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Archive for November, 2016

Avolites brings the rave back for Winterparty ’16

28th November, 2016

Electronic dance music lighting designer Conor Biddle specified an Avolites Sapphire Touch console to power his beat-perfect, immersive design for Winterparty ’16, which returned to Ireland’s 3Arena in October after a 12-year hiatus.


Inspired by the lighting at Las Vegas super-clubs, Biddle designed an intense, high-production show to celebrate the mammoth dance event’s welcome return, which saw an epic line-up including Skream, Matador and Sven Vath.


“I specified the Avolites Sapphire Touch running the latest Titan version 10 because a dance event like this requires plenty of live busking,” says Biddle. “The Sapphire Touch’s dual screen and abundance of faders and features allowed me to create my ideal layout through using playbacks and macros. This ability is invaluable when putting together fast-paced designs that have to be adaptable.”


Perfect for both timecoded shows and those on the fly, the Sapphire Touch is a high performance console. The desk’s extensive submasters, flash and executor buttons as well as its extended control surface, provides designers such as Biddle with the power to stay in charge of such ambitious lighting displays.


Biddle worked alongside video artist Kev Freeney on Winterparty, whose myriad of visuals were displayed on the large LED screen at the centre of the event’s stage. Biddle extended the reach of the graphics by designing three ten-metre wide x-shaped trusses at a low trim over the crowd. These trusses created a close atmosphere with the intention of focusing and harnessing the attention of the thousands of attendees who partied until the early hours of the morning.


Adding to the intensity of the structural design was Biddle’s non-stop light show performed by an array of intelligent fixtures including Claypaky Sharpys, Mythos and A.leda B-EYE K10 and K20s, alongside GLP X4s and Martin Atomic strobes. The Sapphire Touch handled the demanding networking of such fixtures with ease due to its 8 physical DMX outputs, up to 16 over ArtNet or sACN universes.


To get the best out of his design, Biddle made use of the updated Key Frame Shapes feature of Titan V10.


“With Key Frame Shapes, I was able to create colour, dimmer and position effects on different faders and playbacks,” says Biddle. “They were all tied to rate masters as well to adjust live to what the DJ was playing. I love how visual the interface is, making creating effects fast and precise.”


Key Frame Shapes allows users to create custom effects for each channel in seconds. Using pallets or the programmer to define the frames, there are tools such as transition curves, phase and spatial direction to create remarkable effects from scratch.


Having spent a large portion of his career designing for the dance and electronic scene Biddle has lit shows such as MK, XTRA Hardstyle Events and Sven Vath and has turned to Avolites to provide the level of equipment and support that a career such as his demands. 


“Avolites was my first choice for the Winterparty and has been my desk of choice for most of my career,” says Biddle. “The products are great, as is the reliability and support available from the Avolites team.”


POD Promotion’s Winterparty 2016 took place on the 30th of October.

Philips Lighting announces cast C.Adolph & RST Distribution GmbH as first full German distribution partner

28th November, 2016

Philips Lighting (Euronext Amsterdam ticker: LIGHT), a global leader in lighting, announced entertainment technology supplier cast as the first full distribution partner of its entire entertainment lighting portfolio in Germany.


As official distributor, cast has integrated Philips Vari-Lite moving head luminaires into its stock. The company will also hold a wider range of Philips Selecon LED fixtures, Strand Lighting control consoles and Showline effects lights. This will facilitate faster delivery of units and spare parts within Germany.


General Manager for Philips Lighting’s entertainment business Grant Bales-Smith said, “As part of our strategy of being a provider of connected lighting systems, we are establishing partnerships around the world that will offer a total entertainment lighting capability so our customers have a one-stop shop for all their lighting and project needs. We have decided to take this step with cast in Germany – one of our most longstanding and valued partners.”


Well-known for its close relationships with customers, personal service and professional advice, cast will also now offer open days and training on all Philips Lighting entertainment products and systems.


“We’re very excited to reach this next level of our partnership,” said cast’s Lighting Sales Manager Christian Pies. “Philips Lighting offers a wide portfolio of entertainment lighting products for different market sectors from a single source and we are proud to reflect this in our new role as a total solution partner. There has always been a high demand for Philips Lighting’s entertainment products in the German market and we are confident this collaboration will only serve to increase it.”


The company has facilitated the use of Philips Lighting’s entertainment lighting products for high profile events in Germany, such as the annual Pop Meets Classic concerts.


Based in Hagen, cast has been a distributor of Philips Lighting’s entertainment products for nearly 20 years, starting with Philips Selecon in 1998. The company began distributing Philips Strand Lighting and Philips Showline in 2014 and gained the exclusive rights to Philips Vari-Lite in October 2016. 

Avolites Quartz console powers lighting for Mercury Prize winner and Grammy nominee James Blake

23rd November, 2016

Celebrated lighting director Chris Bushell chose a powerfully compact Quartz console from British manufacturer Avolites to busk the emotively impactful lighting for James Blake’s gig at Brixton’s o2 Academy, London. The show was part of the minimalist electronica star’s world tour to promote his third album, ‘The Colour in Anything’ – the much-anticipated follow-up to his Mercury-Prize-winning second album, ‘Overgrown’.


Having previously worked with Amy Winehouse, Florence and the Machine and Arcade Fire, Bushell has been Blake’s lighting director for over six years – accompanying him on his meteoric rise from unknown music graduate to Best New Artist nominee at the 2014 US Grammys.


Although an electronic artist, Blake insists that he and his band play all their instruments and gadgets live on stage. Similarly, he stipulates that the lighting and visuals are manipulated live too – to ensure the audience experience is as authentic as possible. Bushell relied on Avolites kit to do this.


“I own and use a Quartz console with a Titan Mobile Wing, all nicely packaged up in the custom Avolites wheelie case,” says Bushell. “Together they give me enough control options to tweak, fuss and hit stuff moment by moment – all whilst still packing down nice and tight for air travel and dragging through festivals.”


The compact Quartz console is the latest and smallest addition to the Titan Mobile family. It comes complete with on-board processing and a bright, vibrant 12.1″ screen. Featuring the same high quality faders and hardware users expect from Avolites, it is small enough to be taken as hold luggage on a plane – making it ideal for life on the road.

As Bushell recommends, the Quartz can be combined with a Titan Mobile Wing, which gives direct access to a range of powerful features – such as 30 precision playback faders, 50 programmable buttons, solo and flash buttons, shape overlay cues, blinders, house lights, smoke machines or performer key lights for TV productions.


Blake’s show was designed by Bushell in partnership with United Visual Artists (UVA). Bushell was responsible for lighting, while the London-based creative practice crafted the video elements. UVA had previously created promotional videos for ‘The Colour In Anything’ and ‘I Need A Forest Fire’, which features a subdued aesthetic that focused on orbiting virtual and real life sources. The brief was that this was to be taken into the live shows and used holistically. Accordingly, Bushell and UVA agreed that a ‘clean’ stage free of props or gimmicks was required. That way lighting and video could be seamlessly blended in an immersive interplay of light and shadow – creating a unique artistic landscape and blurring the lines between the real and the virtual space. As a result, light sources were hidden from view by being recessed into shrouded trusses.


Each of the three musicians on stage was lit separately in a square of light. Bushell’s rig contains GLP X4 Bar 20s to define the shape of the square with Martin Aura XBs clustered inside the square to light the subject within, along with SGM Q-7 and Source 4 par fixtures to vary the palette above.


The pods were combined with similar hidden fixtures to the sides; Martin Viper Profiles hidden up beyond the shrouded pods and Martin Quantum Wash luminaires on the floor beneath the LED video screen. Par16 footlights cast silhouettes onto the screen when not in use.

Newly established rental and production house LCR (Lights, Control, Rigging) supplied the lighting package.

“The lighting gave me versatility through utter simplicity,” explains Bushell. “I could contrast strong dramatic looks and then, with the haze off and fixtures hidden, I was also able to shade and blend the artists into the changing lit video landscape behind.”

With such an artistic approach to the lighting, the intuitive nature of the Avolites console and software came to the fore.


“I love an Avolites desk because it’s an art desk, not a maths desk,” continues Bushell. “I can mix stuff around, manipulate and tweak – and everything stays where I left it. I tend to set up a series of elements track by track – from simple cues to convoluted nonsense – rather than stack cues on one big red button. This keeps it all live and adjustable – to reflect the changing venue atmosphere, the colours, the vibe of the audience, the vibe of the band and my own mood.”


22nd November, 2016

Cue Design Ltd is a rising star in the UK production design industry for concerts and live events. Creating ground-breaking lighting schemes, special effects, video content and stage sets, the London-based design house has only been running for three years – but already boasts clients such as electro pop pioneer Gary Numan and US singer-songwriter Kelis.

Founders Luke Edwards and Miles Weaver first met while freelancing as lighting and production designers in the capital. They both perceived there was a gap in the market for a one-stop-shop offering an entire range of creative services for event producers – and so Cue Design was born.


According to Edwards, the company’s full-service concept is driven by his team’s affinity with music-loving audiences. “Everything we do stems out of a love for design and music,” he says. “It is important for us to create a visual experience that the fans love and enjoy.” 


The duo begins each project by envisioning “the moment the punter buys a ticket” and then subsequently go through every minute of the gig-goer’s experience, mapping out the required design elements along the way. To offer these completely bespoke packages, Cue Design is staffed on a flexible basis – with a roster of London’s leading creative event production talent on call to deal with specialist briefs.


Both Edwards and Weaver favoured Avolites consoles, dimmers and media servers when freelancing and as a result the equipment is now fundamental to Cue Design’s technical kit.


“For me it’s the products’ ease-of-use combined with the support of all the lovely guys and girls at Avolites,” explains Edwards. “They truly understand the need for supporting young up-and-coming designers.” 


Weaver focuses on the artistic freedom Avolites’ products facilitate. “With version ten of Titan, I feel the software enables me to achieve any creative vision without compromise,” he explains. “The Key Frame Shapes feature – with its ability to create any effect quickly – is incredibly powerful and completely changed the whole game.”


Both designers describe the compact Quartz console as their favorite piece of Avolites equipment. Cue Design owns one and is about to purchase another. “No matter if it’s a fly show or tour bus show it comes with me,” says Weaver. “I’ve used it with rigs from two to 13 universes and it always performs amazingly well – but over the summer festival season was when it really delivered. Time is always tight in those situations, but being able to have everything up and running by myself in a very short space of time was impressive.”


The duo has successfully used Avolites products on three recent projects. For Gary Numan’s recent Classic Albums UK tour the brief was for a minimal amount of equipment, but lots of visual energy which Edwards delivered using a Tiger Touch II.

For up-and-coming Brighton band Black Honey’s tour, Edwards and Weaver used their beloved Quartz console, because the band were traveling in a splitter tour bus, so space was extremely limited. The small and powerful console rose to the occasion, controlling a dynamic show that featured a customised visual of the band’s name in front of 24 Showtec Sunstrips.

The Quartz also proved itself on the UK tour of Mura Masa. The electronic music producer and instrumentalist sees visuals as integral to his performance. Cue Design, accordingly, came up with a boldly original and highly contemporary scheme. “A lot of the big moments we created came from the palettes and Key Frame Shapes,’ explains Edwards. “The software does the time-consuming work for you, allowing you to concentrate on the brief.” Weaver notes that watching Mura Masa perform at this year’s Reading festival alongside their lighting design was one of the most ‘incredible’ moments he has had as a designer.


As for the future, the founders of Cue Design hope to keep travelling along the same upwards trajectory. “For us, the aim is to do bigger and more spectacular shows,” says Weaver. “I think Avolites can help us in this, particularly with its Ai software, as video is becoming more and more an intrinsic part of our designs.”

Avolites Titan Mobile is ‘lightbulb moment’ decision for Ross Noble comedy tour

14th November, 2016

The production behind British comedian Ross Noble’s latest stand-up tour ‘Brain Dump’ has turned to a tourable lighting control system for the first time. The team has invested in an Avolites Titan Mobile console to power the eccentrically brilliant set, made of giant inflatable light bulbs each with an LED light source at its core.

 Production manager Shaun Weager, who has worked with Noble since 2012, came up with the 16-ft high dream-like design in response to a creative brief Noble ingeniously constructed using his daughter’s Play-Doh. Every one of the 59 inflatable bulbs’ internal LEDs has its own RGB panel through which Weager powers vibrant chases and isolation effects using the Avolites Titan Mobile.  

“Shaun needed a small but powerful and highly portable lighting control solution,” says Pete White, Sales Manager of Stage Electrics that supplied the console. “Stage Electrics has been an Avolites master dealer and stockist for a number of years and we knew the Avolites Titan Mobile was perfect for the job; its compact format combined with the live playback features made it the obvious choice.”  

New to Avolites, this presented Weager with the opportunity to get to grips with one of the brand’s most popular consoles. The wealth of online training videos, intuitive user interface of Titan version 10 and support of the Avolites team meant he could quickly master the desk’s functionality.

“When I first arrived in Australia I was looking for an Avolites Pearl operator to assist with the initial show programming,” says Weager. “I tweeted on social media about it and Avolites replied, putting me in touch with one of their Brisbane-based suppliers. The supplier then found a programmer in Perth called Chris Taylor who helped me programme the show! That level of support was great.”

 White of Stage Electrics agrees: “The Avolites range of products offers our customers an excellent set of features with great back up and support from the Avolites team.”  

The compact yet powerful Titan Mobile weighs in at 4.9kg, is USB powered and easily fits in the Avolites branded laptop bag it’s supplied with – making it perfect for touring with limited space and weight restrictions. Despite its size, the Titan Mobile offers 10 playbacks with assignable controls, 20 macro buttons and a full programming surface. The Titan software offers all the functionality of the full range, which allows seamless transfer between consoles for different situations.

 “It’s like owning a bespoke desk,” says Weager. “Having the Avolites Titan Mobile console on tour has definitely made everything so much easier and I can’t see any future set not including this control element. I feel like I now have the headspace to really evolve my lighting designs and push the limits of the show. It feels good to know we have this element of production covered well into the future.”

Following a stint in Australia at the beginning of the year, Noble’s UK tour kicked off in September 2016 and will continue to February 2017. Tickets are on-sale now.

Avolites delivers ‘full creative control’ for Gary Numan UK tour

8th November, 2016

Electropop pioneer Gary Numan has completed a critically-acclaimed UK tour, with lighting designer Luke Edwards of Cue Design Ltd selecting the compact yet versatile Tiger Touch II to control the show’s stand-out visuals.

“All my Gary Numan shows are very dynamic,” says Edwards. “I find Avolites products allow me to achieve that very easily. The Tiger Touch II’s intuitive functionality meant I could create a high-impact show with minimal programming time.”

Despite touring to some of the country’s more intimate venues such as Nottingham’s Rock City and Bristol’s Motion nightclub, Edwards did not hold back in creating a series of huge, high-energy looks. To get the most out of his rig, which focused on Martin MAC Aura XB, Ayrton Magic Blade and Robe Pointe fixtures, the designer drew on the updated features of Avolites’ latest Titan version 10 software. The full lighting package including the Tiger Touch II was supplied by TSL Lighting. 

“The Pixel Mapper allowed me to use the fixtures in a unique way, especially the Magic Blades which were positioned at the back of the stage on uprights,” he explains. “Instead of using the inbuilt macros I had full control to create some fantastic effects.”

 Titan v10’s hugely popular Key Frame Shapes feature also proved crucial for creating looks quickly. Edwards comments that instead of having to create time-consuming chases, he was able to use Key Frame Shapes to produce the same effect in under eight button pushes.

 “Key Frame Shapes offers me more advanced control – I was able to define every little detail of the shapes I created,” he adds. “Even though Gary Numan is a full-on visual experience, the little details make all the difference and Key Frame Shapes really helped with this.”

 Updated in version 10 to offer new directions (including random), Key Frame Shapes allows designers to create spectacular effects from scratch. Using palettes or the programmer to define the frames, and powerful tools such as transition curves, phase and spatial direction, it is possible to create radically different looks for each channel in seconds.

“It’s always a pleasure working with Gary,” concludes Edwards. “He hands over full creative control and that freedom, combined with the infinite creative possibilities offered by Avolites, really gets the creative juices flowing and helps make it the great show that it is.”

Gary Numan’s tour ran from the 15 to the 26 September.


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