GLP FR10 boosts Usher’s iHeart festival set
Wednesday, 7 October 2020
iheart-music-festival-usherphoto-credit-eric-gorleski-traskhouse-1The iHeartRadio Music Festival set
Germany - The 10th anniversary edition of the iHeartRadio Music Festival took place recently in Los Angeles. Among the cast was Usher, broadcasting from a red-lit stage. Both his 20-minute set, and the generic lighting rig at the iHeartRadio Theatre LA, were studded with GLP fixtures - supplied by locally based Volt Lites and put to work by LD Matt Ardine and programmer Mark Butts.
While the generic rig itself contained a ceiling of 36 GLP X4 atoms - described by Ardine as “an inexpensive way of making the lighting rig look large” - along with 77 discreet GLP FR1’s, Usher’s set featured GLP FR10 bars, at the request of the artist’s design team, Eric Gorleski and John McGuire from TrasK House creative agency.
“We wanted Usher’s set to feel different than the other performances at the theatre, with a more intimate, but still 6ft socially distanced feel that drew focus to the live band and Usher’s dance,” they remarked. “As we didn’t have a backlog of video content, we knew we needed to lean heavily on a lighting element. “
In stepped Matt Ardine, who is one of iHeartRadio Theatre LA’s regular LDs (as is Mark Butts). “I designed the base rig for the whole festival then worked with every artist’s team to create an individual look that works for their artists’ brand.
“TrasK House already had an idea in mind for Usher. They sent over the plot for their rig and I immediately replied that I loved it.”
This hinged around how they wanted to use the FR10 bars in the Usher set, which the LD would be using for the first time. “After the rig was installed, Eric and John went over the programming and gave Mark more detailed notes for each song,” said Ardine.
“Matt and Mark understood the concept immediately and were excited to try out the new FR10 Bars to accomplish it,” noted the TrasK House team. The creative team worked closely to set the angle and trim of the light ceiling to maximise effectiveness on camera. “Mark quickly saw how powerful the FR10 bars were and was able to really lean into them as the primary source throughout the performance.”
The theatre had been carefully adapted for COVID-19 as Matt Ardine explained. “For this show, we ripped out the stage and did a 360° set that filled the whole stage and audience floor. As the existing rep plot wasn’t effective with this new setup, we took down every light, moved it to a new position then also rented another 200 lights to fill the space.”
The success of Usher’s overall lighting dynamic at the festival was due in equal part to the expertise of Mark Butts, working on an MA Lighting grandMA2. “After being a regular user of GLP’s X4 Bar 20s he says he was looking forward to test driving the FR10, which he ran in full control mode.
“I liked that the aperture of each pixel is much bigger than the original X4 Bar; I thought that added a lot on camera, and even the director [Michael Dempsey] commented on it. Individual zoom offers some unique looks and another layer of control - it gives the ability for great washes, but also a really versatile effects fixture as well.”

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