Martin MAC 101 RGB and CT fixtures for Radiohead

Posted on Friday, December 21st, 2012

Radiohead recently finished their world tour with five gigs in Australia where they showcased the band’s multi-decade career in an incredible aural and visual celebration. As a live band they transform their creations into an experience both towering and incandescent aided by the spectacular lighting of Andi Watson.

Andi’s groundbreaking design for In Rainbows from 2008 used a 100% LED lighting and video system and it was important that this tour was just as environmentally friendly hence the inclusion of thirty-two Martin MAC 101 RGB and sixteen MAC 101 CT LED moving head wash lights – the only moving heads in the rig.

The MAC 101 RGB fixtures are used as rear light and the MAC 101 CT as side and key lighting on the floor.

“In reference to the MAC 101 RGB fixtures, I was looking for an LED fixture that I could fire through the gaps in the upstage Versatube wall,” explained Andi. “It had to be a very small fixture in order to focus through the gaps and the MAC 101 RGB seemed like the ideal choice. It’s tiny size meant that we could sub-hang them from pipes coming down behind the Versatube wall, so close they almost touch it. Not only could we get a lot of up and down movement, we also managed side to side movement albeit not quite a full range.”

With the flexibility offered by the MAC 101 RGB fixtures, Andi could use them to back-light the band, as rear band key light, to provide block colour washes  and also to sweep out into the audience. The MAC 101 RGB’s added another layer of audience lighting whilst the video screens were preoccupied displaying band image work and Andi was impressed by their performance throughout the tour.

“The reliability of the units is amazing,” added Andi. “They performed really well.”

Incorporating both cold and warm white LEDs, the MAC 101 CT allows for easy changes in colour temperature from crisp cold looks to warm shades and features simple intensity control. Each MAC 101 CT is colour temperature calibrated (2800 – 6200K) to ensure a high quality of white light and visual consistency across fixtures. A while back Andi trialled some pre-production MAC 101 CT fixtures on a Radiohead gig in New York and he found them to be ‘incredible’.

“I was really amazed by their quality of beam,” he said. “They have a nice, tight beam of really lovely light plus they’re very bright and small. I used them as top key light with a couple also on the side place on the floor for white side washing. I loved them so much, and how we used them, I wanted to carry the idea through to this tour’s design. That’s where the sixteen lights at the side come from; they gave me a lot of options with intensity changes and therefore be able to change where the light is coming from without actually having to move the fixture all the time.

” I really love the MAC 101 CT, being able to go from the warm to the cold really does give you a lot of opportunities plus they’re a great key light for the cameras. ”

Photos: Troy Constable