Chauvet creates ‘constructive chaos’ for Avatar
Thursday, 28 October 2021
avatar-3Following the US dates the tour will travel to Europe next year
USA - After being idle because of the pandemic, Swedish metal stars Avatar were eager to return to touring with a bold, new look. The band’s long-time lighting designer Jimmy Olausson obliged by introducing an element of constructive chaos that reflected their bold sound. Aiding him in this undertaking on their North American tour was a rig that featured a collection of Chauvet Professional ÉPIX Strip, Rogue and COLORado fixtures owned by the band.
In a bid to challenge traditional audience expectations, Olausson and the band designed the show to be expansive, unleashing more and more lights and video content as the show unfolds. Key to this gradual build up is the introduction of Olausson’s custom visual content, which are played via Resolume over 96 ÉPIX Strips, 48 of the units positioned upstage, while the remaining 48 equally divided between stage left and stage right.
“I wanted this design to look a bit chaotic -- a quote from Albert Einstein I have had in mind is: ‘Order is for idiots, genius can handle chaos,’” commented Olausson, who created custom cabling for the tour with Dillion Roblier. “The sheer versatility of the ÉPIX strip allows me to create the appearance of movement and direction through light.”
Outfitting the strips with custom filters created by Atomic Design, Olausson used them to conjure up a variety of engaging looks that conveyed a sense of expectation while endowing the stage with texture and depth. “When I use the ÉPIX Strips in full pixel mode with the time coding, I can focus entirely on levels and dynamics throughout the show,” he said. “This helps me keep a level of aesthetic consistency for the audience.”
While the start of the show begins with an air of mystery and drama, Olausson incorporates the 16 Rogue R2 Beams to punctuate the set with slicing rays of light. Positioning 10 R2 Beams on two 10-foot truss structures behind the band and six beams in a row on the floor next to the drum riser, Olausson exploits the powerful throw and vivid hues of the fixtures to create a counterpoint to the visuals played through the ÉPIX Strips.
“I use the R2 Beams to create immersive scenes in the set and also to visualize sounds, especially during the songs ’Secret Door’ or “Wormhole,” where the rhythmic, driving atmosphere effect really comes into play,” continued Olausson. “Toward the end of the set, I incorporate the various functions of the Beams more frequently into the songs. This enables me to place the band within the scene of visual content created by the ÉPIX strips, thus tying everything together in one visual package.”
Adding an element of colour to the performance when required, Olausson specified 12 R2 Washes for use as side lighting, creating an immersive colourful effect during key moments within the set.
Completing Olausson’s visual concept are a number of vertical effects to create, in the designer’s words, “a good ol’ wall of light.” To achieve this, the 48 individual LEDs of the 12 COLORado Q40 Panels in his rig, which are mounted on a total of six vertical trussing towers behind the drummer play a central role in the concept. Here, the pixels are individually programmed by Olausson to help create the experience that the show is gradually unfolding over time.
Following the US dates, the tour will travel to Europe next year. “The challenging part of the tour is to give the audience and band members the show they are expecting to see,” commented Olausson. “Thanks to the auto address function in the EPIX Drives that we are using, we can easily scale down or scale up the production depending accordingly.”

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