Embracing Avolites

Monday, 9 January 2006
Embracing Avolites
UK - Dom Smith chose an Avolites Diamond 4 console to control the lightshow for Embrace's recent arena tour. The show was designed by Bryan Leitch, the tour's artistic director, who worked closely with Smith as lighting programmer and on-the-road lighting director.

It was Smith's first full production tour with Embrace following some DVD work in the preceding months, and the equipment was supplied by leading UK rental company, Siyan. Leitch completed the design after consulting with the band's lead singer Danny McNamara.

Specification of the control gear was left to Smith who chose his favourite console - the Avolites Diamond 4. Smith, one of the UK's leading young LD's, was one of the first to take Avo's most powerful console on the road - initially with the Stone Temple Pilots in 2003. Since then, he's not used another console.

Lighting wise, the stage started bare and dark and became busier as the show progressed, ending with the rig finally 'coming together' in its entirety for the final third of the set. Integral to this was a team of student lighting techs from Rose Bruford College's lighting design degree course who were part of the performance. They 'built' the rig as the show progressed, appearing to 'fix' lights and bring more onstage as time went on. This random structuring, explains Smith, led to the show running to a slightly different pace each night, leaving room for plenty of improvisation - where the D4 excels, says the company.

Overhead was a box truss with two sub-hung moving trusses. The upstage moving one featured eight SGM Giotto CMY400s and a series of 4-lamp Molefeys, and the downstage one came in and out with a scrim for video projections by Mark Video.

Off the front of the box truss were another four Giotto CYMs and some Studio Due CS4 moving battens. The front truss featured six bars of PARS, 12 Martin MAC 600s, 4 truss-mounted spotlights and a 1.5m diameter ball.

On the deck - by the end of the show - were several 10ft truss towers on wheels, each rigged with a strobe and PixelLine 1044 LED battens. CYM 400s were used for specials on top of four of these towers, and the back of each yielded the letters E-M-B-R-A-C-E spelled out in DWE bulbs, turned around at a strategic moment.

Also on the deck were Atomic strobes, and eight PALCO Mobile LED moving lights located upstage right behind the backline, plus six standard PALCO (static) LED floods, moved onto the stage floor by the Rose Bruford crew during the set.

At the very back, slung off the rear truss was 'Bryan's Wall', consisting of five 16ft scaff pipes rigged with Sky Pan fixtures - 2K movie lights with large reflectors and round bulbs. The spaces in between were adorned with festoons complete with super-sized globe light-sources. These stayed hidden for the start of the show, and were only revealed later by kabuki gauzes that fell away. The appearance of onstage chaos onstage was actually a very complex operation, scripted from start to finish, explains Smith.

The Diamond 4 controlled all the light-sources mentioned above, totalling 115 dimmer channels plus moving lights and LEDs. "The power, flexibility and usability of the D4 was perfect for this show," says Smith. "It's an absolutely brilliant desk and it does everything I want it to do."

(Chris Henry)

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