Hippotizer Boreal+ MK2 Media Servers provide the processing power (photo: Grayson Gregory)

USA - Country superstar Thomas Rhett’s tour is hitting US arenas and festivals with an “awesome” lighting and visual show driven by tvONE's Green Hippo brand of Hippotizer Media Servers.

A vast LED screen is constructed in each venue behind a wall of lighting fixtures, which are rigged on a scaffolding-style structure. Wrapping around the top of the stage, mirroring the thrust, a series of LED panels add height and drama. For each show, creative designer Alec Takahashi of BKD plays with depth, texture and layering to create what he describes as a “sense of wonder” with video surfaces.

Two Hippotizer Boreal+ MK2 Media Servers – one as main, one as backup – are being used to provide the processing power, programming ease and eye-candy effects, with a Hippotizer Karst+ MK2 at FOH for HippoNet access.

“To create this show we utilised a range of Hippotizer features including masking, Timecode playback, and effect manipulation,” explains Takahashi. “We chose Hippotizer mainly due to its reputation and reliability, as well as its integration and programming with MA consoles, but Hippotizer proved to offer way more than that. AJ DiCarlo was my primary video programmer and he established workflow with Hippotizer into this show that allowed for smooth and efficient programming alongside the lighting. Hippotizer helped us achieve flawless video integration throughout.”

Takahashi’s design plays with many different masks to create shapes and edges that never allow the viewer to see the defined edge of the video wall. “By doing this, you never really know how big or what shape the wall actually is,” he says. “The show is musically dynamic, so we rode the waves visually with video content touching on scenery, animated graphics, and textures. All visual elements are pieced together with meticulous intentionality and purpose. There are balanced moments where one element is the focus and vice versa. It is important to me that visuals compliment the music artfully with intention. There are moments for the video to shine, then lighting, and then a beautiful blend of both.”

Takahashi worked closely with Thomas Rhett in a collaborative creative relationship to draw on lyrics, video clip imagery and album artwork to create the visuals. “It’s imperative to understand the story of where these songs came from and what they want to communicate to the audience,” he continues. “What does the artist want the audience to feel? From there I can start creating visual themes and design concepts to move forward with.”

Playing in a wide range of venues to festival audiences as well as super fans in arenas, the visuals had to translate well. “My video crew chief as well as AJ have confidence in Hippotizer’s ability to adapt and be flexible whether we are headlining with our own gear or integrating into festivals,” says Takahashi. “I have run into zero issues in any environment and my team’s confidence in Hippotizer’s ability is impressive.”

Thomas Rhett’s Home Team Tour has visited venues including Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena, The Legacy Arena in Birmingham Alabama, and Orlando’s Amway Centre. It is also playing festivals such as San Diego’s Boots in the Park and the Mississippi Valley Fair.

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