The mandate for a clean design drives all production decisions of the OneRepublic 2017 Honda Civic tour. VER is providing a turnkey solution by providing audio, video, lighting, and tying it together with automated rigging on OneRepublic’s North American run with Fitz & The Tantrums and acoustic artist James Arthur this summer.
Automated Rigging Executes ‘Perfect Cues’
Deploying VER’s automated rigging “came out of sheer necessity,” says Production Manager Zito. Show designer Raj Kapoor and co-production designer/lighting designer Mark Butts of Preset Productions discussed their design dilemma with VER’s rigging project managers David Martin and Richard Cano. The solution: an automated rigging system of eight Kinesys Elevation +1 systems to safely and precisely move trusses with 70,000 pounds of lighting, audio and LED video panels.
“Safety is paramount, and this system gives you the ability to use automation to enhance your safety. It allows a greater level of precision to the exact location every single time. Automation is used to not only move trusses, but we can accelerate or decelerate speed to achieve the designer’s vision,” comments David Martin.
The Kinesys Elevation 1+ systems is a variable speed chain hoist control system. It removes the need for large quantities of cabling and allows several motors and controllers to be supplied by single power and data cables - meeting the ‘clean production’ mandate. Using Vector software, the system allows the movement of lighting, LED panels, trusses and any rigged pieces to be triggered by timecode cues.
The system makes the job safer and the movements reliable for head rigger Bill Ringstl and automation operator Clay Hutson. “The Kinesys system is brilliant,” Hutson says. “The movements are repeatable and precise, it allows us to ‘thread the needle’ so to speak, as many our cues are timed now. The system executes perfectly.”
“Critical in reinforcing safety” are several Kinesys LibraCells - a load-measuring shackle - with the LibraWatch system - a portable, load monitoring software application that works on hand-held digital devices, Hutson adds.
Video: A VER Exclusive
While the rig movement in the show is “pretty basic,” Hutson notes, the automation is crucial in revealing the sponsor LED wall in between sets. It’s also used during James Arthur’s acoustic set to completely change the look and feel of the stage. “Because the moves are tastefully done,” he adds, “they make a very powerful statement.”
To further explain the design dilemma: OneRepublic’s production design concept was to move away from the “big giant screen” look. So when the tour sponsor required a large 16:9 formatted screen in the middle of the stage - which would not be needed for the band - it posed a challenge.
Zito explains, “The rig was lighting heavy, so the problem came when the lighting trusses were raked to their 45 degree angle, they blocked the LED wall. So, we use the Kinesys system, engineered by VER, to automate the lighting trusses to clear the video wall during changeovers to allow a clear view of the wall. Then, during changeover before OneRepublic we pull off the epic feat of removing the 40-foot video wall completely in 10 minutes!”
The 40-foot wall, called the Honda Civic screen, shows promotional footage between acts. The screen consists of 90 WinVision 9 AirPanels, run by a LC2012 HD LED Processor. The first two acts are using just two trusses of lighting, while keeping OneRepublic’s production design under wraps.
Once the wall is removed, the clean look of OneRepublic’s set is displayed in full force.
OneRepublic’s video consists of IMAG on two triangular LED screens atop each side of the triangular shaped lighting rig. The screens consist of 132 x Revolution 5mm panels, with an additional 12 x 5mm left triangles and 12 x 5 mm right triangles adding the angles. Two Revolution M2 LED Processors control the image output.
“The Revolution Display is a VER exclusive rental product. The special LED triangle shapes were first offered a couple of years ago in response to designer demands,” says Michael Drew of VER Touring and Events.
Manning the VER video crew are LED Lead Sean Green and LED Technician Alex Gibson.
“The cleanliness of the design drives all decisions all the way through audio,” says Zito. "We decided to hang the subs behind the mains to maintain a smaller footprint and we use cable bridges for cable management even in the sheds- this insures no cables are landing downstage. Each day as we put this show into different venues, audio has been incredibly flexible in their placement to maintain the overall aesthetic.”
FOH Engineer Trey Smith mixes the audio for the audience using the DiGiCo SD7 for OneRepublic. Monitor Engineer David McMullin uses the DiGiCo SD7 to mix audio for the artists. For microphones, they deploy the Shure UHF-R wireless microphone systems and Shure PSM1000 personal monitoring system. The Shure Axient Digital High Performance RF maximizes the signals and mitigate RF interference, keeping the sound clean.
The PA system features d&b audiotechnik J-Series equipment designed for large-scale, far-reaching sound reinforcement. There are 32 x d&b J Main loudspeakers left and right, 12 x d&b J Subwoofers flown left and right, 12 x d&b J Subs flown left and right, 8 x d&b J Sub Ground Subs, 4 x d&b Infra Ground Subs and 1 x d&b D80 Amplifier Package.
Sean Henry is sound engineer and crew chief, monitor tech is Cory Benson, and Kyle Fletcher the PA and stage tech.
Considering the variety of venues on the tour - from amphitheaters to arenas - Zito notes, “The VER audio team has done an incredible job maintaining audio consistency amid venue inconsistencies."
Lighting Heavy, With A Twist
Mark Butts created the lighting design to be clean and lean, but “lighting heavy.”
The first design decision was to turn 10 straight trusses on their sides, creating a triangle rig. The sleek aesthetic extends to the band risers - a custom fascia made of high gloss metal with backlit LED tape - and the custom piano, uplit with internal lighting and outlined with pixel control LED tape.
The core of the rig consists of 103 Ayrton Magic Panels 602, with 62 Clay Paky Mythos as the hard edge fixture. The 28 floor lights are all Sharpy washes. A row of 18 GLP X4 Bar 20s line the downstage edge. In the upstage wall and embedded in the overhead trusses are 54 Showline Nitro 510C strobes. Then the architectural piece: the six trusses are covered with a custom fascia, on which are mounted a line of 100 VER Revolution Blade HDs with a flat smoke diffusion on them. The effect gives the appearance of one continuous neon look.
Other fixtures include 60 Revolution Blade HD Mini with custom diffuser, 6 Robe BMFL spots, 6 Vari-Lite VL3500 Spots and 16 Elation Professional Cuepix Blinder WW4s. For atmosphere, they’re using 4 Radiance Tour Systems with 2 ReelFX2 Turbo Fans.
AJ Pen specified the grandMA2 Full console and a grandMA 2 Lite for control.
Helping Butts achieve the lighting look were programmers Brian Jenkins and Lighting Director AJ Pen. VER Lighting Project Manager is Chris Shrom, with lighting crew chief Jeff Archibeque, and crew Sam Raphael, Courtney McDaniel, Chuck Myers and Tony Cerasuolo.
David Perkins also provided pre-visualization services for programming in VER’s Nashville location.
Butts says VER has “always been a go-to” for large scale projects, he notes. “VER is great at putting together and turn-keying those projects.”
Production manager Zito says, he was “hesitant” at first to use just one vendor for the entire tour. “I discussed this with few of my other production manager colleagues and they all had great things to say about using VER for all their production needs. It really made sense for us and I’ve been very pleased. It’s made my life a lot easier just dealing with one equipment partner!”
The OneRepublic 2017 Honda Civic Tour runs July 7-Sept.12 throughout North America, followed by Asia Sept. 17-25.
Photos: Brian Jenkins