Nexus™ Connects To Crowd At Methodist Youth Rally

The Young Peoples Ministries of the Peninsula Delaware Conference Youth Rally has enjoyed an avid following for over a quarter of a century in part because it’s managed to keep pace with the ever-changing styles and sensibilities of its young followers.  In early 2014, the annual weekend rally, which drew over 4,000 participants, accomplished this feat with the help of a dynamic cutting edge lightshow anchored by 44 Nexus COB LED panels and 60 MVP™ Ta8 curved video panels from CHAUVET® Professional.

“The rally’s organizers (the Peninsula-Delaware Conference of the United Methodist Church), has always emphasized making  this event relevant to its young audience, while still maintaining the core values of its underlying message,” said production manager Kevin Short of Mid-South Audio (Georgetown, DE), which has been doing the lighting and audio for the rally since 1993.  “Young people are exposed to intense visuals every day. We understood that if we wanted our rally to connect to them, we needed a light show that could match this intensity.”

Before creating a new show for the 2014 rally, Short showed its organizers images of Nexus panels performing at the CHAUVET Professional LDI booth. As he recalls it, “They were pretty much instantly sold and said, ‘This is what we want!’”

Working with Mid-South’s LD, Dutch Hein, Short and his team put together a stunning center stage curved truss display that measured 54’ wide by 24’ high with horizontal trussing extending over the truss arch. The display had 32 Nexus 4x4 panels on the front side and 12 Nexus 1x4 panels on the inside of the truss facing an impressive video wall made up of the 60 MVP Ta8 panels.  The video wall showed graphics, text and IMAG images of the performers on stage, a Christian music all-star lineup that featured the likes of Grammy nominated and Dove Award winner Jamie Grace, George Dennehy and For King & Country.

“We often had three lighting stories going on at once around the truss with the Nexus 4x4 and 4x1 COB LED panels, and the curved MVP video panels. It was like an orchestra of light -- and the kids loved it,” said Short. “Our LD used the VIP™ Media System Pro (from CHAUVET Professional) to deliver content to the video panels and Art-Net™ to program the Nexus fixtures. The pixel mapping, scrolling images and chase scenes on the truss setup made the rally look like a marquee event.  This would have been next to impossible to achieve if we used standard DMX instead of Art-Net.”

In addition to the Nexus panels, MVP video panels and Media Systems Pro, Short used eight Legend™ 230 SR Beams moving head fixtures with Osram Sirius lamps and six Q-Spot™ 560 LED moving heads in his standout youth rally rig.  All of the fixtures were impressive. “The performance of all the CHAUVET products was outstanding,” he said. “In terms of reliability, brightness, and color; they delivered everything you could want – and more.”

However, Short is quick to point out that it was the Nexus panels that transformed the rig. The rich smooth colors and intense brightness of the Nexus 4x4 and 4x1 panels’ COB LEDs created a visually stunning lightshow that exceeded even the most optimistic expectations.

“When you’ve been doing this for 20 years as I have, you see a lot of new products come on stage, but Nexus with its COB technology is really a game changer,” he said. “Everyone from the organizers to the kids in the crowd were talking about the brightness and colors of the lights.  They wanted eye candy on stage, and boy did the Nexus deliver! When I posted some pictures of the Nexus at this rally on our company Facebook page, I got calls from clients asking if we could use it at their shows. The Nexus is going to be a great rental item.”

Short recalled a story that illustrates the brightness of the Nexus. “During rehearsals I told my LD Dutch how impressed I was with the brightness of the Nexus panels. He said, ‘Oh really, do you want to see what real brightness is?’ He explained that they were running at 75% brightness and then turned it up to 100%. It was wow! A good thing about the Nexus panels is that you can turn them up to use them as audience blinders, or turn them down to create a color arch with the truss. They’re easy to control.”

The Nexus panels were also easy to set up. “This was the first time my crew worked with Nexus, and they went up very fast and easy,” said Short. “My LD also loved working with the Nexus and the video panels because they opened up a whole new set of creative possibilities.”

Although the Nexus panels and MVP video panels “worked extremely well together” Short believes he will do “at least as many” projects where the Nexus panels are used by themselves. “IMAG is great, but it can be priced out of the reach of some smaller groups,” he said. “However, with Nexus by itself, these groups are still going to add an eye-popping and very engaging visual dimension to their events while keeping the production within budget.”

For Short, the emergence of Nexus and the MVP panels is indicative of the changing role that lighting is playing in his productions. “When we started doing these rallies, lighting basically was used to illuminate the performers and sets on stage. Now, if you want to connect to the crowd, lighting has to be something that also faces out to be looked at and appreciated by the audience.  This is where a product like the Nexus panel really stands out and creates the kind of show that people want to see.”




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