Elite Multimedia goes high-powered and custom for Eric Paslay tour

EP16-1030x494

Lighting designer Mike Marcario and production designer Norwood Wood desire big looks with a creatively compact way to travel for their new lighting design

Nashville, 3/3/2016 – When ACM Award-nominee Eric Paslay hits the stage, the Texas redhead is a charismatic performer and a potent vocalist. Recently setting out on his latest tour across the United States, the crew behind him is working night after night to bring the biggest show possible through a new design by lighting designer Mike Marcario and production manager Norwood Wood. To create the show needed, the production team called upon longtime tour provider Elite Multimedia who not only provided a gear list filled with the latest lighting technology, but also developed a custom set cart design to carry it all along the way.

“To really help us get the music out to the fans, we wanted to come up with a completely new lighting design for this tour,” began Wood. “We’ve been fortunate to have this crew together for a while now and it’s really great to see everything tailored around Eric as a songwriter and artist. We enjoy working with Elite Multimedia because they take the time to listen and are great at helping us showcase Eric in the best way possible.”

“This is my fourth season touring with Eric and in the lighting design this year, I really wanted to challenge myself to use the latest technology to see how big of a look we could get,” added Marcario. “I wanted to go with a rig that used less fixtures than in years past, but actually gain more functionality by using newer fixtures on the market that have more capabilities. We have worked with Elite Multimedia before so I knew they would be able to provide us with the perfect lighting needed, and that is exactly what they did.”

Taking the time to fully understand the type of design Marcario and Wood envisioned for the tour, Elite Multimedia provided them with a lighting package that included Elation Platnium FLX, Ayrton MagicBlade, Philips Showline SL NITRO 510 LED strobe, and Elation Cuepix WW2 LED Blinder luminaires. For control, the tour chose a grandMA onPC Command Wing, along with a Chauvet Amhaze II Hazer for added ambience.

“I wanted to give the Elation Platinum SLX hybrid fixture a look and it impressed me even more than I thought it would,” admitted Marcario. “They have so many design capabilities and a great beam mode for a bright, tight beam with the switch of a DMX channel. We also really enjoy the Ayrton MagicBlade fixtures, and all of it together has allowed me to sort of stretch myself into some fixtures I hadn’t used before.”

With the lighting instruments in place, Marcario and Wood now needed to plan the logistical aspects of the design in regards to how it would travel throughout the year. As it appeared that a custom set cart design might be the best option, Elite Multimedia stood ready once again with a large set cart inventory and custom design team if needed.

“In years past we had articulating set carts that housed our tour lighting and we wanted to do a similar set cart design for this tour as well, continued Marcario. “We wanted lightweight aluminum that could house all the fixtures and cable, and be a live-in cart. We also wanted to put fixtures on top of the carts to get more height on stage, but riding in a bus trailer, they had to be small. Our account manager Peter Streiff came back with a custom design that absolutely killed it and I have to give a lot of credit to Norwood and Elite Multimedia for understanding what we really wanted to do.”

“While we wanted the biggest looking show, we had to very cognizant of how we would get it all on and off stage quickly night after night, and how it would travel in the trailer,” added Wood. “It’s amazing how flexible this lighting rig is and how big of an impact I see it make. We play a wide variety of venues and we now have the ability to fill any space, but it all still packs away modestly and travels on the set carts. It’s really impressive.”

As tours set out on the road, the job of a tour provider has often just begun. When the Eric Paslay tour prepared to make a stop in Nashville, the production team knew this would be one of the most attended performances. Understanding their desire to heighten the atmosphere to another level, Elite Multimedia stepped in once again.

“At the Nashville show, we knew all the industry professionals would be coming out along with some fellow artists as well, so you have to put your best foot forward,” stated Marcario. “As a designer you have to be ready to support the artist on an important night, and that’s when Elite Multimedia did something pretty cool. Knowing we wanted the extra punch, they brought over additional fixtures from their Nashville shop for us to use and this is what makes you feel great about your tour provider.”

Already noted as one of the most talented singer-song writers in country music, Paslay is quickly demonstrating to audiences that he is ready for the spotlight as one of Nashville’s hottest touring artists as well. Keeping pace with the rise of artist is often a challenge felt by many production teams, but through their relationship with Elite Multimedia, Wood and Marcario are confident they are ready to rise as well.

“The relationship between Elite Multimedia and the team at Eric Paslay has been developing over a number of years and they really put their best foot forward once again to show us what we could create,” said Wood.  “They did a great job of tailor-fitting exactly what we needed for the tour to create the big looks we wanted, and they figured out exactly how we could carry it. They have been a valued partner with the Paslay tour and we are excited to continue growing together.”

“One of my favorite memories so far is looking over at our lighting director Matt Strode during the Nashville show and seeing how he was really into the music,” concluded Marcario. “He runs a phenomenal show from load-in to load-out and the band is having more fun with the lighting this year as well. When thinking about tour lighting, it can’t just be about what is behind the band, it has to be about everything working together in perfect unison. As a tour provider, Elite Multimedia seems to share that vision which only makes the show better for everyone involved.”

Elite Multimedia is a privately-owned, leading supplier of the most up-to-date audio, video and lighting technologies today. With a combined 85 years of industry experience, our team of dedicated professionals knows how to pair the right technology with your vision whether partnering with you in a rental, systems installation, or sales relationship. Through an unconditional desire to make your production or project a complete success, our passion and knowledge to innovate knows no bounds. For more information on how Elite Multimedia is the right partner for you, visit www.elitemultimedia.com, follow us on Twitter at @EliteMultimedia or find us on Facebook or Instagram.

Elite Multimedia Matches the Musicality of Banks on “The Madness Tour”

banks-tour1

Cour Design once again works with the Nashville-based tour provider and creates a soulful lighting design that accentuates the R&B sensation

Nashville, 2/5/2016 – With the release of her first full-length album Goddess, the R&B sensation BANKS recently embarked on “The Madness Tour” playing alongside The Weeknd and selling-out houses across North America. To create a soulful lighting design that would best accentuate the passionate singer/songwriter, her management team approached Gordon Droitcour and Erik Anderson with Cour Design (www.courdesign.com). Working with lighting designer Darien Koop, Droitcour and Anderson eagerly accepted the opportunity to work with the indie artist, and to do so they once again enlisted the assistance of the Nashville-based tour provider Elite Multimedia.

“This was actually our first tour with BANKS and our first time working with her Monotone management team as well,” began Droitcour. “As we began looking at the tour design, we knew we would be sharing the stage with The Weeknd, so we wanted to generate a look that would stand on its own. Since they would have a large production package, we decided the best way to be in contrast with their set-up would be to go in the opposite direction. Using a lighting package supplied by Elite Multimedia, we were able to create a simple yet dramatic tour design that really highlighted her style as an artist and it worked great.”

As Droitcour began envisioning the lighting package that would fully encompass the emotionally expressive design, he was confident that Elite Multimedia had the gear necessary to make the tour a success. After speaking with the account managers about the ominous and sexy environment desired, they developed a lighting package that included 22 Clay Paky Sharpy and five Clay Paky Mythos luminaires, along with 14 Martin MAC 301 Wash LED fixtures and a Martin Jem Glaciator X-Stream ground fog machine.

“During our initial discussions the tour design aesthetic we were looking for was always very clear, but we did end up going through several different design concepts,” explained Droitcour. “Having worked with Elite Multimedia on designs in the past, we were very comfortable choosing them as our tour provider once again. They always have very competitive pricing on a wide range of products and the support network they provide is one of the best.  They really helped us through the prep and rehearsal phase to get us the best gear possible and develop the ideal lighting package for our vision of the tour.”

With the lighting gear in place, Droitcour and lighting designer Darien Koop got to work putting all the pieces into place. When they started to explore how the show would transition between the artists each night, they did encounter a small challenge, but quickly identified a design solution.

“The biggest issue we faced was the really the time allotted to get the gear off stage during the artist changeover,” added Droitcour. “To make the changeover possible, we ended up putting all of the lighting gear on wheels using a mix of skateboard decks and GT truss. With these elements in place, we were then able to move all the gear off stage in under five minutes. Our lighting tech Amanda Tullis, who toured with the production, really did a fantastic job and we couldn’t be happier with how it all came together.”

Now that the full design was in place “The Madness Tour” was free to begin selling-out performance venues across North America. Looking back, Droitcour is extremely pleased with how the lighting design came together and how it worked in complete unison with all the other design aspects for a wonderfully memorable experience.

“This design was one of my absolute favorites that we have done to date,” concluded Droitcour. “The excellent video content created by Barnaby Roper gave the tour its true heart, and the lighting design really amplified that aesthetic. We loved the idea of using fixtures that could create beautiful air effects and give the artist an environment to express herself freely. Elite Multimedia really listened to what we wanted to accomplish in this design, and provided excellent support so that we could create a sharp and stunning design that really matched the musicality of BANKS.”

Elite Multimedia is a privately-owned, leading supplier of the most up-to-date audio, video and lighting technologies today. With a combined 85 years of industry experience, our team of dedicated professionals knows how to pair the right technology with your vision whether partnering with you in a rental, systems installation, or sales relationship. Through an unconditional desire to make your production or project a complete success, our passion and knowledge to innovate knows no bounds. For more information on how Elite Multimedia is the right partner for you, visit www.elitemultimedia.com, follow us on Twitter at @EliteMultimedia or find us on Facebook.

How To Guide to Lighting Design and Fixture Selection

HowTo-Lighting--1030x494

Lighting design is a complex art form. It encompasses a unique combination of art and technology. The lighting designer creates imaginative atmospheres that express the feeling and meaning of the moment. These atmospheres originate in the lighting designer’s imagination and art. In order to create this art, the lighting designer must also know the technology, as well as what tools are available.

For most people, it takes seven years of university study to be properly trained for entrance into the lighting design profession. But that does not mean that it is impossible for you to create effective lighting atmospheres by choosing appropriate fixtures. Understanding the basic approach to lighting design and choosing fixtures basically comes down to indentifying your church’s needs, and applying the right tools to meet them.

Creating the Design

The first step in creating your lighting design is to identify what needs your particular worship space requires. Whether for worship, theatre, opera, dance, or video broadcast, I always consider this as the beginning of the creative process.

The functions of lighting are clear to most professional worship designers and consultants. The lighting must create visibility and focus, reveal the space, create modeling, support the composition of the worship service, and finally, support the message.

Creating visibility is the most obvious function of the lighting. Although one may think of visibility only as adding light to reveal a subject or object, it is crucial to understand that lighting designers create shadows as well. The lighting designer reveals what the audience sees and what they don’t see through shaping the space and directing focus for the audience. By revealing the space, the lighting designer generates interest and assists in the emotional engagement of the congregation.

When creating visibility and focus, it is also important to assess whether or not image magnification (IMAG) is being used. If so, lighting the space becomes even more challenging. Due to the limitations of video, the lighting designer must be very careful with intensity and contrast. I will refer you to the excellent article written by Jim Kumorek entitled: “How to Guide: IMAG (Image Magnification)” in Church Production Magazine (http://www.churchproduction.com/go.php/article/14694). In this article, he explains the best techniques to consider when considering lighting for video.

In addition to lighting for the camera, the lighting designer must be careful to keep light off the video screens. Choosing the appropriate angles of light-along with choosing lighting fixtures that are able to shutter the light off these screens-is necessary to achieve this.

Speaking of video, modeling is another crucial function of light. As the congregation is often sitting at a long distance from the stage area, the lighting designer must use angles of light to create highlights and shadows on people and objects that emphasize their three-dimensional properties. This is called modeling. The most useful angles to achieve modeling are sidelight and backlight. These angles separate the objects from the background, adding depth to the stage area. This is especially important when IMAG is being used.

Most worship services include sections of prayer, community worship, sermons, and worship songs. This is what we call the composition of the service. Although we are familiar with the concepts behind these sections of the service, it is important to consider the needs of each, as well as how they interact.

Understanding the composition will help you create lighting atmospheres and transitions that guide the congregation from one section of the service to another. This is partially accomplished by generating focus for the congregation.

For example, you will probably light the pastor’s podium completely differently than a worship song. The podium should be lit with a clear, warm light. This atmosphere conveys an intimate bond between the minister and the congregation.

Worship songs give you the opportunity to be more creative through color, intensity, and angle. Music naturally evokes a “suspension of reality.” The power of good music will transform the congregation into a strong connection with the message of the song. Lighting designers support this power though the qualities of light, and how they are composed through movement.

A common technique is to use deep blues and soft qualities for “quiet” music, and bright colors and higher intensities for up-tempo, energetic songs. This use of color and intensity is not absolute, but it is important to appreciate the psychological and emotional effects of these qualities of light.

Developing these distinctive lighting atmospheres creates conventions that communicate to the congregation what part of the service is next. The lighting qualities of intensity, focus, color, texture, shape, distribution, and movement can all be used to accomplish this.

Finally, the lighting design must support the message of the service. Lighting artists interpret the message of the moment, and express their own personal points of view through light. There is no step-by-step way of doing this-as in all art, creating art with light is a personal expression of creativity. Successful expression of creativity usually comes from talent, experience, and a knowledge of the available tools.

Choosing the Right Fixtures

Lighting may be the most powerful and spectacular element in a stage design. This is more apparent today with all the amazing new lighting technology available to us. With new fixtures being developed every day, lighting designers must continually find ways to keep up to date with the technology. Every year I attend Lighting Dimensions International (LDI) to attend seminars, stay in contact with my colleagues in the industry, and to see the latest lighting fixtures and controllers. This event allows me to see, up close, what new tools are available for my art. The upcoming WFX event in Dallas also features a great many lighting manufacturers and dealers.

I am also fortunate to work in some of the most state-of-the-art theaters in the world. I am presently designing a show at the Oslo Opera House. Built only a few years ago, the technology in this theatre complex is truly amazing. The hundreds of high-tech lighting fixtures lying backstage would make my graduate students salivate. Many of these lights were foreign to me when I started working here three years ago, but I learned their capabilities by doing research and actually using them on my shows.

For the local church designer who is not in a large city, keeping up to date can be especially challenging. The best way to learn about lighting fixtures is to see them in action. Go to a local stage lighting dealer and see what they have in stock, or visit a nearby church with a larger or more diverse inventory. If your church is considering investing tens of thousands of dollars in new lighting equipment, most dealers and manufacturers are more than willing to set up demonstrations in your church. You can also do research on the Internet to see what the fixtures’ capabilities are, or attend LDI or WFX and see for yourself.

The first consideration in choosing a fixture is what type of effects you wish to achieve. For a basic stage wash you could use a great number of different models of conventional stage lighting fixtures. In fact, just about any fixture that emits light will work. The ultimate difference is in control.

Although Fresnels can be used to create a soft stage wash, it is somewhat difficult to control the light. You can make the light from a Fresnel small or large, but due to its optical design, you really can’t shape the light effectively. Barn doors can be used to cut the light, but achieving a sharp cut is difficult.

Lekos (ellipsoidal reflector spotlights) are the most common lighting fixtures incorporated for stage washes. The reason for this is that Lekos have shutters, which enable you to control the light by shaping the beam. Lekos can also be used as projection devices. Unlike Fresnels, you can make a Leko’s beam sharp or soft. By using frost color media, you can make a Leko look almost like a Fresnel with a beautifully blended soft edge.

The lighting designer calculates how many lighting fixtures are needed for a stage wash through the use of the fixture’s photometric data. To accomplish this, the designer chooses the desired lighting angle and distance, the hanging position of the light, and then calculates the beam spread. Photometric data is available on the manufacturer’s website.

Lekos come in a variety of fixed beam spreads including 90-, 50-, 36-, 26-, 19-, 10-, and 5-degree models. They also come in variable beam spreads, also known as “Zooms.” These zoom Lekos are quite versatile, allowing you to change the size of the beam through simple optical adjustments.

Lekos can also do a great deal more than simply suppling a wash of light. By shaping its beam you can use a Leko for a tightly controlled lighting area. If you just want to light the pastor’s podium, you can use the shutters to cut a shape of light that isolates this area.

You can also insert a gobo inside a Leko and project a static image onto a surface. There are hundreds of different gobo patterns made by several companies that enable you to project anything from a colorful stained glass window to a leaf pattern. You can even generate your own artwork, and the gobo manufacturer will make a custom gobo for you.

Another useful stage lighting fixture is the PAR. These fixtures are relatively inexpensive (compared to Lekos) and are quite common. Due to the nature of its optics, PARs are very intense lights and are normally used for powerful stage washes. Like Fresnels, PARs cannot be shaped via internal shutters.

A recent development is the LED PAR. Along with its inherent energy savings, most LED PARs are designed with various colors of LEDs. This allows you to change the color of the light without changing the gel. When all the colored LEDs are on, the fixture emits a white light.

Striplights come in many models and sizes. The concept behind a striplight is to create an even wash of light over an extended area. This is the type of fixture you use to light a drop or cyclorama. You can also use smaller striplights as footlights. Striplights have multiple circuits (usually three or four) enabling you to mix colors. This is very useful when you wish to change the color of a wide surface.

But don’t limit yourself to conventional stage lighting fixtures. Many architectural lighting fixtures can also be used in a stage lighting plan. On several occasions I’ve used household fixtures purchased at hardware stores for stage lighting applications. You may be surprised with the effects you can achieve with the simplest of lighting fixtures.

Another consideration is the type of lamp these fixtures use. Most of these models come in incandescent, LED, or HID (arc) sources, though there are other lamp types available.

The most common lamp type is incandescent. These lamps are easily dimmed by conventional stage dimmers and emit a warm, white light (usually around 3,200 Kelvin). They are relatively inexpensive, but have a limited lamp life compared to LEDs.

As mentioned above, LEDs offer advantages in energy savings, lamp life, and color flexibility. The initial purchase cost of LED fixtures is usually much higher than comparable incandescent models. In my opinion, the advantages of LEDs certainly outweigh the disadvantages. Lately I have been specifying LEDs for most of the wash fixtures in church lighting systems.

HID sources are also more expensive than incandescent, but offer a greater intensity of light. For instance, a 700-watt HID lamp is several times brighter than a 750-watt incandescent lamp. One of the main disadvantages of HID lamps is that you cannot electronically dim them. These fixtures require a mechanical device (called a “douser” or “shutter”) to block the light and dim the intensity. Due to the great lighting intensity of these fixtures, I specify HID fixtures on most of the major opera productions I design.

But HID fixtures may not be the best choice for houses of worship. They usually require much more maintenance, and most require fans to keep the fixture cool. In addition, they use a lot of energy and emit a great deal of heat.

Moving Lights

Automated lighting has radically changed the art of lighting design. Moving lights enable the designer much more flexibility in changing focus, color, texture, and movement. They have been readily accepted in the church market for obvious reasons, and the prices keep coming down.

Choosing the appropriate moving light can be as challenging as choosing a color. Each model has different capabilities (and different costs). If you only need soft washes of light with color changes, then a “wash” fixture would be appropriate. If you need to project images from the light, or shutter it, then you need a “spot” fixture. Similar to the difference between a Leko and a Fresnel, you can make most spot fixtures look like wash fixtures (with the internal frost filter or by softening the focus), but you cannot make a wash fixture look like a spot fixture.

Let’s say that you wish to create a moving fire or water effect. You can do this with a spot fixture that has two rotating gobos, or a rotating gobo and an animation wheel. But you can also create this effect with one Leko and a dual gobo rotator (savings thousands of dollars). So sometimes a moving light is not the most practical answer for an effect.

You can also use external automated accessories for your conventional fixtures. These include automated yokes and mirrors that can pan and tilt the light, color scrollers and dichroic filters that can remotely change the color, and gobo rotators for special effects. These accessories basically transform a static conventional lighting fixture into a moving light.

One of the latest developments in lighting design is the use of video projectors on movable yokes. With these projectors you can paint the stage with light from a video source, and remotely focus the video onto different objects. These amazing fixtures are used in some of the more complicated productions in the industry.

Even with all these sophisticated lighting fixtures, it is important not to allow technology to overwhelm the art. Lighting designers must balance their analytical and artistic instincts. Achieving this delicate balance is the key to creating the most effective lighting atmospheres for your worship service.

This article was written by David Martin Jacques for church production magazine. David is a professional lighting designer and professor of lighting design. You can find his book, Introduction to the Musical Art of Stage Lighting Design on iTunes and Amazon.com.

Here is the articles full link to Church Production Magazine.

Elite Multimedia Aquires Hedgehog 4 Lighting Consoles For Growing Lighting Department

Leading Concert and Event Production Company Meets Demands with New Lighting Consoles

Nashville, April 29, 2014 Elite Multimedia Productions (EMP), a Nashville-based audio, video and lighting concert and event production company, purchased a total of five HedgeHog 4 lighting consoles in order to meet the demands of its expanding lighting department.

Elation Lighting began distributing High End Systems’ compact, dependable console that is ideal for churches, corporate productions and nightclubs in the Americas, India and Southeast Asia in late 2013. EMP will be taking full advantage of the HedgeHog 4’s strengths by initially sending them out on the 2014 Student Life tours.

“The HedgeHog 4 is the perfect small format console for several of our clients,” said Jason “Cannonball” Jenkins, EMP’s head of lighting. “Many of our clients don’t need a full format console for their events. The HedgeHog provides us with proven reliability of the Hog platform in a package that is small and cost effective. We are excited to be able to offer this new console and look forward to continuing expansion of our relationship with Elation, High End and Freed Sales.”

The HedgeHog 4 is designed for small to mid level shows and events, and is compact and lightweight enough to easily take on a plane. It’s the smallest of its kind, yet runs off the same software as other Hog consoles. The new console also has the same programming layout as the RoadHog 4 and can load show files from any range, making it extremely flexible and easy to use; that’s what made continuing EMP’s relationship with Elation Lighting an obvious choice.

“We are excited to have Elite Multimedia adding the HedgeHog 4 and eNode 4 ArtNet to DMX routers to their inventory as part of their full-service rental package and are extremely pleased to be partnering with such a well-respected and growing company,” commented Eric Loader, Elation’s director of sales. “The console has long set the standard for lighting control and its flexibility is ideal for the wide variety of events and productions that Elite handles.”

A Guide to LED Stage Lighting

The market in LED based lighting fixtures has seen huge growth in the stage lighting industry in recent years. All of the major stage lighting manufacturers have dived into the LED market while cheap imported lights mean that every church, small band or DJ can get a slice of the action too.

Rental companies are now expected to stock a wide range of LED units alongside their tungsten conventionals and the technology is developing rapidly. If you are new to using LED lighting, we present a guide to LED stage lighting.

What’s so exciting about LEDs?

LED (Light Emitting Diode) technology has now developed to become a viable source of light in live performance and recorded media. LED fixtures have some advantages over ‘old’ tungsten based lighting fixtures and are particularly attractive to the event and concert markets right now. Manufacturers specializing in theatre and television equipment are also developing more sophisticated LED based fixtures to answer the needs of those markets as well.

So what is there to like about LED lighting fixtures? Lets take a look.

● Low Power Consumption – Because LEDs draw a comparatively small amount of power, you can use a lot more fixtures on a smaller amount of power. This is great for small band lighting rigs and the disco/party DJ. Bearing in mind that 20 years ago we were still working with large rigs of PAR cans, there are also benefits of low(er) power requirements for the large show too.

● Low Heat – Although LED stage lighting does produce heat, fixtures produce light without getting extremely hot as with their tungsten or discharge counterparts. In some environments, the lower heat properties of LED stage lighting are very desirable.

● Lightweight and Portable – The hardware that LED fixtures are packaged in does not need to be heavy and even with the various power supplies and other elements, LED units are usually fairly lightweight. To make them even more portable, LED units can be more readily powered by battery and several products boast battery power and wireless control via DMX over WiFi. This creates a lighting product that you can place and control quickly with no messy wires and minimum fuss.

● Color Effects – A common use of LED for stage lighting purposes is additively mixing a combination of different colored LEDs. A fixture with all three lighting primary colors, Red, Green and Blue (RGB) LEDs blended together in different combinations gives the lighting designer easy access to many color choices in one fixture. More complex LED color mixing fixtures use additional sources such as RGBA (Amber), RGBW (White). The color functionality of all these fixtures does away with creating color subtractively using gel filters completely.

● Small and Compact – LED lighting fixtures can be made in small, discreet packages which suit applications where size and appearance are important such as exhibitions stands and smaller events.

● High Brightness – Looking at Low Power from the other end, this is the ratio of light brightness to power consumption. Often advertised as Lumens Per Watt, high-powered LEDs are very bright considering the amount of electrical power they use.  The “additive” color mixing mentioned above means that light produced is not wasted being filtered out.

● Longevity- LED lighting manufacturers often quote the number of hours an LED light source will last in comparison to sources such as traditional tungsten halogen lamps.  And we are talking tens of thousands of hours for an LED vs conventional counterparts.

● Built-In Dimmer. Most LED units offer dimming built inside the fixture, so there is no need to have a separate dimmer rack. In addition, many have onboard controls that allow setting the unit to a color, dimming the fixture, or even cycling or scrolling through different looks, all without the need for a separate controller or bulky dimmer rack.

So, LEDs are the answer to everything now?

Not yet. There are a few things you might want to know about LED stage lighting, before you go out and buy a truck full.

● Many LED arrays can’t provide a point source like a conventional. Because there are many sources of light in the LED array, it is harder to create a LED fixture that will focus like sharp spotlight or project a gobo. Manufacturers have worked their magic on this, creating a point source with optical systems or by using a single, bright LED source. Recent developments have been in the introduction of hard edged spots such as the ETC LED Source Four but still, many LED units are designed to be wash lights. This is getting much better with every day that passes. Plus there are some really cool fixtures being created that couldn’t be made with a conventional light source.

● 16 Million Colors. Just not the one you want. Because of the way colored LEDs are made, different LED fixtures have colors that they just can’t create. A good quality white light that looks great on human skin is often cited as being one of them. Because of the way that all LED source colors are mixed together and the way LEDs are made, a nice white light is extremely difficult to achieve with many fixtures. One major complaint of many Lighting designers out there. LED lights that are designed to be white light sources often lack the range of spectral colors of daylight or an incandescent.

● LED lighting fixtures are bright but …  Although when considering power consumed for brightness LED stage lighting fixtures are really efficient, many units lack the punch of their conventional lantern relatives. A cheap PAR can with LEDs in it is nowhere near as punchy as a 1000W PAR64 CP62. Cheaper LED lighting units have neither a lens nor a reflector, the light they produce scatters and struggles to maintain intensity when thrown much of a distance. However, great strides have been made regarding the optics in the last few years and the top LED fixtures really blast out some light.

● Color Mixing And Shadows. Colored LEDs mix on a surface to create an even light, this mix improves further away from the light source. If there is much distance between the colors, the end result is multi-colored shadows that don’t get with a single-colored conventional. The latest professional and more costly LED optical systems are better at reducing these issues.

● Dimming Issues. Because LEDs don’t use traditional AC powered dimming systems, LED based stage lights don’t behave the same as traditional lighting equipment when it comes to dimming. Cheaper units can have poor or step like dimming curves and there is the real possibility of high frequency flicker when used with cameras. At some point in the dimming curve, LEDs can snap to blackout unlike the cooling down of an incandescent filament. Although high end LED fixtures can attempt to replicate it, LEDs also don’t naturally shift in color like a tungsten source does over it’s dimming range.

● You get what you pay for. All LED stage lighting fixtures are not the same. Even though you can buy them cheap doesn’t mean that you should and all of the above points are more apparent in cheap LED lighting fixtures. A good quality lighting manufacturer will always be more expensive but you can expect the quality of the light to be superior. If you want good colors, beam quality and optics, you must be prepared to pay for them.

Before you throw your rig of conventional fixtures in the trash, be aware that there are serious and often complex reasons why LEDs are currently not a cure-all in stage lighting right now. These caveats encompass color rendition, fixture life, dimming, optics and even environmental questions. Lighting designers have their reasons for choosing LEDs, along with reasons why they continue to specify other light sources. Most lighting designers are pairing LED fixtures with conventionals to create even more effect.

If you are using or buying LED-based stage lighting fixtures, you should familiarize yourself with their limitations along with their benefits. Enjoy the possibilities of LED in stage lighting—and don’t junk all your incandescent or discharge source equipment just yet.

Jobs You Have On The Road Touring

Jobs You Could Have on the Road Touring

Being on the road touring with a music act or production is a dream for many, more now than ever. With schools offering music business programs (Belmont University, Middle Tennessee State University), technical degrees in lighting, video and sound (Blackbird Academy, The School of Audio Engineering, Full Sail University) there is also much more competition for these gigs then ever. Having an open mind to possible different kinds of gigs will help you get on the road quicker and work your way through the ranks to your dream job.

Varying on size, tours may have multiple positions soaked up into one, but for this I will be breaking them down as individual positions. With that said, here are a few positions, some you may or may not know to consider.

Tour Manager (TM)

Just like any workplace, you have a boss. The tour manager is that guy. Most of this gig consists of sitting behind a computer and on the phone squaring away all the nitty gritty details like travel, accommodations, catering, bus stock and, ultimately, keeping the artist happy…(also known as babysitting).

Production Manager (PM)

This guy is in charge of all things production related. Pretty hard to figure out, huh? Often this guy does all the technical role hiring (FOH, MON, LD, backline techs, etc). He will also be in charge of working out production budgets and securing gear with vendors that the tour will carry. Advancing shows with venues to make sure production needs are met is also this person’s responsibility. The PM should be pretty hands-on with all levels of production on a daily basis, and—if done well—makes for easier show days. “FOH/MON engineers frequently wear dual hats and play the PM role as well since they usually have more time during the day than other roles.

Stage Manager

This person manages the stage during the day and pre- and post-show. Often times managing the local stage labor and the flow of load in and load out will fall under this role, if not under the PM. Depending on the size, not every tour will have a stage manager.

Lighting

Long hours sums this department up. But there are a few positions here—the LD, or lighting designer, runs the show each night, the Crew Chief, and lighting techs, who tech the rig, setup/teardown, as well as fix lights that may need to be looked at each day. If you’re lucky, you might get a lighting tech. If you aren’t, you have to soak up this role as an LD. If you’re an LD and you get a tech/s, be thankful and do your best to take care of your crew.  They are the ones busting ass to make your rig pretty. And vice versa, if you’re on the lighting crew, do your best to take care of your LD…it will go a long way when stuff goes downhill.  AND as an LD, always make a MON focus position…it’s a requirement and they really appreciate it (SARCASM).  Just remember—first ones in, last ones out.

Audio

Audio is full of the coolest guys on the road—or so they think (Fair warning here, one of the authors is biased). Most tours run with at least two audio engineers: one front of house (FOH) and one monitor engineer (MON). The FOH mixes the band for the audience to hear, and monitor engineers attend to the bands hearing needs. If you want to be an audio guy, shoot for FOH—you’ll be around longer then the MON. Depending on the size of the tour and amount of gear you carry, you could be a MON, FOH tech, or a PA tech on a bigger tour.

Video

Video is a growing role in today’s touring world. Projection, LED, cameras and this department of workers are responsible for video images on screens. There are a multitude of jobs you can have in this department including video director, projectionist, LED tech or camera operator.

Backline

Unlike lighting, these guys are last in, first out. They tune and tech guitars, and make guitar changes during the show. They setup the band gear on the stage as well. That’s all there really is to say about backline guys.

Special Effects

Whether its pyro, cryo, or confetti, these guys tend to make a mess and have wires everywhere, but they do make a show really awesome. This is a serious gig though, because people can get hurt if you don’t have a good, reliable, and trusted person operating this gear.

Automation

On really large tours you can have truss automation, where lights and video are moving to different positions throughout the bands set. Like with special effects, it is also very important to have a reliable and responsible automation operator

Merch

A merch guys job is kind of like a backline guy in terms of hours, but this duty helps your boss make money. Merch mans the tables before, during, and after the show every night. They also make sure all of the tour merchandise counts and money match each other at the end of each session.

Drivers

These guys are the night owls that get you to the next gig safely. Keep these guys happy, and your tour will run on time—literally.

Production Assistant (PA)

If you’re really lucky, your tour has a PA.  This person can make all your requests happen, and oftentimes are the most beloved person on the tour. If you want to have a great experience on the tour, make friends with this person. No questions.

 

Remember that being on the road is fun, but also a lot of work. It’s not like the movies! Anything you do is a direct representation of the artist you work for, so remember, take your job as it is—a job.

Written By David Venus and Jason “Cannonball” Jenkins

Elite Multimedia Productions and Gary Allan Kick Off New Relationship With Single Trailer Tour

GA13-1030x494

Gary Allan Partners with New Production Company for 2014 Tour

Nashville, March 10, 2013 — Multi-Platinum country music veteran and 2014 ACM Award-nominated Gary Allan partnered with a new tour production company in order to increase production value while staying in a single truck.

Gary Allan’s production manager, Sean Gary, decided on Nashville-based AVL production company Elite Multimedia Productions because of its locale, budget-friendly packages and customer service.

“Using Elite has given us the ease of getting everything from one vendor and yet, still lets us feel as though we are getting a much bigger bang for our buck,” Gary said.

EMP is a one-stop shop for production services, and has excelled in providing services to popular recording artists including Luke Bryan, Casting Crowns and Dream Theatre, as well as for special events across the U.S.

With single trailer tours, production needs to pack as much equipment as possible so they have to advance less equipment at venues. With the PixelFLEX 20mm FLEXCurtain panels, the tour was able to pack its entire video wall into only two roadcases, leaving room for more of the tour’s own equipment and lighting elements.

“The major challanege with Gary Allan’s tour was the amount of production, and getting it all into one 53’ semi. They came to us with a lot of great ideas and we worked closly in every aspect of the prep until the tour left the dock.” says David Venus, Account Manager. “We are excited to have started this relationship with Gary Allan’s production team and look forward to a long future together.”

Because the tour centered around the weekends, it was also essential for lighting designer Brandon Quisberg to have easy access to the rig to allow for working on video and lighting during down time. Hence, the convenient location of Nashville’s office. Both Quisberg and Gary were able to get what was needed without the added hassle of shipping new equipment or trusses back and forth.

“What surprised me the most was [Elite’s] willingness to get what’s needed done when it came to certain aspects of our rig. [Those] guys went out of the way and made it happen — there wasn’t any questioning to it,” Gary said.