Helping to create the environment that would bring together the tens of thousands of college students was the lighting/production design created by Black & White Live Ltd. (London), under the direction of Ian Cattle. The conference’s production design was most dramatically expressed by a commanding circular stage at the center of the Georgia Dome. The massive stage was outlined with concentric circles of pixel-controlled LEDs, which glowed, chased, changed colors and even displayed video content, providing great visual interest and a sense of scale to the large custom stage.
Measuring 136 feet in diameter at its outer runway and 63 feet in diameter in its center circle, the stage was supplied by Accurate Staging (Nashville) and engineered by Freed Sales Inc. (Miami). The border of light was created with Flex Pixel Tape from Elation Professional, a flexible LED tape that contains 72 tri-color RGB SMD LED pixels per strip.
A total of more than 1,600 feet of Elation Flex Pixel Tape was used to outline the stage, about 850 feet of it on the outer runway and the rest on the central rings. “We had tape on every edge of the stage,” said Passion lighting designer Ed White. “There are basically 4 concentric rings of tape, with extra sections for the ramps and pit entrances.”
White explained how the LED-edged stage came about: “The stage design was largely dictated by the fact we were doing a stadium in the round. . . The nature of each session meant that we wanted to connect everyone in the room into the same experience, so curves and runways were the way to go. . . A happy accident occurred when we came up with the final revision of the stage design – from above it looked identical to the Passion logo! Because of this, and the unique shape and contours of the stage, we decided to highlight the edges with an LED product.” Credit for the stage and LED edge should go to Passion Conferences Production Manager Jonathan Sheehan, added White.
Elation Flex Pixel Tape was selected for the job “after looking through various options, solid block color products and other video-capable products,” said White. “Elation Flex Pixel Tape was chosen for a combination of its output, viewing angle, ability to control each pixel separately, and its competitive pricing. Another key factor for us was that the tape is flexible in both the horizontal and vertical planes, as we had to bend it around lots of curves.”
Furthermore, Elation and its sister company Acclaim Lighting could provide a one-stop source for all the gear needed to make the concept of a pixel-controlled LED-bordered stage a reality. Along with the Flex Pixel Tape, the following products were used to implement the design: 10 X Acclaim Al-Net 8 ArtNet distros; 9,500 feet (almost 2 miles!) of Elation Accu DMX cable; 78 x Flex Pixel DMX drivers; 1 x Madrix Neo (used as a DMX input from the main lighting console); 1 x Madrix Pro 64 universe key; 1 x Madrix Basic 16 universe key.
“My lighting console controlled Madrix at front of house, over DMX, which effectively generated or played back video content, and pixel-mapped it to 77 universes of ArtNet,” explained White. “The ArtNet was then distributed into the rack of Al-Net 8 units under the stage, which output 77 universes of DMX, which ran to 2 x 10’ Flex Pixel Tapes each. Two tapes ran from one PSU/controller, and took in just under one full universe of data.”
This setup provided him with great flexibility as a designer, White said. “We actually used only a fraction of what was possible for each session. Sometimes I treated the stage as one block of color, to frame it; other times we ran patterns or video through it for shimmering and swirling effects. We had the pixels mapped into separate sections in the Madrix server, so we had separate control over the different parts of the stage – the runways, bridges and center circles, for example.”
As far as the client and Passion 2013 attendees were concerned, “they loved it,” said White. “Everyone commented on how great it looked, especially from the raised seating sections. It was certainly the most memorable and unique aspect to the lighting rig.”
What’s more, all involved in the project agreed that the Passion 2013 pixel-controlled LED stage design has ground-breaking implications for the production world, which extend well beyond this particular application. Said Dustin Pesnell, president/CEO, Freed Sales: “People in the entertainment lighting business have been saying lighting and video are starting to become one category. We have now created the possibility of pixel-controlled staging as another tool in the box for creative lighting directors, and Passion 2013 was a testament to that concept.”
Click link below to see a video from Passion 2013 http://www.fuciniproject.com/fb/elation/passionconvention_video.htm
For more information, contact Elation Professional at 866-245-6726 or visit www.elationlighting.com
Freed Sales can be contacted at 305-705-2599 or www.freedsales.com
Accurate Staging can be contacted at 615-369-2175 or visit www.accuratestaging.com