Puscifer performed a new album ‘Existential Reckoning’ based on the exquisitely cinematic beauty of the Arizona desert and the paranormal charm of the Arcosanti.
The ‘Existential Reckoning’ video shoot was directed by Adam Rothlein of Ghost Atomic Pictures together with the band’s manager Dino Paredes, and took place in three different locations around Arcosanti – the central amphitheater; the vaults (two large barrel-shaped structures above ground) and in the middle of a patch of desert just outside the main development.
The set was designed by Mat Mitchell, guitarist, and producer of the album, who also mixed audio for the stream. Lighting designer Sarah Landau was asked to light the entire virtual concert based solely on her vision and interpretation. She added Robe MegaPointes and PixelPATTs to her lighting design for this intricately constructed performance movie. The six cameras then had their shots adapted and positioned according to her lighting layout.
A key to the show’s ambience was the visual and sonic flow from one location to the next, ending with a spectacular sunrise. The different positions of the vocalists and evolution of camera shots were also fundamental to the narrative, which started with close-ups and lots of shadows and visual trickery, gradually revealing more of the stunning landscape, location, architecture, context, and ambience as the album progressed.
For sites one and two, the desert and the barrel vaults, and industrial scaffolding tower in the center of the action with 12ft wide by 8ft high video panels emanating from the four corners, splitting the playing area into quadrants, each of which was completed with a stand-alone vertical trussing tower several meters further back.
Lights were rigged on the center scaffolding, on the four trussing towers and at the ends of the video panels with additional fixtures on the floor. For site three, the amphitheater, sections of video screen were deployed in the tiered seating and acted as a backdrop while the band faced upstage.
At site one, four MegaPointes were positioned at the edges of the performance space at 3, 6, 9 and 12 o’clock and four feet back from these were another four, one on top of each of the trussing towers.
In the barrel vaults, only the MegaPointes on the truss towers were used, while in the amphitheater location, all eight MegaPointes were sat on flight cases behind the band in the venue’s pit area, in front of what would normally be the downstage edge of the stage.
Four of the eight PixelPATTs in sites one and two were also rigged on the vertical truss towers, with the other four on the center scaffolding structure facing into the four quadrants where the band members were playing.
The MegaPointes were used for piercing beams blasting into the night sky “when the wind gods permitted the fog to hang,” elucidated Sarah, or for shooting across the performance space creating bold symmetrical patterns that looked very cool for the drone shots! The PixelPATTs suggested by Ryan Knutson at Thornton, Colorado-based Brown Note Productions were utilized for eye-candy effects, filling the back-of-camera space with colours, textures, and visual impressions harmonious with the video content.
In addition to the MegaPointes and PixelPATTs on this concert video shoot, Sarah had several other lights on the rig including LED washes and profiles, sky panels, LED tubes and LED PARs, all controlled off a grandMA full-size console.
Despite all these challenging conditions, the results were truly spectacular, and the sounds and visual integrity of the concert have been highly acclaimed and enjoyed as an integrated opus of music and art.
Photo Credit: Mitra Mehvar