Acclaimed country singer David Nail turned to Nashville-based Cour Design (courdesign.com) for help in creating the lighting for his “I'm a Fire” tour, a unique fully MIDI-triggered lighting rig that uses Elation Professional Cuepix Panel LED matrix blinders as the main lighting element.
Gordon Droitcour, co-founder and designer at Cour Design, knew the singer would be opening for artists in large arenas but also needed a rig that would fit into clubs when David headlined his own show. The rig needed to have the same impact in each venue plus fit in a single trailer.
Looking for a vendor who could supply the gear while providing excellent customer support, Droitcour called on Elite Multimedia (elitemultimedia.com), also of Nashville. “We’ve worked with Elite Multimedia on all our projects because their customer service is excellent,” Droitcour says. “They are very good at helping us come up with the best solution for whatever project we may be working on no matter how big or small.”
Cour Design and Elite Multimedia agreed on a lighting package that included Elation Cuepix Panels as well as LED wash luminaires, a combination of products that could give the tour all the design elements desired while still making the transition from arena to club with ease. Cour Design acted as David Nail's production designer and programmer with Gordon Droitcour and Cour’s Erik Anderson handling the lighting design.
Cuepix Panel main lighting fixture
“As an artist, David likes a lot of silhouettes and saturated colors, but he doesn’t necessarily want a lot of flashing onstage,” Droitcour explains. “We chose the Elation Cuepix Panels because with their 25 RGBW LEDs on each panel they give a big look and can create a variety of pixel mapping effects.”
The LED matrix panels are utilized as the main lighting fixture and create an impactful look from upstage set carts that allow them to get on and off stage quickly. To simplify the load-in process, Cour Design created motor-controlled set carts on which the rig would travel. Once on site, crew members can easily roll the carts into place, raise them to the exact height needed, and then plug them into the self-triggering visual package.
The Cuepix fixtures are used as eye candy behind the band with eight panels all facing straight out on the set carts. Depending on stage size, the crew can place the carts as far or as close together as needed, keeping the rig as flexible as possible. “David's team wanted a big look that they could carry all year, stay relevant with design aesthetic while not sacrificing flexibility,” Droitcour comments. “The Cuepix Panels were the perfect lights for the job.”
Most important was their versatility. “This tour was a mixed bag of arena opening act spots and club headlining shows,” Droitcour continues. “We needed something that looked big in the arenas, but could still translate into clubs. We use them as a video panel or a lighting fixture with the individual pixel control and pixel mapping turning one light into 25. Since they have a lot of songs and not that many fixtures on stage, we needed a light that was more than a one trick pony. We could create several looks over the course of a 2-hour-long headlining set without running out of ideas.”
Droitcour says that when first looking at fixtures, they originally thought of using a similar product but with halogen bulbs. “That would give a classic look, but it was very much a single use product and a logistical nightmare. We were worried that the champagne colors would not translate with an LED product, but we thought we would go with one anyway for several reasons. In the end, we were blown away by the warm amber and champagne colors that came out of the Cuepix Panels. They looked like incandescents.”
Self-triggered lighting rig
On the David Nail tour, self-triggering technology developed by Cour Design automates the touring production through MIDI-triggered control. By implementing a show that triggers its own lighting and video cues from a backing track, it is possible for bands to hit the road with fewer technicians but more gear. “Since most bands want to have the big live show, we developed a system to automate touring productions, giving them the big show they desire on the budget they need,” Droitcour explains. “Because we use a self-contained and triggered visual system, our lighting rigs typically go out with no dedicated lighting technicians. When the production manager for David Nail heard we had found a way to make this happen, he reached out about their upcoming tour and we got to work.”
Droitcour praises Jason Hall and his team on the David Nail tour and thanks Peter, Tom and Cannonball at Elite for their “continued hard work.” The fall leg of the “I’m a Fire” tour will be playing dates in the U.S. and Canada through November.
About Elation Professional
Elation Professional is one of the world’s leading lighting and visual solutions providers and is the global brand of Elation Lighting. Founded in 1992 and headquartered in Los Angeles, with European sales, distribution and support based in The Netherlands, Elation designs and manufactures a comprehensive range of innovative yet affordable lighting and video products that are distributed through a global network of dealers and distributors. Made up of a spirited team of dedicated personnel, Elation is setting new efficiency and performance standards in Platinum lamp and LED technology and is acknowledged for a comprehensive commitment to Total Support. As a company in expansion with a presence in a growing variety of market segments, chances are you’ve experienced Elation lighting at a concert, special event, TV, theater, late night venue, House of Worship, theme park, cruise ship, exhibition, architectural space or elsewhere. For more information, please visit www.elationlighting.com