HSL has a riot with Prodigy
Thursday, 11 January 2018
hsl-prodigy-pro142235264A typical Prodigy lightshow involves layers of visual effects
UK - Tasked with creating a fresh regime of visual anarchy for Prodigy’s most recent tour, lighting and set designer Tim Fawkes chose to work with rental specialist HSL as suppliers of lighting and a crew who were chiefed by Matt Brown.
Tim took a brief from the band and long-term manager John Fairs. This led to the development of four custom semi scenic old-style searchlight assemblies upstage, with big hexagonal outer shells and packed with more modern lightning technology. These, together with three scenic CCTV camera towers were the main set pieces,
”The underlying idea was to create a scene of dystopia on stage,” explained Tim. The set was built by Stage One. Tim devised the shape and size of the searchlight housings which he modelled and tweaked in WYSIWYG before finalising. They were a compromise between being tourable, relatively light at under 300kg each fully loaded - and looking the part.
The two onstage ones sat on risers upstage with the two offstage ones on the deck. Prodigy have always played in a relatively smaller area downstage, so the concept fitted the space nicely.
Inside each searchlight pod were seven Claypaky Sharpies, a Martin Atomic LED, two Philips Nitro 510C strobes and eight individual PAR 36 ACLs. The shells were outlined with LED tape so they glowed menacingly in the upstage shadows.
A typical Prodigy lightshow involves layers of visual effects and for this one Tim alternated between beams, strobes and Moles / blinders, flipping between tungsten and LED.
The strobes punched jauntily out of the front of the searchlights, and the coloured flare of the Nitros which give a reflector effect blended edgily with the softer PAR 36s and the gas-like Sharpy CTOs.
The gaps in between the surveillance camera masts and the searchlights were filled with four trussing towers, the rawness of the metalwork visible, each loaded with Vari*Lite VL4000 wash beams, Atomic LEDs and Robe PATT2013s. The distinctive dish like appearance of the PATTs all adding to the intrigue.
Another eight Atomic strobes were dotted around in an arc shape on the deck including four to highlight the distressed oxidised metal finish of the riser fronts.
Robe LEDWash 600s rigged on two side truss towers a side and on top of the side fills were used for the main stage washes - the band have never been fans of front – with more LEDWashes upstage on the floor gazing up the fly artwork backdrop. This version was printed on trevira material with a gauze in front for a bit of additional resonance.
On the downstage edge of the stage were more strobes and some PixelLine LED battens providing some basic foot and side lights.
Prodigy founder Liam Howlett also had a very special request - for some Trilite Mark 12 rotating beacons (popularly known as ‘fuzz lites’) as a tribute to classic stage effects, for which Tim dug deep into the HSL vaults. These were gelled in red and brought a flourish of vintage to the mayhem.
Four trusses were flown above stage - two upstage and two downstage, all staggered in height - the idea being to replicate the spacing of the searchlights Sharpy effects with the Sharpies in the overhead rig.
Fixtures in the overhead lying rig were 30 x Sharpies, 25 x LEDWash 1200s - specified for their extra intensity, 16 x Atomic LEDs and 14 x 2-lite Moles.
Tim used a High End Systems Full Boar 4 console for control. He works regularly on a number of different control platforms including this and grandMA, and being a programmer as well, likes to keep up with the most popular options. “
During the prep, Tim’s background in project management and production came in extremely handy. “It was great going back to HSL in a client relationship (he worked there between 2009 and 2013) and spend time in the office amongst a familiar, friendly and very helpful team.”
He is also the first to credit his hardworking crew who, in addition to Matt, were Steve Major and Joe Dowling.
HSL’s project manager Jordan Hanson commented, “We love working with Tim – he’s really thorough and organised which helps everything run smoothly, and we were all really impressed with the interesting set and the vibrancy and animation of the lighting.”
(Jim Evans)

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