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grandMA3 for Hypersonic Fest

23/02/2024

Bruno Poet casts a spellbinding light on The Witches at the NT with Martin MAC Ultras

23/02/2024

Pro Audio Systems Produces Magical Projection Project

23/02/2024

Joni Mitchell and Brandi Carlile deliver historic performance at 66th Grammy Awards, using a Sennheiser Digital 6000 system and Neumann KK 205 microphone capsules

23/02/2024

­­­­Bandit Brings the Lights for Cody Johnson’s Sold Out Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena Debut

22/02/2024

White Light Goes Wilde with The Picture of Dorian Gray

22/02/2024

Claypaky Skylos and Xtylos Aqua Fixtures Light Up the New Year at Edinburgh’s Hogmanay

22/02/2024

M-Vision lasers take Astra Film Festival visitors on a cinematic voyage

22/02/2024

Naostage K SYSTEM is no joke for Montreux Comedy festival

22/02/2024

Lightswitch evolves Enchanted Forest of Light with expanded Elation lighting package

20/02/2024

Bandit Lights the Way for Winter Jam 2024

20/02/2024

Andrew Dingman Immerses at Crossroads Winter Conference with Chauvet Professional

20/02/2024

Roland Greil scores a hat-trick with Ayrton Domino, Huracán and Cobra for the AFC Asian Cup Opening Ceremony in Qatar

20/02/2024

Patrick Dierson Creates Big Impression at iHeartRadio ALTer EGO with 4Wall and Chauvet Professional

19/02/2024

“Step Into the Light” with Elation Proteus mesmerises at Valkea Art & Light Festival

16/02/2024

Cohesion Shines in Unforgettable Grammys Debut as Touring’s Top Audio Products Take the Stage

16/02/2024

Brompton ‘Embraces the Extra-Ordinary’ for Australian awards season premier

16/02/2024

Elation and Best Audio & Lighting support CQLP lighting design competition in France

16/02/2024

Initiative sees the Unusual team train local riggers too

15/02/2024

DiGiCo Quantum 225 at centre of precision upgrade for ultimate streamlined touring solution

15/02/2024

Robe works up a Sweat for Nathaniel Rateliff show

15/02/2024

Extensive Clear-Com System for Love Is Blind Ushers in The Newest Season in Time for Valentine’s Day

15/02/2024

Having a Crush on grandMA3

15/02/2024

Claypaky Sharpy Plus Lights Up Fito Páez Anniversary Tour in Buenos Aires

15/02/2024

Beautiful Feelings for Skan PA Hire and The Chemical Brothers

15/02/2024

grandMA3 for Hypersonic Fest

grandMA3 for Hypersonic Fest
grandMA3 for Hypersonic Fest

Hong Kong – Hypersonic Fest was a one-day experimental event organised by Hypersonic Lab in Hong Kong, aimed at inviting people to enjoy the talents of 37 diverse Christian artists and music bands from Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea, Japan and Malaysia and to explore the possibilities of Christian music. The festival was staged at Kowloon Bay International Trade & Exhibition Centre and featured four action-packed stages of live music performance.

Production equipment for the Main Stage including lighting was supplied by the MPHK Group and project managed by Raymond Wong, working closely with LD Kei Lui who utilised a grandMA3 full-size console, a decision taken jointly between the LD and Raymond.

Kei is based in Macau and is technical manager of the famous Para Club, as well as running his own company in Hong Kong / Macau for freelance lighting design projects like this.

His task at Hypersonic Fest was to light all the bands on the Main stage, many of whom he was seeing live for the first time, give them the best possible shows and make each one stand out and look different, all of which had to be achieved in a highly compressed timescale of only four hours for get in, set up, prep and programming!

Using grandMA3 in this context really helped a demanding process and saved time.

Kei had 43 moving lights in the space on overhead trusses with around 1,200 parameters of control, so it was not a large rig, but ideal for the space and he worked it hard!

He commented that the MA Startshow file is “great” and saves a lot of preparation time in presenting a bunch of predefined effects, groups, layouts, phasers, etc., that can be applied to the fixtures.

Other time-saving grandMA3 features he mentioned include Selection Grid, MAtricks and again phasers, which together with others “are very intuitive, easy to understand and have no limit on quantities.”

He notes that the grandMA3 Phasers are seriously more powerful than the previous generation effects and come with additional adaptable features like multi-step loops. He thinks the Recipe function can save serious time, even when preparation work has not been possible.

He has been a grandMA user for many years including in the club, having recently switched to grandMA3.

Attended by around 2,000 people, in addition to being able to enjoy some great music, Hypersonic Fest provided a platform for the artists to find new fans. Making the most of a general festive atmosphere in the venue, the event also offered market stalls and other interactive and fun activities.

photos: © Hypersonic Fest

www.malighting.com  

23rd February 2024

MA Lighting

Bruno Poet casts a spellbinding light on The Witches at the NT with Martin MAC Ultras

Bruno Poet casts a spellbinding light on The Witches at the NT with Martin MAC Ultras
Bruno Poet casts a spellbinding light on The Witches at the NT with Martin MAC Ultras

UK – Lucy Kirkwood and Dave Malloy’s stunning musical adaptation of Roald Dahl’s The Witches, directed by Lyndsey Turner, delighted audiences at the National Theatre over the Christmas season. Alongside an immense creative team including set designer Lizzie Clachan and video designer Ash J Woodward, lighting designer Bruno Poet deployed Martin MAC Ultras to help deliver his spellbinding lighting design.

Bruno had worked with director Lyndsey Turner previously on "Light Shining In Buckinghamshire” by Carol Churchill at the National and on “Faith Healer” by Brian Friel at The Donmar. “Collaboration is the key to a successful musical and Lyndsey is a director who understands how scenery, lighting and projection can work together to tell a story,” he said.

For The Witches, lighting and projection were needed to transform the physical scenery when required for magical and musical moments. “To put it crudely, if the physical set describes the “normal” world of Lukes House, the street, a bus stop, a hospital, the Hotel Magnificent and its reception area, ballroom, bedrooms, dining room and kitchen,” Bruno explained, “The lighting and projection transforms these spaces into the fantastical worlds described in the songs and by the Witches spells.”

From the beginning, Lyndsey Turner and Lizzie Clachan were keen to close-in the vast space of the Olivier Theatre to make it more friendly to child performers (and audiences), so for much of the show only the downstage part of the stage is used. Lizzie designed a kind of proscenium frame to close the space in even more. 

“A lot of Olivier shows rely on long backlight shots through haze to sculpt and frame the performances,” explained Bruno. “In The Witches, the framing was done by more traditional scenery, but the lighting still had to deliver a huge variety of looks and big musical numbers, in spite of very limited places to hang lights above the stage. Luckily Jack Williams the head of lighting in the Olivier allowed me to move lights away from their usual rep rig positions so I could design a rig specific to this show and this set.”

In total of 23 MAC Ultras were in action, 11 positioned on the centre stage overhead truss, six at FOH, one each side as a high slot from the equivalent of a prosc arch boom position and two per side as a downstage high side light equivalent.

Bruno’s previous experience with MAC Ultras had been on Bad Cinderella on Broadway, where he also described them as the workhorses of that production. “I love that they have the punch to be able to light the whole stage with one directional light source. For me they are delivering the look of a single 4k HMI in an opera but in a much more useable and flexible form.”

And on The Witches, Bruno confirms they were used in “pretty much every scene”. 

Commenting on the MAC Ultra’s immense output, he said, “They have enough intensity that even a fairly wide zoom in a colour still had impact. Also, we designed custom gobos to look like shadows of the scenic proscenium and the Ultras were bright enough to work well even with a gobo in.”

Bruno’s colour palette for the production included many strong saturated colours: a lot of purple for the Witches, deep blue, red and pinks, for which the LD praised the MAC Ultra’s “vibrant and punchy” colour rendition. “Plus, lots of shades of white were used,” he added, “especially warm white which worked very well for a cold LED source."

The MAC Ultra’s next-generation framing system also impressed, with the framing described as “smooth and accurate and pretty straight even at wide zoom. Plus, good soft edges on shutters when needed.”

Finally, Bruno confirmed The National Theatre’s in-house SpotMe remote system (from Robert Juliat) was used with the MAC Ultras and MAC Encores. “SpotMe was totally fantastic, the best remote system I’ve used. And I’ve used them all.” Bruno said. “The fact that it’s controlled by a human operating a real followspot means you get by far the best and smoothest tracking. Seemed very quick to set up and program into the show as well.”

production photos: Marc Brenner
Bruno Poet casts a spellbinding light on The Witches at the NT with Martin MAC UltrasBruno Poet casts a spellbinding light on The Witches at the NT with Martin MAC Ultras

23rd February 2024

Pro Audio Systems Produces Magical Projection Project

Pro Audio Systems Produces Magical Projection Project
Pro Audio Systems Produces Magical Projection Project

UK - The Art-Deco Grade II listed Queens Hotel has been a majestic presence on Leeds’ City Square since its construction in 1937. Designed by W.H. Hamlyn and faced with white Portland Stone, it is a striking landmark which over the years has hosted many notable guests. Princess Grace of Monaco, Cary Grant, Nelson Mandela and Laurel and Hardy, all chose the comforts of the Queens. During the recent festive season, The Queens was the focus of a spectacular art installation which saw LeedsBID (Leeds Business Improvement District) collaborate with Barcelona-based creative studio Onionlab on ‘Magical Night at The Queens’, a visual spectacular which used the elegant architecture of the Hotel as a canvas for multiple projections.

The ambitious and innovative project, which embraced state-of-the-art technology and world-class design, required the highest level of technical and logistical expertise. LeedsBID engaged Bradford-based Pro Audio Systems (PAS) to co-ordinate and supply every technical aspect of the installation, which saw the ten-minute show, voiced by Celia Imrie, repeated every 30 minutes between 4.30pm and 8.30pm for nine nights in the run-up to Christmas.

PAS’s Joel Sheldon takes up the story: “Our first contact with LeedsBID was back in the summer of 2022 when we provided some large format displays and audio playback for its ‘Jurassic Trail 3’ project in Leeds. Since then we’ve worked on a couple more projects with them, one of which was to adapt an electric vehicle as a mobile advertising unit for ‘Welcome to Leeds’. LeedsBID is a forward-thinking organisation which places great emphasis on quality at the heart of all its work, so when we were approached with its ambitious plan for a Christmas spectacular, we knew that it would be a serious undertaking with very high production values. Many months of planning followed, during which time all the agencies involved demonstrated a fantastic can-do attitude to what became a huge collaborative effort.”

On the technical front, PAS oversaw the specification, supply and installation of all the projectors, networking, playback and control, as well as a substantial audio system. Its team was central to designing the video systems to ensure that the content was seamlessly projected onto the ‘canvas’ of The Queens Hotel to achieve complete coverage with optimal brightness. PAS was also responsible for selecting and co-ordinating a number of trusted subcontractors to implement the wide variety of ancillary elements of the project under its direction.

Chris Beardwell of PAS worked on the technical aspects of the projection: Once every feature of the buildings frontage had been laser-mapped by Autoplot to enable optimal design of the content, we had to construct two 7.5 metre scaffold towers on City Square to house the projectors. We worked collaboratively with city stakeholders to complement the ‘Making A Stand’ art installation for the year of culture, as well as a bustling Leeds Christmas Market, with stalls and concessions at the front of the Square. We needed significant elevation to achieve uninterrupted projection with good sight lines, which avoided any shadows.

“Our friends at Raven Staging duly obliged, with great emphasis placed on safety, as well as physical protection from the elements for the ten projectors deployed for the job. Given the time of year and the possibility of bad weather, we needed to ensure that we eliminated every potential risk, so also in collaboration with Raven Staging, we installed robust weather-shielding, heaters, temperature monitors, and even a weather station to feed information to our control centre.”

A total of ten Panasonic projectors (eight PT-RQ50K and two PT-RQ35K) were deployed, with seven in use and three as backups. Networking, playback, and control was via a combination of Netgear AV Line M4250 network switches fully loaded with fibre interconnectivity, Lightware DVI over fibre video extenders, Green Hippo Karst+ media servers and Datapath FX 4 controllers.

Chris continues: “Experts, Motion Mapping from Ipswich supplied the media servers and worked closely with us on aligning the projectors and programming the media servers, to ensure that we brought Onionlab’s vision to life exactly as it was designed. This was yet another fine example of the collaboration that characterised the whole project.”

For the audio element of the show, PAS installed a self-powered Meyer Sound system comprising six MSL-4 long throw loudspeakers, six UPA-1P wide coverage loudspeakers and four 700-HP subwoofers, controlled by a Meyer Sound Galileo GALAXY processor. The system was designed to ensure the required SPL and coverage to provide clear, powerful audio in a crowded outdoor environment. Whilst the show audio was all distributed via Dante and a Yamaha QL-1 console, PAS installed a separate discreet analogue system with console as backup, so that in the event of any failure on the network, it would still be possible to communicate with the large gatherings at the Square in the event of an emergency. In an innovative and imaginative move, the electric vehicle which PAS had previously customised for LeedsBID was deployed to caption the show’s audio for deaf people, utilising HDMI over IP technologies.

From a logistical standpoint PAS had to work within strict parameters from start to finish. The city centre location meant that set-up and strip-down times were limited to between midnight and 4am, so planning and co-ordination was of the utmost importance. Dave Simpson, business development director at PAS reflects on the challenges:

“Joel, Chris and the entire team, including all the outside contractors, brought the project together superbly. Every person from every company involved delivered exceptional service; it’s one thing setting up in daylight hours on a summer’s morning, but quite another in the freezing early hours in December, especially up against strict deadlines! At the end of the run of shows, everything had to be stripped out very quickly and again the whole team performed this mammoth task with incredible patience and efficiency.

“The public’s response to the shows was incredibly positive, people were wowed by the quality of the installation, which created a huge draw, increasing footfall to businesses in the area and creating a tremendous festive atmosphere in the city centre. LeedsBID recognised the impact that art and technology can make, and through the collaborative efforts of all the stakeholders involved, succeeded in delivering a spectacular show. We’re very proud to have played a major part in bringing their ambition to life.”

James Wilson, project and events manager, LeedsBID added: Bradford-based Pro Audio Systems, alongside Onionlab, were fantastic to collaborate with for Magical Night at The Queens in City Square, Leeds. The team were attentive, responsive and problem solvers through and through, delivering technical excellence for our projection mapping spectacular.”

photos: JAM Photography
Pro Audio Systems Produces Magical Projection ProjectPro Audio Systems Produces Magical Projection Project

23rd February 2024

Joni Mitchell and Brandi Carlile deliver historic performance at 66th Grammy Awards, using a Sennheiser Digital 6000 system and Neumann KK 205 microphone capsules

Joni Mitchell and Brandi Carlile deliver historic performance at 66th Grammy Awards, using a Sennheiser Digital 6000 system and Neumann KK 205 microphone capsules

USA – History is often made at the annual GRAMMY Awards ceremony and this year was no exception, with legendary 80-year-old Canadian singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell performing on the live broadcast for the first time in her decades-long career. The historic performance, also featuring Brandi Carlile, Jacob Collier, Blake Mills, Allison Russell, Lucius and SistaStrings, was captured with a variety of Sennheiser microphones, including Carlile and Mitchell’s own custom gold SKM 6000 handheld transmitters with Neumann KK 205 condenser capsules.

Also on the awards show, which was broadcast live from the Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles on 4 February, rapper Travis Scott performed a medley of songs from his latest, GRAMMY-nominated album using an SKM 6000 with a Sennheiser MD 9235 cardioid dynamic capsule, a combination that his monitor engineer, Justin Hoffmann, calls “a game-changer.”

Mitchell has won ten GRAMMY Awards since taking home her first in 1970, for her second album, Clouds. The album includes “Both Sides, Now,” one of Mitchell’s best-known songs, which she performed on this year’s broadcast. Prior to the broadcast she won her latest GRAMMY, for Best Folk Album, for Joni Mitchell at Newport, a live recording from the 2022 Newport Folk Festival, an event she first played in 1967. Mitchell accepted the award with Carlile, who, as the album’s producer, also won a GRAMMY: her eleventh. During those earlier award ceremonies Carlile additionally won a GRAMMY in the Best Americana Performance category for Brandy Clark’s “Dear Insecurity,” on which she is featured.

Working with the GRAMMY audio team, Sean Quackenbush, Carlile’s front of house engineer for the past eight years, put Sennheiser microphones on most of the musicians for Mitchell’s performance, which featured everyone seated in a semi-circle, with Collier at the grand piano. Carlile, who owns a pair of gold-plated SKM 6000s with KK 205 capsules and Digital 6000 receivers, gifted Mitchell an identical set last year for her 80th birthday, reports Quackenbush, who brought all four mics and receivers to the Crypto.com Arena for the show following rehearsals at Mitchell’s house the day before.

For background vocals, he continues, he chose Sennheiser MMD 935 dynamic capsules for Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig of Lucius and Chauntee and Monique Ross of SistaStrings. “We put a pair of e 906s on Blake Mills’ amp for stereo; he’s just a genius artist. And we put a Neumann KM 184 condenser mic on Allison Russell’s clarinet, which sounded fantastic, and a KM 184 on the cello, which sounded beautiful.”

Except for Mills and his electric fretless guitar, all the musicians played acoustic instruments; Quackenbush also notes that he wanted to make sure that the FOH mixer was able to get enough gain before feedback with everyone monitoring through floor wedges. “But from the moment Joni opened her mouth it was just brilliant. There’s so much power in her voice, it’s amazing. That microphone captures and projects as if you’re standing right next to her singing in her living room. There’s no coloration. It’s the purest sound that you can possibly get.”

Quackenbush also won a GRAMMY Award – his first – for his role as recording engineer on Joni Mitchell at Newport. The album captured Mitchell’s surprise first public performance since suffering a brain aneurysm in 2015, which temporarily took away her ability to walk or talk. “It’s Joni’s moment and Joni’s award, and I’m just fortunate enough to be a part of it,” he says. “When I showed up at the GRAMMYs 20-something years ago with Robert Randolph and the Family Band, who would have thought that years later I would win a GRAMMY?”

“I’ve been using a Sennheiser microphone, either the SKM 5000 with the MD 5235 dynamic capsule or the SKM 6000 with the MD 9235 capsule, the last nine or ten years,” Clair Global monitor engineer Justin Hoffmann reports. He worked with Travis Scott at this year’s GRAMMY Award telecast as his artist performed three songs: “My Eyes,” “I Know ?” and “Fe!n” from his latest chart-topping album, Utopia, which was nominated for a Best Rap Album award this year. Scott has been GRAMMY-nominated ten times and has won a Latin Grammy Award, Billboard Music Award, MTV Video Music Award and multiple BET Hip Hop Awards.

“It’s the only microphone I put in people’s hands,” Hoffmann says. “It doesn’t matter what the genre, what the volume level, we’re always trying to accomplish the best sound. That microphone is what makes my job easier, the artist’s job easier and the front of house engineer’s job easier. And it makes for a better time for the audience.”

Hoffmann likens a Travis Scott show to Korn, who were the biggest, baddest metal band on the road when he was growing up. “If you go to see a Travis show, you’ve never heard anything like it. Travis has become this generation’s biggest rap-metal star. And that microphone is at the forefront of it.”

Switching to the MD 9235 capsule was a gamechanger because of its very tight polar pattern, Hoffmann explains. “That choice originally started from the front of house engineer demanding that microphone all the time, because a lot of our artists are out in front of the PA,” he says. Plus, artists tend to hold the microphone a certain way these days. “They all want to cup the microphone. That doesn’t bother me a bit, because with that microphone it doesn’t change the tone at all. So, if your artist grabs a microphone that way and you’re not using that microphone, you’re starting at a disadvantage.”

Neither Scott nor Hoffmann have an endorsement deal, he adds, yet Jessica Dabbs, Sennheiser relationship management, has always taken amazing care of them. “I’ve had a mic flown from Australia to South Africa; they had it for me in Pompeii, where we shot the movie. She’ll get that microphone to me anywhere on the globe, no questions asked, no charge. It’s that level of customer service, and the understanding that she has of how important that microphone is, that is the beginning of the whole process.”

photo: Yvonne Murray

23rd February 2024

­­­­Bandit Brings the Lights for Cody Johnson’s Sold Out Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena Debut

USA – Bandit Lites is lighting up platinum selling hitmaker Cody Johnson. With his undeniably country sound, Johnson’s recent sold-out appearance at Nashville’s Bridgestone broke records as the most tickets sold by a male country artist in their Bridgestone debut. Johnson performed a nearly two-hour set before a crowd that never sat. One of the most poignant statements from the superstar during the night, “God put me on this earth to make country music country music again.”

“Richard ‘Wookie’ Whitley designed The Leather Tour floor package and the full 360 rig used in Bridgestone,” said Bandit Lites client representative Allen Deneau. “Both are dynamic in their capabilities, but easy to transport and deploy. Project manager Don Lockridge was extremely instrumental in helping Wookie and Clint shape the rig into what we used for the show. Months of discussions, drawing updates, gear discussions all went into this rig.”

Bandit Lites provided more than 175 fixtures including Ayrton Khamsin S, Chauvet Strike 4 Array Blinders, GLP JDC1 LED Strobes, HES SolaPix 19 and a grandMA3 Full console for control as well as more than 420 feet of Tyler truss.

“The washes are my go-to for flooding the stage with colour, but also using for colour effects,” Wookie said. “I have them zoomed in for a few of the upbeat songs for that added punch and tight beam look. Strobes are meant just for that. Those build up moments or those big hits where you need that little extra oomph. Having them for colour effects and bumps helps a lot too. The crowd lights were perfect for the big hit moments or bringing up while Cody talks.”

Two projects were brought before the Bandit team: design a new floor rig that would be ready to roll at the beginning of the year as well as plan and design a system for Johnson’s sold-out Bridgestone show for 2 February. Bandit assisted in fixture selection, prepping and sending it out the door.

In designing the lighting for the 180-degree style arena show Wookie crafted a floor package that would quickly deploy, blend in behind the riser set up and still put out stunning aerial effects.

“The Ayrton Ghiblis and High End/ETC Solapix 19 were the way to go for this,” said Wookie. “They have a great zoom range and the colour saturation is amazing. The built-in FLEX effect engine provides some great looks as well, especially if you are trying to save on parameters or not wanting to run them in the full pixel mode.”

“The Ghiblis have been perfect for aerial effects and breakup patterns,” continued Wookie. “For a couple of songs I focus them on our backdrop and they really provide some depth and give a different intimate feel to those particular songs. We also have some GLP JDC1 that give great accents and have provided me with some really cool silhouette moments from behind the riser set-up.”

The 360-degree style Bridgestone Arena show saw Wookie’s original system evolve into an aerial aspect, using the Ayrton Khamsins for additional power on the profile end.

“They really provided some punch, even with a saturated colour and the gobo/breakup patterns were terrific. Going from a Ghibli to Khamsin was simple and helpful as well.”

Wookie kept the SolaPix 19 since they were delivering on punch, range in colour and zoom, adding three additional fixtures on the downstage and upstage deck corners for added moments and looks as well as three Khamsins Spots in each corner of the stage on the deck.

“I’m a real big fan of the Chauvet Strike Array 4,” shared Wookie. “The output is exactly what I needed, and that red shift is top tier. They were the way to go for the Bridgestone show. Cody likes to see and talk with the crowd and the Strike Array 4 were a big help and the right fixture for these moments. We also integrated the Follow-Me system for this show with some of the Khamsin fixtures. Both of these setups are ran with an MA3 full size in mode 3 while atmosphere/haze comes from 2- MDG The One.”

Deneau said Bandit team executed its commitment to excellence, as the lighting, video and audio all converged for this rig for the first time at the Bridgestone Arena show adding: “John Lucksinger was the crew chief for the day along with Andrew Ellis who handled load in and Follow Me, Sam Morgan as the SL dimmer tech, Cheyan DeBrower and Derek Ingrao handling much of the on-stage load in and tech. They all did Bandit proud.”

Wookie describes working with Bandit Lites as terrific, sharing: “Any issues, problems or changes are always dealt with quickly. I can send out an email with a problem and within five minutes or less Don, Allen, or anyone else they attached would respond and help in every way possible. Bandit was the right choice for us, and I have all my trust and faith in them.”

“As usual, the COJO team was also nothing short of superstars,” finished Deneau. “They were ready for anything and integrated perfectly with our crew for the day. The show looked incredible, and the programming Wookie did was very well thought out and impactful, but also matched the band and Cody’s performance perfectly. It’s been an amazing partnership and I’m very much looking forward to it continuing for a long time.” 

22nd February 2024

White Light Goes Wilde with The Picture of Dorian Gray

White Light Goes Wilde with The Picture of Dorian Gray

UK – Based on the novel by Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray is a ground-breaking production adapted and directed by multi award-winning Kip Williams, artistic director of the acclaimed Sydney Theatre Company, which tells this classic story through an explosive interplay of live performance and video. It recently opened at the Theatre Royal Haymarket to critical acclaim and stars Sarah Snook who plays an astonishing 26 roles. It features a lighting design by Nick Schlieper who approached White Light (WL), a d&b solutions company, to provide the lighting equipment.

Whilst there have been several stage adaptations of The Picture of Dorian Gray over the years, it’s the first time that this version, which premiered four years ago at the Roslyn Packer Theatre in Sydney, has played overseas. Nick, who also lit the original Australian production, explains: “Although I’ve always been familiar with the novel, I haven’t actually seen another stage adaptation, or even any of the film versions of Dorian Gray, so was able to enter our production with a fresh pair of eyes as it were. What I would say though, is that this production is highly unusual in that it’s a real amalgamation of forms. It’s neither a piece of theatre which incorporates some video, nor is it a film where you get to simultaneously see the ‘making of’. What we set out to do was find a true melding of the two forms, where each one serves to heighten and amplify one’s experience of the other. We shift the focus throughout the evening, but the two always exist in a symbiotic balance. Some have described it as ‘Cine-theatre’, a term I wouldn’t entirely disagree with.”

Given the production is so unique, this naturally meant that Nick’s lighting design had to fulfil a very specific brief. He comments: “One of my roles is to make the camera images work for the screen, while simultaneously ensuring that the stage images can hold their own. We use up to five cameras at a time, two of these being Steadicams, so we’re frequently shooting on the move and often around 360 degrees. The challenge is, of course, to find a quality of light that brings the film images into the aesthetic realms of the theatre, while still working for the cameras and looking good on screen. Then there’s the added difficulty of perfectly matching a live image to a pre-recorded one, to the point where the audience can believe that both exist within the same time and space. It’s all quite an intriguing puzzle!”

Knowing what his lighting design needed to achieve, Nick contacted the hire team at WL to supply him with his lighting fixtures. He explains: “In terms of moving lights (which do the vast majority of the work here), I originally opted for the MAC Encore CLDs because they’re very quiet. That said, they were also incredibly useful for the video element, given their consistency of colour, especially in the ‘shades of grey’ spectrum. The Encores do pretty well everything in this show! There are lots of one-off presets where a couple will do a very specific shot, which is usually to do with a particular camera angle, but then in the final scene, they also light the entire stage.”

He adds: “Alongside this, there’s a small number of conventional Source Fours, mostly for the downstage area, a one colour backlight coverage and a handful of my favourite old Revolutions. These are for specific moments of downstage and direct contact with the audience, where I needed some tungsten for skin tones.”

Given the complicated nature of the production, this was obviously something Nick had to consider, alongside the Haymarket space, when creating his design. He states: “There’s no doubt that The Haymarket is an absolutely gorgeous theatre, but the challenge of squeezing this show into it has been immense. It’s not just four metres less proscenium width, a complete lack of wings and a precipitous rake that were the problem. The lack of depth, specifically the lack of grid depth, was the single biggest issue and it took me ages to come up with a re-hang of the show that I even dared to seriously suggest to our PM Rich Blacksell! We actually developed a code, based on different colours of Rizla cigarette papers to describe the clearances in the grid! But amazingly, we managed to squeeze it all in and are now delighted with how it all looks.”

photos: Marc Brenner
White Light Goes Wilde with The Picture of Dorian GrayWhite Light Goes Wilde with The Picture of Dorian Gray

22nd February 2024

Claypaky Skylos and Xtylos Aqua Fixtures Light Up the New Year at Edinburgh’s Hogmanay

Claypaky Skylos and Xtylos Aqua Fixtures Light Up the New Year at Edinburgh’s Hogmanay
Claypaky Skylos and Xtylos Aqua Fixtures Light Up the New Year at Edinburgh’s Hogmanay

UK – Edinburgh's Hogmanay celebrations always draw big festive crowds with myriad activities and programmes for all ages. For the 2023/24 event, Claypaky Skylos and Xtylos Aqua fixtures played key roles in the midnight moment where all eyes turned to Edinburgh Castle.

Unique Assembly produced Edinburgh’s Hogmanay 2023/24 for Edinburgh Council and Event Scotland. The four-day programme ushering in the new year included internationally acclaimed ABBA sensations Björn Again, headlining the Night Afore Disco Party and the New Year’s Revels birling an all-night cèilidh and live band party. Princes Street and Princes Street Gardens hosted some 50,000 party-goers at the world-famous Street Party and Concert in the Gardens, where everyone looked to the hilltop Castle as midnight approached.

Lighting designer Ben Terry was tasked with enhancing the crucial moment and showcasing Edinburgh Castle as the centrepiece of Hogmanay. To achieve this, he aligned ten Claypaky Skylos laser-source searchlights and 16 Xtylos Aqua IP66-rated laser-source moving heads along the Argyll Battery, the main artillery defence on the north side of the Castle in days gone by.

“I hoped the Skylos would have the punch to fill the sky and be seen through the firework smoke. They definitely delivered and were incredibly eye-catching,” Terry reports. “The Xtylos Aqua were tried and tested from their use in last year’s Hogmanay, and once again, they proved to be bright, colourful and versatile.”

Terry found that the complement of Skylos and Xtylos Aquas fixtures “were visible from all over the city in both white and colour with a good range of beam versatility with the zoom and prisms.” He was also “super impressed at how punchy they were when zoomed out into the fatter beam.”

Programmer Martin McLachlan joined Terry for the event.

CP Wave Ltd. is the UK and Ireland’s official partner for Claypaky providing on-the-ground sales, service and support.

www.claypaky.com

Claypaky Skylos and Xtylos Aqua Fixtures Light Up the New Year at Edinburgh’s HogmanayClaypaky Skylos and Xtylos Aqua Fixtures Light Up the New Year at Edinburgh’s Hogmanay

22nd February 2024

Claypaky

M-Vision lasers take Astra Film Festival visitors on a cinematic voyage

M-Vision lasers take Astra Film Festival visitors on a cinematic voyage
M-Vision lasers take Astra Film Festival visitors on a cinematic voyage

Romania – Astra Film Festival is a spectacular event, held at the end of each year in Sibiu, a former European capital of culture. A major event in the European film community, the festival lasts just over a week and welcomes movie fans of all ages to venues across the city, most famously the fully immersive Full Dome.

Last December, Digital Projection’s super bright 1-Chip DLP M-Vision laser projectors delivered an unparalleled cinematic experience to Astra Film Festival visitors. Considered as one of the festival’s highlights, the Full Dome is a 300 sqm multimedia projection dome in the city’s main square. Every year it delivers a 360° audio-visual experience that immerses the audience in the cinematic highlights of the festival.

“As a Full Dome professional, it’s always a pleasure to discover new and exciting immersive films every year,” says Camilo De Anna, technical editing manager and head stage manager at system integrator NewMedia. “You can’t do a Full Dome without projectors, and this year we were lucky enough to partner with Digital Projection.”

The Astra Film Festival requires films shown in the Full Dome to be screened in world-class quality and intensity. To achieve this, NewMedia used a fleet of six Digital Projection M-Vision 27000 WU projectors, chosen for their image and colour quality, reliability and brightness. The six projectors adorned the entire perimeter of the dome, projecting onto the 360° screen with unprecedented coverage, quality, and brilliance.

One of the main reasons NewMedia decided to partner with Digital Projection was the reliability of the projectors: “I’ve worked with several projection brands over the years, and Digital Projection is the one that has never let me down,” De Anna states. “Projectors are sensitive pieces of equipment and events don’t treat them well. Between travelling to different countries and setting them up, it’s very easy to end up with last-minute problems. However, to date, I haven’t needed to repair anything or to change the projectors in the middle of an event.”

According to De Anna, the M-Vision projectors were the “perfect match” of projection power, manoeuvrability and light weight: “I found that the M-Vision laser projectors were perfectly manageable with three or even two people, helping enormously with the set-up and dismantling of an ephemeral event like this.”

The Full Dome hosted a diverse selection of films, spanning from documentaries to musical experiences, cartoons and movies showing the immensity of space. Behind the scenes, a ScreenBerry server was responsible for deconstructing and reconstructing the image to correspond to the dome’s appropriate mapping. From the server, multiple HDMI fibre optic cables connected with their corresponding projector and projected the image onto the internal projection liner, ensuring that the projection surface is as close to the screen as possible for impeccable quality.

“The dome itself is not that complicated a system for the projection path, but the difficulty lies in the various constraints that this format imposes, which is why we have to rely on the quality equipment,” explains De Anna. “M-Vision laser projectors gave us the peace of mind of knowing that the equipment we relied on was going to work every time we switched it on. Digital Projection has always ensured us this reliability and for me, that’s a luxury.”

De Anna was delighted with the result, highlighting that even the more experienced viewers who return to the Full Dome every year – and typically pose a challenge to impress – found themselves amazed by the end result and appreciated every extra detail that the NewMedia team brought to the event with the help of M-Vision laser projectors. “But if I had to talk about the best feedback, I would say it’s the kids,” he concludes. “Their laughter and marvelling right next to us working from the control room was a huge source of satisfaction.” 

photos: Marius Sumlea
M-Vision lasers take Astra Film Festival visitors on a cinematic voyageM-Vision lasers take Astra Film Festival visitors on a cinematic voyage

22nd February 2024

Naostage K SYSTEM is no joke for Montreux Comedy festival

Naostage K SYSTEM is no joke for Montreux Comedy festival
Naostage K SYSTEM is no joke for Montreux Comedy festival

France – Naostage’s K SYSTEM, which elevates the live experience by enabling the automation of an array of lighting, audio, video and media effects in real time, brought the ‘wow factor’ to the recent Montreux Comedy festival in Switzerland.

The world’s largest festival of Francophone comedy, Montreux Comedy celebrated its 34th edition over ten days last November, welcoming more than 20,000 fans to be entertained by comedians including Fabien Olicard, Hakim Jemili, Redouane Bougheraba, Alexandre Kominek and Thaïs to the Théâtre de Beaulieu in Lausanne (the festival’s temporary home while the Montreux Music & Convention Centre is being renovated).

In charge of illuminating these leading lights of comedy was Laurent Jaussi, Montreux Comedy’s long-time lighting designer, who trusted K SYSTEM for the first time at the 2023 festival, having been introduced to the system by Nicolas Oberson (of local Naostage partner streaming-live.me) earlier in the year.

From the outset, Jaussi was impressed, the LD recalling the ease of installation and quick learning curve to get up to speed with the system, as well as the support provided by Naostage during the festival. “It’s quick to install and set up, and the Naostage team are the best!” he highlights. In its functionality too, K SYSTEM made a good impression, with Jaussi comparing the system favourably to other, earlier solutions which failed to deliver on their promise: “I used a tracking system a long time ago, and here I really see a big difference in application and implementation. For us [as AVL technicians], it's great to have people like Naostage who are ready to take automatic tracking technology further and push the boundaries of what it can do.”

As the world’s first automatic, beaconless 3D tracking solution, K SYSTEM simplifies the process of creating immersive, interactive live experiences. By identifying and following performers in in a defined tracking area, K SYSTEM makes it possible to automatically trigger AV, lighting or media effects in perfect sync with a live show or fixed installation, freeing up time and budgets and allowing technical staff to unleash their creativity elsewhere.

“There's an economic advantage, of course because instead of having four operators, there's only one behind the machine,” explains Jaussi. “But for me, the most exciting thing is the possibility of creating immersive experiences with zones of connected video, sound and light. As a creative, it’s something that suddenly opens doors to shows that are a bit ‘wow’.”

The full K SYSTEM, as supplied to Montreux Comedy, comprises three elements: KAPTA, a lightweight 3D sensor bar that scans in real-time; KORE, an AI computing unit that receives the sensor data and automatically detects, tracks and identifies people moving withing the tracking area and KRATOS, a complete user software for project design and management, including interactions with external devices such as consoles and media servers.

As the Montreux Comedy team start work on its 35th event, Jaussi is thinking of other applications for Naostage’s technology, which is equally relevant for fixed installations, such as visitor attractions or immersive art exhibitions, as it is for large-scale concerts, theatre shows and comedy gigs.

“The test we did here [at Montreux Comedy] was conclusive: K SYSTEM is flexible, dynamic, economic – all the ‘-ic’ stuff! And I’d love to use it on other projects,” he concludes. “For me, it opens up a whole new creative perspective.”

22nd February 2024

Lightswitch evolves Enchanted Forest of Light with expanded Elation lighting package

Lightswitch evolves Enchanted Forest of Light with expanded Elation lighting package
Lightswitch evolves Enchanted Forest of Light with expanded Elation lighting package

USA – Leading visual design group, Lightswitch, has overseen lighting design and creative direction for Enchanted Forest of Light at Descanso Gardens in Southern California since 2016. This year, the popular one-mile night time walk through colourful and dazzling lighting displays shined brighter than ever with an expanded IP-rated lighting package from Elation that included the company’s new Proteus Hybrid MAX.

Enchanted is an immersive visual experience tailor-made to highlight the historic botanical garden’s unique beauty and flora. Each year, Lightswitch reimagines portions of the experience, enhancing areas and repositioning luminaires. This season’s show ran from 19 November to 7 January and included a new area as a result of refurbishment elsewhere in the gardens.

Lightswitch creates and produces the entire Enchanted Forest of Light experience, designing lighting, media and interactives, as well as overseeing music selection, sound design, technical and logistical production. Under the leadership of Lightswitch principal Chris Medvitz, the visual design of Enchanted Forest of Light has consistently relied on Elation lighting for the past seven years. This year, Elation IP65 lighting was expanded to all areas of the display, further enhancing the enchanting atmosphere.

Collaboration with outside artists is an integral part of the “Enchanted” experience. On the main lawn, a series of magical stained-glass inspired houses by sculptor Tom Fruin are internally lit with SixBar 1000 IP LED battens while in the rose garden geometric sculptures by artists HYBYCOZO glow from within using Proteus Lucius LED profile moving heads as a stream of moving effects emanate through the pieces.

A special HYBYCOZO art piece that features in the installation is a large, rotating mirrored star previously lit using Proteus Hybrid but now illuminated using Proteus Hybrid MAX. “Choosing Proteus Hybrid MAX made a lot of sense here because it is a smaller fixture, lightweight and includes technical updates that make it a more refined fixture,” Medvitz stated. “We needed a tight, collimated beam to minimise the overspill which the fixture’s narrow beam allows us to do.”

The Proteus Hybrid MAX, the IP66-rated upgrade of Elation’s pioneering Proteus Hybrid with all-new technology, provides versatility in areas like the newly created Spectral Sanctuary, where environmental impact is an issue. Concerned about disruption to the property’s lilac garden ecosystem, Lightswitch was asked to create an installation that minimised the amount of equipment incorporated around the plants. Medvitz explains: “We moved the existing installation to an area of the garden that was less impactful on the specimens and created a new installation called Spectral Sanctuary. Here we placed Proteus Hybrid MAX on towers along the edge of the garden to create a stunning light show through the lilacs rather than lighting effects amongst the plants. We kept a safe distance and allowed them to have an impact without running a lot of cable and other equipment through the middle of the garden itself. It’s a different look than we have in the rest of the show but worked out really great.”

In past years, “Enchanted” leaned heavily on Elation’s Proteus Hybrid arc-source moving head, but over the last few years many of those fixtures were replaced by LED-based Proteus Maximus and Proteus Lucius luminaires, and now the Proteus Hybrid MAX. Other IP-rated lights from Elation are used across multiple areas of the experience as workhorse luminaires such as the SEVEN PAR 19IP/7IP so that Elation lighting now graces all 12 of Enchanted’s environments. Creative Technology served as production partner for this year’s project, which included supply of the Elation lighting.

In Fantasy Forest, a large, dense area of trees and foliage where layers of lighting synchronise with an ambient soundtrack, Proteus Maximus deployed around the perimeter add a special layer of effect. Additionally, five to ten feet off the ground and hidden amongst camellia bushes are SixBar 1000 IP colour-changing battens used as direct view eye-candy. RGB Pars lighting trees and plants provide a third layer of light.

Perhaps the most magical area of Enchanted Forest of Light is the Ancient Forest, featuring ancient Redwoods and other species of plants that existed millions of years ago. Dramatically lit with accompanying soundtrack and fog atmosphere, Ancient Forest crafts an ambiance that is truly otherworldly. Here, Proteus Maximus lined the back of the location and projected gobo patterns and moving beams.

Prior to Enchanted opening in November, many of the show areas served as the backdrop to a separately branded event that is growing in popularity. Carved is a family-friendly halloween experience with luminous jack-o’-lanterns, elaborately carved pumpkins and oversized sculptures. Much of the lighting and infrastructure used in that area is shared with Enchanted, about two-thirds according to Medvitz, but with different theming. For guests, Enchanted and Carved are two different experiences, but from Lightswitch’s perspective, as well as a logistical viewpoint, they are one big project that runs from mid-September until mid-January, which means the lighting is outside and exposed for all that time.

Enchanted Forest of Light and Carved are not only unique sensory experiences that transport guests to a magical realm, they have become year-end traditions in Southern California, consistently drawing large crowds, increasing membership, and generating revenue for this beautiful non-profit botanical garden.

photos: Kathryn Rapier

www.elationlighting.com 

Lightswitch evolves Enchanted Forest of Light with expanded Elation lighting packageLightswitch evolves Enchanted Forest of Light with expanded Elation lighting package

20th February 2024

Elation

Bandit Lights the Way for Winter Jam 2024

USA – The Winter Jam Tour Spectacular returned for its bi-coastal celebration of positivity and spreading the Gospel with a lighting system provided by Bandit Lites. This year’s line-up included Crowder, two-time 2024 Grammy-award winner Lecrae, CAIN, Katy Nichole, Seventh Day Slumber, Newsong and more.

“Each year I lean towards putting most of my budget into the flown rig,” said long-time production manager Jerry Holcomb. “The tour usually has artists that bring some sort of ground package, so I leave room for that. Additionally, I have to be conscience of truck space and set-up time. Winter Jam doors are early compared to most tours considering we have up to ten artists and speakers each night; so, a rig that is efficient enough to fit into a truck and a half yet still look big enough for an arena is my goal.”

Holcomb sought Bandit client rep Allen Deneau’s recommendation on fixtures to compete with the large LED surface that takes up the entirety of the upstage. His answer? HES SolaPix 37.

“I’ve been real happy with their output and performance so far,” said Holcomb. “They also suggested using the BMFL Wash Beam for its output.”

Winter Jam also required a large quantity of fixtures to line out the thrust and B Stage area. Bandit supplied Elation CuePix WW2 blinders, which connected the looks of the WW2s that are flown in each truss section.

In total, Bandit Lites provided 240 feet of Tyler truss and eight ladder towers as well as nearly 200 fixtures including Chauvet Color Strike M, Elation CuePix WW2, HES SolaPix and Robe BMFL Wash Beams as well as a grandMA3 for control.

“Working with Jerry, and the entire WJ team, has been absolutely amazing,” said Bandit Lites client representative Allen Deneau. “Jerry knows what he needs and leaves room for discussion on what’s going to accomplish those tasks perfectly. The Solapix and their tremendous output paired with the BMFL WashBeams deliver a ton of firepower and a very robust feature set.”

Kurtis Wheat, Holcomb’s design partner of eight years and Winter Jam’s tour LD came off the road to pursue his woodworking company and Chris Lighthall replaced him as tour LD.

“He’s a great asset to the tour and I look forward to having him involved in future Winter Jam designs,” said Holcomb.

While Bandit may have been partnering with Holcomb on the lighting for Winter Jam for years, the team never rests on ensuring each that each system meets and exceeds expectations.

“We used a portion of the rig for a conference a week prior to the start of Winter Jam,” finished Holcomb. “The rig was well prepped and had no issues, but during the week it got re-prepped again, adding chain guides and other suggestions from the Bandit lead Cody Cheatham. His changes, along with (project manager) Matt Dean at Bandit really made the rig set up a lot more efficient.”

“Jerry has a great line up and incredible fans and we wanted to be sure they got to see an impressive show,” said Deneau. “I’m super proud of the work our Bandit team put into making WJ 24 a very good show and very easy to load in and out and transport. This is a team effort and this team has once again killed it. I’m looking forward to many more years of working with Jerry and his team to continue delivering great lighting rigs toa fantastic tour.”

20th February 2024

Andrew Dingman Immerses at Crossroads Winter Conference with Chauvet Professional

Andrew Dingman Immerses at Crossroads Winter Conference with Chauvet Professional
Andrew Dingman Immerses at Crossroads Winter Conference with Chauvet Professional

USA – Low trim heights, limited hang points, the lack of house lights … these challenges seem to be present when lighting an event at any big ballroom. They certainly were at the Gatlinburg Convention Center when Andrew Dingman set out to light the Clayton King Ministries’ Crossroad Winter Conference this January.

Dingman, though, is one of those inspiringly optimistic people who sees a solution in every challenge. “The room and rigging will always be the biggest challenge when designing a show like this in a venue like this,” he said. “But as is true in every case, there are always ways to overcome challenges.”

In this three-day conference, Dingman met the challenge presented by the relative lack of overhead space by modifying his plans. “Originally, I wanted to do another LED Banner above my Mid Stage LX Truss, but was unavailable due to trim,” he explained. “Flying my MS LX Truss to max trim allowed me to get bigger looks and more beam throw. A lot of those position were over the heads of the audience which helped create depth and height.”

Dingman also created a deeper sense of immersion on the ballroom’s stage by artfully blending “IMAG torms” with a collection of  24 Chauvet Professional Color Strike M fixtures, which like the rest of his rig, was supplied by StageWorx AV.

“Part of my design was to have video content on three vertical structures we call ‘IMAG torms,’” he said.  “All the content had to be custom made to fit, but it was well worth the trouble, compared to what we would have had if we did a typical 16:9 wall.”

Dingman blended this video backdrop with his Color Strike M fixtures. “The upright truss towers between the torms made lighting and video blend together to result in some great looks,” he said. “I ran content from Resolume on a media server and had it all fired off of my console. I also had bump buttons to do white hits on the LED to match some of the lighting hits.”

As part of this plan, Dingman positioned three Color Strike M fixtures above each IMAG wall wide stage left and stage right. He also used eight of the motorised strobe/washes as house lights and kept eight on the stage’s upright truss towers.

“The convention centre venue had no house lights, so I had the Color Strike Ms fill in and play this role,” said Dingman. “During worship, I used them as house wash with colours and effects. Then, for the preaching and talking moments, I created a really nice and even house light with their centre tubes.”

Describing his rig’s Color Strike M fixtures as “a real game changer,” Dingman says they allowed him to create looks on stage and throughout the room that usually aren’t possible in a standard ballroom setting. “Usually” aren’t possible? True, but not when a designer sees each challenge as an opportunity to find a solution.

Andrew Dingman Immerses at Crossroads Winter Conference with Chauvet ProfessionalAndrew Dingman Immerses at Crossroads Winter Conference with Chauvet Professional

20th February 2024

Roland Greil scores a hat-trick with Ayrton Domino, Huracán and Cobra for the AFC Asian Cup Opening Ceremony in Qatar

Roland Greil scores a hat-trick with Ayrton Domino, Huracán and Cobra for the AFC Asian Cup Opening Ceremony in Qatar
Roland Greil scores a hat-trick with Ayrton Domino, Huracán and Cobra for the AFC Asian Cup Opening Ceremony in Qatar

Qatar – On 12 January 2024, Qatar hosted the Opening Ceremony of the AFC Asian Cup at the 88,000-capacity Lusail Stadium, the largest stadium in the Middle East. Unusually for a football tournament, the ceremony was on an unprecedented scale, comprising a full-size stage in midfield with a set featuring sand dunes, colourful costumes and stunning visuals around a central motif of giant mirrored petals. Simultaneously broadcast internationally across the Middle East, Asia and Australasia, the 21-minute visual extravaganza, Mirrors, The Lost Chapter from the Book of Kelileh Wa Demneh, was a triumph of theatrical storytelling. Equally impressive was the speed in which it was struck in just 27 minutes by 700 stagehands, in choreography as co-ordinated as the performers who preceded them, before the first match of the tournament kicked off.

“It was like Superbowl on steroids!” says lighting designer, Roland Greil who, brought in by design and production agency, Sila Sveta, used over 450 Ayrton fixtures as the majority – and main key lighting workhorses – of his design.

“Our aim from the beginning was to create a very theatrical theme and lighting design in keeping with the cinematic approach taken by producers, Katara Studios,” explains Greil. “The show was a hugely complex, spectacular, yet very theatrical piece with a detailed story line and glorious costumes. We needed a rig that could support the beautiful story on stage and create magical looks for 80 percent of the time, but also to have additional fire power to create some big looks for the remaining 20 percent for the live broadcast, and to reflect the joy and enthusiasm for the game of football within the region.”

Countering the constraints of stadium rigging positions, Greil worked with technical director Shannon Gobell to develop some “really good” lighting positions, the throw distances of which “bring their own physics with it!”

Forty-five Domino Profiles and 80 Huracán Profiles were rigged around the circumference of the pitch on Level 0 at a height of at 1.6m with a throw distance of 40m-50 mretres. “These immediately gave us traditional theatrical sidelighting without interfering with audience sightlines, yet were high enough to fire above the heads of the security teams on the perimeters,” explains Greil. “Side lighting is your biggest friend for those magical looks and the Domino Profiles and Huracán Profiles were our work horses for key lighting, side lighting and eye-candy for background imagery from here.

“Half way up the grandstands on Level 4 we found another perfect lighting position which we filled with 110 Domino Profiles for more keylighting from a distance of 80m-90 metres. Domino Profiles are basically an IP version of the Huracán Profile so I was able to use them both as if they were the same light. In the Arabic world, lighting for the live audience is of equal importance to lighting for worldwide broadcast, so getting the key lighting right is the most important aspect of the whole lighting package to achieve both.”

A further 67 Domino Profiles were rigged along two overhead catwalk trusses at a height of 90m-100m providing two high lighting positions from where they could light the audience for background shots, washing them with LED spotlights.

Ninety-six laser-sourced Ayrton Cobra fixtures were rigged on top the stadium roof to create aerial beams and extend the effect of the fireworks which were filmed by overhead drones and a heli-cam. “We also used the Cobras to create some nice looks that worked from the inside of the stadium, positioning them to build a kind of roof of lights over the open stadium that could be seen perfectly from within.”

On stage, Greil integrated 54 Ayrton Domino Washes into the floor which he used to light the scenic elements, but also to create a ‘beautiful shaft of light’ in between the five mirrored LED petals of the main scenic element.

Traditional followspots were replaced by a FollowMe system working in conjunction with the Huracán and Domino Profiles on Level 4. “In fact, we were able to calibrate each and every one of 450 plus Ayrton fixtures in the overhead rig and choose any light or combination of lights we wanted to act as followspots,” says Greil. “This was very beneficial for broadcast as we could pick and choose multiple lights to ensure we had the exact perfect angle for both broadcast and the live performance at all times. This was the first performance of a FollowMe system on a major stadium event and it worked perfectly. We were able to follow performers over an entire football field, not just a defined stadium stage and we replaced what would traditionally have been 12 to 20 followspots offering a limited number of angles, with 450 ‘followspots’ that could be used in an incredibly creative way. It gave us huge flexibility and saved us an immense amount of time in rehearsal too.

“Considering scale of the show, we lit the whole ceremony with relatively few lights,” concludes Greil. “In total there were 54 Domino Washes, 224 Domino Profiles, 80 Huracán Profiles and 96 Cobra, alongside another 244 moving lights, all of which were amply able to cope with the huge throw distances. Thanks to these and a great collaboration between all the departments we were able to beat the challenges of lighting a huge profile event in a stadium.”

All lighting for the AFC Asian Cup was supplied by PRG Middle East.

photos: © Katara Studios

Roland Greil scores a hat-trick with Ayrton Domino, Huracán and Cobra for the AFC Asian Cup Opening Ceremony in QatarRoland Greil scores a hat-trick with Ayrton Domino, Huracán and Cobra for the AFC Asian Cup Opening Ceremony in Qatar

20th February 2024

Patrick Dierson Creates Big Impression at iHeartRadio ALTer EGO with 4Wall and Chauvet Professional

Patrick Dierson Creates Big Impression at iHeartRadio ALTer EGO with 4Wall and Chauvet Professional
Patrick Dierson Creates Big Impression at iHeartRadio ALTer EGO with 4Wall and Chauvet Professional

USA – Size matters! Well, not always, especially when it comes to the art of design, where it’s not always the size of a rig, but the way in which it’s deployed that makes the biggest impression. Patrick Dierson provided vivid proof of that at this year’s iHeartRadio ALTer EGO concert.

Although a procession of major stars like Fall Out Boy, 30 Seconds To Mars, The Last Dinner Party, Bush, The 1975 and Sum41 graced the Honda Center stage, the lighting rig for the event, which is traditionally held at the Kia Forum in LA, was smaller than it was in recent years.

The size of the rig, notwithstanding, the design team was given the mission of making the overall production for the nationally televised event, look bigger than previous shows.

“We wanted to make the show seem larger this year,” said Dierson of The Activity. “Yet, there’s no bravado when I tell you that this was literally the smallest lighting rig that I’ve been a part of in the past 20 or so years.”

Describing this challenge as “a blessed reality,” Dierson explained how it sharpened his creative visions. “It’s good to be forced to get more out of less,” he said. “That may be sort of an age old saying, but it’s also the truth. There’s certainly an ease that comes with a challenge where you can throw more gear at something. However, when you’re forced to accomplish more without that ability, your design talents are truly challenged and that’s a nice thing to be forced to hone every now and then. It not only forces your design aesthetic in regards to stage architecture, but also your fixture choices become even more critical, because you really look toward those fixture models that can serve multiple purposes.”

Among the fixtures that helped Dierson accomplish this goal at iHeart ALTer EGO were 20 Maverick MK3 Washes, 16 Color Strike M strobe-washes in 30-channel mode and 18 COLORado 2 Solos in SSP mode nine-channel. These Chauvet Professional fixtures, like the rest of the lighting rig in this Diversified Production Services event, were supplied by 4Wall Entertainment.

Dierson flew eight of his Maverick MK3 Wash units across the farthest upstage truss, specifically to be utilised to create a backlight stage wash for talent. The balance of washes was positioned throughout the finger trusses, as were the COLORado PARs, to add more stage wash and, when needed, to fly out toward the audience. A group of four Color Strike M fixtures were also on upstage truss, while the other units were  arranged throughout the rig.

“The output of the Maverick MK3 Wash was perfectly balanced to allow us to keep the intensity of the upstage video wall up while maintaining good punch on the stage,” explained Dierson. “We populated the Strike Ms in very much the very much the same fashion as our MK3 Washes and for very much the same reasons. I wanted us to have the ability to utilise the upstage Strike fixtures as a very different looking stage wash. The tilt feature on them also gave us the ability to match their counterparts in the rest of the rig as audience blinders when desired. 

“Over the past year or so, the Strike M has proven to be an extremely useful tool for us on a litany of productions,” continued Dierson. “In this instance, they were able to provide an overall audience wash for broadcast and a powerful strobe effect, in addition to serving as audience blinders. They’re just so broad and powerful that they really lend themselves well to a wide range of uses.” 

These, and other features of the fixtures in his rig, helped Dierson achieve his ultimate goal of creating a big impression with a smaller rig. “To make the overall production design appear much larger, we tried to expose as much of the lighting rig to the audience as possible by both designing a splay of upstage to downstage truss orientations and then raking them at an extreme angle,” he said. “This led us to the four fingers of truss that spanned from 26 to 48 foot trim heights. We then staggered other elements such as our IMAG screens and scenic iHeart logos offstage and upwards to really open up the overall look.”

Not only did the resultant rig create a big impression, it also opened the door to an array of dynamic looks that came off well on television. Dierson credits the visiting LDs and his associate lighting director Manny Conde with making this diversity come off.

“I can’t take credit for any of this diversity,” said Dierson. “Manny did an excellent job with the lighting console this year. He handled direction for a few of the artists not travelling with their own LDs, as well as making sure that all turnovers to those guests went seamlessly. Having someone of Manny’s calibre at the helm is always a confidence-builder. He has an incredible mastery of the console coupled with a great eye for design, so when we have him on the team, we know things are going to be handled at the highest level of quality. He’s also widely recognised by most guest LDs and that simply puts everyone at ease no matter what scheduling challenges may arise.” 

Conde was not the only one contributing to the success of this year’s ALTer EGO. Dierson also gives credit to technical producer Laura Paganucci, stage managers Seth Goldstein and Scotty Chase, project manager Zack Guthimiller, programmer Keegan Sly, lighting crew chief David Leonard, video lead RJ Thomas, and 4Wall account lead Bob Suchocki.

“Everyone involved in this show deserves a lot of credit in helping us meet every challenge,” said Dierson. “I admit, there was a nervousness that came along with being throttled back to a smaller lighting rig this year.”

Looking back, Dierson says that such concerns were “completely unwarranted.” Anyone who saw this impressive (and big) looking production would readily agree.  

Patrick Dierson Creates Big Impression at iHeartRadio ALTer EGO with 4Wall and Chauvet ProfessionalPatrick Dierson Creates Big Impression at iHeartRadio ALTer EGO with 4Wall and Chauvet Professional

19th February 2024

“Step Into the Light” with Elation Proteus mesmerises at Valkea Art & Light Festival

“Step Into the Light” with Elation Proteus mesmerises at Valkea Art & Light Festival
“Step Into the Light” with Elation Proteus mesmerises at Valkea Art & Light Festival

Finland – In December, Särkänniemi Theme Park in Tampere, Finland hosted the inaugural Valkea Light and Art Festival, filling the park with a myriad of captivating visual spectacles, one of which featured lighting effects from Elation’s pioneering and award-winning Proteus Hybrid IP65 moving head. The event transformed the park into an immersive art realm, engaging the senses with enchanting visual art installations, incorporating light, art, music and live performances.

Leading the creative direction and production of the festival was Finnish artist Kari Kola, renowned for his expertise in light art over two decades and his pivotal role in over 2,000 projects. Recognised as a trailblazer in the field of light art, Kola's portfolio includes extensive outdoor works, even in challenging conditions.

Kola was particularly drawn to "Step Into the Light," a light art piece by artist/designer Michel Suk from 2017, and sought to reimagine it for Valkea. Suk, a Dutch light technician and artist with a background in lighting for theatre, television and musical performances, draws inspiration from architecture and music in his work. He has played a leading role in hundreds of major projects around the world including light festivals like GLOW Festival, where he met Kola.

Describing "Step Into the Light" as a ballet of light visible from a distance, Suk's creation is characterised by intricate patterns of beams, reminiscent of a Spirograph, with influences from Pink Floyd's iconic vertical circle truss. The kaleidoscope of beams, a tight beam in white light, run at certain offsets to create beautiful patterns. “I like to work with beams on a scale where people feel really small,” he says. “It’s an approach that has an entertainment-based appreciation to it.”

For the Valkea Festival, Suk adapted "Step Into the Light," utilising 24 Proteus Hybrid moving heads from Elation mounted atop vertical towers in a circular arrangement. They needed a unit that could project a very narrow, hard-focused beam while remaining reliable in the extreme cold. Also, the use of domes was unacceptable. “I have presented the piece several times in the past and in the beginning IP65 fixtures were hard to find so we used domes, which isn’t ideal as it scatters the light,” he explains. “Kari looked for lights to meet those constraints and that’s how we ended up with the Proteus Hybrid.” Tried and tested on projects around the world since 2017, the all-weather Proteus Hybrid has been a major contributor to the Proteus line’s emergence as a worldwide standard for environmental ingress protected luminaires.

Suk explains that the lights are mounted at an even distance from each other and have to be exactly perpendicular to the ground, otherwise there are offsets. “It’s a simple concept in a way but if it’s not calibrated correctly, it doesn’t work and just looks like lights moving. If it’s calibrated correctly the result is beautiful patterns that look like the old Spirograph game. You have all the lights pointing directly at a point in the centre, then you can aim at a point slightly higher to get floors of crosspoints. There are lots of possibilities.”

Suk collaborated with designer and international event producer Bas Kemper on the project, who executed the set-up and calibration with meticulous precision, working in -20ºC weather. “The calibration has to be done with extreme accuracy and Bas did an excellent job.”

Despite initial concerns about the fixtures enduring the Finnish weather, Suk reports that the Proteus Hybrid proved stable and reliable throughout the festival.

"Step Into the Light" invited visitors to immerse themselves in a mesmerising interplay of living spotlights, offering a remarkable visual experience that captivated both up close and from a distance. The entire Valkea Art & Light Festival was a resounding success, bringing light, joy and extraordinary experiences to the darkest time of the year.

photos: Rami Saarikorpi

www.elationlighting.com 

“Step Into the Light” with Elation Proteus mesmerises at Valkea Art & Light Festival“Step Into the Light” with Elation Proteus mesmerises at Valkea Art & Light Festival

16th February 2024

Elation

Cohesion Shines in Unforgettable Grammys Debut as Touring’s Top Audio Products Take the Stage

Cohesion Shines in Unforgettable Grammys Debut as Touring’s Top Audio Products Take the Stage

USA – At the Grammy Awards, “Music's Biggest Night,” only the PA system most chosen on tour by the world’s most popular acts would suffice: cue Cohesion. ATK Audiotek, a Clair Global brand, deployed a Cohesion system to help revel in the culmination of a year of scintillating live performances and record-breaking sales. Cohesion products, starring in their first deployment at the Grammys, delivered next-level sound while minimising the physical space of the system itself.

The Recording Academy’s biggest gala of the year deserved audio that would provide crystal-clear intelligibility at all distances within the arena while the world’s top musicians performed and distinguished winners delivered their speeches. The deployed system reinforced the power of live music during this important night for the industry.

Jeff Peterson, FOH production mixer at ATK Audiotek, was most excited about the added horsepower the Cohesion system provided within a compact form factor. For primary coverage, ATK arrayed 56 CO12 loudspeakers, 32 with 80° horizontal coverage and 24 with 120° horizontal coverage. The CO12 offers a class-leading maximum SPL of 150dB, horizontal pattern control over a very broad bandwidth, precision in refining the vertical pattern, and consistent off-axis response. "I liked the directivity of Cohesion and how well it kept unwanted energy from the back of the array off of the stage," added Peterson.

The primary delays consisted of 32 CO10 loudspeakers in four arrays of eight CO10s per array. The upper level of the arena was covered by 36 CO8 loudspeakers in six arrays of six CO8s per array.

A dozen CP218 II+ subwoofers were flown alongside the CO12s to provide heart-pounding low end that reflected the significance of the moment. Each self-powered CP218 II+ is equipped with 9000W of onboard power and added depth and impact to the production without compromising texture. An additional two CP218 II+ subwoofers were used on the ground at the main stage, which was also supplemented by two self-powered CP6+ point source loudspeakers for front fill.

With millions of people tuning in worldwide in addition to the thousands in attendance, camera placement was central to the system design. Since Cohesion products are engineered to deliver greater output and flawless intelligibility in a form factor comparable to or smaller than market alternatives, they fit the bill for a low-obstruction solution resulting in uninterrupted sightlines for attendees and broadcast viewers alike.

Performances at the 2024 Grammy Awards included Dua Lipa, Billie Eilish, Luke Combs, Burna Boy and Travis Scott, alongside the legendary Billy Joel, celebrating 50 years of recording hits; Travis Scott and Billy Joel both tour with Cohesion systems.

Peterson concluded: “The event was a resounding success. The audience, producers, and audio team were all thrilled with the quality and performance of Cohesion.”

16th February 2024

Brompton ‘Embraces the Extra-Ordinary’ for Australian awards season premier

Brompton ‘Embraces the Extra-Ordinary’ for Australian awards season premier

Australia – Known for attracting the crème de la crème of the advertising, marketing, media and PR world, the B&T Awards stand as one of the most entered, respected and sought-after industry accolades in Australia. Hosted at The Hordern Pavilion in the heart of Sydney, last year’s B&T Awards revolved around the theme ‘Embrace the Extra-Ordinary’, with 40 categories presented during the night. Collaborating with their client, The Misfits Media Co., for whom Audio Visual Events (AVE) has been the preferred production partner for five years, a sophisticated LED structure powered by Brompton Technology’s Tessera LED processors was orchestrated.

“Before the B&T Awards, we assisted The Misfits team with their internal B&T & Travel Weekly programmes and agency event work,” explains Paul Keating, director at AVE. “The brief for this year’s event, encompassing the client's mood board, event styling and content, featured dark backgrounds and vibrant colours. This was a perfect fit for utilising LED, allowing for deep, dark colours and contrasting vibrant ones to pop. Given the one-day build, show and strike, we needed an LED control system that allowed for flexible multiple LED canvases with a quick and easy set-up and program.”

Working as a cohesive team, including Eric Spencer (senior account manager), Dan Quinn (technical project manager), Dylan Hovey (technical director) and Brenton Dine (vision specialist), the AVE team closely collaborated with The Misfits Media Co.’s senior producer, Lachlan Russel and project manager, Romy Bradbridge, to bring the project to life.

“We built a central LED screen, 12m wide by 4m high, flanked by two vertical pillars, each measuring 1.5m wide by 3m high. This gave us a total of 15m in width to play back the custom content B&T created for the show,” Keating continues.

The main LED wall comprised 192 Unilumin UPADIII 2.6 panels and was powered by a 4K Tessera SX40 LED processor with four Tessera XD data distribution units. Simultaneously, the two vertical pillars, which required an additional 36 tiles, were driven by a Tessera M2 LED processor.

Keating emphasises that the extended capabilities of the Brompton LED processors make them ideal for a show of this scale. “Not only does the hardware feature set make it a leading processor choice, it’s backed up by how easy they are to manage on-site,” he adds. “Coupling the SX40 with the XD units makes system cabling in a live environment the go-to solution for our needs. Add to this the low frame latency across the entire system, and the ability to do away with offboard scaling devices, means it’s a great solution for a live event where visual displays are so close to the presentation area.”

The Misfits Media Co developed custom content for the event in-house, including opening videos, looping backgrounds, awards presentations and a range of alphas. All of these utilised the entire LED canvas and the AVE team time-coded the LX.

Pre-event, AVE hosted the Misfits team for content checks, aiding in establishing muscle memory for the show’s flow and ensuring the content was perfect during the show. The LED wall also provided a great backdrop for the after-party, with the AVE team using it to play custom VJ loops, with a a custom-made DJ surround rolled in and featuring brand-new lighting fixtures. Keating adds: “This ensured the event evolved whilst still using the Brompton-driven LED wall backdrop as the main feature.”

With the event hailed as a resounding success, Lachlan Russell, senior producer at The Misfits Media Co, who also took the role of lead producer on the B&T Awards commends AVE team’s work, noting that working with them is always a pleasure.

“Their exceptional creativity injected a unique and memorable flair into our annual B&T Awards, which makes us stand out. AVE execution on the night was flawless,” he says. “Their professionalism is evident in every interaction, from clear communication to meticulous attention to detail. They have their finger on the ‘production pulse’, giving us access to the latest production gear on the market, making them a perfect production partner in an industry such as ours.”

“Receiving a B&T Award is definitely considered a big deal for businesses here in Australia,” Keating continues. “To be able to deliver this prestigious event and receive such positive feedback from the client is gratifying beyond words. The LED set-up we deployed, along with the Brompton LED processing, gave us the confidence that, no matter what content The Misfits team would want to see on the screens, or how dark or bright it needed to be, we would be able to deliver.”

Luke Hurford, Brompton’s APAC business development manager, concludes: “It’s gratifying to witness audio visual events staying at the forefront of cutting-edge technology and employing top-tier solutions to address the intricacies of any event or scenario. Beyond their extensive professional expertise, the team boasts an impressive arsenal of state-of-the-art technology. We are delighted to see our processing integrated into their solutions, contributing to AVE's pursuit of the utmost professionalism and quality in every project they undertake.”

Brompton ‘Embraces the Extra-Ordinary’ for Australian awards season premierBrompton ‘Embraces the Extra-Ordinary’ for Australian awards season premier

16th February 2024

Elation and Best Audio & Lighting support CQLP lighting design competition in France

Elation and Best Audio & Lighting support CQLP lighting design competition in France
Elation and Best Audio & Lighting support CQLP lighting design competition in France

France – Elation and French distributor Best Audio & Lighting were delighted and honoured to have provided lighting for the final of this year’s CQLP (C'est Qui Le Patron) lighting design competition in France. A demanding yet exhilarating competition that showcases lighting designer talent, this was the first time the competition was held outdoors, this year at the magnificent Collégiale Notre-Dame de Mantes-la-Jolie outside of Paris.

Using the grandeur of the medieval church's architecture as a centrepiece, lighting design teams produced beautiful light shows that combined quality, creativity and technique. Following an elimination tournament round of 16, quarterfinals and semi-finals, two teams advanced to the grand finale on 20 January. There, the two teams had 40 Proteus Maximus LED profile moving heads, 24 Proteus Excalibur sky beam moving heads and 40 Paladin Panel floodlights at their disposal to awe judges as well as an enthusiastic crowd of onlookers. As CQLP is a non-profit organisation, the Elation lighting fixtures were generously provided for the final by Best Audio & Lighting.

Thomas Béra and Adrien Alibert of the winning Blue Cicada team expressed their enthusiasm for the lighting rig. “The kit offered by Best Audio & Lighting and Elation during the CQLP 2024 championship was just crazy! The Proteus Maximus, which were used to light the facade and the central stained-glass window, are superb machines with many graphic possibilities. The shutters are really great! And the luminous flux is impressive! The Paladins are sufficiently powerful for lighting a facade. And the highlight of the show is the machine that we really loved: the Proteus Excalibur. The power of this machine is truly impressive! To conclude, the kit really met our needs.”

Frederik Afif, international sales manager at Elation, sat on the jury with other lighting professionals and was impressed with what he saw. “It was an unforgettable and historic evening and a real pleasure to witness firsthand the incredible talent and creativity showcased by the finalists using the Elation lights. The displays were just mesmerising and I'm immensely impressed by the dedication and innovation demonstrated by all the teams involved. I would also like to express my sincere gratitude to our valued partner, Best Audio & Lighting, whose collaboration and support played a vital role in the success of this event.”

CQLP has taken place since 2018 with the primary aim of promoting lighting professionals and the lighting design profession. The competition also presents an excellent opportunity for aspiring designers to access a network of established industry professionals. This year’s final was broadcast live on social networks and is available for rebroadcast.

photos: Donatien d'Espinay & Sandrine Leclercq-Moreau

www.elationlighting.com 

Elation and Best Audio & Lighting support CQLP lighting design competition in FranceElation and Best Audio & Lighting support CQLP lighting design competition in France

16th February 2024

Elation

Initiative sees the Unusual team train local riggers too

Initiative sees the Unusual team train local riggers too
Initiative sees the Unusual team train local riggers too

Rwanda – How do you put a show in a stadium that has minimal weight loading? That was the challenge facing the Unusual Rigging team when they were briefed to provide the rigging for the Global Citizen Move Afrika event at the BK Arena in Kigali, Rwanda, on 6th December.

This huge scale event, organised by Done & Dusted, was the first event in a five year large-scale effort to pioneer a first of its kind international music touring circuit throughout the African continent.

Sam Carter, senior production rigger at Unusual explained: “This event was a pretty big deal, not just as a music gig but as an initiative which hopes to help expand the industry in the region. Each year, we are pleased to work with some local people, demonstrating what we do, how we do it and hopefully, by giving some training to these guys, we’re giving them the tools to develop their own entertainment industry.”

One of the first things that Sam and the team had to deal with was a lack of engineering papers, so several conversations were needed with the engineers to get things moving.

Sam said: We knew that the building could take more weight than stated but we had to have some proof behind this. The original team of Turkish engineers pulled out of the project at the last minute, so at the eleventh hour, another company, based in South Africa was found.”

With more calculations and mountains of paperwork to get through for the engineers before any work could begin, an agreement was reached just days before the Unusual team flew out to begin load in.

Sam added: “We had 18 tonnes to hang in total from the roof; it took three days to get the rigging in and then another five days to install all the banners, scrims etc. We also had a huge quantity of lighting, audio, video, kabuki backdrops and an emergency backdrop change (which was brought in on the day of the concert itself). With a team of nine riggers, including two locals, we beat the clock and got it all done: no mean feat!”

The event, headlined by Grammy and Pulitzer winning artist Kendrick Lamar took place in front of an audience of more than 12,000 people and was a huge success. Sam concluded: “Not only did we achieve what we set out to in terms of fulfilling the brief, we hopefully made a bit of a difference in helping the local riggers too. While they have their own techniques, they are eager to learn from us and appreciate that we bring the latest and safest techniques that we have developed over 30+ years of rigging across Europe.”

15th February 2024

Unusual

DiGiCo Quantum 225 at centre of precision upgrade for ultimate streamlined touring solution

DiGiCo Quantum 225 at centre of precision upgrade for ultimate streamlined touring solution
DiGiCo Quantum 225 at centre of precision upgrade for ultimate streamlined touring solution

Belgium – Karel Marynissen is a sound engineer with an eye for quality. His Ghent based touring company Klaar Voor Opname was established in 2004 and has created spellbinding sound for artists ever since. The DiGiCo SD8-24 had always been the console of choice for Marynissen, but when the time came to replace it, he knew that DiGiCo, the Quantum 225 was the way forward and Belgian audio systems provider, Amptec, was the company to ensure that the entire system was up to high specification of his mixing console.

Predominately working alone this ‘One Man touring solution’ enables Marynissen to deliver high-end results with a tiny footprint, both physically, environmentally and economically.

Marynissen specialises in amplifying acoustic instruments for jazz and classical music with his attention focused on delivering the highest quality auditory experience for the audience. Utilising top quality equipment means that Marynissen is able to deliver astounding results in a tiny touring package which not only reduces pressure on transport, but also the physical footprint of the sound system.

Karel was very clear on what was required for his new system. Every piece of equipment needed to be of the absolute finest quality and able to cope with the demands of large acoustic orchestrations. The system also needed to have the flexibility to cope with Karel’s varied client list, delivering all of this with minimal cable runs, ensuring a lightning speed set up and take down, packing everything away into a single van for easy transportation.

This seemingly impossible wish-list required detailed analysis to ensure the chosen solution matched the client’s formidable attention to detail. Making the list a reality was Amptec’s David Liebens.

Liebens explains: “We knew that Karel’s next logical step from the SD8-24 would be the Quantum 225, the small footprint and additional features deliver the highest quality results while remaining recognisable to his trusted SD8 set-up.” Another bonus of the upgrade was access to the DiGiCo Quantum Spice Rack and nodal processing.

Marynissen mixes FOH and monitors from his console, as well as managing the performers’ IEMs. The Nodal Processing makes this much more streamlined and allows him that all important flexibility. The Spice Rack reduces his reliance on additional outboard effects units, another important part of his wish list.

Liebens expands: “We had to figure out how to reduce the amount and size of the set-up so that one man could load in and out from a small van. The real challenge was cabling, how could we reduce the multiple signal lines into a manageable package?”

The answer came in the form of the Festival Box from Optocore. Using the festival box meant that the FOH cabling could be reduced to a single rugged fibre cable running between two purpose built flightcases. The ruggedised Fibreco 4ch expanded beam connection enabled six MADI lines (three in, three out) and three 1G network lines to be patchable via the custom panels from Amptec Connx, enabling the system to be fully adaptable to any performance.

“Amptec Connex designed two cases, one for the SD rack and one FOH. Both of these have been built so that the Festival Box connections are patchable and perfectly integrated with the rest of the system.”

Marynissen is delighted with the results and sums the feeling up perfectly: “The new set-up brings significant time savings during setup and teardown, and I have the flexibility to adjust the set-up according to the needs of the day, thanks to the patching capabilities. Having a computer and screen integrated into the console flightcase means I no longer need to build and dismantle it separately. Amptec have done a fabulous job integrating everything I need into custom flightcases with custom patch-bays. I love it!”

www.digico.biz 

15th February 2024

DiGiCo

Robe works up a Sweat for Nathaniel Rateliff show

Robe works up a Sweat for Nathaniel Rateliff show
Robe works up a Sweat for Nathaniel Rateliff show

USA – Popular Americana and R&B singer songwriter Nathaniel Rateliff and his band The Night Sweats played their show-stopping, sold-out annual homecoming holiday concert at the Ball Arena in Denver, Colorado, in December.

It was the second time the annual event – which has been running for some years – was staged at this venue, after moving to the larger space in 2022.

The lighting was crafted by Jeremy Roth, who has been Nathaniel’s production designer since 2017. He utilised over 100 Robe moving lights: FORTES, Spiiders and MegaPointes plus a RoboSpot system, to help make it look spectacular and memorable.

Jeremy programmed and operated lights for this seasonal holiday performance himself, working alongside lighting director Adam Waguespack who often takes the show on the road for him. At Ball Arena, Adam took on the vital role of co-ordinating the followspots and RoboSpot system.

Additional video came in for the hometown production in the form of three large upstage screens, with the department overseen by Mike Grant (Black Keys), who is another talented LD in his own right.

The production design saw both lighting and video technologies share the stage, based on a scaled-up version of their current “The Future” tour which hit the road in April 2023, and an augmented package used for another high-profile set of sold-out local shows at Red Rocks last summer.

The video screens, which were framed by single LED blinders, were one of Jeremy’s creative starting points for the Ball Arena show, with the overhead lighting rig like the touring version populated across six trusses. Two mid stage trusses were flown one above the other, arranged in gentle U-shapes to boost the depth, with a straight front truss over the stage apron at the front and a reverse U-shaped advanced truss.

The back truss was rigged with 12 FORTES, picked for their intense power and impact to project textures on the red velour drape behind the video wall, with another 13 FORTES on the front truss, working with four more on the advance truss. These last four FORTES were all running on a four-way RoboSpot system.

The production started touring the RoboSpot system after encountering ongoing challenges with other remote followspotting systems and since that time, they have “never looked back.”  

He further elucidated that followspots were an issue, especially when touring, as venues tend to have mixed experience and ability followspotting teams. However, using RoboSpot takes the pressure off them, meaning they are free to focus just on the movement, as all the other parameters can be run through the console.

“It’s simply fantastic knowing they are all going to black out at the same time or bump colours absolutely together and on cue, so the spots simply blend into the show, work their magic but are never otherwise noticed.”

The high CRI of the FORTES enables that distinctive tungsten soft styling that Jeremy really likes and that looks so complimentary on faces and on camera. On this tour, they are replacing the BMFL Spots used on the previous tours’ RoboSpots systems, which Jeremy also really loved for their carbon arc characteristics and colour rendering.

However, Jeremy and Adam are equally as enthusiastic about FORTES in the role.

They were both excited when Nathaniel Rateliff’s long-term lighting, video and audio vendor Brown Note Productions invested in FORTES ahead of the tour in April 2023, enabling them to transition from the BMFLs used in previous years.

“FORTES have been absolutely rock solid for us,” Jeremy noted.

Initially, LEDBeam 350s were on the rig, but these were eventually swapped out for the 33 Spiiders boosting the output and the wash coverage. Spiiders have also been a favourite of Jeremy’s since first using them on a Sheryl Crow tour. “The colours are excellent and the flower effect is an ingenious idea that projects a nice impression of speckled light onto the floor or other surfaces. That and the wide zoom range really increase the fixture’s overall flexibility,” he commented.

Having a wash beam fixture on the rig enables him to pivot between the two modes and effectively have another set of fixtures up in the rig. He has even used them as pseudo-parcans at times like on a Wilco Sleater-Kinney double bill tour which featured 72 Spiiders in double hung rows.

Robe’s popular effects luminaire, MegaPointe, has been omnipresent on Nathaniel Rateliff’s lighting schemes ever since Jeremy’s been onboard with “The Face Down in The Moment” singer in 2017, initially as part of the floor lighting package. They have featured in every design since!

At Ball Arena, 11 MegaPointes were positioned on the deck and ten on the advanced truss.

Jeremy loves the MegaPointe for many reasons, including the beam width, and the super-cool looks that can be built popping in a prism or two when zoomed right out.

“It is an excellent back profile lighting fixture that is very vibey and can be used to shoot through the band from upstage without blinding the audience,” he remarks, adding that he does not use them in beam mode at all for the distinctive throwback retro soul sounds of Nathaniel Rateliff.

“Robe will always be on my list for profile and wash fixtures,” noted Jeremy, and he also regularly uses the manufacturer’s linear Tetra2 and TetraX LED battens.

He confirms that multiple ambers and colour temperature whites are used extensively in lighting this artist and he finds colours, the colour ranges, dimming curves and the CRI of the Robe products “consistently good and reliable, I know what I am getting with Robe,” he confirms, adding that contemporary stage lighting should look great in multiple scenarios: for the live audience, on fans’ social channels and whenever shows are streamed or otherwise broadcast. Lighting designers must think from all these different angles.

Jeremy, Adam, and Mike engaged in three days of pre-visualising at Brown Note’s Studio in Denver ahead of the Ball Arena show, then three days of technical rehearsal at Denver Coliseum before loading in on the morning of the actual gig.

Lighting was programmed on a grandMA3 console running in mode 2.

Ball Arena was a lot of fun. It reunited a tight and loyal touring family who spend serious time together as the band are constantly on the road and this seasonal one-off show has also become a bit of a local steamroller event, so it was exciting for all involved to present the largest version yet!

The touring schedule restarts in the spring with new music, and the lighting design for parts of this new touring cycle will be an evolution of the Ball Arena extravaganza.

photos: Tobin Voggesser and Jeremy Roth

www.robe.cz

Robe works up a Sweat for Nathaniel Rateliff showRobe works up a Sweat for Nathaniel Rateliff show

15th February 2024

Robe Lighting

Extensive Clear-Com System for Love Is Blind Ushers in The Newest Season in Time for Valentine’s Day

USA – In the realm of reality television production, the perception that success hinges solely on assembling strangers in various settings and arming them with microphones and cameras is a common misconception. Renowned audio engineer and intercom system designer Glenn Gaines, owner of G2 Sound, challenges this notion as he highlights the pivotal role played by Clear-Com's state-of-the-art intercom system in the production of the immensely popular "Love Is Blind", whose newest season comes out this Valentine’s Day. With Clear-Com's intercom system at the heart of communication, Love Is Blind exemplifies the industry's commitment to pushing boundaries and maintaining the highest standards in television production. 

Gaines, an industry veteran with a track record dating back to the 1990s on shows such as "The Biggest Loser" and "RuPaul’s Drag Race," underscores the intricacies of reality TV, emphasising that Love Is Blind surpasses the demands of most productions in the genre. Clear-Com's intercom system, designed and provided by G2 Sound, stands out as a crucial component in ensuring seamless communication in the face of the show's unique challenges.

As Gaines explains, reality TV, particularly in complex environments with dynamic contestant interactions, requires a level of technical sophistication that sets it apart from scripted shows. "The amount of expertise it takes to set these shows up certainly keeps us involved," says Gaines. Contrary to the perception that reality TV compromises technical standards, he contends that it often surpasses scripted counterparts in terms of the challenges posed to production teams.

Love Is Blind, created by Chris Coelen and produced by Kinetic Content, is a social experiment where single men and women hope to find love and get engaged before meeting in person. At first blush, falling in love, let alone proposing, with those limitations sounds crazy. That said, perhaps it shouldn’t. After all, transparent, ongoing and seamless communication is arguably far more crucial to a lasting relationship than the first, heady moments of attraction. Season One of the show, released in 2020, became Netflix's number-one trending programme and since then, the show has spent more time on Netflix’s Top Ten than any of the streaming services' traditional, scripted shows.

By design, reality television must appear immediate and off the cuff when capturing the interactions between contestants. That requires ongoing and constant communication between everyone involved, particularly in choosing and highlighting some interactions versus others to tell a compelling, universally appealing story. And that in turn, requires a rock-solid, flexible and purpose-built communication system. In this case, the team used a Clear-Com system that included Eclipse HX, HelixNet, FreeSpeak II, FreeSpeak Edge, LQ Series of IP interfaces and Agent IC. 

The system used for communication between the producers, remote camera operators and the contestants in each pod, individually, could be achieved with a relatively basic intercom system, Gaines notes, but with up to ten dates running simultaneously, each with a separate system connected to a central control area from which the dates are monitored, the scale of the installation adds a high degree of complexity requiring a substantial level of functionality and flexibility. Comms are absolutely critical in the first stage of Love Is Blind – the initial ‘blind’ dates – which take place in a roughly 70,000 square foot studio space, with nearly 100 cameras and the previously mentioned Clear-Com infrastructure used to monitor participants. 

In explaining the evolution of the Love Is Blind communication system, Gaines puts it in the context of the evolution of the reality genre overall. “When reality shows first got off the ground, all communication was done through walkie-talkies and up until relatively recently, that’s how everything was done in reality shows. If memory serves, I think the first time in one of my shows we actually rented a comms system was in 2012.” Over time, he has deployed various technologies on different shows but now uses Clear-Com as his go-to technology. He explains that the factors that led to that decision were “the ease of setup and transparency of Clear-Com’s physical and software-based user interfaces,” he says, singling out FreeSpeak II as an offering that “became the industry standard for wireless beltpacks.” 

The first Clear-Com system he deployed was for RuPaul’s Drag Race, a HelixNet system that included FreeSpeak beltpacks and a FreeSpeak base station. “That was also the system I used for Season One of Love Is Blind, but we realised very early on that, given the show's requirements, we were taxing the limits of the HelixNet system. We had no idea what we were stepping into on Season One beyond broad strokes, so we designed that system to be scalable in case it got bigger.” And it did, he explains, evolving substantially and swiftly for Season Two. “We finished the first season, did our post-mortem, and decided to upgrade because the requirements for intercom were much greater than we originally believed. So, we were on the HelixNet system one season and the next, we were on an Eclipse matrix with fully loaded IP and Dante cards.” 

Clear-Com’s Eclipse matrix system paired seamlessly with the FreeSpeak beltpacks already in use. “I knew I could easily implement those within the architecture of the Eclipse matrix system,” Gaines notes, “and, after taking a look at the EHX software, I knew immediately that myself and my comms people (who weren’t really comms specialists, but audio mixers who were interested in setting up comms systems) would find the EHX software very straightforward; something we could figure out and set up on our own because the learning curve wasn’t very steep.” 

Gaines felt that having support from Clear-Com was helpful and the company’s well-known willingness to provide that support was a significant attractor, both when deciding on the make-up of the system initially and as it evolved. “Their engineers were available pretty much anytime we needed to get in touch with them.” 

HelixNet also remained a part of the system to facilitate the use of hardwired beltpacks. Clear-Com’s LQ Series boxes were also included, meaning those using Helixnet would have full access to any channels on the Eclipse matrix. “So, we started with HelixNet, a FreeSpeak base station, and 25 belt packs. The show is now up to over 50 belt packs split across three sound stages between FSII (1.9GHz) and the FreeSpeak Edge system operating on 5GHz” shares Gaines.

The decision to add FreeSpeak Edge was partially based on providing those who needed additional functionality and control on their beltpacks more flexibility, freeing up FreeSpeak II packs for those requiring fewer bells and whistles. Splitting the beltpacks across two frequencies also enabled them to deploy additional beltpacks as needed. 

Incorporating FreeSpeak Edge was driven by the additional functionality required by the show’s stage managers. While physical panels – a mix of V-Series and Iris panels – continue to be utilised by directors and producers in the central control room, Clear-Com’s mobile app, Agent-IC, also plays an integral part in the system. Gaines says “there's a benefit to logging in remotely, should someone in the crew come down sick or just need to do so. I set myself up with the Agent-IC panel on my phone because I’m not always on set. So even if I'm not on-site, if there’s an issue with something, I can jump on, speak with the director or producers and come up with a solution remotely.” 

Agent-IC also aided when it came to Covid restrictions, allowing anyone who had contact with the virus or tested positive – even line producers – to continue to do their job remotely utilising Agent IC: one single platform rather than multiple means of communication. Beyond flexibility, ease of integration was a primary consideration. “I’ve been working with Clear-Com for ten years,” Gaines says, “and familiarity is probably the greatest factor in this whole thing. I’m so familiar with Clear-Com that it’s second nature, for example, to use the audio system to convey outputs from Clear-Com to IFBs for the hosts and to the pods. It’s all become one universe where you can’t separate audio from intercom.” 

As a contractor providing intercom to various shows and clients, expanding systems as needed is also critical. Clear-Com’s ecosystem is designed for ease of integration, adding more functionality, extending coverage and scaling up or down as necessary. “The main thing about Clear-Com, from our standpoint, is that it’s the best choice because of their support, we have a person we can call and count on either picking up when we call or calling us back within minutes and figuring out a solution. Or, if we can’t figure out a long-term solution (right away), find a workaround. That is integral. So, the deciding factors are service, support, our familiarity with Clear-Com and the ease of setting it up. When I first got into comms, it was a significant investment, and I was so satisfied with Clear-Com’s responsiveness that I decided to stick with them.”

15th February 2024

Having a Crush on grandMA3

Having a Crush on grandMA3

Korea – The unmistakable buzz and excitement of music concerts as a teenager initially sparked lighting professional Soyoun Lee’s interest in lighting and visuals, so much so that later she left her office job, trained in lighting and is now pursuing a very successful career. Currently, she is working for Lite Factory in Korea, designing and programming shows for several high-profile K-Pop music artists in Singapore and Korea.

One of these is talented Korean record producer and singer-songwriter, Crush, who recently played several show-stopping Wonderego concerts – in support of his incendiary third album – at Seoul’s Jamsil Arena, for which Soyoun designed, programmed and operated the lighting.

For the first time, she chose to run the lighting control on a full grandMA3 system.

Soyoun had used the grandMA3 console / hardware many times already (running in mode 2) and felt that this was a great time to ‘make the switch’, for which she prepared herself via online training videos and in-person training arranged via MA Lighting’s Asia Pacific base in Singapore.

Through the training, her grandMA3 knowledge increased exponentially and she realised that the platform’s many effective programming techniques were also triggering more creative ideas!

The grandMA3 lighting set-up on the Wonderego concerts comprised a grandMA3 full-size, a grandMA3 light, a grandMA3 processing unit XL, a grandMA3 processing unit L and three grandMA3 8 port nodes, controlling a total of 329 lighting fixtures that was a mixture of moving and static lights and LED fixtures and panels, all adding up to 17,685 parameters.

Soyoun found herself using three main grandMA3 features – Recipes, Selection Grid and Phasers – as the backbone of her workflow, all of which enabled her to programme a complex and detailed show quicker, more efficiently and with greater creativity.

While Recipes required a steep initial learning curve, being persistent, she adapted to “this distinctive workflow” very naturally. The potency of a Cue Recipe became even more apparent when fine-tuning and adjusting cues she notes, utilising powerful tools like the effortless modification of fixture selection, quick adjustments to Phaser application and cue timings.

“I firmly believe that the Cue Recipe workflow will continue to evolve and offer enhanced capabilities in the future,” she affirms.

Selection Grid, in offering a clear view of the selection order and structure, enabled a swift and logical selection technique mapped to the lighting rig, allowing the building of various scenes with dynamic values. “With numerous multi-instance fixtures, Selection Grid combined with MAtricks was instrumental in helping craft diverse looks that enhanced the overall show vibe.”

Phasers allowed the streamlining of intricate value changes in a straightforward manner. “Employing MAtricks and Selection Grid with one Phaser, I could easily generate a multitude of looks which simplified the process saving considerable time and effort,” she added. Time, as we know, is a commodity of which there is never enough, whatever the project!

Soyoun also likes Swipeys which offer swift access to the menu eliminating the need to manually input commands and she also appreciated the timecode’s minus offset function so it can be adjusted back and forth as needed. She didn’t use Recast Preset for this show, but reckons it is a great function for touring shows.

Overall, her first experience with running an all grandMA3 system was “excellent, it unlocks the ability to work quickly and flexibility on building complex shows.”

An MA user since 2010 (back in the day of grandMA1) Soyoun thinks the brand is solid, trustworthy and “state-of-the-art” technology.

Underlining the Wonderego show lighting design were a series of messages that Crush wanted to convey to his hugely enthusiastic fans, so she searched for the best to support these visually.

Merging the two themes of ‘wonder’ and ‘ego’, he also delves into the intricacies of love in this album. “Shortcomings are what made me who I am for a long time. Wonderego is a journey that begins with this,” he stated in a recent interview [*All K-Pop (AKP) Posted by Sofia-Sayson, Monday, 1 January, 2024] referring to the album.

Inspired by the Wonderego album artwork, the show creative director Eddie Oh designed some triangular set risers complete with a thrust stage so Crush could get out close to his fans, the idea being that while these different fragments each have individual value and worth, they also work harmoniously together, signifying both ‘ego’ and ‘essence’.

He added five square shaped lighting pods flown downstage on an automation system bringing further elements of surprise to the show and the central pod was used to elevate the artist.

To accentuate his idea, Soyoun added a truss mimicking the angles of the riser design above the A stage, populated with lights that could be utilised as lines or for surfaces, bringing resonance and depth to the performance space.

“Lighting can really help the artist communicate their stories and narrative and my lighting showcases their craft and performance skills whilst also capturing the festive and emotive atmosphere associated with their music and experienced by the audience,” she explained.

She believes that lighting can be impactful without the need for excessive fixtures, preferring a balanced setup where less lights can be thoroughly maximised and therefore used with more versatility and multi-functionality.

“In this context, the grandMA3 system is proving to be a perfect tool for adding complex details to a look or scene and assisting in properly optimising the fixtures.”

photos: © P Nation

www.malighting.com  

Having a Crush on grandMA3Having a Crush on grandMA3

15th February 2024

MA Lighting

Claypaky Sharpy Plus Lights Up Fito Páez Anniversary Tour in Buenos Aires

Claypaky Sharpy Plus Lights Up Fito Páez Anniversary Tour in Buenos Aires

Argentina – Argentine rock and pop musician Fito Páez continued his "El amor 30 años después del amor" tour last year with a 16 December concert at the Estadio UNO – Estadio Jorge Luis Hirschi in Buenos Aires where 54 Claypaky Sharpy Plus fixtures enhanced the energy on stage.

The tour marked the 30th anniversary of Páez’s breakout album, “El amor despues del amor,” the pinnacle of his commercial success. In 1992 the artist sold more than 750,000 copies of the album and played sold-out concert dates. Thirty years later he drew sell-out crowds to a commemorative tour from Gonna Go! Producciones that began in 2022. In the tour’s first year Páez played shows in South America and the US, last year he expanded the tour to include additional South American countries as well as Canada and Europe. 

Lighting designer Gaspar Potocnik selected a large complement of Claypaky Sharpy Plus fixtures from rental house Técnica Vidal to enhance the dynamic shows that thrilled fans.

“The Sharpy Plus stands out for its versatility, colorimetry, motorisation and aperture range. It produces a beam or spot that facilitates multiple uses making them a very interesting tool to operate,” says Agustín Poblete, lighting technician at Técnica Vidal. The company also furnished the local lighting crew, which included Poblete, Gustavo Porollan, Daniel Toledo, José Gutiérrez and Darío Gil.

Macaio Argentina is the exclusive distributor of Claypaky lighting in Argentina. Mauricio Brando is Claypaky’s area sales manager for Latin America. 

www.claypaky.com       

Claypaky Sharpy Plus Lights Up Fito Páez Anniversary Tour in Buenos AiresClaypaky Sharpy Plus Lights Up Fito Páez Anniversary Tour in Buenos Aires

15th February 2024

Claypaky

Beautiful Feelings for Skan PA Hire and The Chemical Brothers

Beautiful Feelings for Skan PA Hire and The Chemical Brothers

UK – Thirty-five years after DJ visionaries Ed Simons and Tom Rowlands formed, and 18 years after their audio crew began working with Skan, The Chemical Brothers visited UK arenas in support of new album, ‘For That Beautiful Feeling’. Their tenth studio release made another huge impact on electronic music, receiving a nomination for ‘Best Dance/Electronic Music Album’ at the 2024 GRAMMYS and winning Rolling Stone UK’s ‘Album of the Year‘ in 2023.

Production manager Toby Dennis and tour manager James Baseley choose vendors that set their tours up for success. Baseley comments: “Using Skan is a choice based on their understanding of us as a client and delivering the service that we require whilst remaining flexible with our needs. Their quality of service, staff and equipment makes them a stand-out company amongst many other remarkable audio suppliers. Our use of legacy equipment that is not prevalent in other suppliers and the level at which Skan maintains and backs it up is second to none.”

As has been requested since their collaboration began, audio engineers Shan Hira (FOH) and Ian Barton (monitors) are both using their favourite analogue mixing desk, the Midas XL4.

For Hira, it’s a console he’s grown to know intuitively over the 24 years he’s been bringing the Chems’ big beat sounds to live audiences. He begins: “It’s an absolute pleasure to mix FOH for The Chemical Brothers, they have written so many great songs and their live interpretation of these songs turns the show into an amazing audio-visual experience, which is always a privilege to be involved in. We’ve been working with Skan since 2005 and it’s been great ever since.

“My objective with their shows is to present their songs in the best possible light. The mix from the stage is different for every show, so the same thing does not necessarily happen at the same time each night. I track what the band is doing and use the options in my FX racks to enhance what I am getting from the stage. After all these years, there is a lot of trust within that, so they leave me to do what I think is the right thing.”

Hira specified a selection of gear across three racks. Housing both classic and retro units, the dynamic rack includes XTA C2 compressors, XTA D2 compressors, XTAS graphic EQ and a Waves Maxx BCL mastering limiter / compressor.

He continues: “For the two effects racks, there are some units from Skan, the band owns some, and I’ve brought some of my own too; I have an Eventide H7600 Ultra harmoniser effects system, Deltalab Timeline 2048, Lexicon PCM 70 digital effects processor, vintage Korg SDE 3000 digital delay, Electrospace Spanner surround panner, Line 6 filter, Lexicon 480 for digital reverb, Roland SRE 555 Chorus Echo, MXR digital Delay System 2, MXR pitch transposer, MXR flanger, Bel flanger, Boss Re 20 and a Boss Re 202.”

Skan’s Scott Essen, audio crew chief and system designer, has been working with this team for years and knows the key to harnessing their renowned live output.

“The Chemical Brothers’ sound is all about making it loud yet comfortable, being impactful in a way that moves people. For the crowd, it's all about feeling the sound and moving them in the right way. For me, that means getting the sub and fill choices right. We do quite consciously ensure the people in the pit get a full experience while ensuring those out on the edges still feel that low end and get a nice presence of the top end. Essentially, we design the sound system to be as seamless and effective as possible.”

The PA system is d&b audiotechnik; GSL for main hangs, KSL for side and rear hangs, flown J SUBs, stacked SL-SUBs and V10p for front fills. On stage, side fills comprise boxes of KSL with SL-SUBs, rave fills of V12 tops and V-SUBS used by the production team. There is also a scattering of M2 wedges and B6 SUBs on stage.

Essen says the flown subs and the way they've been meticulously tuned is for chest impact rather than floor wallow: “We’re moving air, and it’s very visceral. Arenas are notoriously bad for controlling low end, so once that's tight, we're laughing,” he explains.

“The PA preference for Shan and myself is always d&b, and that works with this band because it gives a controlled, tighter, punchier thump than some systems offer. The Midas analogue choices are all about being hands-on and making it ergonomic with the mix while sounding brilliant. Throughout our time together, I’ve stripped Shan's desk at least three times: taken every channel strip out and had it down to the bare bones, serviced and rebuilt it. That kind of sums up the two halves of what this production represents, there’s a comfort zone of old, analogue gear mixed with elements of the latest cutting-edge audio technology. This show is exceptional because it’s the perfect mould of those two things and it works beautifully for everyone.”

Monitor engineer and fellow Midas XL4 fan Ian Barton joins the conversation: “The XL4 is just the best thing in the world! It weighs half a tonne, but I'm so lucky to be able to take it everywhere!”

Barton explains that a lot of fine-tuning goes into his monitor mixes in his ‘triangle of trust’ between himself, Hira and Chemical Brothers’ Tom Rowlands. He adds: “I've got Ed who plays different synths and some satellite speakers dotted around the stage, so I overlay whatever the sound is. There are 24 analogue keyboards running at any one time, but mixing it is completely second nature at this point.”

Barton also has Lab.gruppen amplification on his own L-Acoustics speakers: two ARCs, two dVSub, two 108 and four 108P.

When it comes to their audio supplier, Barton advocates that: “Skan is the one,” for expertly maintaining their desks and bespoke requests over the years. “They're a stand-alone company,” he confirms. “The cleanliness of the gear and the way it's all put together for us, well it's more than just nice, it’s an important part of how the show works.”

15th February 2024