Ayrton Perseo fixtures shine on Adele One Night Only

It may never rain in southern California but it pays to be prepared because when it does, man, it pours. Full Flood Inc. Lighting Designer Noah Mitz and Lighting Director Bryan Klunder opted to use 40 IP65-rated Ayrton Perseo fixtures for Adele’s surprise CBS special, Adele One Night Only, at the landmark Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles last November.
The two-hour show no sooner finished than the skies opened up in a dramatic and torrential storm that found crews scrambling to cover non-IP-rated gear.

“It was one of the most intense weather systems that LA had seen in some time,” recalls Harrison Lippman, Co-Founder of Burbank-based Volt Lites, Inc., which was the production lighting vendor for the show with additional support provided by PRG Los Angeles. ACT Entertainment is the exclusive distributor of Ayrton lighting in North America.

“Being equipped with the Perseos demonstrated the value of IP-rated lighting even in LA – it seldom rains here but when it does, it really does,” says Lippman. The Adele special was one of the largest-scale projects that Volt Lites has done for Mitz and his team; the company provided a turnkey lighting package for the show, including new lighting technology and control solutions.

Mitz had originally specified Ayrton Diablo fixtures for the production, which he had often used before. “But with the forecast showing a 100 percent certainty of rain on the scheduled shoot day we reviewed the entire plot and went with Perseo,” he explains. “Even with compressing the schedule and losing our rehearsal day to try to beat the weather, it poured right after the taping wrapped.”

The show followed the release of Adele’s new single, “Easy on Me,” which ended a six-year musical hiatus for the artist, and aired days before the debut of her long-awaited fourth studio album, “30.” To mark her musical return the singer’s team, CBS and Fulwell Productions decided to stage a top secret concert for friends and super-fans at an undisclosed location in LA. A second concert was planned for London.

“She wanted to send a love letter to LA with an iconic LA backdrop and chose a very ambitious production in front of the Griffith Observatory, which is typically open to the public and not an event space,” says Mitz.
“There were a lot of conditions to using the building – it’s a special piece of LA iconic architecture. The show was envisioned to start taping in the afternoon so you could see LA in the background; Adele would perform her concert through the dusk and into the night accompanied by a full orchestra and her band, while talking with her guests between songs.”
Mitz arrayed the 40 Perseo fixtures in two lines on top of the observatory and on the floor in the off-stage wings. “The bulk of our entire fixture inventory was on the roof and fully exposed to the elements,” he points out.

“The Perseos were our workhorse beam lights from the roof. In addition, some were floor lights positioned left and right at the ends of the stage where they lit the building and helped to fill the corners of the set visually. We also had some lighting the main ironwork doors of the observatory.”
In addition to the Perseo’s IP rating, Mitz and Lighting Director Bryan Klunder were “drawn to the fixtures’ size and brightness: they’re a smaller fixture with a lot of output,” Klunder says. “We were very happy with them.”

According to Mitz, “one of the briefs from Adele and the producers was to make the lighting as discreet as possible – as small, streamlined and out of sight as we could make it. Bryan [Klunder] and the art department designed wooden facia cladding for the truss that matched the stonework of the observatory so it blended in and concealed the truss on the roof.”
Klunder liked the fact that the Perseo fixtures “didn’t sacrifice brightness for an IP rating. They were our only fixtures on the roof, and I was impressed that they were so bright and aesthetically pleasing.”

Mitz also praised how quickly everything came together. “The Volt Lites’ team was very responsive and a delight to work with, as always,” he says. “Volt was ready to pivot quickly as the weather contracted the entire production schedule and taping timeline.”
Mitz’s team was “thrilled with the show,” he reports. “The lighting rig worked effortlessly, and we were delivered a great hand with a beautiful sunset before the rains came. Reactions to the show were really impressive, too. It seems to have really made an impact. There’s not a lot of LA represented outdoors, and people enjoyed seeing Adele perform at an LA landmark.”

Mitz adds that, “It’s safe to say that we’ll consider Perseo for future projects, especially as more shows go outdoors for COVID safety. If it’s the weather or more frequent outdoor venues, IP-rated fixtures are more important than ever before.”
“We’re a huge supporter of the Ayrton line,” says Volt Lites’ Lippman. “We’re excited about expanding their product line and are looking for more opportunities to show clients the value of the line, especially the IP-rated fixtures.”
In addition to Mitz and Klunder, the Full Flood team consisted of Associate Lighting Director Jeff Behm and Lighting Directors/Programmers Patrick Boozer and Patrick Brazil.

More information on Ayrton Perseo and the full portfolio of innovative Ayrton LED fixtures can be found at www.ayrton.eu

 

Tutorial: Clay Paky HY B-Eye K25 cleaning maintenance

The HY B-Eye is a new version of the B-Eye, an updated fixture, with a light flow thats been doubled and a flawless color uniformity. The K25 uses 40W Osram RGBW leds (used at 30W), compared to 15W for a B-Eye K10/K20, and its white is at 6000K.

With its 35 cm wafer equipped with 37 LED sources and lenses, this projector requires special maintenance that Anthony Chevallier, After Sales Technician at Dimatec, presents to us step by step in this tutorial.
The 35cm disc with its 37 LED sources and as many lenses require a specific type of cleaning that Anthony Chevallier, customer services technician at Dimatec France, shows in detail in the following tutorial.



More information on the Claypaky website

 

Robe T1 Profile Luminaires make Capitole in Ghent

Robe T1 Profile LED luminaires have been installed at the 1700 capacity Capitole Theatre in Ghent, Belgium, where they are deployed on the front lighting bridge for key lighting and specials, replacing the previous tungsten fixtures.
The T1 Profile investment was part of a drive to update the remaining elements of the house lighting system to LED, making it better, more contemporary and more sustainable.

Rui Pinto

The T1 Profile purchase was overseen by the venue’s technical manager Rui Pinto who takes a distinctly no-nonsense approach to technical production.
After discussions with Bart Weyts from rental specialist L&L Stage Services, the venue’s regular technical partner, Rui assessed the various suitable options available for front / key lighting replacement, contacted a selection of manufacturers and evaluated his choices.

The T1 Profile popped up many times. He was recommended it by other professionals and as he researched the fixtures, liked what he heard, then saw them in action on site at a demo set up by Benelux distributor, Controllux.

After that, he placed the order.

“Colour mixing was the first of many features that impressed me,” stated Rui with characteristic enthusiasm. “The colour of the lamp itself is perfect for front lighting.”
He is delighted with the T1 Profiles which are now used for 95% of the shows happening at the Capitole.
The fixture is also “great” for producing a range of effects and ideal for when the auditorium is being used for parties and other events. Recently for Bose, the T1 Profiles were used to create light pathways and backgrounds.

Part of the Sportpaleis Group, the Capitole Ghent – which has a distinctive neoclassical façade and originally opened in 1932 as one of the largest cinema halls in Belgium – stages a mix of live shows, from leading bands and music artists to dance, ballet, theatrical and musical productions. A normal (i.e., non-Covid) month will see between 12 and 25 productions onstage, so it’s a busy environment.

Some shows use the 200 plus house lighting fixtures which are controlled by an MA dot2 console. Others will use that together with elements of their own production, and some will bring in their full production rigs. Many of them are in and out in a day.

A series of different house production packages offer a variety of options within that, but the FOH lighting bridge is included in all of them, so it was essential to have reliable fixtures.
“I know Robe is reliable,” said Rui, who has been in the technical manager role at the Capitole for 6 years. Before that he worked as a PM for concerts, tours, music shows and festivals, and it was there he first appreciated the increasing popularity of Robe as it appeared on specs and lighting plots.
“There was a general level of chatter in our community about the T1 series right from the start, people were saying good things,” he confirmed. “In addition to that, I also know I’d get great service and backup from Controllux,” he stated.

The T1 purchase completed the venue’s conversion to LED stage lighting, so more reduction in running costs and maintenance is an added benefit to the self-funded venture that must be commercially viable.
Like everyone, Rui and his team are looking forward to moving into the post-pandemic phase and re-starting regular shows.

For more information, you can visit www.robe.cz

 

SIXTY82 launches Arena Frame, a new concept in stage systems

SIXTY82 is excited to launch Arena Frame, a new stage concept designed for venues which value the benefits of a quick and easy-to-build stage system. The straightforward design allows big stages to be built in the blink of an eye – a 200m2 stage, for example, can be built in just 90 minutes with a crew of 4 and a forklift.



The system has a very small storage footprint due to its foldable frames, while it also offers the ability to build the stage and rig at the same time, greatly reducing the time needed to build any stage set.

The Arena Frame system allows every second frame to be omitted, allowing the creation of corridors underneath the stage in both directions without any loss of its load bearing capacity. For standard decking 2x1m elements are used.

The system is equipped with robust swivel castors and an internal lever system which allows the castors to be raised once the stage is in position and rests on its screw jacks. Accessories like stairs, guardrails and transport dollies are also available.

For more information check out the brochure at: www.sixty82.nl/upload/ARENA-FRAME

For more information on Sixty82, visit www.sixty82.nl

 

Ayrton Diablo impresses on Ghost: Nachricht von Sam tour

Ayrton was recently delighted to receive this message from lighting designer Phil Kong of Kong Design, Inc.: “We just used 20 Ayrton Diablo’s on Ghost: Nachricht von Sam for ShowSlot GmbH and I wanted to let you know I was very happy with them for all of the things they were able to do, and how fast they were.

The flat field, the gobos, the colour rendering – a lot of good things going on with them – and the size and price point are great. I was so glad to have these Ayrton fixtures on the show.” Naturally, Ayrton just had to find out more!

Co-written by Glen Ballard and Eurythmics’ Dave Stewart, Ghost: Nachricht von Sam is a beautiful re-telling of the film classic which is currently touring several major German-speaking cities until the end of April.
As the tour’s lighting designer, Kong rigged five of Ayrton’s versatile, feature-rich, ultra-compact 300W Diablo fixtures across the downstage truss, three across the upstage truss, six as head highs on the booms (three on each side) and three on each side of the stage to be used as high sides on the stage left and right trusses.

Ayrton Diablo

He explains how Diablo came to be chosen: “When we were designing Ghost: Nachricht von Sam, one of the stipulations from the producer, ShowSlot GmbH, was that our entire show would be on a ground support truss. Our whole rig needed to be small and extremely versatile, with every fixture serving a variety of functions, not the least of which was doubling as automated spot tracking fixtures.

Each fixture type also needed to be easily maintainable on tour. That limited us primarily to fast, lightweight LED fixtures with framing shutters, rotating gobos and CMY mixing all with a good zoom range. It doesn’t leave you with a lot of options, and of the options we looked at the Diablos were the clear winner. It was actually one of the fixtures we locked in early on in the process because it ticked all the boxes we needed.

“We use the Diablos most often to carve out acting areas on stage, and provide height and shape through the air both with and without gobos dropped in. The nice even field is amazing when it comes to creating gobo washes across the stage or for aerial effects during some of the show’s more flashy numbers.
“We had the Diablos hung everywhere around the stage for which I was really glad. They really became the workhorse of our show, whether it was to project a window or, for our flashiest number, Weit Weg von Hier, to accent all of the musical hits.

For that number we were doing a ton of colour fades and intensity hits in zero counts. The Diablos performed admirably and at our throw distances they were punchy enough to cut through the haze and make the actors’ sequinned dresses really pop.”

Kong also used the Diablo fixtures as onstage automated followspots. “They surprised us with how well and how quickly they tracked the actors, who were often running around the stage.
We used them as back spots and sidelight spots, often with a clean hard edge, punching through the rest of the colour we threw onto the stage.”


Diablo’s compact form factor is also proving its’ worth on the tour, able to handle both the variety of venues and make load-ins and techs quicker and easier.
“This tour goes to venues of all shapes and sizes, and our fixtures need to be capable of handling trims that vary drastically from 4m tall to 7m, so Diablo’s large zoom range was a must,” says Kong.

“Being lightweight and fast, and especially the fantastic indexing for the gobos, were also incredibly important features for the success of our tour. Our set is a grid of lines and many of our gobos are geometric so you really see when the gobos aren’t aligned well.

Most of the load-ins are only a day, or ¾ of a day long, and with 109 presets to update before the show runs, the lighting team needs to spend as little time as possible fiddling with gobo indexing.

“Our show also involves lots of moving slider panels that whip around the stage. The quick and accurate movement of the framing shutters helped us keep the entire show looking clean, even when sliders would move between the actors and the fixtures.”

This was the first time Kong, who has previously used Ayrton MagicDot R and DreamPanel Twin, has incorporated Diablo into his design. “I was very happy with their performance,” he concludes.

The Ayrton Diablo fixtures were supplied for the tour by Sonelight & Neumann GmbH. The lighting programmer was Andreas Schäffer and the associate lighting designer, Teresa Nagel.

For more information on Diablo and Ayrton’s full range of LED lighting visit www.ayrton.eu

For more information Kong Design Inc. visit: www.kongdesigninc.com

 

“The Producers” at the Théâtre de Paris: Part 1

We had the luck and the pleasure of spending a whole day at the Théâtre de Paris with the technical team of Mel Brooks’ musical “The Producers” (“Les Producteurs”, Fr.), directed by Alexis Michalik.
In addition to getting to see the show, which has been sold out for months, we were also able to take a look at the technical aspects of the show together with the two key figures of the sound team, sound designer Julius Tessarech and head of audio and mixing engineer Xavier Marchand.

Xavier Marchand and Julius Tessarech, passion and reason.

The questions and the detailed answers flowed and, from wiring to Harting, our desire to keep it all forced us to divide this cross-section of Musical Theater life into two parts. It was Xavier who welcomed us in the morning for a detailed tour of the production.

The Théâtre de Paris features a classic, horseshoe-shaped “teatro all’italiana” architecture, with ample seating in the orchestra section, as well as a mezzanine and a balcony, neither of which protrudes very much.

The four large opera boxes at the sides of the hall, the most lateral of which – known as the “bathtubs” at the bottom and the loges at the top – host the orchestra, which is divided into the same number of sections, with the drums/percussion, the three brass instruments, the two keyboards and the musical director, and the double bass. The percussion and brass being very loud, these are isolated from the hall by plexiglass panels.
The musicians play entirely live, and very well, every night, with the MainStage system adding some instruments, such as harp or marimba, to allow for full arrangements, despite the reduced number of musicians compared to the original version.

A view of the hall from the stage. Right in front, under the mezzanine, you can make out the audio FoH position. Above it is the control room of the theater. On the right and left, hanging from the mezzanine, are the delays of the system for the parterre.

SLU : Can you tell us about the sound system?

Xavier Marchand : We have a mix between the venue’s resident gear and our supplements. We didn’t want anything coming from the sides of the stage, since we have the musicians very close. So we moved our first line of d&b V10Ps outward into the auditorium.

A view of the hall from the stage. Right in front, under the mezzanine, you can make out the audio FoH position. Above it is the control room of the theater. On the right and left, hanging from the mezzanine, are the delays of the system for the parterre.

For the orchestra section of the parterre and for the delays, we have a pair of V7Ps. For the mezzanine and the balcony, we have a pair of V7Ps for each. All these speaker enclosures have custom-made mounts. Finally, we use the central resident T10 system, comprising four heads and a bass reinforcement at the top of the array.
To fill out the low end of the spectrum, we have two Q-SUBs hidden under the two stairways at the right and left sides of the stage, which are part of the theater’s resident sound system, in addition to two E15Xs that we added for the balcony.

Lastly, we deployed a large number of small E5s to fill in and brighten up the shadowed zones, like the loges, and a pair of E8s on the bottom of the stage as side fills. However, we kept the E5s hidden under the lip of the stage behind an acoustically transparent fabric, and these fill in the front rows.

SLU : And what about surround sound?

Xavier Marchand : Here, too, we supplemented the small JBLs in the room with E4 units, where necessary. It’s easier not to have to run a lot of cable and invent mounts when you can use existing speakers that work. We just connected our amps, which is easier, so we have two surround planes, one in front and one in back. We use voice effects, various other effects, and touches of reverb.

The plot of the FoH and monitor systems, designed by Julius and elaborated and implemented by Xavier.

SLU : How is the show doing at the box office?

Xavier Marchand : Going strong. We are practically full every night.

SLU : This delay in front of the console is bigger than an E5; you’re spoiling yourself!

Xavier Marchand : (smiling) Yes, it’s an E6 that covers the back of the stall seats under the mezzanine, and it’s right in front of the console.

SLU : We were talking about supplements but, with a few exceptions, you have fully deployed your own system…

Xavier Marchand : This venue hosts shows for long periods of time, so there are layers of speaker enclosures and wiring from very different periods. We made the choice to occupy the place as if we were on tour, with our snakes and our custom cabling, including the intercom and video.

It’s not easy to spot them, but two E8s, here in the back, cover the stage with a monitor mix fed by the PM5 at FoH.

We leave the red velvet for a visit to the stage, with its RF antennas and monitors.

SLU : The monitors for the artists on stage are fed by the console at the front of house.

Xavier Marchand : Yes, it’s common in musicals, we’ll show you later how we leave the individual mix to the musicians. For the stage, where there are 16 players, we have a pair of E8s just behind the curtain and then two pairs of E6s at the sides going up-stage. There is also a last pair of E6s at the back of the stage, which we use for specific distant effects such as ringing telephones.

There are between 250 and 300 characters for the 16 performers, which means that they don’t have time to go and change in the dressing room, hence the racks and the quick-change area at the back of the stage, which is sometimes part of the set. The opening on the left leads to the wireless control booth.

SLU : Is the monitor mix typical of a musical?

Xavier Marchand : Just as it ought to be, with very little voice and a lot of piano, which is the musical director’s instrument, to get the cues and the pitch. There is, of course, no click and the same goes for the musicians.

One of the four DPA 4022 mics in its suspension and directed at the floor.

SLU : Are those four floor mics for the tap dancing? You have a great wooden floor, isn’t that enough?

Xavier Marchand : No, when they tap dance, it is loud and lacks a bit of presence. These are DPA 4022s. We kept their anti-shock suspension and we had some small mounting brackets made. To open up the sound a bit and give it some air, I also use the vocal mics of the dancing artists – plus the two leads have mics on their ankles. (he laughs).

We leave the stage and enter the first lower box, the one occupied by the musical director and keyboards, as well as a second musician responsible for the MainStage system – which is composed of two complete setups as backup – and, finally, the accordion. All the musicians work with wired ear monitors.

SLU : How are the mixes personalized?

The musical director’s ME-1, which has direct access to the 16 groups. The one on the display here is the percussion group, with the different sounds and stem groups controllable in terms of level and panning. The voices and reverbs of the voices are stems that have already been processed, as are the “Tap” channels. PrSHO corresponds to the pre-show, which takes place on stage but, since some musicians remain in their “bathtubs”, the signals are available.

Xavier Marchand : With an Allen & Heath ME system. We send 40 signals, whether direct outs, groups or matrices, and each musician can do what he wants with each track on his ME-1 unit.
The voice signals are slightly compressed and post-fader. On the other hand, I made sure to split the tracks where the processing could bother them, in particular the gates. The same goes for the brass, where we let them have the full spectrum, including the frequencies that would be troublesome for us in the room.
They are free to choose between the three microphones at their disposal – the over-head, the TLM and the ribbon. They can choose which one, or the sum of which ones, to listen to.

SLU : Did the musicians each create their own mix?

Xavier Marchand : No, we programmed a basic mix into each ME-1 for each musician, where their instrument is at 0 dB and the rest between -3 and -6 dB. After that, they took charge of the system and the levels, then they created their own presets to facilitate the rotation between the musicians.
Finally, we have some files on a USB key that allow them to touch up the presets with peace of mind, including the “Trim All” function that allows them to lower all the groups and avoid saturating the summing amplifier. The implementation of the ME has been a success in this musical. The musicians are thrilled and so are we.

A door in the back at stage-right opens into a space that is the passageway for the performers and has been transformed into a wireless control booth. It is here that Pierre Cottin, who is the RF operator and alternate FoH mixing engineer, as well as Alex Point and Bastien Michalski take turns working.

The whole sound team in the wireless control booth. From left to right: Alex Point, Alternate Wireless Operator, Bastien Michalski, Alternate RF Engineer, Xavier Marchand, Head of Sound and FoH Engineer, Julius Tessarech, Sound Designer and Pierre Cottin, Alternate RF Engineer and FoH Engineer.

An enormous vertical rack houses the antenna splitter, the seven Shure AD4Q receivers and the Axient spectrum manager, all on a UPS. As you can see, Xavier and Julius have chosen Shure for their digital links, and take advantage of the Dante output of the receivers to keep the signal chain in digital.

The RF rack with, at the top, the Dante switches that receive and distribute the outputs from the Axient receivers to the QL1 monitor console (at the bottom right in the picture) and to the PM5 at the front of house. The QL1 receives all the wireless mics, but also an orchestra mix and a voice premix from the PM5, as well as the continuous intercom line. Notice also, at the top of the rack, the two monitoring screens for the two main IR cameras pointed at the stage.

This makes 28 links in total, which can be accounted for by six redundant systems – via two bodypacks – for the six main characters, with two separate mics and an A/B on the console, but also for the pre-show where the musicians greet the audience while playing on stage, and finally for the two handheld mics, which are always useful during rehearsals. One of these handheld mics is used in the upright piano during the pre-show!

SLU : So there are so many receivers for redundancy?

Xavier Marchand : That’s right, the six main roles are assigned two mics in a homemade assembly, and two transmitter packs. I also made sure that the six main roles were distributed on different AD4Qs in case one of the quad receivers were to fail.
The wireless is handled by Pierre Cottin, who frequently works here at the Théâtre de Paris and was highly recommended to us by Patrick Bergeron, who manages the audio at Mogador. Pierre is great and, on top of that, he replaces me once or twice a week at FoH, and could do it permanently if one day I were to leave.

A redundant, custom-made ear-hook. The makeup takes care of the rest. The two capsules are always slightly apart so that no water will be trapped between them. The ‘A’ transducer is usually the one at the top and the ‘B’ is the one at the bottom.

SLU : There is a lot of know-how here…

Xavier Marchand : We constructed all of our mic systems starting with DPA 6060s, except for a 6061 for a character that has a lot of dynamics and also fires gunshots. This know-how is written down in our “bible”, where for each actor/singer everything is written and illustrated.
It goes from the position of the microphone and how to run the wires, to allergies and sweat management. It’s also useful for training. Our twin-mic ear mounts are custom-made using piano wire, cable jackets and heat-shrink tubing. They memorize the shape of the ear and can be easily tightened for the show.

SLU : How do the 6060 capsules hold up over time?

Xavier Marchand : They are very durable and more resistant than the 4060. We verify every day at the mic check that the sound is good and the A/B setting. We ended up choreographing a glass of water that a character gets thrown in his face every night after losing a few transducers, which were fortunately replaced on the fly, and the amount of water has been reduced. (laughing).

A 6060 capsule in Xavier’s hand, with its protective cap removed. The diaphragm is slightly recessed, which allows a drop of water to stick to the walls and fall off easily at the slightest shake, unlike other microphones, including those from DPA.

There’s nothing like a fan to dry a mic capsule on the fly without touching or removing it from the performer as soon as he or she briefly leaves the stage.


SLU : By the way, who makes these home-made ear-hooks?

Xavier Marchand : I do, with the help of the other RF techs. We started as soon as the rehearsals started. I have a kit with all the pliers, shears and accessories to work with the stainless steel piano wire, the same that is used by fishermen. It takes a long time to make because we also create spare ones, but it’s solid and we get an essential accessory made to measure.

SLU : Why the choice of the ear-hook and not the forehead or the headset?

Xavier Marchand : This is due to the large number of hats used in the show and Julius’ desire to not see any microphones at all. The women are wearing them under their wigs.

SLU : How do they wear the bodypacks with the frequent costume changes?

Xavier Marchand : In Viviana straps, where we also sew a second pouch for the secondary transmitter (ed note: a Double Pouch version has now been made available). The packs are inserted upside down, courtesy of an angled plug soldered by Orbital, our English rental company, onto bare wires. This assembly protects the wire and is more durable over time.

The ADX1M is not only small, but also offers a battery life far exceeding the time of the show plus the hour and a half of switch-on time for the first performer to be fitted. The antenna is embedded in the tiny pack. Note the angled plug.

Waist belts, and just the right size!


The test box, American-made but modified by Xavier to connect the batteries on the outside.

SLU : And in case of a faulty contact…

Xavier Marchand : We fix it. I solder on the LEMO. You need the right soldering iron with an ultra-fine tip and a little bit of practice. No matter how much we put elbows and flexible sleeves on all the delicate places, it can happen that the wire gets broken invisibly.
And then you need a box to test the microphones and their cables. I bought my own, a real investment but essential.

SLU : What about the tap dancing?

Xavier Marchand : We use some old Sennheiser MKE 1 mics that have been around the block a few times. The fact that Stage is a co-producer gives us the possibility to recover some elements like these microphones which are very well adapted to this purpose.

The ankle-strap fitting for the tap dancing microphone. The booklet with plastic sleeves that you can see underneath contains the RF “bible” for “Les Producteurs”, here opened to the pages regarding the mics for picking up the tap shoes.

Both the transmitter and the microphone are attached to the ankles of the performers using elastic medical bands. The sound we get from them completes and clarifies what the four microphones on the stage are picking up and allows us to distinguish the two main roles that are equipped with them from the rest of the dancers.

SLU : The make-up is done by specialists?

Xavier Marchand : No, the performers do it, that’s why we equip them with the mics and, for the most part, with the belts and bodypacks in the front, so they can handle the wires and the tape themselves. We have cleansing wipes that prepare their skin and make it more adherent.

The packet of original – and thus not cheap – DPA mic covers.

To prevent makeup from clogging or depositing on the membrane, the capsule is covered with a cap that slips over it and is large and colorful enough so that you don’t forget to remove it before going on stage. It’s kind of like a “Remove Before Flight…or Song” tag.

SLU : If Pierre Cottin moves to FoH, you need more people for wireless!

Xavier Marchand : That’s already done. There are three of them, but this also applies to the front of house. This type of show is too demanding on the mixing engineer for him to be replaced on the fly.
The lighting operator can more easily leave his place or even a musician, even if ours have worked to be able to be replaced more easily. Running the sound console is more delicate and demanding. The FoH engineer has to learn the show and the way to run it.
We do some rehearsals with the musicians and some virtuals for him so that he can memorize the choreography of the faders and the sequences. It takes two to four weeks to learn the show. I filmed the console from overhead to illustrate the movements.

SLU : Could you give us some quantification of the work at front of house during a two-hour show?

Xavier Marchand : We have about 280 scenes, and on the 140 pages of the cue sheet, roughly 10 to 15 lines, we have a total of around 1,400 cues or actions. So I have organized the Yamaha PM5 with the voice DCAs in the center, the individual voices on the left and the orchestra DCAs on the right. The FoH engineer is standing up and his eleventh finger is his foot on a pedal to change to the next scene.

Xavier’s Yamaha CS5 surface is ready for the show, and the pre-show has begun, with some of the musicians who will accompany the two-hour show already on stage. The accordionist is the second keyboard player, along with the musical director.

SLU : You are not allowed to leave the channel open when the performer leaves the stage…

Xavier Marchand : Never; it’s a continuous tracking process, unless the director asks that we hear the character’s voice from off-stage before he enters or after he exits. Behind the curtain or the set there is no more sound. This also gives us time to blow or dry a microphone without noise in the room.
We also make sure to be very discreet by never listening to the channels for no reason, except for maybe a few seconds during a check. Having a microphone on you does not mean that you are being bugged or recorded without your knowledge. We were very clear about this from the start so that everyone would feel comfortable.

SLU : You are amplifying the voices indoors in a single system. Is there much coloration from phasing between the mics?

Xavier Marchand : No, but it does mean we have to do a lot of tweaking during the dialogue when the characters get close to each other.

A few hearty claps in the silence of the room reveal its personality. The early reflections are present and dense. The RT is less than a second, quite clear. We can clearly hear the passage from the early reflections to the late reverberation. It sounds like an effect made in studio with two processors…

The center T10 array is devoted to the voices.

Xavier Marchand : The advantage of these acoustics and the velvet is that, whether the room is full or empty, it doesn’t change much. If the balcony is empty, there is no need to mute the speakers. I find this room pleasant to work in, except for the dome, which brings its classic “Garnier” effect, very perceptible when you are under it (ed. note: or even more so when you are in the Grand Palais).
Speaking of the dome, there is a rather old EAW enclosure up there, but it works. We connected it to one of our amps with a preset of E8 to protect it and we use it for some effects.

The musical director’s box. Notice the screen showing the entire stage including the dark part, and the camera placed above it. The latter captures and broadcasts the image of the Maestro in analog, thus without any delay, to all the musicians’ boxes, as well as to the stage, to the FoH position, and to two screens that are mounted at the bottom of the mezzanine facing the artists and turned away from the audience. Other IR cameras are provided for the machinists and the show caller.

SLU : Where is the show caller positioned?

Xavier Marchand : At the top of the mezzanine, just above the audio FoH, in the control room of the theater. There is where the media is sent from to the two video projectors in front and behind that are used during the show, and also where the lights are controlled.
We are connected by intercom but we don’t have any automations or time code between the two worlds. If there is a stop, of course we follow it and we talk on the “telephone” but otherwise we are very independent.

SLU : How long did it take to install the production in the theater and to set up this musical?

Xavier Marchand : About a month, altogether. We came in on November 3, 2021, and on the 5th we started to rehearse with the system. It took us two long days to put everything together, with five people. Around the 6th we started to tweak it and on the 10th the orchestra arrived. We then followed the rehearsals and the adjustments until the 27th, when we did our dress rehearsal.

That’s all folks! After a few days to catch our breath, we’ll dive back into “Les Producteurs”, part 2, with Orbital, the English supplier of all the audio, intercom and video technology, Xavier and his years spent in the Circus, Julius Tessarech, the sound designer of this musical and, finally, our listening impressions.

 

Club After Dark Goes Mega

Club After Dark is a vibrant new “Dinner Drag Decadence” supper club / cabaret concept, created by legendary Swedish drag artist and performer Christer Lindarw, a colourful, fun-fuelled extravaganza of music and dance directed and choreographed by Hans Marklund, with music directed by Kent Olsson who is also a co-creator of the show together with Christer and Hans.

Staged at the Vasateatern (Vasa Theatre) in Stockholm, the show is lit by Mikael Kratt, who was asked onboard by Hans and producers My Blomgren and Mikael Jernberg, to craft an appropriately spectacular and dynamic lightshow for the evening, which unfolds over three hi-energy acts embracing multiple musical genres.

Mikael immediately thought of Robe’s MegaPointe for this task and specified 14 of these compact versatile multi-purpose luminaires to be at the heart of the show’s lighting supported by nine Robe Spiider LED washes.

Two Robe BMFL WashBeams together with one MegaPointe are running on a RoboSpot remote follow spotting system. “MegaPointes were the first fixtures that came to mind for this show,” confirmed Mikael.
“They were a perfect solution in every way!” – a conclusion he made having used MegaPointes and Spiiders on many other projects. He needed plenty of dynamics and diversity to make the show come alive with visual eloquence.

Before launching his lighting design career Mikael was a professional dancer, and in fact had previously worked with Hans as a choreographer. He was therefore in a unique position of being able to transpose his onstage perspective and skills – not to mention a fantastic sense of rhythm – from the stage to FOH to ensure that the lighting was as fluid and impressive as the cast action.
Lighting effectively became another performer!

The brief was to bring a fresh contemporary look to the stage but with a touch of classical and retro, a nod to the original After Dark shows that were so groundbreaking in their time.
The first two acts are more refined and theatrical with printed back cloths and other drapes coming in and out. The second act ramps up with a parade of Burlesque costumes and its own mini-musical before the guests enjoy their main course.
Anyone getting sleepy by dessert receives a giga-jolt of energy as the third act explodes in a whirlwind of colour, excitement, and a hard pumping power pop finale, complete with the reveal of an expanded stage with built-in lighting effects and the upstage LED screen.

“The treatments for this show use techniques from a wide spectrum of lighting disciples – theatre, concerts, dance, cabaret, opera and TV – and there is simply so much you can do with a MegaPointe, so it was a must-have choice,” commented Mikael.
The fixtures are rigged on two over-stage truss boxes with the MegaPointes towards the back of the performance area. The other big challenge was the Vasateatern’s exceptionally tight stage space, an aspect that constantly characterized the original After Dark shows, and with that, the limited weight loading on the two roof trusses.

“MegaPointes were small and light enough to tick those boxes as well,” he stated. He used the fixtures to close the space and make it intimate and personal for the first act and fine-tuned the environment for the musical richness of the second act with “classy spotlighting, great gobo work and the amazing colours.”
Then for the eruption of energy and big ballsy looks boosting the third act, the brightness of the MegaPointes was needed to complete and cut through the intensity of the LED wall in such close proximity. Follow spot effects were another brain teaser.

Christer loves the drama of a classic follow spot aesthetic, explained Mikael, but with absolutely no space for traditional follow spot positions in the venue, he thought RoboSpot could provide a modern technological answer!
The two BMFL WashBeams are positioned centrally, one over the stage and one on the advanced bar with a MegaPointe on the RoboSpot system deployed upstage centre where a smaller light was required due to headroom restrictions. The BaseStation is shoehorned into one of the old private ‘loge’ gallery boxes stage left which is no longer used by the public.

The nine Spiiders are all above the stage and provide general stage and set washes. They are largely hidden from view but play an instrumental role in the show. “They are a small light fixture with a great punch and excellent colours,” he states. Mikael also loves the flower effect. “It’s a fabulous extra trick in the hat of surprises!”

The Vasateatern’s main lighting rig contained some Robe DL4S and DL7S Spot luminaires which were installed with a technical upgrade in 2016, so Mikael decided to incorporate these into the Club After Dark show. It is the first time he has used them and particularly rates the DL7S Spots which are hanging on one of the front bars. “They are great for producing good skin tones and I appreciate the accurate shuttering” he commented.

All the lighting was programmed by Mikael using a grandMA2 light. He worked closely with Edvin Nyström who undertook all the show’s pre-production and oversaw the get-in and ensured the whole lighting system was operational, while day to day, Club After Dark’s lighting is being operated by Max Petersson. Mikael has thoroughly enjoyed the creative process, along with the great teamwork and camaraderie of producing the show which is scheduled to run long term run with regular breaks.

The process included extensive rehearsals with the cast pre and post costume fittings, plus some intense interaction and collaboration with the video department whilst streamlining the lighting for the third and most demanding act. Due to Covid restrictions, the premiere was delayed for an additional four weeks, which gave the team some extra time to finesse the production.
The additional lighting equipment – MegaPointes, Spiiders, BMFL WashBeams and RoboSpot system – is being supplied by Musiklagret, a rental company based in Borås.

Vasateatern, as the home of this new chapter of the After Dark experience, is a stone’s throw from Hamburger Börs, the original venue hosting many of Lindarw’s iconic “After Dark” drag duo performances which burst onto the Swedish alt culture scene in 1976 and became enduringly popular and hugely successful both domestically and internationally for the next four decades!

The shows became synonymous with high production and performance values, attention to detail and the ‘magic’ of inventive and sometimes improbable sets squeezed into the tiny space and plenty of visual and lighting trickery to enhance quick costume and scenic changes. Paying homage to all those great entertainment traditions, Club After Dark takes the unquenchable positive energy, spirit, and flamboyance of drag artistry to new levels.

For more press information about Robe lighting, you can visit www.robe.cz

 

TAG Provides SJ Lighting Team with Ayrton Perseo and Domino

Technical Arts Group (TAG), an industry leader in event production and premium production equipment rentals, provided SJ Lighting, Inc. of Westlake Village, California with IP65-rated Ayrton Perseo Beam and Domino fixtures for the New York edition of the Rolling Loud global music festival last autumn. ACT Entertainment is the exclusive distributor of Ayrton lighting in North America.

TAG was formed in 2021 and specializes in lighting, audio, video, staging, special effects and event management. The company has offices in Secaucus, New Jersey and Miami.
It furnished lighting, sound and video equipment for Stage 4 of Miami’s Rolling Loud fest last July then was asked to supply lighting for New York’s two main stages and sound and video gear for the third. The three-day event at Citi Field drew more than 80,000 fans to electrifying performances from some of hip hop’s biggest emcees.

The IP65-rated Perseo and Domino fixtures proved to be an inspired choice for the large outdoor venue, as TAG’s CRO Kevin Mignone recalls. “The festival got tons of rain and high winds. The Perseos and Dominos definitely got wet, but none failed – a real testament to the Ayrton fixtures. They also packed a punch, and the SJ Lighting team made great use of them.”

Ayrton Perseo

Ayrton Domino


The Deleón Stage, where Maxwell T. Robin, SJ Lighting’s Associate Designer and Project Manager served as Lighting Designer, featured 68 Dominos. Most were mounted over centre stage and eight were FOH on delay towers.
“The Dominos were used as a stage wash to light the performers,” Robin explains. “They were great fixtures because they are outdoor-rated with good gobos, high beam quality and are reliable in all weather conditions. I didn’t have a single issue with any of the fixtures on this show.”

Fifty Perseo fixtures were used on the wings and through the deck and two Domino units were FOH on the Audiomack stage where David Hauss was the Lighting Designer.

“The Perseos were the main moving light detail for this stage,” Robin says. “Creating aerial effects and providing big looks were the main purpose of these fixtures. The Dominos were hung at FOH to provide light for the banner that was hung over the stage.
Both these fixtures were a good choice because of their IP rating, reliability, light output and the high quality of that light output. The framing shutters on the Dominos were critical for getting a clean focus on the banner over the stage.”

He notes that SJ Lighting has a history of using Ayrton fixtures. “From our installs to our festival stages we always appreciate the reliability and quality that Ayrton fixtures provide,” he says.
“We like that the Perseos and Dominos are IP rated with an LED engine. Being outdoor-rated means we can put them on any show, in any location and any weather condition knowing they will hold up when faced with the elements.
Rolling Loud New York in particular saw heavy rain and high winds throughout the load in and show without a single light being compromised. We also especially like Domino’s framing shutters and Perseo’s prism options. We absolutely will be specifying these two fixtures again.”
Lighting Designer Stephen Lieberman is President of SJ Lighting, Inc.

More information on Ayrton Domino, Perseo and the full portfolio of innovative Ayrton LED fixtures can be found at www.ayrton.eu

 

Elation’s new Fuze MAX available now and shipping

Available in Spot and Profile framing versions, powerful full-spectrum LED moving heads offer MAXimum fusion of performance, features, and value. Rivals 1000W/1200W class discharge fixtures.

After teasing attendees at the USITT show early in March with a first peek at the Fuze MAX™, Elation Professional is pleased to be shipping the new full-spectrum LED luminaire. The fixture will see its European debut April 26-29 at the Prolight + Sound show in Frankfurt (Hall 12.1, Stands B49, C49).
Available in Spot and Profile framing versions, the Fuze MAX has been designed for precision lighting applications such as theater, broadcast and Houses of Worship where a wider chromatic spectrum (including dynamic whites), a full feature set and outstanding quality is required, a specification that rivals 1000W/1200W class discharge fixtures.



The Fuze MAX Spot and Fuze MAX Profile, both automated LED moving heads, offer full-spectrum performance from a 92 CRI engine that utilizes an 800W 5-color homogenized LED array of Red, Green, Blue, Mint, and Amber sources.
The RGBMA LED engine produces fully blended colors across an impressively wide breadth of the color spectrum like rich saturates and vibrant primary colors, along with pure dynamic whites that are tunable from 2400-8500K.
The addition of Amber and Mint emitters has extended the possible range of colors, including warmer tones, theatrical whites and pastels. Colors blend quickly yet smoothly with natural color transitions and no color fringing.

The carefully tuned LEDs ensure accurate color reproduction and dynamic whites while delivering a powerful output of over 21,000 total fixture lumens. Precision control over green/magenta allows for detailed color accuracy, allowing the user to perfectly match light sources and create visual balance. Virtual color temperature plus CMY emulation provides the designer with immediate access to the impressive LED color array while a virtual gel library allows for easy recall of a variety of premixed shades.

The Fuze MAX uses advanced, high-quality optics that are razor sharp for crisp projections, and dimming of the LED engine is smooth and stepless with variable 16-bit dimming curve modes available to suit any application.
Both the Fuze MAX Spot and Fuze MAX Profile house a motorized zoom that can adjust the beam angle from a tight 7-degrees to 53-degrees wide and ship with an included snoot attachment to position the beam even more precisely.
The Fuze MAX Profile houses a full blackout framing system with four rotating blades and +/- 60 degree indexing for full control of the beam shape when required.

Designers have access to a comprehensive FX package that includes 19 gobos across three gobo wheels in the Fuze MAX Spot and 13 gobos across two gobo wheels in the Fuze MAX Profile. Both fixtures offer rotating and fixed glass gobos, ideal for aerials, textures or breakups, and an animation wheel can also be engaged to bring graphics to life.
Effects can be multiplied via dual prisms (4-facet round and linear) and a dual variable frost filter (Medium/Wash) can be employed when designers wish to diffuse the light for softer gobo or wash effects. A motorized iris and high-speed electronic shutter and strobe can be engaged for further impression.

The Fuze MAX will be welcome in broadcast, theater and other noise sensitive environments thanks to its quiet operation and Mute mode option and LED refresh rate frequency can adjust remotely to avoid any flickering, a must when working with today’s sensitive camera systems.
Elation’s Fuze series has found a niche in the market whenever outstanding quality and price-value is high on the list. Now with greater performance and an enhanced feature set, these latest Fuze luminaires have taken that to the MAX!

For more information you can visit www.elationlighting.com

 

Robert Juliat Dalis chosen for Taiwan’s National Taichung Theater

Robert Juliat is happy to announce that 36 of its Dalis 860 cyclorama lights, complete with mini yoke and Quickrig systems, have been supplied to the National Taichung Theater in Taiwan by DLHG Co., Ltd.

The National Taichung Theater (NTT) has three main venues: the 2007-seat Grand Theater, the 794-seat Playhouse and the 200-seat Black Box theater. The main location for the Dalis 860 fixtures will be the Grand Theater which hosts a broad programme of musicals, opera, ballet, modern dance and drama. The Dalis 860 cyclorama fixtures will be installed in truss and groundrow positions to light the venue’s impressive 18m wide x 10m high cyclorama with a smooth, even, highly controllable coverage.

“However, the mini yoke and Quickrig system make it easy for us to transfer the Dalis units to our other venues as required,” says the venue’s head of lighting, Simon Hsieh.

No stranger to Robert Juliat products (the NTT has invested in RJ Cin’k 350LF Fresnels and Digitour 6S dimmers in the past), Mr Hsieh and his team were introduced to Dalis by Jackson Yu of DLHG Co, Ltd. “The NTT team was looking for an LED product with good colour mixing and rendering, and multifunctional control via DMX and Ethernet protocols,” says Mr Yu. “Dalis 860 ticked all those boxes as well as being an award-winning fixture by a well-known and respected brand.”

The NTT took delivery of the Dalis 860 units in 2020 but was unable to put them to immediate use due to closures enforced during the pandemic. Now the venue has reopened, the technicians have had the opportunity to use the Dalis fully and are very impressed.

“The colour mixing and colour saturation of the Dalis 860 is really amazing,” says Mr Hsieh. “We also like its brightness, the versatility of the optics, and its adaptability which enables us to floor mount or rig it.
The engineering quality is robust and reliable, and we have the flexibility of being able to daisy-chain the Ethernet to DMX control.”

The operators and lighting designers at the NTT also benefit from the ease of using their ETC Eos® console to gain full, precise control of Dalis’ complete colour spectrum, thanks to a dedicated and integrated Dalis library.
Designers can synchronise their Dalis cyclights to a precise colour, or match any manufacturer’s gel palette, and rapidly fine tune and modify the colour spectrum at will. “This is a great advantage because it is much quicker and easier for the designer to match his cyc colours,” confirms Mr Hsieh.

One of the first – and most spectacular – productions to use the new Dalis cyclorama lighting was the NTT New Year’s Eve concert in the Grand Theater, lit by award-winning lighting designer, Cheng-Wei Teng (winner of the World Stage Design Professional Lighting Gold Award in 2017).

Publicised as ‘a purely vocal feast’, the audience was treated to a festive, musical evening featuring award-winning acapella vocalists who showcased a wide variety of music pieces and styles from around the world.

Lighting designer Cheng-Wei Teng produced a spectacular lighting design worthy of such a celebration to which he brought his trademark pixel lighting effect. He rigged one row of 12 Dalis 860 units behind the venue’s projection screen from where he rear-projected cyclorama colour and pixel effects from the groundrow position, and used a second row of 12 units to colour the haze circulating in mid-air.

Mr Teng agreed with Mr Hsieh saying: “I was impressive with the power of Dalis 860. The colour mixing is good, but the powerful brightness and the fullness of the saturation is amazing.”

For more information on Robert Juliat’s full range of lighting solutions, visit www.robertjuliat.com

 

Marion Palace with Adamson IS-Series and Point Series

“It’s a very high-quality system, and the company’s ability to deliver was huge,” says Tom George, Senior Design Engineer at Clair Global Integration’s Cleveland office; citing the loudspeaker’s high-quality sound and Adamson’s capacity to provide a solution that blended seamlessly with the Palace’s spectacular décor.

Tom George, Senior Design Engineer at Clair Global Integration’s Cleveland office.

Constructed in 1928, the approximately 1500-seat theatre-style venue is a cornerstone for cultural activity in downtown Marion, Ohio; a decidedly multi-purpose facility that hosts a mix of concerts, theatre productions, films, and special events.

Designed by Architect John Eberson, the venue was constructed to give audiences the impression of attending a show at a ‘Palace in Old Spain’. As the Marion Star described it just before the Palace’s grand opening back in the day, “Allow your imagination to carry you to the gentle slope of a moon-lit Spanish hill…
Through the archways spreads the soft light of a harvest moon, and the dim glow casts shadows over the somber-coloured walls. Overhead, myriads of stars are twinkling in an azure blue sky, and soft, fleecy clouds are drifting gently with the breeze.”


Over time, great care has been taken to ensure that the theatre’s setting remains as impactful as it’s ever been. After Marion Palace was acquired by the non-profit Palace Cultural Arts Association, it underwent a comprehensive restoration/renovation and has since been upgraded via a series of structural improvements and updates to the backstage and front-of-house areas.

The stage right hang made of ten IS7.

Naturally, the Palace’s audio systems have evolved as physical changes to the venue were made. But, until the replacement of the venue’s previous 1980’s-era point source loudspeakers with the Adamson rig in January 2022, the systems inhabiting the space didn’t provide optimal coverage, output, or quality.

The new system is comprised of three arrays of Adamson IS7 in an LCR configuration, with two IS219 subs placed on the floor to either side of the orchestra pit, and eight Adamson Point 8 as under-balcony fill.

“We basically did a vocal tuning for the center cluster and a more ‘musical’ tuning for the left and right arrays,” George says. System tuning was done within the Lab Gruppen amplifiers driving the system (multiple D 120 amps for the LCR elements and one D 200 for the subs) and is “locked out” in the amps, George continues.

The stage right Sub IS219 laying vertically on the ground.

However, visiting engineers can put their own stamp on the sound via a pair of Lake LM44 processors at FOH and the venue’s pre-existing Yamaha GL5 console. The system was also reconfigured to be run on Dante.
“We go into the LM44s and then to the amplifiers (over Dante), and we have an interface there for visiting operators to drop in a visiting console,” George adds.

That provides a welcome degree of flexibility. “It allows guest engineers, touring artists, anyone who uses the space, to utilize Dante and reroute things easily,” says Acting Technical Director and head of local audio firm JCR Studio & Sound, Brian Jester.

The central hang, perfectly matching the color of the curtains.

The size and weight of the loudspeakers were also beneficial. “The IS7 has such a compact footprint and being able to have a large enough array to cover the room and fit within the physical parameters, was a big part of the choice,” George notes.
“We’re also fortunate because they’re about the same weight as what we took down – the center cluster was actually lighter. So, we were able to reuse much of the existing rigging.”

Other longstanding issues were also addressed, among them, the replacement of a 70-Volt system that the under-balcony loudspeakers previously used with a low-impedance system. New cabling was also installed for the roughly 100-foot run from the stage to the balcony FOH mix position.

The result is an incredible improvement. “Far superior coverage of the venue and far better audio quality overall,” George says. But as much as those involved in the project wanted patrons to hear the difference it was important they didn’t see a difference.
Consequently, Adamson’s willingness and ability to provide custom colour matches (to blend with the Palace’s ‘courtyard’ walls to either side of the stage, and make the center cluster virtually disappear into the background of the rich, red velvet drapes framing the proscenium) was critical to that effort.

Adamson CEO, Marc Bertrand.

While selecting RAL numbers to match the colour and texture of thick velvet drapes was a challenge, it’s one Adamson’s Port Perry, Ontario facility is purpose-designed to meet. “We’re completely vertically integrated,” explains Adamson CEO, Marc Bertrand. “So, when matching RAL numbers, we’re able to control the end result seamlessly; from the machine shop and woodshop, all the way through wash, powder, and wet spray.

Because we’re not outsourcing the job and just waiting for product to come back, we can ensure the coverage is right, the metal is matched up properly, the powder matches the wet spray on the wood, and we can choose other colour elements for the silkscreen to make the match even closer.

You’re taking a risk if you outsource,” Bertrand continues. “We know immediately if something’s wrong. It’s about control. We punch our own metal as well, so we’re controlling not only the colour but the whole process.” While other manufacturers do custom colour matching, for Adamson, it’s a common occurrence. “This was the sixth custom job we’ve done in the past four months, although, I will say none of them were quite as pretty as that red.”

Kirk Detweiler, Marion Palace’s Executive Director.

“Adamson matched the curtain colours without overshadowing the architecture of the proscenium, and the two side arrays also blend in very well,” says Kirk Detweiler, Marion Palace’s Executive Director. “We haven’t had a big show in since the system was put in, but for the movies, it’s sounding great, and we had a four-person vocal group in that sounded awesome.”

“As you can imagine, in any older theatre, the deep balcony, the multi-levels of coverage (present challenges),” Jester explains, “but the system Clair designed does everything it should and more. My only experience with Adamson is with some of their older boxes from the late 1990s/early 2000s. So, hearing the evolution of their speakers was very encouraging.”


Ultimately, the new Adamson system allows Marion Palace to continue to fulfill the role it has had in the community for almost a century, and in a way that’s as easy on the eyes as it is on the ears.

“The sound almost feels like it’s coming from the walls, rather than from the speakers,” Jester concludes. “The way the loudspeakers were placed, tuned, and deployed – sonically, the system complements the visual aesthetic of theatre.”

More information on the Adamson website

 

Jackie Shemesh chooses Ayrton Diablo for White Noise play

Written by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Suzan-Lori Parks, and directed by Polly Findlay at London’s The Bridge Theatre last autumn, the European premiere of White Noise explored the subject of race in the 21st century from both a black and white perspective through a group of college friends.

Ayrton Diablo at work on White Noise for Jackie Shemesh at The Bridge Theatre, London.

Working on an ambitious set design by Lizzie Clachan, lighting designer, Jackie Shemesh, chose six Ayrton Diablo LED profile fixtures to deliver some extremely precise lighting effects and ambient washes, and worked hard to sculpt the huge set despite some difficult rigging angles and ensure the skin tones of the diverse cast looked correct on stage.
The 27m-deep set included a thrust stage, an overhead catwalk, a series of side wall flats arranged in perspective to frame the stage, and an angled ceiling flat which severely restricted hanging positions and lighting angles.

“I chose Diablo for several reasons,” says Shemesh who has used the compact profile fixtures on several productions at the National Theatre.
“Firstly, I know and like the fixture, so knew they would give me some nice results.
Secondly, the truck’s side walls and low roof made it very difficult to get light into the acting area. I knew I wanted some low-level moving light options front-of-house, and with limited headroom over the audience, we needed a fixture that was both small, light and quiet.

Diablo ticks all those boxes! Nicole Smith (The Bridge Theatre’s Head of Lighting) and I tried a few options, but the angle was so shallow that only the Diablo would fit the bill. Nicole was very supportive of having the Diablos on this show.”
Shemesh rigged two Diablo fixtures centrally in low mid-house positions from the lower gallery where he used them as “good fillers” on the thrust stage “or wherever I had a gap or a little bit of a dark place.”

These units also took a key role in the more dramatic moments for the four characters’ with Shemesh using the Diablo’s shutters to project very narrow, sharp cuts on the actors to isolate them for each of their monologues. “The position of the Diablos created beautiful beams that cut really low in the theatre, almost appearing like two walls, until they met the actor or actress,” he explains. “It was a really strong, powerful image that we chose to use for each of the monologues.”

Ayrton Diablo

A further pair of Diablo profiles were rigged on the low level gallery in spot positions from where Shemesh was able to wash the side walls with brushes of colour, using stronger colour palettes to recreate a club vibe. “I chose to work with a pinkish colour as a general wash which worked very with the different skin tones of the faces,” explains Shemesh.
“The walls were washed with a blue base, and the Diablo’s pink side wash added a mix to give a purplish feeling over the walls and, almost like a side light, highlighted the returns of the wall with a stronger pink. This bright edge on each flat gave another element of colour and design, which amplified the position of the stage and gave it a frame.

It added another layer onto the rhythm of the walls as they retreated upstage in perspective, and provided a contrast with the frame in a stronger colour than the wash on the wall. I was able to do this because of the generosity of Diablo’s lens: it is huge – so big – and gives lots of light and spread. They did a really good job.”

Lighting programmer for White Noise, Miguel Figueiredo, also enjoyed using Diablo: “The Diablo is a really cool fixture,” he says. “It is bright, fast, and compact in size, and considering the amount of features it offers, I was very impressed with how quiet it can be. This is also a big plus when marking Diablos in the dark as preparation for cues.

“The shutters also proved very helpful when trying to cover the many areas over a set that had very tricky angles. I can definitely see this fixture showing up more and more in theatres around the country. In fact, after White Noise, I went on to use the Diablos again on the West End musical Cabaret at the Playhouse Theatre.”

Shemesh was happy with his choice of Diablo once again: “It was a tricky set to light but Diablo made it possible and the results really paid off in the end. I got a light that gave me the position I wanted front of house, at the height and angle I wanted, and was quiet enough to hang less than 1m away from the audience with no problems at all, and no complaints!”

The Ayrton Diablo fixtures were supplied by Sparks Theatrical Hire, which has been an early adopter of the fixture. Paul Anderson, the company’s director, was very impressed with the units when they were demonstrated to him at Sparks’ HQ by Ambersphere’s Briony Berning last year.
“I was particularly struck with how small the unit was, and how many features it had for its size, not to mention the amount of light that comes out of the front,” he says. “For such a compact unit, it really packs a punch. So far, it’s been an extremely popular addition to our rental stock, so much so, we are about to purchase more units from Ambersphere to meet demand.”

More information on Ayrton Diablo and Ayrton’s full range of LED lighting can be found at www.ayrton.eu

Maintenance on the Martin Mac Ultra performance: video tutorial

The Mac Ultra Performance with its motorized framing shutters and 1700 W led lighting source, produces an exceptional luminous flux as well as a beautiful light. Its original design and philosophically different concept compared to the competition, requires more space inside for the optics and other functions.

Yohan Ory, lighting applications engineer at Algam Enterprises, shows us his own maintenance ritual in three easy steps, starting on the outside and working his way inside to the heart of the fixture, the effects module and trichromic module.



For more info, you can visit Martin’s website And read the SoundLightUp test of the Mac Ultra Performance

 

ETC launches High End Systems Talen

ETC introduces the High End Systems Talen, an automated luminaire that adds visual excitement and big looks to any show with its punchy, rig-defining aerials.
The fixture’s high-intensity beams are created with full additive color RGBW emitters and a large front aperture, resulting in an extremely narrow 3° beam with high center beam candlepower.

With infinite pan and tilt movement, Talen moves beyond the positioning limitations of other luminaires. Talen’s footprint is small enough to fit anywhere in a lighting rig, and it can also be rigged in creative hanging positions. Fixtures can be easily configured and addressed through ETC’s Set Light App.

Automated Lighting Product Manager Matt Stoner commented, “It is exciting to add a simple, affordable beam light to our collection of fixtures. Talen is excellent for adding movement to conventional rigs and supplementing big ones by adding excitement and expanding the designer toolbox.

With exciting features like an eye-catching TIR lens producing a tight beam of light, Fixture configuration wirelessly via iPhone and Android devices, and the versatile Talen hinge, Talen is the perfect exclamation point for any show.”

For more information on Talen, visit etcconnect.com/Talen

 

Transcolor Boosts Rental Stock with More Robe

Polish lighting and production rental company Transcolor has invested in new Robe moving lights and remained busy throughout the pandemic with its five full-size studios and rehearsal rooms which have been utilised for television and movie productions, promo and advertising shoots and other assorted events.
Two of the studios are among the largest in Warsaw, and these have continued with regular TV productions and clients as well as hosting a range of new clients producing digital and streamed events.

Transcolor’s head of technical Szymon Kosicki explained that, like everyone, they have faced major challenges, but Transcolor has always been well run, with a relatively compact administration setup for such a large operation. Simon is responsible for the kit and its prep for the various projects and shows.

The demand for the studios has soared over the last two years as media and TV companies scrambled to meet the need for new and different content, and this led to the purchase of additional Robe LEDWash 800Xs. The LEDWash 800X – featuring 30% brighter LED chips and a removable beam shaper module with motorized rotation which produces an ovalised beam for precise positioning – is a perfect combination for theatre, TV, automotive exhibitions, etc.

Szymon Kosicki

“The continuity provided by this fixture for TV in particular is excellent,” commented Szymon, adding they also contribute to the green footprint as there is increasing pressure on productions to be as sustainable and carbon-conscious as possible.

It brings their total stock of LEDWash 800s to over 300, together with 200 x Spiider wash beams, 100 x MegaPointes and 12 x RoboSpot remote follow spot systems.

Company owner and boss Lucjan Siwczyk has insisted that Transcolor set trends by purchasing innovative equipment, in the process establishing new investment directions for other companies in the Polish rental market, and also helping promote given brands in Poland. He very much wanted to keep this process going throughout the pandemic.

“The LEDWash 800 is a Robe product that has worked very consistently for us in recent years,” confirms Szymon. “It’s a powerful luminaire with great colours,” he said, explaining that all the shows in the studios consume numerous washes – productions like “We Can Dance” which featured 60 x LEDWash 800Xs, and the most recent “Got Talent”, on which prolific Polish lighting designer Jacek Chojczak used 60 x Spiiders. He also lit the latest “Top Model” finale.

Szymon elucidates that, for Transcolor, there are two essential elements to Robe in addition to the fact that all the LDs, lighting directors, DoPs and gaffers etc., are happy to work with the products.
Firstly, the company is owned and run independently. “This ‘real person’ and people aspect is extremely important for us, and the fact that management is not faceless and interchangeable.” The second point he makes relates to the Czech Republic’s geographical border with Poland and their physical proximity, which is extremely handy. There are also many parallels between Czech and Polish culture and life.

Szymon has liked Robe products right from the start when the brand was officially launched in 2002. “They were small then, and now they’ve grown to be very big and a world leader – all of it without losing the personal touch – which is very impressive,” he comments.

With high hopes and a cautious optimism for 2022 in terms of shows and events being able to re-start, Szymon thinks companies will be able to flourish once again and offer crew sufficient work. He believes that there’s going to be so much activity when things fully ramp up that there will be the usual peak time shortages of kit and crew, and plenty of competition over budgeting and clients. “I think we are all looking forward to this as it’s a good ‘issue’ to have to solve,” he concluded.

For more info about Robe lighting, you can visit www.robe.cz