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2011 iTunes Festival Supported by Networked Lighting, Video

PLSN Staff • International News • August 26, 2011

LONDON — The iTunes festival returned to London’s Roundhouse for the 31 days of July, 2011, with performances by more than 60 artists from around the world including Adele, Arctic Monkeys, Bruno Mars, Coldplay, the Foo Fighters, Linkin’ Park, Moby, My Chemical Romance, Paul Simon, The Script, White Lies and others.

The performances were broadcast on TV and radio and streamed live on the Internet. White Light provided lighting, Creative Technology provided video, and Richard White served as festival LD and lighting operator.

Lighting and visual control specialists FIX8, led by Neil Trenell and Jamie Baker, specified three grandMA2 light consoles to run the production lighting and video at the festival. The three consoles were networked together. One ran lights, one ran video/visuals and the third was used as a programming facility running grandMA 3D (MA Lighting’s visualizer software) and to also serve as a “hot” backup. MA Lighting UK’s office supplied technical and on site service.

Although the festival was White’s first experience using grandMA2, he credited the console for “some very impressive features and a great layout,” noting that it “allows an operator to create complex looking shows easily and within a tight timescale.”

Trenell and Baker designed the video system, which was run via two Hippotizer HD v3 I7 media servers, triggered by the grandMA2 light.

grandMA2The MA control platform enabled the design and control team to run all three consoles in one session, using it for both preprogrammed cues and on-the-fly busking, in three different realms, with each user having the ability to save show files and have them automatically backed up on all three grandMA2 consoles.

Touring consoles brought in by some of the bands could also be integrated into the grandMA2 system via DMX. This linked them to the single MA NPU (Network Processing Unit) so they could harness its processing power to access the full house lighting and video rigs.

Manchester-based FIX8 supplied the two Hippo media servers. Content stored on these was beamed onto five columns of Hibino 12mm LED screen onstage, along with two side screens made from Barco I-lite 6 LED and 50 panels of Spyder 30mm LED, which were fixed to the venue’s first floor balconies, primarily to provide ‘filler’ for some of the camera shots.

It was the third year that Trenell has spec’d grandMA2 onto the event, and the first year that it has been run with everything fully in grandMA2 mode. He said that by doing this, the overall visual control system has been streamlined, reducing the number of consoles needed, while also offering touring LDs full and increased flexibility.

“grandMA2 works equally well whether running media servers or lighting, either together or as separate entities,” said Trenell. “It’s a fabulous visual tool and, at FIX8, we need to control both mediums completely harmoniously.” FIX8 create their own specially tailored profiles for their grandMA2 to work precisely the way that they want.

In particular, Trenell cited version 2.3’s new Effects Engine as a sigificant improvement with grandMA2 software. Baker agreed, and also credited the MA control architecture for its ability to let users add multiple grandMA2 consoles and MA NPU to a session.

Photos by Jamie Baker

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