MACIII’s and MA2 are Bootylicious!

Posted on Monday, September 28th, 2009


Lighting designer for Beyonce’s “I am…” Tour is Justin Collie, partner of Artfag LLC, whilst Pat Brannon is on tour as lighting director. Artfag do more than just the lighting design; they are the ‘Performance Environment Designer’ incorporating set, lighting and video element design for the tour.

Beginning with her first ever solo tour in 2003, Artfag has been commissioned the performance environment design for every touring outing of Beyonce’s career including many TV and award show performances.

Justin decided to use the MACIII profiles on the tour because, he said, they were new, brighter and better.

”Due to the huge video screen, we needed to move the lighting elements into useful positions when required so we have most of the MACIII’s on ‘pods’ that can track, raise/lower and rotate within the three-dimensional area over the stage,” explained Justin when asked where the MACIII’s were positioned onstage. “The MACIII’s are nice and bright, the zoom range is good and the rotating effect wheel is a nice gag.”

Pat Brannon, the man on the road with the twenty-four MACIII’s is equally impressed by the fixtures.

“I love the optics of the MACIII,” he said. “It has the same features off the MAC2000 with much improved optics and brightness in fact I love their brightness. Of course the added animation wheel is awesome. I really like the speed at which it will go from zoom to tight beam.”

Each of the six pods holds two MACIII, there are three either side of the downstage truss and three either side on the floor. For wash light there are thirty GLP Impressions: twelve on the floor and eighteen in the air.

”I was shown the GLP Impression in 2007 by the guys from Ed & Ted’s who basically got the Impressions to light an arena from front of house all the way to the back corner,” commented Pat. “I went on to use them on a Bon Jovi tour and loved them so much I had them incorporated into this show.

“However the show is all about video and we have to watch the intensity of the lighting fixtures so as not to blow out the huge LED screen at the back. So really, as far as lighting fixtures go, it’s not really that a big of a system. The idea is to use the pods for different looks.”

Sixteen Martin LC Panels form the surface of the B stage whilst twenty Atomic Strobes with colour scrollers add flash to the show.

Out at front of house Pat has four MA Lighting MA2 consoles and he has been a grandMA convert since 2001.

“The grandMA is absolutely my favourite console especially for shows like this where you have to manipulate the video,” remarked Pat. “Of course there’s no fixture profile that’s default that you can load to control the “Control Freak Systems DMX Bridge” and we have to make all of our profiles custom in particular for the CFS media servers and bridge specialized video. That feature alone makes your life so much easier on a grandMA because you can basically just write profiles for whatever you want.”

Control freak systems DMX Bridge is an interface that lets you control a video processor via DMX which usually you can’t do. The system is made specifically for an individual system therefore no lighting console has a profile for it – the advantage of the MA is that you can quickly and simply write a profile on the desk so you can control any fixture in this case the Control Freak Systems DMX Bridge interface.

”Of course the whole view (personalized profiles) with the desk, laying out a console with a video aspect as opposed to a lighting aspect, is a big plus too, added Pat. “I could just go on and on……”

In fact the Beyonce tour was the first to take out the new MA2 console and initially there were a couple of hardware bugs which MA Lighting promptly sorted out.

”We don’t have the Series 2 software yet and I can’t wait to get my hands on that one!”