I-Pix’s newly launched BB4 wash lights are being with Vince Foster's visual design for the Sugababes’ current UK tour. The 10 BB4 units were part of a consignment of 24 purchased by UK rental company Neg Earth, who are supplying lighting equipment and crew to the tour.
Lighting is being operated on the road by lighting director Darragh McAuliffe, who programmed the show with Foster over two intense days of production rehearsals at Black Island Studios in London, working with show designer Harvey B. Brown.
The tour plays a wide variety of theatre and town hall style venues, and one of the primary requirements was for the rig to be as flexible as possible. It was Foster’s first time using BB4s, but he's been a big fan of the i-Pix Satellite and has used these on designs in the past, and his work frequently features strong LED elements.
The new BB4 is a hire-friendly fixture designed for life on the road. It provides LDs with multiple rigging permutations, increasing the range of possible looks beyond that of existing fixtures, and is designed by lighting people for lighting people. The Sugababes’ BB4s are rigged five per side, approximately 5 feet off the deck on special soft ladders—a neat and highly adaptable idea that Foster and McAuliffe devised for hanging lighting fixtures from the back truss. They run in a line either side of the central upstage video screen.
The BB4s are not being used for video effects but actually to light the stage and cast illumination into the performance area.
The show starts with the three Sugababes being revealed by an illusion gag, revealing them popping up from inside a center-stage riser, and much of the show lighting evolves around this riser which is used throughout the performance as an integral set piece. McAuliffe says, "The BBs are really a nice light-source, and genuinely resemble a DWE bulb. Being LEDs, they produce beautifully rich saturated colors, which is great as it's a bright, bold poppy show. However they’re also capable of making the subtler and more technical colors which are less common for LEDs.” The units are focused to beam light above and below the band from behind.
McAuliffe also thinks the quality of light coming out of the fixtures is bright and precise, and throughout the show they are utilized as an important part of the general stage illumination. "We're using them in a completely different way to the usual twinkle star type effects and it's really good that the fixture has this much latitude and scope." He concludes.
The lighting rig also contains Martin MAC 700 and High End PC Beam moving lights plus a variety of other sources like Sky Pans, Little Big Lights, Kino Flo tubes, and Atomic strobes arranged across three trusses with an upstage center Barco O-Lite video screen.
McAuliffe is controlling everything off a Hog iPC running in Hog 3 mode with a Catalyst digital media server used to feed video content to the screen. He adds, "The i-Pix team were incredibly helpful in sorting out personalities for the fixtures."