Pigeons fly in Pittsburgh with Chauvet
Monday, 11 March 2019
pigeonspppkeith-g-of-phierce-photoPigeons Playing Ping Pong in Pittsburgh (Phierce Photography by Keith Griner)
USA - For Pigeons Playing Ping Pong’s sold-out Stage AE show in Pittsburgh in January, the band’s lighting designer Manny Newman created an intense panoramic mothership landing look that appeared like something out of a Steven Spielberg film.
“We wanted not just to immerse fans, but to kind of challenge their sense of reality,” explains Newman. Helping him in this ambitious endeavour was a collection of Chauvet Professional Rogue fixtures from his personal stock and rented from Hougie’s in Pittsburgh.
Newman used 12 Rogue R1 Wash, eight Rogue R1 Spot and 12 Rogue R2 Wash fixtures in his rig. “We relied on these fixtures to create a mothership look,” he says. “What we did didn’t involve science fiction; it was just the result of the careful placement of fixtures. We get this gigantic look when the upstage movers are in a high fanned-out position and the ground movers are in a low fanned-out position. This creates a very open look, which I like to use when I need a large scene.
“You can say the design looked like something from out of space,” adds Newman, “but I wanted a very organic look as opposed to straight Xs. Organic spacecraft! Fanned-out looks are always my go-to design.”
Newman’s light package was 16’ wide and was flown at a height of around 20’ at its highest point. The 12 R1 Washes in his rig were flown on the quick grid, along with eight strobe units. On the ground he had 8 R1 Spots. He also used the R2 Wash for the side and downstage wash.
With this arrangement, Newman was able to create a galaxy of different looks for Pigeons Playing Ping Pong’s two 95-minute sets. In keeping with the improvisational mindset of his client, he busked the entire show. “I always busk,” he says “Cue stacks and time coding are cool, but it’s like quantizing notes in audio. It just feels too robotic and lacks dynamics.
“Pigeons is a jam band, so trying to run lighting as organically as possible is crucial to creating a good show,” he continues. “I have been using the same master show file for at least two years, so the only thing that changes are the jams.”
(Jim Evans)

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