High End Systems provide a career highlight in Perth

Posted on Wednesday, July 20th, 2016

APIA 1 The APIA Good Times Tour, starring legends Daryl Braithwaite, Kate Ceberano, Jon Stevens and John Paul Young, has recently completed its 16 date tour of duty, including a stop in the Perth Concert Hall. With Perth being one of the three ‘orphaned’ shows without toured production, tour lighting designer Rohan Thornton was on the phone to local rental house Concert and Corporate Productions to source a rig for the show to supplement the Concert Halls’ simple house system.

When offered eight High End Systems SolaSpot Pro 1500s, he accepted. When offered eight High End Systems Shapeshifter C1s, he wasn’t so sure. But his mind was about to be radically changed. “I’d heard of the ShapeshifAPIA 4ters, but my first reaction was I thought they were a bit of a gimmick,’ explains Rohan. “But Sean McKernan at CCP convinced me to give them a go. Well, I’m glad he did, because they’re an awesome light and they’ve just gone to the top of my ‘must hire’ list.”

“The amount of flexibility I had with those fixtures was astounding,” continues Rohan. “With just 16 lights, I was able to create enough versatility for the show with minimal programming time. I was overlaying the split beams from the Shapeshifters over other lights to create interesting things really quickly. I looked deeper into the Shapeshifters and really, really enjoyed them. I got so fascinated with the Shapeshifters that I programmed through our meal break, realised it was doors in five minutes, and didn’t get dinner because I was so engaged with the lights!”

The Shapeshifter C1s in Rohan’s rig use 126 Cree 2 LEDS (42 4 red, 42 green, 42 blue) in seven independently controlled modules, housed in one moving fixture. They can create a multitude of highly defined beams that can come together to form an amazing array of effects from the incredibly bold to the ultra-subtle. All elements of the fixture are lightning fast, giving the designer the largest palette of creative options available, all from one fixture.

“APIA is a hard show because you’ve got four distinct artists and 30 odd songs, and you’re trying to make them all look different and give each artist a distinct identity,” explains Rohan. “I used the Shapeshifters for both washes and beams. I found being able to split the beams gave a really interesting texture to the shows. In 35 years in the industry, the Shapeshifter was the first light that I’ve had the star performers ask me questions about after the show. They all made a comment about how awesome those lights looked and felt. I’ve never had that from a fixture. Ever.”

Backing up the flexible theatricality of the Shapeshifters were eight SolaSpot Pro 1500s. “When Sean said he had eight SolaSpots available, I said yes immediately. The 1500 is extremely usable and versatile. Optically, it’s really consistent in colour temperature; it’s one of the things I really notice. Eight lights side by side that completely match each other is joyous. It really complemented the colours coming out of the Shapeshifters. I would have quite happily taken those 16 lights on the whole tour.”

“We’ve had Shapeshifters for in ourAPIA 5 inventory for two years and SolaSpot Pro 1500s for 12 months,” reports CCP’s Sean McKernan. “With the ShapeShifters you can send a single unit and have the effect of seven units. What we then found was that same philosophy can be applied to any show – send out eight fixtures and have the effect of 56. The bang-for-buck is really there – all seven beams are fat and separate in their own right.”

“The SolaSpot Pro 1500s are one of our major workhorses,’ he continues “They’re a full-featured, full-powered, moving profile, and the LED source means the cost savings in lamps alone is phenomenal, without compromise on what you’re getting. With the SolaSpots we’re guaranteed for the first 50,000 hours that they won’t dim, and they won’t change colour temperature or briAPIA 3ghtness. Every time we send them out, they’re going to look identical, no matter how many hours each unit has done. From a rental perspective, you can’t ask for anything more. You’re not going to get complaints about one fixture being duller or bluer than another.”

As always, all of High Ends System’s fixtures are backed by the unparalleled support and service provided by Australian distributor Lexair Entertainment. “I’m a Lexair fan,” admits Rohan Thornton. “It’s great to see people in the industry selling that have a passion for what they’re doing. Yes, it’s a business, but it’s also a calling.”