Breath of Air at Eden Project
Thursday, 19 August 2004
Breath of Air at Eden Project
UK - Entec, Avolites and James Thomas's Pixel range team joined forces to make Air's recent show at the Eden Project in Cornwall a memorable one. It was the first time that the attraction's famous Biomes had been illuminated with Pixel fixtures. Integrated into the live performance, they formed a beguiling multi-coloured backdrop to the stage. Entec supplied both lighting and sound production for the UK and European legs of Air's extensive 2004 tour, working with the FOH team of LD Dave Byars and sound engineer Paul Ramsay.

The 'specials' element of the lighting rig - which toured everywhere including all the festivals - consisted of 14 Studio Spots, eight James Thomas Pixelline LED battens and four Manfrotto stands on risers. It was designed with festival practicality in mind - quick and simple to rig and wheel onstage - whilst also providing Air with their own unique set of visuals. With the band primarily static onstage, lighting plays an important aesthetic role in the show. Byars wanted to keep the fixtures low, shooting through the band into the audience, kinetically transferring the energies and vibes of live performance from the stage into the crowd.

For control Byars chose an Avolites Diamond 4. He first used the console on one of the US legs, and then decided it was essential to have one on the rest of the tour. He needed a lightweight desk with compact dimensions that was on one hand easy to hoist up FOH festival towers, but that also offered plenty of creative power. The D4 was ideal from all perspectives.

Byars thinks the desk is "brilliant" - particularly the way it can be configured as required, and the fact that all faders can be used as playbacks, so you never run out of space or options. He also reckons the programming and playback functions are even easier than on previous Avolites consoles. Byars ran his touring Pixellines via PixelDrive Lite PC-based software, giving two graphics layers, one mask layer and the PixelDrive front end, making programming straightforward and quick. After the first site visit to the Eden Project, Byars was on a mission to light the Biomes - the opportunity of having a backdrop of several giant translucent spheres directly behind the stage was too good to miss.

Chris Ewington of the James Thomas Pixel team arranged additional Pixel fixtures to be delivered to site for the Eden Project show, and Avolites supplied a second Diamond 4 console and another PixelDrive computer to control the in-Biome lighting. 24 PixelPAR 90 (A) architectural fittings were positioned around the Tropical Biome, chosen for this location because of their solid wash light output, and their sturdy weatherization - not flinching in the 98 per cent humidity environment. The Temperate Biome featured less extreme weather, so the Pixelline 1044 battens were a good option for light sources here.

Entec supplied Fraser Elisha as an extra crew member to take care of the environmental lighting at Eden. Elisha also stood in for a couple of shows whilst Byars and his touring team mate Simon "Boff" Howarth pre-rigged and programming the Eden show. Locally-based Wavelength Sound & Lighting Systems run by Ade Bart also pitched in to help sort the extras. They used an Avolites eDMX system to control the Pixel fixtures. Scattered far and wide throughout the Biomes, conventional data cabling would have been unwieldy, time consuming and impractical.

Entec supplied consoles, FOH racks, multicores, monitor control, specialist monitors and all mics for the sound department throughout the UK and European legs of the tour, including a full d&b PA for Air's own and non-festival shows. Paul Ramsay's DiGiCo D5 live console then accompanied him to every show, tied in to any locally provided racks and stacks where applicable. Ramsay's effects rack included an Eventide H3000 and a TC D2 delay for the vocals, both MIDI'd to the desk, and he utilizes all the D5's internal effects engines. One of his 'speci


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