As Bryan Hartley, production/lighting designer for Trans-Siberian Orchestra (TSO) for the past 18 years, says, “Consoles are like fine cars; everyone has a preference. I prefer the High End Full Boar 4 console.”
Hartley is next up in Live Design’s series of designers and programmers who are sharing their inner thoughts on which of today’s cutting-edge lighting consoles they prefer, and why. Hartley, who has worked with myriad stars including Aerosmith, KISS, Mötley Crüe, Nine Inch Nails, Alicia Keys, Lenny Kravitz, Meat Loaf, Poison, Joan Jett, Megadeth, Deep Purple, Cheap Trick, and Alice In Chains, among others, really rocks it with his Hog 4.
My Full Boar 4!
by Bryan Hartley
I started out on Avolites consoles in the '80s; then I moved to the LSD Icon console. After that came High End Systems Hog 2, and then Hog 3 came along. The Hog 3 didn’t work so well at that time, so I used the Compulite Vector consoles for three years until finally the Hog 3 worked better. The Hog 3 was solid for me for years, and when the Hog 4 arrived, I fell in love with it immediately. It had a beautiful black finish and I loved the look and feel. Another thing about the Hog was that it was priced right for me. I own six of them.
I use all six of my Hog 4s on the Trans-Siberian Orchestra tours every year. I have always traveled on the East Coast troop and run the console at every show. The six Hog 4s are split between the two tours, East Coast and West Coast. Each tour has one main console, one for backup and tracking, and the third is a true backup system. Dan Cassar runs my Hogs on the West Coast.
The Hog 4 handles my big TSO rig and also allows me to travel with other bands internationally, and use many different lights, depending on the country I am in, with the console’s change type feature. High End is good about keeping software and lighting fixture profiles updated and providing phone support when needed. Timecode is a big thing in the shows I do these days, and their timecode process is very simple.
I actually use the Full Boar 4, as the full size was just too big for me, and I like the fact that I can set up and take down my console myself. With many good console choices out there, it’s important that you choose something that you like and enjoy using. I truly enjoy programming and running the console.
On TSO, I set it up a few different ways: Some songs run a cue stack that the timecode triggers each cue as it goes down the list, and I don’t touch any faders. This is sometimes boring, because most of my career has been based on running a console in sync with the music, but timecode does provide for total consistency. Also you can do things with timecode that you can’t hit manually. For songs that are run manually without timecode, I set the console up so that the first fader has a main cue stack that will set everything up, and then all other cue lists are spread across the faders with single cues in true rock ‘n’ roll style with no timecode.
Also, I like to put the plot in the views so selecting lights is a bit easier. It’s great to be able to see the layout of the fixtures, rather than referring to the paper plot, and while no console is picture-perfect, the Full Boar 4 has performed for me absolutely brilliantly.