MIAMI – For nearly four decades, KC and the Sunshine Band has been getting people to shake their bootys. This 1970s disco group, founded by Harry Wayne “KC” Casey, still brings audiences up out of their seats playing chart-topping classics like “That's the Way (I Like It)” and “(Shake, Shake, Shake) Shake your Booty” on a year-round touring schedule that takes them from coast to coast, and from their native Sunshine State to Canada.
But although their legendary feel-good dance music lives on, KCSB's lighting rig was due for an update – something the frontman himself well knew. “Over the last year, KC has been very interested in changing the lighting design of the show,” said KCSB Tour & Production Manager Rick Raymond. “Among his concerns were the â€˜dated' look of a big par can rig, the heat all those pars produce, and an interest in going green.”
For Raymond and KCSB lighting designer Lenny Lindsey, another important consideration was that the fixtures had to be compact and easy to set up, since KSCB plays everywhere from casinos to private events, often flying in the day of the show. “We knew we had to keep the design as streamlined as possible in order to fit this wide range of venues,” said Lindsey. “And it had to be a design that could be put up, focused and ready within an afternoon.”
After attending LDI and NAMM shows with their lighting dealer Chad Griswold (Mastermind Production Group, Anaheim CA), the designers put together a system from Elation Professional, comprised largely of LEDs, along with the company's new compact high-output Platinum Series fixtures. Featured in the new rig are: 12 x Platinum Spot 5R Pro hybrid spot/wash moving head; 12 x Platinum Wash LED Zoom moving head RGBW color wash; 10 x Design Brick 70 RGB+ white + amber LED bar; 8 x Opti Tri Par tri-color RGB LED par can; 2 x Antari F-3 Fazer; and an EWDMX Wireless DMX system.
All of the Platinum Wash LED Zooms and 6 of the Platinum Spot 5R Pros are hung on a straight upstage truss, along with a 36” mirror ball and 6 ACL Bars. Of the remaining Platinum Spot 5R Pros, 4 are positioned on the floor while 2 are kept as spares. The Design Brick 70s are used on the floor to light the backdrop, while the Opti Tri Pars are inside the upstage truss as truss toners.
Raymond and Lindsay say they were particularly impressed by the new Platinum fixtures, which are revolutionary designs exclusive to Elation, and offer extremely bright output in a very compact, lightweight case at great energy savings. The Platinum Spot 5R Pro, a CMY color-mixing moving head, accomplishes this by utilizing the ground-breaking MSD Platinum 5R lamp from Philips. This hybrid spot/wash unit produces an output comparable to a 575-watt fixture, at half the size, weight and energy usage. Plus, said Lindsey, “the optics are really impressive -- they're very, very sharp. With other units, I had to spin and do a focus and go through every instrument. But with these I have no problem just spinning just one time, and they come into focus right away. This gets everything rolling a lot quicker, which really helps, since we're a â€˜weekend warrior' type band that's constantly flying in and out.” Lindsey said he also likes the fact that the tiny Platinum Spot 5R Pro is packed with features, including: 22 replaceable gobos, a 3-facet Rotating Prism, Variable Frost, a Zoom and an Iris.
The other Elation Platinum fixture used in the show, the Platinum Wash LED Zoom, features a Quad Color LED system (RGBW) that has an output comparable to a 525-watt wash, yet draws only 300 watts of power. In addition to its energy efficiency, said Raymond, the Platinum Wash LED Zoom was chosen because “one of the effects we wanted to achieve was to use a moving LED wash light where, if you were looking directly into the fixture, you didn't see the individual RGB LEDs. We wanted a fixture that could output a true color all the way from the unit to the floor. The Platinum Wash LED Zoom fit that bill . . . And the fact that it was zoomable was the icing on the cake. The price point of the fixture made it a perfect fit.”
Both the Platinum Spot 5R Pro and Platinum Wash LED Zoom have Elation's EWDMX wireless DMX receiver built right into the unit – another must-have feature for KCSB, which experienced firsthand the anxiety of a cut DMX cable during a show at Marlins Stadium. “All of a sudden the whole show froze up, and my tech told me that the wire had been cut,” recalled Lindsey. Now with the Platinum fixtures this threat has been eliminated, since the units can receive DMX signals wirelessly from up to 3,000' away that are sent via an Elation EWDMXT wireless DMX transmitter (sold separately).
Lindsey said he has been impressed with the performance of the EWDMX wireless system. “There has been no lag time or signal interference. When I fire up the system, it sees it right away. It also saves a lot of time and headaches. The stagehands are happy to see that they don't have to run a bunch of cable all over the place – just power cable, and that's it.”
“Being wireless means no more running the snake -- saving time, labor and potential damage,” added Raymond, who said the Platinum fixtures' extremely small size also makes life on the road a lot easier. “Less weight means less fuel and lower labor costs,” he commented. “I have hung those fixtures by myself a few times. Most fixtures require two stagehands to pull out of the case and hang, but not the Elations!”
For more information, contact Elation Professional toll-free at 866-245-6726 or visit www.elationlighting.com
Mastermind Production Group can be reached at 714-281-2033 or visit www.mastermindproductiongroup.com