Powersoft appoints Akira Mochimaru

Powersoft has confirmed the appointment of Akira Mochimaru to serve as its new global marketing director, effective immediately. His duties in this role will be to connect dots between customers, technology, products, communication, and distribution through strategic business planning and guiding implementation.

Based in the US, he will also coordinate with Powersoft’s operations in New Jersey to help growing the company’s presence in the install market through his knowledge and network of contacts.

Mochimaru has made his move to Powersoft permanent after serving as a consultant for three months. He comes with an outstanding pedigree and track record extending over 38 years in the pro audio industry, including working as general manager for Bose Professional.

“My personal mission is to connect customer experience and products through the use of advanced technology with unique value,” said Mochimaru. “I have already experienced situations where customer problem-driven ideas met a company’s technology driven ideas.
Powersoft has the capability and foundation to convert technologies to solve customers’ problems and improve their experience, so I look forward to working closely with staff across the divisions to develop a plan and execute it with excellence.”

“When I first visited Powersoft’s HQ, I was immediately impressed by their capabilities in testing and the way they ensured product quality remained high throughout the design and manufacturing process. Their combination of innovative thinking and technical excellence made the decision to join Powersoft an easy one, and the trusting relationship I was able to establish straight away with Powersoft’s senior management was very reassuring.”

The new Board featuring Akira Mochimaru standing between Carlo Lastrucci Powersoft’s Chairman on his right and the CEO and CFO Luca Lastrucci.

“We are proud and delighted to have Akira Mochimaru joining our team” said Luca Lastrucci, CEO at Powersoft. “His appointment represents an important step in the process of implementing Powersoft’s strategy of strengthening its presence in the installation sector, especially in specific vertical applications. Akira’s experience will be essential to help us to encompass the current and future needs of the market, by focusing on objectives and defining the products of the future, which will make Powersoft able to maintain a leading role in professional audio.”

Luca Giorgi, Powersoft sales director, added: “Powersoft has been successfully interacting with partners and clients since the beginning; actively listening to their points of view on everything from product design to customer service. Having Akira on board allows us to improve the customer experiences even more, ensuring we always meet their needs and move quickly to solve their common problems.”

More information on the Powersoft website


A futuristic Odyssey for Robert Juliat Dalis 860 at Scottish Ballet

Scottish Ballet has recently taken possession of a second consignment of Robert Juliat Dalis 860 cyclorama lights bringing its total inventory to twenty-six. The award-winning Dalis 860 fixtures were supplied quickly and efficiently by Adlib’s Glasgow branch to provide Scottish Ballet with a versatile tool that can adapt to many environments and design requirements.


The upgrading of Scottish Ballet’s lighting systems began with a focus on cyclorama fixtures. “Cyc lighting is a fairly constant requirement at Scottish Ballet, and we don’t anticipate models to change dramatically. We wanted an LED replacement for our existing fixtures that looked the part as well as doing a great job,” explains Scottish Ballet’s Technical Director, Matt Strachan.
“I have been looking at Robert Juliat’s Dalis at trade shows for several years but never had a chance to use them in anger and discover what they are capable of. Then we hired them for our world premiere of Christopher Hampson’s The Snow Queen for the winter season 2019/2020, lit by Paul Pyant, and our experience was enough to convince us to buy them.

“All it took was a quick phone call to Barclay Dakers at Adlib and the process was put into action. We have known Adlib for many years and always receive good service from them.” Robert Juliat is distributed exclusively in the UK by Ambersphere Solutions (www.ambersphere.co.uk) whose Ian Green supported Adlib and the Scottish Ballet in this project.

Les Dalis 860 de Robert Juliat entrent dans une autre dimension sur le tournage du court-métrage Odyssey au Scottish Ballet. ©Andy-Ross

Scottish Ballet’s curved cyclorama is 15m wide with a 6m deflection and 7.5m high. “That’s a big swathe of cloth to light but we were able to position the Dalis units just 1.5m behind the cloth and they belted straight up and covered it beautifully. I remember thinking ‘that is superb! We need to start buying these!’”
The RJ Dalis 860 cyclorama lights were purchased in two batches in early and mid 2020 to fit budget availability, and each unit was supplied with Quick Rig fittings and a flight case set up with link cables, DMX, etc as a complete package. “We can just wheel them out individually as they are, where and when we want them,” says Strachan.

“The low profile and slim dimensions mean they are so neat you can squeeze them into very tight environments, and they don’t need a great throw distance either. They are silent and give out very little heat which is much safer for the dancers. The Quickrig system is very sleek! It’s very well thought through and straightforward in how it can be deployed.”


The additional Dalis 860 fixtures gave Strachan and his team the opportunity to ‘futureproof’ the Ballet’s full scale shows, which will start with The Nutcracker during the winter season tour 2021/22, and will be followed by The Scandal at Mayerling, Coppelia, and a revival of The Snow Queen in 2022/23.

“Next year the Dalis will hardly be in their cases!” says Strachan. “Not only can we now populate the top and bottom of cyc entirely with Dalis for maximum coverage in a traditional setting, but we also have the flexibility of the kind that arose when we filmed Odyssey.”

Odyssey is a new work choreographed by Scottish Ballet Soloist, Nicholas Shoesmith. Directed by Ciaran Lyons, it was a high-octane short dance film that took viewers on a journey through a gaming landscape inhabited by otherworldly beings, where the real and virtual collide.

Filmed during lockdown in a 20m2 x 8m high pop-up performance space in Scottish Ballet’s production area, Odyssey’s futuristic design proved an unconventional setting for Dalis 860. Strachan rigged 26 Dalis units vertically on the set truss, in full view of the cameras, where they became an integral part of the structure within the virtual area. “Our initial assumption was that we would have to cover them with frost and conceal the units,” explains Strachan.
“but the Dalis is so beautifully crafted they are pleasing to look at, even when they are switched off, so the TV Lighting Director asked for the covers to be removed as he wanted to see the lights themselves. We ended up making a feature of them on the structure for the camera looks and the TV team just loved them, happily replacing the lighting they brought with them. It was great to use Dalis in a completely different way from what we actually purchased them for.”

© Andy Ross

Scottish Ballet’s house MA2 lighting programmer, Kieran Kenning was excited to discover the potential Dalis offered when creating a series of designs to run up and down the face of the fixtures, making full use of their range of colours and programmability, to enhance the space-age ‘holodeck’ effect and create transition scenes as actors ‘transferred’ from one environment to the next.

“Kieran loves the Dalis for the flexibility that they give him. He came up with the designs for the effects for Odyssey and there is a lot more he can do there going forward,” says Strachan. “He can quickly create states to show a film company or a designer as they give him so much scope. We now have a tool that can adapt to most environments and requirements, and, being Robert Juliat, we would expect them to last at least 10 years.

“We’ve only just started to use Dalis – as time goes on we will develop our understanding and how much more usage we can have of them. Initially, I honestly cannot fault them in any shape or form.”

More information about Dalis 860 and all Robert Juliat products can be found on www.robertjuliat.fr and for:

– Scottish Ballet: www.scottishballet.co.uk
– Adlib: www.adlib.co.uk
– Ambersphere Solutions: www.ambersphere.co.uk

Robe T2 Profiles Specified for Zodiac the Musical

Zodiac The Musical is a brand-new musical produced by Peet Nieuwenhuijsen, directed by William Spaaij and staged at the Koepelgevangenis, a former prison in Breda, The Netherlands, which provides a spectacular backdrop to this compelling and entertaining piece set in 2031 … focussed on a number of human, political and environmental issues.

© Louise Stickland

Lighting designer Marc Heinz was among a talented team working under the technical production umbrella of Unlimited Productions – also based in Breda – helping to deliver this captivating new work.
He and technical production manager Michiel van der Zijde – representing Unlimited Productions together with Jeffrey Kranen and Luc Huisman – also designed the set, and Marc specified 32 of Robe’s recently launched new T2 Profile fixture for the project, together with 50 x Robe Spiider LED wash beams and assorted other lighting fixtures.
Marc and his assistant designer Jordy Veenstra, Michiel and the entire production team were delighted to be back working on a show after a long break due to the pandemic, and particularly in such a special space.

The prison was designed by Johan Fredrik Metzelaar and opened in 1886 based on a panopticon design, whereby the activities of four stories of cells could be observed by a minimal contingent of guards stationed in the centre. The Koepelgevangenis complex was designated a national monument in 2001 and housed a women’s prison until 2013 before closing completely two years later. Since 2018, it has been temporarily used as an event space, waiting for a new owner and a renovation plan.

© Louise Stickland

Peet Nieuwenhuijsen needed a circular venue for his concept to work – which included spectacular projections onto a domed ceiling – and had initially staged an exploratory show in 2019 at the Planetarium Amsterdam.
The venue was already selected before the pandemic intervened. Pre-production started in August 2020, with the original plan to start the setup / get-in on the 15th of February 2021. Covid-19, despite its massive disruption worldwide, only delayed this overall plan by 6 weeks as the get in started on the 1st of April.
And … it presented some fundamental challenges for the production team, primarily an unknown weight loading for the domed roof, and for lighting in particular, it brought some unexpected gifts, like the glass brick ‘shower tower’ which became a permanent internally lit set feature and vital part of the narrative.

© Louise Stickland

A glass-floored basement – installed in 1999 as a recreation area – was another brainteaser with no weight loading data. Special spreader arrangements had to be made to ensure seating tribunes and the four ovular stepped ramps that intersected the space and divided it into quadrants were installed without putting weight on the glass area.

The storyline – stage play by Dick van den Heuvel with dramaturgy by Pieter van de Waterbeemd – evoked surveillance society with constant Orwellian monitoring. Thirty-eight LED screens dotted around the upper levels are a metaphor for big data recording and crunching, with over 70 drones – provided by Dronisos from France – joining the cast as a reminder that shady, anonymous governmental institutions shrouded in secrecy and subversion are in control. The faceless technicians running these operations are sealed behind closed doors in the shower tower.

With original plans unavailable and no records existing in the municipality, a full 3D laser scan survey of the building was completed – needed for the UV-mapping of the projections – was followed by a painstaking rope access examination of the roof construction conducted by the Unlimited Productions team to ascertain the roof weight loading capacities … which were judged to be ‘extremely little’.
They received the go-ahead to remove around 1000kg of old house lighting and associated steel detritus from the roof which freed up just enough capacity to rig a very small top centre circular truss at the top – which is rigged with the 12 x Robe Spiiders. These are bright enough to reach the stage 30 metres below for a general layer of wash lighting, and light enough to be safe!

© Louise Stickland

The only other flown element is an ‘eye’ set piece which flies in and out. It was also necessary to remove the old house lighting to get a clear path for the 7 x 20K projectors rigged in seven prison cells on level four, spaced out around the 52.5-metre roof circumference.

Everything else had to be ground or side supported

After much mind mapping, Michiel, Marc and Ruud de Deugd (head rigger and production structural engineer) produced the elegant 8 x curved leg spider-like ground support structure design which connects to a 15-metre diameter circular truss in the middle positioned 12 metres above the central performance. This provides close lighting positions for the main performance space which is 14 metres in diameter complete with a double revolve stage.
Being a prison, Koepelgevangenis has only one small entrance / exit and that’s not even enough to reverse an artic, so all the production kit had to be unloaded outside and hand-carried inside. This was a painstaking and longwinded process, but compared to normal, the build schedule was relaxed and fluid, as to some extent it had to relate to how the general Dutch pandemic response and the restrictions were developing.

Once the rigging and set were solid, Marc and Jordy began properly assessing the lighting needs having joined the project towards the end of 2020. Working in the round is always galvanising, getting any side light is a constant battle, and everything must look uniform from 360 degrees of spectator seating, so the Robe Spiiders on the spider structure are critical for top light coverage.

Robe T2 Profiles

The stage stays bare aside from a few props throughout the entire performance, putting huge emphasis on the cast and lighting to get the energy ramped up and the strong emotional impact of the piece across.

Front light was another enigma as it needed to be rigged around the cell tiers, and after a test revealed that the fourth floor was the optimum position, Marc auditioned several moving lights for this part including the Robe T2s, which were still a prototype at this time … but he chose it as his preferred profile to throw high-quality light the long distance from there to centre stage.
Robe’s distributor Controllux then pulled out all the stops to ensure that lighting supplier Events Light, also close to Breda, received the fixtures in time for the get in!

Twenty T2s are fixed to the steel beams around the main interior wall, each individually attached to the building by rope access riggers.
A rope sits next to each light so it can be lowered for service. The other 12 x T2 Profiles are on the top circle of the spider ground support, positioned for closer front lighting.

“The output and colour mixing were perfect,” related Marc, “together with the weight (36.9kg).” He also likes the frost effects together with the overall quality and finesse of the fixture. The cast are tightly choreographed by Stanley Burleson so elements like CRI and colour mixing are important to bring out the detail in the costumes without overpowering them with light.

Marc’s lighting is intricate and complex; he layers colour variants judiciously and meticulously on top of one another to evoke the mood and accentuate the emotion and intensity of the scenes and the seriousness of the messages. This treatment encourages intense concentration from viewers, so changes in the hue or shade have massive impact.
There’s plenty of long slow fades and some beautifully tight and precise shuttering throughout to highlight the cast onstage on the ramps and around some other parts of the building.

© Louise Stickland

Marc was also very excited to be using new technology. “There’s always that ground-breaking buzz when using something new, and while there’s a bit of risk as well, Robe is a brand that I know I can also absolutely rely on, so all of this underlined my decision to go with T2.” In fact, he has already specified T2 Profiles onto another musical show that he will be lighting later in the year!

Twenty-two of the Spiiders are on the spider (ground support) structure. These and the T2s also on there are accessed via a person lift as it is fully loaded with lights, so no climbing is possible. Access for getting the lift in position was also a consideration when positioning the seating and staging. Sixteen Spiiders are attached to the balcony around the third level of cells, used for washing the venue’s dome and supporting the projections, with the final 12 on the top circular truss right up on the roof.

All 92 moving lights – including all the T2 Profiles and Spiiders – are working in conjunction with a Follow Me automated followspot system which is at the heart of the design, and this ensures that all the main characters in this very busy and fast-paced show always have the right lights trained on them, even when they are rotating on the revolve rings, which is essential for helping to unravel the convoluted plot.
In terms of style, Marc describes his lighting as an experimental blend of cinematic and operatic! All the show’s lighting is being supplied by Events Light, who were among the first in Europe to receive the T2 Profile.

© Louise Stickland

Lighting control is via a Road Hog Full Boar console programmed by Jasper Nijholt. Projectors and media servers were programmed by Ruben Boogaard, and since the show premiered on 5th July, both lights and video are being operated by Pascal Schutijser. It is a mix of timecode for the large production numbers, but mostly manually operated lighting cues according to visual line-of-sight.
Audio is designed by Jeroen ten Brinke. The video design is by Arjen Klerkx and content created by Anouk Steenbakkers and Joost Gulien.

For more info about Robe lighting and their range of products you can visit www.robe.cz


The latest Claypaky products for 2021 on a virtual stand

In this period of the current health crisis, which is still disrupting the international trade shows, Claypaky has come out with a virtual trade show stand full of new products.
Take an hour of your time to delve into the nooks and crannies of this site, where you’ll find videos of product presentations and tutorials, photos and product features.

After registering for your badge, you can enter the Claypaky virtual stand.

The 2021 lineup includes an exciting Mini Xtylos HPE, an all-weather Xtylos Aqua, an interchangeable Arolla Profile and Spot with a 470 W LED engine, a 3-layer LED effects batten, a base with limitless pan rotation for static fixtures, a precision LED PAR from ADB for the theater, and more.

Mini Xtylos HPE

Following up on the Xtylos, Claypaky is now offering its laser source technology in two new luminaires: the spectacular Mini Xtylos HPE for all types of venues and the Xtylos Aqua, which is IP66-rated to withstand outdoor weather conditions.

The Mini-Xtylos.

The Mini Xtylos HPE is more compact, much lighter (9 kg) and more energy efficient (90 VA at 230 Volts) than the Xtylos, with its 20 W source consisting of three diodes emitting in Red, Green and Blue, the mixing of which allows the creation of a full range of colors through additive synthesis. Its exclusive TURBO system allows it to emit a beam with saturated and deep colors, with unparalleled energy and a linear CTO.

This Mini Xtylos does not incorporate gobos but, in order to create spectacular aerial effects, it includes a 1°–4° zoom, continuous pan rotation combined with 270° tilt, two rotating prisms and an interchangeable frost. Its intensity can reach 24 million candelas at an angle of 1°.

Xtylos Aqua

Similar in every way to the original Xtylos, the IP66-rated Xtylos Aqua offers marine-grade protection against the elements and is equipped with a fan to eliminate condensation from the output lens, for consistent performance. It can therefore be used in any conditions, indoors or outdoors.

Xtylos Aqua, IP66.

Arolla Profile MP | Arolla Spot MP

In the Arolla range, following up on the HP (High Power) series equipped with a 1200 W LED source, Claypaky launches the MP (Medium Power) series in Spot and Profile versions with a 470 W white LED engine and a luminous flux of up to 22,000 lm, all in a very compact and light format (25 kg).
The distinctive feature of this series is the eSWAP concept, i.e. the interchangeability of the framing module and a gobo module to switch from Profile to Spot or vice versa. The electronics recognize which module is installed and configure it automatically without user intervention in the control menu.

Arolla Profile MP.

Claypaky, has equipped the Arolla Profile MP fixture with a 6°–50° zoom, a linear CMY+CTO color mixing system combined with a seven-color wheel that includes an 88+ CRI enhancement filter. The source has a native color temperature of 6000 K.

In terms of effects, the Arolla Profile MP comes with a framing module, a wheel with seven rotating gobos that, thanks to the exclusive “Go-Bright” technology, do not waste light or change color when inserted into the beam.

The fixture also includes an animation wheel and a 4-facet rotating prism. For beam control, there is an iris, a variable frost, and a 24-bit dimmer with four dimming curves. To cool the LED engine, five fan speed modes are available: 1200 – 800 – 600 – Silent – Theater.

Tambora Batten

The Tambora Batten LED fixture offers advanced pixel mapping capabilities and a three-layer operation option. With this feature, the operator can choose to use three levels of effects simultaneously, such as background color, internal sequence, and mapped video content from an external source – switching between all layers quickly and easily to create complex effects quickly.

Tambora Batten

With the Tambora Batten, you can also obtain two different visual effects by choosing between two output lens options, the round lens being more suitable for graphic effects, and the square lens for aerial effects with its uniform, defined beam. The two lens options are interchangeable.

Tambora Batten with round lenses.

Tambora Batten with square lenses.

The 16 Osram 40 W RGBW LEDs are independently controllable in terms of color, intensity and strobe frequency. Multiple units can be arranged in a row or matrix while maintaining an equal distance between the LED sources, whether they are side by side or in a cluster.

Tambora Batten features a 4°–50° linear zoom with automatic retraction/repositioning in the absence of a DMX signal, a 24-bit dimmer with five response curves, a motorized tilt with a range of over 220°, color temperature correction from 2500 K to 8000 K, beam edge softening control for uniform washes, an anti-halo accessory, and four operating modes.



Claypaky introduces an innovative and useful tool for when you need to move a static fixture in a panning motion or in continuous rotation. Panify is IP66-rated and works in any position.

Fixtures without motorized pan such as the Tambora Batten or the Mini-B PARLED Aqua from Claypaky come to mind, but Panify can be adapted to most of the static fixtures of other brands on the market, as long as their weight does not exceed 30 kg.
When the load is less than 20 kg, Panify can rotate at up to 50 rpm. Its maximum speed of rotation becomes 22 rpm for loads exceeding 20 kg.

The Panify has two power connectors: one input for itself and one for the fixture that it holds. Thanks to its crossbar design, power and DMX data are routed to the fixture without risk to the cables during continuous rotation. PANIFY draws about 150 W, requires only a few DMX channels to operate and can receive wireless DMX. Panify is not limited to lighting fixtures; it can be used to transform scenery, signs, displays and more.

ADB Actoris ParLed

Designed to meet the growing demand for small, quiet and efficient fixtures, the ADB Actoris ParLed weighs only 6 kilograms and is 306 mm long. The first fixture in a specialized theater line, this product features an RGBWW LED source, which produces warm color temperatures with a CRI >90, perfect for matching any skin tone or scenery on stage, as well as offering natural pastel colors. The white range is adjustable from 2500 K to 6500 K.


The use of a special warm-white LED does not diminish the light output: Actoris ParLed is able to deliver a flux of 3,400 lumens. It provides extremely quiet operation, thanks to the use of special axial fans, and features a motorized zoom that can be varied from 4° to 53°, a 24-bit electronic dimmer with five response curves, four operating modes, and optional shutters and a frost filter holder.



CloudIO is a cloud-based IoT device that provides service technicians with full diagnostics of most Claypaky units and enables firmware updates.
As of version, CloudIO can also read settings from all RDM-enabled devices, regardless of brand.

Mini-B, Midi-B, Mini-B Parled Aqua in WW (Warm White) versions

Claypaky has added a Warm White RGBW LED version to its Mini-B series, featuring a warm color temperature of 3200 K. The Mini-B WW, Midi-B WW, Mini-B ParLed Aqua WW feature the same power as the original models. They produce warm tones to properly render the skin tones of performers on stage.

Mini-B and Midi-B.

Get access to the Claypaky virtual lounge here


Meyer Constellation and Spacemap Go Boosts Studio 9

Studio 9 at Porches Inn in North Adams, Massachusetts invites superlatives but otherwise defies categorization. A fully sustainable and architecturally striking structure, it was originally conceived as a dining and event venue.

However, with installation of Meyer Sound Constellation® active acoustics in 2019, it was transformed into an intimate live performance and recording space. With the addition of the Spacemap® Go spatial sound design and live mixing tool earlier this year, Studio 9 has fully evolved into a one-of-a-kind laboratory for musical innovation.

FreshGrass Foundation founder and president, Chris Wadsworth.

The principal partner in Studio 9 venture is FreshGrass Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to preserving, supporting and creating innovative grassroots music. Studio 9 is already proving a valuable adjunct to the FreshGrass Festivals — staged at nearby MASS MoCA since 2011 and now also in Bentonville, Arkansas — in developing and promoting new generations of roots music artists.

“There is a shared vision and a shared ecosystem between Studio 9 and FreshGrass,” says the foundation’s founder and president, Chris Wadsworth. “Our objective is to turn Studio 9 into a beacon of creativity and innovation. One of the wonderful things about this building is that, with Constellation, you can tune the room to the composition, so it is more like an art installation than a concert venue.”

Studio 9 Curator but also creative and technical head, Dave Dennison.

Another pivotal player at Studio 9 is Dave Dennison, a long-time Meyer Sound associate whose new title as Curator encompasses a broad swath of creative and technical roles, from artist development through studio engineering. Dennison was originally brought in to supervise 2019 recordings by the Kronos Quartet, but was convinced to stay on in a permanent role.

“Studio 9 is a great place to record,” emphasizes Dennison, “because it offers more freedom for musicians. With Constellation, they are not tied to a recording session where they need headphones. It is much more like a free-form rehearsal space.”

The MPS-488HP smart power and the D-Mitri digital audio platform of Studio 9, both needed to run Constellation.

The recent addition of Spacemap Go took Studio 9’s potential up yet another notch. “Spacemap Go is an extremely powerful tool,” says Dennison. “In a live setting it offers the engineer the ability to fly things around the venue. You are not tied to two speakers in a stereo field, or even a typical surround mix.

Here, you are completely immersed in close to fifty speakers, all individually addressable, so you can fly an instrument or voice anywhere. All the trajectories can be saved in sync with the music, so you have a beautifully spatialized mix that can be replayed here, or even at other venues equipped with Spacemap Go.”

Both Constellation and Spacemap Go use the same complement of 37 full range, self-powered loudspeakers (MM-4XP™ and UP-4slim™) and 10 MM-10XP™ miniature subwoofers. Constellation also utilizes 16 miniature cardioid microphones for ambient sensing and a D-Mitri® digital audio platform to host the patented VRAS acoustical algorithm.

Spacemap Go is driven by three GALAXY™ 816 processors. Constellation and Spacemap Go can be used separately or simultaneously, with spatial sound trajectories overlaid on flexible acoustical environments. The creative audio capabilities also can be used to augment Studio 9’s Vive Enterprise Arena VR system.
The Studio 9 control room is centered around an Avid S6 mixing console with monitoring via three Meyer Sound Acheron Designer loudspeakers and an X 400C™ compact cinema subwoofer.

The remarkable integration of the various Meyer speaker references necessary for both Constellation and Spacemap Go in the conical wooden ceiling of the room.

Parsons Audio Managing Partner Roger Talkov.

System integrator for the project was Parsons Audio (Wellesley Hills, MA) under the direction of Managing Partner Roger Talkov, with Matt Dailey serving as project manager for the Spacemap Go upgrade.

“The Constellation installation was challenging because of the precision tolerances required, which was complicated by the conical roof shape and ceiling system,” notes Talkov. “That made microphone and speaker positioning extremely difficult in the 3D space.
The payoff in attention to detail was quick commissioning and a fantastic textbook outcome. The musicians that played in Studio 9 when it first opened raved about how easy and comfortable it was for them to perform.”

The Porches Inn was built by the Wadsworth family and it is located adjacent to the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA). Studio 9 operates as a partnership of MASS MoCA, Dave Dennison, FreshGrass Foundation and THE OFFICE performing arts + film.

More information on:

– The Meyer Sound website
– The Studio 9 Porches website
– The Parsons Audio website


Robe MegaPointes for American Idol

Lighting designer Tom Sutherland of DX7 Design specified 326 x Robe MegaPointes as part of the lighting rig for the 2021 season of American Idol, for which the live shows and final were produced by Freemantle Media and recorded on Stage 36 of CBS Television City in Los Angeles, California, USA.
Tom was delighted to join the live show creative team for the first time, although he’s worked on the audition stages of the competition before. Award-winning director Phil Heyes approached Tom to bring his fresh modernist style to the bigger picture and he came in with a rock ‘n’ roll-style design carefully balanced for television.

© Hunter Selby + Jasmine Lesane

He worked alongside some serious talent including creative director and co-executive producer Brian Burke – with whom Tom also collaborates on pop phenomenon Westlife – and set designer Florian Wieder, plus a trove of other smart and creative individuals with unique production skills including art director Steve Morden.

Season 4 of the show on ABC was the first time American Idol has been run without an audience – due to pandemic restrictions – although 50 x Covid-tested members of the public were allowed in for each live show broadcast, seated in club-style booths which add a touch of ‘classic ambiance’ to the aesthetic.

Robe MegaPointe

The video-based set was fully automated on 37 x moving points and hugely dynamic. The architecture of the space could be dramatically shifted at the touch of a button, and Tom’s main challenge was to accentuate the overall feeling of space and make the studio look as big, impressive and rock star-like as possible!
The lighting rig was designed at maximum width, expanding into the roof and right out to each side – above what would normally be the audience – with transformed the venue’s visuality.

The MegaPointes, all supplied by Felix Lighting together with around 1300 other fixtures, were rigged in eight large trussing pods forming a ceiling above the performance area. Then there were two rows of MegaPointes all around the perimeter (back and sides) of the upstage LED screen in a ‘goal post’ configuration.

Sixteen MegaPointes per side were positioned behind the left and right band risers onstage, with a final row of these workhorse moving lights running along the front truss. To make the ‘global’ design work, the pods and horizontal trusses above them had to be millimeter-perfectly aligned as well as positioned specific to one another so the critical key lights rigged above could reach the presenter, performer, and judges’ positions below whatever the format of screens and lighting, unhindered by metalwork or other obstacles.

© Hunter Selby + Jasmine Lesane

“It was a bit like piecing together a giant jigsaw!” stated Tom, “and all credit to Frank Dawson from Kish Rigging and Jesse Sugimoto from SGPS Showrig who coordinated all the production rigging and automation elements.” Automation was programmed by Daniel Sturman, and all the motion and lighting cues worked in unison.

The substantial upstage LED screen split horizontally and vertically into four segments and flew up into the roof, so more lighting was needed during these moves to fill the voids, especially out to the sides. Behind the back screens was a massive cross-shaped wall of light. The MegaPointes in the pods were used to ‘wrap’ the room in a layer of stunning lighting, cross-referencing with the fixtures around the screen and on the deck.

Tom enjoyed the many challenges of lighting this forever changing space including always keeping focus on the artists, even though they were surrounded by a vast amount of technology and a succession of visual WOW moments.
The versatility of the MegaPointes, the big video set presence and the automation combined unleashed an ultimately adaptable environment ensuring each of the approximately 170 songs and performances – across the run of live shows – looked completely different.

© Hunter Selby + Jasmine Lesane

While the MegaPointe was a valued “workhorse” fixture for this production offering a near-infinite range of looks, Tom is the first to credit his programmers Joe Holdman and Nate Files for their skills in crafting the array of intricate and colorful looks.

“In scenarios like this, it is essential to have multiple lights and a core fixture that is a good spot, wash and beam in equal measure,” he summed up. Six Robe BMFL Spots on six RoboSpot systems were also utilized, three for back spots, three for fill spots and one positioned at FOH for low-level spotting when the ceiling pods were in / down.
grandMA2 was the lighting control platform. Tom’s FOH included associate designer Hunter Selby and media server programmer Scott Chmielewski. The gaffer was AJ Taylor and the best boy Danny Vincent, both working closely with lighting techs Dom Adamé and Brian Karol.

Nicole Barnes was the account handler at Felix Lighting. She enthused, “This was the first year Felix Lighting has been involved with the American Idol Production. Tom’s designs presented us with exciting opportunities to grow and ride along with someone who we admire and respect.
“Tom’s collaboration with production designer Florian Weider has produced some next-level stuff. Rigging, automation, camera work and video content choreographed with lighting were all executed flawlessly by the onsite production and design teams. I was excited to tune in each week to see what happened next!”

© Hunter Selby + Jasmine Lesane

Working with Tom has been “a highlight” of Nicole’s career so far. “In addition to his obvious talent, he is one of the most gracious, humble, and delightful people I’ve had the pleasure to know.” She confirmed.
Nicole further explains that being a part of this season has been vital to all at Felix, helping pave a way for the industry’s return to a post-pandemic world that is getting people back to work, keeping others safe, and contributing to the overall health of the economy, “all of which have been top priority for us personally and professionally.”

American Idol’s live show production / broadcast period ran from March to May and was extremely well received. Hosted by Ryan Seacrest, with Katy Perry, Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan as judges. the executive producers were Trish Kinane and Megan Wolflick … and the 2021 winner was Chayce Beckham.

For more info about Robe lighting and their products line, you can visit www.robe.cz


Ayrton Perseo Beam IP 65, an endless variety of effects

Ayrton presents Perseo Beam, an IP65-rated, beam moving-head fixture with an LED source. Its ultra-tight beam can be zoomed down to 2° and it boasts a 21:1 zoom ratio. It is featured here in a video made at Aquatique Show, a spectacular ballet of beams dancing in the rain.

It offers a vast selection of gobos – totaling 48, between static and rotating gobos on two wheels – including 28 glass gobos for high-definition image projection and 20 metal gobos specially designed to sculpt aerial beams. These gobos can be multiplied using four rotating prisms, which can be combined to produce a multitude of volumetric mid-air effects. A multi-layer RGB/CMY gobo creates dynamic multi-color effects.

Ayrton – Perseo Beam – Presentation from Ayrton on Vimeo.

An animation wheel, with continuous rotation in either direction, and two frost filters round out the effects package of the fixture. Continuous rotation on the pan axis expands the possibilities for creating complex effects.

Les gobos verre rotatifs.

Les gobos fixes, verre et métal.

Roue chromatique multiposition.

The color section of Perseo Beam includes a CMY color mixing system, a linear progressive CTO filter, and an instant-access, multi-position color wheel that includes four filters for color temperature correction, plus 13 supplementary color filters arranged in two concentric circles (patent pending).

Terminated by a 168 mm output lens, the optical system uses 13 lenses, providing a zoom range of 2° to 42°.
A brand new, ultra-compact 450 W, 6800 K white LED engine, specially developed for long-throw applications, delivers a luminous flux of 18,000 lumens.

We are starting to get a clearer understanding of the Ayrton product portfolio, which they are restructuring in order to limit the number of references. The stage lighting catalog is organized into four power categories:

– Category 3 : 200/300 W
– Category 5 : 400/500W
– Category 7 : 600/700 W
– Category 9 : 1000 W

Each category will use two names, one for classic fixtures, and another for waterproof fixtures. With the exception of the creative fixtures already established in the catalog, such as the MagicPanel, DreamPanel, MagicDot and NandoBeam multi-source washes, there will eventually be a maximum of eight product designations, each with a suffix indicating its type: Beam or LT, Profile and Wash.

– “Beam” for effect fixtures with an ultra-tight beam, down to 2°.
– “LT” for high-powered, long-throw stage lighting fixtures.
– “Profile” indicates models with a framing module.
– “Wash” indicates models with a Fresnel lens.

Perseo is the first product to adopt this approach. This IP65 category 5 fixture with a 450 W source is now available in Profile and Beam versions.

Ayrton Perseo Beam

More information on the Ayrton website


Ayrton Karif-LT celebrates J’Ouvert at London’s Harold Pinter Theatre

Broadcast on 26 April as part of BBC4’s Lights Up season, J’Ouvert is the second in Sonia Friedman Productions’ RE:EMERGE season. Set amid the colourful backdrop of London’s historic Notting Hill carnival, it is the story of two best friends battling to preserve tradition in a society where women’s bodies are frequently under threat.

Ayrton Karif LT

J’Ouvert was first produced at Theatre503, before transferring to the Harold Pinter Theatre, where it was filmed for the BBC prior to its West End run. Lighting designer, Simisola Majekodunmi, chose two Ayrton Karif-LT fixtures as major workhorses in her design.
“The play takes place from dawn until dusk and has moments of realism and surrealism throughout, so I needed a fixture that could deliver a representation of the colour and vibe of Carnival as well as the sombreness and isolation of the spiritual moments,” she says. “We also had a massive flying piece to contend with over the central revolve which blocks several conventional lighting positions.”
Majekodunmi hung one Karif upstage and one downstage of the central structure to combat the difficult angles. “The upstage Karif was the real workhorse as it was in the best position to encapsulate the whole of the circular stage and was used very prominently during the dream sequences. The downstage unit was invaluable for face light during the poignant moments and for highlighting the actors downstage.”

As the mood changes between the excitement of Carnival and the weight of its spiritual and cultural importance, there are moments of crisis for one of the characters when the spirit of Carnival appears: “It’s at this point the Karifs did the most work,” says Majekodunmi, “drawing down into rich, deep colours and heavy back light.

They enabled me to keep the mood sunny and light, yet have room to go to the dark spaces when we needed them. “For ‘normal’ times of the day I kept them at a really low level to add warmth and substance to the sunny day, and richness to the characters’ skin tones.”

“Karif is a really fantastic fixture,” concludes Majekodunmi. “It’s very fast and responsive and did all that I planned for it to do. To go straight from a very small theatre to filming in a larger venue was a radical change.
I had to embrace the fact filming is very different from stage: everything needed to be brighter and the Karifs were a godsend in this respect because they gave us a lot more scope in intensity, and gave us somewhere to go.”

Lighting programmer, Tamykha Patterson was impressed with the speed of Karif: “They are super easy to use and control and really fast! There are so many things you can do with them and we have only just touched the surface.”

J’Ouvert opens for a 3-week run at London’s Harold Pinter Theatre on 16 June until 3 July 2021. The Karif-LT fixtures were supplied by Ayrton’s exclusive UK distributor, Ambersphere Solutions.

Read the full story here and more information on Karif-LT and all Ayrton’s LED lighting fixtures can be found at www.ayrton.eu


Teatro Nacional de São João accesses Robert Juliat Dalis technology

The prestigious Teatro Nacional de São João (TNSJ) in Oporto, Portugal has increased its inventory of Robert Juliat Dalis Access 863 cyclorama lighting with the addition of a further 20 units after a comprehensive tender process which saw the Dalis Access fixtures hold their winning position against a number of alternative options.

Robert Juliat Dalis Access 863 proves a versatile and valuable addition for cyclorama and footlight applications at Oporto’s Teatro Nacional de São João. © João Tuna, official TNSJ production photographer.

The purchase brings TNSJ’s total complement of Dalis Access 863 units to 34. This is more than sufficient to cover the theatre’s 12m x 9m cyclorama cloth and back wall from floor- and grid-mounted positions, plus fill in as ‘ribalta’ lighting when required.

“Dalis Access is a very versatile tool which can be used as both cyclorama and footlight,” explains TNSJ’s Lighting Department Coordinator, Filipe Pinheiro. “This is a real advantage for multi-purpose theatres with an eclectic programme of shows, conferences, debates and dance, and at a price that makes it accessible to all budgets.”

Dalis Access 863

The Dalis Access 863 were supplied by NAN AudioVisuals, Robert Juliat’s exclusive distributor for Portugal and the project supplier for TNSJ. The fixtures were chosen by TNSJ’s tender jury – Lighting Department Coordinator Filipe Pinheiro, Stage Director Emanuel Pina, and Stage Director Assistant Filipe Silva – following several demo sessions with similar products organised by NAN AudioVisuals.
“The lighting team was unanimous in its decision that Dalis was by far the best product,” says NAN’s Jorge Santos.

“Our decision was based on the dimensions, brightness and colour mixing of Dalis Access,” explains Pinheiro, “all of which are key features for our type of application.” Teatro Nacional de São João runs a varied programme of theatre, dance and music, so flexibility in its lighting products is vital, and with just 460 seats, the low profile and fanless cooling of the Dalis units are especially valuable assets.

Dalis Access 863 is a 150W LED fixture designed to give first access to RJ’s award-winning Dalis technology. It offers a four-colour mixing system (red, green, royal blue and warm white 2200K) and 24 patented asymmetrical micro-reflectors which deliver powerful, smooth coverage with a variety of pastel and saturated colours.

© João Tuna, official TNSJ production photographer

Inspired by the Dalis 862 Footlight, Dalis Access 863 combines the same technological advantages as original Dalis 860 cyclight with body shape of Dalis Footlight. Its low profile and aesthetically-pleasing finish enables it to merge into its surroundings almost unnoticed.

“Our new Dalis Access units have blended in seamlessly with our existing Dalis fixtures and really elevate the quality of the final result in any of our lighting designs,” says Pinheiro. “Our technicians are very happy with them, and with the service we have received from NAN. The team there consistently takes great care of us.”

TNSJ has been an advocate of Robert Juliat products for more than 20 years, with an array of RJ dimmers, profiles, PCs, Fresnels, fluorescents and followspots in its lighting inventory. “We can truly say it’s our brand of choice,” confirms Pinheiro. “We are currently testing the Sully module for our SX profiles with a view to converting all our tungsten profile range into LED fixtures.”
TNSJ Administrative Council comprises Pedro Sobrado, Sandra Martins and Susana Marques.

Robert Juliat Waiting for Godot

For more information about Dalis Access 863 and all Robert Juliat products, you can visit www.robertjuliat.fr

NAN Portugal can be contacted at: [email protected] and www.nan.pt

For Teatro Nacional de São João, visit their website

Finland’s biggest music competition picks MDG haze

Finland’s biggest music competition, Uuden Musiikin Kilpailu (New Music Contest), is an annual event in which Finland’s representative for the Eurovision Song Contest is selected in a live broadcast by Finnish television viewers and an international UMK jury.

MDG’s theONE and ATMe generators provide the perfect canvas for Pekka Martti’s UMK21 lighting design which showcased each of the 2021 contestants with their own unique look. © Miika Varila

This year’s Finals on 20 February marked the show’s 10th anniversary. The evening was broadcast live in four languages from Mediapolis TV studios in Tampere and televised on Yle TV1 to an audience of 1.7 million viewers, breaking all records.
Lighting designer, Pekka Martti of Aku’s Factory, turned to MDG haze generators to breathe life into his beautiful lighting design, using its pure white haze to show off a range of stunning visuals that created a different look and mood for each of the seven contestants.


MDG theONE dual

With the help of MDG’s Finnish distributor, MSONIC Oy, Martti selected an MDG ATMe haze generator and an MDG theONE dual haze and fog generator for this important, spectacular event.
“I wanted a haze machine that I knew would make the beams of light look good on camera,” explains Martti, “and, for TV shows, MDG – which I have been using since 2006 – is a must.
I love the haze quality I get from them in television and live shows. The haze is white so does not discolour the light beams, or make them appear brownish like some other machines do.”

Martti positioned theONE atmospheric (dual fog and haze) generator, set in haze mode, on stage behind the upstage curtain, and placed the ATMe haze machine in the auditorium (there was no live audience due to Covid restrictions).

© Miika Varila

“This way we were able to show the beams to best advantage across the whole venue,” he says. “I think the biggest advantage of MDG haze is the quality: not only is it white, it produces an even haze with no big clouds so we could have a smooth canvas to work on.”

Because the UMK21 Finals was a live broadcast, Martti also needed to be totally confident of the reliability of the haze generators. “I’ve worked on festivals for 15 years, and I always want MDG,” he states. “I’ve had 15-year old MDG MAX5000 fog machines and those are still rocking! So I would say that MDG is most reliable machine available – and yes I would use them again!”

© Miika Varila

The UMK Final was hosted by Antti Tuisku, Finland’s biggest pop star, and the winners were Blind Channel, with their song Dark Side, who went on to represent Finland at the Eurovision Song Contest in Rotterdam in May.

© Miika Varila

theONE and the ATMe generators were supplied to Aku’s Factory by MDG’s Finnish distributor, MSONIC Oy.

For more information on MDG and their products, you can visit www.mdgfog.com


Anolis Shows Nottingham Castle in New Light

The UK’s landmark Nottingham Castle reopens in June following a £30 million refurbishment which started in 2018. Part of the new look is a stylish Anolis exterior LED lighting scheme illuminating all four sides of the building, comprising 17 x Anolis Divine 160 fixtures which was designed by Ian Forrow of IJF Lighting and commissioned by On Event Production from Castle Donnington.

Photo Louise Stickland

Electrical installation and fixtures were supplied by Amptron Electrical Services Ltd who were the appointed electrical contractor for the whole project which included the external lighting. The original fortified castle dates to Medieval times but that structure was largely demolished by the mid-17th century, with a mansion built on the site in the 1670s by the first and second Dukes of Newcastle.
This was burnt down by rioters in 1831 and rebuilt in the 1870s to house an art gallery and museum which remains today. It occupies a commanding position at the top of a 40-metre-high bluff known as ‘Castle Rock’ and has stunning panoramic views across the south of the city below.

Photo Louise Stickland

On Event Production is the technical supplier for the local council’s city hall building, Nottingham Council House, and was asked to consult on renewing the Castle lighting by Richard Hamblin, who has co-ordinated and run the Nottingham Castle renovation project for the City Council.
On Event’s own project manager Alex Tweedie explained that the brief from Richard was to replace the old metal halide lighting scheme with something that was brighter, more energy-efficient, better quality and that would be infinitely more flexible when the Castle was in use for assorted public and private events.

Anolis was successful in being selected as the lighting provider, so Alex consulted Simon Gooding from Anolis, who both conducted a site visit which was challenging as the entire building was shrouded in scaffolding at the time due to the restoration works! However, they were still able to get a good enough idea of the scope and requirements, and this resulted in the specification of the Divine 160s.

Photo Louise Stickland

The fixtures were selected for their size, quality of output, coverage, colour mixing – the RGBW light engine of the Divine 160s ensures a great spectrum of colours, from the richest saturates to the most delicate pastels – and reliability. Also, they fitted in the budget and have a five-year warranty. They are installed in new lighting positions, some similar in location to the previous lights around the four facades of the building.

The zoning capabilities of the Divines were perfect for what the Castle wanted in terms of adaptability for special events and functions … it means that the building can be instantly transformed into alternative colours or colour schemes as the units can be run in four separate zones if needed.

Photo Louise Stickland

Each Divine is fitted with a cowl to reduce light spill into the sky and surrounding area. Everyone liked the possibility of the Castle being transformed to support different events and occasions.
Clever positioning was needed to maximise the coverage offered by the 17 x Divine 160s which are all in close range to the building. They cover its substantial dimensions smoothly and evenly, and once illuminated it stands out like a beacon on the hill from many miles away!

Custom optics were needed for some Divine units to ensure the best coverage, especially those on the north side façade where the fixtures lighting the main wall are positioned on the roof of a lower section of the building.

Anolis was “very obliging” in making this happen commented Alex, adding that the Czech Republic-based manufacturer was generally “fantastic” to work with “and prepared to invest in the project just as much as we all were”. The Divine 160s are controlled via a Pharos TPC and EXT, and the system has a custom touch screen for users within the castle that can also be remotely accessed by the team at On Events without attending site.

Photo Lindsay Cave

For additional flexibility, the Castle lights are running via Art-Net and can be connected to an external controller e.g., one that might be controlling a concert or an event show lighting system, allowing them to be synched.
They can also be aligned with the nearby Council House’s lighting scheme for special events like New Year’s Eve and the city’s annual Light Night. The default nightly setting for the lights is a slightly warm white, a bit of a tungsten touch that blends seamlessly with and beautifully complements the yellow sandstone of the walls.

For more info about Anolis or Robe Lighting you can visit www.anolis.com or www.robe.cz


Elation IP line lights Château de Chambord for a musical TV show

On the French television show La chanson de l’année (The Song of the Year) on station TF1, the French public get to choose their favorite French song of the past year.
Produced by DMLS TV and one of the television highlights of the year in France, this year’s show featured a breathtaking château backdrop with stunning lighting effects from Elation IP-rated luminaires.

For this year’s show, aired live on June 5th, the magnificent Château de Chambord in the Loire Valley, a French Renaissance palace of the highest quality, provided a spectacular backdrop for lighting designer Frédéric Dorieux to showcase the competing acts.

Dorieux had at his disposal 148 Proteus Hybrid arc-source moving heads and 140 Arena Zoom Q7 IP Par lights, both luminaires from Elation’s extensive outdoor-rated IP65 line.
The award-winning Proteus Hybrid, with a 21R 470W lamp, is not only powerful and compact, it is loaded with features and is multi-functional with spot, beam or wash capability.
Dorieux used them to stunning effect from ground positions, as well as from across the front parapet of the château.

The Arena Zoom Q7 IPs, outdoor rated PAR fixtures with 30W RGBW LEDs and 7° to 40° motorized zoom, uplit the Château and highlighted the surrounding gardens. Dushow TV supplied all of the lighting and audio for the show. Elation French distribution is by Best Audio & Lighting.

More information on the Elation website


RIVAGE PM7 Brings Peace Of Mind To Theater Freiburg

Founded in 1866, Theater Freiburg is the oldest and biggest theatre in Freiburg im Breisgau, Baden-Württemberg, south-west Germany. Moving to its present venue in 1910, like many theatres it has seen an almost continuous series of changes and renovations, some more successful than others.

Jonas Gottschall

Most recently, the installation of two Yamaha RIVAGE PM7 digital mixing systems have brought much-needed peace of mind to head of sound Jonas Gottschall and his technical team. Featuring orchestral performances, opera, musicals, dance, plays and more, the Theater Freiburg building includes a main stage, smaller stage and Chamber stage.

The venue has a long history with Yamaha digital mixers, going back to the DM2000 and the iconic PM5D. More recently, the venue invested in systems by other manufacturers because, as Jonas – who joined the theatre three years ago – says, “At the time there was no Yamaha console that could do exactly what Theatre Freiburg needed.”

“You can only work according to the circumstances of the time,” he adds. “In 2014, the theatre had to go down a different route, but the system it invested in ran into trouble with the network connection from the control surface to its DSP.” The issues culminated in every live sound engineer’s worst nightmare, when three productions had to be stopped mid-show, in front of audiences. “It took the manufacturer six months to investigate the problem and I don’t think they ever found it,” says Jonas.

With the RIVAGE PM series, Yamaha has not only continued its long tradition of reliability, it also introduced all the features that Theater Freiburg needed. So the investment in RIVAGE PM7 systems for the main and smaller stages was an obvious solution.

Joscha Muschaln a happy sound engineer.

“Reliability is the number one priority for me,” says Jonas. “With any system, if there is ever an issue you also need the technical support to be there at the right moment. If it isn’t, it doesn’t make either us or the audience happy. In my experience Yamaha digital systems have always been fine, there are never any software issues, network connection problems or anything, so I had absolute confidence that we would be safe if we invested in RIVAGE PM.”
Not only has the RIVAGE PM7’s theatre mode opened it up more to the theatre world, its ease of installation has meant that Jonas was able to install both systems himself. “We didn’t need anyone from Yamaha to come in and hold our hand,” he smiles.
“We installed the first PM7 system on the smaller stage, which was quite challenging because we had a new PA as well, with only a short time to install both and get them up and running. But it worked out absolutely fine.”

He continues, “In terms of the features, in my opinion the sound quality is better than before. I also really like the dynamic EQs. We try to make the amplification of actors onstage very discreet but, as soon as the voice gets louder, it starts to behave differently with the microphone. So the dynamic EQ is a very useful feature.”

Theater Freiburg head of sound Jonas Gottschall.

As with all venues, 2020-21 has seen Theater Freiburg having to cope with many difficult challenges, so innovation and adaptability need to be at the heart of its present and future.
“Normally, you plan for the year ahead. But now, when we have been able to stage performances, we have had to improvise and cope with a very short preparation time,” says Jonas.
“For the foreseeable future we will need to be very flexible and fast, with limited rehearsals. So I am very happy to have invested in secure, stable systems that work exactly as we hoped they would.”

More on the Yamaha website


Cory Pattak Light Tuacahn Amphitheatre with Chauvet Professional

Like anyone who enters Tuacahn Amphitheatre for the first time, Cory Pattak was awed by the surroundings when he arrived there in 2017 to light a production of Newsies.
Located at the mouth of Padre Canyon in southwestern Utah, with its towering sandstone cliffs dotted with sage brush and yuca trees, the setting offers a quintessential image of the American West in all its rugged, untamed beauty.

Ovation E 910FC-IP

Along with this splendor, however, comes another side of nature: harsh, wildly fluctuating weather. “The theatre is subjected to every kind of environmental challenge, including rain, high wind, dust, 100-plus degree temps, and even snow this April,” said Pattak, a New York based lighting designer. “The conventional pars and ellipsoidals here have taken a beating over the years.’

Since Pattak’s first show at Tuacahn, the theatre has been working to upgrade its rig to include more outdoor rated fixtures.
Last year, during the pandemic lockdown, it took a major step in this direction when its Production Manager Craig Engel, with assistance from Pattak, replaced its old incandescent units with 58 Ovation E-910FC IP fixtures from Chauvet Professional.

Pattak is putting the new fixtures to good use this season, creating an engaging and evocative design for a production of Beauty and the Beast. Drawing on the Ovation units’ RGBA-Lime LED engine, he is transforming the stage to support the magical mood of the musical with a wide range of deep, richly saturated colors.

Discussing the upgrade and his role in it, Pattak, who has designed at the venue every year since 2017, noted: “Aside from looking for an IP rated fixture, we were also looking to reduce the overall size of the conventional plot, as it takes days to focus the entire rig all overnight of course.
The large rig required a significant amount of dimmers and cabling, not to mention lamps and gel.I advised considering Ovation fixtures, because I had used them on previous shows and have always been pleased with them.

“My friend Rob Denton, who is the lighting supervisor at the Muny, had recently replaced many of their conventional lights with the new IP-rated Ovations. They had already gone through a full season with them, and reported back all positives,” continued Pattak.

“So, last season we got one of the fixtures out at Tuacahn for an onsite demo and were encouraged by the results. Fortunately, we were able to add them to the plot between the 2019 season and this season.”

The Ovation E-910FC IP fixtures at Tuacahn today are positioned to work as three different systems of washes. Previously, the theatre had two front template washes in a warm and a cool color from its FOH towers. These have been combined into a single LED system.
The high side template system had always been NC and cool. The latter has been replaced with the Ovation LED units. The theatre also had two different back template systems, which have now been combined into one LED backlight system.

Aside from their reliability and efficiency, the new Ovation ellipsoidals increase the flexibility of Tuacahn’s lighting rig, making it better able to meet the theatre’s diverse schedule of productions.
“Since there is one rep plot for multiple shows, any opportunity to add versatility to the rig is a plus,” said Pattak. “We’ve previously had to pick fairly neutral gel colors that would work for all shows. However, with the added LED sources, the designers can now customize their color needs for each show.

“For instance, the first two shows of the season are Beauty and the Beast, which I lit, and Annie, lit by Aaron Porter,” continue Pattak. “Just due to the nature of the shows, BATB calls for much deeper and more saturated colors than Annie, which has a more naturalistic approach. Being able to tune in our own palettes was a big advantage. In both cases, we are able to achieve better color washes than we ever could before.

“The ability to turn nearly 60 lights all the same color before you even have to touch a moving light is an amazing tool in our design toolbelt,” continued Pattak. “Also very important to lighting designers at the theatre is the savings in time resulting from the installation of the new fixtures. In the past, when working with the larger rig of mainly conventionals, the crew would spend long hours at night dealing with maintenance issues that come from non-outdoor rated fixtures.”

Freed from this task, they can now devote more time to working on creative issues, or perhaps take an extra moment or two to savor the beautiful natural setting that makes Tuacahn Amphitheatre so special.

For more information about Chauvet Professional and their range of products, you can visit: www.chauvetprofessional.com/


dBS Solutions Goes For a Martin Audio WPS System

dBS Solutions’ roadmap through Martin Audio’s evolutionary control technology shows no sign of abating. In 2014 they purchased an XD/DD combination rig for deployment on a successful theatre tour.
This was followed by the acquisition of a 40-box Wavefront Precision Mini (WPM) system, specifically for the Mercury at Abbey Field pop-up theatre space in Colchester. This ran for an entire outdoor season and was a direct replacement for their old Martin Audio W8LM rig.

Then in February 2020—immediately before lockdown—two hangs of 16 WPM, supported by flown SXF115 subwoofers and DD6 front fills, went out on the Queen Symphonic tour.
Fast forward to the present, and after carefully considering all options, the company made its first investment in Martin Audio’s more powerful WPS system. “We’ve dipped our toe in the water with a package that will enable us to provide coverage for 2,000-plus capacity concert halls,” confirms dBS Solutions MD, Chris Bogg, taking up the story. “However, we will definitely be increasing that inventory.”

His earlier entry into the world of Wavefront Precision had been driven by the fact that the Abbey Field site is surrounded by local residencies. “This called for a system that could minimise offsite noise while maximising coverage in the tent.”
dBS Solutions were able to use the unique Hard Avoid feature in the proprietary DISPLAY control software to equal benefit with the Queen Symphonic UK tour. “The balance of rock music in a classical environment is always a very difficult one, not least in some of the most reverberant performing spaces in the UK. We chose the WPM as the even coverage and on-stage noise levels were critical to the tour’s success.”

The Queen Symphonic UK tour.

Explaining further, he said, “In addition to the 35-piece symphony orchestra, there was a rock band and four West End musical vocalists. Traditional classical musicians don’t like a loud stage, and in terms of levels we were able to use Hard Avoid to remove much of that.”

As to mitigating venue reverberation, he remarked, “I have never heard a system sounding so consistent across three or four levels [of a venue] or so tonally balanced, when compared with other systems we’ve used.”
In summary, he said, “WPM has been amazing for us and it was the confidence we had in this that led us to invest in the bigger WPS system.” But it hadn’t been an automatic decision, as Chris Bogg had been well down the line to purchasing an alternative system before reverting to Martin Audio. “I decided to take a different view, and I’m pleased we stuck with the option we knew,” he admits.

Credit Nathan Garwood

He believes the timing of his latest investment is perfect as the country slowly emerges from lockdown. “It will certainly help raise the profile of dBS,” he believes. “It gives us a larger system that really works in terms of our brand profile and ticks the rider boxes.”

However, above all he is in love with Martin Audio’s unique optimisation technology. “We had already been aware of how fantastic WPM was at the point of purchase, as two of our techs had already done the training. It was the flexibility of being able to drive the system off the iKON amplifiers and the scalable resolution options that swung it for us.

“If something less sophisticated is required we can drive the system in 2- or 3-box resolution, and carry less inventory, whereas we can use 1-box where a cleverer approach is required.”
He is referring specifically to those reverberant concert venues. “That’s where Martin Audio really excels,” Chris Bogg exclaims.

For more information on the Martin Audio website and on the DBS Solutions website