The HiJinx Festival of Electronic Dance Music marked its second year with a return to Philadelphia’s Pennsylvania Convention Center where Production Designer Cort Lawrence ramped up the excitement with Ayrton Huracán-X fixtures for dynamic graphics and colorful effects. ACT Lighting, Inc. is the exclusive distributor of Ayrton lighting fixtures in North America.
HiJinx drew crowds of approximately 25,000 on December 27 and 28, 2019 with headliners such as Bassnectar, Excision, Slander, GRiZ, Porter Robinson, Skrillex and Zeds Dead. Following the success of its inaugural year in 2018 the festival occupied a bigger portion of the convention center and staged a bigger show to the delight of attendees.
Cort Lawrence reprised his role designing the club-scene look of the show and coordinating with the individual artists’ teams who crafted the visuals for their performances. He had seen Ayrton’s new Huracán-X in its debut at LDI last fall and immediately earmarked the fixture for use in his future design projects.
A formidable graphical tool for enhancing creativity, Huracán-X offers exceptional light output, a complex color mixing system capable of generating 281 trillion colors (patent pending), specially developed optics, an advanced framing section and a complete graphical system with gobos and effects.
“HiJinx demanded versatility, and this fixture is the most versatile I have ever come across – it has every feature you’d want in it,” says Lawrence. “I needed a bright fixture that would really stand out, and I specifically wanted something that could paint the convention center walls with graphics and animation. I felt the Huracán-X would give us a really unique look and reached out to ACT Lighting to see how many fixtures were available in time for the show.”
Lawrence placed them over the audience to light the crowd, display graphics on the walls and provide a real club feel to the festival. “We initially considered projecting visuals onto the walls, but with the time allotted to us projection was not an option,” Lawrence explains. “With Huracán-X I was able to create some unique looks for the show and the lighting designers and programmers for the individual artists were free to showcase their own styles. Some of them just scratched the surface of what Huracán-X can do while others dug deep into it. It’s very easy to create simple looks with Huracán-X, but you can push some stunning visuals out of it, too.”
Lawrence hails the fixture’s 7-position wheel for interchangeable effects cassettes or gobos. The wheel is fitted with five rotating gobos and two effects cassettes that create dynamic effects by superimposing two complimentary inverted images in counter rotation (patent pending). A second interchangeable gobo wheel is equipped with seven rotating gobos; a monochromatic multi-position effects wheel creates flame, water and radiant effects (patent pending). A multi-layer CMY wheel generates multicolor effects.
“Ayrton bills Huracán-X as ‘graphadelic’ and it sure is!” says Lawrence. “It’s perfect for EDM shows; it fits the vibe and nature of the music.” The top three artists each night had their visual teams paint the convention center walls for their own performances while Lawrence controlled the displays for the rest of the artists. Graphics and effects were shown almost continuously throughout the evening.
Lawrence was also impressed by “the sheer power and brightness of the light. It really stood out in a room full of video and lasers. It was able to cut through everything. Huracán-X is an outstanding light, and a lot of the other lighting designers were very excited to use it – it was a great treat for them.”
He’s eager to use Huracán-X on future projects when he has time to explore more features. “I want to dig deeper into the colors and the framing system inside,” he notes.
Lawrence also tapped three grandMA2 full-size and two grandMA2 light consoles to control the show’s lighting, lasers, cryo and confetti. He used an MA dot2 to control the special effects. “Due to the size of the room and the locations we had a very wide network with five NPUs and eight MA nodes,” he reports. “The grandMA2 series is still very powerful and a favorite of many lighting designers – they’re still requesting it.” ACT Lighting is also the exclusive distributor of MA Lighting products in North America.
“ACT representative James Suit came to the show to be hands-on with us if any questions came up. He was very helpful, and we really appreciated his support with a very new product,” Lawrence adds.
“Also, Philadelphia lighting company Pin Point Lighting was by my side the whole time. I couldn’t have done it without them,” Lawrence concludes.