grandMA controls The Police

Posted on Friday, January 25th, 2008

One of rock ‘n roll’s most eagerly anticipated comebacks became reality when The Police started their Australian reunion tour this month. When Sting, Andy Summers and Stewart Copeland went out on the road again after 24 years a complete MA Lighting network system including grandMA consoles, MA NSPs and the software based media server grandMA video accompanied them around the world.

The intention of lighting designer Patrick Woodroffe and associated lighting designer and also lighting programmer Danny Nolan was, to give the “The Police Tour 2007/8” an unique touch of old-style and new, to show how the band appeared once before and how they are now. The original stage was designed to show the band in a contemporary setting with unobstructed views all around.

Video plays a big role during the show. Three high-resolution LED screens display live footage and selected content whilst Versa Tubes are mounted to the face of the oval truss above the stage and display different media content. Two PA wings feature 15 x 12m custom low resolution LED screens and show strong and simple graphic content. One grandMA media server controls the low-res screens, one the VersaTubes while three other grandMA video systems feed the high-res screens.

High-res video first passes through video director Kevin Williams’s Grass Valley switcher which also sends live feeds and imagery from a Doremi server to the high-res screens. grandMA video offers the possibility to format the Versa Tubes and the side screens as a complete map with images expanding from the middle.

An MA Network on a fibre-optic backbone connects the two grandMA full-size consoles, five MA NSPs and five grandMA video media servers, allowing interface with the system at any time. The fibre optic was chosen because of the long distances and to get a reliable fast speed network because of the 100 Mbit/s working speed of the MA-Net. The MA NSPs are installed locally. One is placed at the FOH for audience lighting while the remaining four are positioned backstage. The NSPs make the desk to server system scaleable with no extra processing drag on the desk.

During the pre-programming of the show the free grandMA 3D software was used. This gave the programmers the chance to work right from the start with the complete stage view. Also the multi-user mode was a welcome tool. It gave the programmers the opportunity to share the same showfile at the same time by dividing the show into different “worlds”.

The rig also includes 40 Martin MAC2000 wash, 18 MAC700, 11 MAC250 wash and 8 Atomic Strobes.