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Archive for August, 2014

Philips Vari-Lite luminaires are ‘absolutely crucial’ in 14-18 Spektakel Musical

21st August, 2014

Lighting and visual designer Luc Peumans says that the powerful yet discreet VL3500Q Spot luminaires were the “perfect choice to highlight the action on set” for his latest theatrical production 14-18 Spektakel Musical, which saw audiences immersed in the heroism and struggle of the First World War on an incredibly large scale.

“I like the VL3500Q Spot luminaire’s power, its amazing framing and optical quality and its reliability. In addition, its low noise levels were imperative for this project,” explains Peumans. The VL3500Q Spot is a powerful 1200W luminaire that boasts a fantastic feature set and is designed for situations where the absence of noise is critical to the performance.

Through PRG Belgium, Peumans also specified an array of VL3000Q Spot luminaires, VL3000 Wash luminaires and 465 of an old favourite of his, the VL5B Wash, to support his absorbing and naturalistic lighting design.

“I used the fantastic gobo selection of the VL3000Q Spot to create effects on the massive concrete floor, with the VL3000 Wash its ideal companion to deliver all the washes and backlight floods,” the designer continues.

The VL3000Q Spot boasts 6:1 zoom optics, CYM colour mixing, variable CTO colour temperature correction, a six position fixed colour wheel, two rotating gobo wheels, one rotating effects wheel, a beam size iris, and separate dimmer and ultra-fast strobe mechanisms. A standard palette of gobos, effects and colours is provided with the unit, with custom gobos, effects and colours available, providing designers with unlimited creative possibilities.

14-18 Spektakel Musical took place in a 150 metre performance area of the Nekkerhal event hall in Mechelen, with audiences seated on a tribune that shifted 90 metres up and down the space.

“The sheer size of this project meant sourcing the right luminaires to optimise the effectiveness of my plan was vital,” says Peumans. “The fantastic colours and effects of the Vari-Lite luminaires were absolutely crucial in helping simulate all the locations from hometowns and hospitals to trenches and battlefields and to really make the experience come alive for the audience. In addition, with the venue already earmarked, the idea of using mobile scenery trucks evolved, so I suggested using the VL5B Wash luminaires to conceal the massive set pieces by creating virtual wing space with light curtains.”

Peumans used this same concept to mask off different depths along the performance space for when the location of the action and seating shifted up and down, employing the VL5B Wash luminaires to provide great depth and create striking shadows and stark contrasts. A huge network of trussing was installed into the venue, alongside eight 9 metre high scaffolding lighting towers, which ran down both sides of the performance space.

“The VL5B Wash luminaires were rigged on the towers where they were also employed to sidelight the action,” says Peumans. “I’ve always used them and will continue to do so as I really like the special colour palettes available, which were particularly ideal for this show.”

14-18 Spektakel Musical also featured a significant video element, with the Vari-Lite luminaires and the projected video backdrops working together as a cohesive creative concept to support the visual picture. Peumans worked closely with the video content designer to create special gobos for the VL3000Q Spot that delivered visual effects such as explosions.

“For me, Vari-Lite luminaires are the superior luminaires on the market for power and optical quality, not to mention their excellent gobo selection, allowing me to push the boundaries of creativity,” concludes Peumans.

Philips Vari-Lite VL3500 Wash FX luminaires deliver majestic lighting for Queen + Adam Lambert

21st August, 2014

 Lighting designer Rob Sinclair has turned to the fantastically bright beams of 40 VL3500 Wash FX luminaires, supplied by Upstaging, to hold their own amidst the vibrant and energetic onstage elements of the current Queen + Adam Lambert tour.

“I needed lights that were bright enough to illuminate people and cut through everything else on stage,” explains Sinclair. “As it’s Queen everything has to be over the top, starting huge and getting bigger, which is why I chose the powerful VL3500 Wash FX luminaires.”

The VL3500 Wash FX is a super bright luminaire with an output that exceeds 70,000 lumens and features internal zoomable beam optics with either Fresnel or Buxom options.

The stage itself is in the shape of a giant ‘Q’, with the tail of the letter coming off as a B-stage. The VL3500 Wash FX luminaires were rigged on the front and side trusses and as part of the floor package upstage.

“What I think is so fantastic about the VL3500 Wash FX luminaires is that they’re very long-throw,” continues Sinclair. “This is absolutely ideal from a front truss 40 feet in the air.”

Sinclair’s large-scale design evokes a retro feel that highlights Queen’s legacy, but with a contemporary edge. Alongside complementing the I-MAGS, old school video content of the band and extensive laser element of the show, the VL3500 Wash FX luminaires flood the all-gold set with intensely warm colours, thanks to their CYM colour mixing, dual five-position colour wheels and variable CTO colour temperature correction.

“The VL3500 Wash FX luminaires sit in the big picture very well and handle a lot of the keylight heavy lifting,” concludes Sinclair.

The Queen + Adam Lambert tour has so far been a roaring success, seeing sold out performances in some of the world’s most special and prestigious venues including Madison Square Garden in New York City. The tour now moves onto its Australian leg.

Philips Vari-Lite VL3500 Wash FX luminaires are a direct hit for One Direction

21st August, 2014

Global phenomenon One Direction embarked on their worldwide ‘Where We Are’ tour this spring, performing in some of the biggest stadiums around the globe to millions of screaming fans. For shows of this size and scope, go-to lighting designer for the live music industry Paul Normandale needed a mind blowing lighting design to match and so turned to the powerful versatility of the Vari-Lite VL3500 Wash FX luminaires, supplied by Lite Alternative.

Having designed shows for some of today’s biggest concert touring artists including Arctic Monkeys and Coldplay, Normandale is used to making a huge impact with his designs, which often feature the VL3500 Wash FX at their core.

“The VL3500 Wash FX luminaire has long been a favourite of mine,” says Normandale. “Because of this, it has formed the basis of many of my designs over the last few years.”

Normandale’s design for One Direction needed to pack a huge punch in order to stand up to the extensive onstage video element, as well as work against the sunlight that streamed into each stadium. He rigged eight VL3500 Wash FX luminaires on the floor and twelve in the air, to wash the stage and the band with vibrant colour and deliver some stunning effects.

“The VL3500 Wash FX is a fantastically bright source with endless creative possibilities, which is just what I needed,” says Normandale. “It provided me with the perfect transition from daylight to darkness at the end of the set when the band played their newer, rockier songs as I could then amplify the effects.”

The Vari-Lite VL3500 Wash FX has an output that exceeds 70,000 lumens as well as varied options for colour and beam control. It also provides designers with a four position plus open rotating FX pattern wheel, CMY colour mixing, variable CTO colour temperature correction, dual five-position colour wheels, a separate dimmer and an independent dual blade strobe mechanism. As well as its wash and effects modes, the VL3500 Wash FX provides the VARI*BRITE mode, which can be engaged to offer a tight column of remarkably intense light, making it the most versatile wash luminaire on the market.

“For this tour, we had to be really mindful of weight loadings because of the sheer scale of the set,” continues Normandale. “As the VL3500 Wash FX works as a wash and gobo effects light it was the ideal solution.”

One Direction are continuing to take the world by storm this summer, with the extensive US leg of their tour.

The Knight of Illumination Awards 2014: An invitation to lighting and video professionals

8th August, 2014

As we look forward to the seventh Knight of Illumination Awards (KOI), this year to be held at East London’s Troxy on the 5th of October, KOI is pleased to report a fantastic level of nominations in both the Concert Touring and Events and the Television categories.

Concert Touring and Events is judged by independent industry professionals from journalism and rental companies while the Television category, supported by the STLD, will again be judged by television industry professionals. The Theatre category, fully supported by the ALD, continues to be judged by professional critics from the National newspapers.

The Main Sponsors for this year’s KOI have been announced as Hawthorn, MA Lighting, OSRAM, Robert Juliat, and XL Video.

Organisers have further established the independence of the Knight of Illumination Awards by opening a new level of table sponsorship to any company involved in the lighting industry. Companies from control to rental and all lighting manufacturers have been invited to join lighting and video designers, working in the United Kingdom, in a celebration of design. Already confirmed are: Avolites, Chauvet, D3, ETC, Fix8, Gallowglass, Gearsource, Green Hippo, HSL, Pharos, Philips, PRG, Rosco, Stage Electrics, TMB and TSL.

The Knight of Illumination Awards is the only awards process established specifically for lighting, projection and video content design. Although it receives important financial and logistical support from founders and main sponsors, Clay Paky, the Awards themselves remain independent in terms of the judging process. This process continues to be carefully supervised by the UK’s leading lighting Associations and our committee.

All the shows submitted are judged on merit of design alone. The choice of equipment used by the LD has no influence on the outcome of the awarding process.

The KOI committee, composed of members of the ALD, STLD, category chairpersons and the awards founders, consider the independence of the process to be a fundamental tenet to the value of the recognition made to our peers by our peers.

The KOI organisers and sponsors are looking forward to welcoming colleagues, previous awardees and this year’s judges and nominees on the 5th of October. The KOI committee will be sending out invitations over the next few weeks. If you are a lighting designer or video professional, working in the UK, and do not receive an invitation by the 31st of August please do not hesitate to contact Durham and Jennie Marenghi at as this event is for you!

The Technical Theatre Awards 2014 Announce PLASA Ceremony

8th August, 2014

The Technical Theatre Awards, which celebrate the achievements of people working behind the scenes, have announced that this year’s awards ceremony will take place on 7 October at 5pm on The Theatres Trust Stage (R40) at PLASA London.

The Technical Theatre Awards (TTAs) will also have their own stand during PLASA, S30, which runs 5-8 October at London’s ExCel.

The TTAs, which debuted at PLASA 2013, were established to give due credit to the often unsung heroes and heroines that work backstage to make the theatre magic happen.

With the guidance of TTAs co-founders and organisers Ian Taylor and Olivia Dermot Walsh, the event has attracted immediate support from some of the biggest names and companies in the industry, including Philips Entertainment, PRG, and Triple E, all of which are sponsoring the awards again this year.

The TTAs announced nominees for their 2014 awards as voting opened during the ABTT Theatre Show in London in June.

Sixty-three individuals and venues are nominated across 18 awards covering all disciplines of technical theatre, ranging from achievements in stage management to scenic artistry, wardrobe to make-up and wigs. According to organisers, more than 1000 people voted in the first 24hrs of voting going live. Voting is still open, with it closing on the 30 September.

“We are delighted to be returning to PLASA London and The Theatres Trust stage to present this year’s Technical Theatre Awards,” says Taylor. “Since their conception the TTAs have received a huge amount of support from individuals and the industry as a whole. As we continue to develop and improve them we look to the industry to get involved in supporting and shaping the future of the awards. As we go forward we hope to develop relationships with industry associations and organisations to continue and improve the nomination process. These awards are for people working in the industry, created and operated by the industry, and we hope they will become an invaluable asset. We look forward to working with you all on this exciting journey of development, and we hope you can join us at PLASA to raise a glass to the future.”

Major industry organisations are again showing support for the TTAs. Sponsored Awards are: The “Douglas Turnbull” Award for Outstanding Achievement in Stage Management (Supported by Opera Holland Park); The “Philips Entertainment” Award for Outstanding Achievement in Lighting; The “PRG” Award for Outstanding Achievement in Production Management; The “Triple E” Award for Outstanding Achievement in Flys & Rigging; The “Rigging Team” Award for Outstanding Achievement in Automation; The “Total Solutions Group” Award for Outstanding Achievement in Set Construction; The “Training for Design” Award for Outstanding Achievement in Education; The “Rosco” Award for Outstanding Achievement in Scenic Artistry; The “GDS” Award for Venue Sustainability; The “Pearce Hire” Award for Outstanding Achievement in Stage Crew; The “Hawthorn” Receiving Venue of the Year Award; The “Pigs Might Fly South” Award for Outstanding Achievement in Make-up and Wigs; The “Stage Sound Services” Award for Outstanding Achievement in Media Server Programming; The “d&b Audiotechnik” Award for Outstanding Achievement in Sound; The “Robe” Hire Company of the Year Award; The “IOGIG” Award for Outstanding Achievement in Wardrobe and The “AD Vision” Award for Outstanding Achievement in Props.

And if any company or individual wants to get in on the action the award for Outstanding Achievement in Performer Flying is still looking for its ideal sponsor.

“Everyone is invited to the TTAs ceremony on Tuesday 7 October at 5pm on The Theatres Trust Stage (R40) at PLASA London,” continues Taylor. “Now’s the time to add it to your diaries – we look forward to celebrating the amazing work of backstage crews with you at what promises to be a truly fantastic event!”

Anyone who wishes to join the TTA team for a drink at the Awards presentation can register to attend the PLASA Show for free by using this link: –

To find out more, or to nominate, visit

Showline SL NITRO 510 and 510C strobes deliver fantastic effects for Sonisphere headliners The Prodigy

8th August, 2014

As the sun set over Sonisphere festival 2014’s opening day, 90s big beat pioneers The Prodigy walked on stage to sirens, screams and the bright blasting lights of 165 Showline SL NITRO 510 and 510C LED strobes, specified by the group’s longstanding lighting designer and creative director of HSL Andy Hurst.

After a three-year hiatus, the Sonisphere festival came back with a bang, seeing The Prodigy perform alongside a stellar line up of heavy metal and rock giants including Metallica and Iron Maiden. Hurst wanted a to create a mind blowing lighting design that would be a spectacular end to day one, and he didn’t disappoint. Locked together by the luminaires’ unique quick-connect system, which allows SL NITRO 510 and 510C units to connect together easily top-to-bottom and side-by-side, Hurst rigged the 84 SL NITRO 510 and 72 510C strobes in mixed groups of 10. His design saw them blast white and coloured light over the audience, generating an electric rave atmosphere.

“The design concept was based on an air hanger for a Harrier Jump Jet,” explains Hurst. “We took the idea from their 2013 New Year’s Eve show at the O2. It was a favourite for the band so they asked me to adapt it to our festival run this summer.”

The Prodigy performed energetic hit after hit, including Voodoo People and Firestarter. Hurst’s design punctuated each track with frenzied strobing and crowd blinder effects.

Sixteen SL NITRO 510 and 510C luminaires were rigged on two towers surrounding the band, and the rest in side hangs, filling the space around the 20 metre-high arch which framed the stage.

“I’m a really big fan of the Showline SL NITRO 510 range of strobes,” says Hurst. “They are super bright with great colour mixing and fantastic macros enabling me to create some really cool looks.”

The SL NITRO 510 and 510C are cutting-edge LED based strobes that provide intense bursts of light and dynamic effects. The SL NITRO 510 strobe’s tightly packed array of over 1300 LEDs ensures maximum output and full-field, even distribution across 120º. The 510C has an array of 264 high power fixed white LEDs and 264 RGB LEDs, ensuring an almost infinite choice of colour. Both luminaires’ six unique zones of control allow ultimately flexibility, while unique built-in chases aid in creativity and simplicity.

The Prodigy will continue to play at a number of international festivals over the summer, including massive appearances at the UK’s Global Gathering and Sziget Festival in Hungary.

Avolites Sapphire Touch provides sparkling end to Arcade Fire EU tour

8th August, 2014

The European leg of Arcade Fire’s Reflektor tour came to an emotional end at this year’s British Summertime Festival, held in London’s Hyde Park. Audiences danced to the band’s rhythmic indie-rock, superbly magnified by lighting designer Chris Bushell’s impressive light show programmed and controlled using an Avolites Sapphire Touch.

Bushell’s stage lighting worked seamlessly with the multi faceted set, devised by set designer Richard Stembride, and the on-stage video content. Combined, these factors brilliantly echoed the bombastic mood of the band’s art-house electronica with the mass enthusiasm of the crowd.

Nevertheless this show has been no easy ride for the creative team, which has seen them deliver a complex show design capable of fitting into every kind of venue from big US sheds, to European arenas and weekend music festivals, often with limited time and not always using the same lighting equipment. For Bushell, this is where the specification of the Avolites Sapphire Touch Console proved crucial.

“The Sapphire Touch was key to the successful realisation of Richard’s concept because there were so many design considerations to take into account,” he explains. “I needed a console that would allow me to recreate my design as quickly and efficiently as possible in each space. Luckily the Avolites Sapphire Touch not only manages to do what all other desks do, but it’s also packaged in a much easier to access and more intuitive platform, which means I can focus on the creative side of my job rather than the number crunching aspect.”

And creative it is – Bushell bounces light around the stage almost like it is a living three-dimensional object. The ceiling mirrors are used to great effect and the large selection of fixtures focused in at every angle make for a lively, rich and multi-dimensional show.

In addition, although Bushell is touring key fixtures, he also finds himself using a lot of the festival house rigs.

“Obviously as a headliner we get to bring in more of our own rig than most, however I don’t put in full production by any means,” Bushell continues. “For me the delight in using an Avolites Sapphire Touch console is the intuitive functionality, the dual screens and an expansive and versatile surface that gives me access to everything I could need during what can be some frenetic changeovers.”

Also instrumental is the ease with which Bushell can transpose the arena show design into the festival rig, as he explains: “I can visually map the festival rig on the screen of my console and then copy, paste and clone each fixture from my own design as I like. In fast-paced environments such as festivals this is brilliant!”

Koy Neminathan, sales director for Avolites continues: “Avolites has an enormously rewarding relationship with Chris Bushell. It’s great to see him using the Sapphire Touch in places such as Glastonbury, Earls Court and now British Summer Time at Hyde Park. Chris knows our consoles inside out and has always given us very helpful feedback from his experiences, at both festivals and touring venues. This feedback is a key factor when it comes to our product development and design as we value all of our lighting designers’ opinions.”

Ai Media servers Power Ethereal Visuals for Coldplay’s ‘stand-out’ Royal Albert Hall show

8th August, 2014

Four Ai Media S8 Infinity servers provided the cutting edge video mapping technology and incredible 16 HD DVI outputs that powered the ethereal visuals behind global super-group Coldplay’s much anticipated Royal Albert Hall (RAH) gig in London.

The RAH shows closed what was a short, six date, low key tour that supported their album Ghost Stories. Video Director Ben Miles of Mixed Emotions, London, who has been with the band throughout, projected an evocative mix of live and pre-recorded content across the hall’s 86 iconic ceiling mounted acoustic diffusion discs – known more fondly as the ‘mushrooms’.

“I pushed for the Royal Albert Hall show to be particularly ‘special’, a stand-out performance from the rest of the tour,” states Miles. “For this performance we wanted to combine the intimate setting we had created for the rest of the tour with something very visual and exciting.”

And intimately visual it was. Performed in the round, Miles used a network of 4 x Ai Media S8 servers, supplied by creative visual solutions company, XL Video with two as backup and two running the live content. The two live servers ran at their upmost capacity, utilising all eight of their custom HDSDI outputs to provide a discreet feed of 1920 x 1080 to 16 x 20k projectors.

Miles worked alongside LD Paul Normandale to balance lighting effects with a sometimes haunting, sometimes superbright mix of live and pre-recorded content created by We Are Bison. “Mapping the show was quite complicated due to the various height aspects of the mushrooms,” explains Miles. “However with the Ai’s 3D Visualiser we were able to constantly tweak the model to ensure that we got the projection points exactly right.”

In the end, each of the 16 projectors used mapped 4-6 mushrooms, with each mushroom able to have its own independently manipulated vertices so that they could all be warped around the disc individually.”

Miles says that he and his team relied heavily on Ai’s 3D Visualiser feature throughout the creative and technical process: “When we originally started planning for this project in the LA studio we didn’t know where the projectors would be positioned in space. The Ai Visiualiser came in incredibly handy as we were able to build the entre model in the virtual world. The 3D Visualiser also allowed us to show the band and the other technical departments how things would actually look on the day. Furthermore, because we could build the show in an output that we were going to use to feed the projectors, it meant we never had to ‘double-up’ on any work.”

Steve Warren, Managing Director of Avolites Media states: “The Ai S8 Infinity server is the most powerful server in the Avolites Media S range making it ideal for such a challenging project. It features eight Display Port / DVI outputs, all of which Ben used in this show. The server also features third generation PCI Express motherboards, graphics cards and RAID SSD drives, which gave us unrivalled performance alongside the 4K Ultra HD capability.”

Miles is delighted: “We could not have delivered this project as easily without the Ai. It has been a vital piece of equipment throughout the design and realisation process. Not only that, with the tight get in times at the RAH, the back up that we have received from Dave Green and his team at Avolites Media has been invaluable.”


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