Farm Aid 25 Lighting Controlled with Martin M1 Console

PLSN Staff • News • January 12, 2011

MILWAUKEE, WI – Lighting Programmer Seth Robinson used Martin's M1 console to control the concert and television lighting for Farm Aid, featuring Willie Nelson, Neil Young, John Mellencamp and Dave Matthews. Stan Crocker was the LD for the event, with Bandit Lites supplying gear. "I started using Martin consoles in 2004 with Sting and have been using them ever since," Robinson said. "I have programmed nearly every modern lighting console available and there are things I love and hate about all of them. I have found over the years that the Martin consoles consistently match my programming style. Naturally, I went with the M1 because I am familiar with it and because it is a terrific desk for television."


This year's Farm Aid took place at Miller Park in Milwaukee. Robinson sought to create an energetic feel to the lighting and credited the M1's performance. "I like combining the concert lighting with the audience lighting because it allows me to bring the energy and color of the show out into the house," he said. "This plays very well on TV."


Martin fixtures in the rig included MAC 2000 Washes, MAC 2000 Profiles and MAC 250s.


"We used 12 universes on this stadium show, but it felt like I was running a club rig – smooth and quick," Robinson said. "The hardware design for the M1 is what really clinches it for me. There are 47 playbacks available on the front surface of the desk. As for manual control, the M1 has a great touch screen built-in along with the standard M-Series keypad controls. I have never felt like the desk was too small for a job. In fact, it feels much larger than it is, simply because it has so many playbacks available."


The M1 is equipped with a dual-core processor, ensuring that the user interface remains fast and responsive, even if hundreds of playbacks and effects are activated simultaneously.


{mosimage}Designed from the ground up with a single philosophy in mind – simplicity, the surface is clean and easy to navigate with fewer buttons and options to overwhelm the user.


Robinson admits to liking fancy technology, but added, "when it comes to my bread and butter, I want a desk that performs reliably and without a lot of fussy setup. Since I often program shows that I will not be running, I like to use a desk that won't make people call me at all hours asking, ‘How do I do this?' By eliminating those panicked calls, the intuitive user-interface and straight-forward programming workflow have improved the quality of my home life. How many consoles can make that claim?"


Robinson experienced challenges with scheduling problems forcing him to complete his programming in four hours before dawn on the day of the show. He noted that "Miller Park has a sliding roof, so the front of house area was covered and I couldn't see the audience. What was I to do?" He opted to use the Martin MAXRemote from his iPhone to finish his presets. MAXRemote is a native, and free, iOS application that allows quick remote access to most programming functions of the M1. 


"I climbed onto a camera riser and started my audience focus," he said. "Since the MAXRemote app works so smoothly, I was able to focus the 54 audience and architecture moving lights in about 20 minutes. When I was unsure about coverage in a couple of areas, I simply ran and stood in the light. The fixture controls in the app work smoothly and the network connection is robust. Basically, the app doesn't get in your way; you simply run around and focus lights. You have to feel the responsiveness of this thing to understand how good it is.


Robinson also had 24 moving lights on the delay towers that were used for stage fill light. "After color correcting and focusing the lights, I used the M1's excellent DMX Input system to give control of those lights to Mark Carver, the keylight lighting director," he noted. "For him, the control was transparent; he simply placed them on a submaster like any other instruments in his rig. This arrangement worked out very well for us.  


"Our Bandit and Upstaging crews were, as usual, top notch," Robinson added. "Something that always makes me feel good is walking onto the stage during load in and seeing the desk set up at dimmers, running a test chase that the techs have written. This speaks a lot for the usability of the M1; even though those guys don't use the desk every day like I do, they still figured out how to patch it and write chases."


For more information, please visit www.martin.com . For related story from Bandit Lites, click here.


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