HSL In The House for Swedish Mafia

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HSL supplied lighting and video equipment plus crew, and designed a bespoke DJ booth for two recent sold-out incendiary performances by The Swedish House Mafia at London's Brixton Academy.

The shows were presented and produced by Cream and Loudsound Events and HSL was working for technical co-ordinators, BPM, who also supplied pyro and lasers.

SHM Management's Amy Thomson's brief to BPM was to have the ‘biggest and best' show possible. BPM worked closely with HSL to design a full show based on a four section lighting rig, action-packed with strobe pods, moving heads, specialist LED products and three large video wall sections.

These high-energy-high profile performances underline the current trend for dance events to up the ante in terms of production values and show presentation, taking it to new levels. For HSL, this follows on from work for BPM in the summer, also for the Swedish House Mafia and other artists.

HSL's Mike Docksey project managed for the Blackburn-based company, working closely with BPM's Adam Murray. Dave Lee was asked to produce an exciting and fresh visual design concept which incorporated both lighting and video elements that could be run, improvisational style, with lasers and pyro to create a synergetic visual extravaganza - the results of which were stunning!

Swedish House Mafia's management, X-Ray Touring, had a few initial ideas. They wanted good video screens and liked the idea of having video/LED tubes cladding the DJ booth that could be mapped and matched to video material being shown on the large screens. They also wanted everything to be integrated via a media server - for which HSL proposed a Hippotizer. They also wanted "lots" of strobes, so 40 Atomics were spec'd.

Docksey and Lee took these ideas and rolled them into a design concept that X-Ray liked and gave the go ahead.

The DJ booth was a custom construction made from Litec QX30 trussing, based on 2 x 5 metre diameter half circles top and bottom. HSL utilised 40 CK Accent video tubes for the front fascia, chosen for its smooth and seamless diffused surfaces. On the back corners of the booth were PAR 46 fuzz lights - a powerful contemporary take on a disco classic effect!

HSL contacted XL Video to supply the onstage screens, of which there were three - above and flanking left and right of the DJ booth. These comprised XL's PixLED 40 LED and all measured 3.2 metres wide by 2.6m high. Another original aesthetic requirement was to have good screens for displaying graphics as well as other more ambient content.

Five trusses were rigged by the HSL crew in the Academy - a 16 x 12 metre box was flown above the audience, onto which was rigged an eclectic collection of mirror balls, mirrored mannequins and other scenic pieces.

In addition to this, there was a front truss, downstage and mid stage curved trusses made from two halves of a 10 metre diameter circle and an upstage truss.

The back truss supported 70 panels of ColorWeb 250 to dress the upstage area, and also flew the left and right video screens. The mid truss was used to fly the centre screen.

Lighting fixtures were scattered across all the trusses. The total numbers were 15 x Robe ColorWash 575E ATs, 15 x Robe ColorWash 700E ATs, 24 x Robe ColorSpot 575E ATs and 40 x ChromaQ ColorBlock DB4 Mk IIs which were zig-zagged across the front cord of each truss, giving fantastic sweeps and movement effects.

The 40 Atomic strobes were built into a total of 14 custom pods with either 2 or 4 Atomics per pod. The pods, flanked with 2 x Pixel Line 1044s on each, were rigged below the trusses at varying heights to create a light-wall effect.

Two Hog 3s were used for control - one running all the lighting (operated by Lee) and one triggering the two Hippotizers sitting backstage, which were running video to all the LED and digital lightsources plus the screens.

Dave Lee produced a series of custom video clips for the show, and X-Ray Touring added VJ Carlo Ruijgers from Eyesupply in Holland to the visual mix, who has worked with SHM before. His mixer was linked into the HSL system via the Hog, allowing his visuals to be routed to the screens. This also enabled video Hog operator Ben Mansfield to output Dave Lee's Hippo stored content when Carlo's videos were not playing. Lee's content was also pixel mapped to the ColorBlocks, ColorWeb, PixelLines and Accent tubes, giving an all encompassing rhythmic harmony between all the digital lighting and display sources.

The show proved a hugely exciting amalgamation of visual talents and technologies that fuelled the amazing two nights of performances from Swedish House Mafia (Steve Angello, Axwell and Sebastian Ingrosso).

Says Mike Docksey,

“As always, working with BPM, X-Ray Touring, Loudsound and Cream was a real pleasure. The shared focus on technical investment and their attitude towards continually raising the level of production on live dance music events meant that we could live up to the expectations of an ever more demanding audience. Everybody worked together to seamlessly gel all elements in order to produce a fantastic visual spectacular.”

Two 12 Watt state-of-the-art colour lasers were shipped in from Holland especially for the event and the special effects brief was also to be equally as impressive.

BPM SFX provided a 8 head vertical colourwash ice cannon system, a 4 head flame system, 4 megashooters (inc 40kg coloured/love heart/butterfly confetti), a 20 x streamer cannon system, LSG low foggers and numerous pyrotechnic hits consisting of 8 metre coloured mines, comets & gerbs, confetti & pyrotechnic airbursts for the main auditorium and a back truss waterfall for the show-stopping finale.

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