Production News Headlines
Brompton Technology LED processing deployed during filming of opening video and teaser campaign for Dota 2’s The International 2022
Robe in the Spot-Light
Team Darmah and Chauvet Professional Help Daddy Yankee Create Farewell Tour “Fit For a King”
Allen & Heath Powers SXSW 2023
Kontra K Tour Powered by ChamSys
Newton at the Heart of ‘Here And Now’
Jeff Ravitz selects Elation lighting for Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band 2023 World Tour
DiGiCo and KLANG take centre stage at Night of the Proms
Belgium – A fusion of pop and classical music from the world’s greatest composers, Night of the Proms (NOTP.com) is Europe’s biggest annually organised indoor event. With the 2022 edition including Amy Macdonald, Kool & the Gang, Bart Peeters, Axelle Red and Fine Fleur, the Antwerp Philharmonic Orchestra (AOP) and house band, NotP Backbone, the audio for this complex and demanding show was skilfully executed by a highly experienced team, who have relied on the quality, flexibility and reliability of DiGiCo consoles for many years, along with a KLANG immersive in-ear monitoring system for 2022, all supplied by PRG Belgium.
At front of house, Tom Vuerstaek, who also designs the audio system, took care of the final mix on a DiGiCo Quantum 7 and Philippe Bosmans was on an SD10 for the wood, brass and percussion premix. Ben Artois handled premix for the choir and orchestra on a second SD10 backstage. At the monitor position Tim Habets was in charge of the artist and band mixes on an SD7, whilst Marc Zedda handled that duty for the orchestra, choir and conductor, deploying an SD5 and DMI-KLANG.
As well as the artists, many of whom did not bring their own engineer or band, the AOP included 60 musicians with at least one open live microphone each, and the five-strong NotP Backbone’s instrument set-up featured the latest V-drum td50x, Bass, electric and acoustic guitar, keys and rock percussion. There was also a 24-person choir and three backing vocal singers, all on wireless mics and IEMs. Mr. RF, Pieter ‘Pita’ Tanghe, uses the SD11 shout mixer as well to pfl the receiver’s outputs via the MADI split coming from one of the four SD Racks. “Together with Amptec, who we can always count on for technical support, PRG’s Patrick Demoustier, well-known and respected as the previous sound designer and front of house engineer for NOTP, printed the guidelines for this setup already a long time ago but they still apply,” says Vuerstaek.
Vuerstaek notes that the biggest challenges for the 2022 edition were to reproduce the set-up after a two-year hiatus in production, a tight time schedule and some new members in the ten-person sound crew.
“This is a fully live show with integration of show control tracks from our ‘Clickmeister and RME friend’ Wim Daans, via MADI,” says Vuerstaek. “With inputs, premixes and in-ear mixes, this all adds up to 480 audio channels at 96Khz in the Optocore loop, so it was clear to me that we needed flexibility in the console programming. DiGiCo is an absolute winner for that.”
At the monitor position, the use of the DMI-KLANG was a revelation for Marc Zedda.
“KLANG was introduced by my predecessor Alexander ‘Schmoedi’ Schmidt and I picked up the session when he quit the project. My SD5 is on the Optocore loop and I connected to the DMI-KLANG via an Orange Box under my desk, with MADI to DMI-KLANG. Each musician’s preamp and monitor units (Glensound Symphony) received three stereo signals (classical section mix, rock mix and a mix with click, counts and talkbacks), plus their own instrument as a console’s direct out through Dante (Orange Box madi to Dante).”
The KLANG was used for conductor Alexandra Arrieche’s mix at her central position in the first place. “This allowed me to create a realistic space from what she had in front of her,” Zedda explains. “It was a first for me working with KLANG. How you can achieve separation and clarity with subtle changes, especially in such a wide and busy musical spectrum, blew my mind.”
Due to the SD5’s MADI port count, Zedda was only able to use half the DMI:KLANG, which had all the strings and choir premixes. “I also use it to send 3D mixes to Tim Habets’ SD7” he says. “It allowed him to integrate the orchestra into the artist’s mixes without taking too much space in their normal stereo mix.” For these mixes, the KLANG positioning was different from the conductor’s as the musicians were facing the crowd and were mostly surrounded by the orchestra. This is very much a team effort on both monitor desks, we work kind of in a synergy since I get submixes from Tim with the rock band and guest inputs.”
“Overall, the workflow is awesome. The integration into the desk is a must, as you can mix and make changes without standing in front of a laptop. In fact, my laptop was hidden under my desk and not above, so that I could focus on the performance. The musicians definitely felt more comfortable on such a long show, and it has reduced ear fatigue during the tour.”
In July, Night of the Proms Summer Edition will take place as part of two 7,000 capacity Koksijde open air shows, this time with a slightly smaller orchestra. Dates for November and December have also been confirmed.
“By all accounts, we produced a good 2022 edition,” concludes Tom Vuerstaek. “The audience was very enthusiastic, and a lot of people have already bought their ticket for November or December 2023.”
30th March 2023
Brompton Technology LED processing deployed during filming of opening video and teaser campaign for Dota 2’s The International 2022
Singapore – The latest edition of the world’s largest e-sports championship, Dota 2’s The International 2022, was held in Singapore at the end of last year and attracted an incredible 67.74 million hours of worldwide viewing. Singapore-based system integration company, Cgangs International Pte Ltd, partnered with the games’ developer, Valve, to create a Brompton Technology-powered virtual production set, used during the filming of the opening video and teaser campaign featuring the top four participating teams.
Cgangs was introduced to Valve via PGL, a renowned esports tournament organiser, to provide its cutting-edge virtual production services for the event.
"Our primary objective was to construct a temporary virtual production setup for Valve's pre-match and opening campaign," says Cgangs' director of strategic partnerships and business development, Alvin Lim. "These were used for online broadcasts and livestreams of the tournament to introduce the teams and players to the audience.”
With just a day to capture all the footage, Alvin Lim and the Cgangs crew needed seamless operation. "Valve personnel visited the set to inspect it and finalise the content before we began filming the players in front of the LED screen," continues Alvin Lim. "We had to guarantee that every aspect of our LED setup was functioning optimally to meet the tight schedule."
The stage comprised a straight, in-camera wall of ROE DM2.6 LED panels measuring ten by four metres, plus a small five by three 3 metre roof comprising ROE DM2.6. The entire set-up was powered by three Tessera S8 LED processors, Brompton’s cost-effective 4K LED processor, which is perfect for high-profile projects that do not require large output capacity but would still benefit from the flexibility of the company’s industry-leading Tessera feature set and easy-to-use software.
"We selected Brompton Tessera because it’s the gold standard in LED processing," says Alvin Lim. "It was crucial for us to incorporate the best available technology in our virtual production stage. The Tessera S8’s advanced features, such as Genlock with Phase Offset and ShutterSync, allowed us to control the appearance of the LED on camera. We also took full advantage of the Tessera software’s comprehensive colour correction and control tools, which allowed us to effortlessly match, adjust, or fine-tune colours to meet our desire."
The client was thoroughly pleased with the results for Valve's first experience recording with virtual production. "The project's success was attributed to clear and precise communication between the director and our technical production team," Alvin Lim remarks. "With a clear understanding of the director's vision, we were able to conduct pre-planning and set-up accordingly. The rehearsal and recording day went smoothly and we even completed the shoot ahead of schedule, much to the delight of Valve’s team as this was the first time they had finished a production on time! The exceptional quality of our ROE LED screens, coupled with Brompton Technology as our technical partner, ensured that everything was executed to perfection."
"We are thrilled that our Tessera S8 LED processors were utilised to bring Valve's vision to life in the teaser and introduction videos that Cgangs expertly delivered,” concludes Luke Hurford, regional technical manager for Asia Pacific at Brompton Technology. “We look forward to further turnkey virtual production projects with Cgangs going forward."
28th March 2023
Robe in the Spot-Light
New Zealand – Auckland based Spot-Light Systems, now part of the NEP Live Group, is among New Zealand’s leading lighting live show and event rental companies, and one that has continued to invest in Robe moving lights as the country emerged from the pandemic, adding 24 MegaPointes and 12 Tarrantulas to its existing fleet and, for the first time, 20 ESPRITES joined the inventory.
While New Zealand managed via strict quarantine and travel restorations to keep Covid cases to a minimum, full-scale and capacity shows and live events did not properly re-start until several months into 2022, when things became crazy busy, related Spot-Light Systems’ head of lighting, Matt Tong and this is what drove these latest Robe purchases.
Business and enthusiasm for the arts, performance and events is now surpassing 2019 levels as promoters, organisations and event organisers jostle to squeeze in shows that didn’t run for two years and accommodate the many new ones that the creative world imagined during that time. Touring has now re-started with a slew of national and international bands hitting the road, further fuelling the demand for production technology.
With nearly 400 Robe moving lights already on board, Spotlight Systems returned to a brand they know and trust for a multi-purpose LED profile type fixture, settling on the ESPRITES to join the mix of Robe BMFL Spots, BMFL Blades, MegaPointes, Tarrantulas, LEDWash 600s and LEDBeam 100s and 150s.
It is currently the largest concentration of Robe moving lights in the country.
“Robe is ubiquitous in New Zealand and elsewhere, so that offers great value for money, firstly for servicing our own shows then as a cross rental item when available,” stated Matt, adding that their Robe luminaires have been constantly busy.
“All the Robe products are worked hard and offer great performance, and everyone is happy to use them,” he said.
The ESPRITES were ordered quite soon after the acquisition of Spot-Light Systems by NEP Live. The mother company also owns broadcast lighting and video rental specialist, Big Picture, which, conveniently for continuity, also has Robe moving lights in stock.
The brand has a strong presence in New Zealand thanks to the proactivity of distributor Jands New Zealand.
“We needed a general purpose ‘workhorse’ LED moving light that was bright, quiet, had great colour mixing and was lightweight,” Matt notes, expecting the ESPRITES to become a signature fixture type, just as 700 series moving lights did during their era.
They did however conduct a shoot-out with selected competitor products before fully committing.
Beam uniformity and the overall quality of light were also factors in the choice, “ESPRITE basically ticked all our ‘essential’ boxes and more, like Ethernet connectivity, framing shutters and a good menu system that’s straightforward for technicians to set up plus many other refinements.”
The quest to produce more sustainable events was also a consideration in choosing an LED source which needs less cooling and heat management, reducing electricity consumption in addition to that saved by light engines themselves.
The benefits of Robe’s TE (Transferable Engine) technology, allowing different or new LED engines to be swapped in and out the fixtures in less than five minutes to cover different applications, were also of interest.
Furthermore, ESPRITES also tied into the prolific broadcast, TV and awards show work covered by Big Picture, and now in the house, they can move between the two companies to maximise use.
“All 20 ESPRITES are out most of the time,” Matt elucidates.
Spot-Light Systems’ ESPRITES were recently on a George Thorogood tour and have featured on many others, while their BMFLs, MegaPointes and LEDWash 600s were on the rig for a recent show at Spark Arena by George Ezra (lighting design by Cate Carter, operated on the road by Chris Taylor).
Matt describes the BMFL as the “light that keeps on giving”. Although now nearly eight years old, the luminaires are still a popular industry standard.
Spot-Light Systems is the first dedicated lighting division of NEP Live in Australasia, and during the pandemic, they saw the potential for growth and invested heavily, as the opportunity arose, predicting that the industry would get exceptionally busy once everyone returned to work and it re-booted.
Big Picture owns a massive amount of LED screens and video control systems, and as the media of lighting and video continue to converge in visual design, the two companies will work together increasingly to offer clients a superlative service.
In picture: Lighting technician Asbjorn Hemmingsen, project manager Ben Cooper, workshop manager Mike Skinner and head of lighting production, Matthew Tong.
photo: Louise Stickland
28th March 2023
Team Darmah and Chauvet Professional Help Daddy Yankee Create Farewell Tour “Fit For a King”
USA – How do you say goodbye to a legend? For the creative team involved in designing the production for Daddy Yankee’s La Ultima Vuelta tour, the answer was quite simple, you create something “fit for a king.”
This was the directive that production designer Rodrigo Proal of Darmah Studios received when he was asked to work on the Puerto Rican born super star’s 84-date official retirement tour of North and South America, which concluded with a January show in San Juan.
Proal, joined by a gifted and inspired creative team, didn’t disappoint either; the production they collaborated on, with its bold, vibrant colours, intense aerial effects, beautiful scenic elements and evocative video content created by screens director Bianca Moncada, did justice to the career of a genius who is credited with coining the term “reggaeton,” and whose 2004 party favourite “Gasolnina” introduced modern Latin music to a wider audience.
“This was a special experience for all of us, one we’ll never forget,” said Felix Peralta, the tour’s lighting. designer. “We all wanted to make this show fit for a king to honour an artist who ruled so brilliantly for so long.”
For Peralta, the concept behind La Ultima Vuelta (“The Final Turn”) began three years before the tour, when he joined the Darmah team and lighting designer John Daniels, a life-long friend and mentor, as the lighting director/programmer for Daddy Yankee’s 14-show residency in San Juan.
“As production designer, Rodrigo created a sleek and clean architectural structure for that residency,” said Peralta. “That would be the canvas for the production and, after being reimagined as a tourable rig, set the tone for La Ultima Vuelta.
Peralta and lighting director/programmer, Chris Fernandez accentuated the clean lines of the production design, and set the mood for a magical journey through the storied career of Daddy Yankee, with a lighting rig that featured 240 Chauvet Professional fixtures, supplied on the USA leg by 4Wall Entertainment.
“Chris and I approached this tour like a two-headed monster, programming the show together,” said Peralta. “Chris understands my design aesthetics. I have been mentoring Chris for many years and was really excited to collaborate on this. Inspired by what Rodrigo had presented, we took an architectural approach to lighting the shows. Our goal was to create something that was simple in concept, but certainly not simple to execute. We wanted it to serve almost as a ‘palette cleanser,’ so we could move from song to song and tell a story with Bianca Moncada’s video and our lighting.”
To accomplish this, Peralta and Fernandez divided their lighting design into three levels of staging. The first was upstage, behind the “Vanish Video” blow through walls, where they started their show and returned time and again throughout the performance. Next was the Main Stage area in front of the screens, where Daddy Yankee and the dancers did a large part of the show. Finally, came the B Stage, affectionately dubbed “The Basement,” where the legendary star went to get closer to the audience.
Many of the rig’s 175 high-output Color Strike M motorised strobes were positioned behind the blow-through video screens. Projecting white and coloured light through the screens, the light helped create a more embracive environment on stage by weaving the transformative video images into the entire productions.
“The blow-through interaction between lighting and video really helped integrate everything into one story,” said Peralta. “I think the colour and energy from the lights helped bring the video imagery more to life.”
Imagery from the video walls was, in a word, transformative, captivating not only the eye, but the heart as well as it created a powerful sense of Daddy Yankee’s career travelling through time. In one memorable moment, there is a scene where the Darmah team created a “landing” sequence for Daddy Yankee and his private jet. After that aircraft begins to appear in the far distance, lighting builds up the energy level as it gets closer. Eventually the plane “lands,” and its door, which was actually staging behind the Vanish Screen, opens, and out walks Daddy Yankee onto the aircraft wing to sing the first half of “Campeon,” a huge show stopper. Then, the dancers appear and perform on the opposite wing.
“Our lighting team has been working closely with Rodrigo, Bianca, and the rest of the group at Darmah Studios for more than a decade integrating the video and lighting elements for both live and television broadcast events, which helped set us up for success with “La Ultima Vuelta” tour,” said Peralta. “We did pre visualisation production down in Miami, in mid-July over at the Darmah Design Studios. Bianca worked closely with us to define a well-balanced integration of lighting and video elements throughout.”
In addition to contributing to these stunning blow-through video moments, the Color Strike M units filled a variety of other functions during the show. “They were our heavy hitters,” Peralta said of the fixtures. “We basically treated them as three separate fixtures: a basic strobe, a 14-pixel RGB strobe plate, and a 28-beam pixel strobe accent piece.
We found moments for the “heavy handed” accents with the dynamic RGB/CMY pixel to be a fun story, the nitty-gritty beam pixels added beautiful accents to the musical story.”
The 45 COLORado PXL Bar 16 fixtures in the rig were used to create curtains of light throughout the show, while the other Chauvet Professional units, 20 Maverick MK3 washes served as “side shin buster” lights for the dancers, on both the main and B stages.
Versatile fixtures, and a very realistic-looking blow-through video wall were by no means the only reasons why La Ultima Vuelta wowed the audience night after night, there was also the tireless collaboration on the part of a large group of creatives. In addition to praising the Darmah team and Chris Fernandez, Peralta complimented the work of Mike Smrka, the tour’s lighting director, who was there doing stellar work every single show.
“The people made this show special,” said Peralta. “It’s something I’ll always remember.”
It’s a safe bet that the fans who turned out for one of this tour’s 84 show are always going to remember the experience too, and among the many memories they have of the incomparable Daddy Yankee, this one is bound to have a special place in the heart.
28th March 2023
Ayrton Khamsins and Dominos Light Up Adele’s Las Vegas Residency
USA – Ayrton Khamsins and Dominos dominated the rig designed by Cory FitzGerald for “Weekends with Adele,” the first concert residency by the British singer at The Colosseum at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas. FitzGerald is a senior partner, lighting designer and creative producer at Silent House Studios, Burbank, a global award-winning design and production agency. ACT Entertainment is the exclusive distributor of Ayrton lighting in North America.
“Weekends with Adele,” a five-month series of Friday and Saturday night shows, commenced in November 2022 and ran until March 2023. The show received unanimous praise from critics for its “breathtaking” staging and elegance and its remarkable ability to combine the spectacular and the intimate. A sold-out slate of dates attested to the show’s hit status.
FitzGerald previously worked with Adele when he served as the lighting designer for her appearance at British Summer Time in Hyde Park, London last July. Coming on board for her Las Vegas residency he knew “from the beginning that it would be a very theatrical show. It would build quite a bit physically and in intensity starting with a small concept and growing to fill the stage with a full orchestral extravaganza with scenery, moving elements and projections. The lighting needed to complement that and still give a theatrical feel and concert vibe.”
FitzGerald mounted 192 Khamsin LED moving head profiles in three moving torms independent of the three moving projection layers on the show, as well as in three main overhead rows of truss for top and side lights and on two house truss positions.
“Khamsins were the workhorse for this show: they were the principal light used everywhere,” he says. “I had worked with them before and knew they were very bright and punchy, as well as offered a lot of options. I wanted uniformity in the rig – all the same lights in different locations for better, cleaner visuals – but that meant the fixtures had to be versatile.”
He explains that he wanted “a lot of flexibility in the way we positioned the lights” as the show evolved and Adele decided where best to perform each song. “We were able to move and adapt to the changes thanks to uniformity in the rig.”
Khamsins were the perfect choice to provide consistency and versatility throughout the show. “Khamsins could do it all: really tight beam effects, wide animation washes, shuttering, gobo washes, strobing, colour bumps,” FitzGerald says. “We even used them for keylighting because of their nice adjustable colour temperature. There’s a lot of dimming in the show as lights come on slowly to create the mood and feel of some intimate moments. Khamsins were also perfect for that kind of subtlety.”
On the other end of the spectrum, “the venue has a 120 foot wide proscenium, and sometimes we had to shoot a light from one side to the other or illuminate props, and Khamsin did that really well, too,” he adds.
FitzGerald also opted for 25 Domino LED moving head profiles, which were evenly distributed on the floor to create a horizon of light for the show. London-based Neg Earth Lights provided the rig.
“For some sections of the show it was only Adele and a piano: quiet, simple and beautifully intimate moments and sometimes there were huge full stage band songs with complex flame and water effects. The show would go from ballads to a rock concert, all while using projection and LED surfaces balanced between content and IMAG. Managing our exposure and overall stage image for camera, iPhones and the human eye was a challenge that these fixtures worked perfectly for,” FitzGerald explains. “That demonstrated the versatility of the lights.”
“Weekends with Adele” also used two full-size grandMA3 consoles to control lighting with a grandMA3 light for focusing. ACT Entertainment is also the exclusive distributor of MA Lighting products in North America.
“I have been using MA since 2004,” says FitzGerald, “and this was the first show I’ve done that was programmed on grandMA3, it was a big step. It represents the next generation in what we all will be doing lighting-wise.”
Support from ACT and MA Lighting in Germany was ongoing as FitzGerald and his team learned the new software. “They were good about interacting with us as we worked our way through. We had enough time in the rehearsal process to try things out and get used to the new system. In the end, grandMA3 worked well with and we were happy that we went down that path.”
For FitzGerald, lighting “Weekends with Adele” was about “giving Adele the moments she wanted for every song. The versatility of the rig made it feel like an intimate show at times or a very theatrical show at others. We made sure her audience of fans felt connected to every performance.”
photos: © STUFISH
28th March 2023
Unusual Rigging & Engineering LLC rigs IDEX at ADNEC, Abu Dhabi
UAE – Unusual Rigging & Engineering LLC was the rigger of choice for IDEX – the largest defence exhibition in the Middle East – when it took place at ADNEC in Abu Dhabi last month. The show, which is regarded as the most important tri-service defence exhibition in the world, attracted over 130,000 visitors from 65 countries, with more than 1,350 exhibitors across 165,000 sq m of space.
For such a prestigious and sizeable event, David McKean, head of mains and rigging services at ADNEC, brought Unusual Rigging on board to assist the venue rigging team in the installation and management of rigged items throughout all 15 halls for the event.
David commented: “The Unusual team works with us numerous times each year and are well versed in our expectations. This year there were over 100 stands, and Unusual received rigging plans from the rigging manager for each individual stand. From this they were required to mark out and provide both primary and secondary rigging.”
The quantity of kit required for IDEX was vast, with the crew installing several kilometres of truss, over 1,200 rigging points and 500 motorised hoists. The build-up period was 21 days, with all works finished by lunchtime on the last day of build. As with all projects of this scale, challenges arose, mainly last-minute orders. “I have to mention that the entire office team went above and beyond in providing equipment for us to install on exhibition stands at the shortest of notice,”, commented David. “And that’s what puts Unusual in a class above its competitors. Their flexibility and knowledge is second to none and you know that you get 100 percent support from everyone, from the riggers on site to the staff in the office.”
He added: “In addition to the customer service and support, we always know that the equipment Unusual has in stock is first class, always well maintained which gives you the peace of mind that you can trust the kit you’re using. Without doubt, Unusual Rigging is our preferred supplier, and we will always utilise them for both staffing and dry hire throughout this year and beyond.”
28th March 2023
L-Acoustics K Series Shines on Rüfüs Du Sol’s Tour
Australia – In the nine years between their 2013 debut album Atlas and now, Grammy Award-winning group Rüfüs Du Sol has undergone one name change, received three ARIA certifications – two platinum and one gold – for their unique style of house, electronica and alternative dance music. With an illustrious, decade-long musical career, multi-city continental tours have been the norm for the three-piece outfit.
Recently, Rüfüs Du Sol wrapped up an Australia and New Zealand tour of eight shows performed in four territories for over 30,000 people. For the concerts in Adelaide and Perth, tour promoters Fuzzy Entertainment chose L-Acoustics certified rental partner Novatech to supply sound, visual, lighting and communication solutions for the outdoor sites. The Novatech team’s open communication and collaborative style have made the company a returning partner for the band and mix engineer Cam Trewin.
Novatech was tasked with designing a system that would provide optimal coverage to the vast open field audience area while also taking the neighbouring residential areas into consideration. “Of course, we needed to adhere to strict local council noise limits,” explains Matthew Ruggiero, technical project manager at Novatech. “But on the flip side, being in the wide space of an open field allowed my team and I to have complete control over speaker placement.”
“We were briefed on the shows before their tour began, which gave us ample time to create a system design and share it with the band’s management,” says Ruggiero. “Working with management and the team’s consultants, we fine-tuned the design, paying special attention to sub placement.”
For both shows in Adelaide and Perth, Novatech deployed the final design, consisting of main L/R arrays of 15 L-Acoustics K2 with four K1SB subwoofers per side. Side-fill consisted of nine K2 enclosures per side. Front-fill consisted of 12 Kara boxes while low-end extension was delivered by 24 SB28 dual 18” subwoofers. These were deployed in an end-fire configuration across the front of the stage.
Ruggiero and the team at Novatech were delighted with the full-range coverage and the even SPL provided by the K Series at the shows. “Rüfüs’ long-time tour mix engineer, Cam Trewin, dialled in an amazing mix. It was an honour to witness him crafting and delivering a mix close to the artist’s record in a live outdoor concert setting,” he concludes.
28th March 2023
Eurosport France adds ETC's Lonestar to new line-up
France – Recently renovated, the new Eurosport France set said goodbye to conventional fixtures to make way for the latest generation of LED luminaires. The compact and versatile Lonestar from ETC was the automated fixture of choice for Eurosport’s technical team and the lighting company Ar'Krys.
The main filming location at Eurosport France is a physical set with a large 20 square metre LED wall as a backdrop. Despite its 45 square metres of usable surface, it has everything you’d expect of a larger set, and can accommodate up to six presenters, columnists, and guests on the three benches and a standing position. Overhead, a grid of wash lights enables different colour combinations. It is complemented by 20 Lonestar fixtures, intended primarily for lighting the talent and effectively rendering skin tones.
The luminaires were carefully selected by Baptiste Arnaud-Benaïs and Georges Krystkowiak from Ar'Krys, who were commissioned by the Eurosport team to propose a new lighting system for the set. They discovered Lonestar in the ETC showroom in Saint-Denis. "We attended a demo at ETC France and then arranged a loan on site to try the fixture in real conditions,” says Arnaud-Benaïs. “It checked all the boxes: compact but powerful, versatile with great quality of light, and very well positioned in price.”
Florent Marquaire, technical project manager at Eurosport, was keen to replace the existing 300W tungsten Fresnel fixtures, but the replacements had to meet strict criteria. “Previously, we needed a large number of fixtures to cover all the positions," Marquaire explains. “That's why we wanted to switch to LED. However, we had to find a compact model that was also good quality – both in terms of durability and colour rendering – and with enough lumen output to limit the number of fixtures required.”
Ar'Krys proposed installing Lonestar around the entire periphery of the studio. Lonestar fixtures offer four-plane, full-curtain blades with 120° module rotation, making it possible to replace several static fixtures with a single automated one while adding the option of effects with rotating gobo and animation wheels. Despite the low ceiling height of the studio, the Lonestar fixtures met the size and power requirements perfectly. In addition, positioning the luminaires horizontally provided even more space.
"Going for 20 Lonestar seemed a little disproportionate for a set of this size, but it’s actually in response to the power of the LED wall,” explains Arnaud-Benaïs, who is also responsible for the programming of the studio. “To avoid the moiré effect, we wanted to reduce the depth of field, open the diaphragm of the cameras, and maintain a significant luminous flux to work within the camera’s best performance range so we could play with ND filters or sensitivity settings (-3db -6db.) At the same time, the fixtures had to illuminate the talent adequately without allowing the brightness of the LED screen to take over. Lonestar does this, while covering a relatively wide range. Additionally, the fixtures achieve this without operating at full capacity which minimises fan noise.”
In the final configuration set up by Ar'Krys, the fixtures are only used at between 30 percent and 70 percent of their power, depending on their positions. To capture the result, no less than seven cameras are deployed. Six of them are robotic, one on a dolly, and the seventh is a shoulder camera.
“The set is versatile. Between each show, the visuals on the LED wall change, as well as the colour of the seats, according to each show’s concept,” explains Marquaire. “The desk in front of the benches is on jacks, so it can be easily moved from a sitting to a standing position. The fixtures also adapt to the show's guidelines and the number of people on the set. That's why we wanted a profile moving head: to be able to define the positions well.”
Arnaud-Benaïs concludes: "What I find exceptional is the frost. There are two progressive ones with a great gradient – no need to add gels like on other fixtures. And thanks to that, we have very well-defined positions, without it showing, because the transition between two Lonestar fixtures is just perfect!"
28th March 2023
VME increases MLA inventory to over 100 enclosures for arena boxing events
UK - For nearly a decade, Martin Audio partner, Manchester-based VME, has been providing PA for major boxing events in the nation’s arenas, on an accelerating basis.
Starting out with an inventory of 48 MLA multicellular loudspeaker array enclosures, such has been the demand from this sector that the rental fleet has now more than doubled, and this month the rental company announced that it has increased its inventory of MLA family products to over 100. This makes VME one of the largest MLA rental stagers in the UK.
Explaining the underlying reason, operations manager Aaron Harvey-Holt says that this is in recognition of the fact that his company is now servicing over 40 events a year for TV transmission through Sky Sports, BT Sports and DAZN, all in major UK venues such as Wembley Stadium, Wembley OVO Arena, The O2 Arena, Cardiff International Arena and Manchester AO Arena.
Events include the IBF World Heavyweight Championships and bouts ranging from David Haye to Tyson Fury to the more recent high-profile Misfits ‘crossover’ series which saw YouTube star KSI going head-to-head with FaZe Temper at OVO Arena, Wembley.
Rigging a system in the round is quite unlike reinforcing a conventional pros arch rock concert. For example, the PA fly position is normally set within a seven square metre grid immediately above the ring and configuration can vary from hangs facing out on all four axes to distributed hangs and delays to ensure crowds of up to 20,000 have full intelligibility of all action from the walk-in music to the National Anthem, DJ interval music and MC announcements.
The Misfits event, with all the razzmatazz associated with it, was no exception.
Aaron Harvey-Holt is clear as to why MLA has become their go-to system. “It’s for the ease of rigging,” he says. “MLA is great for the tight time scale we often have to deliver in as sometimes we don’t have rig days.” Further to this, the flexibility it affords is vital when they are having to work around TV company constraints. Having venue parameters in their library is no guarantee that they won’t have to take new measurements each time and create a different profile.
“This is precisely why we recently purchased another 24 MLA Compact and 20 MLA,” explains the VME ops manager. For the KSI fight alone they fielded 70 MLA boxes and 24 MLA Compact. “We rigged nine hangs of MLA / MLA Compact in total: 25 boxes a side at the stage end for mains, subs and sidefills, with five MLX a side in cardioid flown, behind the two main hangs and three hangs further down the arena for delays at the left, centre and right positions.”
The flexibility of the system has also proved a hit with VME’s project manager Mikey Greenwood and system designer Gareth Thomas, the latter working alongside Ben Marsh who is also de facto system technician. He ensures that MLA’s advanced optimisation will enable sound to be steered precisely where it’s needed, designing the horizontal projection in CAD, mapping to where the TV interviews take place, and implementing the ’Hard Avoid’ setting on any reflective VIP boxes. This also takes into account the sensitivity of the broadcast mics when it becomes essential to deaden the sound around the ring.
“With complex events such as this, having that level of control with MLA is vital,” summarises Aaron Harvey-Holt.” It provides massive benefits all round.” Plus, of course, when not on duty at their own events, there will be plenty of scope for cross-hiring MLA, such is the demand during the busy summer season.
27th March 2023
Christie laser projectors add new dimension to tea culture
China – Christie laser projectors have injected vibrancy and added a new dimension to traditional tea arts with lively visuals that complement the stylised and choreographed ritual of tea making.
The projections were accomplished using Christie laser projectors for a science carnival held at an innovation centre in Zhangjiawan Design Town, a district positioned to become Beijing’s new landmark for the design sector. Christie’s trusted partner Dicction (Beijing) Science and Technology Development Co., Ltd supplied and installed the projectors for this event. This is the first time that projection technology has been used to augment Chinese tea arts. The ritual involves the preparation, presentation, and consumption of Chinese tea, and it is a highly respected art form that has been passed down for thousands of years.
“The end user was looking for a bright, reliable and cost-effective laser projection solution to build an immersive tea arts space that adds a new dimension to this traditional art form,” said Leo Zhang, chief executive officer, Dicction. “At the same time, this installation is aimed at promoting the use of projection technology in Metaverse projects that combine physical and virtual experiences.”
The projectors were fitted discretely above the tea room to display sharp and lifelike images on a large table used for tea brewing, as well as on an adjacent gauze screen to create an immersive presentation. The projectors yield vibrant images measuring 2.5 metres by 1.56 metres (8.2 feet by 5.1 feet) on the tabletop and on the 4.72-by-2.95-metre (15.4-by-9.7 feet) gauze screen. An array of contents comprising floral and nature-inspired imagery blended harmoniously with the physical objects and space.
Zhang noted that the end user was very pleased with the outcome. He added, “The innovation centre is impressed with the projectors’ stable brightness output and an incredible 3,000,000:1 on/off contrast ratio that produces excellent image quality. On top of that, the projectors’ quiet operation and omnidirectional capabilities allow for flexible, discrete placement in virtually any setting, including tight spaces. The success of this unprecedented installation has provided us with the confidence to take on similar projects in the future.”
April Qin, senior director of sales for China, Enterprise, Christie, commented: “Our projectors have perfectly demonstrated the transformative impact of projection technology on traditional Chinese tea ceremonies. Kudos to Dicction for successfully completing this amazing project within a week.”
From the smallest meeting rooms to the biggest screens, there’s a Christie projector that fits every application and budget. Our line-up of 3LCD, 1DLP and 3DLP projectors come in a range of resolutions with laser-based illumination, and deliver exceptional image quality, brightness, versatility, and ease-of-use. In China, Christie projection solutions are widely used in a number of night tourism, theme parks, museums and science centres, education, art and exhibition venues.
27th March 2023
Massive Productions and Chauvet Professional Celebrate Colour at Curaçao Carnival
Curaçao – Imagine a block party with 45-foot trailers carrying bands and DJs performing as they roll down the street with crowds of happy people dancing behind them, and many more watching from the side of the road. Doing so will give you an idea of the atmosphere at the Curaçao Carnival.
That’s why everyone in this island country looks forward to the two day event, which consists of the Gran Marcha (The Grand Parade) and Marcha di Despedida (The Farewell March). People on the island being working on the carnival six months in advance, The event itself involves 6,000 participants and 1,500 helpers who either play music or keep the beverages flowing for the 24 groups.
The carnival’s parades snake through the streets of the island’s capital city. The festival swirl is a treat for the senses, starting out with the fragrant delicacies being offered at food stands, to the sound of our local Tumba music filling the air at every corner, and onto the dazzling and colourful costumes worn by local celebrants.
Enhancing the vibrant atmosphere of the parade, each carnival group has at least one party trailer. Massive Production supplied and outfitted audio video and lights for 16 of these trailers. For some, the company went all out turning the vehicles into moving concert stages. Adding a level of bling to these 45-foot “boombox trailers” was a collection of Chauvet Professional fixtures from Massive Productions’ own inventory.
Supporting the performances of the artists, and engaging the crowd as well as the dancers, was a light show created with Rogue R2 Beam, R2 Spot, and R2 Wash fixtures, EPIX Strip IP units, pixel mapped to coordinate with LED screens, and COLORado 1-Tri IP washes.
Given that the festival trailers took roughly six-hours to complete their journeys, the Massive Productions team was careful to outfit them with rigs that could create a variety different look. While the EPIX Strips were used to outline the trailers and give them defining architecture, and the COLORado units created a rainbow of colour washes that fit the mood of the moment, the Rogue movers were counted on to add punch to the performances and engage the throngs of onlookers who saw the trailers pass by.
Hung on circular and rectangular truss, the Rogues were used to accent performances on the trailer stage and to direct light onto the crowd. In each case they contributed to a concert vibe.
“Over the years the band/DJ trailers have been upgraded to deliver more concert-like looks,” said Jimmy Lo-A-Njoe of Massive Productions. “With truss lights and LED screens, we created more excitement. All our moving head fixtures were Rogues, for the simple reason that they are light, and very powerful.”
Another factor in selecting the Rogue fixtures was their efficiency. “Being on trailers we didn’t have a lot of energy to draw from,” said Lo-A-Njoe.
Energy may have been limited inside the trailers’ generators, but it could be felt everywhere in abundant quantities outside as these vehicles made their way through the Curaçao Carnival. That’s how great memories are made during this festive season.
27th March 2023
Måneskin’s arena tour thrills with powerful Vari-Lite VL10 BeamWash colours
Europe – Italian group Måneskin are rocking their way through Europe with their Loud Kids Tour Gets Louder shows, backed by a highly technological lighting system that can morph into multiple different shapes to convey story and structure. At the heart of the lighting rig are Vari-Lite VL10 BeamWash luminaires from Signify, which are used to beam bright vivid colours and pastels onto the stage and as powerful followspots.
During each show, operators are manually utilising the pan and tilt functions on each of the VL10 BeamWash fixtures, highlighting each member of the band as well as washing the stage with dynamic lighting states. All the other parameters of the VL10 BeamWash are controlled by a lighting console, allowing the team to program the lighting in advance using timecode.
The lighting is the creation of Milan- and London-based lighting design company Blearred. “We chose to use the VL10s for several reasons,” says Blearred founder and Måneskin lighting designer, Jordan Babev. “Firstly, the long throw of the beam and the great output of the fixture make it an excellent choice for use in larger venues. We were blown away by the bright lighting output of the VL10s. Even in large venues, the fixtures are able to produce vivid, powerful beams of light. Secondly, the fixture is easy to handle when used as a followspot and they are relatively lightweight and easy to manoeuvrer, which made it much simpler for our operators to follow the action on stage. The fixture is capable of producing a wide range of colours, including vivid, saturated colours as well as more subtle pastels and hues. It really offers us versatility.”
Blearred was asked by Måneskin’s Exit Management team, the production design team at Lemon and Pepper and the promotion team at Vivo Concerti to create the lighting solution for the tour, which visited North and South America and Japan before returning to Europe.
“Lemon and Pepper came up with a fantastic stage design and show concept that we were thrilled to work on,” says Babev. “The band wanted to deliver a show that told a story through the lighting, rather than using LED screens with video content. In terms of imagery and colours, we wanted to create a visually striking and cohesive look for the entire tour. We drew inspiration from the band's music and aesthetic, as well as the stage design, to create a colour palette and visual style that would complement the show perfectly.”
Babev and the team responded to the energy of the Måneskin set list, opting to use spotlights and strobes as their primary fixture type. “The show is very powerful from a musical perspective, so we wanted to ensure that the lighting was equally powerful, with plenty of dynamic states and movement,” says Babev. “At the same time, we also wanted to create moments of elegance and beauty within the lighting design, incorporating softer colors and more subtle effects to create a balanced and engaging experience.”
The VL10 BeamWash luminaires were supplied by Rome-based rental house Agorà s.r.l.
Måneskin’s Loud Kids Tour Gets Louder tour, in support of their second and third studio albums, Teatro d'ira: Vol. I and Rush!, is playing arenas across Europe including Amsterdam’s Ziggo Dome, Berlin’s Mercedes-Benz Arena and the Royal Arena in Copenhagen until the end of July.
photos: © Blearred
23rd March 2023
Vin Pugliese Evokes Moods for The Elovaters with Chauvet Professional
USA – When you come right down to it, every lighting designer starts a project with the same goal in mind: to reflect the client’s music in light. Sometimes this is done through a more literal representation of a song’s lyrics, at others it can be through conveying the underlying mood or the music or supporting the way an artist connects to the crowd.
Vin Pugliese did all of the above, and more recently when lighting a headliner hometown show for The Elovaters at the House of Blues Boston. Using a mixture of cue-to-cue programming and busking, Pugliese unfurled and endless stream of uniquely evocative looks during the 90-minute show, each reflecting the reggae band’s music in a distinctive way.
Helping him do this was a collection of over 60 Chauvet Professional fixtures from the iconic venue’s house rig, and the extensive ground package from his own company VFX Design Studio that he brought to the show.
“I brought my own ground support package to fill out the bottom half of the stage since the House of Blues Boston has a high trim height,” explained Pugliese. “Using a mixture of beams, spots, hybrids, washes, LED PARS, LED battens, strobes, LED blinders and other fixtures, I had the tools at my disposal to create a dynamic show where every song had a its own feel.”
Among these looks was a more literal one for the band’s hit song “Wind On My Back,” which Pugliese supported by creating a simple CTO lavender/cyan colour palette that fanned out over the stage as it was accented by the effects from a bubble machine. “To me, it really set the tone for the song, which is warm and inviting,” he said. “The CTO side and back lighting expressed the lyrics “sun on my shoulder,” while the Lavender and Cyan wash reflected a vibrant yet calm sky. After a long year on the road for the band, they came home to a jam-packed hometown show, their biggest headlining show to date, and it was a beautiful communal moment where everyone sang along in unison.”
For other songs, Pugliese create more abstract, less literal imagery often with the help of various gobo patters. He used cones for aerial looks along with crowd facing movements, which, when they hit just right, made fans in the audience feel like they were in a tunnel or vortex. There were also breakout gobs that were used to mimic stars, and rainbow glass gobos that were called upon to create psychedelic effects.
Throughout the show, Pugliese tried to involve the entire venue in his immersive looks. “With the house rig at Boston House of Blues being mainly silver truss and Chauvet fixtures, I was able to create several looks accentuating the geometry and shadows of the truss overhanging the crowd,” he said. “It gave the room an interesting glow, without necessarily blinding everyone. I also owe a big thanks to Cody Kite, the FOH engineer and production manager for the band, as well as Reid Foster and everyone at Ineffable Music Group for helping me create this environment.”
The show rig, including the HOB’s house fixtures and Pugliese’s own units featured 30 Rogue R2X Washes, eight Maverick MK1 Spots, six Rogue RH1 Hybrids 10 Rogue R2 Spots and eight COLORdash Batten-Quad 12 fixtures.
Those fixtures in the house rig were positioned above the crowd, and above the band downstage to upstage, as well as on both sides of the stage. Most of the units in the floor package were arranged on six two-metre black truss towers, each of which was pre-rigged to cut down on set- up time.
“These towers did the brunt of the eye candy work as far as the ground package was concerned,” said Pugliese, adding that they gave him “a Swiss army knife” of a design tool; a tool that, when wielded by a talented lighting designer, opened endless possibilities to reflect every song in unique ways.
photos: Erik Fralick
23rd March 2023
Allen & Heath Powers SXSW 2023
USA – For nearly ten years, Allen & Heath has been the house console provider for the British Music Embassy stage at the South by Southwest (SXSW) festival in Austin, Texas. This year was no different, with three dLive systems powering the venue showcasing up and coming UK artists.
At front of house, bands were mixed on a dLive S5000 surface, paired with a DM0 MixRack. That console fed into a continuity system, powered by a compact CTi1500 console and DM64 MixRack handling the various PA feeds and Shure wireless microphones for hosts and presenters.
By the stage, monitor wedges and IEM mixes were controlled from another dLive S5000 surface with its own DM64, offering 128 channels of independent processing and 64 fully configurable buses.
The one-of-a-kind PA system at the venue was provided by Bowers & Wilkins, whose sound system was designed to deliver hi-fi audio scaled up for live events.
Throughout the festival, over 50 UK artists took to the BME stage to perform including Venbee, Sports Team, Robocobra Quartet, Sans Soucis and Sipho.
“I love mixing on dLive,” said Jez Dabbs, house engineer at the BME stage. “It’s my desk of choice back home; it makes my life a lot easier when I show up to a venue like this and I know I’ll have all the tools I need.”
Meanwhile, Allen & Heath consoles could be found at multiple other venues around SXSW including a dLive C1500 at the White Claw Shore Club, an Avantis at Sellers Underground, SQ at the Mohawk club and multiple analogue ZED and GL consoles peppered throughout.
“It certainly seems like the Allen & Heath presence across SXSW has steadily increased year over year,” notes Allen & Heath USA marketing director Jeff Hawley. “We love seeing the interesting applications of the entire A&H range from ZED at smaller signer-songwriter ‘open mics’ up to multi-dLive rigs in spaces like the British Music Embassy. Most of all, SXSW is a great chance for us to stay in touch with the audio engineer community and gather feedback and learn new mix approaches ourselves. The most recent trend seems to be the consistent use of tools like the source expander in dLive and Avantis on vocals and the dual threshold expander on drums. Just about every chat we had with engineers about how they approached their mix involved a fair amount of ‘in the box’ DEEP processing. Thanks to everyone across the festival who selected Allen & Heath as their go-to console!”
23rd March 2023
Samantha Boffin Relies on Cleanfeed for Live Audio Recording
UK – UK-based voice artist and voice director Samantha Boffin is using Cleanfeed software to record an audio dramatisation of Jekyll and Hyde, for Evcol Entertainment, because it allows her to record more than one person at a time, on individual tracks and in full broadcast quality.
Straightforward to use, and quickly shareable with as many clients and collaborators as the account holder wants to include, Emmy Award-winning Cleanfeed has become the go-tool tool for audio professionals who want to capture delay-free live audio over the Internet, without delays.
“One of the most important features offered by Cleanfeed is having the ability to record multiple people at the same time, all with separate audio feeds,” Sam explains. “This is really important for interviews and audio drama productions as it allows you to edit and mix audio much more easily. Everyone involved has their own separate track so you capture their reactions exactly as they should be. It is as close as you can get to having everyone all together in the same studio, but recorded remotely.”
An experienced audiobook narrator and actor, Sam has her own studio in London and works with creatives and businesses all over the world. BBC-trained and with over 20 years of broadcast experience on both sides of the mic, she has created numerous award-winning promos, narrations and commercials for clients such as Netflix, the BBC and Games Workshop, as well as smaller local and international companies. In addition, Sam is the host of Talking Creative – the Art of Voiceover Directing, a podcast for voice directors, voiceovers, podcasters and creatives, and How Do You Say That?!, a British Voiceover podcast, co-hosted with Mark Ryes, that shines an entertaining spotlight on the multiple ways one can read a script.
“Cleanfeed is now a permanent fixture in my studio and the solution I prefer for remote audio projects,” Sam says. “I use it weekly for recording episodes of How Do You Say That?!, and for any other project that involves multiple hosts and guests. I also use it as part of my Voiceover coaching business. It enables me to run directed sessions that give my students a feel for working in a real professional setting.”
Built from the ground up for live radio and audio production, Cleanfeed only requires one person to have an account, everyone else can then be invited to join the session via a web link, and can connect from Mac, Windows, Linux or Android. Even a free Cleanfeed account imposes no limit on the time a session can run for, or the number of people who can be invited to join it. All users need to get started is a microphone and a web browser, they don’t have to get to grips with external mixers, mix-minuses or any other technical know-how, making this an idea solution for everyone.
Projects that Sam has previously recorded using Cleanfeed have gone on to win prestigious awards. Among these are a series of plays that were recorded remotely during the COVID lockdown for The Questors Theatre in West London and released on YouTube and SoundCloud. The award winning dramas include That Spot of Joy, by Hilary Spiers and directed by Peter Gould, which was honored in the radio play category at the Moondance International Festival, and The Intruder, directed by Lucy Aley-Parker, which was named Best Drama Podcast by the Minnesota Webfest in the US. The Intruder also won a Best Use of Sound Award and actor David Hovatter received the Best Actor award at a London Drama Festival in 2022.
22nd March 2023
Euphonie Sonorisation powers up for exciting year ahead with DiGiCo’s Q225
Canada – Hugo Angers (pictured), renowned TV Mixer and sound engineer and co-owner of Quebec-based Euphonie Sonorisation, has worked with a plethora of audio consoles throughout his career. However, since first operating a DiGiCo console in the mid-2010s, he has developed a strong affinity for their products and used them on many different shows and festivals. During the summer of 2022, Angers purchased the company’s first DiGiCo Quantum 225 and has already utilised it at a Cajun Festival in Drummondville, opera shows in Montréal and several corporate events. This summer, the Q225 will be used at a number of festivals.
The purchase of the DiGiCo Quantum 225 was prompted by Angers' experience mixing monitors on an SD10 for Belle et Bum, one of Quebec's longest-running live music shows. "I've been using the SD10 twice a week, every week, for two years, and I've learned a lot about DiGiCo on the show," he explains. “We’ve got three DiGiCo consoles: two SD10s, one for monitors and one for broadcast and an SD8 at FOH, as well as three SD Racks with 56 inputs and 32 bit pre amp cards.” Angers estimates that he has around 22 stereo and 22 mono mixes, 20 matrix inputs, and 24 matrix outputs, including some 16 effects. "I'm using all the inputs and outputs on the SD10. It's at full capacity," he adds.
The complexity of the show’s requirements, including those of the multiple artists performing on its three stages, demands flexibility and fluency. "When I started using DiGiCo for Belle et Bum, it was a game-changer," Angers notes. For this show, the ability to create a large number of mix presets has been a significant time-saver. "It's one of the biggest music TV shows in Quebec," he says. "The input and mix presets are a great tool because sometimes the artists move to different stages, and we have to re-patch quickly."
Recalling previously created presets also allows Angers to move quickly when artists return to the show, or when musicians and other talent is substituted in.
Dany Legendre, who works as a technical sales manager at GerrAudio, DiGiCo’s Canadian distributor, has been thoroughly impressed by Angers' mixing skills. "I've never seen someone mix like Hugo," he says. This statement carries even more weight given Legendre's own work as a mixer and his extensive expertise in the field.
Angers' unwavering drive to overcome challenges and maximise the potential of DiGiCo consoles has led to the development of a customised setup that is both innovative and unique. This enables him to seamlessly manage the complexities of multiple stages using just one SD10 console, which is complemented by his home-made pedal board, which connects to the SD10's GPIO connections via a Db37 cable (an older computer cable the console supports).
The pedal board offers 16 GPIOs, but Angers only requires eight to toggle through Macros, which he has programmed to communicate with other technicians, hosts, artists, and musicians, either individually or as a group. "It's primarily for talkback, so I don't have to use my hands on the console: I can use my foot,” he says. “I have Macros that allow me to communicate with the band, stage manager, MC, or guest on in-ears or a wedge, depending on who I need to speak to. This is incredibly beneficial."
In addition to his current set-up, Angers plans to incorporate a MIDI-based peripheral specifically for the Quantum 225, which he will use during his work on Belle et Bum with the SD10. His goal is to utilise the MIDI ports to adjust the volume of the stage announcer or his talkback matrix. “If there’s an empty port on the console, Hugo will use it,” Legendre adds jokingly.
Angers agrees, stating that he enjoys exploring the capabilities of the console and taking full advantage of all available connections. “I’m a geek, and I want to push the console as far as I can. If they have a bunch of connectors, I want to use all of them,” he exclaims!
According to Legendre, DiGiCo's software allows for the creation of Macros that can execute multiple actions at the press of a single button which, he says, sets DiGiCo apart from other platforms, where a button is often limited to performing just one function.
As an example of DiGiCo’s versatility, Legendre describes a tour on which he mixed using an SD7 and programmed the console to dim all of its lights and screens for slow and moody songs. “You can do whatever you want with Macros and Snapshots inside the SD software. Everything can be automated, and Hugo uses the pedal board to facilitate that automation,” he explains.
“What I love about DiGiCo is how fast I can do mixes,” adds Angers. “Honestly, I’ve used other consoles, but on my rider, it’s only DiGiCo now because they’re fast, they sound great, and there are so many things I can do with them that I can’t with other boards.”
DiGiCo's reliability is another essential factor for Angers, both as a mix engineer and equipment provider. He attests to the consoles' durability, describing them as a ‘tank’. His extensive experience with the SD10 and the impressive capabilities of DiGiCo's Quantum platform convinced him to invest in a Quantum 225 for Euphonie.
“The 225 offers even more than the SD Series for me; the Mustard EQ, Spice Rack, and Nodal Processing are very helpful, which gives me a lot more options,” he says. “When I engaged the Mustard EQ for the very first time, it was like, ‘wow – another game-changer for me.' When I use the EQ and apply, say, +3dB on 5k, there's even more precision than with the SD Series."
In addition to their advanced functionality and vast array of options, Angers finds that DiGiCo consoles offer a user-friendly layout and workflow that rivals that of analogue boards. “Although it may take a bit of time for first-time users to get accustomed to the console's features, once you understand the workflow, it's consistent across all models of DiGiCo consoles. When I switched to the Quantum 225, it was easy. What can I tell you? For my work, it’s the best console in the world,” he says.
Known for pushing the limits of a console's functionality, Angers plans to do the same with the Quantum 225, and he is even considering adding more DiGiCo consoles to Euphonie's inventory.
The console's biggest break is yet to come, as Angers will deploy it during the tour of Bruno Pelletier, the renowned Canadian singer, musician, and actor known as the 'Genius of French Music.' The tour will employ a minimum of two Quantum 225 consoles with two SD-Rack 32-bit preamps on Optocore, and will run for a full year, starting in January 2024.
"Since investing in Quantum 225 last summer, I have used it on many shows and festivals, and I can't wait to use it on Bruno Pelletier's tour next year, which should be a blast!" Angers concludes. "By pushing the console, I find that you always learn something new, and that's when I like to call Dany [Legendre] and say, 'Did you know you could do this?' In the future, I might consider adding another Quantum 225 or maybe a Quantum 338, but for now, the 225 has got everything I need, and it sounds perfect!"
22nd March 2023
GLP impression X5 provides feature-rich wash for Sigrid arena shows
Europe – GLP’s new impression X5 washlight has provided a perfect solution for lighting designer Ben Mansfield when trying to capture the considerable movement of Norwegian singer-songwriter Sigrid around concert stages.
Mansfield, who runs Tourlite Design with brother Josh, has been working with Sigrid since 2018 when she first started playing clubs and theatres. However the latest tour to promote her second album, How To Let Go – which started at the Spectrum Arena in Oslo in May 2022 – is her largest production tour yet and included the 12,500-cap. OVO Arena (Wembley Arena).
Mansfield is well used to the stage athleticism of the synth-pop star, in front of her four-piece band, and designed a rig that was flexible, scaleable and video-driven for festivals. “As a performer she is very active, running around the stage a lot, so lighting her consistently can be a challenge,” he says.
“The show is very colourful, so we always keylight Sigrid in white light, with her band in a desaturated colour. This really helps to lift her from the stage and add depth,” he continues. The impression X5 also provides a key source, “to give a two-tonal effect on her face”. For arena shows, the addition of a two-point follow spot system on top ensures the spotlight remains on Sigrid wherever she moves to.
Mansfield was keen to use the impression X5 as his preferred washlight from the get-go, and James Davies, from Tourlite’s regular vendor TSL, wasted no time in securing the fixtures. “James understands what we need and works relentlessly to make sure we are happy,” praises the production designer. David Stewart at GLP’s UK office was equally supportive, immediately making a demo unit available for programming purposes and supplying the ten fixtures requisitioned.
Explaining the underlying reason for this preference, Ben Mansfield states: “It is our first use of the X5 for us, aside from as part of a festival rig. But In my eyes, if a fixture is impressive at a festival and good to work with, that’s a great sign.
“For Sigrid, we needed a bright, tight and punchy wash, something that we could rely on for consistent colour rendering, which was also fast and lightweight. Output was the main requirement. The impression X5 Wash was the frontrunner on paper for what was needed, and proved itself in the show, cutting through especially with saturated colours. Other fixtures we’ve used in the past tend to only have impact when in white or tight beams.”
Each X5 contains 19 powerful 40W LEDs in GLP’s trademark baseless compact chassis. These provide enormous output, and the expanded colour gamut and high colour rendering, with tungsten simulation and magenta/green shift options, along with individual pixel control and built-in pattern macros.
In addition to these, a further 24 GLP impression X4 Bar 20 were deployed, mainly driven by the media servers to light the scenic elements that wrapped the video screen. “This brought the depth of the video content out onto the set and brought the elements together.” The show was piloted from a grandMA3 (run in Mode 2).
In summary, the designer says:, “The X5s behaved exactly as we would have wanted them to. We used them in their basic mode and didn’t utilise the pixel elements, this meant they cloned very easily from programming in the show.
“The impression X5 is going to be our large wash fixture of choice going forwards. It’s compact, feature rich and has the great colour rendering we want to see in a fixture.”
photos: Joshua Atkins
22nd March 2023
Kontra K Tour Powered by ChamSys
Germany – Chart topping German rapper Kontra K avoids the “tough guy” persona that many other artists in this genre adopt, but, as the old saying goes, “looks can be deceiving.” Emerging from the mean streets of some of Berlin’s roughest neighbourhoods, the popular artist is busy being a bona fide martial arts expert and a boxing coach when he isn’t performing on stage.
This street cred notwithstanding, Kontra K takes a more positive uplifting approach in his music and live performances. True to his motto “Towards The Sun,” he manages to convey an uplifting message without losing any of the raw intensity that are so much a part of this past and personality.
Both sides of this complex artist were conveyed in a recent arena tour of Germany, Switzerland and Austria, not just in his music and stage presence, but also in an immersive and fast-moving light show designed by Gunther Hecker and run by Marcus Herzog on ChamSys MagicQ MQ500M Stadium console.
Anchored by a large centre stage video wall that display images of the star along with breakout patterns, Hecker’s design exuded upbeat energy with its bright overhead light creating crossing patterns. The colours chosen were also bright and bold, often displayed as vivid monochromatic shades of red.
Kontra K remains always in the spotlight during the show as he transformed the stage with his powerful presence. Audience lighting from the overhead fixtures reinforced his strong connection to fans.
Running the elaborate eight-universe show with a deft touch, Herzog worked from cue list pages create for each song, busking at key moments. The intuitive, user-friendly layout of his MQ500 with its large space and 15” HD displays made it easier for him to keep up when busking Kontra K’s rapid fire performance.
“There were many features about this console that were extremely beneficial for me on this tour,” he said. “The Executor Page was very helpful in allowing me to control the followspots without the losing fader on my desk.”
Also receiving praise from Herzog were the Output Grids and Pixel Mapping Engine on the MQ500M console. “I was able to utilise both of the features for some nice effects,” he said, noting that many of the 165 fixtures in the tour’s rig were assigned to a separately controllable part of the grid.
Herzog credits the versatility of his console with helping him create some special moments during the shows various transitions and introductions, noting that these looks added an element of surprise to his design. And for a star like Kontra K, who defies expectations, “surprise” is one of the things fans love most.
22nd March 2023
L-Acoustics Elevates Omar Khairat’s Concert Experience at The Arena Kuwait
Kuwait – In a highly anticipated event, legendary Egyptian pianist and composer, Omar Khairat, and his full orchestra of 50 talented instrumentalists, made a triumphant return to Kuwait after a four-year absence. The concert, held at the end of last year at the nation's premier multi-purpose indoor hall, The Arena Kuwait, was a special musical evening that captivated audiences with Khairat’s emotive musical compositions, amplified by a state-of-the-art L-Acoustics Kara sound system that was delivered by the L-Acoustics Certified Provider in the Middle East, NMK Electronics Trading LLC.
The audio system for the event was expertly designed and supplied by Kuwaiti rental company, Al Lailak. The company's co-founder, Yousef N. Al Saedi, a seasoned sound engineer with over 15 years of experience, was contacted by the show organisers to create an audio system that would meet the specifications outlined in the musician's technical rider.
"One of the key requirements was to design a system that would offer evenly distributed sound throughout the entire venue, which can accommodate up to 5,800 people," explains Al Saedi. "Another challenging aspect was addressing the reflections from the venue’s glass balconies."
As a loyal customer of NMK for many years, and having recently invested in an additional stock of 24 K2 systems with A10 and X8 loudspeakers, Syva systems, 5XT speakers, as well as X12 and X15 monitors, the Lailak team was confident that the L-Acoustics sound system would meet all of the client's requirements.
By utilising L-Acoustics Soundvision 3D design and mapping software, the Al Lailak team performed virtual placement of the cabinets, while viewing the coverage of each particular hang and matching time delay where needed. "This gave us a clear view of the audio coverage even before we entered the venue," continues Yousef N. Al Saedi.
The final system comprised left right arrays of 12 Kara each, and delay out fill delivered by left / right hangs of three Kara each. Stage monitoring was a mix of X8, X12, and X15, with stage fills catered for by single A10 cabinets positioned on tripod stands in a two at the front and two in the rear configuration. The entire system was powered by 29 LA8 amplified controllers, with control via LA Network Manager. For the VIP area, seven X12 are mounted on a 40 metre long truss.
Al Saedi explains that their decision to invest in L-Acoustics was driven by the manufacturer’s industry-renowned sound quality, great design, and the fact that L-Acoutics is on the majority of technical riders. “It’s what the artists and the bands want based on over 90 percent of the riders, and this is why we have been working with NMK for many years to build our L-Acoustics arsenal of products,” he adds.
Following the success of Omar Khairat's musical evening, which received rave reviews from event organisers and attendees alike, the Al Lailak team was able to secure numerous other exciting opportunities.
"The concert was widely regarded as one of the most memorable events of the season, leading to enquiries from prominent event agencies seeking to engage us as the primary audio solutions provider for their events at The Arena Kuwait,” concludes Yousef N. Al Saedi. “Since then, we have had the privilege of providing audio for renowned artists such as Angham, Elissa, Nabeel Shuail, Sherine, Tamer Hosny, Mai Farouq, Marwan Khoury and Amr Diab. This success would not have been possible without the outstanding sound quality of the L-Acoustics system used for Omar Khairat's event. What also sets NMK and L-Acoustics apart for us is the dependability of their teams' expertise, professional service, and support whenever we require it."
22nd March 2023
Hippotizer Boreal+ MK2 fires up Icelandic Idol visuals
Iceland – The popular Idol TV singing competition burst back onto Icelandic screens recently after a hiatus of more than ten years, updating its staging and visuals with four LED screen elements which were all driven by Hippotizer Boreal+ MK2 media servers.
The fifth season’s finale was broadcast live from Reykjavik as contestants battled it out in front of a live audience, judging panel and TV viewers at home. The stage was dominated by an upstage centre Absen PL2.9 LED screen at 2688x1680px, flanked by two LED side walls at 2688x1512px. An additional Absen PL3.9 lite LED floor at 3584x512px completed the video fest, enveloping the set.
Icelandic TV technology solutions company Luxor served as production designers for the show, specifying the Boreal+ MK2 media servers for video designer Ingi Bekk’s creations. “We used two Boreal+ MK2 servers running as a main and backup unit, with content ingested on the backup server in the HapQ format, then synced over to the main server's media folders and media maps,” explains Luxor technician Ágúst Ingi Stefánsson. “Both servers' output signals were fed into a Barco E2, to make use of the E2's easy primary/backup destination configuration, as well as mixing inputs from the OB truck to the screens.
“Once up and configured, the Boreals really didn’t break a sweat no matter what heavy lifting was required of them and that gives us, and the creative minds we work with, the confidence to achieve visual mastery without worry.”
Ingi Bekk began conversations with creative director Unnur Elisabet Gunnarsdottir in the run up to the show to design the core visual identity of the show. “We opted for a more abstract feel that would swell and blend with the music and the performance without interfering with the focus on the performer,” says Bekk. “This led to us taking a ‘left-field’ approach to some of the designs that really added an interesting and exciting texture to the show as a whole.
“I have been a long time user of Green Hippo products, as well has having a long and successful working relationship with Luxor who supplied the Boreal+ MK2s. I think the simplest way to put it is that when it was confirmed the show was to be run on the Boreal+ MK2s I had the confidence to really push them as far as I could as the output processing headroom is plenty.”
All of the content was produced with Notch and rendered out for timecoded playback using HapQ at a one-to-one resolution to the screens. “The ingestion of the large files was incredibly quick and easy through the native Hap support on Hippotizer’s MediaManager, making Luxor's video programmer Olafur Starri Palsson’s job a little bit easier,” Bekk continues. “The Hippotizers performed brilliantly throughout without as much as a dropped frame, proving their reliability as a playback platform.”
The Luxor team used four HDMI outputs from the Boreal+ MK2 and mapped each LED slice to its respective output through the viewport configuration. “Ingi’s creative workflow worked best with the floor slice rotated 90 degrees CCW, so through the viewport we rotated it back to 90 degrees, meaning no compromises had to be made in the creative process for us to fit the content nicely into a standard 4K signal,” adds Stefánsson. “On top of that, we ran 34 universes of pixel strips via sACN from Hippotizer’s PixelMapper component.
“We always enjoy using the Hippotizers with a lighting desk for fast and efficient programming along with the lighting team’s timecode programming. We feed the same timecode into the Hippotizers, and make use of Sync Manager to keep timings as tight as possible. Ingi created content to the same timecode, ensuring we were always in sync with lighting. Lastly, we use CITP into the video programmers desk for easier overview of what content lived in the selected bank, directly from the desk.”
Twenty-four-year-old Saga Matthildur won the 2023 final, to be crowned Iceland's new Idol star. The production company and broadcaster was Stöð 2 (Channel 2).
21st March 2023
TiMax TrackerD4 essential for Paul Gatehouse Mandela sound design at The Young Vic
UK – Infused with the rhythms of South Africa, the sound design for Mandela at London’s Young Vic is defined by the distinct signature of Paul Gatehouse. His style is conferred through his workflow and his essential favoured technologies, one of which is TiMax TrackerD4. That the Young Vic has recently invested in TiMax TrackerD4, which Gatehouse deems, “a great asset.” He adds “It meant that we were able to be ambitious in our thinking with what is essentially a smaller budget approach.”
The production features 22 cast members and Gatehouse notes: “Without the automated performer tracking that TiMax provides we’d have to manually locate the position of all the vocal objects in Soundscape, which would be a lot of cues and button pushing for the sound mixer! This way that burden is removed for us.”
The Young Vic’s TiMax Tracker set-up includes eight TTd4 Sensors covering the stage and including above- and below-balcony scenes on either side of the stage. TiMax TrackerD4 utilises dual-mode UWB RF tracking technology, whose carrier-free aspect reduces errors caused by reflections, body blocking and scenery obstruction, with just two Sensors required to see a TTd4 Tag for precise and reliable 3D tracking. The multiple sensor viewpoints add robust redundancy and heighten coverage accuracy.
Due to the comprehensive coverage of TiMax TrackerD4 system, the Young Vic’s stage-side balcony areas were easily brought into the action. In one scene, the South African prime minister is depicted speaking from one side whilst Mandela’s comrades speak from another. Gatehouse explains, “…it was important that our tracking coverage extended to those areas, and in doing so we had a really wide and dynamic sound picture which elevated the storytelling.”
Gatehouse’s preference for TiMax TrackerD4 over other tracking systems is based on the product’s trusted heritage. “TTd4 has been developed by a company rooted in sound engineering and spatial audio and therefore it’s really simple for us to integrate and take on the essential job of locating all our actors’ locations on stage.”
Gatehouse also praises Tracker Translate, an ancillary product in the TiMax Tracker ecosystem which, as he explains it, “provides a simple and feature-rich way of configuring and controlling the individual tracking tags on the system”. He appreciates, “…the well thought out features for theatre, including the way we manage when roles are covered, or when performers are splitting roles between them whilst covering multiple parts.”
Paul’s highest praise, however, is reserved for, “…the support and attentiveness you get from Robin and Dave at Out Board.” He explains: “All the systems [Out Board] provide are personally configured for your project and the installation of the antennas and the coverage strategy are also guided by them. We’ve done a few shows with this system now and they still provide the same level of support, as if it was our first one.”
photos: Helen Murray
21st March 2023
Ayrton Diablo on stage with The Little Prince
Italy – The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, directed by Stefano Genovese, made its debut appearance 80 years after its publication in a magnificent theatrical production that toured Italy from Rome to Milan in February and will land in France and the rest of Europe next Autumn.
The production tackles some ‘grown-up’ themes, such as love, friendship, the meaning of life, and death, but does so in a simple language suitable for all ages. The story that tells us that adults never think about the really important things, i.e. those we are taught as children and forget once we grow up.
Lighting designer, Giovanni Pinna, chose 18 Ayrton Diablo fixtures for the theatrical staging, a choice dictated by the need for a lightweight motorised profile of small dimensions and high-performance.
As with other profile luminaires in the same Ayrton product line, the framing section allows for accurate positioning of its four shutter blades across a 100% surface in all positions, so the user can frame any object regardless of the position of the fixture, an invaluable feature for this production.
"The Diablos, rigged at different depths across the stage, were used for all selective and shaping work, sculpting the stage with light, as well as for effects (gobos/prisms) and for different situations using frost and wide zoom,” says Pinna. "As far as the concept of the project was concerned, we moved from very static and typically theatrical moments, to very dynamic and musical ones where effects and movement became the protagonists. Throughout the show, the Diablos were always on stage.
"The Diablo is certainly a very good product, probably the best in its range in terms of lighting performance and functionality, and has contributed substantially to the success of the project. It has excellent reliability and has given us no problems whatsoever. We are very likely to use it in a similar context in future.”
The Little Prince played in Rome at the Sistina Theatre from 3-12 February, in Bologna at the Celebrazioni Theatre from 16-19 February, in Turin’s Colosseo Theatre from 23-26 February, Florence’s Tuscany Hall from 2-5 March and will play in Milan’s Repower Theatre from 23 March – 2 April.
The Ayrton Diablo fixtures were supplied by technical production and rental company BOTW of Rome.
photos: © Fabrizio Moggio
21st March 2023
Newton at the Heart of ‘Here And Now’
USA – Comfortably the top-earning country music tour of 2022 and one of the highest of any genre last year, Chesney’s Here And Now Tour grossed over $135 million and saw him perform for 1.3 million fans across 41 shows, including 21 stadiums, making him the most popular touring country artist of the year.
The tour was originally scheduled to take place in 2020 but was, like so many, derailed by the global pandemic. Chesney eventually moved the tour to 2022 and named it after his album of the same name, bringing support acts Dan+Shay, Carly Pearce and Old Dominion with him. The tour closed in Foxborough MA with two sold-out shows that hosted a total of 122,000 fans.
Clair Global deployed a major audio system for all the concerts, using a combination of their Cohesion CO-12 and CO-10 line-array enclosures and CP-218 subwoofers. The three support acts used Avid, SSL and DiGiCo consoles, while Chesney’s FOH engineer Rob Scovill used another Avid S6L alongside an Avid S6L 24C redundant desk.
Scovill is one of the touring world’s most experienced engineers, with a portfolio that includes Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers, Matchbox Twenty, Prince, Rush, Def Leppard and Alice Cooper. A six-time TEC Award winner, his work with Chesney landed him FOH Engineer of the Year at the CMA (Country Music Association) Awards and has also earned him a nomination in the same category for the 2023 Parnelli Awards.
The Here And Now Tour was the first on which Scovill has worked with [Outline] Newton FPGA processor and he commented: "Kenny Chesney’s legendary stadium tours are more akin to a traveling festival in that, hosting multiple acts with headliner pedigrees during a show day, they become a case study in signal management and workflow, especially so at FOH.”
“Outline’s Newton provided us a very elegant and hassle free way to onboard multiple AES signals from multiple digital consoles to the Dante network for the PA drive that was designed and implemented by Dave Shatto and Clair Brothers. I'm very impressed by this platform and I can't wait to dig in deeper with it for future tours.”
20th March 2023
Jeff Ravitz selects Elation lighting for Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band 2023 World Tour
Worldwide – One of rock & roll’s living legends, Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band, kicked off their 2023 World Tour on 1 February in Tampa, Florida, with lighting design by long-time collaborator and Emmy-winning designer Jeff Ravitz. Ravitz, who has been with Springsteen since the “Born in the USA” tour in 1984/85, chose a selection of Elation Professional lights for the current tour, including luminaires from the company’s market-leading IP65 Proteus series. Lighting supply is by Christie Lites.
The 2023 tour marks the first time since 2017 that Springsteen & the E Street Band have toured together. As part of an overall lighting system, Ravitz is using Elation’s groundbreaking Proteus Hybrid moving heads and newly released Proteus Rayzor 1960 LED wash/mid-air/special effect lights, along with Proteus Rayzor 760 for stadium shows. The rig also features Elation Cuepix 16 IP LED matrix blinder and effect panels, and compact Smarty Hybrid moving heads.
According to Ravitz, a Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band concert must be crafted with both maximum power and maximum flexibility in mind. “There is a lot of creative territory to cover, considering Bruce’s broad catalogue of songs,” he comments with reference to the artist’s 50 plus years in music, 21 studio albums and legion of hits. “But the fundamental approach is to create impactful stage pictures that carry the audience through the music, lyrics, and Bruce’s and the band’s high energy performance. The aesthetic is driven by the idea that we sculpt each band member out of the darkness in a way that’s right for every song, and then surround them with a strong colour statement that is my/our impression of what feels in alignment with the sounds, words and rhythms. All of this is punctuated by keeping pace with the tempo and musical hits. Finally, a healthy dose of fun slathered over the top of it all.”
Not surprisingly, Ravitz says there were many features he was looking for when choosing his lighting rig but that his search started with the need for IP65-rated fixtures. “I knew the show was moving outdoors and I wanted to plan for that even though we didn’t need that capability for the arena shows played at the start of the tour,” he said. “The Proteus line was appealing because I knew we would be subjected to lots of rain during the stadium tour. And the fact that they’re terrific lights didn’t hurt!” The designer says this is his first use of Proteus lights in an outdoor setting, although he says he has used them indoors on a couple of TV shows.
The lighting over the stage consists of three primary trusses (upstage, mid-stage, downstage) plus a truss further downstage and a follow spot truss that hangs about thirty feet from the downstage edge. There are also side trusses right and left. For the arena shows, four trusses, each at a 45-degree angle to the room, hang from the four corners of the venue.
Ravitz has the Proteus Rayzor 1960s with their 19 60W RGBW LEDs trimmed high over the audience on the four corner trusses. “They are used to duplicate and extend our over-stage washes to the farthest reaches of the building to stretch the look of the stage and lighting to the walls,” he said. “I like the 1960s because of their larger size – a good look for high trims and stadiums – substantial output, and good color. A bit less of a priority for this specific show, but still important were the effects it can do, both with individual LED pixel control and the SparkLED.”
The Proteus Rayzor 1960 is an 18,000-lumen big brother of Elation’s popular Proteus Rayzor 760. It can zoom tight or spread wide for even stage coverage and designers can use its individual pixel control to create a variety of aesthetically unique eye candy looks. Like the Proteus Rayzor 760, it houses Elation’s exclusive SparkLED technology, a background sparkle look used for mood generation and an additional layer of effect.
Since the show is sold in a 360-degree configuration, there is audience everywhere: front, behind and to the sides of the stage. Ravitz comments: “To highlight them and bring the entire crowd into the performance space, we have Cuepix 16 IPs on every truss that has a clean shot to the audience: back, sides, front and the four corner trusses. That gives us a lot of coverage.” He says he landed on the Cuepix 16 IP after an exhaustive search for the right audience light for the show. “Their smooth field, clean look, good color and fun pixel effects convinced me.”
Eight Proteus Hybrids on the floor offstage, four per side, are used to provide accents and strong beamage and air graphics from a normally dark corner of the stage area. “This, like the 1960s, also widens the appearance of the stage,” Ravitz said. “The Proteus Hybrids are true beasts with enough output to cut through any amount of ambient light, even if gobod, or in deep colour.”
Finally, four Smarty Hybrids work from on the offstage corners of the far downstage runway, which is a full cross-stage run that drops down one foot below the main stage. Ravitz remarks that he needed a smaller light to work in harmony with the Proteus Hybrids to do air fans and moves, “but not be a big, bulky fixture.”
The European leg, which kicks off on 28 April in Barcelona, marks the start of the outdoor stadium tour and according to Ravitz the show grows substantially. The European package mirrors the North American with the addition of several more Proteus Hybrids, Rayzor 1960s and Cuepixes, and the introduction of the Proteus Rayzor 760s to the set-up.
For the stadium set-up, a bigger downstage runway extends right and left even further than for the arena show, going all the way to the side edges of the field. Out on those runways to the right and left of the stage, are enormous video screens. Ravitz explains: “For that setup there are more Proteus Hybrids under the screens on the deck, aiming up in the air, plus the 1960s that were on the corner trusses indoors move down to that same deck-level area, to make a really powerful line of washes and spots. Finally, we have more 1960s way out in the house on our followspot/audio delay towers.”
The Proteus Rayzor 760s will be a new element for the stadium set-up, and will be on the deck in a line across the centre of the stage at the very bottom of the lower downstage runway. “They will add a powerful outline of lights to that section, to match and extend what the 1960s are doing offstage right and left,” the designer says. “I chose the 760s because they fit better into the narrow space available in that area. In pre-vis, the entire combination of 1960s and 760s is looking amazing.”
Ravitz says the SparkLED effect in the Proteus Rayzor 760 and 1960 is in the plans for the stadium show, where the lights will be very close to the audience and directly behind Bruce when he works the lower offstage runway. He says they’ve been playing with the effect in the stadium show pre-vis and are excited about its potential.
Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band’s 2023 tour plays US dates to 14 April followed by European shows until 25 July before returning to North America for an autumn leg. The tour is scheduled to conclude on 10 December, 2023, in San Francisco.
17th March 2023
Dolly Dots End Tour with High Profile Symphonica in Rosso Performance
The Netherlands – The 2022 Symphonica in Rosso concert staged at Amsterdam Ziggo Dome was headlined by legendary Netherlands girlband Dolly Dots, who originally enchanted the pop scene with their foot-tappingly infectious songs in the 1980s. They ended their 2021/22 Reunion Tour with this special high impact show – rumoured to be their last ever live performance – accompanied by The European Pop Orchestra conducted by Guido Dieteren.
Lighting and set for the Dolly Dots tour was designed by associate lighting designer Thomas de Vries from renowned creative studio Live Legends, who specified 124 Robe Spiiders, 45 LEDBeam 150s and 31 BMFL Blades for this Symphonica in Rosso show that closed out 2022.
The set and lighting for their Symphonica in Rosso appearance featured a re-imagined and upwardly-engineered version of their touring system which, combined with a general production design for the full series of shows, provided an eye-catching backdrop for a series of unique orchestral-style Dolly Dots hits.
The Symphonica in Rosso concerts were organised and promoted by Mojo, with lighting equipment supplied by RentAll. The technical production was delivered by Unlimited Productions, and Bart Roelen was the technical production manager.
The set design was created by Niels Peeters for the Mojo team and involved slick multi-level risers for the orchestra and five large moving LED screens, with over 300 pixel-controllable LED strips outlining and highlighting various architectural features of the staging concept.
Thomas worked closely with Niels on the types of lighting fixtures needed and their placement, building on this already established design for the Symphonica on Rosso event.
To fill the larger stage space with high quality versatile light sources, Thomas decided to add the Robe fixtures.
The Spiiders were rigged on the overhead trusses at regular intervals together with strategically positioned spot fixtures. They proved perfect for flooding the stage with colour and vibrancy. Some were attached to the venue’s balcony rails specifically for illuminating the audience both for the cameras and to encourage the enthusiastic interaction between fans and artists.
Thomas chose Spiiders for their “power and brightness” and because they can produce beam and wash effects equally with rich and textured colours. He wanted the whole show to have a sumptuous and spectacular feel that would hang in people’s memories, and be a great historical footnote to one of the Netherlands’ best loved pop phenomena.
He also made the most of the Spiider’s flower effect to create prolific cool effects, and dovetailed kinetic looks and movement from the Spiiders with pixel chases along the LED strips “I specifically needed a fixture that would work alongside the strips, and Spiider is an LED wash light with so much more to offer,” he commented.
The LEDBeam 150s were used around the outline of the main stage and a catwalk leading to a circular B stage in the middle of the audience. They were also deployed around the edges of this second performance area.
Thomas noted that their small size was “ideal” for this scenario, unobtrusive for sightlines yet packing a nice potent punch as side and foot lights with very fast movement adding some great visuales to the bigger picture.
The BMFL Blades were used for front lighting and specials on the five Dolly Dots with ten on the upstage truss running on a remote controlled follow spot system, providing elegant and strong back spots.
Well established and popular for their brightness, quality of light and multiple features, the BMFL Blade is a familiar fixture that Thomas loves to use for lighting people and faces.
An additional nine Robe ESPRITES were specified by the broadcast lighting team led by TV lighting director Henk Jan van Beek of Light H’Art, as the show was recorded for airing on the Netherlands NPO1 TV channel five days later. These were used to reinforce front lighting, orchestra keys and to highlight soloists.
Thomas’s main objective was to capture all the different moods and atmospherics required by the music by combining lighting, video and the pixel elements on a single visual canvas, ensuring that all three different but related media worked together harmoniously. Each song and section of the show looked distinctive and brought clarity and nuance to the action onstage.
“It was a brilliant way to end the Dolly Dots tour with a massive bang, providing a positive and uplifting exit for the artists,” concluded Thomas, adding that he “really enjoyed” working collaboratively with all the different disciplines and companies involved to present this fabulous show to the public.”
photos: Nathan Reinds