The San Francisco Opera utilised a complement of Ayrton Perseo-S fixtures when it brought opera back to town in a COVID-safe outdoor production of Rossini’s The Barber of Seville at Marin Center in San Rafael, California. Ayrton Perseo is the first compact, multi-function luminaire with an IP65 enclosure rating developed for intensive outdoor use.
Photo Stefan Cohen
The Barber of Seville, directed by Matthew Ozawa, ran from April 23 – May 15 at Marin Center, 15 minutes from San Francisco, where the audience pulled up their cars alongside the lagoon with the beautiful hills of Marin in the background. They watched the production, on a custom-built stage with soaring LED videowalls, from their vehicles.
“We have staged concerts before in Golden Gate Park, but nothing to this extent has been produced outside in the three years I have been with the company,” notes Justin Partier, lighting director for the San Francisco Opera. “We considered several venues and found Marin Center to be the best location. So we constructed a stage and used the set from a yet-to-be-produced production of Fidelio in a new configuration.”
Photo Stefan Cohen
Partier says the lighting team was looking for a fixture that offered shuttering, gobos, colour and diffusion, which was small enough to place inside the set. The lights also had to be able to withstand any inclement weather during the opera’s three-week run. Perseo-S ticked all those boxes.
Photo Stefan Cohen
“The fixtures had to be small and bright, they were the only way to get light underneath the set from side light and footlight positions,” he explains. “They also needed to be rated for outdoor use. As it turned out, we had only one really wet day with the rest California sunshine and rainbows.”
Photo Stefan Cohen
Partier says that Aaron Hubbard with ACT Lighting helped steer him to Perseo. “Early on I looked at a bunch of lights with them, and when I said something smaller was required for the production, they led me to Perseo and were very helpful in giving me all the information I needed.” Felix Lighting of Burlingame, California supplied the fixtures.
He notes that Perseo’s gobos were especially in demand for the production. “Any time the four video panel back walls were in the open position we painted gobos onto them with the prism,” he explains. The gobos were particularly effective in the storm and shave sequences.
“The Perseos looked great and were actually much brighter for their size than I thought they would be,” Partier reports.
Photo Stefan Cohen
ACT Lighting, Inc. is the exclusive distributor of Ayrton fixtures in North America. www.actlighting.com
For more information about Ayrton and their LED fixtures you can visit www.ayrton.eu
Global nutrition company Herbalife honoured its top performing sales force and distributors in a spectacular Awards event staged at the Los Angeles Convention Centre in March, a slick and elegant streamed show that was executive & technically produced by Raj Kapoor Productions & Steffan Jones for CG Creative Studios.
Tom Sutherland from DX7 Design designed the lighting and Julio Himede from Yellow Studio was tasked with the scenic design, and Tom’s lighting design featured 1,145 Astera AX5 battery operated wireless LED PARs! This is to date one of the largest Astera installations worldwide!
Tom’s starting point for the lighting was Julio Himede’s production design which featured a 160ft / 49-metre-wide black gloss stage and four massive modernist style moving LED video arches. Tom decided to surround and accentuate this epic look with an enormous four-sided grid of LED PARs covering the roof, back and two sides of the stage.
In addition to the CEO addresses, presentations, speeches and awards action, a series of Herbalife training sessions took place over the seven show days, and there were five “WOW moments” comprising all-singing-all-dancing production numbers, three of which were directed by Emmy Award-winning choreographers Tabitha & Napoleon Dumo (AKA Nappytabs) which added flourishes of glamour and entertainment.
“I really needed to emulate the impressive and large-scale aesthetic of the production design,” explained Tom, “and ensure that the whole area could be flooded with quality lighting really pushing and stretching the boundaries when people say ‘WOW!’”
He was looking for a bright, punchy LED PAR with a lens close to the edge of the lamp so the light sources could clearly be seen from any angle, and that could also become more orb-like, with the easy addition of a frost filter.
Nicole Barnes was the account handler at Felix Lighting, and she recommended the Astera AX5s to Tom, who confirmed the choice after a test. Approximately half of the AX5s came from Felix’s rental stock and Nicole co-ordinated sourcing of the rest, which was a mammoth task, pulling in fixtures from all over the country, “I believe we exhausted all of the then-available inventory in the US rental market,” stated Nicole Barnes.
A massive grid was flown over the stage area and truss tower systems installed along the back wall and around the sides, the 1,150 AX5s – all run wired for this project – were diligently and meticulously aligned and equidistantly spaced. This painstaking job was the biggest challenge for the lighting department completed by the crew working in three 24-hour shifts over four days.
Tom explains that this finessing and attention to detail was essential to get the stunning, clean, high impact look and sheer industrial scale that he and the rest of the creative team wanted to evoke on the wide shots. Apart from the AX5s, other lighting included a remote-controlled follow spot system for key-lighting, with the fixtures deployed on winches that flew in and out at the appropriate moments, maintaining the integrity and uninterrupted lines of the design.
It was conceptually simple, but a physically hugely ambitious look which worked beautifully on camera and helped produce the result everyone wanted.
Tom’s FOH team included associate lighting designer Hunter Selby with lighting directors Brian Jenkins and Mike Berger. They all worked in close collaboration with art director Alana Billingsley in piecing the production together.
Tom concludes, “It was brilliant to be working with such a highly talented team with a great synergy, something of this scale takes many great minds to execute and deliver! “A huge thanks to gaffer Chris Lopez, best boy Chris Roseli, staging supervisor Nick Vincenti, and head rigger TK Woo from Kish Rigging and all the crew involved. The easy part is dreaming up the ideas, it is the skills, knowledge and lateral thinking not to mention the fantastic camaraderie of amazing crews like these who make it come alive.”
Nicole Barnes concludes that the final result was “stunning”, including the production and video design. “The on-site teams were impeccable in their execution of the rig; their work was flawless as seen in the final product. Felix is incredibly grateful to Tom and the Herbalife production team for the opportunity to be a part of this year’s project, and we look forward to supporting future designs created by this incredible team of visionaries!”
Electro-Voice is pleased to introduce PREVIEW, a new platform-independent software application designed to configure Electro-Voice line-array loudspeakers for optimized coverage. The software provides efficient system setup by creating visualizations of coverage, SPL, frequency response and precise mechanical load calculations.
PREVIEW features a full-color 3D interface with user-friendly, flexible tools and a streamlined workflow. This helps specifiers, designers and audio engineers quickly calculate the ideal configurations and positioning of line arrays, as well as the angles between loudspeaker elements, amplifier drive and delay requirements, and other system design parameters. The software also recommends mechanically valid combinations of loudspeakers and rigging hardware. These combined features ensure that the arrays deliver the best possible performance in any venue, whether flown or ground stacked.
PREVIEW provides a three-dimensional environment in which objects may be placed and manipulated anywhere. The user has complete control over rotation, scaling and translation and can also “see through” any surface that is viewed straight on.
Une des vues de preview.
A set of practical tools helps the user achieve the optimal acoustical representation of a real space. Quick Map delivers immediate visualization of the coverage density. The flexible auto dB range option maps the predicted SPL range across the full available color range, maximizing the visual detail simultaneously in all the displays. Virtual microphone positioning allows users to predict frequency response anywhere in the venue.
The unique spectrogram display presents a vertical frequency response plot for each loudspeaker at the point at which its main geometric axis reaches the audience area. These plots are shown side by side, to help the designer assess how evenly the venue is covered in both level and frequency. The software also simplifies the creation of subwoofer arrays.
Un exemple de rapport détaillé.
The application also includes a detailed report generation function and a powerful project file database, providing users with detailed acoustical and mechanical information. This timesaving database allows specifiers, designers and audio engineers to import existing designs and to store new project files, drawings and templates.
The first full public-release version of PREVIEW will support most Electro-Voice touring and install line-array models, including X1(i), X2(i), XLC, XLD and XLE, as well as complementary subwoofers. More models will be added in future versions.
Luxembourg’s Mierscher Kulturhaus marks the recommencement of public entertainment with a complete refit of the sound reinforcement systems in its auditorium. Situated in the centre of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, the Mierscher Kulturhaus is a 380-500 capacity theatre.
It now has the first NEXO line array system in Luxembourg, designed and installed by Lemon Event Support, the rental house and system integrator which is now NEXO’s preferred partner in the country.
Lemon Event Support Managing Director Paul Thyes.
The Kulturhaus contacted Paul Thyes at Lemon Event Support after taking the decision to upgrade their ageing point source PA. The theatre wanted to expand its technical capability, and was looking for a system that would allow it to host larger concerts as well as better serve its wide cultural brief of drama, dance, exhibitions, workshops and events.
As soon as coronavirus restrictions permitted, Thyes and his team set up a demo of their proposed solution of a NEXO GEO M Series mid-size line array inside the Kulturhaus auditorium. The venue has a retractable seating system, and a stage which can be lowered, transforming the space. This meant that no audio equipment could be groundstacked – all components had to be flown, including the subbass cabinets.
Winning the installation contract was a system of L/R arrays each of 5x modules of GEO M10, plus 2x MSUB18 subs per side, extremely low profile in the auditorium. NEXO’s new P12 compact point source cabinets are used as front fills for the first rows of the audience.
Lemon Event Support’s Chief Audio Technician Christophe Becker explains that he is putting two set-ups into the NEXO NXAMP4x4Mk2 controller/amplifiers, “which will work with the array EQ to make the upper boxes throw a bit further, and improve coverage when the seating stand is retracted and there are more people in the venue. The system has been networked with Dante, which meant we had less cabling to do, and of course gives the house engineer an excellent way of monitoring the system.”
“This is in fact one of three installations we have executed in Luxembourg in the last year,” continues Paul Thyes.
Ready to fly with the support of Lemon Event.
“Although we have been using NEXO cabinets for 11 years, since Lemon Event Support was founded, more recently we went looking for a brand that could deliver us a really modern line array design, supplied by companies with which we could build a long-term relationship.
We were impressed by the rapport between manufacturer, distributor (Audio Technica Benelux) and ourselves as the customer, and it is clear NEXO has the products that will enable us to be competitive in the installation market.”
One of the largest and most complex live music events in the world relied on Shure to deliver quality sound from the voices of 39 delegations across Europe. Broadcast live from Ahoy in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, the 65th Eurovision Song Contest celebrates diverse musical talent from around the continent. The biggest European music contest handpicked Shure Axient® Digital Wireless System to help ensure impeccable audio quality throughout all performances for singers, musicians, and viewers to enjoy.
With more than 40 artists on stage and an estimated audience of nearly 200 million viewers across Europe, the 2021 Eurovision edition needed a wireless system that could meet every contestant’s demands. Developed with input from top audio professionals, Axient Digital delivers outstanding signal quality that performs in even the most congested RF environments. It is designed to maximize control and scalability while providing stability, range, and clarity for flawless execution to exceed the most demanding wireless needs. Engineered with flexible hardware options and advanced connectivity, Axient Digital brought the most innovative sound technology to power the biggest European music event, which concluded with crowning the Italian rock band, Maneskin, as the winner.
“With Shure’s Axient Digital we found the perfect system to monitor and coordinate the complex audio set up that Eurovision required, in which sound quality and spectrum efficiency are key,” said Aart Heus, Wireless Coordination Technician at Ampco Flashlight. “Shure’s Wireless Workbench was the most qualified software for it. The hardware not only provides control and stability, it is trustable and reliable which is essential for a show of this size.”
The Eurovision setup included:
– 20 Axient Digital AD4Q Four Channel Quad receivers – 20 Axient Digital ADX2FD Handheld Wireless Microphone Transmitters including ShowLink® Remote Control – 70 P10R+ Diversity Bodypack IEM Receivers
The Axient Digital Wireless System was selected to ensure flawless performances not only on the main stage, but also on the rehearsal rooms, and the press centrum. Thanks to it, the performers and fans enjoyed the best professional audio quality possible.
The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) is responsible every year for organizing of the Eurovision Song Contest. The 2021 edition was led by Erwin Rintiema, Head of Production. Together with Host Broadcasters NPO, NOS, AVROTROS and Ampco Flashlight, the official sound supplier for the contest, Shure Axient Digital was their go-to-solution to address the show’s demanding requirements.
“Shure was the perfect solution offered by Ampco Flashlight that matched all our requests,” added Jeroen ten Brinke, Head of Live Sound at ESC. “The fact that channels are duplicated and can change frequency automatically when needed is an amazing feature. It was the best system in which we could trust for this major European event”.
Aart Heus, Wireless Coordination Technician chez Ampco Flashlight devant un rack de récepteurs AD4Q.
Jeroen ten Brinke, Head of Live Sound à l’ESC
As with other high-profile productions, Shure product specialists visited the stage before the performances to ensure that all artists’ and technical producers’ audio needs were met, and to make the return of the Eurovision Song contest the exceptional music experience it was expected to be.
“The ESC is a highly complex event technically and it’s been an honor to work with Aart Heus and the rest of the production team to deliver a successful show,” remarked Tuomo Tolonen, Senior Director of Pro Audio in Western Europe at Shure.
Last year, while strolling around Prolight+Sound, our curiosity was piqued when we discovered an array of small, versatile and punchy LED sources. The Atomic Dot, available in cool white or warm white versions, each with dynamic Aura effects, is controlled like a video pixel by the P3 processor, as are all the luminaires in the Martin VDO family.
We met with Yohan Ory, lighting application engineer at Algam Entreprises, for a guided tour of this little unit.
When unpowered and without accessories, the VDO Atomic Dot looks just like an LED PAR30. It is octagonal in shape, 17 cm wide by 15 cm long, and weighs 2.2 kg.
Around its perimeter, four diametrically opposed slots are dedicated to the attachment of accessories. One of these accessories allows you to hang up to 14 Atomic Dot units vertically from a single rigging point. The all-aluminum outer shell is interspersed with integrated vanes that act as heat sink radiators. The Atomic Dot has no forced ventilation and is 100% silent.
The rigging and and wiring configuration of two Atomic Dot units.
An example of one of the many ways in which multiple Atomic Dot units can be configured, mounted, or suspended (photo: Martin).
On the rear panel, a covered socket is next to a large watertight socket and its input cable, which combines the control signal and the power supply.
Above the input cable, you can see the valve used to pressurize and verify the airtight seal of the unit.
In addition, there is a test/reset button, an LED to indicate the operational status of the unit, a lug for attaching the safety cable, and a valve for pressurizing and testing the unit for leaks. Yes… because this fixture is designed with an IP65 rating for use in a wet environments. We notice the absence of a display and keys for accessing a control menu. It is necessary to use the P3 processor or RDM to address the projector.
On the front, firmly secured by a metal ring (which also accommodates filter holders or shutters), there is a beautiful lens that I would describe as hybrid in its design and visual aspect. Around its perimeter we can see a multitude of small transparent facets, while in its center we find several concentric rings, typical of a Fresnel lens. The unit gives a general impression of solidity, thanks mostly to its all-metal chassis.
The internal space seems a bit restricted to comfortably accommodate the largest cables.
Let’s go back to the rear of the Atomic Dot to start the disassembly. We remove the six Phillips-head screws that secure the rear panel to the body of the fixture. This plate seems to me relatively thin; we will have to be careful when reassembling it, in order to avoid deforming it when tightening it, which would jeopardize the overall waterproofing of the product.
We then can see the inside of the fixture. Attached to the outer panel with spacers, a first double-sided circuit board hosts some of the components dedicated to signal reception. Between this PCB and the external panel, several cables unfortunately seem to be pressing heavily on the components of one of the two layers of the board. On the front, around the perimeter of the casing, there is a gasket with several lips designed to seal the fixture.
Now, we can directly access the motherboard of the unit, on which are soldered the principal active components of the electronic control circuit, namely the main microcontroller, a Texas Instruments RM46L850, which integrates the processors, flash memory and RAM.
The motherboard of the Atomic Dot, with the main Texas Instruments microcontroller in the center.
It sits alongside a Microchip KSZ8863 dedicated to Ethernet interfacing, two voltage converters, quartz crystals dedicated to the microcontrollers and a multitude of surface-mounted passive components.
The design and construction are of high quality. The small connectors dotted with green glue betray a more typical Asian assembly. Under this PCB is the power module, composed of a switch mode power supply surrounded by a metal shield.
On this side of the fixture we also find a small bag of silica beads used as a dehumidifier. In after-sales service, when opening the fixture and reassembling it, this bag and the cover seal are systematically replaced. To finish the reassembly, the technician carries out a leak test using the valve provided for this purpose.
On the optical side, you only need to carefully remove a few screws to get to the lens and the 17 Osram LEDs: a powerful central LED, a first ring of four RGB LEDs and a second ring of twelve RGB LEDs.
The various elements disassembled: the source, the front protection that serves as an accessory holder, the lens, the power supply, as well as the hybrid cable.
Only the central source is directly coupled to the body of the fixture, via two screws, probably for the purpose of heat dissipation. The others are soldered on a PCB that also includes some active components, like the LED drivers with 12 channels each (4×RGB), driving the 16 RGB LEDs.
The LEDs, here seen with the lens removed. In the center is the COB white LEDs surrounded by the 16 RGB diodes.
Finally, we get to admire the beautiful hybrid lens placed between the LED sources and the output glass of the fixture. Joel explains that, unlike the Sceptron, where the LEDs are cast in resin, here the engineers have made sure that all the elements are easily removable and replaceable. We can only approve and encourage this type of initiative!
The watertight box dedicated to merging the different signals (DMX, ethernet and power supply) into the hybrid cable used by the projectors.
We take a quick look at the box (which is also waterproof!) that combines data and power supply, allowing you to connect an Ethernet or DMX cable and a power supply on one side, and to connect a hybrid cable to the fixtures on the other side. It is solely used for combining the different types of signals.
The 16 RGB LEDs, without the lens.
We bring the sources up to full power and we go through the different colors. On the whole, it’s quite satisfactory, with a slight reservation about the blue, which, for my taste, could have been a little deeper. The mixtures are nice, both pastels and saturated colors.
The white generated with the RGB sources all on at full power is, as usual, not perfect, and it will obviously be possible to refine it by adjusting the levels of the primary colors. My personal suggestion for a possible version 2 of this fixture: the addition of white to the RGB LEDs of the Aura effect, would offer an even greater variety of colors.
Some colors generated by the Atomic Dot. Please don’t misinterpret this, the projection on a wall is purely for informational purposes, the unit is not designed for color washes, but for its pixel and Aura effects!
Let’s move on to the dynamic effects, the forte of this little fixture. As mentioned above, each source can be operated independently, which can make this little Dot quite greedy in terms of DMX channels, with a maximum of 64. From the console, we choose to send pre-programmed macros to facilitate the work of the console operator.
The pixels come to life before our eyes with a multitude of different effects. Having at our disposal several Atomic Dots, one of which has been stripped of its lens, we can observe the raw result of the pixels and their colors.
By positioning a frost on the outer filter holder, the pixel combinations transform into psychedelic visuals on the filter, further increasing the effect potential of the unit.
One of the psychedelic projections made possible by the application of a frost filter.
With the Aura effect off, a black machine on the floor begins to hum gently in the room: time for some haze! Now it’s time for the powerful central LED – tucked behind the Fresnel section of the lens – to show its stuff!
We crank the dimmer all the way up: it doesn’t fool around! The little luminaire, which had been subdued until then, hits us with a barrage of photons. Playing with the dimmer and seeing the beam it generates, we can immediately imagine the additional possibilities that it offers. In addition to the blinder effect, the Atomic Dot produces a nice 11° wash. Another feature of the series: the unit is available in two versions, with different color temperatures for the central diode.
The Atomic Dot in “beam” mode, using only the central LED in haze: from left to right, cool white, warm white, and cool white with a frost filter.
The warm white version, designated WRM (and CLD for cool white), would almost be confused with a conventional source, as this projector offers the possibility to simulate the dimming curve of incandescent lamps. The result is convincing, and we can already envisage the use of the Dot on stage, on the floor or on a pole, to highlight a singer or a musician.
The two versions with different color temperatures: on the left is a warm white that imitates a conventional source very well, while on the right is a neutral cool white.
After a bit of fiddling with the console, this powerful LED turns into a strobe, again quite effective, like the other products in the Atomic range. This effect is very interesting and original in warm white, and obviously successful in cold white. An additional parameter emulates the flicker of a xenon tube when the strobe rate is pushed to its highest limits.
It is worth noting that the strobe rate can be varied precisely between 0.289 Hz and 16.667 Hz. Decidedly, this little Atomic Dot has a lot of potential! Unfortunately, we do not have measured values to report regarding the luminous flux of this central source. We can only report that Martin declares a maximum total flux of 3,000 lumens.
The central LED (here in the warm white version) at a very low intensity, combined with a matrixed Aura effect.
The combination of the effects offered by the dedicated Aura LEDs and the powerful central source makes Martin’s newcomer very versatile on stage or on TV sets for close-up shots.
The Atomic Dot is likely to be used in arrays, thanks to the power of the P3 processor, as well as working as a point source. Its multiple mounting possibilities and accessories allow for infinite possibilities of installation, both indoors and outdoors!
The list price in France for the Martin VDO Atomic Dot is € 536 excluding VAT, as stated on the Algam website.
Video technology company, 80six, recently opened the doors to its virtual production studios in Slough. The VP facility boasts a preconfigured curved LED stage, ideal for shooting in-camera VFX. Brompton Technology products are part of the studio’s high-end technical backbone.
photographer Tom Oxley Virtual Production
80six has been at the leading edge of building and implementing xR stages and has now directed its attention to live LED in-camera virtual production, which uses similar technologies. The company has spent the last 20 months carrying out extensive R&D with LED and cameras for film and TV productions with trusted partners such as Epic Games, Dimension Studio, DNEG & OSF.
“Throughout the last couple of years, we have carried out various tests that have given us a solid understanding of the principles of VP. We can now confidently advise our clients as to the benefits and limitations they can expect when shooting in-camera VFX or when using LED video panels as light sources,” says Jack James, Director at 80six.
Set in an overall area of approximately 335m2, the Virtual Production Stage includes an 18m x 4.5m high-resolution LED volume, built with award-winning ROE Visual Diamond DM 2.6mm for the rear wall and ROE Carbon 5.7mm for the LED ceiling, along with movable lighting dollies. The ROE screens run on Brompton Tessera SX40 4K Version 3.1 LED processors. “Brompton’s 3.1 software high frame rate capabilities allow for smooth, fast play-back of content, which is particularly useful for slow-motion for film, TV and esports,” says James.
Talking about the choice for tech for the studios, Jack James notes the experience 80six gained through supporting 2021 VFX Oscar® Winner, DNEG, and Dimension Studio on the production of ‘Fireworks’, a ground-breaking VP short film shot at 80six’s virtual production studios at the start of the year. “We were involved in an indie film shoot with DNEG, a multiple Oscar, BAFTA and Emmy award-winning visual effects and animation company, and Dimension studio, where it was necessary to calibrate our ROE Diamond 2.6mm for HDR,” James explains.
“We used Brompton’s Hydra calibration system, enabling the panels to produce incredible true-to-life colours that were required for the photorealistic background content, and got outstanding results. The request for HDR was the result of several months of testing involving colour scientists and VFX teams. We’re fortunate that the majority of our LED inventory is armed with Brompton R2 cards enabling us to recalibrate them using Hydra whenever necessary.”
Building LED Volume for VP tests at Virtual
Throughout the pandemic, filmmakers, DOPs and VFX studios celebrated the benefits of shooting LED in-camera VFX. From reducing pre-production travel costs to the complete control over the immersive environments in which they shoot, and the transposition of the creative process, which has moved into the pre- rather than post-production phase, these new workflows are transforming how films and TV series are made.
“The benefits of Virtual production are undeniable and companies like Brompton are constantly developing new software features that open up even more possibilities,” James concludes. “Brompton’s Frame Remapping is another interesting concept we are looking forward to exploring as it means you can now have multiple cameras shooting the same physical screen, but with different layers of content represented on each individual frame for each camera. As a filmmaker, this means you are no longer limited to a particular shot; you can effectively have two scenes running at the same time, or a green screen frame as the second scene that you can then use for keying. This gives filmmakers the flexibility to edit in post-production.”
Through a combination of high-resolution LED screens, video games engines, camera tracking technology and media servers, 80six’s studios give clients premier access to the newest virtual production technologies and resources. More information can be found at www.virtualproductionstudios.com
For more information about Brompton Technology and their products you can visit www.bromptontech.com
Ocean Park Hong Kong is thrilling guests with dynamic lighting enhancements courtesy of MPHK Group Ltd. and Elation Professional. The popular Hong Kong attraction updated the exterior lighting at its iconic main entrance, along with lighting upgrades to its awe-inspiring “Gala of Lights” multimedia shows. The show and park-wide lighting upgrades were designed by award-wining multimedia studio Moment Factory.
Main Entrance impression
Situated in Hong Kong’s Southern District, Ocean Park is a marine park, oceanarium, animal facility and theme park resort all in one. The 44-year-old attraction, which merges entertainment with conservation advocacy and education, is one of the city’s longest-serving recreation parks and tourist attractions.
One of the thrills of any theme park resort visit, and certainly at Ocean Park, is the moment a visitor first sets eyes on the entrance marquee and gets a glimpse of what awaits inside. As part of the lighting upgrade, the main entrance canopy arch at Ocean Park now beckons guests with lighting effects from a line of 10 IP65-rated Proteus Maximus LED moving heads. The 50,000-lumen power luminaires are used to spread color and pattern across the entrance plaza while powerful beams cut through ambient light to help build excitement and portend the thrills that await.
Much of the entrance area ticket counters, coral alley, boardwalk and village, is bathed in color from 157 SixPar Z19 IP luminaires, IP65-rated 6-color PAR wash lights with zoom. Headquartered in Hong Kong, entertainment technology specialists MPHK Group Ltd supplied the Elation lights to contractor BYME Engineering Ltd. for the main entrance portion of the lighting upgrade.
Aqua City Lagoon and “Gala of Lights”
The Grand Aquarium, one of Ocean Park’s most iconic attractions, and the Aqua City Lagoon situated right next to it, are home to the park’s nighttime special “Gala of Lights,” where 360-degree water-based multimedia shows thrill guests in an immersive multi-sensory experience. “We sought to enhance the existing architecture at Aqua City by illuminating areas around the Lagoon and engaging with guests to encourage them to stay and experience the new nighttime offerings,” said Timothy Ng, Executive Director, Operations & Entertainment at Ocean Park Hong Kong.
“Gala of Lights” boasts two immersive multimedia shows – “Soul of the Ocean,” a one-of-a-kind spectacle celebrating nature in all its wonder, and “Visions of Hong Kong”, a dazzling multimedia fountain show that takes the audience on an inspirational journey through the city and beyond.
MPHK supplied Elation lighting along with lighting from Elation sister-company Acclaim to contractor ArcSource Ltd. for the Lagoon area install. Some 48 Proteus Hybrid beam/spot/wash moving heads mounted on light poles around the Lagoon area serve both aesthetic and functional purposes while 8 custom-painted Proteus Hybrid fixtures work from the Aquarium roof. Acclaim products include 56 Aqua Graze linear LED fixtures and 8 Acclaim Aqua Drum HO wash fixtures mounted on the performance stage. Some 140 meters of Acclaim Flex Tape trace an outline of color from around the edge of the stage.
The lighting covers a large surface area and from its rooftop and pole positions provides multiple grand gestures with sweeping beams. “It was necessary to integrate the technology into the architecture as seamlessly as possible,” commented Ng.
With their ability to position at will and project in virtually any direction, the Proteus Hybrids can be used as attention-gathering beams one minute and show lights the next. “We wanted the lights to offer a variety of effects to support all show formats, including dynamic show lighting and frontlight for performers,” concludes Ng.
ESC specified a large number of Ayrton Huracán-X, Karif-LT and MiniPanel-FX LED fixtures for the 65th Eurovision Song Contest at the Rotterdam Ahoy Arena, at the request of Head of Lighting, Henk-Jan van Beek of Light-H-art.
With some 39 countries and 55 scenes to create and programme different looks for, van Beek needed fixtures that would give him a lot of variety, and used the ‘trilogy’ of Ayrton fixtures for three different purposes.
“Huracán-X is our workhorse,” says van Beek. “We chose it because it gave us all the power, possibilities and creativity in one fixture and we used every feature of it.”
180 Huracán-X were rigged over the main and B-stages where 40 of them were mounted on extendable drop arms, and on three levels around the auditorium from where they were used for show and key lighting.
“Huracán-X gave us all the colourful looks and gobos we wanted for top and side lighting, and superb architectural looks, textures, beams, and audience backlighting from the auditorium fixtures. It also helped us work around the massive video wall that is the backdrop to the whole show.”
Florian Wieder’s set design was inspired by the long lines and low horizons of the Dutch landscape – a motif that van Beek continued through into the linear looks of his lighting design. It was imperative that none of the technology should interfere with these lines or impinge on the video backdrop.
“By using Huracán-X rigged at a distance and located on three different levels, we were able to maintain completely clear sightlines to the video wall, but still retain all the options and power we needed,” says van Beek. “Even from the back walls the Huracán-X still had plenty of punch, and their movement and positioning gave us multiple angles at every level, to give all the angles, intensity, colour and effects we could need.”
The 40 Huracán-X mounted on drop arms enabled van Beek to close in on the performers for more intimate looks and even change the shape of the stage frame. “Mounting the Huracán-X on drop arms was originally a functional solution to maintaining the clean, straight lines of Wieder’s set design,” explains Ampco Flashlight’s Operational & Commercial Director, Dennis van der Haagen.
“The grid is too high for useable performer key lights so the drop arms brought the Huracáns down to a more useable angle. The Huracáns’ reliability was also important in this location. They then became a design feature in their own right, serving both a functional and effect purpose, reshaping and framing the stage and adding to the linear looks. The result is really impressive.”
Fifty-eight Huracán-X fixtures were calibrated to a Follow-Me tracking system and used as key lights and followspots on the artists. For the second semi-final interval act – The Power of Water by Davina Michele & Thekla Reuten – the Huracáns were integrated in the FollowMe system to follow the dancer in motion. “It was spectacular to see,” says van Beek. “They delivered a beautiful tone and quality of light, even from the farthest side lights at more than 25m distance and the effect we achieved from having the fixtures rigged over the three layers of the venue gave the most fantastic look with every angle covered.
Ayrton Karif LT
Second on van Beek’s inventory of Ayrton fixtures – and also a first time use for him – were 64 Karif-LT LED beamspot fixtures which were rigged in small clusters on the balconies and goal posts, and located on the floor and upstage truss behind the video wall to be revealed through large rotating doors in the centre.
“Karif- LT is a smaller unit which we used mainly for effects and creative backlighting,” says van Beek. “The upstage units were very effective for entrances, while the auditorium units worked especially well in the clusters. They gave us a useful alternative to the laser line effects, with plenty of punch and colour for bumps and effects over the 25m throw distance.”
The large video wall had two huge rotating doors set into its centre, on the back of which were embedded 140 Ayrton MiniPanel-FX – the third of van Beek’s trilogy – with mirrors attached to the reverse of each fixture.
“We had a lot of compliments about the MiniPanels on the revolving doors,” says van Beek. “They are amazing fixtures which fit precisely into the custom made set piece and integrate perfectly. The doors became like huge impressive fixtures in their own right.
“I used many configurations of individual pixels – there so many variations just from the face of the unit – and the mirror on the back certainly added another dimension,” says van Beek.
“There is one special moment at the end of the Switzerland entry when the doors are rotating and the MiniPanel-FX fixtures are turning over and over in a cascade of continually rolling MiniPanels, flashing the lights and mirrors alternately. It’s a really nice effect I used a couple of times.
A close partnership has existed between Ampco Flashlight and Ayrton since the Eurovision Song Contest in Lisbon in 2018. “We knew of Ayrton before, mainly as an effects lighting company,” says van der Haagen, “but when we met at Lisbon we experienced for ourselves how very versatile and reliable their products were, and how solid their support was. Ayrton is always available, and very proactive when it comes to ensuring projects like this work.” Following the two semi-finals on 18 & 20 May, the Eurovision Grand Final was broadcast on 22 May 2021 to 180 million worldwide viewers and in front of a 3500 seated audience. It was produced by Netherlands’ host broadcasters NPO, NOS and AVROTROS on behalf of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU). ESC Head of Production was Erwin Rintjema.
The ID84 is NEXO’s first column speaker design, introducing the company’s trademark characteristics of size-to-power ratio, variable directivities and highly flexible scalable configurations to a loudspeaker category that is relevant for a wide variety of applications.
The touring version of the low-frequency extension module ID84L revealing the eight powerful 4” long-excursion Neodymium LF drivers.
Packed with technical innovations, including a patent-pending HF arrangement, the ID84 is a performance loudspeaker which offers an outstanding Peak SPL output of 135dB, and a frequency response of 90Hz-20kHz.
The HF arrangement of the eight dome drivers.
With its smooth and musical sonic signature, the ID84 stands apart from other column speakers on the market, equally competent at speech and music reinforcement, and able to perform as a front-of-house reinforcement system in its own right.
This slender metre-high package is presented with two companion products, a low-frequency extension module (ID84L) and a partner subbass (IDS312), which can easily be configured to provide an innovative scalable solution for acoustically challenging architectures.
Potential markets include all kinds of public spaces, particularly transport hubs, houses of worship, theatres and sports venues.
The touring version of the ID84. Six out of the eight 4” are visible, the top two are hidden behind the plate supporting the eight 1” dome drivers.
Weighing just 15kg (33 lbs), the ID84 measures 990mm x 150mm x 215mm (39.0” x 5.9” x 8.5”). For the first time, NEXO engineers have crafted a rigid lightweight enclosure out of aluminium, with a steel spine to host the rigging system and facilitate the hanging of multiple cabinets.
Magnelis side covers and front grille complete the sleek contemporary aesthetic, which is available as standard in black or white, with custom RAL colour options to match any installation environment.
In the 2-way passive box are eight of NEXO’s powerful 4” long-excursion Neodymium LF drivers, and eight 1” HF drivers in a unique arrangement which maximises the efficiency of these units.
Joseph Carcopino and and his now famous white sunglasses !
Joseph Carcopino, NEXO’s Director of R&D, explains that this patent-pending arrangement “makes a big difference to the acoustic characteristics of the ID84.
For the first time, we are using dome tweeters instead of compression drivers. These have very low distortion, and by using multiple units in this particular shape, we can achieve the desired efficiency, 105 dB SPL [email protected], as well as a very high quality sound.”
The switch on the back plate.
The ID84 offers smooth even coverage that can be tightly controlled by switchable dispersion. The user has a choice of two vertical directivities, selected by a switch on the back plate, offering with +0/-10 degrees ‘Narrow Mode’ or +0/-25 degrees ‘Wide Mode’ dispersion for 100 degrees horizontal coverage. Dedicated presets are available for each directivity.
ID84 shares the same phase response as other NEXO loudspeakers, making it extremely easy to partner with different models, for example, for side fill or front fill, without risk of comb filtering or the need for complex electronic adjustment.
Joseph Carcopino presents the ID84 on this first video
The unique design of the ID84 achieves superb versatility by enabling two modules to be coupled “head to toe” to increase throw, with each module keeping its own directivity options. Because the HF arrangement is located at one end of the ID84 column, inverting the second cabinet enables all the HF to be kept in the middle of the 2-metre line, ensuring perfect coupling.
For long-throw applications requiring even longer lines, the ID84L low-frequency extension cabinet can increase the possibilities of the ID84. This powerful speaker extension has almost exactly the same footprint as the ID84, and contains eight 4” LF components. By doubling the line length, the vertical directivity of the assembly is increased in the low frequencies, leaving horizontal directivity unchanged.
This graph explains it all. It shows the vertical directivity from 100 Hz to 2 kHz with in light gray the ID84 alone and then, going towards darker gray and therefore, more directivity, three other couplings, namely 2xID84, 2xID84 and 1xID84L and lastly in dark gray 2xID84 and 2xID84L. As you can see the latter is almost at 10° vertically at 100 Hz. Well done Nexo.
By coupling four units (2x ID84 with 2x ID84L), the HF arrangements can be paired at two mid-points, producing cardioid radiation down to 90Hz. This yields an exceptional level of control of coverage from a 4-metre speaker assembly.
Opposite, the four units configuration made of 2x ID84 and on top and bottom 2x ID84L
Nominal impedance for the ID84 is 4 Ohms. Eight ID84s can be powered by one NXAMP4x1Mk2, which is NEXO’s primary amplifier recommendation, or a single ID84 per channel of any professional amplifier partnered with the NEXO DTDcontroller.
By exploiting a combination of mechanical steering and passive filtering, the ID84 is able to offer some of the benefits of beam steering whilst keeping system costs down through the economical use of amplifier channels.
1,300W per channel at 2 ohms with all the needed processing for eight ID84s.
François Desfarges, Engineering Support Director, presents the possible applications with ID84 at the Palais du Grand Large in this second video.
A pair of ID84 on the base plate.
“Even though we could call this an ‘industrial monitor’, it has a very hi-fi sound,” says Joseph Carcopino. “If it is used in a FOH application, we can provide set-ups which give a very smooth and easy listening musical character.
The ID84 can stand alone on a specially-designed base plate, or on the dedicated sub, a 3x 12”, which is high enough to position the HF of the ID84 at the optimum height. The minimal footprint and homogeneity of appearance will give it aesthetic appeal for small stages.”
The IDS312 sub weighs 31kg (68 lbs) and measures 1160mm x 380mm x 350mm (45.7” x 15.0” x 13.8”). Frequency response is 40Hz-120Hz and output is 138dB Peak SPL. It uses three high-excursion Neodymium drivers in a bass-reflex enclosure design.
The IDS312, a lot of punch for a little weight.
: The IDS 312 topped by a ID84, without any apparent wire thanks to a specially-designed base plate holding and feeding it.
The crossover between the IDS312 and ID84 has been designed to extend both the frequency response of the main speaker and the directivity by acting like a homogenous 2-metre high sound source.
The ID84, ID84L and IDS312 are available in Installation, Touring and TIS versions. Connectivity is made through cable gland and captive two-core cables, and the Installation version is IP54-rated.
After the widespread cancellation of the 2020 Graduation and Commencement season in the States, students were anxious to know whether this year they would be able to celebrate the completion of their degree programmes on a grand stage.
Cooper Cannady of Martin Audio partner RMB Audio, the event’s long-term services provider, was faced with the same conundrum. “We have serviced Duke University Commencement at the Wallace Wade Stadium [in Durham, N. Carolina] since the evolution of the campus back in 2003,” said the RMB Audio owner, whose company is based nearby.
“This year I was invited to initiate planning for an event which I knew may never occur.” However, when University president, Vincent Price, finally received the green light from the Center for Disease Control and North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, the RMB Audio tech team had to function test all equipment that had been dormant for one year.
The event was set for May 2; the stage loaded in on April 23 and the RMB Audio crew arrived on April 27. But the problem was that with strict socially distanced guidelines in force, the layout kept changing. “Every day brought with it a new scenario,” stated Cooper.
While some 5,700 students had graduated, 2,000 undergraduates would attend, originally spaced 6ft apart in the inner field (to engage them closely with the event), while the seating plans revised to allow an additional two guests. The 40,000-cap stadium would now host a total of 6,000 attendees, and the original 6ft social distancing was reduced to 3ft.
The Martin Audio W8VDQ.
However, with the new seating design came a revision of the audio orientation. The planned seating at 180 degrees to the stage now increased to 220 degrees, placing seating behind the video wall.
“We were tasked with improving the audience experience in a setting that was entirely new from what everyone had practiced for years. Suddenly we were unable to accommodate a third house left MLA Compact tower and instead had to deploy a stealth Martin Audio W8VDQ, driven by iK42 amps, to cover the expanding audience,” he explained. This was integrated and concealed at the base of the further house left tower, while the two hangs of 12 MLA Compact enclosures at stage right were accompanied by a single hang of 12 MLA Compact at stage left.
“Decorators were insistent that no cabinets could be within the main camera image that required Martin Audio DD12’s to be placed on stands at ground level corners of the stage to cover the centre first row of seats. The audio image was seamless.”
The changes had been necessitated by the fact that the additional guests were set behind the stage in a J-shape, without visual access to the stage, but instead to a large Jumbotron at the far end of the field, the I-MAG supported by two LED walls, stage left and stage right. However, such a sparsely occupied stadium presented challenges for system tech, Matt Johnson. “It meant there were more reflections to deal with, although we generally have reflections off the seating in any case.” In Martin Audio’s proprietary DISPLAY 2.3 operating software, they were able to deploy the Hard Avoid function to mitigate these reflections.
Three identical lecterns were placed on stage, one of which was used by singer-songwriter John Legend, who delivered the commencement speech and also received an honorary degree. There was no live orchestra present this year only a pre-recorded track but there was a 7-piece acapella choral group spaced 4ft apart.
“From the presenters’ perspective we set the monitor gain above the stadium reflections by having a monitor engineer listen from the stage participant position via a Neumann microphone to distinguish the monitor pulse and the SPL of the stadium reflections. “We also had a medical kit, windscreens for the mics with disposable wraps, cleaning and sanitisation which was all very discreet.”
Two MLA Compact hangs.
Emphasising the crucial role played by MLA Compact, and the reason he evangelises it, Cooper Cannady said, “We have used this system for the past three years and W8LM before that, in view of the weight restrictions.”
He had invested in MLA Compact back in 2012 when it first became available. “The reason we favour MLA Compact is because of the ability of the system to directly cover the audience in detail, and in sensitive situations such as this, these are the devices we prefer to use.
“In fact it’s proven to be a fantastic device for us. Nothing can touch the technology that has gone into it … there is no other system that can take a slice out of the middle of an audience.” He confirmed that at the Wallace Wade Stadium they had achieved exactly the same sound at the first seat as at the back, with just a minimal drop-off in SPL overall.
And summing up the ceremony as a whole, he added, “In all instances the production requirements were increased above the project need to make certain we delivered a bigger and better auditory experience. We will never see this type of health restrictive production again; the event could have been terminated at any time due to COVID-19 restrictions and I applaud the university for completing the memorable graduation.”
The University agreed, and following the event, the Office of the Duke University President referred to the event having been a resounding success. In a comment to Cooper Cannady, they said, “I know that it was a very meaningful experience for our graduates and their families, particularly given the challenges of the past 14 months.”
RMB Audio staff on duty included: Roger Dennis, Matt Johnson, Wayne Sowder, Rick Null and Robert Weddings
As historic churches strive to serve their existing congregations and expand their reach using new technology, inevitably they find themselves balancing their needs for quality audio systems with the desire to maintain the aesthetic beauty and singular atmosphere integral to the worship experience. That’s of particular concern in historically important spaces like Eisenstadt, Austria’s Dom St. Martin, which recently deployed a low profile, high fidelity Adamson Systems Engineering PA to improve speech intelligibility and reinforce small, contemporary musical ensembles with clarity and depth.
Previously known as St. Martin’s Church, the Gothic cathedral was completed in 1522 and features a pipe organ created to the specific instructions of Austrian composer and ‘Father of the Symphony and String Quartet,’ Franz Joseph Haydn. Over time, it’s been damaged by fire and rebuilt, and, more recently, in 2003 underwent a painstaking remodeling undertaken by architects Lichtblau-Wagner. Put bluntly, when it comes to atmosphere, history, and aesthetics, the Dom, the seat of the Eisenstadt Bishopric since 1960, requires a great deal more attention to detail than your average install.
On the left wall, one of the two Point 8 acting as mains and on the right, on a steel pipe, one of the six PC5.
The Dom is also renowned for its presentation of sacred music, including Eisenstadt’s annual Haydn Festival, and required an audio system that delivered class-leading vocal and instrumental reinforcement and pristine reproduction of speech.
“These types of churches were designed to project the voice without any reinforcement because there was no reinforcement,” says Jochen Sommer, Adamson’s Hamburg, Germany-based Director of Operations. It’s a difficult acoustic environment, he continues: “So, to upgrade and achieve more intelligibility, from a system design and aesthetic point of view, is challenging.”
That challenge was met by audio consultant and sound designer Martin Laumann, who specified two Adamson Point 8 for mains and six compact, passive, 2-way coaxial PC5 loudspeakers as delay lines, all driven by two Lab.gruppen PLM 5K44 amplified controllers. Commissioning and installation of the system was supported by GH-Beschallung’s Günther Huemer.
The Point 8, PC5 Adamson and Lab.gruppen PLM 5K44.
“Previously, the church had column speakers installed, but the setup lacked intelligibility in the rear of the sanctuary and wasn’t suitable for some of their music performances,” Huemer explains. “We did a simulation and then tested the Adamson set up during Easter services in 2019, and everyone in the whole church could hear everything very clearly. Once the previous system was switched on again afterward, the decision to go with Adamson was obvious. ”While many churches gravitate towards column speakers, the Adamson loudspeakers provide more effective reinforcement, particularly for music.
Günther Huemer, head of GH-Beschallung.
Huemer adds: “Sometimes there are two or three musicians playing guitars and/or keyboards and the Point 8 and PC 5 are very small and provide more output and clarity than column speakers.” Ultimately, with the Point 8 cabinets mounted to the wall on either side of the altar roughly two and a half metres high, and the PC 5 placed on steel pipes two metres high flush against architectural columns in the cathedral’s sanctuary, “the transparency and frequency response is much better.”
Although the Point 8 is the smallest member of the Adamson’s Point Series family it packs a lot of punch and, in tandem with the PC 5, provides highly detailed reproduction of both speech and live music. “And even though they have five microphones that are open all the time and a very loud organ, we have no feedback in the sanctuary.”
The result is extremely even coverage and excellent intelligibility throughout, adds Martin Laumann, who also uses an Adamson System consisting of eight S10, two Point 12, four Point 8, and four PC 5 for his work as ‘Tonmeister’ at Vienna’s prestigious Musikverein concert hall, and whose company, X Audio, installed and aided in the testing of the cathedral’s new system.
The three white PC5 alongside the cathedral coloumns, barely visible yet precisely delayed. Good sound comes at the right time.
For many years Thomas Gerdon from Gerdon Design has been in charge of lighting the German TV show Verstehen Sie Spaß (Do You Understand Fun?), in which unsuspecting people are victims of pranks and filmed with a hidden camera.
Kimmig Entertainment GmbH produces four editions a year in the Bavaria Studios in Munich, two of which are broadcast live. The first live edition on 17th April 2021, provided the space and opportunity for a world premiere of lighting technology: the brand new FUSION Stick FS16 Z from FUSION by GLP was used for the first time.
As lighting designer and lighting cameraman, Gerdon used the new LED battens on the show stage during the performance by Sarah Lombardi and Luca Hänni as an effective show light. Six towers were placed on the stage, each of which had two horizontally hung FS16 Z LED battens in addition to further spotlights. “Our goal is to develop an individual lighting design for each show act, so we were extremely pleased to be able to test the FS16 Z in a live situation for the first time within the context of this show,” said Gerdon, who had been keenly anticipating the arrival of the new batten.
Halo ring makes for nice camera looks from every angle
“There are countless LED battens on the market, but not one that is really fit for purpose,” said the designer. “With the FUSION Stick FS16 Z, GLP has once again developed a device that can do everything that an LED batten needs to be able to do today. The batten has a good zoom (8-40°), a great colour mix and is IP65 rated. Nevertheless, it is not particularly big or heavy. With these features alone, it is basically suitable for every application, both indoors and outdoors, without exception. The highlight, however, is the new halo diffuser ring, which makes a huge difference in the TV business.”
Speaking about the further evolution of the popular FUSION Stick FS20, GLP key account manager, Oliver Schwendke, said: “We developed the halo ring around the front lens to improve the visibility of the pixels, especially in TV applications. The FS16 Z’s individual pixels are clearly visible in all camera angles and still allow razor-sharp beams. Thanks to the IP65 protection, the battens can be used outdoors without restriction even in poor weather conditions. The convection cooled design means there is never any fixture background noise, which is why it is also suitable for noise-sensitive environments such as theatres or TV studios. Like all GLP LED bars and battens, the new FS16 Zs can also be seamlessly connected to one another, which not only makes great, even effects possible, but also shortens set-up times.”
For Thomas Gerdon, who works extensively in the TV sector, GLP has hit the nail on the head with the FUSION Stick FS16 Z: “For us, the new batten is really a precision landing! The special thing about GLP is that they listen, and then implement 100% what the market demands. And if there is still further feedback following a field test, the team continues to listen, and works consistently to refine the device. This is how outstanding products are created time and again.
GLP FUSION Stick FS16 Z
“In TV applications, LED battens were always somehow inferior,” he continued. “They are used as a self-luminous object at relatively low intensities so that they do not shine sufficiently brightly when the camera is shot from the front. From an oblique camera angle, however, such battens quickly look as if they weren’t even on.
“The small halo ring on the front lens is awesome and has finally eliminated this problem,” states the lighting designer. “This frost ring really makes a huge difference. At the same time, the batten looks very nice overall, because the ring itself stands out from the light source. That provides great looks in the camera from every angle.”
An LED batten for all applications, without exception
Although the FUSION Stick FS16 Z fits perfectly into studio applications, Thomas Gerdon basically sees it as suitable universally: “Thanks to IP65, I can imagine the batten anywhere. For example, at an outdoor rave I would have a nice, bright LED batten that offers a cool extra with the frost ring. But it is also suitable as a single spotlight, as a decorative lamp or as an ambient light. And when thinking in terms of larger quantities, the really attractive price point becomes a determining factor.” He concludes: “There are a lot of LED battens on the market, but GLP has succeeded in building one that can do everything better than the others. The use of the fixture on Verstehen Sie Spaß? was a first test that makes you want more! ”
As an integral part of the set, the show also includes 30 GLP X4 Bar 10, 20 X4 Bar 20, 27 GT-1, 24 impression X4, 83 X4 L, 18 JDC-1 and 24 JDC Line. The lighting technology is supplied by PRG, with Carsten Hempfling as the on-site manager.
In addition to Thomas Gerdon (LD, DoP), the Gerdon Design team consists of René Gamsa (lighting technician), Felix Heilemann (effect light operator), Klaus Kubisch (white light operator), Marek Papke (Media Server operator) and Leon Schwerdt (Server Farmer).
For more info about GLP and their products, you can visit www.glp.de
Xite Labs – founded in 2018 by visual and production design specialists Greg Russell and Vello Virkhaus – was approached by director Mike Carson and The 92 Group to assist in the production of stunning XR environments for Talented trapsoul singer, rapper, and songwriter Bryson Tiller who recently recorded an XR concert for later broadcast in Calabasas, California at Xite Labs’ XR stage facility.
Xite received a detailed brief with a set of storyboard images and a flow concept of the four dynamic worlds that they wanted to build. The 3D spaces were created by multiple highly skilled artists using Unreal Engine and Notch.
For the shoot, the physical studio design comprised three-sides including a back wall of LED, an LED floor with rear lights at high angles following the back wall curve, plus several front and side filler lights.
Two cameras were involved, one mounted on a tripod and one on the end of a human-operated 12ft arm crane. The crane camera was fitted with a Canon 18-105 lens, and a stYpe Red Spy optical camera tracking system, the combination of which enabled a wide range of motion and looks. The secondary camera had a long lens and was offset to the left of the main LED screen and used for a range of classic static telephoto looks.
To support and complement any sort of XR / AR performance, it is crucial that lighting is fully aligned with the environments which exist only in the background to avoid the subject looking ‘shopped’ on camera. “In XR / ER / AR, etc. lighting has to provide all the ambient light and the many related subtleties from the environment that would normally affect a subject,” explained Vello, so it must be super precise and very carefully thought-through.
On this occasion, the Robe Tetra2s were used for side fills, the T1 Profiles and BMFL Blades were rigged in the front and high side lighting positions, while the SuperSpikies were at the back. All of these provided light on Tiller that closely mirrored the activity of the richly contrasting environments which included shadows from trees or pulsing lights from glowing mushrooms bursting with color and other elaborate fantasy plant life, to vast open spaces with dramatic stark minimal blocks of color and texture.
“All these needed lighting applied that reflected on the artist and created that fully immersive look,” stated Vello. Over the pandemic, T1 Profiles have become a favorite for XR and AR video shoots for several reasons, and Vello confirms this.
He cites the great CRI and accurate framing shutters for the T1, the latter essential to accurately eliminate any light spill onto the LED screens, plus a good set of gobos and the ability to reproduce environmental color changes instantly via the Multi-Spectral LED (MSLTM) light engines, an attribute that runs much slower with white source fixtures. He loves the prism and gobos effects of the SuperSpikie and in this instance the fixtures could also create background variants with their immediate color changing and “good hybrid-like feature set.”
While initially thinking that the Tetra2 multiple zoom zones might be “a bit much”, things soon changed when Vello and Greg had these in the studio and this same feature turned out to be super useful in getting both a varied foreground ‘hotspot’ and fill effects from the same lighting unit! “A lot of variation and power for a batten / strip light.”
The BMFL Blades were brought in as an extra by DoP Russ Fraser and used to side light the artist and create patterns and light movement. A grandMA2 system was used for control, with lighting and video cues timecoded for perfect synchronicity between the creative and narrative events.
The biggest challenge was creating long-form narrative worlds that would transform seamlessly from one song to the next through complex spatial, geometric and lighting sequences and “drilling more deeply into the cinematic aspects of Extended Reality”. A total of 14 songs were recorded.
Lighting equipment was supplied by Russ Fraser Films and the production company was HPLA with Bryson Tiller, Ryan Hahn, and Neil Dominique as executive producers. Mike Carson was the show director, and the overall creative direction was a collaboration between Vello Virkhaus and Greg Russel, Amish Dani, and Sam Ashcroft. Lighting director was Mike Robertson from Lightswitch who also did the timecode pre-programming and show file setup, and the d3 server operator was Simon Anaya.
Xite Labs frequently use Robe in their work. “The combination of versatility and high light output is much appreciated,” commented Vello, adding that some Robe products have absolutely “ideal” feature sets to complement virtual productions and other projects and especially the “radically diverse” array of work being produced at Xite Labs!
They and production partner company Lightswitch have been using Robe for many years and they keep returning to the brand for their “notably quality products”.
For more product and general info about Robe and their products, you can check www.robe.cz
ARTECHOUSE NYC, located in a never previously occupied boiler room beneath the iconic Chelsea Market, is one of the most unique art destinations and experiences in New York City. Despite its century-old confines, ARTECHOUSE rightly presents itself as the art organization for the digital age. It’s an innovative space for immersive and interactive art exhibitions dedicated to providing the most advanced platforms for genre-pushing artists experimenting with emerging technologies and new forms of creative expression.
Geometric Properties, which runs through September 2021, is a perfect example. Fractal visuals created by Dutch artist Julius Horsthuis, with original soundtracks by Michael Stearns and David Levy, the gallery’s newest exhibition is a 30-minute, eye-popping environment that “explores fundamental mathematical patterns to stimulate existential self-reflection and emphasize the pure wonderment of being,” according to the artist’s website.
But what makes ARTECHOUSE NYC unique, and what enables artists to push their creativity to new levels, is the implementation of L-Acoustics L-ISA Immersive Hyperreal Sound technology. Designed and installed in the main gallery for the venue’s grand opening in September of 2019, L-ISA allows artists to expand their canvases from the visual to the aural.
“This is ARTECHOUSE’s third location, and we wanted it to push the benchmark of the experience,” says ARTECHOUSE Executive Creative Director Riki Kim. “When we were looking into the audio element, L-Acoustics and L-ISA stood out from the competition.
The appeal was to have an immersive sound system with no ‘hot spots’ in the room, plus a clear and transparent sound that could express the art’s wide range of tone and emotion. But it wasn’t just the product; it was also the people at L-Acoustics and how they approach us as partners in artistry. With L-Acoustics, the people and the products are a complete package.”
Queens-based See Factor supplied the 31-channel sound system at ARTECHOUSE NYC, which comprises 20 L-Acoustics X8 speakers used as perimeter/outer speakers, ten 5XT speakers deployed as overhead/inner speakers, and two SB15m subwoofers, which function as a single mono channel. The entire sound system is powered by a total of six LA4X amplified controllers, with the immersive mix running through the L-ISA Processor.
The sound technology is complemented by Barco-powered, 16K-resolution, 150-megapixel raster laser projection system.
Art-installation composers and sound designers—such as Berlin-based composer Kerim Karaoglu, who provided the sound design for ARTECHOUSE NYC’s inaugural installation, Machine Hallucination, by Refik Anadol use the L-ISA Source Control plugin in a Logic Pro session to adapt and localize the installation’s score to the immersive environment.
Outputs from the processor are then rendered to multitrack files that are played by the in-house media server for video and audio. MADI from the computer is converted via an RME M32 Pro to analog, feeding the LA4X amplified controllers. In effect, L-ISA became an extension of the artistic process during the mixing of the show, enabling artists to create and deliver new multidimensional sound experiences for live and recorded productions.
“ARTECHOUSE was a very fulfilling project to be involved with on many levels,” says sound designer Jesse Stevens, who designed and engineered the installation. He worked in conjunction with Kim and the ARTECHOUSE team to develop a system that would give maximum resolution within the necessary design constraints, such as not putting speakers in the projection area.
“We were tasked with thinking about a system not only with our usual engineering eye but also from a creative point of view. It needed to adapt to any artistic idea, and even become an extension of the artists’ work.” Stevens went on to mix sound for Machine Hallucination, and he says that implementing the Keraoglu’s rich and beautiful score was a “dream come true.”
Stevens says that Geometric Properties was a unique installation, broken into two distinct halves, delineated by the contrasting musical scores of composers Michael Stearns and David Levy. “They asked me to make the best use of the L-ISA technology and do the live mixes of both scores, as well as to add and augment sound effects to each piece. So there was quite a bit of work to do from both a mixing standpoint, as well as adding some sound design and sound effects, which would all run as a continuous loop,” Stevens explains.
Levy’s score occurs first, which Stevens compares to an action movie trailer. “It’s very dynamic with a lot of very cinematic elements,” he says. “David comes from the video game composing world, so there are very intense hits, sounds, whooshes, crashes, and a lot of dynamics. Literally, the only way to be doing the mix in this sort of space was with L-ISA because we were able to take this very complex score and all of these elements, separate them, and place them in different places around the room. We also had to develop an interaction between elements so the viewer could get a unique mix depending on where they’re standing in the room.”
Furthermore, Stevens adds, the mix had to be considered from all different angles because the audience is constantly walking around inside the space, experiencing the visuals and the sound from wherever their vantage point happens to be.
“There are a lot of very specific placements of objects that create this interaction between elements and work with the dynamics of the pieces,” he says. “But we also had to be able to step back to make sure that the perspectives of the audio matched the perspectives of the visuals in the space. Only with L-ISA technology could I have accomplished that.”
For Michael Stearns’ score, which Stevens characterizes as “much more subdued, more ambient,” he created a combination of sound effects and sound design. “It was great for the audience to have a bit of a break after the adrenaline rush of the first half, but we still wanted to match the tone and energy,” he says. “I was able to design and preview the sound effects and music mix in my home studio and then send it to Michael, Julius, and Riki, for input and collaboration. Michael’s piece has a lot of sound effects, which required finely detailed editing to synchronize with the visuals. The movement of the effects adds dimensionality and excitement, and it was important for them to work in perfect tandem with the visuals. L-ISA gave me the ability to precisely place all of these elements.”
Stevens credits L-ISA with being a creative partner in the process. “What’s really unique is that L-ISA technology itself is incredibly intuitive,” he contends. “For example, I played all the audio on a Pro Tools system, and we recorded automation for placement and movement in Pro Tools. I then controlled all that using the L-ISA Controller, listened to each single element, and then recorded its position or trajectory in real time. Being able to layer the elements while recording automation allowed total freedom for iteration, which was crucial because it was the only way to tackle this dense, large-scale mix. It’s a one-of-a-kind process.”
Kim adds the impact of L-ISA technology is evident in the satisfaction of both artists and visitors to the venue and the installations. “They can’t always put it into words, but everyone experiences it viscerally,” she says. “And the composers and sound designers are always excited to hear that we have L-ISA available. You can tell it makes a difference for everyone involved.”