i-Pix BB 7
Posted on Wednesday, May 14th, 2008
i-Pix have created a brand new fixture – the BB 7 – a seven cell high powered homogenized 10 degree RGB lightsource which is being utilized by Radiohead’s lighting & visuals designer Andi Watson for the band’s world tour which kicked off in the US at the start of May.
Forty-eight of the BB7s are in various positions around the rig, including 25 in five custom 5-way frames produced by Specialz .
Watson, is also using 48 of i-Pix new production model BB4s on his front truss. This is a four cell high power homogenized 20 degree RGB lightsource.
Additionally, there’s 14 i-Pix Satellites with holographic film mounted on the floor in and around the backline to light the band at close quarters.
This project started when i-Pix’ Chris Ewington visited the US last October to see a new prototype narrow optic. He then showed Watson the BB 4 which was already in production in January this year, along with a test rig of the embryonic idea he had for the BB7 – without optics.
Once the new optic became available, Ewington sourced the first 12 and again met Watson in March, along with Radiohead production manager Richard Young and lighting crew chief Andy Beller, and showed the first prototype BB 7 with the new narrow optic.
Watson liked it and thought the fixture was exactly what he wanted, after which i-Pix priced up the project for Richard Young, and from this came an order to produce 206 fixtures (enough for 2 rigs) from scratch in just over 5 weeks!
The i-Pix team, having just undergone the ‘birthing process’ with the BB4, were well geared up for this challenge, and confident of delivery.
Ewington comments, “From our experience, most shows spend months in discussion and a maximum of 6 weeks in prep, so this timescale did not come as a surprise”. He added “Our first fixture, the Satellite was developed under similar circumstances to coincide with Radiohead’s last tour”.
The BB4 uses i-Pix new custom LEDs produced by Lamina, and the evolution of the BB series produced the building blocks – both electronic and mechanical – that could be applied to the new BB7 using the narrow optic.
They completed the production task with 4 days to spare, down to an exceptionally good team, some serious planning and pushing their subcontractors to the limits!
The design period was condensed from six months to 4 days, the components were produced in two weeks and the units built over two weeks. “It was not a case of penalties for late delivery” elucidated Ewington, “We just had to do it”.
“Andi put his trust in us before when he integrated PixelLines into his groundbreaking show for Radiohead back in 2003. He relied on us again in 2005 and in 2008 he really upped the anti!
“We all appreciated Andi taking a massive leap of faith in having the courage to dispense completely with conventional lighting in his show. Not having a single discharge or incandescent lamp in the design, sets a new benchmark at least a couple of years from what we had anticipated”.
Watson’s unique energy saving unique design uses the three i-Pix fixtures plus other LED products, all of which work seamlessly together to produce a stunning, headline-grabbing design.
“I always enjoy working with Andi” says Ewington. His professionalism, attention to detail and progressive approach to pushing the industry forward never ceases to impress. I often design fixtures with Andi in mind and consider him and his team as exceptional and very important to our industry”.
The i-Pix BB 4 is a four cell high power homogenized 20 degree RGB source, using a custom Lamina light engine produced exclusively for i-Pix by Lamina Ceramics in New York. It consumes 120 watts at 240 volts, on full power.
The BB 7 is a seven cell high power homogenized 10 degree RGB source, using the same Lamina custom light engine. This fixture consumes 210 watts at 240 volts.