Here we are. The last major event of 2012 completed.
Sam, our main “rigger”, wrote a few weeks ago about last years event, which had been a real success and a breakthrough in technical/creative innovation for us.
The challenge this year was to maintain the standard set by last year’s event. It’s probably fair to say that in some ways we did this & in others we fell short. This blog covers the lighting and rig design, which is more my specialty. Jimmy, our video man, talked about the visual FX side of things last week in this post here.
In the beginning was the Sketch, and the Sketch was with Tim, and the Sketch was Tim… Anyway, as always, the design idea began with a sketch from our main designer, which I then played around with a bit, transferred to Sketchup & later into our lighting design software – Capture Vision (which can be seen in action later on in this post).
One of my early sketch concepts, complete with anorexic Mick
Initial ideas included moving trusses, tipping circles & three sets of collapsing drapes. These, in the end, had to be sacrificed for the sake of budget & time. Furthermore, in order to free up space for the planned video content we abandoned the versions of the plan that involved things cluttering up the backdrop, like the bits in the sketch below.
Sketchup render of the near-final design
Proper Planning and Preparation Prevents Pitifully Poor Performance…apparently. This event included a few things we’d never done before. Most of them were in the video department, but there was a two-part challenge for us to deal with. The first part of the challenge was to unroll a drape on cue for video to be projected onto, the second was orchestrating a kabuki drop (where magnetic releases drop the drape on cue). To do this we had to call on the expertise of one of our older engineers, who modified an old theatre curtain winch that would unwind and lower the curtain.
Testing the system before we arrive on site! What a novelty.
With this winch assembled and tested, we hired the Kabuki release system from Hawthorns Theatrical in Leicester (thanks to Caleb & Karen for picking it up) and then started the wait to see if it would work, or if we’d just end up looking rather foolish.
Winch & kabuki systems in place on the rig, complete with integrated line array
Test unwind of the winch, with commentary from Chris Hunt:
Whilst the guys in Northampton were working on the hardware for the show, I was in Sheffield frantically programming looks and chases for the show. A combination of caffeine, David Guetta & multiple lists (I’m a list freak when it comes to trying to get myself organised) meant that by the time we arrived at Ponds Forge I had almost everything we needed to run the show already programmed. This was my first real forray into using the Avolites Titan Mobile (the baby sister desk of the Avolites Expert that we use to run the live show) to pre-program a show. It can be seen in the picture below. There was a learning curve, but I really enjoyed making it work, although a large chunk of it did have to be re-done once on site due to some orientation issues.
Workstation…yes, I really do need all these screens.
Rigging & Showtime
I think the best thing to do at this point, as with all great Hollywood compositions, is to have a video montage of the key moments in the somewhat potted storyline. Unfortunately, due to copyright reasons we couldn’t use any Celine Dion tracks, but we do have Artemis & the Beta Band’s latest offering, so that will have to do.
Overall, as a rig, it was a simple & clean design with the video team providing the main eye candy. Some ideas worked and a few bits really didn’t, however they are all valuable lessons learned for next time:
I cannot big up our team enough. Every one a volunteer, most with a full-time job, all working flat-out to make sure that our offering that we bring is an excellent one. As Jimmy said, we do often get it wrong or overdo it, but I enjoy being part of a church where these aspects of practical outworked worship are encouraged and made use of. Times spent on these rigs are where some of the deepest friendships I have are made and maintained & without these guys and this focus I simply would have no reason to still be here.
For lighting we have been using the Martin Mac 101’s a lot and definitely wanted to include these. Also we decided to hire some American DJ Vizibeam 5R’s, alongside their inspiration, the ClayPaky Sharpy. This was our first time to see them up against each other, which was of interest to us especially given that the price difference is considerable. However, probably the most unexpected discovery was that the most effective fixtures were the cheap Showtec ones; Sunstrips (the blinders that ran along the lower circle) & ArcBars (LED lights behind the band). They really helped to give depth and warmth to the whole rig & when they were turned off the rig looked 2D and a bit needy, despite the more powerful lights trying to do their thing.
The final kit list ran as follows:
- 4x Clay PakySharpy
- 4x ADJ Vizibeam 5R
- 8x Martin Mac 101’s
- 4x Showtec Arcbar3
- 7x Showtec Sunstrips
- 2x Clay Paky Stage Zooms
- 2x Clay Paky Stage Scans
- Many 4 Cell Cycs and Par64’s for washing the stage and audience
These were all pre-programmed using Avolites Titan Mobile, the show was run on a Avo Pearl Expert with the generics powered from Art2000 T4 dimmer rack.