Production News Headlines
Nitin Speakers & Electrical Invests in Robe
Leading south Indian rental company Nitin Speakers & Electrical has invested in Robe moving lights to upgrade their lighting inventory. Run by the charismatic Sachin Naik – who has connected with many politicians, dignitaries, VIPs and celebrities in the course of his work – the Pune based operation supplies technical production to events of all types from vast political rallies for half a million people or so to concerts and musical extravaganzas to corporate presentations.
Known for many years as a high quality audio rental company and also for building large portable venue superstructures, Nitin Speaker’s & Electrical opened its Intelligent Lighting division a year ago.
"We were being asked more and more frequently if we could supply lighting," explains Naik,"so we decided to do it properly and make a substantial investment so we could stock and supply the very best moving lights."
They then decided that Robe was the best brand! Reliability was a key – and Robe has the best reputation in this category. He also knew he could get great service and support from Robe’s Indian distributor, IES from Mumbai. The first purchase involved eight ColorSpot 2500E ATs, eight ROBIN LEDWash 600s and eight ROBIN 300E Beams. They have been working constantly since delivered on a plethora of shows and events.
The small and light weight of the LEDWash 600 and Beam 300 fixtures make them a huge hit with the Nitin crew and technicians for their ease of use, handle-ability and also for the power saving capabilities. "The colour tones are really excellent from the LEDWash," Naik enthuses. "They are great for movie and video shoots and also for TV applications – and ideal for pleasing camera operators and photographers with their range of different colour temperature ‘true’ whites."
The ColorSpot 2500E ATs they wanted for their sheer intensity. They provide lights for a lot of large scale shows with huge stages and sets, and so they needed a set of fixtures with a really powerful throw.
Above all, with the company’s excellent reputation for audio - their main systems are L-Acoustics - they needed to be able to match this status with the new lighting division. "Investing in a premium brand was key to that," comments Naik.
Having a branded product on board also gives the technology more longevity – both physically because of the better engineering and psychologically because if people trust a brand image, he reckons that they tend to stick with it rather than flitting to the next trend a few months down the line.
Nitin Speakers & Electrical operates out of a 500,000 square foot facility on the outskirts of Pune, Maharashtra, has 25 full time employees and works with a pool of around 50 regular freelancers in the peak times on both sound and lighting, servicing events all over India.
Recent events utilising the Robe fixtures have included a large show by music director-composer duo Ajay-Atul at Pune’s Balewadi Stadium, where the local heroes attracted 35,000 enthusiastic fans for their performance.
In picture: Kekul Sheth (Robe distributor IES), Sachin Naik (Owner Nitin Speakers & Electrical), Sandeep Bhattad (business partner) and Rasesh Parekh (Robe distributor IES).
In picture: Kekul Sheth (Robe distributor IES), Sachin Naik (Owner Nitin Speakers & Electrical), Sandeep Bhattad (business partner) and Rasesh Parekh (Robe distributor IES).
17th June 2013
Robe in Paradise for Jaguar and Land Rover Event
Mauritius is well known for its natural beauty, cosmopolitan culture and as a fabulous place for calmness and reflection, just some of the reasons that the Indian Ocean island state was chosen for Jaguar and Land Rover’s 2013 annual Dealer of the Year Awards for Africa and the Sub Sahara region.
Technical production for the three venues was managed and coordinated by Christiaan Ballot and Ryan Lombard from Blond Productions, who are based in Centurion, Gauteng, South Africa. They have worked on several previous projects for Land Rover in recent years.
They worked closely with Mauritius based Impact – the country’s top rental company – who like Blond Predictions has a big inventory of Robe fixtures. Stephane Lafort was Impact’s project manager.
Christiaan received a list of the available kit from Impact and designed lighting and other technical elements for each venue around this, with Robe moving lights utilised as key fixtures.
The main event, the Awards and Gala Dinner, was staged in a clear roofed marquee constructed in the gardens of The Heritage Le Telfair Golf & Spa Resort Hotel.
The welcome reception took place at the C Beach Club at the same hotel, and the primary conference session was held at the St Regis Hotel in the south of the island.
In the marquee the lights were rigged on a spine truss traversing the centre of the structure, and included Robe LEDWash 600s and ColorSpot 700E ATs, with more of the same also rigged on a truss at the back of the stage. These were joined by a section of generics and LED luminaires.
The lightweight, small size and expedient power consumption of the LEDWashes in particular enabled more lights to be used. As well as lighting the tables and the stage, the Robes were also handy for illuminating the spaces in between these areas, in the process boosting the general atmosphere.
In The C Beach Club, ColorSpot 700E ATs were used for gobo patterning the floor and walls, adding to the generally very chilled vibe.
Says Christiaan: “It was a top end event and very important to be precise and supremely neat and tidy with all the lighting and technicals. Having the Robes on hand also helped us to light each venue according to the funky, interactive style requested by the client.
“We really enjoyed working with the Impact crew and project management teams in a true collaboration which achieved great results.”
14th June 2013
Itís all Colours P!nk as CT Deploys digiLED MC7s in Europe and Australia
Global AV supplier Creative Technology (CT) has selected digiLED MC7 for all video screens on the 2013 world tour by pop’s punk princess P!nk, with dates in the UK, Europe and Australia.
CT has invested in over 350 500mmx500mm modules of the MC's new 7mm range manufactured by screen specialist displayLED, to provide high impact displays on the impressive production of P!nk’s Truth About Love tour, designed by Baz Halpin and Chris Nyfield.
The set consists of ten separate configurations of MC7 modules, built around the centrepiece of a ‘dressed’ heart-shaped 6m tall MC7 screen, flanked by four moving video ‘picture frames’ which fly spectacularly around the set throughout the show. In addition, four columns of MC7 rise from the stage behind the band while, further back, another screen forms a backdrop for P!nk’s dramatic departure on a descending lift.
“The screens on P!nk’s current world tour represent an upgraded resolution from previous video products used by the artist,” says Tom Mudd of displayLED. “The 7mm digiLED MC7 includes enhanced greyscale driver technology which means we can achieve a camera friendly screen brightness while maintaining full 16 bit greyscale.”
The non-rigid pixel mapping ability of the screens has allowed the heart shape to be programmed, taking the missing LED modules into account, while the show features cutting-edge automation as video cues synchronise with motor cues to see the screens fly dramatically around the stage.
“We worked with CT and the touring set specialists, Tait, to produce a high speed touring frame that enables large sections of screen to be built very quickly,” says Mudd. “The screens are all stored and transported on large ‘dollies’ that allow them to be loaded off and on trucks in large sections and installed rapidly.”
Another challenge was connecting the MC7s to the control systems. “Because they were moving throughout the show, it was not possible to use conventional copper signal cables to reach the screens,” he says. “So we utilised fibre optic comms equipment previously deployed on CT's kit at the Olympics Opening Ceremony to get information from the mother grid to the MC7s, avoiding the need for long cable runs.”
"With screens flying up, down, left and right, mid-show repairs would have been impossible. An extra level of data security was consequently added to every screen through the use of the auto data-reverse feature. In this way if any part of the screen lost its feed, a secondary reverse flow of data would automatically kick in and keep the show running."
According to Rob Brewer, CT’s senior screens engineer and head of LED for P!nk: “These are the best looking screens ‘on camera’ that I’ve ever worked with. The live footage is fantastic: the colours are vibrant and the resolution and brightness levels are great. I’m impressed with how reliable the MC7s have been.”
“We chose digiLED because it was the best product for the job, with its light weight and high resolution,” says CT’s project manager Paul Gilzene. “Originally the client asked for a lower resolution 10mm screen but we went for 7mm which gives us more versatility in future.”
The tour has played arenas in Germany, Switzerland and Scandinavia and opens in Australia in June.
12th June 2013
Port Fairy Folk Festival Laps up the Sunshine with DiGiCo
Since 1977, The Port Fairy Folk Festival (PFFF) has been the cornerstone event for the humble ex-fishing village of Port Fairy in Victoria Australia. This year, DiGiCo consoles were seen at both Front of House and monitor positions.
With its origins based firmly around Irish folk music and culture, the four-day event has grown considerably in popularity over the past four decades and has evolved into an eclectic festival that encompasses the broader realms of blues, roots and world music.
In the middle of Victoria's longest ever-hot streak, the 2013 PFFF was feeding the appetites of some 50,000 lawn chair wielding music lovers. The heat was certainly no deterrent with capacity crowds as far as the eye could see and a really healthy mix of great music from Australia and abroad, as well as expert production management from Monitor City; the PFFF was executed in fine form.
Monitor City was managing production for stages 1, 2, the Guinness Stage (also known as the Shabeen Bar) and Stage 5. Each stage saw a varied selection of acts throughout the day, including artists such as Kate Miller-Heidke (AUS), Ruthie Foster (USA), The Popes (IRE), The Cactus Channel (AUS), Tuba Skinny (USA), Chris Smither (USA), Grace Barbe Afro Kreol Band (SC\AUS) and Alanna & Alicia (AUS) to name but a few.
Stage 1 had a DiGiCo SD8 handling the monitoring side of the stage, with the combination of an SD Series console and Nexo wedges proving an expected success.
A DiGiCo SD8 was also at FOH, and the gambit of engineers who took to the hot seat were all happy to be using what is now considered, by most, as an industry standard console for high profile events.
On Stage 2, a DiGiCo SD9 was used for monitors and a DiGiCo SD8 was at FOH. The system sounded fantastic and every engineer was delighted with the configuration provided, whilst in the Guinness Tent, a trusty DiGiCo D1 was at the helm for monitoring.
“There were some really mind blowing performances over the four days,” says Anthony Touma, marketing director for DiGiCo’s Australian distributor, Group Technologies. “The Saturday night was really spectacular, with The Cactus Channel playing some really funky stuff and Ruthie Foster was phenomenal with her gospel pipes luring listeners in from every direction.
“It was a really wonderful mix of very talented musicians and a festival that every music lover needs to check out supported with a fantastic combination of equipment, with DiGiCo consoles and a combination of Nexo’s new STM and RCF loudspeakers.”
6th June 2013
Tait Creates Imaginative Staging Set for the Rolling Stones 50th Anniversary Tour
Tait provided a variety of staging, rigging and scenic elements for the Rolling Stones’ 50th Anniversary worldwide tour, continuing a long-standing relationship spanning nearly three decades since the artists’ 1994 Voodoo Lounge tour. Mark Fisher was at the helm of the set design; a visually striking stage concept with a pert sense of authenticity for the artists’ famed emblem.
Tait constructed a rolling MagDeck main stage that measured 25.6m wide by 12.1m deep, which provided full utilisation of space underneath for storage of backline and band gear.
A custom, tongue-shaped MagDeck runway offsets the inflatable lips and teeth that are suspended above the band. Automated by 22 Tait Smart Winches, the massive lip is made from an inflatable printed fabric and measures 24.4m wide by 3m deep by 9.1m high and weighs 270kg.
Scenically carved, painted lip shelves sit below the inflatable lip and were custom treated to match lip fabric for consistency of design. When the lips are removed, the shelves become stand-alone scenic pieces. Two B-stage walkway bridges, allow access to the pit via spanning decks connected to the main stage.
Additionally, Tait crafted a pleated curtain, fabricated from antique gold banjo cloth, which hangs from a 30.4m high lighting truss and is attached to a curved arch truss below. The curtain moves via a series of counterweight lines to remove slack and uses 1900m of fabric.
A stage apron with grills for monitors and double decker side monitor mixes was also provided.
6th June 2013
XL Video Continues with Cutting Edge Video Package for Muse World Tour
Continuing a long-running working relationship, XL Video is supplying LED screens, cameras and control for Muse’s current ‘The 2nd Law’ world tour featuring another innovative collaboration between stage and visual designer, Oli Metcalf and video director Tom Kirk.
The tour began in October 2012 in the UK. It stormed through Europe, Japan and US and is now back in the UK, this time playing stadium shows.
Muse are renowned for their visually spectacular live performances. XL’s project manager Phil Mercer enthuses: “It is always interesting working with Oli and Tom, and the results of their work is another entertaining, impressive and thought-provoking show.”
To achieve a combination of the highest resolution and lightest weight LED video screen surfaces, XL Video is supplying its Pixled F-12 product to the tour. The front of the stage and drum riser are clad in 60 tiles of F-12 and a 43 sq.metre upstage panorama runs across the stage behind the drums at the front of the upstage riser.
Content for the LED is a mixture of IMAG feed and pre-programmed content commissioned by Oli Metcalfe and Tom Kirk and produced by Lydia Baker and a number of other artists. Highlights include a giant “stock ticker” for ‘Animals’, stark monochrome graphics for ‘Starlight’ and sparkle effects for the show finale.
The IMAG feeds come from a total of 12 cameras supplied by XL Video. Four Sony HXC-100 HD cameras are positioned in a two at front-of-house and two in the pit format, with four Bradley Camball2 HD Robocams, three Bradley HD Minicams and an HD Polecam supplying action footage of the band from around the stage and pit.
XL is also supplying a High Definition Grass Valley Kayak PPU with a 64x64 Evertz HD Matrix router and 24 x 2 Zandar Multiviewer monitoring. The show is recorded onto two AJA KiPros and additional feeds are downscaled using Black Magic Design’s new Teranex 2D processor. Two HD Jitter units are used for additional video effects.
XL Video’s crew chief on the tour is Gary Beirne. He’s joined by engineer Matt Vassallo, an LED crew of Yves van Acker, Dylan Wilson-Wright, Al Wright, Polecam operator Rob Wick and cameraman Mark Hughes.
Phil Mercer adds: “This is the first Muse campaign that I have been involved with right from the outset, and we’ve all thoroughly enjoyed working with Oli and Tom again and in delivering an amazing and very memorable show.”
Production manager is Chris Vaughan from The Production Office (TPO) and dates are currently booked until October 2013.
30th May 2013
Eurovision Song Contest: MA Lighting wins top points in Malmö
A total of 11 grandMA2 light consoles were used for running lighting and video at the 2013 Eurovision Song Contest, staged at the Malmö Arena, Sweden. Four grandMA2 light consoles, plus four as backup, were controlling around 1,400 fixtures. The three video grandMA2 light, one as backup, were playing back content stored on 22 media servers via MA-Net2 feeding 28 Barco HDQ-2K40 projectors. They had 94 million video pixels in the show and were running up to 16 video layers on the media servers. Four MA onPC command wing were used as well for technical support purposes.
The 2013 event took production, presentation and visual imagination to new heights of style, ambition and excellence under the technical direction of Ola Melzig. This stunning visuality was created by a carefully crafted blend of Fredrik Jönsson’s lighting, Mikki Kunttu’s video and the set designed by Viktor Brattstrom and Frieda Arvidsson.
The Final – won by Denmark, with Emmelie de Forests’s folksy "Only Teardrops" - was broadcast live on Swedish SVT1 to 44 countries, watched by in excess of 100 million viewers and enjoyed by a live audience of 10,500 excited Eurovision fans, who packed into Malmö Arena to experience another technically ground-breaking Eurovision and some superlative pop music!
Fredrik Jönsson explains that he chose an MA Lighting system – which incorporated 16 MA NPU (Network Processing Unit) and 9 MA NSP (Network Signal Processor) and a grandMA2 fader wing for himself as well – because it enabled his four operators to work independently in their own sessions on different elements of the show. No other system allows this flexibility. The four utilised individual Cubase projects to generate their own Timecode during this process, and when their modifications were completed, they switched back into the ‘general’ show Timecode. During preprogramming the previsualization of the show was done via the free of charge grandMA 3D software which saved the programming team on-site a lot of time.
This extremely expedient way of working was an absolute key to Jönsson and his team being able to achieve the very complex programming required to develop the show under serious pressure in the given timescale. The competition started off with 39 countries which were whittled down – via two live televised semi-finals in the week ahead of the final - to 26 finalists.
Each had to look dynamic, distinctive and be lit perfectly for camera and TV as well as having plenty of WOW factors to impress the live audience. The ideas and requests of each individual delegation were also discussed in depth with Jönsson and Kunttu as each artists’ performance was fine-tuned once the full technical rehearsal period started.
In addition to the 1,400 lighting fixtures – which included a variety of the latest Clay Paky Sharpy Wash, Sharpy Beam, Alpha Profile 1500, Alpha Spot QWO 800 ST, A.leda K10 and GlowUp Strip as well as Vari*Lite moving lights, one of the lighting grandMA2 light was also controlling 48 customised winches (made by Tait Technologies) which were flying individual pixel-lanterns above the audience. That same console was also running another 14 winches flying in and out illuminated ‘icicle’ tubes over the stage which were lowered in to make the space more intimate.
Mikki Kunttu created eye-catching original video content and projected wide-screen visuals for 38 of the contestants in a dynamic aesthetic departure from LED, which was an original request from the executive producers.
He worked with two very experienced operators who were running the same show-file in the same session, effectively four hands and four sets of eyes but one operator. Kunttu, who actually owns two grandMA2 lights of his own, uses the platform for all his video and lighting projects. "The grandMA2 is fast, reliable and creative," he asserts.
The Eurovisuals team (lighting and video) spent three weeks pre-programming the show at SVT HQ in Stockholm before moving to Malmö Arena a month ahead of the final, with a gruelling full rehearsal schedule constantly for the last two weeks.
The lighting programmers were Danne Persson, Timo Kauristo, Calle Brattberg and Pontus "Bullen" Lagerbielke – all highly talented and three of them owning their own grandMA2 consoles. In pre-production Marcus Krömer assisted with the 3D visualization which was created by QConcept using grandMA 3D.
With five custom built computers supplied by MA Lighting and one from Starlight for Jönsson, whilst in pre-production each lighting programmer had their own grandMA 3D system and all the DMX universes were sent to Jönsson’s computer that merged the incoming data into one show. That way he could see the combined output from all four sessions.
On site, Jönsson worked alongside assistant lighting designer Emma Landare, who coordinated lighting all the interval and opening acts, the large green room area also with a live audience for the broadcasts and other periphery areas.
Kulan Wallertz called the 14 followspots, with the iris and colour channels being controlled through one of the grandMA2 lights and the intensity through a separate manual desk – so effectively all the operators had to do was point the hardware.
For video, the grandMA2 light programmers were Neil Trenell and Mikko Linnavuori. The grandMA2 system and network technician was Nicolai Gubi Schmidt, and the consoles were supplied to the event by PRG / Starlight.
28th May 2013
Eos Titanium tests its mettle on Zorro
Zorro: A New Musical has claimed a lot of firsts for ETC’s Eos family of lighting control products. It was the first West End musical controlled by an Eos desk. It was the first large scale show in Paris run on an Eos. And now it’s adding another accomplishment to the list: Zorro is the first theatrical production in America to feature ETC’s newest lighting control desk, Eos Titanium (“Ti”).
The debut of Ti coincided with the preproduction of Zorro at the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia, so Lighting Designer Ben Ormerod and Programmer Andi Davis decided to put it to the test. Says Davis: “I’d previously had the pleasure of programming the first ETC Gio musical in the UK, which was a great experience, so I was keen to have the opportunity to use the Ti so soon after its official launch.”
Ti was used to accomplish all programming for the show, running as a client in the theatre’s in house Eos system. Specified by the Alliance’s Chief Electrician Pete Shinn, the system includes an Eos RPU (Remote Processor Unit) as master, an Eos desk as a backup, Net3 Gateways, a Net3 Show Control Gateway and a Net3 RVI (Remote Video Interface).
“The ability to integrate the Ti into the existing Eos system was incredibly useful,” explains Davis. “Ti shares the same software and show file structure as the other desks in the Eos family, so moving between Eos and Ti was seamless. During dress rehearsals, Lighting Operator Steve Jordan ran the show from the Eos, while Ben and I were able to continue making live changes from the Ti, which connected into the system as a client.”
The new features that Ti offers also contributed to an easy design and programming process. “The three built in multi touch screens – which are larger and have higher resolution than on the original Eos desk – make it possible to display far more information,” says Davis. “The new solid state hard drive increases the desk’s speed – most noticeably its boot time. And I personally like the backlit keypad. I was able to program the show from start to finish without Littlites obscuring my view.”
Ti offers a wealth of features that make programming automated fixtures a breeze – an important feature for Zorro’s lighting design. “The complex flying and scenic effects in the show mean that overhead space is at a premium,” explains Ormerod. “Conventional luminaires have been replaced almost entirely with automated fixtures to achieve the required flexibility from such limited space. We depend on tungsten fixtures for many of the show’s key looks, including ETC’s Source Four Revolutions, which I’m a huge fan of.”
Another feature of Ti (and the entire Eos family) is the new Magic Sheet functionality, allowing users to interact with both automated and conventional fixtures in an intuitive, visual way. “Our main aim was to use Magic Sheets to simplify the day to day running of the show,” describes Davis. “As well as providing a real time visual representation of the state of the automated fixtures during the show, we also use Magic Sheets to assist with rig checking and to manage the considerable number of set practicals. Presenting this information in a more visual format makes it easier – and more fun – to use.” Meanwhile, Ormerod – a committed non user of monitors – is keenly aware of the potential benefits for designers: “For the first time in my career, I found myself wanting a screen, too!”
While Zorro was the first time the lighting team got the opportunity to use Ti, it definitely won’t be the last. Says Davis: “I'm immensely appreciative of the time, care and commitment invested by the ETC Eos development team in creating such a fantastic lighting tool. I think the Ti is a great new addition to the Eos family, building on the strong foundations of the existing Eos platform.”
In picture: Zorro at the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia photo: Ross DeLoach
28th May 2013
Orbital Tours with Dreamgirls in the US and Japan
Orbital Sound reports that it is currently out on the road with the Big League Productions’ US national tour of the hit musical Dreamgirls, with the 21-week show schedule ending up on another continent this August – in Tokyo and Osaka, Japan. Sound design on the show is by Matt Geasey and Mike Tracey, with Orbital contracted to supply and support the show’s state-of-the-art sound system.
Dreamgirls' big sound is delivered by the d&b audiotechnik V-Series speaker system, chosen for its compact yet extraordinarily powerful design, complemented by a state of the art Yamaha CL5 mixing console. The touring system comprises fourteen V8 cabinets, four V12s, and four V-SUBs, which are designed to be flown or ground stacked, giving the show’s sound crew complete configuration freedom depending on an individual theatre’s requirement – all driven by d&b D12 dual channel amplifiers. The V-Series speakers are complemented by additional d&b E6 fill cabinets.
For Matt Geasey, Dreamgirls combines the sound quality demands of a big Broadway production with the challenges of a national city tour. The high-end choice of equipment is delivering an exceptional sounding result: “This was an exciting show to work on, with the brief from Big League Productions being to create a brand new sound design that would wow the audiences. The sound design is the only completely new element to the show, and we wanted the freedom to specify a high quality system that would do it justice. The d&b V-Series has delivered just that – it’s an amazingly innovative product that is perfect for touring with its compact and flexible configuration options. We’ve had great support from the Orbital team at every stage – from the system build in their shop, through to the ongoing technical support, including seamlessly integrating a complete new frequencies set from their RF guru, Jeff Hahn, for each city, which is enormously helpful. Above all, Tim is doing a fantastic job of mixing the show, keeping it as consistent as possible from venue to venue.”
Dreamgirls’ No 1 operator Tim Riggs spends a lot of time behind the show’s other workhorse – the Yamaha CL5 mixing console. Already very familiar with the Yamaha concept, Tim has been working the board hard, and reports that it is turning in a solid performance. Mixing the show is a challenging task, as he explains: “This show feels like a runaway train sometimes; it just keeps going non-stop all the way through! The challenge is to keep it exciting for the audience without wearing them out. While there are the obvious big production numbers, there are also lots of intimate moments, and we really do use the system’s full dynamic range to ensure that you can hear the dialogue wherever they are on stage. It is a tough job to get it right, particularly with regard to the clarity of the vocals, when we have so little time in the same venue. There is one song called Family, which is my benchmark moment – this is when I know if I have got it just right. When the music ends, there are just five members of the cast signing in harmony. If the audience responds with “oohs” and “aahs”, I know we have nailed it!”
The sound design also specified the use of the Shure UHF-R wireless microphone system, principally using the UR1-M micro bodypack transmitters. Other components include MOTO Digital Performer 8, which is used heavily for time code and backing tracks. For the show communications system, the team is using the Clear-Com Tempest. Tim and Chuck typically bring in four local sound technicians to help with each set-up, with one staying on hand during the show. Overall, the show’s logistics are impressive, involving a cast of 25 and four tightly-packed trucks. As an example, one of the leads, Dina, changes costumes and wigs sixteen times within one performance! Simply getting from venue to venue can be a challenge in itself, with the tour even making its way to Anchorage in Alaska – involving a one-week truck drive there and back to the States through Canada.
Photos: Levi Walker.
24th May 2013
BIG-O Multimedia Show in South Korea Breaks New Ground
Creative Production Agency ECA2 of France has broken new ground in show technology with BIG-O, a breathtaking multimedia installation at the EXPO 2012 grounds in Yeosu, South Korea.
BIG-O enjoyed a stunning debut at EXPO 2012 and stands impressively as a giant 41-metre high sculpture and 3,000-nozzle water curtain that transforms into an immersive multi-sensory show by night. The magnificent interaction of light and water incorporates 30 Martin MAC 2000 Profile and 48 MAC 2000 Beam XB luminaires as an integral multimedia element. All Martin luminaires are in protection domes and were supplied by Martin distributor Hansam System Co. Ltd.
ECA2 pushed the envelope of innovation with BIG-O, creating the largest sea water curtain ever attempted in a multimedia show - the cascade screen - and then incorporating various show elements like lighting, flames, lasers and video in a new and unique way.
Incorporation of lighting onto the 35-metre-high water curtain was a challenge. ECA2’s new approach to technology pushed the team to create new ways of technical delivery and maintenance such as a custom-made housing traverse lighting dolly that can slide out of the lights’ protective housing for maintenance, on-board programming and bulb replacement. It is this type of innovation that pushed the ECA2 team to create best new practices for the industry.
The success of BIG-O as an emotional journey is exemplified in the 100,000 weekly visitors the show attracted during the EXPO and, because the committee decided to turn the BIG-O experience into a permanent show, the many others who visit BIG-O every day.
Photos: ECA2 - Julien Panie
22nd May 2013
P!NK Shares The Truth About Love Live with L-Acoustics
P!NK is currently out on a massive ten-month global arena tour in support of her sixth and most recent record, The Truth About Love. Currently trekking across Europe – following an initial US leg that began in February – P!NK and her entourage will eventually head down to Australia for the summer months before making their way back to North America for a second sweep that will carry the pop superstar through the end of the year and possibly beyond.
Manning her FOH mix, as he has for the past five years, Chris Madden has specified the use of a full L-Acoustics K1 system for the entire duration of the tour, which is being equipped by Sydney, Australia’s JPJ Audio – the merged operation of Jands Production Services, L-Acoustics’ longtime Australian Rental Partner, and Johnston Audio.
Madden, who has also performed FOH duties for Joe Cocker, Sade and Jessie J in the past, originally fell in love with K1 on P!NK’s Funhouse Summer Carnival tour of Europe in 2010. “We did quite a lot of shows in Germany for that summer run, all of which were supported by Black Box and their then-new K1 system,” Madden recalls. “We achieved fantastic results with the rig and Roger Davies [manager for P!NK, Sade, Cher, Tina Turner and others] was very impressed, so it’s been our system of choice ever since.
“From the very first time I heard it, I just thought K1 was the best PA I was ever put in front of. The projection and detail were both immediately apparent. On other systems, certain elements of a mix will disappear off into a mush, but L-Acoustics preserves so much detail across the full spectrum – and at distances that are truly remarkable.”
The main arrays for P!NK’s current arena tour are comprised of 14 K1 plus six Kara per side for downfill, with a small middle array of six Kara flown to cover the audience area between the main stage and curved thrust. An additional six Kara spread out under the front edge of the main stage helps pull the sound image down a bit further for the crowd at the front.
With 270 degrees of show seats completely selling out each night, JPJ is also deploying a total of 60 Kudo enclosures to deliver extreme left and right side coverage. Depending on each venue’s unique geometry, these are typically hung in either four arrays of 15 or dual arrays of 18 and 12 cabinets.
Low frequency reinforcement is primarily achieved via a combination of eight K1-SB per side flown adjacent to the K1/Kara hangs and a dozen SB28 in six stacks of two across the curved front edge of the stage thrust. Ground subs are set up in cardioid mode with the bottom cabinets rear-firing to minimise LF bleed on stage. Additional two-by-three stacks of SB28 are positioned under the ramps on either side of the stage and fire out toward the far left and right sides of the room, while 19 LA-RAK touring racks containing a total of 57 LA8 amplified controllers drive the entire system.
System Tech Ulf Oeckel, who has toured with Rammstein and Sade, maps out each upcoming venue with L-Acoustics’ Soundvision modelling software and keeps tabs on the system every night with LA Network Manager, both of which he and Madden report to be “quite intuitive.”
Photos: Todd Kaplan.
21st May 2013
Clay Paky is Major Player on X Factor Kazakhstan
An impressive range of Clay Paky fixtures including the Alpha Spot QWO 800s, Sharpys, A.Leda Wash K10 and K20s and Alpha Profile 800 STs are lighting up the world famous TV show phenomenon - X Factor - as it débuts in Kazakhstan.
Lighting designer Andrey Kuznetsov is utlising 16 Alpha Spot QWO 800s, 32 Sharpys, eight A.Leda K10s, eight A.Leda K20s, 16 Alpha Profile 800s and two Shadow QS-LTs to create a winning combination for the launch of Kazakh X Factor, which follows a similar format to the UK show.
“I was impressed by Alpha Profile 800 - the profile system is unbelievable, it made it very easy to make designs and to highlight the set and the performers,” says Kuznetsov. “To have so many functions and capabilities in a single compact fixture is truly amazing. A.Leda impressed me with the wide range of fantastic colours it can deliver. They are fast, super bright light with great all round functionality. The excellent colour rendering of the CTO and colour mixing system also allowed me to use these LED Fixtures as a very effective front light – I am truly impressed.”
The X Factor Kazakhstan is broadcast on the country’s Perviv Kanal Evraziya channel. Kuznetsov continues: “The X Factor producers are extremely happy with the results, and thanked us for the opportunity to have such wonderful lighting fixtures for the show!”
Kazakhstan lighting and sound rental house Kiber Svet supplied all Clay Paky luminaires. Slawa Gartung, sales manager for Clay Paky for the region comments: “It’s fantastic to see that signature X Factor look recreated here in Kazakhstan with the latest fixtures in the Clay Paky range. We have been delighted with the success of the fixtures in Kazakhstan and look forward to seeing all types of shows, productions and events finding creative new ways to use the incredible features of the Sharpy.”
21st May 2013
LSC Clarity on TV
The new Clarity LX series consoles have proved invaluable for Sydney broadcast lighting director Grant "Doc" Watson and his operation Strauss Productions.
Up until the final series of 2011, Watson was lighting the Australian productions of The Biggest Loser and My Kitchen Rules on a series of LSC maXim consoles. With the shows growing in size, The Biggest Loser saw the largest maXim XXLP console loaded to its limits with moving lights and dimmers.
With the need for a platform upgrade in mind, Watson was able to assess Clarity software on his Mac notebook and realised just how easy it was to use in the "live" environment most of his productions' demand. Rarely are the shows shot in a broadcast studio with some being produced in disused military buildings and naval dock yards, agricultural sheds, community centres and bare walls studios. The key to this style of operation and its success has been off-site planning. The Clarity LX series cross platform inter-operability with the PC and Mac software has allowed Strauss to create shows on Clarity software on a laptop while the LX Consoles are in use elsewhere and then bring the show file to site on a USB stick. This has minimised the time required on site doing patching, etc. and maximised resources available for rigging truss and luminaires, and running the power and data distribution that these locations and sizeable rigs demand.
Since September 2012, Strauss have used Clarity LX300 and LX600 consoles to create the top rating My Kitchen Rules, The Biggest Loser, Top Model and the interview components of The Voice.
Watson, who is over the moon with the versatility and ease of use of his Clarity LX300 and LX600 consoles states: "Some of the shows we do are simple and straight forward, whereas others use highly complex rigs. Clarity LX300 and LX600 and the Clarity software and wing solutions give me the flexibility to make each and every one of them a breeze."
21st May 2013
Robe Sponsors Student Bursary for Vivid Sydney Festival Project
Robe is sponsoring a student bursary run by London-based lighting designer Simon Brockwell of design practice SBLD, that will enable him to take a lighting design assistant to work alongside him for the upcoming 2013 VIVID Sydney Festival of Light Music & Ideas in Australia.
Simon is presenting his interactive ‘Nocturnal Pianola’ lighting installation and concept.
Robe’s relationship with Simon goes back to when he was a lighting design/programming student at Rose Bruford College in Kent. When Nocturnal Pianola was selected as one of the works to be exhibited at the festival, he approached Robe to see if they were interested in getting involved in Vivid. Naturally, they jumped at the chance!
“Robe has never been about pushing the product, their emphasis is definitely on relationships,” comments Simon. “As a lighting graduate, I know the importance of students to have opportunities provided by those already working in the industry, and this is something that Robe obviously clearly values”.
Robe SRO’s CEO Josef Valchar and Ashley Lewis, key account manager for film, theatre & TV from Robe UK in particular have been instrumental in making the VIVID bursary happen and in taking an interest generally in Simon’s work.
Selecting a student to work with him in Australia for three weeks was a challenging task, and Simon was inundated with applicants form virtually every performing arts college in the UK.
“The standard of applicants was incredibly high,” he explains, which made it even harder. However, after examining all the CVs in detail and interviewing as many candidates as possible in person, he chose Jaz Hewitt, a first year lighting design student at the Central School of Speech & Drama in London.
“I wanted someone bright and talented who was not a known LD, didn’t have any specific design credits and who’d not previously worked before with a major lighting company. Basically someone who was open to learning and self-development.”
Jaz is delighted to have the opportunity and thrilled about the actual installation work and the way its interactivity can be developed. “I’m very excited about the placement – it’s something artistic and different that stands out. It will be a very memorable experience.”
Simon has every confidence that Jaz will be an excellent colleague: “I hope her experience of the event is enjoyable as well as beneficial,” he concludes.
As Nocturnal Pianola is a non-profit production undertaken by SBLD for cost, without Robe’s help, taking an assistant LD and offering an aspiring new young designer this fantastic experience would have been out of the question.
The installation will run from 24th May to 10th June on Sydney Harbour’s Circular Quay.
In picture: Simon Brockwell and Jaz Hewitt.
16th May 2013
Back on the Road: grandMA2 Joins Fleetwood Mac
Fleetwood Mac is back on the road and a grandMA2 console has joined the iconic band on the Fleetwood Mac Live 2013 World Tour. The new tour, which began in Columbus will wrap in Australia in December, marks the first for the band since 2009’s sold-out Unleashed tour. This year is also the 35th anniversary of their Rumours album, one of the most successful in recording history. It remained on top of the pop charts for more than 31 weeks and produced four Top Ten singles.
Lighting designer Paul “Arlo” Guthrie of Minneapolis-based Toss Film + Design is Fleetwood Mac’s long-time lighting designer. “I have to cater to four different personalities (Mick Fleetwood, John McVie, Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks) and bring them together as one team,” he explains. “For this show we have four big soft box panels and 32 Clay Paky Sharpy Washes on curved lighting pipes, some of them on the floor, some on the rigs and some in pods that come out. They hang on weird angles and move during the show – some are on 45º, 90º and 120º angles. They’re well featured – the main workhorse washlight of the rig.”
The lighting designer brought his own grandMA2 full-size on tour to run “the whole show” and reports that, “it’s working as good as it always has. It’s super comfortable; it’s like hanging out with an old friend each day. My grandMA2 is more than capable of running everything, including the video.”
A.C.T Lighting is the exclusive distributor of MA Lighting in North America.
16th May 2013
PR Lighting XLED 1037s Back Norah Jonesí Indian Début
When Norah Jones – daughter of Ravi Shankar – made her first ever appearance in India at A Summer's Day Festival in Mumbai, around 8,000 fans turned up at the Mahalaxmi race course to cheer her on.
Making sure that the stage dynamics lived up to the performance were local production company E2Tech. Among the FX used were 24 of PR Lighting’s new XLED 1037 moving heads with zoom.
Characterised by the use of 37 ten Watt RGBW LEDs (containing four colours in one), one of its outstanding features is its wide linear zoom, with variable beam angle. It was deployed on this show with 26° beam angle. The lights were flown down specifically for the event and were purchased by E2Tech from Modern Stage Service, PR Lighting’s Indian distributors.
Said E2Tech owner, Jasjeet Singh: “We have been using PR fixtures for the last four years and are very happy both with the product and the service.” E2Tech lighting specialist, Mcgriff Mascarenhas ensured that these were able to realise the design, conceived by the artiste’s personal LD. With only one prep day possible, all the personalities were safely loaded into the lighting board.
Originally the designer had specified another brand of moving lights. But after receiving E2Tech’s assurance and witnessing a four-light demo, he was immediately convinced. In fact he expressed his hope that he would receive the same lights in the other two cities on the itinerary (Delhi and Bangalore), which E2Tech also provided lighting (and part of the trussing) for.
Asked if the promoters had been happy with the level of production, Jasjeet Singh simply replied: “We have always believed in one formula; if you don't get a panic call from the venue, and when the head of production sends a Smile on SMS, then everything is OK!”
photo: Mcgriff Mascarenhas.
15th May 2013
Beyoncé Dazzles with 446 SGM X-5 Strobes
Two giants of the lighting world have come together to help provide a dazzling show for one of the world’s greatest artistes.
The introduction of the groundbreaking X-5 LED strobes from Peter Johansen’s SGM provided all the inspiration necessary for multi-award winning production designer, LeRoy Bennett, to specify almost 450 pieces for Beyoncé’s The Mrs. Carter Show World Tour, making it probably the brightest show ever recorded on a concert stage.
When the set climaxes with her popular song Halo, the accompanying drum roll is the cue for lighting director Whitney Hoversten (pictured) to trigger every strobe in the house, completing a blinding blitzkrieg. “We throw everything plus the kitchen sink at it,” he says.
Beyoncé herself had expressed a preference for a lightshow-dominated stage set this time around (rather than the current video-led paradigm) and Bennett immediately set to work creating a stunning light ladder ‘torm’, interspersed with mirrors, known by the crew as the ‘Wall of Inferno’, and fabricated by Tait Towers.
This is dominated by the low-profile, lightweight X-5, which is designed to deliver the same output as conventional strobes from one fifth of the power. Housing 2,970 LEDs, power consumption of 360W with lamp life of 50,000 hours, it is contained in a slim aluminium chassis and designed into three individual cells to boost creativity.
These attributes had been brought to LeRoy’s attention by one of his partners, programmer Cory FitzGerald, and Randy Wade, who heads up SGM Inc, based in Houston, Texas. And so the designer decided to specify them for the first time.
“I was impressed by the combination of power consumption, brightness and rugged design,” LeRoy explained. “But I was particularly impressed by the fact that each strobe breaks down to three individual cells, enabling me to project very low res graphics as well a bright blasts of light and strobing,” he said.
Most of the strobes are arranged in a 4 x 4 block formation, with the pods mounted in custom brackets. The fact that these cellular strobes can be operated independently when fitted to these special brackets makes for a perfectly spaced pixel blinder.
Whitney Hoversten, who also worked on the last Beyoncé tour, agrees that this provides the perfect opportunity to project low-resolution graphics, something he hopes to exploit later in the tour. “We will use the individual cells to pixel map it and play images through it. Also, split into three blocks you can make it appear as if there’s more fixtures when you strobe individually. What they are capable of is fantastic, particularly given their compact size and low power draw; every 4 x 4 pod is just one circuit which is a huge advantage with power distribution.”
In addition to the power wall, the strobes are featured on the stage itself, as well as the stage risers and the header — meeting the request of the artiste herself.
For Beyoncé takes a hands-on approach to production, reviewing her show tape every night, it was she who has now suggested an additional 15 X-5s be added to fill in across the centre section of the stage.
Summing up, Hoversten remarks: “It’s very cool to see a show get back to lighting instead of video — and this is the brilliance that LeRoy brings to the production. The wall is as bright as hell — and the audiences have been loving it. There are so many cues but Beyoncé places a lot of trust in us.”
The lighting inventory was provided by Illinois-based rental company, Upstaging Inc, who are LeRoy Bennett’s supplier of choice. “They have the best back-up and are always more than a 150% supportive of every project,” he says.
John Huddleston from Upstaging, in turn stated how impressed he was with the X-5. “It’s one of the first true plug and play effects we have purchased in a long time. The fixture design is very ‘Apple’-like in its elegance and we are happy to be able to offer them in our inventory.”
Finally, Whitney Hoversten added how impressed he had been by the support SGM had offered from production rehearsals right through to the shows themselves.
15th May 2013
60 Barco Projectors take centre stage at 2013 Eurovision in Malmö
Barco is excited to reveal the details of its impressive technical contribution to the upcoming Eurovision Song Contest (ESC), from May 14 to 18. As an official technical event partner, Barco will have no fewer than 60 projectors and three Encore systems at the Malmö Arena, provided by a key rental partner. A main role will be reserved for the award-winning HDQ-2K40 projector.
Barco has a long history as a technical partner to the Eurovision Song Contest. This year, however, its role in Europe’s largest annual live TV music event is bigger than ever. Eurovision 2013 will be an all-Barco show powered by a total of 60 Barco projectors and three Encore systems. A large number of the projectors used are from Barco’s latest high-brightness range: 28 HDQ-2K40 projectors, 13 of which will be blended and warped into a spectacular back wall - the main feature of the stage design. Content will be fed from Green Hippo servers, via a Barco Encore system contacting five video processors, Matrix PRO DVI 8 x8, Matrix PRO II SDI 3G and a large controller. Other destinations are also fed by additional video processors. The proprietary BarcoLink technology guarantees swift and rugged signal distribution between the projectors and image processors, thus enabling a much easier set-up and cost savings.
With 28 HDQ-2K40 projectors being used, the ESC 2013 will be the largest show with HDQs to date. The brightness and color depth of Barco’s flagship product, which recently received the LiveDesign award of ‘Best Projection Product of 2012–2013’, exceed the expectations of everyone involved in the ESC production. "I have worked with many different Barco products over the years, resulting in a strong relationship and trust in their products," explains lighting designer Fredrik Jönsson. "However, this new beast, the HDQ-2K40 projector, is by far the brightest projection instrument I have ever seen. I’m particularly impressed by the perfectly stable 7kW Xenon lighting source inside."
Video designer Mikki Kunttu calls the HDQ ‘the brightest star of Eurovision’: "It is changing the idea of how bright projection can be in a show situation. Usually it is hard to get the projected image appear brighter on stage with all the lighting going on so we used to dim the lights for video. Now it's the opposite. With the HDQ-2K40 it takes guts to go 100% and in open white; we will surely wipe the others off the stage."
"I'm very happy to have Barco back onboard as a technical event supplier. We've done many spectacular and crazy things together in the past, and we are up for it again. I am also amazingly thrilled over the fact that we now have a projector that can compete in output with a moving light. It has been needed and sought for, for many years," adds Ola Melzig, Technical Director of the 2013 Eurovision Song Contest.
"Every year, the ESC stuns the world with a fantastic visual show," concludes Reggy Mortier, Director Market Development at Barco. "It’s a great opportunity for Barco to showcase our innovative video and projection solutions to an immense audience. There have even been shows where the ESC premiered the use of some of our products, like in 2007 with our MiTRIX LED screen. This year, our HDQ-2K40 projector will be the star. We’re so much looking forward to the show."
In picture: the Barco HDQ-2K40
In picture: the Barco HDQ-2K40
9th May 2013
SOUND.COM and Optocore Mastermind Opening of IPL
Since 2010, SOUND.COM has been at the forefront of some of the biggest sporting and entertainment events in India.
Therefore, when the company embarked at the beginning of the new financial year with the Opening Ceremonies for Indian Premier League – the world-leading Twenty20 cricket championship, they were confident they could put on an audio spectacle to match similar ceremonies, starting with the Commonwealth Games 2010, The National Games in Ranchi and the Oman Tattoo in Muscat.
The multi-purpose Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata was chosen to host the opening ceremony of the cricketing franchise this year with the inauguration promising to be one of the most spectacular events ever witnessed. Built in 1984, the stadium is the largest in India and the second largest in the world with a capacity of 120,000. With its Astroturf surface the facility primarily caters to football matches and has also hosted athletic events in the past.
But according to SOUND.COM MD, Warren Dsouza, it isn’t an easy venue in which to design and deploy an audio system. “It takes a lot of experience, and one has to work through a lot of infrastructure related obstacles in order to put a system together.”
With bases in Mumbai and Delhi, SOUND.COM sent a proposal to main contractors, Dutch based Poly Worldwide Entertainment setting out their credentials. “The belief that they had chosen the right audio company in India was established as soon as we opened our flight cases,” he said. “We had had everyone inspecting and admiring our Optocore digital transport system and our self-styled OptoRacks,” he said.
The latter combined a large number of Optocore devices with Dolby Lake processing, and the Optocore network was wired in a redundant ring for fibre failure back-up. Additionally there was an analogue back-up to each amplifier position.
“This technology has allowed SOUND.COM to scale to any level of audio production, no matter how big the stage is. But nothing takes away from the human element – and the ability to integrate all this is the ultimate key to a successful show,” said D’Souza.
The successful cooperation between SOUND.COM sound engineer Sunil Karanjikar and co engineer, Poly Worldwide’s Fred den Dulk, with their respective teams, had been the underlying reason for a successful show, he said.
A large JBL VerTec PA system was rigged, driven by Crown ITech-HD 12000 and LabGruppen PLM10000Q amplifiers, with every loudspeaker element networked and controlled using the Lake controller and Harman’s Performance Manager.
Sound.Com deployed four OptoRacks, each consisting of one DD32R-FX and one X6R-FX (16 Mic In) units. One each was positioned at the console, stage left, stage right and at a central delay position for the delay arc. Also available were Optocore DD32R-FX, DD4MR-FX, DD2FR-FX MADI interfaces, although on this occasion the event was not multitracked.
Finally, the racks also housed a network switch that ran via a spare fibre link in the cabling, to help provide network control over the Dolby Lake devices. Stated Sunii Karanjikar: “Optical isolation allowed us to run the various positions on different gen-sets without having to worry about power induced issues.”
However, the stadium would get extremely hot and humid — as high as 38°C — and so all devices had to be continually monitored for overheating.
And here Optocore came to the rescue, as Sunil Karanjikar explained. “Though the network switches developed a communication error because of the heat, the Optocore devices performed flawlessly and we were able to use the System Ethernet option on the Optocores to regain control of the Lake devices which we had lost.”
For headline act Pitbull, the touring engineers had specified Avid consoles and SOUND.COM supplied the entire kit and backline gear for the act as well. The consoles were patched into the PA and monitors using Dolby Lake devices and the input matrix feature on the devices helped to match multiple consoles.
Summing up, Warren Dsouza said: “The main challenges were really logistics — weather, rigging, getting the gear into the stadium with West Bengal waybill bureaucracy. Actually the business of putting the kit together and executing the show was a breeze.”
And Sunil Karanjikar added: “As for the Optocore, the visiting engineer specifically commented as to how the network seemed a lot faster using this system than on a dedicated IT network switch.”
1st May 2013
Only One Direction for XL Video
XL Video is supplying nearly 400 square metres of LED screen, plus 72 VersaTUBE LED battens and crew to Blink TV for the UK and European legs of One Direction’s ‘Take Me Home’ world tour. This sees the UK’s favourite chart-topping, multi-platinum selling and award winning band reach dizzying new heights of popularity, presence and profile.
The Pixled F-12 and F-30 screen has been specified by the tour’s production designer Paul Normandale, who’s worked with XL on many previous occasions including Coldplay’s 2012 ‘Mylo Xyloto’ tour, when he first used the then just launched F-12 surface.
"It was faultless," he comments, adding, "It’s always a pleasure dealing with Phil Mercer and XL – everything is very smooth and easy!"
Phil Mercer (project managing for XL) says: "I really enjoy our on-going relationship with One Direction and with the tour’s production director Steve Levitt and production manager Karen Ringland of Production North. Apart from that, it’s great to see the band keep breaking records!"
XL initially worked on One Direction’s first full production tour last year. With over 11 million Twitter followers, 15 million Facebook fans, 1.5 billion YouTube views to date, two hit albums and numerous number one singles, One Direction’s short and stratospheric career is über impressive by any standards.
The vast upstage LED wall on this one is built from 205 panels of Pixled F-30 totalling a striking 189 square metres. The stage area is 84 ft wide and so Normandale needed a large surface at the back to emphasise the show’s epic proportions. Downstage of the back screen are a series of 11 skyscrapers – each one different in size - made up from a total of 499 x F-12 tiles – 180 square metres in total.
The towers are both single and double sided, with some flown at right-angles forming Normandale’s eye-catching cityscape design. A number of them move up and down on a Kinesys automation system to provide stage entrance / exits for the band (Niall Horan, Zayn Malik, Liam Payne, Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson).
XL devised some ingenious custom metalwork and packaging for the video-towers making them highly efficient to rig, fly for the show and be transported. They pack down into extra-wide dollies for expedient packing in the truck.
This streamlining was necessary due to the very tight get-in schedules which have to accommodate a myriad of matinee shows in addition to the evening ones, so everything has to be rigged and ready-to-rock in superfast time. The F-12 towers will be shipped to all territories on the tour itinerary.
Playback content for the LED was produced by Canadian video and animation studio Geodezik, and is fed to the LED surfaces via a bespoke media server system supplied and run by Tom Levitt. The towers and back screen also receive camera IMAG footage which is directed by Luke Levitt.
To funky-up the underside of the flying bridge that flies in and transports the band from the main to the B stage, XL has supplied the 72 HD VersaTUBE LED battens.
XL’s crew of three – Patrick Vansteelant, Philip Leech and Conor Canwell – work alongside six others making up the full touring video department.
One’s Direction’s artistic director is Beth Honan. Dave Lee is the lighting director on tour, Mike Shepherd is the lighting crew chief and lighting equipment for the UK and European sections is being supplied by Lite Alternative.
The tour continues in Europe, then visits the US and Australia. It’s currently scheduled to finish in Tokyo in November.
photo: Paul Normandale
photo: Paul Normandale
29th April 2013
Eclipse shines at Easter celebrations at New Wine, Jakarta
The New Wine International church in Jakarta, Indonesia, has the unusual distinction of being located on the 3rd floor of a large shopping arcade. It is nevertheless extremely well equipped and places a big emphasis on music. Indeed, the church had planned a major Easter celebration concert which they wished to record. As a result, they turned to Innovason distributor La Mesa, who provided an Innovason Eclipse digital console equipped with the integrated M.A.R.S. 64-track digital recorder especially for the event.
"The church already has an analog console," explained La Mesa’s Didi Kartanegara, "but they felt that they would achieve better results using an Eclipse as FoH console and recorder rather than bringing in an external recorder and having to patch it to their existing console. I have to say, I agreed with them!"
New Wine’s FoH engineer Kristian Primahadi had just a few hours training on the Eclipse just before the show, but nevertheless proved himself to be perfectly at ease with the console and delivered a great concert mix. "I found the Eclipse to be super flexible," he remarked, "and with the guidance of a La Mesa engineer, I was able to create a console layout that suited me perfectly. 48 "real" faders on the control surface and a further 48 smart faders were more than enough for me to be able to mix 32 channel inputs from all the various microphones and line level instruments. I was delighted with the results."
A 56-channel DioCore was located in the stage area and connected to the Eclipse via its 100m Ethernet cable. "We didn’t use any external effects at all – all the channels were mixed using the built-in EQ, compressors, gates and Just Verb plug-ins," noted Kartanegera. "It was a truly memorable Easter concert, and I can safely say that the performance of the Eclipse shone every bit as much as the artists on stage!
25th April 2013
Tait Delivers Complex Strobe/Mirror Assembly and Flying Rig for Beyoncé
The highly-anticipated "Mrs. Carter Show World Tour" began recently in Belgrade, Serbia, with Beyoncé delivering as dynamic a performance as ever imaginable. Set designer, LeRoy Bennett, was at the helm of the show’s visual display, which ranged from incredible light displays to performer flying and pyro effects. Working closely with Alex Miasnikof and Malcolm Weldon, production managers for the tour, TAIT combined optimized rental assets with custom elements to deliver a complete staging solution. Following opening night, Miasnikof stated: "No matter how complicated or crazy the project, TAIT will come up with a solution. They have a team of great people that will support your efforts in all aspects, from paper to show; no matter where in the world it might be."
The rolling mainstage includes a flaggapault lift, retractable dance bar, band risers, duck blinds, propane bars, pantograph stairs, Austrians, Kabukis, Sniffers and fanzone decking with custom handrails. TAIT’s patented Mag Deck system provides efficiency and ease of assembly. Unique in its function, a polished, aluminium dance bar was integrated into the set and rises up onto the stage for performer use. Adding to the array of effects, five propane bar decks, with grating on the top, ignite in flames as the artist performs Naughty Girl.
TAIT also crafted the framework for one of the key mainstage elements; a striking strobe and mirror structure measuring 7.3m x 18.2m and made up of five alternating columns of strobes and automated mirrors intermixed with 6 light ladders. The fixtures were provided by Upstaging. TAIT faced and met several design challenges in creating the frame assemblies, which required meticulous engineering and precise alignment to ensure that each light would reflect on its corresponding mirror within the column.
Providing one of the most thrilling moments of the show, TAIT uses a flying rig, made up of three T-Winches with two axes of motion, to elevate the artist from the mainstage to the B-stage. The element is controlled by TAIT/FTSI’s renowned Navigator Control System and features a custom foot plate for performer comfort and safety.
The B-Stage includes two u-shaped walkways, measuring 1.2m and 1.8m, respectively, in height. The walkways are connected by custom retracting stairs, which provide a unique performance area and wide range of motion for the artist. TAIT incorporated a radial panel of video into the center deck for added visual interest. As the artist performs, a fan situated beneath the stage surface creates a subtle, windblown effect. The centre deck also features modified grating for performer stability.
The tour demonstrates TAIT’s proven ability to deliver a cohesive set concept that features both innovative design and incredible automation effects.
photos: Frank Micelotta
photos: Frank Micelotta
24th April 2013
Load Cell Rental Goes in One Direction
At the start of the X-Factor auditions in 2010, One Direction as a band didn’t even exist. By the end of the competition they had only come third. Today, they have sold over 14 million singles and 8 million albums and are credited with sparking the resurgence in the boy band concept and of spearheading a new "British Invasion" in the USA. About to be named the UK’s wealthiest boy band with a combined worth of £25 million, One Direction are currently the darlings of the media. The tabloids have simultaneously congratulated them for having David Cameron join them outside 10 Downing Street during the filming of the official Comic Relief single for 2013 and lambasted them for sound checking amidst a track of shrieking girls to give them a more authentic feel for a venue before the show. Such is the fickle nature of the media beast.
No surprise then, that the production values for their extensive 2013 tour, taking them through the UK and Europe, on to the USA and into the Australasian market, reflect their status as the boy band of the moment. Why have Load Cell Rental been contracted to weigh parts of their rig? Production North’s director Steve Levitt has a straightforward answer: “Any show needs to be safe. There have been too many incidents of things falling over in the past couple of years - the video screen that dropped in Florida last month is a case in point - as a touring production we’ve simply got to produce properly weighed data and produce accredited paperwork to back those figures for both the venues and the promoters. We are using LCR to weigh everything that’s on a two ton point or is tracking.”
Behind the multi-levels of the One Direction stage set is an enormous video screen flown on its own grid that not only provides the scene setting for each number but contains moving panes that allow stage access at various points. Add to that a specially designed tracking stage that flies the boys out over the audience and you have a rig that necessitates accuracy and safety as the paramount considerations during set-up.
Without undermining pre-production planning and design, on a show of this complexity, LCR’s services also provide hard data confidence for artist and rigger alike. Tour rigger, Donny McDonald of OTT Rigging is certainly an avid supporter of the assurance it provides: “The tracking stage that flies over the audience is a one off structure. To get accurate weight of dynamic load that moves overhead is a serious consideration. The big video screen with the moving panes is flown on a small separate grid. It’s one thing to work out these sort of variables with pencil and paper, quite another to see how the loads shift in real life. The Load Cell Rental thing was great because they dealt with it all; I didn’t have to do anything. They came in, put in the devices and wiring and then gave me a report.”
As touring productions continue to ask ever more from their riggers, McDonald welcomes the added surety that LCR provides. “Their work leaves me free to concentrate on the rig. With systems getting larger and ever more complex there’s absolutely no substitute for concentration when it comes to safety.”
17th April 2013
Avolites Media Ai Server Powers The Script's World Tour
Avolites Media's Ai Media Server is delivering fast moving evocative visuals on The Script's sell out arena world tour. Conceived by award winning lighting designer Jamie Thompson, in collaboration with members of the band and creative London based content producers Immersive, the show visuals are operated by US based Jeffrey Brown.
"The theme of '3' - reflecting the album and tour titles - was very important, and dictated much of the layout of LED fingers and stage graphics," says Thompson. "The Ai is being used to power a mixture of live camera feeds, video and visual content onto the main back video wall, and over the three, three-dimensional LED screens, which are embedded in the stage floor and run above the stage to reach into the audience like outstretched fingers. After witnessing the power of Ai at previous events, I knew we could create a stunning visual display for The Script, so I championed its use with the band and made it happen, and it was truly worthwhile - the results are fantastic."
Visuals operator Jeffrey Brown continues: "The biggest benefit of using the Ai Media Server is that the content is easily built to fit the 3-dimensional model of our LED layout on stage. This model was then imported into the server and used as part of the interface to map the content to the LED screens. Its ability to map the video to the server's physical outputs as it is required is also pretty exciting. For this production, we mapped the overhead and stage fingers to a Nocturne LED Processor, while the main upstage video wall is mapped to another separate LED Processor. As the production developed, we also added pre-show content, which is played direct from the Ai Media Server."
In fact, Brown says it was easy to add another surface in the Ai and then assign that to the free DVI output on the server. Content, a mixture of QuickTime clips and live camera inputs, is controlled via a combination of Time Code and manual triggering using an Avolites MSC-1.
Mark Calvert, managing director for Immersive - the London based design company that produced and directed all of The Scripts digital content and who worked alongside Jeff Brown to setup the Ai elements for the show comments: "The band directly approached Immersive with only six week until the tour kicked off in Ireland. We were commissioned to make seven bespoke template specific videos, which were to be a defined and obvious mix between film, 3D and 2D disciplines."
According to Calvert: "The Ai makes dealing with the 3D layout of the LED screen design a total breeze. It also means that significantly less time is spent mapping outputs on the road. This is vastly important (when on a pressured deadline) because Ai enables both our creative team and the guys in the band - to 3D visualize show content before rehearsals."
One of the significant reasons Immersive insists on using Ai throughout the design and show process is it's proven ability to adapt to ever changing Live Music environments as Calvert explains: "This was proven again on The Script, when the band (during the tour) wanted to add clip preferences, new media, and additional outputs on the fly. Working with Jeff was fantastic and he is now a key player in our US operations."
Brown continues, commenting that the Ai is a "unique take on a media server", adding: "I discovered that I could manipulate the content on the model without worrying about how to map the individual clips. I believe the Ai Media Server has an excellent future ahead of it. Avolites Media is a responsive company and they listen to their customers. The Ai product is unique in the market. With the initial idea combined with positive industry feedback it has the potential to become the game changing piece of kit."
Steve Warren, MD of Avolites Media enthuses: "Ai Media Servers were launched 18 months ago and already have been used to deliver some of the world's most impressive visual spectaculars. Ai Media Servers amazed the world with history's biggest ever video screen during the London Olympic Games Opening and Closing Ceremonies, we controlled the huge screens and projections for the Miss World finals as well as the stunning set on Sky 1's Got to Dance show. And we are incredibly proud to be working with Tait Technologies again for what we believe is the world's most complex moving mapping production: 52 moving set pieces on Bon Jovi's - 'Because We Can' Tour.
"Jamie Thompson's innovative use of the screens on The Script's tour to again emphasise the strong 3 theme is ideally suited to Ai and it was a joy to experience the power of the visual effect. Everyone at Avolites Media is proud to be working with Jamie and with such a great talent and attitude - the only way is up!"
17th April 2013
Silent House backs XC-5ís for Major World Tours
When top production designer Baz Halpin walked past the SGM booth at the LDI Show in Las Vegas last November he was stopped in his tracks by the Danish company’s new XC-5 colour strobes.
Responding to an invitation from the lighting manufacturer’s US head, Randy Wade, he and Chris Nyfield, along with other members of the Silent House Productions team would probably have given little more than a cursory glance, as seeking out new strobes was probably furthest from their mind. “I was actually quite happy with the strobes we had been using — but as we walked past the SGM booth we were really taken by the strobes.
“I instantly loved the quality of the colours, the intensity, size and the low power consumption … not to mention that the fixture could be more versatile than just a strobe,” remarked the Irish born designer.
The timing could scarcely have been better, with a major world tour by P!nk ramping up. “We decided to take the gamble,” he said. “We loaded them into Phoenix for the P!nk rehearsals where they exhibited a really beautiful quality of light, and they have proved very reliable ever since.”
Helping to make the judgment was a top lighting crew, for in addition to Halpin was Silent House design director, Chris Nyfield, and highly experienced LD, Bryan Barancik (associate lighting designer).
“Both Chris and I felt strongly about using them after LDI so we decided to ‘put all our eggs’ In the SGM basket — and I’m happy to say it paid off.”
Production has 34 XC-5’s out with P!nk and a further 42 integrated into the Taylor Swift set, also designed by Silent House — all supplied by Production Resource Group (PRG).
While all Silent House productions go out to bid, Baz Halpin’s experience with PRG has always been excellent. “Mickey Curbishley [president, Concert Touring] is one of the best in the business. His professionalism and attention to detail have always been first rate. Their equipment is well maintained and their crews top class,” praises the designer.
Curbishley himself remembers: “We all knew there was an LED strobe coming to the market and this is the one that everyone fell in love with; Baz wanted it and it came at us really fast. There wasn’t the facility to let someone else be the guinea pig!
“They have immense power and you can see how bright they are while drawing very little power. Old strobes pull such a lot of wattage — plus these can travel in the truss. They offer more creativity as the only way you can change colors on a traditional strobe is with a scroller. This makes them more consistent and reliable.”
So how are these fixtures being deployed? The P!nk set features the XC-5’s, strategically placed on ladders of trussing upstage left and right, for use as an audience blinder, and also on the roof and side trussing to provide more traditional strobe lighting onto the stage and performers. “In other words we use them both as a strobing feature, a hyper-flash blast and as a color bump for some more regular musical dynamics,” Baz Halpin explains.
He describes the set as “a sort of grungy Pulp Fiction game show world” with a lot of different types of performance within the show. “Therefore the set had to be as versatile as possible,” he continued. “It is an asymmetric design with a lot of moving video screens which constantly change the shape and feel of the set depending on the act within the show and the visual we try to create for an individual song.”
The advantages of a low-profile, lightweight LED strobe, such as the XC-5, are manifold. Baz observes: “They can be used in multiples, and they allow you to have a real strobe effect with no color scrollers breaking down, or white light leakage through the vents etc. Other benefits are the fact the XC-5’s don’t need to ramp down / cool down and can be used as a scenic fixture also.”
And creatively they offer a ton of options, he says. “That is one of their most valuable features. The fact that we can run colour chases along with strobing patterns is a great new effect in the arsenal. The color versatility is fantastic and allows you to use them in more varied ways.” If anything, he says, they are used in a very different way on the Taylor Swift show in comparison with P!nk because of their placement on the rig and the functions they perform. They provide more of a scenic detail, creating shape along with dynamic punch.”
Finally, he notes that shows are moving inexorably towards more eco-friendly LED-type presentations (or latest generation discharge). “We have already received commets about the low power consumption for such a large rig,” he reveals.
So have the XC-5’s met the demands that Silent House Productions imposed on them in terms of output and creativity? “Absolutely,” comes the immediate reply. “In fact they are delivering more than we expected. They are a very reliable, consistent, bright fixture with none of the usual glare associated with LED fixtures. They are a great addition to the rig!”
In picture: The Pink stage production photo: Todd Kaplan