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The Rady Shell Invests in a Follow-Me Followspot System

PLSN Staff • Stage DirectionsTheater News • December 15, 2021

San Diego Symphony’s The Rady Shell at Jacobs Park, which opened in the summer of 2021, is located on the edge of San Diego Bay. The Rady Shell was looking for a reliable followspot system they could use during the symphony, concerts, and events. Jason Rothberg, Technical Director and Lighting Designer at The Rady Shell understood the unique challenges that his venue faced. Being an outdoor venue, Rothberg knew that a traditional followspot would not be an option. While the original design centered around a brand-specific moving light and tracking system, the exterior venue wanted a system that would meet IP65 standards for outdoor use.

The team at The Rady Shell worked closely with Jason Reberski, CEO of Chicago-based JRLX, and identified Follow-Me as the perfect solution that would allow them to use any IP65 rated moving light to meet their unique challenges. “The open-source nature of the Follow-Me system—coupled with its years of successful use on the market is ultimately what led me to recommend it for this application,” Reberski says. “As we supplied a vast automated lighting rig for The Rady Shell project, I knew that almost any fixture in the plot could function as a followspot or tracking backlight.”

In addition to the IP65 challenge, all of the lighting positions at The Shell are angled. With each fixture mounted on an angle and curving catwalks at different trim heights, Follow-Me SIX 3D auto-calculates the unique XYZ values for each fixture and makes set-up and calibration a snap. The Follow-Me system utilizes a camera, providing each Follow-Me operator with a clear view to easily see the entire complex stage at The Rady Shell. “Follow-Me turned out to be an incredible solution for us,” explains Rothberg.“ The software can work with any moving light allowing us to utilize any IP65 rated fixture. We have Follow-Me working with 23 Elation Proteus Maximus™ fixtures.”

The Shell’s system includes four Follow-Me fader consoles and four Follow-Me mouse consoles, each in a portable rack. With four control systems the crew can operate Follow-Me from anywhere in the facility.

The Follow-Me works in unison with the venue’s MA Lighting grandMA3 console and network allowing Follow-Me to control an unlimited number of fixtures, eliminating the need to dedicate moving lights as followspots. Fixtures can be selected on a cue-by-cue basis. “We can switch between fixtures throughout the show depending on who we need to follow,” remarks Rothberg. “A single operator can control a front and backlight on one target. Our followspot operators now sit backstage, and we can use as many fixtures in the system as we want.

Further information from A.C. Lighting Inc.: www.aclighting.com