Part of the problem with traditional LED screens is that the images on them are – well – a bit flat. And in large arenas, anyone seated to the side may have difficulty viewing them. Although they've paid full price for their ticket, they may not get to see much of the visuals.
So for The Chemical Brothers latest world tour, production designer Paul Normandale decided to think outside the box – literally. He says: “My job is to turn the band's performance into a truly three-dimensional show. I'd been sent a sample of G-LEC's Solaris+ and it gave us the idea of creating a three dimensional lighting rig.”
Normandale rigged an 8m diameter truss from which he hung 48 x 8m lengths of G-LEC Solaris+ to form a circle around the band – making both them and the lighting really stand out from the crowd. The 40mm diameter LED light â€˜balls' of Solaris+ provide 360° viewing, which means that the graphics are visible to the audience, no matter where they are seated. And the product is light enough that Normandale is able to fly it in periodically throughout the show to surround the band.
“I've never used the product before, but when I was sent a sample by G-LEC's Mark Ravenhill, I was intrigued. It allowed us to do a lot of interesting effects which would otherwise be really difficult to achieve, such as bringing the light show forward and making it truly three dimensional.
“All the other products we looked at would have given us problems with deployment, including making them face the audience at full brightness. Solaris+ was light and robust enough to handle frequent moves.
“We had custom visuals produced, running off a Catalyst media server, and had a week in production rehearsals where we were able to establish what type of images worked best. It gave us a chance to play with the video and adjust the content to use the product to its best advantage.”
The system consists of five 125kg motors which are built into the truss – and, says Normandale, the rig doesn't come close to its load limit, thanks to the light weight of Solaris+.
“All the feedback we've received has been extremely positive,” Normandale adds. “We'd definitely use it again. It was a unique solution, and I'm not sure what we'd have done otherwise. We would definitely have had difficulty achieving the same effect.”
Mark Ravenhill, Director of Global Key Players, says: “We worked with our distributor in the UK, AC Video, to get a test system to Paul during his design process so that he could be sure that it would fulfill his design requirements. It's great to see Solaris+ going onto its first ever world tour. Paul's taken the flexibility of Solaris+ to a new level, showing just one of the many ways that it can be used.”
For more information on G-LEC and its products, please visit www.g-lec.com