Usher’s lighting is O-M-G

Posted on Thursday, May 27th, 2010


Usher was like “O-M-G” as he took the stage at the Overseas Passenger Terminal in Sydney for a performance on Channel 7’s Sunrise program.

With the harbour as his backdrop, Usher performed three songs in the crisp early winters’ morning with the sun shining directly onto the stage. How on earth did the lighting designer manage to produce a light show that looked fantastic on the live broadcast?

Lighting designer Bryce Mace from Entertainment Installations, who supplied lighting production for the live performance, turned to fixtures with punch: Martin LC Panels, Pro Shop LED Honeycomb 72’s, Martin MAC301 LED washes, Studio Due CS4’s and new to Bryce, eight JARAGs. The rig was setup by Christian Yanni from Entertainment Installations.

Usher’s Creative Director indicated preferred colours for the gig but other than that, Bryce was given free reign with his design.

The four LC Panels at the back of the stage made a fabulous addition to the rig for when they were not displaying content from Bryce’s ArKaos Media Server, their transparency allowed sweeping views of the city behind the stage.

Ten MAC301 LED washes were flown in the air with a further six on the stage. The eight Honeycombs were suspended in the gaps between the LC Panels.

”The LED fixtures are great for the television,” commented Bryce. “In fact I use the MAC301’s on every gig I do as they are awesome. The Honeycombs are great too as they produce a ‘star’ effect. And I love the JARAGs! I had never used them before and only had a short time to get to grips with them but it wasn’t difficult. As they have the inbuilt patterns you can do something that looks good very quickly and without having to think too much.”

The JARAGs were positioned four on the floor against a small riser to the back of the stage with four more forming a tower centre back stage. Four Studio Due CS4 fixtures were positioned upright on the stage whilst a JEM ZR33 DMX smoke machine provided atmosphere.

Eight Kupo Par64 cans were out front in case the day turned overcast and extra light was needed for the cameras. Four Kupo 4 Liters and six molefay duets were also in the rig.

For control Bryce was using a MA Lighting MA2 + wing, with MA1 software, which make using the LC Panels a breeze.

”I love the MA2 and recently I’ve been using it for a local disco that I do,” he said. “The thing is, all my mates go there too so sometimes I want to join them on the dance floor rather than sit by the console all night. Fortunately I can do this as I have the MA set up on my iPhone! I bring a wireless router and use the grandMA application on my phone. I can ask someone whilst dancing what their favourite colour is and with one click change the lighting to that colour. It’s most impressive when they don’t know I actually work there!”

Photos by Troy Constable