SGM's X-5 LED On Fire In German Debut

Tobi Deuring uses 12 fixtures to animate dramatic ‘flame' backdrop for Bülent Ceylan arena tour

German lighting designer Tobias ‘Tobi' Deuring has become one of the first LD's to specify multiples of SGM's game-changing X-5 white strobe, on an arena tour. But rather than design it into a conventional stage set for a touring band he is using it on a world tour for award-winning German stand-up comedian, Bülent Ceylan.

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Having worked regularly with the artist since 2009 it was to prepare for the latest show, Wilde Kreatürken, which has been playing arenas up to 13,000 capacity (such as the Cologne Lanxess Stadium) that he needed to provide additional punch and creativity.

“It is particularly important when you are lighting a solo performer to create spaces in order to make the light visible,” states Tobi. “You have to create several layers to achieve depth — both in the eye of the camera and the beholder.”

When SGM first previewed the new X-5 LED strobe at Frankfurt Prolight+Sound last spring it caused waves among the global lighting community, with rental companies eagerly awaiting the first production runs.

The compact fixture delivers the same output as conventional high wattage strobes at a fifth of the power — and it is environmentally friendly. They consume 80% less than conventional strobe lights while producing similar light output — and contain a range of features in the LD's toolbox of light effects that have never previously been seen. Thus, rental companies can save on two gensets of 150kW each by replacing 100 conventional strobes with the X-5s.

Over in Germany Thorsten Sattler, Key Account Manager, SGM Germany, demonstrated the product to Deuring's technical director, Janis Respondek, who quickly notified the LD himself. Sattler and Deuring were soon meeting up and discussing the exciting new direction of SGM's R&D.

“When I first saw the X-5's compact chassis I was able to hold it to my ear — like a mobile phone — and Janis joked that it looked as though Apple had been too busy building this to make the G5. But the quality of the X-5 housing is really great. The guys at SGM did a really great job — as this is not only well manufactured but also really robust.”

Deuring immediately made the decision to replace the conventional strobes on his lighting plot with the new X-5. “And I'm delighted I did,” he says. “The X-5 has a very good beam angle which deflects very smoothly — that is the main difference between this and other strobes where you always notice the hotspots on the object. On top of that, the X-5 shines really brightly.”

On tour, the 12 x X-5's are situated behind the LED backdrop screen, in a special construction mounted on dollies.

The set design itself consists of four layers: the artist, the dollies, the flame net and the backdrop, in a scalable production. The latter three elements are constructed modularly, making it possible to realise four different set up sizes. Tobi Deuring uses the X-5´s to flash and blind the flame drop, which measures 22m x 8.5m.

As the touring LD he is also the show's programmer/operator — which gives him the perfect position from which to assess the X-5's controllability. “This strobe reacts faster and more directly than conventional strobes,” he notes. “The blind mode is fascinating because the lighting lasts quite long and you can conjure great innovative effects by modifying the amplitude.”

After the first ten tour dates of the new show Tobi Deuring reports that the X-5's have been working perfectly. “I am always happy to discover new possibilities particularly the Blind FX.”

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