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Hey Tupac, Holograms Have Come A Long Way, Huh!

Hey, how’s it going, world?  I’ve been pretty busy lately — Daphne and Fox have been keeping things running while I’ve been away.  Thanks, you guys.

I have to say it is amazing to have supportive colleagues and work in a place that gives its people the resources to rock and roll.  But enough about that, Have you heard that Tupac Shakur just did a guest spot at Coachella with Snoop?  Yeah, I heard that too.  But with everything, once I see something, I then go wait a second! and start looking at the history of the last time it was done.

Tupac at Coachella?!

I don’t know how many of you remember this, but back in 2006, the Gorillaz and Madonna did a set with some, uh, “holographic” folks – you know, the ones playing the actual music:

Then there was Snoop and Tupac last month, courtesy of AV Concepts in San Diego – everybody’s being real hush-hush about this, but the principle is fairly simple:

You know what?  I think that’s pretty cool.  There were a few times when the Tupac hologram seemed to have its global position moving (look for the times when Snoop was standing next to the Tupac hologram and the hologram seems to have its ground moving around, a la the Virtual Insanity video), but other than that, I’d have to say that was some pretty cool stuff.

One thing that most MTV watchers and general population of Coachella folks won’t see (or know to look for, frankly) is that this was done back in 2007 too, in a theatre (gasp!), and with Shakespeare (double gasp!), The Tempest, to be exact.  Well, to be even more exact it was called La Tempete.  The theatre company that put this show out there (and CONTINUES to put holographic shows out there) is called 4D Art, based in Montreal.  Check out these images, this stuff is fantastic:

This one just rocks me for some reason, it’s a really awesome image and interaction:

Back when I was in Oklahoma City and OKCU was being run by the now dead Don Childs, we priced out doing a similar type of thing for their annual A Christmas Carol, and we found that it was somewhere along the neighborhood of about $30,000 for a 20X40 foot piece of that holographic film.  That didn’t even involve the system of projectors and computer.  In the case of the Tupac “appearance” at Coachella, AV Concepts used something called the Eyeliner system, from Dimensional Studios in London.  The system consists of computers, projectors, and some holographic film.  From the Dimensional Studios website on the Eyeliner system, from the company Musion:

The primary components of a Eyeliner set up are:

  • A video projector, preferably DLP with an HD card/minimum native resolution of 1280 x 1024 and brightness of 5000+ lumens.
  • For smaller cabinet installations, a high quality TFT Plasma or LCD screen can also be used.
  • A hard-disc player with 1920 x 1080i HD graphics card, Apple or PC video server, DVD player.
  • Musion Eyeliner Foil + 3D set/drapes enclosing 3 sides
  • Lighting and audio as required
  • Show controller (on site or remote)

Subjects are filmed in HDTV and broadcast on to the foil through HDTV projection systems, driven by HD Mpeg2 digital hard disc players, or uncompressed full HDTV video/Beta-Cam players.

The setup is erected in either a bespoke cabinet or a self contained four legged ground support. Alternatively, the foil can be stretched into a truss framework and flown from its own hanging points.

In either configuration, Eyeliner allows for a full working stage or set to be constructed behind the foil. In so doing live actors or performers, as well as virtual images are able to interact with other projected images in such a way that it appears to the watching audience that all of the objects they are seeing are in stage.

It is therefore quite conceivable to have a live performer sing a duet with a ‘virtual’ partner, a cartoon character or even his/hers projected double.

All the images used on an Eyeliner system are three-dimensional images, but projected as two-dimensional images (2D/3D) into a 3D stage set. The mind of the audience created the 3D illusion. This means that production costs are minimal, needing only the single camera lens for filming and a single projector for the playback – hence the phrase ‘Glasses-free viewing’.

That’s some pretty awesome awesomeness.  Even more awesome, a video of some of the holographic highlights from 4D Art’s production of La Tempete:

Happy Monday, everybody!

Thanks to HuffPo for the Tupac image, everything else is from 4D Art’s website.

Some articles on the 4D Art production:

 

PHISH in Live Design

So, if you haven’t seen the piece that Marian Sandberg wrote in Live Design about Phish’s New Years’ Eve 2012 bash, you’re missing out, it’s a great piece.  If you’ve never been to a jam band New Years Eve show, you’re missing out, too.  Phish is kind of known for doing absolutely crazy stuff for the NYE show runs, as are other bands in the genre.  Typically across space and time it’s Auld Lang Syne and a huge bunch of balloons that fall from the ceiling at midnight, but depending on the band and the venue, it’s a pretty great experience.  I mean come on – hundreds of ten foot balloons falling from the ceiling of an arena with a bunch of people having a great time?  How could that NOT be fun?!

Check out Marian’s article, and check out this video of the midnight transition at Madison Square with Phish – pretty awesome!!!  There’s a part two coming up about the lighting design with Chris Kuroda, so stay tuned – and if you haven’t seen the Jam Cruise 10 lighting seminar with Chris Kuroda from Phish and Jeff Waful of Umphrey’s McGee, that’s something you should check out too!

I was at the NYE run in St. Louis at the Pageant with Jeff Waful and Umphrey’s McGee for the New Years run this year, and a very prominent music writer said, on the night of the December 31 show, “I just came from Madison Square last night from Phish, and this [Umphrey’s McGee] is the better show here in St. Louis.”  My face WAS IN FACT ROCKED over the four days I spent with Umphrey’s McGee.  Stay tuned for that footage, I have tons and tons.

Photo Credit – American Songwriter

A Quick New Years’ Eve Lighting Story

Happy New Year, everybody – as always, sh*t is kicking here at the Light Associated Media, LLC headquarters in Oklahoma City – soon to be relocating to Toronto, Ontario!  I can’t tell you why just yet, but it’s coming.  And it’s awesome.

But that’s not what this is about, this post is about an awesome story of two lighting designers hanging out on New Years’ Eve 2012.

So Jefferson Waful is lighting Umphrey’s McGee, as he does, and with fervor might I add, and I am there documenting the show, documenting Jefferson, and hanging out with my good friend Jefferson all at the same time.  On the 31st, during a particularly outstanding set in which not only the band and audience were all in step, but the lighting design and the audio engineering were the stuff of aural and visual dreams.  Right at the start of a song called “Ocean Billy,” Jeff turns to me and says into my ear:

This is my favorite song to run lights for.”

Guess what?  it’s now my favorite song for Jefferson to run lights for, too.  If you’re ready for your face to get rocked off and see why this is Jefferson’s favorite lighting delivery tune, watch the video below.

Pardon me while I pick up my face.

Umphrey’s McGee Covers “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” at The Aragon!

I just got an email from Jeff Waful, lighting designer for Umphrey’s McGee, about their recent show at the Aragon Ballroom on November 26.  The video I got was a cover of The Stones’ You Can’t Always Get What You Want, and it’s awesome.  Jeff needs to get a buymper sticker that sways “I Am the Master of Pan and Tilt Patience.”

Check it out!

Thanks, Jeff!

Early As F*** Phish Fix – TAB at Bear Creek

Well, I am up early today.  Oh, am I up early.

I needed a pick me up to get out of bed this morning – and since I am SO AWAKE RIGHT NOW and want YOU to share in on the earliness of this early hour, here’s a bit of Trey Anastasio Band doing Push On Till the Day at the Bear Creek Festival in Wisconsin.  Did you see the sick lineup?!  Oh my goodness:

Check out this video – if it doesn’t wake you up, then try some strong coffee:

I love festival lighting.  I have had my face rocked SO many times at festivals just like Bear Creek.

Thanks, YEMBlog!

Coldplay at Glastonbury 2011 – Monday Morning Video Love

Good morning, everyone – I trust that you had a decent weekend with at least a few hours of joy!

I got some pretty awesome video footage from JimOnLight.com reader Emily Holmden (@EmLah on Twitter) about the amazing projections at Glastonbury this year – you have to check out this video, way cool!  I also added another video for the tune “Fix You” (I like it, sorry) and its amazingly beautiful lighting looks.  Paul Normandale is Coldplay’s LD, and he never fails to rock off faces.  Awesome work, Paul.

Check out Every Teardrop is A Waterfall – AMAZING projections!

Check out Fix You – beautiful!

The We Love People Love Plastikman

One of the web’s favorite goatee-wearing personalities, Travis Bedard, posted this amazing video of the We Love crowd doing a large Plastikman event – for those of you who don’t know who Plastikman is, you need to fix that right away.

(Plastikman is Richie Hawtin – one of the most referenced electronic musicians ever.  He also does a lot with visuals and video.)

Check out this event video – May 8, 2010 at Grande Halle de la Villette in Paris.  Rock.

WE LOVE PLASTIKMAN from WE LOVE ART on Vimeo.

How Do You Feel When You Drive A Lighting Rig?

I have been driving a fair amount of rigs lately, which has made me incredibly happy.  I mean, compared to some of you, I work very few shows!  It’s been pretty amazing to take shows I want to work on – and I’ve made some amazing new friends across the country.  There is nothing better than that.

So, I’ve been wondering…  How do you feel when you’re driving a rig?  Whether it’s right before that first general session meeting when you’ve stayed up until 4am making looks and transitions that will drive the client’s show to amazing status, or if it’s right as the band steps onstage and the blues are up.  How do you feel?  Do you feel like a racecar driver?  Do you feel lighting a lighting designer?  I always see the rig as my spaceship – and I love my spaceship!

Hey, send me an email through the contact form and tell me about your feelings on this topic, wouldja?  I am compiling for a post on the topic, and I’d like to include as many of you as possible!

JimOnLight.com Hangs with Jefferson Waful of Umphrey’s McGee at House of Blues in Dallas

I had the absolute pleasure this last week to hang out with Jefferson Waful, lighting designer for Umphrey’s McGee, at Dallas’ House of Blues  establishment downtown.  It was great to see Jefferson again – he and I spent some quality time together at SeaChanger‘s booth at the National Association of Broadcasters conference in Las Vegas back in April, and we waxed philosophical about lighting, music, and all things design for the camera.  Videos coming soon of that, just for your information!

The day at House of Blues was great – I’m a master electrician whenever I’m not being lighting designer/writer/nerd-rockstar guy, and the UM crew was down a man, so I helped Jefferson with the load-in.  First – the House of Blues crew is superb.  Within the first five minutes in the venue, I discovered a friendly, helpful crew that all seemed to enjoy what they did, and the house’s L1, Boombah, was just an amazing guy to crack cheap jokes with and keep the energy in the room pumped high.  Fun was had by all.

A little bit about the Umphrey’s McGee crew – four guys, every one with a department head job.  Jefferson Waful in the lighting department (and lighting designer); Kevin Browning, the Sound Caresser (that’s FOH Engineer for you non-hackers); Bob Ston, Monitor Engineer and EPG (Extremely Professional Guy); Robbie Williams, Stage Manager; and Don Richards, Tour Manager and General Cool Dude.  A great crew, most of whom have been with the band for quite some time – Bob was telling me he’s been on with UM for nine years.  NINE YEARS!  When he says that he stays at the same emotional intensity level all day and doesn’t get angry, he’s totally telling the truth.

Load-in was quick and simple – Jefferson does six Mac III’s on cases on the deck, six Mac III’s from a rear truss, A7 LED heads on a FOH truss, and some Mac 700s to compliment the rig.  Some ACLs and specials from the house rig, and we’re off!  Mac IIIs have some punch, my friends.  That’s all I’ll say about that.  I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.

Finishing up lighting load-in:

Updating focus positions:

More focus position updates:

It was outstanding to hang out with Jefferson during his programming time – I’m not quite yet a grandMA programmer, and Jefferson uses a full-size grandMA (I’m a Hog programmer).  After watching him work the grandMA, I think I need to get my rear in gear and learn this system.

Soundcheck was – well, it was amazing.  Not only do I enjoy the band, but watching Jefferson run some looks was impressive.  I’m a big fan of watching other lighting designers work – as a lighting designer myself, I’m never really conscious of the world around me when I’m driving a lighting desk, and it’s nice to know that others are so focused on the work themselves.  Check out a few of these Soundcheck looks:

The show was equally as amazing.  Here’s a few shots of the actual show, and below that I have added a gallery of ALL of the shots I wanted to post.  Click on the thumbnails, they open a gallery view.  Enjoy!

The anticipation of the first note and the first light cue:

The first cue of the show:

with Brock Butler sitting in:

The driver driving

Thanks to Jefferson Waful and the entire Umphrey’s McGee organization for allowing me the opportunity to spread the word of great music and outstanding design!  Let’s do it again!