Robe is Mega Beautiful

Joshua Cutts is someone who knows how to make things – stages, sets people – look beautiful, and 2018 was the fourth time he has lit the Miss South Africa beauty pageant event, which this year selected the country’s delegates for the two highest profile global beauty contests – Miss Universe and Miss World.

The show was staged for the first time at the new Sun Arena venue at Times Square in Pretoria, and Josh chose to illuminate the show with a substantial Robe moving light rig However, the stars of the show were the 24 x MegaPointes! These were positioned for maximum impact on a truss running across the back of the stage just above the LED columns.

“They are totally awesome,” proclaimed Josh with great enthusiasm, “The beams are so powerful they sliced straight through the ambient light coming off the screens, and I could create fantastic in-air effects utilising the gobo wheels and prisms.”

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Visual Licks for Forth Valley Blues Festival

The soul-stirring power of blues music knows no national boundaries. Memphis may be over 10,000 miles away, but every year, the town of Forth (population 700) resonates with sounds reminiscent of Beal Street as it plays host to the Forth Valley Blues Festival. This year, the thousands of visitors who descended on the event were treated to an impressive display of blues virtuosity by artists like Mark Seymour of Hunters & Collectors fame and Guitar Extravaganza featuring Kevin Borich, Phil Emmanuel and Tim Gaze.

Setting an appropriately evocative mood for the festival was an intensely powerful and richly textured lightshow designed by Michael Westcott that featured CHAUVET Professional Maverick MK2 Spot fixtures, supplied by Show Systems Australia.

Westcott flew eight of the 440W moving LED fixtures over the festival’s main stage, half on upstage truss and half on midstage truss. Controlling the fixtures via sACN and drawing on features like their 3-facet prism and slot-and-lock gobo wheels, he used them to create overlapping patterns that added a sense of depth to the stage. Varying these patterns helped him create a continuous flow of unique looks.

“Given that there are 14 bands performing on the main stage over a 48-hour period, it can be a challenge to keep each band looking fresh and unique without recycling the same looks and dynamics over and over again,” said Westcott. “Thankfully with the Maverick’s armament of features we always had another trick up our sleeve. The wide zoom (13-degree – 37-degree) was particularly useful in helping us vary the looks we created.”

Westcott was also impressed with the output of the Maverick fixtures. “The intensity ensured that I could easily make an impact on stage,” he said. “We turned up our lighting volume to match particularly powerful parts of the musical performances.”

Richard Kay Goes Rogue For Alphaville

Like many who grew up on rock, the members of German supergroup Alphaville always dreamed of playing at the legendary club. The synth-pop stars, who have multiple Top Ten hits in Europe to their credit, got their wish recently when they journeyed to the US and performed two Whisky a Go Go shows over the Memorial Day Weekend. Supporting their high-energy performance with an endless stream of fresh looks were eight CHAUVET Professional Rogue R1 FX-B LED fixtures.

“This was a dream come true not only for Alphaville, but also for many of their diehard fans in the US,” said Richard Kay, who has been with the band as its lighting designer since 1998 and has toured 91 countries with them.

“I had to fit five musicians comfortably on this stage with a fixed drum riser,” continued Kay. “Plus, since Alphaville is very video oriented (the group won Chauvet an Academy Award for a short film it made), we needed to have our entire back wall covered with 3mm video panels, three screens measuring 9’x9’. That also took up some room, so any fixture we added to our floor package had to make sense to justify the space.”

Complicating matters for Kay was the 15’ trim of the venue’s house rig, which limited what he could hang from a floor package. “Luckily, Whisky had just added four CHAUVET DJ Intimidator Spots and some flat spots to the house rig,” said Kay. “That served as a good foundation. Then it became a question of which fixtures to add for eye candy? The Rogue FX-Bs were my obvious choice, because I could do so many different things with them without taking up a lot of valuable space. They were my main show fixtures.”

Drawing on the infinite pan and tilt rotation of the Rogue R1 FX-B’s five individually controlled moving heads, Kay relied on the compact fixture to create “loads of geometric patterns,” as well as ripple effects, sweeps and downstage light curtains. Thanks to the output of the fixtures, he was also able to have them serve as blinders.

Kay mounted his eight Rogue R1 FX-B fixtures vertically on two towers that were placed between the three video walls in the rig. He positioned the fixtures at heights from 2’-9’ off the deck. “This configuration ensured that I got every band member from head to toe with any lateral sweeps I did,” he said. “The pan function is impressive. I first saw the FX-B at a festival in Poland, and I asked the LD to set up some presets for me. It was evident from the first scenes that this fixture was great: lots of clearly defined beams of saturated color. It was a perfect labyrinth of moving beams. End of discussion!”

In addition to creating engaging looks for the live audience at Whisky a Go Go, Kay’s design worked well as lighting for the live stream video of the band’s performance.


Barrett Hall gets dynamic with Maverick MK Pyxis

The future was on full display in Manhattan early this May during Digital Content NewFronts, a week-long showcase for media buyers of the latest digital and video creations from the leading names in entertainment, news and information technology. A must-see venue for the executives who descended on New York for the event was Pier 26, where Oath, a division of Verizon that reaches over one billion people worldwide through its digital media brands, introduced an exciting array of new content.

Hosted by Jamie Foxx, Oath Digital Content NewFronts offered guests a smorgasbord of live entertainment options to go along with the chance to preview upcoming productions from brands like Yahoo and Huffington Post. Taking place on two main stages, along with a half dozen smaller satellite units, the evening event featured performances by stars like DJ Irie, Broadway dancers, bucket drummers and other artists. Adding to the magical atmosphere on the pier was a lively and colourful lighting design created by Barrett Hall that featured CHAUVET Professional Maverick and Nexus fixtures, supplied by WorldStage.

“This project came about for me through First, a global creative agency that produced the event,” said Hall, owner of Magic Hour East. “I’ve had the pleasure of working with First in the past, so I was excited about this opportunity to help create a large-scale immersive and illuminated environment. Having everything from musical acts to theatrical style performances filling an entire pier over the Hudson made it quite unique!”

At the heart of Hall’s lighting design was the Maverick MK Pyxis, which features a 60W RGBW center beam, surrounded by a ring of nine 15W RGBW LEDs. Hall outlined the base of the event’s two-story DJ booth with 25 of the moving beam/ wash fixtures.

“We used the outer ring of pixels to get a lot of visible colour shifts and movement around the entire DJ booth,” said Hall. “This turned the booth itself into an energised scenic element. Having chase sequences on the outer ring of the fixtures created a nice visual around the booth and conveyed a sense of excitement. Then having the punch of the center beams gave us great options for ballyhoo moments. It was like having two fixtures in one.”

Setting a glittering tone throughout the venue and underscoring the significance of the event were the 32 Maverick MK2 Wash fixtures that were positioned on the truss towers that lined both sides of the 1,000’ long pier. Drawing on the wide 7-degree to 49-degree zoom range of this RGBW LED moving wash, Hall used it for a variety of functions, from truss toning to stage washing.

“There were 14 large truss towers in all, and rather than try to mask them, we decided to tone them,” said Hall. “We selected the Mavericks, because we wanted something that would be bright, but would also give us the option to pan and tilt away from the truss and allow us to wash saturated colours across the pier.”

Hall also used 30 Nexus 4×4 LED panels to create a dynamic backdrop on one of the performance stages. Hanging the panels in a checkerboard pattern, he had them do double duty as static scenic elements and blinders.