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Archive for November, 2014

Avolites Quartz ‘performs perfectly’ for Charlie Simpson

26th November, 2014

Lighting designer Will Dart stepped out as one of the first users of Avolites’ new compact-yet-powerful Quartz console last month, using it to control a sophisticated design for singer-songwriter Charlie Simpson’s UK tour.

The tour saw a show at London’s iconic Roundhouse, with Dart’s vintage and paired-back lighting theme making use of the venue’s impressive house rig. The designer also specified the retro-designed JTE Patt 2013 luminaire and some large 5K Fresnels (retro-fitted with 2K lamps) from Siyan Ltd to add to the throwback feel, using the ultra-versatile Avolites Quartz to control the set up.

“I heard about Avolites developing this new desk a while back but it was only at PLASA that I first got my hands on it,” says Dart. “I had a quick demo and was very impressed with how it handled quite demanding tasks with ease. At the time I was putting the finishing touches to the show with Charlie, and Avolites very kindly agreed to let me try the Quartz. Getting to try out the latest technology is a real attraction but I was specifically drawn to it because I wanted to find something that could handle multiple roles in my set up. I can’t always apply the same desk to each project so having something so versatile is a real bonus.”

Dart owns an Avolites Titan Mobile and Titan Wing, but often specifies an Avolites Tiger Touch or Sapphire Touch for bigger gigs.

“I wondered whether if going to Quartz – something physically smaller – and still trying to achieve the same results would raise any issues. However, despite having a slightly smaller screen, the desk is optimised to use it efficiently so I really didn’t feel like I was losing any space compared to the Tiger Touch,” continues Dart. “Although you are losing the extra faders and macro/executor buttons, you do quickly find that you have no problems programming your show without them, especially if you cue-stack rather than busk the show. For anyone looking to take an Avo on the road who is restricted on budget and space, this could easily solve their problems.”

Dart’s design ensured his retro-style additions would integrate with the Roundhouse’s rig, following the way the room curves around the back of the stage. Having done the vast majority of the programming in the run up to the show, Dart got hold of the Quartz the night before, giving him just enough time to power up and load his work in.

“The thing that really impressed me was the easy transition from the mobile layout,” says Dart. “I’ve come to get used to how easy this is across the range, and this makes home programming a breeze. It’s also small enough that it doesn’t require masses of office space. When it came to the show, using the console quickly became second nature and felt no different to using anything else in the range. The user interface is as familiar as it’s ever been. It also performed perfectly.

“Quartz also has real ability as a fly desk for overseas shows, so I could certainly see myself having it as my main console for next year’s festival season.”

Charlie Simpson’s headline Roundhouse show was his biggest to date, celebrating the release of his Top Ten second solo album Long Road Home. He will be embarking on a Solo Acoustics tour throughout the beginning of next year, playing a string of intimate shows without his band for the very first time.

Avolites Tiger Touch II controls ‘old school’ look for Level 42 at the Royal Albert Hall

25th November, 2014

Avolites aficionado and lighting designer Yenz Nyholm used an Avolites Tiger Touch II with Tiger Touch Fader Wing to create a retro look for English pop/rock band Level 42’s gig at London’s Royal Albert Hall.

Nyholm’s Tiger Touch II, running Titan v8, was used to control a varied design of rock gig, West End theatre, and big band with a distinctly 1980’s feel.According to Nyholm, Level 42’s lead singer and bassist Mark King’s brief for the lighting was “Big colours” and “Old school”.

To achieve this, Nyholm specified a mixture of fixtures including Robe 600s, Robe LED beam 100s, Clay Paky Alpha Wash 700s, Chauvet Professional Tri Tour LED Par Cans, and Showtec Sunstrips. The rig was controlled and programmed by the Tiger Touch II and the Tiger Touch Fader Wing, which offers 30 additional faders for instant access to all of your playbacks and fixtures.

“The Tiger Touch II is such an intuitive desk to use,” says Nyholm. “The best thing for me is the cue stacking. You can display your cue list and each individual cue’s parameters on the screens, but better still you can go in and change every parameter without having to be in the cue itself. This has been a massive time saving device and made making changes very simple and efficient.”

The Tiger Touch II is based around a large touch screen with high quality switches, encoders and faders. It offers 20 submasters separately paged as two banks of 10 and a further 10 macro or executer buttons, and harnesses the power of Titan. It also includes the popular pixel mapper feature.

“Almost half of my cues are pixel mapping,” says Nyholm. “This enables me to achieve fantastic effects and colours running across – anytime I want a scrolling effect or any kind of effect going in and out or up and down, the pixel mapper is just the easy way to do it. I love the way it’s laid out and so easy to access.”

Following the release of their Sirens EP, Level 42 embarked on an 18-date UK tour, culminating in this special show at the Royal Albert Hall, and a 16-date EU tour. All dates on the EU tour were lit with house rigs, making use of Titan v8’s fixture exchange function. “This feature made it easy to adapt the rig every day,” adds Nyholm.

Black Light spends a ‘Night in the Garden’ at Royal Botanic Gardens, Edinburgh

25th November, 2014

In celebration of all things natural and nocturnal, nighttime visitors to Edinburgh’s much-loved Royal Botanic Garden (RBGE) saw the familiar landscapes and buildings transformed by a magical light installation during November.

Designed by light artist Malcolm Innes, along with his colleague Euan Winton and supplied and installed by light solutions specialist Black Light the aptly named ‘Night in the Garden’ invited people to visit the gardens after dark to view and interact with an inspired display of light, art and nature.

The initiative was designed to bring a fresh sense of place and perspective to a familiar attraction and was two-and-a-half years in the making. It was made possible through the partnership of Royal Botanic Gardens, Edinburgh Napier University, Unique Events, Event Scotland, via Homecoming Scotland 2014, and Black Light.

“This installation was as much about dark as it is about light,” explains Malcolm Innes, a light art and projection artist, lecturer and researcher at Edinburgh Napier University. “The Botanical Gardens is right in the heart of Edinburgh City so finding true darkness here is almost impossible. Our installation was designed to use different light angles, colour and movement to amplify the darkness and at the same time alter how people see the more familiar daytime features when surrounded by darkness. By careful positioning of lighting fixtures and manipulation by programming we can mask familiar landmarks and emphasise other features that would not necessarily stand out during the day. Black Light and I have worked together over some years and as ever the inventive Black Light team has helped me really focus my creative ideas by offering realistic and practical technical solutions to satisfy the overall artistic concept.”

The resulting event was enchanting. Black Light’s Calder Sibbald, Head of Hire and Event, elaborates: “Malcolm came up with a simple but effective design for the various parts of the gardens. It was our job to translate that design into the most appropriate lighting fixtures. Importantly, we also had to map the best way to run all the power distribution and lighting control elements of the project without causing damage to the rare and valuable plants or disrupting the daytime use of the gardens. And of course we had the added challenge of the outdoor environment and the changeable Edinburgh weather.”

Black Light supplied an extensive list of lighting and sound equipment, alongside control systems and power distribution. “Many of the various lit features around the route required their own control system,” explains Sibbald. “These were programmed on an ETC Geo Neo and the cue stacks were then loaded into an ETC Nomad Pucks, which then cycled the show throughout the evening.”

Key areas of interest included: a high impact, vibrantly lit, somewhat surreal, high hedge lit by a number of Green HQI Floods. Just a little further on was the impressive Georgian glass Palm House where the lighting concept created a sense that the sun is captured within it, rising and falling over a four minute dynamic lighting sequence.

The imposing building was lit externally by a number of Robe CitySkape 48 LED units while inside Black Light used a combination of LED and discharge ETC Source 4 fixtures to project onto a huge disc hung in the centre of the house. Studio Duo Due CityColor LED units and Briteq Power Pixel 8s created a general feel of slowly morphing colour-ways that ran from dawn to day to dusk to moonlight.

Visitors could then walk through and past a variety of smaller installations until they arrived at the large pond. Here, a cycled dynamic show saw weather-protected Robe Robin MMX Spots, housed inside Airstar Inflatable Domes, dance across the water like eerie ‘Crane like’ creatures. Black Light also installed fountains which occasionally bubbled up to distort the reflected images of the slow colour-morphing trees and shrubbery that surround the pond. All of this runs in sync with an evocative musical score created by Haftor Medboe from Edinburgh Napier University.

Beyond the pond the route took visitors around a number of other attractive feature areas and installations before arriving at Inverleith House. Here, former Napier University students – Double Take projections – projection mapped slowly peeling wallpaper patterns, effectively turning the inside out, across the whole face of the building.

The installation concluded at the Pool of Serenity where a plethora of illuminated Perspex rods of varying heights were installed in an ornamental pond, backdropped by high hedges lit in striking dark greens and blues.

Peter Irvine, director of Unique Events is delighted with the outcome: “Black Light was the ideal partner for this event. The company’s technical team are skilled and resourceful, exactly what a project like this needs. We had been working on Night in the Garden for many months and at times it was a complex event to orchestrate. When it came to the lighting we were looking for a partner that we could rely on to understand what was required, be flexible, responsive and creative and be on time on a ridiculously tight budget! Having Black Light on board as our partners has given us exactly that.”

In addition to specifying and installing the fixtures, Black Light will also be providing on-going technical support for the event, which ran until 23 November 2014.

Triple E sponsors the JMK Award winning production of Far Away at the Young Vic Theatre with complex ERAIL

25th November, 2014

Entertainment equipment expert Triple E is sponsoring London’s Young Vic theatre this month by donating a complex ERAIL track system solution for the JMK Award winning production of Caryl Churchill’s Far Away.

Triple E’s MD David Edelstein was initially approached by the Young Vic’s Technical Director Igor, and then Far Away’s Production Manager Ed Borgnis to design, supply and install an irregular-shaped track solution for a scene in the play requiring equipment trickery to achieve an inspired effect.

Far Away is directed by this year’s JMK new directors award winner Kate Hewitt, with a design by Georgia Lowe.

“In the play there is a procession of people wearing hats, and the play leads us to understand they are on their way to be executed,” explains Ed Borgnis. “Given that we are staging the show in our Clare Studio, with no space for a mass ensemble of actors to play the crowd, Georgia and Kate have come up with the clever solution of having 50 hats hung from a track which process through the space. The tracking solution is complex in that the track needs to be driven and the shape requires several turns.”

To help realise the project, Edelstein visited the creative team at the Young Vic to discuss requirements, and offered ERAIL as a low profile, easily altered system. In the smaller space of the Clare Studio, the team is able to weave it through the truss and around the busy lighting rig. The over stage track runs along the centre line of the space, but with ERAIL’s size, they’ve also been able to maintain near centre-line positions for other automation lines and features of the set.

Show Producer Ros Terry comments: “ERAIL is lightweight, low profile, simple to rig and available in custom bends, making it perfect for our needs on this production. We test rigged the system in a rehearsal venue, and straight away we could see it was going to work as a concept, support the required load and still operate smoothly and be easily controllable. In addition, assembly is deceptively quick. There were only a few simple setup considerations that need to be observed and the system was running smoothly with no adjustment.”

The track donation is the result of an on-going relationship between Triple E and the Young Vic.

“The artistic vision of this show would be significantly compromised had it not been for David’s personal, and Triple E’s financial contribution to the piece,” Ros Terry continues. “Offering sponsorship and support allows creative use of Triple E’s products for unusual purposes and in new environments. It’s exciting that an established company like Triple E is open to productions imagining new applications for their designs.”

Edelstein continues: “I’m thrilled that Triple E can assist on a production that required a solid, complex technical solution but didn’t have the budget for the equipment. I thoroughly enjoyed the challenge, and I’m proud that Triple E continues to support the industry in this way.”

Far Away played 7 – 29 November at the Young Vic.


St. Joseph’s College upgrades to Philips Selecon PL LED range

25th November, 2014

Prestigious, independent day school St. Joseph’s College has recently refurbished its much-loved chapel in a move to boost its technological offering whilst maintaining its environmental policy. To that end, the school turned to an array of energy-saving yet versatile Philips Selecon PL range luminaires from long-term and trusted supplier Lancelyn Theatre Supplies.

Having worked closely with Philips Selecon for many years, Lancelyn’s Jo Beaumont-Ward recommended its PL range, saying:  “Selecon’s PL range is one of the most reliable LED offerings on the market and will provide St. Joseph’s with the required efficiency, practical stage lighting and in-built colour mixing that will stand the test of time.”

With the chapel being a multi purpose space the luminaires had to be able to switch from an assembly or religious service using warm whites to the vibrant, intense hues of a theatrical performance, in order to mitigate the need for several different fixtures.

Moreover, the chapel’s apex ceiling height of over eight metres meant that frequently accessing the existing tungsten fixtures needed complicated equipment.

Lancelyn therefore supplied an easy-to-maintain and space-effective package of 16 versatile PL luminaires – 10 x Selecon PLfresnel1 LED luminaires, three PLprofile1 LED Zoom 18-64 degree luminaires and three PLprofile1 LED Zoom 24-44 degree luminaires complete with gobo holders.

“St. Joseph’s has its own stock of tungsten halogen lanterns that they will continue to use in conjunction with the LED fixtures, but I understand the school will continue to upgrade to LED as their tungsten units deteriorate and become unusable,” says Jo Beaumont-Ward. “The end of term assembly was the first time the school really ran the new Selecon PL system and they are very excited about the potential of the rig for the Christmas festivities such as the carol concert and performance.”

Lancelyn Theatre Supplies also upgraded the main lighting in the hall, the audio system and the AV facilities.


Curve Theatre invests in Philips Vari-Lite VL4000 Spot

19th November, 2014

Leicester’s award-winning Curve theatre has become one of the first in the UK to invest in the latest addition to Philips Vari-Lite’s product line, the VL4000 Spot. The theatre purchased 10 of the luminaires from White Light as an ultra-versatile and cutting-edge solution to lighting its range of productions and events.

Since opening in 2008, Curve has taken pride in being a state-of-the-art venue that offers world-class theatrical experiences. The technical team therefore updates the moving light stock every six years in order to provide lighting designers with the latest technology.

“We’re finding more and more designers are looking for profiles with shutters, which made our existing profiles the first of our stock to change,” says Curve’s Operations and Technical Director Paul Moore. “Ensuring our creative teams have access to the best tools on the market is a key aim for Curve and the VL4000 Spot will very much help us deliver this.”

Curve covers a wide range of productions from plays to musicals and conferencing to graduation ceremonies.

“The VL4000 Spot is a very versatile luminaire, which is ideal for us,” continues Moore. “We will probably use them in the quieter ‘studio’ mode most of the time as this will be bright enough for most of our work, but it’s also fantastic to have the ability to turn them up to 11 should a scene require it. The VL4000 Spot’s feature set is very impressive and the use of common components throughout the unit should mean we only have to hold minimal spares. In reality, we will need to work the new units for 10 years, and we’re expecting the VL4000 Spot to still be a very desirable and often requested lamp at the end of the lifecycle.”

The brand new VL4000 Spot luminaires arrived on site on the 11 November. They will go straight onto Curve’s Christmas production of The Sound of Music, lit by LD Phil Gladwell who, according to Moore, is “very keen to use them and explore their potential.”

“The PLASA Innovation Award-winning VL4000 Spot luminaire from Philips Vari-Lite includes all the tools needed to create dynamic and useful lighting on any stage as every aspect of the luminaire has been designed with performance in mind,” says Brad Schiller, Product Marketing Manager for Philips Vari-Lite. The 1200W VL4000 Spot boasts 33,000 lumens as well as a quiet Studio mode, which outputs 25,000 lumens. Its high resolution optics ensure remarkable center-to-edge focusing and an unprecedented contrast ratio while a 5:1 zoom covers an amazing 9 to 47 degrees without sacrificing output or clarity.”

The Sound of Music will run from Friday 28 November to Saturday 17 January.

Philips Selecon delivers ultimate flexibility to dance-theatre piece

19th November, 2014

Australian dance-theatre piece Intimacy by Michelle Ryan and Torque Show recently traversed the globe to take up residence at the Southbank Centre in London. Part of the ‘Unlimited’ disability arts festival, the piece was lit with eight Philips Selecon LED PLprofile1 luminaires, chosen for their crucial colourising flexibility by lighting designer John Ford.

Ford, of lighting design consultancy Relume, specified the Selecon luminaires when it came to lighting the piece during its previous run at the Malthouse Theatre in Melbourne.

“I chose the PLprofile1 luminaires as I knew I needed something flexible to get as many lighting options as possible into a small space, and a conventional rig can be limiting in that sense,” says Ford. “I used the PLprofile1 luminaires in dance booms, because I wanted a wide range of color, and they gave me the variety that made the design work. The white to pastels gamut is particularly good, they look like real whites rather than RGB trying to mix to white, and I’m a fan of the saturated blues. Whilst I think it will be a long time before we get a Lee Congo Blue out of an LED, the Selecon PLprofile1 engine comes very close.”

Ford employed the Selecon fixtures to wash the tight performance space with clean, shifting hues to perfectly accent the progression of dancer Michelle Ryan’s story.

“The color accuracy between units was impressive, with good consistency, and even live shifts were clean and behaved well,” continues Ford. “The Selecon fixtures are also great in terms of optical performance. The color is fully mixed before it leaves the lens tube, so you don’t get RGB dots on the frost in the gel holder or RGB streaks in the haze in the first part of the beam. If they’re visible from the audience (as they were in this show) and you just bring them up in the first cue with a warm white, most lighting people in the audience are going to think they’re conventional profiles with gel. It’s not until you change color for the first time that you know they’re something different.

“They also do very clean shutter cuts and while I didn’t use them with gobos in this show, I’ve seen them with gobos in and they project as cleanly as the halogen version. I’d say I have fairly limited experience in using LEDs in theatre applications, mostly because I haven’t been convinced until now that there’s a fixture available that can do what I want. However, the PLprofile1 allows optical and color control to a degree that makes it more than useable for theatre.”

Michelle Ryan started dancing when she was four years old and went on to be one of Australia’s most celebrated performers. Intimacy is her response to questions about her 10-year break from dancing after being diagnosed with MS. Torque Show are Vincent Crowley, Ross Ganf and Ingrid Weisfelt.

Philips Selecon updates Redbridge Drama Centre with energy-saving rig

18th November, 2014

Two of Redbridge Drama Centre’s much-loved venues, the Lovegrove Theatre and Telford Studios, have recently received a delivery of over 50 new Philips Selecon PL range luminaires as a means to reduce the Drama Centre’s energy consumption.

The shift to LED came as a result of a £192,000 grant given to RDC by Arts Council England to improve the building and to implement energy saving measures, in part by replacing the traditional stage lighting with LED luminaires. The Drama Centre’s Technical Drama Officers Chris Bocking and Ben Ward along with Mick Cocker of Lighting Logic, who supplied and installed the units, spent months researching the best possible luminaires for the re-fit and selected the Selecon PLfresnel1 and Selecon PLcyc1 for their project.

The Philips Selecon PLfresnel1 is a general purpose luminaire for theatre, small studio and display lighting applications. It produces an adjustable cone of light with a soft edge that is easily blended with adjacent beams to provide even illumination, whilst the PLcyc1 luminaire seamlessly blends intense washes of colour on cycloramas up to 5m high. As both luminaires combine LED source technology with Philips Selecon’s industry benchmark quality, they are highly efficient tools.

The PLcyc1 luminaires along with a number of the PLfresnel1 are currently in use on a site-specific immersive production of Woyzek.

“These Philips Selecon units have proved to be excellent in quality and flexibility and have enabled RDC to use a rig that utilises half the number of units it would require if they were tungsten,” says Bocking.

Woyzek is the first stage in phasing in the Philips Selecon luminaires, which will continue over the next few months, to facilitate a smooth transition from tungsten to LED. This will allow the centre to get to grips with a new way of working but still accommodate touring companies that may not be ready for a full LED rig.


Showline parties with Katy B

18th November, 2014

Katy B embarked on a major UK tour that saw lighting designer Tom Campbell make dramatic use of Showline SL NITRO 510C LED strobes to blend her signature dubstep/garage sound with his nightclub-evoking lighting theme.

Campbell, who was touring a floor package and augmenting his design with venue house rigs, was looking for fixtures that could bring more than one strong look to his design: “I wanted a really clubby vibe with lots of opportunity for strong, colorful high-contrast moments,” explains Campbell. “I’m using the SL NITRO 510C strobes as block color strobing and super-bright backlight wash effects. Both looks deliver a really striking feel.”

The SL NITRO 510C strobes, supplied by lighting hire operation Siyan Ltd, feature six unique zones of control offering Campbell a much appreciated element of flexibility.

“They’re incredibly bright and designers seem to love them as they offer a new dimension in dynamic strobing,” adds Jez Johnson, Siyan’s project manager for the tour. “The six separate zones in each fixture plus the fact that they connect so easily together means designers can create some really dynamic and very bright, fast moving graphics, something that was never possible with traditional strobe lighting.”

“The really cool thing with the SL NITRO 510C fixtures is that you can also create a fantastic stop frame animation effect which looks amazing,” adds Campbell. “I love them and will definitely be specifying them again.”

The SL NITRO 510C is a an RGB & W LED strobe luminaire capable of delivering intense bursts of colored and white light plus a wealth of dynamic effects. Each fixture has a tightly packed array of 264 high power fixed white LEDs and 264 RGB LEDs enabling both the traditional white effects plus an almost infinite choice of color. The six unique zones alongside some unique built in chases plus incredibly bright output means the SL NITRO 510C rivals conventional fixed white strobes and provides designers with a new dimension in dynamic looks onstage or into the audience.

Avolites Sapphire Touch controls nightclub vibe for Katy B

18th November, 2014

Lighting designer Tom Campbell has chosen to use an Avolites Sapphire Touch to programme and control his nightclub-vibe lighting design for Dubstep/garage star Katy B’s UK tour.

Campbell, who has designed a budget defying creative floor package, which comprises Philips Showline NITRO 510Cs, Clay Paky STORMY CCs, Clay Paky B-EYE K10 and K20s, along with a number of 14w OPSL Lasers, delivers a fast-paced, beat-precise show that has had audiences jumping throughout the tour.

“I’m a big Avolites fan, they’re great consoles, really easy to use and fast to programme,” says Campbell. “They come with all the features I need and I always spec them. I also own two myself – the Tiger Touch and the Titan Mobile.”

For Katy B Campbell is using the Sapphire Touch backed up by his own personal Tiger Touch. “I’m using the Sapphire for this because it allows me to speedily program multifaceted, multi-layered effects, including some complex pixel mapped looks using the Clay Paky B-EYEs,” explains Campbell.

Indeed the Sapphire Touch has 45, smooth running, motorised master faders and two large, super responsive and easy to read touch screens. This makes it easy for Campbell to work on the fly and to blend his floor package with the various receiving venues in-house rigs: “I keep the set list and followspot notes on one screen as a handy reminder, and I have the stage view on the other. The console enables me to lay my show out logically so I can interact with it manually without having to refer elsewhere for information. The best thing about all the Avolites consoles is that they make it easy to deliver a complex looking show, whilst at the same time allowing that all important hands-on feel.”

What Campbell particularly likes about the consoles that he actually owns is that they’re totally portable. “I can fit a laptop, a Titan Mobile and an 11″ touch screen in my backpack. This can be invaluable when I am travelling,” he points out. “I can take it on a plane as hand luggage and turn up anywhere in the world with a console that I’m familiar with and has my show loaded up – I love that.”

Katy B toured through October at venues including London’s Roundhouse, Manchester Academy, and the O2 Academy Newcastle.


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