The most creative and experimental use of new generation products is often found at the hands of indie/dance production designers.
This has been proven recently by Rob Stanley, of ZEROdB Live, who has been using the entire inventory of 44 SGM XC-5 LED strobes newly purchased by Haydn Cruickshank’s Colour Sound Experiment (CSE).
Formed three and a half years ago, and famed for their work in the Drum ‘n’ Bass and more experimental corporate sectors, ZEROdB Live have continually been placing SGM’s low-profile, high output platform on their “dream kit list” for gigs since they became part of the CSE stock.
The XC-5 RB strobes debuted on ZEROdB Live gigs at Mint Festival, Leeds and award winning Hospitality Brixton in September. “They have not been off our kit list since,” confirms Stanley. “We do BIG shows, and the XC-5’s are right on the money.” But it’s since the start of the new year that they have gone into overdrive.
The search for a less power hungry strobe began when the lighting designers found themselves with the challenge of delivering ever more impressive light shows on limited power sources - particularly on festival sites.
“As soon as Haydn said he had invested in the XC-5’s, I booked all 44 onto a Brixton Academy show we were also running that weekend. However when I read the specs and realised the power savings, I diverted the lion’s share of these to Mint Festival. We were able to reduce LX power draw by almost 40% on both the main stages compared to using traditional strobes, without compromising on the overall effect. This meant smaller, cheaper generators, less fuel bill, and overall a much happier client.”
As bright as anything on the market, the XC-5 opens up new options for strobe deployment, he says. This includes using them as an LED wash. “The prospect of an LED wash turning into a mental strobe is something I’m playing with. “By using XC-5’s to colour wash a 3D piece of set, I can then turn this into a crazy strobing monster.”
At dance events Hospitality Brixton and Under the Radar he has been creating ambitious strobe arrays, using the XC-5’s as bright, mappable LED pixels. “Unlike conventional strobes, the XC-5 can be rigged in any orientation and still produce the same punch on the eyes. Also I love segmented pixels of the XC-5.
“In the corporate world, being able to quickly strobe colours opens up new options for using these, where previously I wouldn’t want to trust a colour scroller.”
As for eco-credentials, the event industry is only starting to wake up to sustainability, he says. “I’m sure that in the near future we’ll have to start submitting energy certificates for our designs. However at the moment I’m just happy to reap the benefits of LED.
“Often we have a fixture count that eats up the lion’s share of the available power. Having LED based fixtures allow me to increase the fixtures, realise my lighting ambitions, whilst saving on kilometers of copper. Why load, ship, unload then rig a 32A cable to a single light, when with LED a 16A will do four? Why bother with heavy ballasted two-person lift fixtures when you can swing lightweight LEDs with one hand?”
With further Hospitality shows this January Rob Stanley has become a firm XC-5 convert. “The reliability and speed of colour changing is something that simply cannot be achieved by traditional scroller based strobes. The size of the fixture and its ability to double up as an LED wash gives you two fixtures instead of one.
“Each time I’ve deployed the XC-5’s we’ve had more than client praise, I’ve had sound engineers, photographers, venue owners and even punters telling me they are ace!”