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Brilliant Stages for Rammstein Made in Germany 1995 – 2011 Tour
Award-winning set fabrication company, Brilliant Stages, which was recently voted Staging Company of the Year at the Event Production Awards and Favourite Set Construction Company at the TPi Awards, has designed and fabricated four main staging elements for Rammstein’s Made In Germany 1995 – 2011 tour, the re-vamped second leg of which is currently touring Europe.
Production and lighting designer, Roy Bennett, worked closely with long-term collaborator, Peter Aquinde, to create an urban set with focal points including a 3.9m diameter industrial theme ‘Mega Fan’ comprising seven blades on a central cradle. This is driven by a geared slew drive with a top rotation speed of 15rpm.
The central hub is supported by four structural frames and the outer casing fabricated to break down into eight sections assembled with truss connections. These pieces have been welded together and transport as two pieces for logistical ease. The blades are lit by 48 integral Colorblast TRX LED fittings around the inner cladding of the main fan for which Brilliant Stages designed location points. Four smaller 0.75m fans with individual speed control, provided by freelance electrician Lee Threlfell, are mounted at the corners of the Mega Fan’s frame assembly to blow smoke through from upstage.
Brilliant Stages manufactured the enormous construction, which measures 5.5sqm and weighs in excess of 1750kg, from aluminium. This is suspended from four Cyberhoist motors, with two additional hoists employed to hinge the structure back into a horizontal position within the grid when not in use.
For the dynamic element, Brilliant Stages worked in association with WiCreations of Belgium) who provided the hub motor, gearbox and control around which the fan is engineered.
Hans Willems of WiCreations says the two companies benefit from a long working association over many years: "The collaboration between WiCreations and Brilliant Stages works very well because we operate in a similar fashion and have excellent communication. We are therefore able to work quickly which was especially valuable on this project which turned around in only three weeks. WiCreations is unique in providing both the mechanical and control elements – which need to be perfectly matched - and hold most materials in stock, so it was logical that Brilliant should work with us. Together we were able to move very quickly. It is a very cost effective way of working."
Brilliant Stages fabricated the band’s signature logo cross into the drum riser door, which operated as a staggered-edged, cross-shape frame filled with cut tubes which were welded into position. These pull apart to allow entrance for band members. Located either side of the drum riser are two further 1m diameter, speed-controlled fans which Brilliant Stages remounted into the new drum riser.
The B-stage is manufactured by Brilliant Stages as a 5m by 3m platform, mounted on top of two manually operated hydraulic scissor lifts which allow it to be raised from a height of 1.2m to 3m above floor level. The platform is clad with aluminium slatted panels that mimic louvres and are inset with opal polycarbonate to allow back-lighting. Each panel is fitted with a framework to support the lighting and up-lit through Neaco Nibar top decks set into the floors.
The B-stage is linked to the main stage via a 24m long, 1.2m wide catwalk composed of decking, handrail and ornamental balustrade. The balustrades and handrail are complex custom profiled aluminium assemblies which, together with the fascia, emulate a heavy duty i-beam construction that maintains the set’s industrial theme.
The assembly includes provision for mounting LED fluorescent tube lighting beneath decking composed of more Neaco Nibar aluminium grating. The lighting is accessible through removable top grills which remain clamped to the truss during transportation. The catwalk breaks down into 3m long bays each composed of three grate panels for ease of handling.
The catwalk is flown in to a height of 3.3m above the audience’s head from a series of chain hoists and designed to attach to the standard Rental Truss supplied by Black Box Music.
Brilliant Stages supplied lifting bars to raise and lower the catwalk from rigging supplied by head rigger, Martin Gehring of DART GmbH, Germany. Gehring explained: "I've been in close contact with Brilliant to design the rigging part of the catwalk and the mega fan and am also in charge of the planning and drawings from our side. It was very crucial to design everything following the relevant rules and regulations, especially in Germany, to get permission from authorities to move the bridge above the audience. As a result of the good teamwork we had no problems to use all our moving elements, including the bridge, all over Europe."
Using a combination of coffin locks and Brilliant Stages’ own hook and channel system, all set elements have been designed to be assembled quickly and easily, locking together safely with minimum complication and maximum efficiency. All elements are contained within wheeled dollies for transportation between venues and to minimise the amount of manual handling needed.
The final scenic elements were clad in alumimium before being artworked and given a distressed finish by Perry Scenic, another regular collaborator with Brilliant Stages.
"Perry Scenic was responsible for a number of facets of the set including bespoke lighting pods and enormous scenic backdrops which encompassed the stage," says Jonathan Perry, "and added the scenic finishing, distressing and texturing to all the Brilliant Stages components. We enjoy an extremely complementary working relationship with Brilliant on every project we work on with them, which includes the last two Rammstein tours. Between our two companies we are successfully able to take the creative and technical vision of the band and turn it into reality."
Rammstein’s European tour will be followed by an American circuit commencing in April 2012.
In picture: Rammstein perform on the B-stage and in front of the Mega Fan and drum riser
photos: Olaf Heine
22nd February 2012
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