H2O Festival In Dallas, Part 1: The Stage

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Video: Tiesto at H2O Music Festival

Designer Stefan Beese of RE:BE Design and his team took on production design for the inaugural H2O Music Festival, with six weeks to plan and execute the entire event. As the first order of business, it was important to understand exactly what the H2O Festival stood for. Traditionally associated with water, "H2O" took on a new meaning under festival promoter Univision Radio, who wanted it to represent second generation Hispanics in the United States.

To tie this element in, Beese focused on creating content that was generic but still able to communicate across all Hispanic countries. The team first worked on branding, creating skull and color H2O logo-based adaptations of traditional Hispanic influences. These graphics were then used for animations on the main stage and printed materials throughout the venue.

For the overall festival aesthetic, Beese wanted to create a cohesive design that would give festival its own signature look. “I like to get away from the usual 'tent-and-vendor' booth concept, and with H2O, we were fortunate to work with a client that had a similar mind-set. They were open from the beginning to explore new ways of creating a festival site that was very much focused on its own design aesthetic with multi-functional installations.”

As with most festivals, it is necessary to cater to the sponsors and the diversity of artists on stage. Instead of the traditional tangible signage and banners, Beese planned to go fully digital and designed a vertical format screen which allowed for floating I-Mag boxes. The stage design included two 50'x30' side-screens with special masks made by Seyavash Zohoori of RE:BE Design and Matt Webb, the media server programmer. The masks were designed to keep the performances dynamic and unique to the artists. “The vertical format allowed a much larger artist presence during close-ups as well as a visually larger height appearance than the typical horizontal ‘letter box’ format can deliver," says Beese. "In addition, the main stage needed to appear more vertical in design to blend in with the overall festival design of branded custom towers that we paired up with the light show after dark.”

The screens were configured entirely from GoVision’s inventory of Daktronics PST-12HD tiles. “For me, it was essential that the screens used on the main stage could compete with the sunlight during the day-time shows, and the Daktronics can do exactly that,” Beese explains, adding that the dynamic part of this format is that it allowed the excitement of something bigger to come later in the evening to build by using smaller masks I-Mag during the beginning of the day. Switchers allowed the team to go back and forth between I-Mag and full screen graphics.

Webb and Stephen Bowels, the video director, were in constant communication to ensure the right I-Mag content was displayed during the shows. “When going vertical in format with the I-Mag screens, it is key that the camera man, director, and media server programmer are in sync so that accurate content is picked,” Beese adds.

For the main stage, Beese says, “I wanted the site to become more integrated with the main stage, making the entire bowl one large-scale visual experience for the festival go-ers and the artists as well.” A city of towers became part of the light show via DMX-controlled embedded lighting during the nighttime shows that were synced with the performances.

GoVision rigged and customized the upstage screen by splitting it in two, though this was not apparent to the audience until the final headline artist, Tiesto, performed. During his act, the screens moved three feet apart to allow a special lighting truss to jump into the breach and provide a dazzling, custom-built lighting element. Beese admits, “It’s always very rewarding when an artist has a good time and sends a 'thank you' note saying that the stage and site was great to perform on. I think Tiesto enjoyed himself.”

The end result was very well received by the performers and audience. “There were several creative visual elements and crowd-pleasing surprises throughout the event that really rocked the house,” says Chris Curtis, CEO of GoVision. “This wasn’t your father’s music festival!”

Crew And Gear List H20 Dallas 2012

Production Designer: Stefan Beese, RE:BE Design
Design Assistant: Jensen Killen, RE:BE Design
RE:BE Design Team: Seyavash Zohoori, Chris Berends, Daniela Nelke, Brooke Warrington, Martha Pearson, Gary Hansen, Melinda Cohen, Renee Billiot

FOH AND VIDEO
Crew
Visual Media Programmer: Matt Webb
System Designer: Cameron Yeary
Video Director: Stephen Bowels
Engineer In Charge: Robert Permenter
Media Server Technician: Chad Yeary

Gear
4 PRG MBox Media Server V3.5
1 MA Lighting grandMA 2
1 MA Lighting grandMA 2 Lite
6 Grass Valley HD Cameras
1 Sony HD Robotic Camera
1 For-A Switching Package
2 Avitech Multi-viewers
7 AJA Video Systems Ki-Pro
1 DVI Routing System
14 Barco ImagePRO HD
8 600' Fiber Run
1 Press Box for Media Center Feeds & Press Recording
1 1,500' Fiber for Media Center Feed
12 RTS Intercom System
12 Heavy Duty Com Headset

STAGE VIDEO
Crew
Main LED Technician: Adam Vahl
LED Technician: Byron Fuller
Lead Rigger & LED Technician: Charles Manning

Gear
Video Vendor: GoVision
2 Daktronics PST 12HD Modular LED 38.4'x 27.6' Side Screens
1 Daktronics PST 12HD Modular LED 29.5'x47.2' Upstage Screen

STAGE LIGHTING
Crew

Lighting Vendor: Gemini Lighting (Clarke Richter)
Lighting Programmer: Nick Deel
Master Electricians: Brent Harwell, Dennis Waite
Syncrolite Tech: Glenn Rupert
Second Electrician: Jubel Rodriquez

Control
2 MA Lighting grandMA2 Light Console
2 MA Lighting frandMA2 NPU
2 Chamsys MagicMQ 100 Pro Console
2 Chamsys MagicMQ 100 Fader Wings
6 208v A/C 36ck Distro Racks
1 ETC SP24 Touring Dimmer Rack

Lighting
40 Philips Vari-Lite VL3000 Spot
38 Philips Vari-Lite VL3500 Wash
20 Martin Professional MAC 2000 Profile
15 Martin Professional MAC 2000 Wash
60 Martin Professional MAC 301 LED Wash
8 High End Systems Showgun Spot
3 Syncrolite SXL 7K Spot
31 Martin Professional Atomic 3000 Strobe
26 Martin Professional Atomic Color Scroller
14 ETC Source Four Elliposoidal
8 Philips Color Kinetics ColorBlaze 72 LED
4 Lycian M2 2500W Long Throw Followspot
12 2-Light Molefay
12 8-Light Molefay
36 PAR 64, 1K

Truss & Motors
61 CM 1-Ton Chain Motors w/ Rigging and Control
880' of 20" Box Truss w/ Hardware

Stay tuned for additional coverage of this festival, including more video, renderings, information on other festival areas, etc.

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