiCo digital mixing consoles, including an SD10 and an SD21 were used at the event, with a guest SD12 deployed at Nile Rodgers monitor position and an additional SD12 at FOH.

“DiGiCo is always extremely rider friendly,” continues Purse. “If you put an SD10 on monitors and an SD12 at FOH, you just know that whoever turns up they are going to be happy. With the MOBOs being such premium production, and knowing there could be last minute additions to the line-up, we wanted to ensure we had the best audio equipment to work with.”

Without too many specifics until just before the event, Purse notes that having Simon Honeywell at FOH and Mark Sunderland at monitors was a big comfort as he could rely on their skill sets to build the channel list as they went through it. “The nature of the gig meant we couldn’t be more prepared, so having experienced engineers like Simon and Mark was key to ensuring a successful outcome,” he adds.

With the DiGiCo consoles readily available and his crew representing SWG Events on site, the team was able to effectively manage all the technical and engineering aspects of the event.

“What was really useful was knowing we had the Madi split options in the SD Racks. This gave us lots of different ways of splitting the signals to the OB truck, and we knew we would have plenty of I/O channels,” says Purse. “Thanks to the Madi splits, we didn’t need to have tie lines to the OB truck, which gave us additional flexibility.”

With the MOBO Awards being heavily televised, reliability was key.

“Whilst the outside broadcast was independent, they relied on our split being consistent,” explains Purse. “We had two Mac books with two audio interfaces simultaneously running playback and time code. Both interfaces were then fed into the S21 which was setup to receive one unit as primary, the other unit as the secondary. This meant if any interruption to the signal of the primary unit should occur, an automatic switch to the redundant unit would kick in with no interruption to audio.”

With guest engineers including Tion Wayne’s engineer, Dion as well as Craig David’s engineer both working on the SD12, Purse recalls how smooth and seamless everything ran at the event.

“It was a new gig for us, so we wanted to ensure everything was perfect, and it really was!” concludes Purse. “We walked into it and smashed it. Everyone was pleased with the result and how things were running on the night. Having DiGiCo as house consoles made our job much easier, as we know they’re rider-friendly, reliable, flexible and delivered great audio, which was exactly what was expected of such premium event. We are currently awaiting delivery of an SD12, so our arsenal of DiGiCo solutions will be even bigger and better, making us prepared for any exciting challenges lying ahead!”

3rd February 2023


Vari-Lite VL3600 helps HiJinx Festival deliver a dazzling light show

Vari-Lite VL3600 helps HiJinx Festival deliver a dazzling light show
Vari-Lite VL3600 helps HiJinx Festival deliver a dazzling light show

USA – Philadelphia’s HiJinx Festival transformed the Pennsylvania Convention Center into a massive two-night EDM New Year’s Eve party, bringing a stellar line-up of bass heavy DJs who played out amid mind-bending lighting that was designed to uplift and thrill. Creative production company Raw Cereal, known for pushing the boundaries of light-art shows, created a huge range of powerful effects using Vari-Lite VL3600 fixtures from Signify.

Raw Cereal’s Cort Lawrence joined HiJinx as production designer and creative director for the inaugural Philadelphia incarnation of the festival in 2018 and has been raising the bar ever since. Working with Live Nation Philadelphia, which runs HiJinx, Lawrence created a design that integrated multiple artists’ production riders, resulting in a curated lighting environment that made each performer shine and ensured upbeat consistency throughout.

“We supplied a design that pushed forward current design trends and technology, creating the right balance between lighting, lasers and video, for a well-rounded show,” says Lawrence. “EDM fans are well educated when it comes to production, so we do our best to wow and dazzle them with lights and give them a fresh show every year.”

The Raw Cereal team learned about the VL3600 following a demo by Tyler Gannaway, Vari-Lite business development manager central and eastern rental and touring at Signify, and went on to work with Nashville’s Premier Global Productions to invest in them for the HiJinx Festival.

“We were stunned by the level of quality and power that the VL3600 offered and knew it would be perfect for EDM,” Lawrence continues. “The VL3600 has an undeniable beauty to it, with its impressive colour and new-age gobos.”

Raw Cereal’s Austin Schneider, who served as the festival’s lighting programmer and operator, continues: “We were very impressed with the VL3600’s FX animation wheel. We saw it used in some creative ways to add texture to the space and for its unique aerial look. When you layer the FX wheel and the great gobo set, it really enables some creative looks.”

The team rigged 26 VL3600s in the cavernous Pennsylvania Convention Center space for the HiJinx Festival; 20 VL3600 fixtures were placed over the audience in two 50ft long trusses, with a further five used as a hybrid fixture for LDs to use as keylight or point them into the audience for effects, utilising framing shutters to achieve a clean focus, to create a club-like feel.

“We allocated one further VL3600 for the DJ ‘god light’, which allowed us and guest LDs to really carve the DJ out of the video,” says Schneider. “I think this created some really great moments. We really enjoyed the feature set that the VL3600 brings. The combination of the gobos, prisms and FX system really allows you to create some unique aerial and architectural effects for the space.”

“Colour is such an essential part of any visual environment,” says HiJinx Festival lighting designer Jacob VanVlymen. “We were impressed with how well the Vari-Lite kept true to its profound and original colouring scheme in such a bright, multi-functional luminaire, with an amazing amount of features. In fact, these fixtures allowed us to paint the audience with vibrant colours and extended the overall vibe of the stage into the audience!”

HiJinx offered some of the world’s biggest EDM names, including British DJ and producer JOYRYDE, Belgian bass duo Ganja White Night, and Australian DJ and producer, Flume.

Being a multi-act event, some performers drafted in their own lighting designers, but the VL3600s were the workhorse fixtures for the entire festival.

“Guest LDs were quick to clone the VL3600s and learn about their capabilities from house LD Austin Schneider,” says Lawrence. “Every LD had different uses of the lights, which allowed an evolving show as we would continue to see new looks arise from the VL3600s with each operator. We can’t wait to use them again.”

Raw Cereal’s Austin Strain worked alongside the team as assistant lighting programmer and operator.

Vari-Lite VL3600 helps HiJinx Festival deliver a dazzling light showVari-Lite VL3600 helps HiJinx Festival deliver a dazzling light show

3rd February 2023

impression FR10 Bars ‘at their very best’ with The 1975

impression FR10 Bars ‘at their very best’ with The 1975
impression FR10 Bars ‘at their very best’ with The 1975

UK – Now approaching a decade of designing concept light shows for Manchester-based pop rock band The 1975 – earning him a prestigious KOI award in the process – Tobias Rylander has again delivered an inspired and original look for their current world tour, with assistance from over 100 of GLP’s impression FR10 Bars.

After completing a handful of late autumn dates in the States, the band headed back across the Atlantic for the start of the new year for arena dates in the UK and Republic of Ireland, before taking on Europe and other parts of the world.

Aptly named At Their Very Best, the ambitious live show combines imaginative story-telling with choreography, wrapped within a set design centred around a sprawling two-storey house.

According to Rylander, lead singer Matty Healy has always had a clear vision for the band’s albums and tour campaigns, dating back to the beginning. “They have come a long way since we first met in LA during their ‘black and white’ era,” he reflects. “Matty and I challenge each other in a deep and creative way, he always pushes me beyond my comfort zones and sometimes over the edge. I feel like he trusts me to understand where he is going with his ideas, his references and his way to communicate his art to the concert-goers.”

In support of their first album, Rylander had conjured up a show with graphical ‘volumetric’ aerial effects, which began their love affair with using video as the main lighting source. But all that has now changed, with the monochromatic ‘art installation’-type canvasses of old being replaced by more traditional theatre mood lighting values in a minimalist setting. Having long been a fan of GLP’s ubiquitous impression X4 Bar 20, the LD jumped at the chance to replicate lines and curtains with the brighter FR10 Bar, where he could use the individual pixel zoom creatively. These were supplied by Christie Lites, which has supported Tobias and the band over many tours.

Each Bar contains ten 60W RGBW LED sources that colour match to GLP’s X4 and FR series and they have been deployed judiciously. With limited truck space, his choice of fixture also needed to reflect sufficient versatility to fulfil a number of functions, including framing the entire stage. “I wanted a background and silhouette to the main theatrical set, but also a fixture that would work as an effect light, and give us movement and beat when needed,” he explains, “so we are using the FR10 Bar in all ways possible.”

A row upstage covers the full width of the stage, both at floor level and in the flown truss above it, continues Rylander: “This is replicated on both sides so that the set is completely ‘boxed in’ with light, especially when we tilt out the upstage truss line to become a kind of ‘ceiling’ when we are able to produce sky and cloud effects in a theatrical way.” The interplay of these linear light curtains expertly articulates the roof and walls.

Commenting further on the impression FR10 Bar’s multi-functionality, Rylander notes that “the sharp layer of light cuts through smoke and haze like a blade,” while in a separate mode, they can then be zoomed out as a full colour wash for the backdrop drapes. “With this fixture you can just do everything brighter and bigger, while the individual zoom makes it perfect for larger venues and stadiums. I have always liked to run video or bitmaps through these battens to make them look really organic.”

The designer was assisted by regular creative collaborator, programmer Michael Straun, who built the show in Depence² while Tobias was designing it. The two men had earlier collaborated on the extravaganza in Berlin known as the Riot Games Valorant esports final, where 96 of the impression FR10 Bars had starred among a cornucopia of lighting, and provided the best possible introduction of the fixtures to the two concept designers following their release.

Back with The 1975, Straun worked with the band’s long-term LD, Darren Purves, to set up the show file, based on Purves’ inside knowledge of an ever-changing set list. The pre-viz system duly moved to Rock Lititz where they met touring LD Franki McDade, who constantly keeps the show file updated in Depence² to handle any changes along the way.

And so the impression FR10 Bar is clearly proving a winner for all concerned. The final summary comes from Tobias Rylander himself. “[The FR10 Bar] is a glorious effect,” he exclaims, “and I have nothing but praise for it.”

photos: Jordan Hughes

impression FR10 Bars ‘at their very best’ with The 1975impression FR10 Bars ‘at their very best’ with The 1975

2nd February 2023


Robe Gets into More Panto Madness

Robe Gets into More Panto Madness
Robe Gets into More Panto Madness

UK – The UK’s Festive holidays ignited the zany and uniquely British performance phenomena of pantomime which came to theatre stages up and down the UK. This year lighting designer Andy Webb was delighted to be asked to design two high-profile panto shows: Aladdin at the Waterside Theatre in Aylesbury and Beauty and The Beast at the Festival Theatre in Malvern, both for UK Productions (UKP).

Andy chose a selection of Robe moving and LED luminaires to help bring the vibrant, trippy craziness of the genre to life.

“Rule number one in panto lighting is keeping up with the fast-and-furious pace of the action whilst informing the narrative and captivating the audience’s attention,” he explained. Audience participation is a major aspect of any panto production.

All of this means that lighting must be highly adaptable and multi-functional, as the LD must be thinking constantly on multiple levels and able to change at the drop of a proverbial hat.

In the last decade, Andy has been among the trailblazers advocating the use of LED and moving light sources in panto. He has dipped extensively into the various Robe product ranges and lit several seasons in Blackpool and other cities, known for his fresh and enthusiastic approach.

The theatres in Aylesbury and Malvern are very different in size and shape, and to facilitate the tight programming schedule, Andy chose primary lighting fixtures which would work in both contexts and be scaleable to fit the two venues, with Robe Spiiders and ESPRITES as the main workhorses.

Five MegaPointes were the primary effects lights on both shows, but apart from these, the other Robe fixtures were all LED, and these were combined with luminaires from the house rigs of both venues.

With copious scope for 'magic lanterning', Andy also had the good fortune to light the 1,200-seater Waterside Theatre’s 2021 panto season, so was familiar with the space and the house crew which was a big advantage.

He made full use of all seven available LX bars distributing five Robe ESPRITES and six Spiider LED washes on LX 1 and 2 to provide all the main over-stage looks.

These seven bars were part of a grid of 53 bars, with all the rest utilised for hanging cloths and scenery pieces apart from two.

The huge versatility of MegaPointes was needed for all the flying carpet scenes and to create the massive aerial and big rotational lighting looks integral to creating the magic of this important illusion.

Eleven LEDBeam 150s on LX bars 4 and 6 were deployed for mid-stage specials. These bars flew in and out and were trimmed at different heights throughout the performance and were vital to the lighting of the sumptuous musical production numbers.

Being a small and highly manoeuvrable fixture, they proved very handy for sneaking into scenes needing additional coverage, or to highlight upstage sections of set.

More LEDBeam 150s were rigged on the pros arch drop down ladders where they could fire light along the front of the stage and also create movement going out into the audience, always great for audience interaction. They also assisted in the flying carpet reveal.

Andy’s design used eight Robe ColorSpot 700E ATs, four on a split bar straddling the palace wall set piece, with the other four on the same pros arch drop down ladders as the LEDBeam 150s, where their main task was skimming and texturing the side cloths. This Robe legacy fixture can still be found working meaningfully in all sorts of scenarios and at The Waterside, they also augmented the audience lighting looks.

It was the first time since Covid restrictions were lifted that the cast could go out and wreak havoc, panto style, amidst the public: anarchy and fun unfolded and were relished by everyone involved!

Andy’s FOH rig at Aylesbury included Robe ParFects which added fill where needed from their advanced bar positions, together with an additional pair of ESPRITES on the circle front.

On LX2 he deployed eight CycFX8 moving LED battens rigged at different trim heights for fanning out into the auditorium and creating columns and shafts of light that were fundamental to lighting the cave scene, where he wanted a specific ‘runway’ effect.

A pair of Spiiders on the bottom of the pros ladders punched in at head height along the apron. “The CTO mix was perfect for illuminating people’s faces,” noted Andy, adding that “they could also be used for ‘bonus’ light on some of the scenic cloths.”

The house’s static LED profiles also fired in from the side cuts and boom positions, with generic Source Fours at FOH creeping in subtly to lift the face coverage. Andy observed that all the Robe fixtures were “spot on” for matching the warm QCT206 orange and the cooler 063 Pale Blue of the generic face light filters.

The two shows opened within a few days of one another, so decisions on fixtures had to be made quickly. A major logistical challenge at Aylesbury was that there were only two days to fully rehearse and tech the show on stage, so much of the programming was completed almost blind, referencing rehearsal videos for approximate positioning.

As cast positions and movement frequently changed once they were rehearsing properly on stage, Andy had to be ready to modify cues immediately and this is where experience working under pressure came into play.

Andy operated the nearly 300 lighting cues in the Avolites Tiger Touch II console for the two dress rehearsals himself, before handing over to the Waterside house lighting team for four-week run.

Fog and haze were also running through the console, and the show was generally SFX heavy with multiple pyro moments to keep the excitement pumping.

To fit the more compact environs of the Malvern Theatre, Andy specified three ESPRITES and four Spiiders, rigged in near identical positions on LX2 as the fixtures in Aylesbury, with another four ESPRITES and five Spiiders on LX2, picked for the same reasons to cover all bases.

In this production, his upstage MegaPointes were again used to create and enhance the magic and key theatrical moments, like the transformation of the Beast at the start of Act 2. Again, they were used for bold, spectacular aerial work where definition and beams were needed, and for general effects and razzamatazz that dissected the Spiider and ESPRITE stage looks.

ParFect 150s on LX4 were used for shafts of light peeping over the top of the west wing set, with a pair of ParFect 100s as pipe-end cuts on each of the five on stage bars.

Robe’s compact LEDWash 300s were spread out on the lower levels of the pros ladders, approximately 10 ft from the stage. “They still packed a remarkable punch for their small size,” he observed, “and I still love them for more intimate spaces.”

Two DL4S Profiles were rigged on the front of the circle balcony and used to texture the stage cloths and front curtain, together with four ParFect 100s in the same position.

Four Spiiders on the advanced bar provided extra fill and were utilised to spin out across the audience for interactive moments, working in conjunction with a pair of MegaPointes on the FOH pros perch to assist with the transformation scene.

Beauty & The Beast featured some striking bleed-through reveals via gauze curtains, a task at which the ESPRITES excelled and “made the process really magical” as they picked out the emerging characters.

This show also featured plenty of effects: serious smoke content with glaciator foggers and Salamander flame effects in the orchestra pit which were fired through the lighting console, also an Avo Tiger Touch II.

Andy collaborated closely with his production LX Shaun Ellis on both shows. He remarked that knowing the Aylesbury crew from last year helped the whole tech process massively as he was comfortable tasking them with certain things knowing they appreciated his workflow and style.

All the Robe moving lights and LED fixtures were supplied by Cambridge-based CEG, a rental company with which Andy also enjoys working. CEG supplied a total of four UKP pantos this season including these two.

photos: Shaun Ellis and Lindsay Cave

Robe Gets into More Panto MadnessRobe Gets into More Panto Madness

31st January 2023

Robe Lighting

IIIMAGINE Mixes Music and Light to Capture Spirts of Flight with Chauvet Professional

IIIMAGINE Mixes Music and Light to Capture Spirts of Flight with Chauvet Professional
IIIMAGINE Mixes Music and Light to Capture Spirts of Flight with Chauvet Professional

Belgium – What would Leonardo da Vinci think if he were brought here? Mathias Roelandt pondered that question recently as he walked through the cavernous North Hall of Koninklijk Legermuseum – Musée royal de l'Armée (Royal Military Museum) where a wide collection of aircraft from different eras remains frozen in time.

“People have always dreamed of flying,” said Roelandt. “You think of someone like da Vinci studying the flight of birds and insects over 500 years ago to draw flying machines and know that the idea of flight eventually became a reality that continues to evolve all the time. We humans always want to do something that’s never been done before. That’s the spirit that’s reflected here in this space. It is inspirational, and worth celebrating.”

Roelandt and his brother, along with their team at IIIMAGINE, including lighting operator and LED: Michiel Goedertier, did indeed celebrate flight by turning the museum’s Aviation Hall into an electronic music space for three captivating performances. Setting up a stage amidst the aircraft they wove the entire hall into their shows with the help from over 60 Chauvet Professional fixtures supplied by AB Sound.

This was not the first time that the IIIMAGINE team has transformed an out-of-the-ordinary location with music and light. Prior to their show at the Aviation Hall, the brothers and their team performed at venues like the historic Liège-Guillemins railway station, and the Royal Museum of Fine Arts in Brussels, where they performed between Rubens paintings.

“We feel we have more freedom to explore ideas in spaces such as The Aviation Hall compared to a black box stage,” said Roelandt, who performs music in addition to creating the light shows. “On a conventional stage you have only two things: the music and whatever physical limitations there are on the stage itself. In a space such as this, however, your options are much more open.

“Rather than having to create imagery as we do on a conventional stage, we are able to draw very rich imagery from our surroundings,” continued Roelandt. “Our music and lighting reflect the space we are at. So, the entire show would be different at an aviation museum than it would be at an art museum.”

By staging shows in museums, railway stations and similar spaces, IIIMAGINE is also giving people new ways to interact with, and appreciate, these important venues, believes Roelandt. “It is a good feeling to see that our performances expose some people to places like the Aviation Hall for the first time,” he said.

Key to helping IIIMAGINE creating an engaging atmosphere at Aviation Hall were the rig’s 18 Maverick Force S Spot and six Rouge Outcast BeamWash fixtures. Evenly positioned on both sides of rectangular-shaped hangar-like hall at the top of the wall where it meets the base of the building’s half-circle 60-metre high ceiling, these fixtures covered the space in light. Alternating between white and colour palettes they sent currents of energy through the hall as they flashed to the beat of the music.

“These Force S Spot and Rogue fixtures have a great output, so we relied on them to light up the entire space, including the planes and the people dancing,” said Roelandt. “In this show, it was important to light up more than the stage, the lighting had to be all around everyone.”

Highlighting the stage and endowing it with extra energy were the rig’s 15 Color Strike M fixtures. Arranged tightly around the stage, these motorized strobe/wash units filled a variety of roles in the design. In addition to backlighting the performers, they worked to shake up the entire building with intense strobe flashes.

At other times, the Color Strike M fixtures along with the rig’s eight WELL Panels, Maverick Force S Spots and Rogue fixtures energized the big space by bathing it in vibrant colours, typically red or blue mixed with white. “We avoid using more than three colours,” said Roelandt. “It tends to get too busy when you do.”

Sometimes, the design team would move away from colours and mellow out the space with the warm white glow from their eight Strike Array 2 fixtures. “We used these fixtures as lights on drones to fill the hall with a natural glow,” said Roelandt. “I like to walk the streets of Ghent, my home town, at night and see the glow of lights on buildings. It creates a majestic feeling, and so I wanted to replicate that at times during this show.”

It’s easy to imagine da Vinci also admiring the play of light from wall scones on buildings as he strolled the streets of 15th century Florence or Milan. Easy too to imagine him dreaming of flight on those nocturnal walks.

If he were magically brought back to the show that took place at Koninklijk Legermuseum – Musée royal de l'Armée, the Renaissance master doubtlessly would have marvelled at the aircraft on display and he likely would have been amazed at the IIIMAGINE light show too.

IIIMAGINE Mixes Music and Light to Capture Spirts of Flight with Chauvet ProfessionalIIIMAGINE Mixes Music and Light to Capture Spirts of Flight with Chauvet Professional

31st January 2023

Royal Swedish Opera plays DICE with Ayrton Cobra

Royal Swedish Opera plays DICE with Ayrton Cobra
Royal Swedish Opera plays DICE with Ayrton Cobra

Sweden – ‘Attention! This Performance Contains Lighting That May Be Considered as Disturbing.’

This is the caption that presented itself on the Royal Swedish Opera’s site publicising the show by the Royal Swedish Orchestra devoted to celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Swedish gaming phenomenon that is DICE. The dynamic meeting of cultural opposites showcased the musical accompaniments of games such as Battlefield 1, 3, 4 and V, Battlefield 2042, Battlefield: Bad Company 1 and 2, Star Wars: Battlefront I and II, Mirror’s Edge and Mirror’s Edge Catalyst. The musical background of a video game, similar to the function of a film soundtrack, guides and supports the gamer through the narrative of the game.

For LD Ishai Mika of Green Wall Designs AB, Sweden, this presented a unique challenge: how to light a multimedia performance that embraces musical genres that range from traditional classical to the far reaches of electronic sound. He opted to turn to Ayrton’s unique laser source luminaire, Cobra, to offer him the range and flexibility required in his design.

For those yet to experience this ground-breaking fixture, Cobra is the result of Ayrton’s relentless quest to move forward in developing and exploiting new technologies to bring fresh opportunities to lighting designers worldwide. This laser-sourced fixture houses a D65 white point that allows perfect colour reproduction within its compact structure. The optical system uses 13 lenses, producing an unprecedented 38x zoom ratio, a zoom range of 0.6° to 23° and a phenomenal throw distance. IP65 rated and, unsurprisingly, with Ayrton’s signature continuous rotation of the pan and tilt, Cobra is fast becoming the go-to universal luminaire for those looking to pushing their design imagination that bit further.

“I have programmed and operated Ayrton fixtures many times,” opens Mika. “I’m a big fan of the new Ayrton workhorse fixtures like Khamsin, Huracán and Eurus but this is the first time I’ve used Cobra; in fact this is a first for any outing in Sweden. I first saw them in action in Frankfurt when we had already started planning the DICE show.

“We opted to use 30 Cobra units to create a specific look: the whole idea was to create three walls and a roof of beams to make it feel like a room, but still be able to use them in such a way that gives each part of the concert its own identity. The whole show was built on six blocks of music from each game and each with their own style. Two are electronic music and four blocks are orchestral. We made the blocks all look very different from each other: historical or future periods, different composers, different music styles to suit each game.”

As always, budget was influential so the supporting lighting specification was mostly the house rig at the Opera House. The venue boasts fully automated trusses and floors so Mika made good use of what would otherwise be an expensive feature. The stage floor can be lowered six metres below deck and rise upwards too, so the musicians could be sunk into the stage, at other times raised up, and sometimes held in a ‘box’ between floors.

“We had an upstage frame full of Cobras which, when they shoot up or outwards form the sides, floor and roof of the room. We could also use the dropped truss alongside the ground row to create two rows of Cobra at stage level which was perfect for when we had that room between the floors,” explains Mika.

Mika’s experience of working on productions that range from heavy metal band In Flames to Melodifestivalen, ABBA Voyage and Valorant Champions gave him the necessary insight to deliver for a range of musical output that ranged from electronic through to classical orchestral overtures.

“With gaming music there is nothing like a verse or chorus,” Mika continues. “It’s more like a classical composition, so you can’t cut and paste something, you have to have new stuff all the time! Each block of music is twelve minutes so you have to leave yourself somewhere to go!

“We wanted a powerful and versatile beam fixture that still gave us a good zoom, frost, gobos, prisms and ideally bright darker colours. We were all interested in exploring a laser-sourced fixture but we knew that we needed a good white colour as well, so we all got really excited when we heard about the option to get the new Cobras for our show.

“Cobra didn’t disappoint: it really did what we wanted it to do, the colours were fabulous, but also it had a great frost, and we were able to use the convergent beam/cross-over point that is unique to Cobra at about three metres from the fixture, I really like this look.

“I knew right away I wanted to use a lot of white, that was one of the reasons why we chose Cobra instead of other laser fixtures which don’t have a pure white. We used plenty of colours as well – and the gobos, mid-air FX and prisms – there weren’t many functions I didn’t explore!”

The combination of classical, electronic and gaming visuals all packaged into one celebratory show at the Swedish Royal Opera for DICE’s 30-year anniversary proved to be the ideal platform to showcase Ayrton’s Cobra at its best.

photos: © Ishai Mika

Royal Swedish Opera plays DICE with Ayrton CobraRoyal Swedish Opera plays DICE with Ayrton Cobra

31st January 2023

Quantum shift for engineers on Andrea Bocelli’s latest tour

Quantum shift for engineers on Andrea Bocelli’s latest tour
Quantum shift for engineers on Andrea Bocelli’s latest tour

Worldwide – Andrea Bocelli’s audio team has relied on DiGiCo’s professional touring consoles during the star’s career, starting in 2006 with the original D5 Live. After a brief move to an analogue solution, the production migrated back to digital with the SD7, but recently upgraded to DiGiCo’s flagship premium Quantum 7 console and its advanced processing suite to cater for the high I/O count typical of the classical genre and the grand venues in which it is hosted.

With an average of 45 concerts a year, the renowned tenor maintains a busy touring schedule. Reportedly the biggest selling solo classical artist of all time with 85 million worldwide album sales, Bocelli sustains an ongoing tour programme for his legions of international fans, selling out arenas across the globe.

“My colleague Francesco and I started working with Bocelli in September 2006,” comments senior FOH Engineer, Andrea Taglia. “We started with a DiGiCo D5, but digital technology was still in its infancy and we moved back to analogue when Bocelli decided to hire local orchestras and choirs as, at the time, analogue desks were faster and more familiar to set up on a channel-by-channel basis than digital. However, it was not long before digital technology was advancing rapidly and the SD7 became our mixer of choice. By this stage, the number of channels on the production was too large for analogue to manage. Thanks to DiGiCo’s Italian distributor, Audio Link, the transition was effortless.”

The latest world tour series called Believe showcases songs from Bocelli’s latest album ‘Si’ as well as a wide repertoire from across his 15 studio albums. The show format comprises a classical programme of his most well-known operatic arias during the first part, with the second part containing his most popular hits. Supporting Bocelli are soprano and pop special guest vocalists including his son, Matteo, additional instrumental soloists and a supporting pop band. They are accompanied by a full orchestra and choir, often some of the world’s finest orchestras, resulting in an input list totalling 116 channels.

The decision to upgrade the system came during planning for an autumn tour of the UK. Working with leading rental house, Britannia Row Productions, the team specified two of DiGiCo’s flagship Quantum touring systems, comprising two mirrored Quantum 7 consoles, plus accompanying SD Racks, all connected on a fibre optic loop.

The two engineers divide mixing duties, with FOH engineer, Francesco La Camera, mixing the orchestra on one Quantum 7, whilst Taglia manages all other FOH requirements from the second Quantum 7, comprising the pop band, solo artists and instrumentalists, choir, Pro Tools tracks and additional services such as audio from video footage and playback music, as well as stage monitoring.

“My console set-up is very simple; I have 68 Input channels, which is all orchestra microphones, two mono outputs for reverb, and two stereo comms outputs to send to my colleague’s console plus, for broadcast shows, I set up ten stereo comms outputs with a partial mix for monitoring for the OB trucks,” explains La Camera. “We were very excited to upgrade the system as it offers lots of new opportunities and advantages. Quantum’s new Mustard Processing suite is a game changer. The EQ helps me get the sound I want very easily, and I love the new macro, global mute and snapshot features.”

“We had already dispensed with the outboard compressors on instruments using the standard SD7 processing but, thanks to the quality of the Mustard processing, we have now replaced the analogue outboard I was using on vocals,” adds Taglia. “I also love the possibility to configure aux sends in many different ways to accomplish almost every need, from the easy pre/post fader to pre-EQ and pre-dynamic.”

“One of the many reasons we love the Quantum 7 is the redundancy capacity via the dual engines, PSU, and fibre link protecting the console and stage racks as well,” concludes Taglia. “This level of redundancy is not available on any other console, which makes a huge difference to our mindset when we are touring so rigorously and with such a large production. Classical audio engineers are always wary of digital technology and how it might alter the music, but we are really impressed with Quantum’s sonic qualities, which are warm and natural.”

31st January 2023


Independent, Flexible, Scalable: Follow-Me with the Rolling Stones SIXTY Tour Summer 2022

Independent, Flexible, Scalable: Follow-Me with the Rolling Stones SIXTY Tour Summer 2022

UK - Looking back across a year of success for Follow-Me BV and clients, it became clear that lighting designers are choosing to use the Follow-Me 3D system exactly for why and how the company has designed and built it. British company Woodroffe Basset Design has specified Follow-Me on a number of productions during 2022, acknowledging independent, flexible, scaleable as the reasons for doing so and Follow-Me lived up to expectations when on tour with Rolling Stones SIXTY tour this summer.

The show had a new set design by Stufish, customised for each venue yet clearly briefed to give the typical look, feel and experience of a classic Stones concert with the origina,l 40 years long lighting designer Patrick Woodroffe as creative director bringing, Ethan Weber in as tour lighting director. Terry Cook, associate lighting designer at Woodroffe Bassett Designs oversaw the needs of this summer tour with fixtures and positions chosen for all staging and weather conditions.

Key to Woodroffe Bassett Design was allowing the show to feel real, as if it was being operated in an original followspot way, they wanted flexibility with the system as they were not always in the touring roof meaning their overhead rig changed a lot and their FOH towers moved venue to venue and they know from previous Follow-Me projects the system is adaptable.

Terry Cook explains why Follow-Me was the correct choice: “We chose Follow-Me as we wanted a remote system that we had previously used on a large-scale project. Follow-Me allows us to use multiple lights from different positions that made it simple yet creative along with not taking up too much space with operators in the FOH area.”

Cook continues to explain the choice to work with moving fixtures as followspots “At FOH, for the first time ever, we specified ten Ayrton Domino LT units attached to the Follow-Me followspot system. This is a new long throw unit of the Domino range and is also IP rated so it takes the weather concerns away. Our spot towers moved around a lot from venue to venue but we found having the Domino LT spot very useful and the light performed well.”

The flexibility of using the Follow-Me remote followspot system allowed for the five remote followspot operators to be positioned comfortably and safely in the control tent with the rest of the lighting team at the side of the stage. The ten Domino LT fixtures assigned as followspots with the Follow-Me 3D system were rigged on two FOH towers with an average throw of 38.5 metres.

“This was our first Stones tour with remote followspots, a big decision for us,” says Weber. “Our standard followspots, stacked four high, house left and right, always bothered me: all but the top spots were too low and washed out much of the stage. There have been systems out for a few years now that could probably handle the job, but it was the combination of the Domino LT's intensity and especially, IP rating that swayed us.” The fixture independent nature of Follow-Me also enabled three Martin Professional Mac Vipers to be integrated into the followspot set-up.

Due to the scale of the staging, two Follow-Me 3D SIX systems were utilised with an additional Follow-Me SIX System on tour as back-up. The Follow-Me camera set positions were carefully chosen to give a full view to the followspot operators of the main stage, wings, catwalk and surrounding downstage audience; everywhere that the performers may, planned or spontaneously, chose to perform from. Two Follow-Me 3D SIX systems were used to insure the operation for the followspotters would be easy. Typically multiple scaleable systems are only required if the performance area is immense. In this case one system had the full show file and one only the calibration points and the cross hairs. These, in the second show file, were used – via PSN – from the first show file as a remote extension. Due to the large distance between camera position and main stage, the flexibility of Follow-Me allowed for one large monitor with the entire system overview and one close-up view of main stage to be set up to insure operators had a good visual of this area to followspot smoothly.

FM tech for the tour, Grant Hickley, was aided by FM project manager Ramon Rijsdijk to insure the Follow-Me 3D Systems were utilised perfectly. Tweaking features to enable Grant to deliver a fine tuned repeatable set-up in each location. In particular the stage was masked in the 3D mesh to insure the backlights would not blind the audience. In the case that the back-up Follow-Me system may be required Grant programmed the set up to enable a fast, smooth “switch to backup” if required. In each location, time during two days was allocated for set up, calibration and programming of the Follow-Me Systems, the pre-show prep for each location was also key to a smooth running build-up and production.

Cook says about using Follow-Me: “Having Follow-Me with us on the road allows us to always be creative and look for new spot moments, when you have the artists we do, we want reliability, and the system was great in all weather conditions. Grant Hickey from NEG Earth was on the road, each morning he would measure and map the stage system, we never had a moment of panic that this was not possible or achievable. I was very impressed at the reliability of the system and the support we got.”

Photo: © MH Vogel

30th January 2023

Chauvet Professional Helps Alec Takahashi Connect Thomas Rhett to Crowd

Chauvet Professional Helps Alec Takahashi Connect Thomas Rhett to Crowd

USA – Location, they say, “is everything” in retailing; well, it’s pretty important in live touring too. Just ask Alec Takahashi, the long- time lighting designer for country superstar Thomas Rhett.

Lighting the multi-platinum singer/songwriter’s “Bring The Bar To You” tour, the LD could sense the crowd enter different emotional spaces as his client moved from one location on the set to another. “We had a B stage that Thomas Rhett walked on for a few songs,” said Takahashi. “This allowed us to create stripped down moments for him to get closer to fans. When he did this, the crowd subconsciously relaxed and became a little loose. You could literally feel the crowd relax and engage when he moved to that stage, and then you could feel the energy skyrocket with no walls when he returned to a full band performance on the main stage.”

Reinforcing the connection between the star and his fans on both stages, while also pumping up the energy level for his dynamic songs, were 24 Chauvet Professional Strike 4 warm white blinders, which, like the rest of the fixtures on this 30-date tour, were supplied by Upstaging, Inc.

Evenly spaced on three tiers of curved downstage truss, the high-output four-pod fixtures provided a level of crowd lighting that engaged a large share of the audience, even at the spacious arenas and amphitheatres on the tour.

“We relied on these fixtures for audience participation moments and crowd light,” said Takahashi. “My artist likes to be able to see the crowed when he talks to them. I went with the Strike 4 for this job, not only because of its brightness, but also its warm look, which exactly fit the mood of this whole tour. There’s also the fixtures’ beautiful tungsten look, which complimented some of the tungsten-based parts of our rig.”

Supported by an “excellent and close team” that included John Bahnick, Kile McClure, Nick Schlosser, Aaron Walchli, Tony Quinn, Ricky Krohne, Rob McLaughlin, Scott Moore, Kevin Twist and BKD Creative, Takahashi did far more than engage the crowd with audience lighting. He also created a deeply emotional aura on stage through the artful use of colour.

“Colour has such power to communicate specific atmospheres and emotions, so selecting the right palette was crucial to creating a visually cohesive and engaging show,” he said. “Part of this meant not overloading the crowd’s senses with too much colour. So, although I went with some crazy colourful moments, much of the show featured monochromatic looks that emphasised emotions without distracting the audience unintentionally.”

Takahashi also created a special aura around Thomas Rhett by spotlighting him from multiple directions at different points in the show. “Some moments of the show called for all attention to be on my artist,” he said. “At such times we dramatically dropped everything else we had on stage and used our fixtures to draw attention to Thomas Rhett. Then, at other times, we’d change the focus to be on the audience.”

Stitching different palettes and focuses together, Takahashi wove a powerful connection between his client and the crowd. For Thomas Rhett and his legion of fans, that’s what a live show is all about.

Chauvet Professional Helps Alec Takahashi Connect Thomas Rhett to CrowdChauvet Professional Helps Alec Takahashi Connect Thomas Rhett to Crowd

30th January 2023

DiGiCo’s Quantum Range is Key for Gateway Studios & Production Services

DiGiCo’s Quantum Range is Key for Gateway Studios & Production Services

USA – After over two years of Covid-induced restrictions, live events and shows are back in a big way. In fact, “big” describes the nature of many of the events, too, with festivals, major tours and concerts, sports events, and other large-scale affairs especially making a comeback in the last year.

That’s part of the driving force behind the new $130 million Gateway Studios & Production Services (GSPS) facility, a massive 330,000-square-foot production and rehearsal complex sprawling across a 35-acre campus in the St. Louis metro suburb of Chesterfield, Missouri. Its largest venue of five available spaces, Studio 80, is designed to accommodate stadium tours, with dimensions specifically built for an NFL football field and a grid height of 80 feet. With its official grand opening planned for Q1 of 2024, GSPS will offer tour rehearsals, conferences, and other large-scale events in the studio space for clients that need to stretch out and unfurl.

Led by a quartet of industry veterans, GSPS was established in early 2021, at which point it began amassing a large and comprehensive rental inventory of top-flight technology platforms that are on every contract rider imaginable. And when it comes to mixing audio for these events, four new DiGiCo Quantum-range consoles are now at the top of their gear list: two Quantum338 desks and a pair of Quantum5 consoles.

“We have a lot of choices but we chose the DiGiCo Quantum consoles as our upper-end flagship desks,” says GSPS director of audio Chris Clark, who came on in June 2021 to help develop the company’s audio division. “We were already very well established on the video production and lighting sides of the industry,” GSPS provided lighting systems for Aerosmith’s road show, as well as PA for New Order and Pet Shop Boys’ combined Unity tour, “and we wanted to start audio last summer with the best systems on the market. That definitely includes DiGiCo, and this was a great opportunity to move into the Quantum line. They are the most robust, flexible, and scaleable work surfaces on the market.”

In addition to the four consoles, GSPS also acquired four DiGiCo SD-Racks and an SD-MiNi Rack, all fitted with 32-bit “Ultimate Stadius” microphone pre-amps, as well as a DiGiGrid MGB two-channel recording interface and four Waves SoundGrid Compact Extreme Server-C units with Waves Axis One 1 computers optimised to run Waves audio applications.

“The DiGiGrid MGB interface is a seamless and reliable way to connect peripherals to the consoles, such as MADI to Ethernet for Pro Tools to record performances,” Clark explains. “And the Waves SoundGrid servers’ integration is phenomenal. With the Axis 1 System, it’s a complete turnkey system.”

The Quantum consoles have already been earning their keep, with deployments ranging from multiple stages at the Governors Ball Music Festival held at Randall's Island in New York City, to several Professional Bull Riders events, as well as numerous large-scale events and shows. Clark says that many engineers using them have praised the Spice Rack and Mustard Processing capabilities. “They add a whole new level of depth to what the consoles can do,” he says.

David Haskell, GSPS president of business development, says the quality of the DiGiCo consoles is very important, but so is the equipment’s reputation in the touring and production industry, which is what will attract clients and bolster ROI. “As Chris will tell you, the DiGiCo consoles are the best available, but it’s the technical and sales support they provide that also makes them valuable to us,” he explains. “That combination of technical excellence and superb corporate support is critical to helping an undertaking of this scale succeed.”

In picture: Kyle McCord, Shane Thomas, Sean Beck, Chris Clark, Garrett Callahan and Nick Hime.

30th January 2023


CT delivers largest broadcast studio at FIFA World Cup

CT delivers largest broadcast studio at FIFA World Cup
CT delivers largest broadcast studio at FIFA World Cup

Qatar – Creative Technology Middle East supported world renowned broadcaster ‘FOX’ to deliver the largest temporary studio in Qatar on the Doha Corniche waterfront promenade for the live broadcast of the FIFA World Cup 2022.

FOX sports broadcast all 64 World Cup games live across the United States from their state-of-the-art set featuring four unique stages, each having a beautiful backdrop of the West Bay illuminated skyline of Qatar's capital.

CTME delivered its cutting-edge studio’s AV requirements across the impressive space which span across 148ft x 33ft within two storeys. The on site build started on 22 October and ran 24/7 until FIFA went live on 20 November 2022.

CT's AV solutions consisted of 500sqm of LED controlled by multiple Novastar H9 splicers and Barco E2 screen management system to manage over 22 million pixels. The company further supplied a bespoke lighting package which consisted over 700 lighting fixtures for the incredible studio that broadcasted to over 16 million viewers for the finals.

CT also managed all of the daily systems and operations, providing critical support for FOX Sports 24/7. A team of six engineers was working on a rota to ensure all the requirements were met.

Irum Ashraf, CTME’s general manager expressed: “Our journey with FOX sports started early in 2021 when we first met with top level senior executives. With the pandemic still looming it was almost a miracle that were able to sit around the table with the FOX team. They had a great vision of how they wanted the studio to look and nestle itself amongst Qatar's most renowned locations.

“The historic relationship between NEP/ CT and FOX played an instrumental role in the award of the project as we proved that we as a company could connect and collaborate across borders and geographies. We made sure the service that FOX received was in line with the global relationship they have across the NEP business.” say’s Ashraf.

Dhyaan Parikh, senior project manager said: “The requirement from FOX was very specific. They had delivered multiple projects but at smaller scale, but for the World Cup they wanted to pull all the stops out with multiple stages, LED and exclusive lighting across the studio to really create the wow factor. Being a 360 supplier, we knew from the offset that CT would be a perfect match for this job.”

Ashraf continues: “With CT Qatar's office having had its feet firmly on the ground for many years, we were able offer invaluable advice and support to the client where any uncertainties occurred to them delivering there first ever temporary studio in Doha. We had many meetings to discuss the requirements in depth. We understood the design and were able to advise FOX on solutions that would be cost effective yet keeping up with the latest technology. It was a true partnership from the very beginning.”

Parikh added: “The team at FOX wanted seamless corners at irregular angles throughout the studio. We worked with our supplier InfiLED to create bespoke fabricate frames for our new ART 4.6 in touring frames with a 45 degree chamber. We supplied panels to the set manufacturer in the USA so that they could create a test build and check how it would all fit together. The build was technically challenging as they required us to build screens in a complete enclosed area inside a pentagon, with five seamless corners. The structural supplier was in the USA and our screen was in the Middle East. In addition, the structural company worked in fixed mod truss sections that were manufactured in feet and inches, and our LED panels were manufactured in meters. It was integral that everything fit exactly as neither the LED panel or the mod truss could be cut.

“In addition, the first time this would be tested would be on site, so all the drawings had to be perfect, otherwise there was a risk that it would not fit.

“With over 12 months of extensive planning and weekly online meetings running up to the install, a massive backend team to help with the logistics and crew on site CT ensured a seamless delivery,” explains Parikh.

Parikh went on to say: “A week before the studio went live daily testing was done to ensure perfect delivery. The LED was controlled by multiple systems due the specific pixel pitch required by the client. The desk LED was powered by Brompton SX40, the LED floor was powered by ROE EVision and the remainder of the screen was on Novastar processing. To manage all the pixels, we required a reliable back-end system. We turned to the Novastar H9 system. They not only managed the processing of the Novastar product, but it also managed the splicing and canvases, for the floor LED on EVision and the desk LED on Brompton. In addition to manage the multiple inputs and PiPs from the client, including VizRT, Unreal Engine and disguise VX1 and VX2. In addition, we utilised a Barco E2 screen management system.”

For the entire studio CT supplied a custom-made lighting package consisting of over 700 active features using our latest fleet of new Ayrton, Robe, SGM and Elation fixtures. The lighting was controlled by the latest grandMA3 with over 23,000 parameters and 55 universes. The fully customised system was a great tool to meet the creative needs. With so much floor space and the enclosed studios, CT also supplied two grandMA full size and two grandMA Lite.

Sam Connolly CTME's head of lighting and power commented: "It was a wonderful project to be a part of, we worked very closely with the team at FOX. Our team installed over 700 fixtures into the studio using the latest lights on the market. We had done extensive planning to ensure a smooth delivery. Our engineers were on site to ensure replacements could be made fast if required. We also needed to make sure we had sufficient control over the network and to do this we utilised the latest Luminex range of products and had multiple Araneo points to monitor the network. This was very crucial as FOX were broadcasting live to US for every match. This was a great experience for us and it was a huge pleasure to work alongside Fox.”

To ensure a month-long delivery was seamless CT supplied engineers for video, switching, and disguise as well as lighting to manage and repair any lighting fixtures.

Andy Reardon CTME’s managing director comments: “The aim for CT was to deliver the largest temporary and most unique studio for the FIFA World Cup on behalf of FOX sports. Having a large infrastructure in Qatar with the latest equipment, facilitated a perfect delivery. Our teams worked incredibly hard to ensure each deadline was met and we couldn’t be happier with the outcome. We are thankful to FOX for engaging us on this journey and we look forward to continuing this partnership.”

CT delivers largest broadcast studio at FIFA World Cup CT delivers largest broadcast studio at FIFA World Cup

27th January 2023