Human Nature get new Las Vegas show with GLP
Posted on Tuesday, March 26th, 2013
When production for Smokey Robinson presents Human Nature: The Motown Show decided to relocate from the Imperial Palace in Las Vegas to the nearby Venetian Hotel, experienced lighting designer Steve Cohen received a call out of the blue from the show’s Creative Director, David Rudder. “They had already hired a set designer [Andy Walmsley], and were interested in having me light the show in the new space,” he recalls. “Although we had never met before, since I live in Vegas, it was easy for me to see the show and see if we hit it off.”
Fortunately for both the show’s male vocal group Human Nature and Cohen they did; but since the group wanted to come up with a whole new look for their show, the designer had to choose his fixtures carefully to compensate for the limitations of the room and budget, as well as the existing lighting infrastructure. So he selected six impression Wash One, 12 impression Spot One and 16 impression X4 from GLP’s award-winning portfolio to help create the dynamic.
The designer found himself challenged with the technical infrastructure of The Venetian Sands Showroom, which takes its name from the legendary showroom of the ‘rat pack’ era, and has a capacity of 750 seats. With a low trim height (18ft), thrust stage but no side lights and “a roof populated by 40 older moving heads in various states of repair, with stock gobos and lenses only suited for a much higher trim”, Cohen knew he needed some unique fixtures to fulfil his creative intentions. And GLP came to the rescue.
Within a matter of weeks Cohen was integrating his design into a complex set, including a rolling video wall and a huge lit ‘Motown’ logo, and with the house system on a slim budget, he knew, “It was going to be a challenging gig the whole way.” With the inherent realities as they were, Cohen also knew he could still provide this show with the unique creative looks which are the hallmarks of all Steven Cohen Productions’ work.
And so, working with Creative Director Rudder, the direct involvement of Human Nature and Cohen’s team of video expert, Curtis Cox and lighting programmer Mark Foffano, he set out on his quest to deliver a high end design to complement the music and story this Motown show delivers.
“Once I realized it would take some unique instruments to make this environment really work for the show, I approached [GLP Inc president] Mark Ravenhill to see if the new Impression X4 was in full production, as I knew I wanted those, as well as the Wash One and Spot Ones, which I had a chance to test in a real world situation, having never used either type previously.
“One of the added benefits of these fixtures was that I was able to install the Impressions right on the set as part of the design look, and utilize the wash and spots as ‘shin buster’ floor lights and under-scenery lights which gave the metallic and LED screens set design real dimension. This, plus the ‘in your face’ looks from the set gave the show some real lighting dynamics that you could never have achieved from any house hung system. These GLP’s really make this show work!”
The show production itself has Human Nature, Australia’s #1 pop vocal group, reimagining the sounds of Motown. In a show presented by Smokey Robinson, the acclaimed quartet and its seven-piece band, The Funk Foundation, offers a contemporary yet timeless take on classic Motown hits, featuring songs by The Four Tops, The Supremes, The Temptations, Smokey Robinson and more.
Steve Cohen is certainly no stranger to earlier generation impression LED moving heads, having used them on the last Blake Shelton tour as well as Billy Joel / Elton John, Sugarland, and Star Wars In Concert where he was production designer, working alongside LD, Seth Jackson.
In fact, Steve Cohen is a real advocate of the new wave of LED fixtures, describing his decision to specify the impressions as a “slam dunk”. “Finally, there is real color,” he says categorically. “The Impressions have the best color I have seen out of a moving head in many years. They are fast and interesting to look at, light weight, and have low power requirements — which is the case with most LED lights — but the difference is that these have the qualities of ‘real’ light.”
“I had been reluctant to spec them as anything but special effect fixtures, but now I think you can expand their application into areas where a standard moving fixture would normally be the weapon of choice.”
And of course the ratio of weight and footprint to output and efficiency add further benefits — both for designer and the production accountant! “Anytime you can fit more s**t in smaller space, your design has a bigger impact simply by the numbers of heads. So if you can put a lot of lamps in a truss, or have 50 floor fixtures where before you could only fit 25, the impact to the show is obvious and the design can be driven by those increased numbers.”
The consequence, for Smokey Robinson presents Human Nature: The Motown Show, is a set that is “clean, saturated and uncomplicated” and with a lighting design which efficiently communicates the entertainment experience the show is striving for.
Clay Paky flies the flag for Queen’s Jubilee
Posted on Tuesday, June 12th, 2012
Clay Paky Sharpys, sporting Union Jack coverings, shone brightly alongside some of the world’s most famous pop royalty to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee.
The patriotic Sharpys, dressed up in custom made Union Jack jackets, were a welcome sight amongst the pageantry of the day as they delivered a dazzling display of laser-like lighting at the evening celebrations that marked the 60th anniversary of Queen’s reign.
World-renowned lighting designer Durham Marenghi employed more than 240 Clay Paky fixtures, hired from London based rental house Neg Earth, to deliver a stunning, varied and dynamic lighting design for superstar acts that included Kylie Minogue, Elton John, Sir Paul McCartney, Grace Jones plus a host of pop glitterati.
Broadcast worldwide, and locally to a series of video screens rigged along the full length of the Mall and surrounding Royal parks, Marenghi had his work cut out. Not only did he have to provide exciting lighting for some of the world’s biggest pop stars but he also had to deliver something that would prove equally gripping for the live and TV audience at home. By carefully combining energetic panoramic looks with tightly focused on stage scenes Marenghi managed to strike exactly the right balance for both the wide angle and close up shots the TV cameras required.
With a rig packed to the gunnels with Clay Paky beams, washes, Sharpys along with the new QWO 800 spots Marenghi discusses his approach: “My role was to ensure that the various types of music and video output were perfectly complemented by a dynamic and crowd rousing lighting design. It was a long day for the crowd. We had to take them on a journey. Lighting had to be varied and enhance the musical content, sometimes lively and busy, sometimes quiet and calming.”
Marenghi utilised 32 Alpha Beam 700s and 4 Alpha Beam 1500s as FOH key lights with a further 60 Alpha Beam 1500s in a circle of light around the stage. Sixty Sharpys (‘60’ being the magic number here) ringed the Queen Victoria Memorial in front of Buckingham Palace. The stage was lit with 32 Alpha Wash 700 and 42 Alpha Spot QWO 800, chosen, says Marenghi, “for their compact size and fantastic optical depth of field.” The columns of the Palace were lit with Alpha Wash 1500s and Madness on the roof had a further 4 QWO 800s.
Much comment has since been made about the Cool Britannia Union Jack Sharpys, which were donated to the concert by Clay Paky, with the company stating that it ‘wanted to give our own contribution to this historical event in a country which is giving so much to our brand.’
Each customised Sharpy had to undergo a special heat test to ensure they would continue to amaze despite the addition of the new coverings. “We also had the challenge of working in both daylight and at night,” explains Marenghi. “It took 14 days of programming with my associate LD Tim Routledge and programmers Alex Passmore and Dave Hill. We worked in all weathers so it was crucial that not only were the lighting fixtures capable of packing a punch and delivering a multitude of effects and colours but that they were also robust enough to cope with anything the changeable weather could throw at them. Every day we had a debate about whether to uncover the exposed lights, which was most of them.”
Marenghi’s original design had called for 60 weatherproof searchlights around the stage however the budget could not encompass them. “The Alpha Beam 1500s performed extremely well in their stead in weather that at one point was like being in the deep end of a swimming pool,” he laughs.
“The choice of equipment for my designs is always determined by what comes out of the front of a fixture rather than what is written on the side,” says Marenghi. “Over the last five years, as Clay Paky has established the Alpha range and innovated with industry changing products such as the beams and Sharpys, many of the world’s leading lighting designers, programmers and technicians have come to see Clay Paky products in a new light.”
Pio Nahum, chief commercial officer for Clay Paky is delighted: “It is great to see the Clay Paky luminaires doing such an exemplary job on such a prestigious project. The Sharpys seem to feature in the forefront of many of the official photographs of the event. We were proud and delighted to see Durham really push the creative capability of the fixtures to the extreme. It was wonderful to see the full scope of these creative tools used on such a memorable and important day in UK history.”
“All Lit Up”: grandMA2 for Opening Celebration of the IRB Rugby World Cup 2011
Posted on Thursday, October 27th, 2011
The IRB Rugby World Cup was the biggest sporting event ever to be staged on New Zealand shores. It kicked-off on 9th September 2011 with the Opening Ceremony at Auckland’s Eden Park, broadcast to a global television audience estimated at over 50 million. An estimated 200,000 people crowded the Auckland waterfront precinct to take in the visual spectacle aptly named “All Lit Up”. Lighting Designer David Eversfield relied on a grandMA2 system for control.
While the show’s lighting design in the stadium was created by Paul Collison, who worked with a grandMA2 system as well, Eversfield and the Opticshock team used 1 x grandMA2 light, 1 x grandMA2 onPC and 3 x grandMA 3D for the lights spread across the city.
Eversfield explained: “The waterfront show was pre-programmed using grandMA 3D where extensive use was made of the ability to have complete 3D models of buildings to create the skyline. As there was a great desire to keep the show as a surprise, only small parts of the rig were turned on simultaneously in the weeks leading up to the show. Much time was spent calibrating the orientation of the fixtures in the model to the physical install on the buildings. grandMA 3D was essential for viewing the show from different parts of the city, allowing focus positions to be tweaked without hours of travelling across the city. When onsite, grandMA 3D also proved a useful fault-finding aid as it provided rich visual feedback of what the console was telling the lights to do.”
“Across the city we had 25 different sites where lights were installed and they could be as varied as the rooftops of buildings, the ends of wharves, historical museums and the tops of port cranes”, described Eversfield. “It sounds relatively simple, because there were only a small number of lights at each location, but there were so many locations, each with its own access issues, rigging problems, power supply and so on.”
Methods used to access these diverse sites ranged from pushing hand trolleys up stairs to mobilising cranes and helicopters. The production also featured lighting and pyrotechnics on Auckland’s iconic 328metre (1076 feet) high Sky Tower.
Co-ordinating a lighting system distributed over a 3 kilometre (1.86 mile) wide area also proved to be challenging. A custom wireless network was built in order to control the lighting system across the city and between the buildings. The show was able to be broadcast directly over the network while a custom back up system was developed and supplied by Artistic Lisence. Art-Net playback devices at each site would have the show loaded into them remotely from the control room. This could then be played locally if the network failed or became unstable.
Jonny Cross worked as operator, Kain Jones was the lighting project manager. Head of lighting was Mike Skinner, assistant head of lighting was Brian Mahoney. Kyle Pharo was responsible for the lighting network. Mike Mizrahi of Inside Out Productions was the event producer. As pyrotechnician worked Martin Van Tiel. The show was produced for the Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development.
The core of the lighting production was New Zealand-based but equipment was sourced from as far afield as China, Germany and the UK. The system was assembled by the Opticshock team in New Zealand.
Photos – Copyright: Steve Thomson / WOWstockfootage.com
The Dubai Pullman Mall of the Emirates Hotel (UAE)
Posted on Wednesday, October 5th, 2011
The ‘Pullman’ Dubai Mall of the Emirates is Accor’s upscale hotel brand which is tailored toward providing high quality services and facilities for both business and leisure clientele.
Strategically located in the heart of New Dubai, the Pullman rises proudly above the bustling metropolis and showcases a seamless blend of contemporary French elegance with Middle Eastern hospitality.
Given Dubai’s many examples of elaborate architectural treatments for fine hotels, it was paramount that the first Pullman Hotel in the Middle East made a clear and definitive statement about its positioning amongst such considerable competition and thus, a striking lighting design was devised.
The main Architectural lighting aspect is the glass feature wall at the core of the building. This design was prepared by NORR Group Consultants and Light Touch PLD.
The design called for a matrix of ultra bright LED pixels which were to be mounted in the curved facade of the feature wall. Illumination Physics created a custom version of the popular ‘SPECK’ – a compact high powered LED fixture designed for insertion into Curtain Wall panels.
This ‘Pullman’ Speck had to incorporate special qualities in order to properly function in the harsh Middle Eastern Climate. It was designed to withstand non-operating temperatures of 90 degrees Celsius and operating temperatures of 70 degrees Celsius, making the Pullman SPECK extremely robust. Six Rebel LEDs were used (RGB), driven at 350 milliamps.
The SPECK series of products incorporate domed lenses that provide high visibility even from shallow viewing angles.
Ninety pieces were used spread over 18 storeys. Illumination Physics provided all of the control equipment and drivers. The display is controlled using Illumination Physics X-Soft, a graphic interface PC based product.
The contract was managed by Illumination Physics’ agent in the UAE, Cinmar Lighting.
90 x illumination Physics custom specks
18 x illumination Physics HP led drivers
3 x DD4 dmx splitters
1 x Xnet8 ethernet/DMX converter
1 x PC with illumination Physics X-soft software
A galaxy of lights: grandMA2 masters 42,000 parameters at Eurovision Song Contest 2011
Posted on Friday, May 27th, 2011
The Eurovision Song Contest recently completed its 56th year, held at Düsseldorf Arena, marking the show’s first return to Germany since 1983. The production today is as well known for its technical achievements as for its lavish and sometimes unusual brand of musical performances. Nevertheless, Eurovision still intrigues audiences worldwide.
The Eurovision Song Contest format is fairly straightforward. Member countries of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) can submit an original song to compete in the annual show. Based on the performance, the public audience of the participating countries phone in votes for their favourite act, as long as it’s not their own country. Combined with the scores of professional national juries, a winner is chosen and that country hosts the contest the next year. Last year, Lena Meyer-Landrut of Germany was crowned winner with her song “Satellite”, putting the contest in Germany for 2011.
This year broke records in many areas including equipment load and audience size. It also tied the record for most participating countries – 43 (tied with Serbia in 2008). The show spanned three live broadcasts – two Semi-finals on May 10th and 12th and the Finals on May 14th. The 2011 Finals in Düsseldorf had one of the largest live viewing audience in Eurovision history with 36,000. This combined with an estimated 120 million television and internet viewers makes it the largest music television program in the world.
German Lighting Designer Jerry Appelt, known for delivering big looks for music, television and everything in between specified a magnificent arsenal of lighting for the massive Arena in Düsseldorf. More than 2,100 DMX controlled moving lights (5,638 fixtures total) with almost 42,000 parameters allowed 43 countries plus three interval acts and an over-the-top opening performance to have a completely unique look during the 3-hour broadcast.
100% control for all lighting and video came from MA Lighting. 4 x grandMA2 full-size consoles, each with a full backup, as well as 5 x grandMA2 faderwings ran all lighting and video, triggered via timecode. 11 x MA NPU (Network Processing Unit) devices handled all traffic in one session on the MA-Net2. “It’s not even practical to do a show like this without timecode and grandMA2 is the best,” said Appelt, “Absolutely every millisecond is cued and then rehearsed again and again and again. There is no room for an error in a show of this size. The MA system delivered a great result.”
Four operators ran the desks: one for video, one for effect light, one for white light, and one for audience and Green room. Preprogramming began in Hamburg at NDR from March 21st through April 8th, 2011 with the cost free grandMA 3D running on four custom built Cape Cross PCs. The team built moving paths for all moving trusses in grandMA 3D to show the exact positions of the lights in each song. Programming commenced in Düsseldorf April 11th-15th. In total there were 70 patched universes and 2,921 cues.
Approximately 8.5 kilometres of truss were required to suspend the 280 tons of equipment for the show. The truss structure, approximately 20 metres directly above the stage, consisted of three rings of 10-metres, 16-metres and 30-metres diameter, with a fourth ring over the satellite stage used for hosts and some of the performances. The main stage centre rings held 60 x Clay Paky Alpha series fixtures – a mixture of Alpha Wash 1500, Alpha Beam 1500 and Alpha Profile 1500 fixtures, creating a variety of bright effects to the stage below.
Moving truss sections were arranged like spokes from the ring trusses. The truss sections held an additional 28 x Alpha Wash 1500 and 36 x Alpha Beam 1500 with four shorter truss sections holding 24 x Alpha Wash 1500 fixtures.
Additional truss stretching the ceiling to the perimeter of the arena held 35 x Alpha Profile 1500 and 42 x Alpha Spot HPE 1500 fixtures. Finally, the top perimeter of the arena was home to an additional 50 x Alpha Spot HPE 1500 fixtures. To match the intensity from above, Appelt placed 24 x Alpha Beam 1500 and 24 x A&O Falcon Xenon 3K flowers on the floor behind the stage and along the sides for a full range of effects. Appelt also specified 24 x Clay Paky Sharpy fixtures for the floor surrounding the front of the stage specifically for Lena’s performance for Germany.
Follow spots had full coverage as well with 6 x Robert Juliat Aramis 2500W HMI DMX main spots on the platform, 5 x Robert Juliat Victor 1800W HMI as back followspots on truss seats and 4 x Robert Juliat Lancelot 4000W HMI followspots on the balcony. Lighting was supported with 48 x ETC 750W Source 4 10° fixtures.
Cape Cross of Cologne, Germany provided all lighting and rigging for the show, sending 130 trailer trucks, each with 40 tons of equipment. Thomas Brügge, Managing Director of Cape Cross said, “grandMA2 is a very popular brand for us. The grandMA2 is a smart console and it’s great that we can totally rely on MA Lighting.”
All video content was operated off 8 x MA VPU (Video Processing Unit) each with full backup. A Barco Encore system was responsible for routing the signals from the OB truck to the LED wall. Video equipment and servers were supplied by Creative Technology.
All media equipment was housed next to FOH and operated by Michael Giegerich off a grandMA2 and managed by Stephan Flören (media server technician). The graphics were created by the screen design team from Gravity, Julien Rigal, Falk Rosental and Thomas Neese.
Video content was displayed on a 67-metre wide by 18-metre tall CT Spider 30 N5 LED screen forming the back wall of the stage. 2100 x Barco MiSTRIP 1480mm and 165 x MiSTRIP 375mm plus 2480 x Barco MiTRIX tiles were used for visual detailing around the stage and the movable rings overhead. 12 x R20 projectors were used for the audience screens. Even the satellite stage and Green room got special treatment with 400 metres of Schnick Schnack Systems strips built into surfaces.
Concert and Stage Producer Ola Melzig consulted with the delegations and artists regarding the details of each performance including lighting, video, pyro, sound and camera angles. “Video is one of the trickier elements as sometimes our team doesn’t get specific instructions on how each country wants their look. After the first round of rehearsals there are usually several requests for changes – even Spain completely changed their content the day of the final broadcast. Luckily, we had a very talented crew and some of the best equipment available. In the end, everyone walked away completely satisfied.”
The company behind the creative production of Eurovision 2011 was – by order of host broadcaster NDR – Brainpool TV GmbH. Led by Producer Show Jörg Grabosch, Brainpool managed all creative aspects including staging, lighting, pyro, hosts, viewing room, technical crew, etc. and managed the companies in charge of these areas: Cape Cross (lighting & rigging); Creative Technology (video); Stage Kinetic (moving LED screen); MCI (set construction); and LunatX (pyro) who also worked with a grandMA2.
Although Lena, who was defending her title, did not win, Germany still came in at a respectable 10th place. Final results put Azerbaijan as 2011 champion with the song “Running Scared”.
Lighting Design: Jerry Appelt
Stage Design: Florian Wieder
Technical Coordinator and Gaffer: Matthias Rau
Head of Lighting: Matthias Hagel
Head of Lighting Greenroom: Wolfgang Nöhrer
Effect Operator: Sascha Matthes
Video Operator: Michael Giegerich
White Light Operator: Markus Ruhnke
Greenroom and Audience Operator: “Matze” Meyert
Host broadcaster: NDR
Executive Producer Show: Thomas Schreiber (NDR)
Executive Supervisor of EBU: Jon-Ola Sand
Photos – Copyright: Ralph@Larmann.com
Philips Selecon PL1s ensure Lady Gaga’s London debut is a glittering affair
Posted on Thursday, February 10th, 2011
In December 2010 the wax figure of one of the world’s most flamboyant and individual performers – Lady Gaga – simultaneously took to the stage at eight Madam Tussauds attractions around the world.
Ensuring her London debut was a glittering affair Madame Tussauds’ Show Services Manager, Simon Morris, augmented the press launch lighting with the latest Philips Selecon LED lighting fixture – the PL1.
The most ambitious press launch in Madame Tussauds history, Simon Morris’s brief was to achieve high energy, live music atmosphere that would excite the media without compromising the press photographers’ ability to capture clear shots of the Lady Gaga figure: “My brief for the main lighting state was to emulate a photographic studio shoot,” explains Morris. “Our biggest challenge was achieving the same colour temperature as studio flash lighting, while conveying a theatrical and suitably dramatic style.
“The PL1 certainly delivered on its promise. Its fully tuneable, high output, LED light engine can support colour temperatures from 3000K to 5600K, plus full RGB colour mixing. We set the fixtures to 5000k. After that it was simply a case of balancing the levels to achieve the desired effect.”
Morris used two PL1s for backlight, which illuminated the infamous telephone hat while creating a dramatic halo effect during the unveiling. The fixtures also gave real depth to the Lady Gaga figures handmade outfit. Further PL1s provided side and top light, ensuring the figure was evenly lit from all angles. The result was that the impressively realistic wax figure looked three dimensional and almost alive in every photograph.
Morris confirms the satisfaction of the Madame Tussauds team: “Their comments have been proof positive that we met and exceeded the brief, he reports. “We will definitely use the PL1s on all future figure launches. The fact that we can control the fixtures’ colour temperature and keep it consistent, even when dimmed, is a real advantage.”
Paul Rees, Sales Director for Architainment Lighting, the company that supplied the PL1 fixtures to Tussauds, says: “This marks the first ever UK sale of the PL1. They made perfect sense in this application. Simon chose the PL1s because they offer a fully tunable colour LED source with a high level output that can easily cut through the moving light output. What impressed him most about the PL1 is that it can maintain the same colour-rendering characteristics, even at low light levels (less than 50 Lux). The added bonus of a variable beam (14º-50º), plus beam-shaping barn doors, meant that Simon could keep the lighting tightly focused, sharp and professional looking.”
The Gaga wax figures are currently on display at Tussauds attractions in London, Amsterdam, Berlin, New York, Hollywood, Las Vegas, Shanghai and Hong Kong.
Grand Opening Marina Bay Sands Resort, Singapore
Posted on Wednesday, July 7th, 2010
Australian lighting designer Colin Baldwin worked closely with Laservision Mega Media for over four months to design and implement architectural and special effects lighting for the U.S. $5.9m Marina Bay Sands Integrated Resort and Casino in Singapore, which officially opened on 23 June 2010.
Baldwin and his team of Australian lighting technicians embarked in June on a journey to pre-install, in time for the Grand Opening, some of the lighting assets that will form the basis of the future permanent show.
Equipment deployed for the opening event included 14 A&O Falcon 7k xenon searchlights, 18 Syncrolite 5k and 7k xenon searchlights, 14 DTS XR3000 moving head spots housed in Tempest domes, 36 CitySkape Xtreme LED washlights and to light the vast roofing over the casino, theatres and expo centre – 998 Illumination Physics LED washlights were installed. Seven high powered optically pumped Laservision Stella Rays lasers totalling more than 300 watts, were deployed along the water’s edge of Marina Bay.
All fixtures were programmed on a grandMA2 console from a suite at the Fullerton Hotel directly across the bay. Swedish designed Wireless Radio DMX transmitters and receivers were used to carry the 8 DMX universes 1km across Marina Bay to the resort. Local Singapore production company ‘Showtec’ were engaged to provide additional lighting equipment and crewing services.
Baldwin was very pleased with the outcome. “I’m very proud of all my team,” he said. “They had to endure an extraordinary and difficult undertaking working on what was mostly a construction site up until the Opening.”
“Hats off to Colin Baldwin and his team for delivering a greater than expected show. An excellent world-class outcome,” commented Paul McCloskey, CEO & founder of Laservision.
“Front page coverage in all local news media was testament to its being the defining vision for this official opening.”
LSC controls Eurovision Song Contest
Posted on Tuesday, June 8th, 2010
The European Song Contest has been around for many years and LSC is proud to have been associated with it for a number of those years, supplying TDS 48-channel touring dimmers, e24 dimming systems and DMX distribution.
Norway won the 2009 ESC when the artist Alexander Rybak took the audience and voters by storm. Norway thus won the right to host this year’s event. The National Broadcaster of Norway, NRK hosted the 2010 ESC in the brand new Telenor Arena.
Suggesting that a maXim M lighting desk, as shown in the photograph here, could control a show the size of the European Song Contest is a bit ambitious to say the least, particularly since the small range of maXims can only control 512 DMX slots.
However the NRK is well aware that the maXim has a multitude of uses.
For this year’s ESC, the NRK utilised a maXim M supplied by Multitechnic in Oslo for Stage Motion control, drapery, silks and drop downs.
The maXim finished up controlling a Kinesys K2, Chain Master products as well as Six Wahlberg DMX controlled Winches, Six Wahlberg DMX controlled Curtain rollups designed specifically for the ESC and 3 DMX Beamslides.
The maXim was the number 1 choice for NRK due to its reliability and simplicity of use for hands on control.
This year’s event was won by Lena Meyer-Landrut from Germany .
LSE Creates a Spectacle at the Mardan Palace Hotel
Posted on Friday, June 5th, 2009
The end of May saw the spectacular opening ceremony of the five star Mardan Palace hotel take place in Antalya, Turkey drawing an illustrious international presence of celebrities and press. LSE, the Belgian based multi-media show company, worked with long-time collaborator Tara W Smith, the Australian Creative Director of Stargrace Ltd, to create an unforgettable visual experience for the opening.
The event, which took place over two days, was a high profile affair featuring presenters and performers including Sharon Stone, Richard Gere, Paris Hilton, Monica Belluci, Tom Jones and Seal.
Two multi-media shows took place over the two days, the first at the Grand Inauguration on 23 May, the second the following day at the ‘Dance of the Scorpion’ Beach Party on the hotel’s Scorpion Pier.
For the Grand Inauguration, Smith wanted to celebrate the historical influences, modern technology and imagination which go into creating a hotel such as the Mardan Palace.
“I wanted to bring to the hotel launch a bit of soul, to breath life into the design processes and influences which bring the actual construction into being,” explains Smith.
The show also celebrated the idea of East meets West as represented in the architecture of the hotel itself. “One wing represented Anatolya which we depicted with giant video projection and aerial belly dancers, emphasising the passion of the orient with choreographed flames,” explains Smith.
“The second wing represented Europe which we visualized with a daring silk aerial act, high above the audience’s heads, and infused with a fountain ballet; the two were then linked by the middle section with a laser representation of the famous Bosphorus Bridge, representing Turkey.
Each section of the hotel was individually highlighted and ‘brought to life’ during the performance before reaching an explosive crescendo at the finale.
Wound into these themes was that of the imaginative process which a designer experiences during the art of creation. A kind of dream space was recreated using transparent floating balls on the central water feature and aerial performers lowered from the tops of the buildings to ‘paint’ the design of the hotel across its surface.
The evening’s events centred around the inner pool courtyard and used multi-media effects to illustrate these historical, technological and imaginative references. The building façade, roof tops, lighthouse tower, the pool itself and even the beach beyond, acted as projection surfaces, resulting in over 200m of video projection. More than 700 pyrotechnic firing points on the facade and in excess of 30 lasers, choreographed flames and fountains were also used, augmenting the performances of the aerial performers.
In all a total of 30 trailers and 150 crew were required to bring this spectacle to fruition.
“The evening was very well received,” states Smith. “We even had ladies in the audience crying with emotion over the Imagination scene, so we knew we were reaching our audience!”
LSE’s team for the Mardan Palace Spectacular was headed by Managing Director, Patrick Awouters and included Technical Director, Erik Lybeer,Lighting Director, Theo Cox and Project Coordinator Marc Agboton.
“I have worked with LSE for 9 years and really love doing these projects with them,” continues Smith. “Patrick has always put a lot of trust and faith in my work and believes whole heartedly in the team he has created. We all come together as a united force and the results we achieve are testiment to that teamwork.”
Previous collaborations between Tara W Smith and LSE have included the SEA Games in Vietnam, Moscow Sport Games and St Petersburg 300 years by Hiro Yamagata. Several more collaborative projects – on both a grand scale and for luxurious private functions – are scheduled for later this year.
iLED ColorBank H.O at Beijing Olympic Opening Ceremony
Posted on Wednesday, August 27th, 2008
The 2008 Summer Olympics opening ceremony was held at the Beijing National Stadium, also known as the Bird’s Nest. Featuring more than 15,000 performers, the ceremony lasted over four hours and was watched by over 1 billion viewers – the largest live television audience in history!
One of the most complex segments of the ceremony was the arrival of the astronaut – depicting China’s ambitions in space – and the 15 metre, 16 tonned sphere representing the Earth. 58 acrobats tumbled rightside up, sideways or upside down on its surface, while the globe was illuminated internally by 122 iLED ColorBank H.O fixtures.
The ColorBank H.O is a high powered wash fixture, suitable for use in multiple applications. This IP65 rated fixture is also suited for all weather outdoor use. Consisting of 108 1W LEDs – 36 Red, 36 Green, and 36 Blue – the LEDBank H.O features 15° optics and delivers a beam angle of 17° x 12°. On board automated programs can be operated via master/slave or DMX operation, and up to 28 units of this fixture can be daisy chained for ease of use.
High End Systems at Beijing Olympic Ceremonies
Posted on Friday, August 22nd, 2008
On 08/08/08, the eyes of the world focused on the Opening Ceremonies of the Beijing 2008 Olympics. The “One World One Dream” theme was illustrated in a spectacle from China’s National Stadium, nicknamed the “Bird’s Nest.”
High End Systems (a new member of the Belgium-based Barco Group) not only played a starring role in the ceremonies, but helped set some records: for the largest quantity of media servers (110 HES Axons) in any live event, and for creating the largest high-def projection — in this instance, one clip covered a screen encircling the stadium that measured 1,942′ long by 45′ high.
All effects were achieved in real time using the Axon media servers and projectors with 78 HES Orbital Heads. Four Wholehog 3 lighting consoles controlled the Axon media servers in the ceremonies, connected with 12 DP 2000s.
HES Axons created a number of nonstop visual effects in the show, from the projected visuals encircling a video ring–called the “membrane”–around the top of the stadium to the projections on the giant globe. The HES Orbital Heads were used to project images onto performers on the field.
The Olympic Ceremonies lighting designer is Sha Xiao Lin. Dennis Gardner is the chief lighting programmer and digital lighting/video programmer. Gardner says, “The show was the largest I have ever done. Normally I have worked with about 6-8 media servers and this was just huge at 110! This was my first time to use Axon and I found it very easy to use and very flexible. For the scale of the show, it was ideal!”
“The Globe was projected on from eight projectors, external to the globe, set up in four groups approximately 90 degrees from one another,” Gardner explains. “We had no Orbital Heads for this one as we needed a much bigger image and more brightness. We used Axons and their blending feature to help achieve this effect. We had the globe recovered with white material to get the best from the projection; the original was dark grey.”
Gardner describes the Wholehog 3 console setup: “We programmed the show on one Wholehog 3 network running version 2.6 software. We had the network set up as one server console that was never touched and just used as the server; two client consoles at FOH for myself and (my programming assistant) Steve Kellaway; and one console as a roamer for programming around the stadium to get better viewpoints. I have been using the Wholehog 3 console since its birth and I feel it’s the best tool for the job. The ease at programming lots of media servers and being able to link to time code was a joy. The show was run on LTC time code, which came from the music. The whole system was rock solid.”
HES distributor Leifull in China purchased and installed the HES equipment, and also created the media server room specifically for the Axons. HES sent four product specialists to help with set up, with Zach Peletz from Austin serving as product support on the scene from May until the closing ceremonies, to be televised August 24 on NBC-TV. The closing ceremonies will use the same equipment but in a different design, described by Gardner as having a “bit more party feel.”
Another Wholehog 3 worked in the TV broadcast booth in Beijing’s International Broadcast Center. Broadcast lighting director John Pappas used the console to control a media server for Seven Network Australia’s broadcasting.
Martin Lights Beijing Summer Olympic Games: LD Sha Xiao Lan Interview
Posted on Monday, August 18th, 2008
Martin lighting is also employed in several other areas including 800 Martin fixtures used for an Opening Ceremony at an alternate site in Tsingtao (Qingdao), home to sailing events. Several on-location TV studios are also using Martin gear including US television network NBC on the “Today” show and Mexican TV network Televisa.
MA Lighting grandMA at Beijing Olympics
Posted on Monday, August 11th, 2008
With the slogan “One World, One Dream” all nations were invited by the People’s Republic of China to the Summer Olympics 2008, officially known as the Games of the XXIX Olympiad. The Opening Ceremony has been held in the Beijing National Stadium, – the “Bird’s Nest” – which can seat as many as 91,000 spectators. More than 2,300 DMX controlled fixtures and 45,000 parameters transformed the stadium into a never before seen sea of lights. 3 x grandMA full-size plus 3 x grandMA full-size as backup, 2 x grandMA light as well as 46 x MA NSPs controlled the highly sophisticated lighting network during the Opening Ceremony.
“These are the Games of the records so is the Opening Ceremony”, states Mr. Sha, Lighting Designer of the Opening and Closing Ceremony. “And to control this never before seen rig of lights there was just one choice: the grandMA system from MA Lighting. In a show like this pure reliability and proven functionality are second to none”, he adds. “Combined with the outstanding network performance of the grandMA, this system is proving again its leading position in the market.”
Paul Collison, who was responsible for the control system and broadcast lighting, said of the preparation for the Opening Ceremony: “I was first contacted in December 2007. Mr. Sha Xiao Lan, the lighting designer for this auspicious event, who offered me the task to look after the lighting control system. We knew by this time that it would be an MA Lighting system as reliability and proven network power were key. We started patching and designing the network in February 2008. One session ran the wash lights in the roof, the second session ran all the other wash fixtures in the system and the third session ran all of the profile or spot fixtures.”
“Once we had decided on the partition it was down to the patching business. When dealing with a couple of thousand fixtures and having almost ten different fixture types, you need to be able to identify things fairly quickly”, continued Collison, “I started with trying to match the lamp model number with it’s ID. So for example, the Vari*Lite VL3000 spots start their fixture ID’s at 3001, the Clay Paky Alpha Wash 1200 at 1201 etc. Once this process was done it was time to assign DMX addresses.”
Collison further explains: “Power locations had already been decided however there were lots of them. Too many to take DMX to each one. We decided on six locations in the roof, two on level three, three on level two, two on the ground level and one in the pit. We started in the roof as this was the hardest. We simply broke down the roof into six sections. Once the roof was done, the rest was pretty easy. The balcony levels all neatly fitted in, as did the ground.”
It was important for the system to have redundancy. This was required throughout multiple aspects of the system, both in the software (for example, the Rapid Spanning Tree protocol) and other parts, like redundant power supplies in the switches, and the ability to pass information and data passively. The later point meant, that if an ethernet switch failed, the data would travel through the failed switch and on to the next one without fault. The final point was that the actual fibre optic cable itself needed to be of military grade.
“Afterwards, all of the fixtures needed to be given a position in the grandMA 3D world for the pre-programming sessions”, adds Collison, “This gave us the chance to use the wireframe visualiser in the grandMA as well as being ready for grandMA 3D to come online. Each session only had two user profiles. One was for the operator, the other for administration. Each session was named with reference to it’s colour as were the show files – red, green and blue.”
“We now had to set-up the pre-programming studio at the Beijing Olympic Committee Headquarters. This existed in various modes but the one I liked the best was each session with it’s visualiser on a plasma screen in front of them. This, combined with a projector fed from grandMA video, with each session blended in to form one picture worked a treat. It allowed the team to see their programming all at work. By beginning of May we started the transition from pre-programming to on-site. Fixture by fixture, truss by truss, the system came online. On June 12th, rehearsals began.” On August 8th the Opening Ceremony attracted the attention of millions.
Altogether 2,342 fixtures were used and controlled by grandMA for the show which consisted of, amongst others, 308 x Vari*Lite VL3500 spot, 316 x VL3000 spot, 180 x VL3500 wash, 112 x Clay Paky Alpha Wash 1200, 980 x Martin Mac 2000 Wash and 162 Martin Mac 2000 XB Wash.
The first session had 15,921 parameters with 14 MA NSPs and 834 fixtures, the second 13,503 parameters with 16 MA NSPs and 884 fixtures, the third session 15,987 parameters, with 16 MA NSP and 624 fixtures. HP Pro-Curve 2626 field switches, HP Pro-Curve 8212zl and kilometres of multi mode fiber optic cable were the backbone of the huge network.
The video system under the creative direction of media artist Andree Verleger from Germany included some 110 x Axon media servers, 86 x Christie Roadster Projectors with Orbital Heads and 63 x Cinema Christie Projectors. “I am absolutely excited about the professionalism and support I was getting also for “my” video part during all those month from MA Lighting and the entire lighting crew – although not controlled by the grandMA system”, states Verleeger. “This underlines how important it is that lighting and video are going hand in hand. This teamwork gave trust and an ongoing motivation to realize another record in this show: the world’s largest projection screen with around 600m.
Zhang Yimou was chosen as artistic director. Sha Xiao Lan was the lighting designer, Paul Collision in charge of the control system and the broadcast lighting. Feng Bin, Wu Guoquing and Huang Tao worked as grandMA programmers. Lighting assistants were Quan Xiaojie, Zhang Wei, Wang Zhiyi, Ma Jiebo and Wang Tong. As lighting production company worked CCTV – Central China Television in conjunction with Quan Jiang, Shang Hai Televison, Gong Ti, Bei Ao, and Feng Shang Shi Ji. ACE – Advanced Communication Equipment Co Ltd. was responsible for the technical realisation. ACE is MA Lighting’s distributor in China.