HSL Rocks Brighton with Fatboy

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HSL supplied all lighting equipment and crew to Loudsound Productions for Fatboy Slim's Beach Boutique 4 event, which saw the legendary DJ deliver an awesome homecoming performance for 20,000 fans on Brighton Beach last weekend.

Lighting designer Steven Abbiss worked closely with visuals director Tim Fleming to create some seriously spectacular optical magic that captured the energy and excitement of the show in a wave of creative eloquence. The event was blessed by glorious sunshine during the day as the south Coast basked in the remnants of an Indian summer .

Beach Boutique 4 was project managed for HSL by Mike Oates, who says, "It was great to be working with the Loudsound team again including Lee Charteris (Event and Fatboy production manager) and John Gray (stage manager)".

The lighting design was based on maximising the feeling of available space and adding to the perception of stage width with 4 drop truss ‘wings' outrigged each side of the front stage support towers. Starting at the top, these measured 15, 12, 10 and 8 ft respectively, and were equidistantly spaced at 5 ft intervals.

The only onstage trusses were a sub hung 45 ft front truss above Fatboy's DJ console, and two vertical ladder beams each side, upstage of the large Lighthouse L7 screen supplied by XL Video.

For moving lights, Abbiss wanted some serious power, so he chose 12 Robe ColorWash 2500E ATs and 20 ColorSpot 2500E ATs.

He created an architectural LED feature effect from 32 JTE PixelLines. These were horizontally lined up across the ladder beams and outrigged trusses, with another 2 strings running across the floor, to give a super-wide matrix of battens stretching across the whole stage, interrupted only by the LED wall.

Abbiss used one of HSL's new Hippotizer HD v3 digital media servers to drive the PixelLines, and also took an input from Fleming's visual mix so the battens could be synched with the main screen visuals at strategic moments. This also worked very well in providing visual eye candy for the daylight elements of the show. Luckily the weather allowed the stage sides to be open (i.e. without skins) neatly avoiding the ‘big black hole' effect of closed stages.

Abbiss's design also incorporated 17 Atomic strobes with colour scrollers, 4 Studio Due CityBeams upstage on the deck for powerful ‘light-wall' colour changing and beam effects, and 20 4-lite linear blinders, which were rigged across the trusses to compliment the strip formation of the PixelLines.

On each of 6 delay towers positioned either side of the long arena were Robe ColorSpot 1200E AT fixtures, used for sweeping the crowd and general audience illumination.

Abbiss mixed the show from side stage, with all lights running off an Avolites Diamond 4 - his console of choice, which also triggered the Hippotizer. He had a large plasma screen monitor that received a camera feed from FOH so he could keep an eye on how it looked.

In creative terms, Fatboy's shows always require degrees of busking, improvisation and going with the rhythm and flow of the moment. He built an eclectic selection of palettes filled with big ravey, dancey looks, the ethos behind the operation always being that the energy coming offstage should be transferred to the audience via lighting and visuals.

With the set subject to change, visuals can change quickly and unexpectedly, so. Abbiss kept a close eye on Fleming's video preview screens to pre-empt the upcoming visuals so he could colour match them with the lights.

He was very impressed with the brightness of he Robe ColorWash 2500s. Whilst programming the night before the gig, he swung one round onto the Palace Pier at the far end of Madeira Drive and illuminated the whole funfair area!

Abbiss was joined at Beach Boutique 4 by HSL's 2008 Festival Dream Team, crew chiefed by Ian Stevens, with Simon "Piggy" Lynch, Rory McKay and Andy "Paris" Hilton. They got in at 8 a.m. on the Friday for a Saturday 3 p.m. doors show.

These five have worked throughout HSL's manic festival season which has also included Rockness, Creamfields, Gatecrasher Summer Sound System, Global Gathering, Beck's Fusion, Bestival and others.

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