Rider's annual pre-spring break party featured a flamboyant cast of characters on stilts
USA - Ask a Rider University student how the school's football team is doing, and you're likely to get the response, "We haven't lost a game since 1951!" Of course this small liberal arts university in the shadows of New York City hasn't fielded a team on the gridiron since 1951 either -- but such is the free flowing sense of humour that characterizes life at Rider. This wry spirit was very much on display recently at Rider's annual pre-spring break party, which this year featured a flamboyant cast of characters on stilts, some popular New York DJs and an eye-popping lighting design by LD Jason Ayala of ProSho Inc. (Staten Island, NY).

Ayala created staggered video walls using 48 PVP S5 LED panels from Chauvet Professional and inter spliced them with Chauvet's Q-Wash 419Z-LED RGBW moving washes. "This is a big annual event that draws a lot of people and some local celebrities like DJ Mike G and DJ Yonny from 92.3 NOW, the former flagship station of Howard Stern," said the LD. "The energy level is pretty high. My goal and ProSho's goal was to create an ambience in the venue that matched that energy level people expect from the Rider party."

The first step in creating that ambience was to lend an extra level of colour and depth to the prominent DJ booth by surrounding it with different sized video displays. Ayala built two tiers of video walls in front of the DJ booth, the first measuring 6' x 4' and the second 4' x 4'. He then suspended a 4'x 2' video panel from the ceiling behind the booth and added two vertically oriented video strips measuring 4' x 2' and 4' x 1' to either side of it with the thicker strip being closer to center stage.

"We had the DJ basically floating in a sea of video walls, which really drew attention to the performance," said Ayala. "This is a dynamic party, but it takes place in a plain institutional room that doesn't have a real stage. Since there was no real stage setting, we had to build our own scenic elements to create depth and texture, which is what we did with the multiple layers of PVP S5 video panels."

To add to this texture and depth, Ayala ran various "geometrical graphical images" on the video walls. He gave his design even more depth by pixel mapping these images on the eight Q-Wash 419Z LED fixtures. These moving LED washes filled the spaces on the stage's back wall that were not covered by the video panels.

"The Q-Washes filled the breaks in the wall beautifully to create a very immersive look," said Ayala. "We pixel mapped these washes to show the same content as the video panels. All the lights were run on a grandMA and I used ArKaos MediaMaster to run the video content, so the ArKaos fed the grandMa."

In addition to running video images on the Q-Wash fixtures, Ayala used them as audience lights, particularly when there were live performances on the stage area in front of the DJ. He also used the PVP S5 panels themselves as audience blinders and color fills at different points during the party. "The output of the panels is very impressive," he said. "We ran them at 50 percent and they were plenty bright; and the 419Zs were bright enough to stand up to them."

Another Chauvet Professional product in Ayala's mix was the Legend 330SR Spot. The ProSho LD used 12 of these fixtures on a massive circular truss structure that surrounded the dance floor.

(Jim Evans)

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