Mandylights Cuts Loose

Posted on Thursday, June 12th, 2008

Click on images to enlarge

Knox Grammar High School is known for a professional approach to their musicals, and their 2008 production of ‘Footloose’ set new standards when the school called in Mandylights to completely overhaul their production design to create something new and fresh. Richard Neville was responsible for the visual design of the production, which utilised 300 Pro Shop LED ‘Happy Tubes’ arranged on vertical trusses to literally cover the stage with a low-res video screen.

Control was via a MA Lighting grandMA console and media was piped to the tubes with a new Hippotizer V3 system, which proved to be worth its weight in gold.

“The processing power, range of controls, reliability of the server and the design of the content management system of the Hippo really is unmatched by any other media server,” said Richard.

The vast majority of the media for the show was designed in house at Mandylights – everything from static imagery through to a series of video clips that made full use of the aspect ratio of the design and resolution of the tubes. With so many designers simply relying on stock video content, Mandylights prides itself on coming up with new, unique content for every production, and Footloose was no exception.

“We created a very stylised look made up of simple, icon-style graphics and bold, sweeping colour schemes to create a sense of place and atmosphere for every scene,” explained Richard.

In addition to the 300 LED tubes, a selection of moving lights were thrown in and carefully programmed to work with the media content in every scene. Cairellie Showcraft supplied all of the equipment for the show, and went above and beyond the call of duty as they had custom-made low profile frames made up to mount the tubes evenly.

With 465 cues in each show, Richard hit the Go button nearly 3,000 times in the two week season, leaving a few thousand people very impressed with the show’s staging and design.

Footloose Credits

Design: Richard Neville

Associate / Spot Caller: Michael Gearin

Equipment: Cairellie Showcraft