PRG’s Bad Boy Is Hitting the Road with U2

u2 bad boy prg

Willie Williams is going to be rocking a hundred and ninety six of PRG’s Bad Boy fixture!  I just got a press release from Anne over at PRG – check it out!

Media Contact:
Anne Johnston
845-567-5871
ajohnston@prg.com
PRG’s Bad Boy surrounds U2

New Windsor, NY—July 10, 2009—Immediately upon entering the venue, audiences attending U2’s 360° Tour will realize that they are about to experience a truly unique event. “The goal always for me is when the fans come into the stadium they see something the like of which they have never seen before,” explained Willie Williams, Show Designer & Director. Working closely with Architect Mark Fisher and Production Director Jake Berry, Williams has realized that goal and created a structure that is the largest ever designed for a concert tour. The sheer size of the set created a challenge, in that the fixture positions were a significant distance from the stage. So, Williams turned to the PRG Bad Boy™.

“The throw distances that we are dealing with are much longer then you would normally ever deal with for all the lighting positions, never mind the lights around the stadium,” said Williams. “Even the closest lights to the stage are an 80-foot throw and the ones on the legs are nearer a 100-foot throw. There is no way you could use old school moving lights, plus I needed a light that would not just reach and wash but would be able to have texture.”

In December, PRG arranged a fixture demonstration at Wembley Stadium so that Williams could evaluate the Bad Boy and other lights in a real world environment. “What I found interesting about the light is that PRG started with the application in their fixture design, which was to create a light for large scale shows, arenas, stadiums,” said Williams. “That has been their master stroke, to start with what the light is intended to do and really work towards that particular goal. When you are at the back of Wembley Stadium, you need a light with the gas to get to the stage.”

Williams decided to use the Bad Boy as his only automated light for illumination, with his final design calling for 196 fixtures. The Bad Boy easily handles distances from 80-feet to 400-feet. It was a bold choice to base an entire design around only the Bad Boy and Williams had to wait until the lighting system was powered up for the first time at the Barcelona rehearsal venue to know for certain that his idea would work. “Even when I got here, we still had a few days before the system was turned on where I was biding my time. I was a little antsy waiting to see what these things would do under show conditions. I think it is fair to say they are absolutely remarkable.”

Lighting Director Ethan Weber understood Williams’ initial concern. “There is nothing else—spot, wash lights—everything you do is with the Bad Boy and coming into rehearsals it was a light none of us had ever used before,” said Weber. “When we turned them on it was pretty obvious it was the right way to go. We have all been very impressed. Many of the fixtures are a few hundred feet from the stage and not only are they very bright but their zoom allow us to go from pinspotting the band to lighting a stadium audience with relatively few fixtures. I don’t know of any other light that can do this. So far they’ve been very reliable—impressive, considering we’ve had them on for long hours in the Barcelona sun.”

Williams’ lighting design is fairly straightforward, considering the complexity of the overall production design. While Weber handles all the automated fixtures, lighting associate Alex Murphy calls all the followspot cues for the 25 spots, and controls the LEDs in the set with the PRG Mbox™ Extreme Media Server. PRG’s Concert Touring group supplied the entire lighting package for the tour, which also included the PRG Series 400™ Power and Data Distribution System. The S400 combines power, DMX and Ethernet data through a single custom-designed trunk cable. The data system includes Ethernet switches with the ability to route any DMX universe to any DMX output connector in the system, along with complete electrical isolation. As a result, lighting systems can better accommodate the growing need for data and use less cable and technicians can re-route signals from the user menus without making physical changes to the system.

The power and data system for the U2 Tour was designed by System Crew Chief Craig Hancock, who worked closely with Jeremy Lloyd and Nick Evans of Fisher’s Stufish studio integrating the lighting system into the actual structural system. Chris Conti, PRG product manager, also worked closely with Hancock on the layout. Conti explained, “All together we have a total of 24 universes of DMX. We have S400 racks at the bottom of each leg of the structure, which are in custom dimmer carts that Craig designed. They also contain S400 main breaker racks, dimmer and relay racks, strobe distribution racks, communications, etc. There are two carts of S400 and two dimmer carts up on catwalks in the roof structure that handle the power and data for the pylon.”

That balance between complexity and simplicity is the key to Williams’ sophisticated designs success. To maintain that balance, everyone needed to be on the same page, working towards the same result. Tim Murch, PRG account executive, noted, “They really have brought together wonderfully qualified people, starting with the incredible Jake Berry and of course Willie and Mark. It is incredibly well organized; thanks in large part to them. It is a very heads up situation with coordination between every single department.”

Williams is very pleased with PRGs efforts on behalf of the tour. “At the end of the day it is about people and if you don’t have the right people it is just not going to happen,” he stated. “I am absolutely delighted. They have been really good. Both Tim Murch and Robin Wain (PRG account executive) have been fantastic. You can’t do this by second guessing; I just have to have complete faith that people are doing what they are supposed to be doing. You really have to trust.”

For more information on PRG, please visit www.prg.com.

u2 bad boy prg

A Lamp So Dynamic, It’s The Dynamic Lamp

Karin Johansson invented a lamp that includes a dynamo inside of the emitting surface – it resembles a globe, but is not.  As one spins the globe part of the non-globe, kinetic energy is stored, and the lamp is illuminated.  From the Konstfack website in Sweden, Karin talks about the Dynamic Lamp:

“My ‘Dynamic Lamp’ is a part of the wireless society. It doesn’t need any power supply or batteries, it just works with your own energy. It is based on the idea of producing your energy where you are, instead of transporting it in all directions across the earth. The sole by-product is exercise.”

Check out a video on the Dynamic Lamp – that thing looks cool! I’m going to study in the land of people who invent stuff like this!

dynamic lamp

dynamic lamp

Thanks, iGreenSpot!

The MF/V (MF/5) from Main Light

Marcel over at The Captain’s Blog (the Gearsource blog) posted an article about the Main Light MF/V LED panel moving head back in the first third of June.  For some reason I’m just now reading it – moving across the coutry does a number on your Firefox tabs, doesn’t it?

Main Light’s LED panel head looks pretty cool – seems to have fast pan and tilt, reasonable output, and decent video processing.  Check out this video:

Main Light’s page on MF/V is here – and thanks, Marcel!

MF/V

MF/V

I’m Sorry to Hear About Michael Jackson, Patrick Woodroffe and Crew

Yes, Michael Jackson passed away this last week.  The CNN gang refused to let us know about that little fact (I’m a CNN watcher, it’s true) and by day three I was pretty sure that Michael Jackson had still departed this Earth.

What no one is talking about, however, is the fact that in addition to the rental costs that the supply companies (PRG) are going to lose, the MJ crew and designers are now out of work.  Don’t get me wrong, they’re all seasoned professionals, and I bet they will still all have work.  What I am most bummed about is that now we don’t get to see the wonderment, high production and design values, and overall art that the team had almost created.  Unless the “King of Pop” is planning a publicity stunt and we’re all about to be totally duped, these folks are out of a gig – and we all miss out on the excellent work, reviews, trade publications, and other cool stuff that happens when a huge show hits the papers.  Patrick Woodroffe, I was looking forward to reviewing your work.  I’ll just catch the next one.

I really hope that the networks at least spend 15 seconds talking about the production.  From what I am hearing, it was huge, and pretty beautiful.  I’m sorry to Michael Jackson’s family, friends, and fans about his passing, as it blows to lose a friend – but I’m also sorry that the people who make him look and sound so good are now out of work.  I hope you folks all find new work, and in short order.

Debi Moen is Leaving High End

debi moen

I want to extend my gratitude to a strong member of the High End/Barco team that is leaving to pursue other ventures – Debi Moen, a 15 year veteran at High End Systems as a Marketing Communications Specialist, is onward and upward.  Thanks for always being so nice to me, Debi!

From JimOnLight.com, good luck in your next thing!

JimOnLight in Live Design Magazine

Hey!  The great folks at Live Design Magazine published an article I wrote for them a while ago – a nice two-page spread!  Marian, you rock!  Creative Stage Lighting, thanks for the pic!

jimonlight

Here’s a link to a larger pic for reading.  Also, sign up for the magazine!

Uber Glue – The Disco Biscuits at Red Rocks, 5-30-2009

I’ve heard nothing but praise for Johnny R. Goode’s lighting design for The Disco Biscuits at Red Rocks Ampitheatre here in Morrison, CO for what the band called Bisco Inferno back at the end of May.  I was very sad that I wasn’t able to attend that show and chat with Johnny afterwards, but I was making money at another gig in another part of the country, so the emotions all worked themselves out.  Next time, Johnny, as I want to chronicle the new gear and ideas you put into the rig!

Here’s some video of the show – also, check out my interview with Johnny R. Goode for The JimOnLight.com Podcast.

Guess Who’s Touring? SHOWBEAM 2.5!

showbeam 2.5

The Showbeam 2.5 from Barco/High End is out rocking the road.  Butch Allen has some out with No Doubt, Loz Upton has some out with Crystal Method, and Brian Hartley has some ShowBeams out with Aerosmith.  Here’s the press release from High End Systems:

No Doubt, The Crystal Method and the upcoming Aerosmith tour have one thing in common: they all are debuting a new Barco product — the High End Systems SHOWBEAM 2.5 — in their shows.

The SHOWBEAM 2.5 is a new 2500-watt automated wash luminaire, distinguishing itself with a revolutionary Twin Beam. This feature allows for two hard-edge beams to exit the fixture on command, with variable control over the Twin Beam deviation and rotation speed — all with little brightness degradation. Users may add incremental color to the Twin Beam by using the CMY color mixing system.

No Doubt’s Lighting Designer Butch Allen says, “These lights are amazing. Well done!” Tour lighting contractor Epic Production Technologies is supplying 6 SHOWBEAM 2.5s, along with 6 High End Systems DL.3 Digital Lights. No Doubt went out on its North American tour May 2.

The Crystal Method’s LD Lawrence “Loz” Upton says, “First of all you can use SHOWBEAM 2.5 as a very powerful washlight. I love the colors, and I love the colors with the ring of LEDs and it works really well in the show with our circular trussing. The next thing is, at a moment’s notice, you can just turn on the Twin Beam effect and it’s pretty hallucinogenic because you go from a beam focus and then all of a sudden you’ve got this crazy two-beam focus that comes in, which is just awesome. It also has a cool oscillation effect. This is an effects driven show and SHOWBEAM 2.5 adds to the layers of looks to match our layers of sound. The High End Systems products are very innovative and they work well for me personally.”

Delicate Productions is the lighting contractor for the tour, which kicked off May 5 in North America. In addition to SHOWBEAM 2.5, the Crystal Method tour includes SHOWGUN, StudioPix, Axon, CLM projectors with control from a Wholehog 3 and DMX Processor 8000.

Aerosmith’s North American tour starts June 10. Lighting Designer Bryan Hartley says, “SHOWBEAM 2.5 will work out great in my design. I’m excited about using it. I needed a strong washlight and the Twin Beam is really cool. Plus it has the LED ring, which gives it a SHOWGUN look. I’ll have 10 SHOWBEAMs in my rig for the tour, and I’m psyched.”

Hartley will control the lighting with a Wholehog 3 console and a DMX 8000 processor. Creative Stage Lighting is supplying the SHOWBEAM 2.5s to Epic Production Technologies, the lighting contractor.

Creative Stage Lighting’s George Studnicky IV says, “High End Systems knows what designers want. Another year goes by and HES brings another innovation and benchmark to the table. It’s a very exciting time to be in our industry. With the further development of LEDs and the automated lighting market, there is truly a custom design to every show you see. The SHOWBEAM 2.5 with the Twin Beam effect and interesting internal wash lens adds to this ability.”

SHOWBEAM 2.5 also features a user-changeable fixed color wheel, a variable CTO and the ability to produce an 11-degree fixed hard-edge profile with fast color change and Electronic Strobe. An LED tracking system encircles the lens. The profile can be rapidly zoomed from 11 to 33 degrees.

Look for SHOWBEAM 2.5 and other Barco lighting and control products to make more headlines as the touring season hits the heights this summer.

A Fully Solar Powered Stadium

solar stadium

Okay, wow.  Toyo Ito has designed a 100% solar powered stadium for the 2009 World Games that has a 40,000 seat capacity, can feed its excess power back into the community during the off-season, and has over 8,000 solar panels on its roof.  Some info from the World Games website on the stadium:

The whole construction of the Main Stadium, with a capacity of 40,000 seats, designed by Toyo Ito, only required two years of work, and was finally tested for lighting facilities on January 15, 2009. It took over six minutes to power up the lighting in the stadium, which illuminates the track and field with 3,300 lux. Two jumbotrons screens on each side of the stadium, along with a surround sounding system, make this an international standard soccer field and facility, ensuring that it is the perfect venue for the opening and closing ceremonies, as well as the Rugby 7s and Flying Disc events.

The City of Kaohsiung is particularly proud of this project. During the construction period, no site accidents occurred, while the construction crew successfully overcame the technical difficulties presented by installing spiral steel girders and 8,844 solar panels on the roof.

Moreover, this stadium is notable for its eco-friendliness: the solar panels on the stadium roof generate 1.14 million kWh of electricity per year, thus reducing 660 tons of annual carbon dioxide output. In addition, all the raw materials used in the main stadium are 100% reusable and made in Taiwan.

This is amazing.  Think of it – something that is built that is actually sustainable.  I’m getting a little exhausted with all of the greenwashing lately, especially when 75% of it is total crap.

solar stadium

solar stadium

taiwan solar stadium

world games 2009

Thanks, MetaEfficient!

High Power Line Worker – OMG.

I have a respect for riggers and people who do high altitude work – I had a buddy once who was a HALO jumper.  This video pushes all of that into a territory that reaches the population of brass cojoned people of the world…

Thanks, Hacked Gadgets!