Live Design Blog Archive
grandMA2 has the X-Factor

grandMA2 has the X-Factor

A grandMA2 full-size, a grandMA2 light and an MA NPU (Network Processing Unit) are on tour with the 2010 X-Factor Live arena show, which have been specified and are operated by Lighting Designer Neil Trenell. A.C.T Lighting is the exclusive North American distributor for MA Lighting.

Trenell was asked to create a lighting and video design by the show's technical producers Production North, and naturally wanted to use his own control set up to run both lighting and video. He worked closely with the show directors Annabel Hayden and Stacey Haynes, and it's certainly one of the best looking and most entertaining X-Factor Live tours to date, starring eight of the finalists from the 2009 hit talent show TV series.

When it came to visual control, "It was a completely logical choice as I know the system so well," he says. This makes a big difference to how fast he can program a show, and consequently to how adventurous and imaginative he can be with the design.

He likes many things about the grandMA2, particularly in the layout, which he says makes everything "even quicker" than programming an original grandMA console. "It's hugely powerful and has very little latency," he comments, adding that he's found the system to be very stable and reliable - just like its predecessor.

The fact that the screens display a massive amount of information on which everything can be accessed instantly is a real advantage, and, like many others, he also thinks that the multi-user environment enabled by MA Lighting is a great step ahead. Features that he uses extensively include Part Cues, which aid the video incorporation (in this case he is running three media servers from the console).

Trenell's brief was to keep the rig as simple as possible due to the extremely grueling schedule of fifty-seven shows in eight weeks. However, he still has to give each performer a series of unique and distinctive looks and deal with a host of musical genres from heavy rock to ballads and everything in between. A departure from previous X-Factor Live tours is that this one has evolved as a live theatre show and spectacle rather than replicating the TV show.

Trenell programmed the show with Jonathan Rouse using an additional grandMA2 full-size brought in for the production rehearsal period in Liverpool Arena, which also featured some "fantastic" technical support from MA UK's Callum Howie.

The lighting rig is being supplied by Bandit Lites UK, with sound from Wigwam and video screens and camera PPU from XL Video UK. The tour Production Manager is Sarah Hollis and the Production Director is Iain Whitehead from Production North. Trenell's crew from Bandit are Mike Humeniuk, Martin Garnish and Joe Simpson, who he describes as "a great team".

X-Factor Live

MA Lighting is exclusively distributed by A.C.T Lighting. A leading importer and distributor of lighting products, A.C.T Lighting, Inc. strives to identify future trends and cutting-edge products, and stock, sell and support their inventory. The company provides superior customer service and value for money to all of its clients.

For more information call 818-707-0884.

Photos: Copyright – Louise Stickland

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