Robe lights Techs on the Decks marathon
Friday, 17 July 2020
robe-techs-on-the-decks-tec101924238The event embraced multiple genres of music (photo: Louise Stickland)
UK - Techs on the Decks saw 24 artists and technicians unite to present a 24-hour electronic music live stream broadcast on Facebook Live, YouTube and Twitch.
The event - which has currently fundraised £4,000 for technical entertainment charity Backup - was the brainchild of Gordon Torrington from Hampshire-based rental company Liteup. The idea was spawned from a conversation he had with Liteup’s MD Marc Callaghan and freelance LD Warren Hutchison about the work of the charity in supporting many industry peers including a friend and colleague of all at Liteup, lighting director and programmer Jonathan Rouse who passed away recently and is much missed.
Techs on the Decks was viewed by 37,000 people creating a buzz around the industry and giving those directly involved a chance to do what they are so passionate about, as the industry remains closed since mid-march, still without a real practical roadmap on the table for when things might re-open.
Techs on The Decks was a COVID-conscious, socially distanced event staged from Liteup’s two streaming studios which have been built at their warehouse in Hampshire since the crisis began. All the lighting, LED screen and robo-cam kit was supplied by Liteup including Robe moving lights which were installed in both studios, pulled from their extensive rental stock, among other fixtures.
The cameras / PPU package for Studio 1 was from Solotech. Stage Truck parked up one of their brand-new sleeper trailers in the car park allowing the crew working over the full duration a chance to grab a few hours’ sleep. Several classic VW camper vans also rocked up in the car park as some crew and artists brought their own alternative overnight accommodation.
Creative video director Blue Leech took care of camera directing for several acts and Nick ‘NikkiNoMix’ Jevons - who started his entertainment career DJ’ing for pirate radio station Foul Mouth (FM) Radio in Sheffield in the 1990s – operated multiple lighting slots as well as playing the prime-time midnight - 1am slot with his “Music the Ladies Like” collection.
There was also one live band set on Saturday afternoon from Zone Fluffy in Studio 1 - a band that Gordon first lit back in 2002!
As well as stage managing on the day Gordon programmed himself to play the opening set - blasting out a stonking collage of bangerz, getting right back to his roots!
Techs on the Decks delivered 24 infectiously rhythmic incendiary sets that also showcased the extraordinary musical talent that lurks just offstage across the industry.
The technical infrastructure – based on offering excellent affordable production values - for both studios was designed by Warren Hutchison, for this event and for general use. The pop-up venture is starting to get regular traction with local artists plus others from further afield, all keen to do professionally produced live streams.
Both studios were utilised for Techs on the Decks which enabled a ‘flip-flop’ operation for changeovers.
Fixtures for Techs on the Decks included 11 x Robe Esprites – seven in the front truss, four on the mid for both back and front key lights plus effects, chosen for their “power, optics versatility and great on-camera look,” explained Warren.
In Studio 1, Twenty-four Robe Spiiders were rigged four each on the front, mid and back trusses, with 12 on the floor upstage and along the sides, while seven LEDBeam 150s and 10 x Pointes across the back and mid trusses completed the moving light count.
Added to that were four upstage truss towers each fitted with Ten pixel-controllable LED battens – programmed and running via the lighting console – and some Flare strobes with the choice of a ChamSys MagicQ or an Avo Arena console.
At the core of the video system in Studio 1 was a Grass Valley Korona mixer / switcher which received inputs from three GV LDX 86 4K cameras fitted with a variety of Fujinon lenses and from two of Liteup’s 4K Panasonic robo-cams. This was all coordinated by Paul ‘Macca’ McCauley for Solotech UK.
Studio 2 featured eight Robe MegaPointes on a goal-post truss above the DJ booth, a bunch of Magic Blades, some LED washes, and more Flare strobes, all controlled from a grandMA2 light. A back wall of Liteup’s 5.9 mm INFiLED screen was great for displaying eye-popping visuals and the complete length of the front of the DJ booth was clad with the same surface, bringing depth and dimension that maximised the space.
The camera system was one GV LDX 86 and four Panasonic robo-cams. Playback graphics and visuals were running on one of Liteup’s Resolume media servers, operated live by a rota of VJs together with the robo-cams, ensuring stunning, different, and individual looks for every artist.
The event embraced multiple genres of music, each artist bringing their own energy, edge and superlative mixing and production values in a groove-swirling megamix that would do any major high-profile festival stage proud.
(Jim Evans)

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