OneRepublic's headlining "Native Tour" wraps in the UK March 24 after spending last year circling the globe and breaking new ground as the first tour to utilize Clay Paky's A.leda B-EYE K20 innovative, LED-based moving lights. A complement of Clay Paky Sharpys was also on hand, and the tour was programmed and operated from a grandMA2 light platform. A.C.T Lighting is the exclusive distributor of Clay Paky fixtures and MA Lighting in North America.
The American pop rock band toured Europe, North America, Asia, Australia and New Zealand last year in support of its third studio album, "Native." OneRepublic's tour has continued in 2014 with more dates in Europe and the UK.
On this final leg of the tour lighting designer Chris Lisle has carried over a diamond-shaped theme from last year, which features trusses, video screens and even some of the same fixtures. "The show has some big visual moments, so I had to come up with a design to meet that need," he says. "The band likes cutting edge, so using the latest technology is important to us."
Programmer Scott Chmielewski notes that, "Chris always designs his projects with the artist in mind and tries to keep the focus on the music. It's important for him to make sure that the technology doesn't overshadow the talent but still has the capabilities he needs. This has been a very technology-heavy show, but it was used tastefully and was well in control."
Lisle was introduced to the B-EYEs at LDI and "knowing the feel that the band wants in their show, it was a no-brainer to use them," he reports. "We used all 12 upstage on the diamond pods, both floor and flown, and facing directly out toward the audience. They have so many tricks up their sleeves that I think we used them at just 50 percent of their capacity."
He notes that the band was "amazed" to see the new B-EYE fixtures during rehearsals and immediately asked what they were. Chmielewski says, "these guys have been around the world over and over again on countless shows and stages so you'd expect them to look past new toys like this. But not this time!"
Lisle explains that he let "the fixture show itself off gradually throughout the show. First it was just a wash light, then we added a couple of 'inner/outer' ring tricks, then a couple of ring chases, and ultimately the lens spin tricks toward the end of the show."
Chmielewski likens the B-EYEs to a "firecracker - knowing that the fuse is always lit and about to go off. For a portion of the show they were used as typical wash lights, but we were able to mimic the effect of every kind of traditional fixture from big to small and use the entire bag of tricks a programmer has with color, dimming and pan/tilt effects. Plus, they added an entirely new set of looks that were quite literally the first of their kind. As a programmer, I spent hours just exploring these new abilities and looks, and when we finally used them in the show they became the centerpiece of the design."
Lisle says that two weeks into the final dates for the tour the B-EYEs were working "amazingly well" and proving to be "a very solid fixture."
"Through marathon programming sessions they didn't have a single issue, and we were really putting them through their paces," Chmielewski adds. "I was surprised to see just how few moving parts were involved in creating whirlwinds of amazing effects."
In addition to the B-EYES 30 Sharpys were an integral part of the lighting design since Day One, Lisle says. "I love the fact that they can punch through video intensity when needed. They also gave us some great beam/aerial effects. You can't beat them for speed: They were super-fast for the 'techno' moments of the show."
"The Sharpys were a perfect complement to the B-EYEs in the rig," agrees Chmielewski. "It takes a lot of power to compete with the look and brightness of a Sharpy, but the B-EYEs held their own."
Chmielewski programmed the tour on a grandMA2 light with three active NPUs. A back up grandMA2 light was also available on the road.
He calls the platform his "weapon of choice" for the past few years. "Its ability to continue to build and refine a very powerful and custom toolset for programming is unrivaled," he says. "All of the integration of MA 3D, grandMA2, onPC and VPU makes everything seamless as the ability to previs everything, including Art-Net merging, media and every fixture type, is an enormous asset. Add to that the fact that once the show was programmed, it was one show file on one USB stick."
He notes that the show featured LED nodes embedded into the LED wall. "We had almost 5000 very bright, forward-facing LED fixtures, each DMX-controlled from the console," Chmielewski explains. "Using grandMA2's Art-Net merge capabilities, we were able to merge data from the media servers and have both media control and typical DMX control of all the nodes as well as the 5000 fixtures on the Matrix 5x5 blinders."
Lisle calls the grandMA2 "an amazing console - even more so when you have a programmer like Scott who can unlock all of the tricks within it. The desk is just so powerful. I never heard, 'it can't be done' from Scott during the programming process."
Chmielewski gives kudos to "the team at A.C.T, which is always on for us as we continue to push new technologies from consoles and previs to the newest lighting fixtures. There is no way we would be able to create and achieve what we do without the help of their east and west coast teams."
The equipment was supplied by Neg Earth, UK.
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