Continuing our discussion with Jonathan Goldstein regarding his production/lighting design for the North American leg of Alicia Keys’ Set The World On Fire Tour, including lighting provided by Premier Global Production, video by Chaos Visual Productions, scenic and automation by Tait, previz at Volt Lites, and soft goods from Rose Brand. (Photos courtesy of Starlight Visual).
Live Design: What were the challenges in the design process?
Jonathan Goldstein: Well, from concept to reality, there are always elements that begin to prove difficult or impossible to create under the restrictions of any production. When you have a creative director who is highly conceptual, it’s important for someone in my position to help introduce restrictions and realities in the early phases of design. The original concept of this show was based around strictly projection and theatrical scrims as projection surfaces. In the end, the scrim concept was wildly reduced as it was not fleshing out correctly once we got to production rehearsals. We were able to salvage the concept of what the scrims were meant to do but had to re-approach the positioning and usage of the scrim set throughout the show. We actually use the effect to reveal Alicia at the top of the show. It’s a beautiful fly-through of New York City while the band plays a ballad version of the Jay-Z/Alicia song, “Empire State of Mind.”The visuals resolve through an apartment window, and then we see Alicia through the scrim in silhouette framed by the visuals. It’s really a moment.
LD: Was there time for preprogramming?
JG: One thing that we were able to do on this show was keep the show from concept to final design inside Cast’s wysiwyg software. Since we had a ton of scenic and video automation cues, I was able to actually script them out and visualize them right in wyg, which meant I could have the creative team at my studio and go over all the cues in the showin real time with the music from top to bottom. This was huge for us to have all this info prior to even getting into production rehearsals. We also spent one week pre-visualizing at Chaos Visual Productions. That’s when we really got into the lighting elements of the design. We took the system over to rehearsals and put it up on a large flat screen, and we were able to show the stage management team all the cues so that they could go and program with the automation techs during the day when we weren’t around. Pre-viz was a big part of this show. The system was provided by Volt Lites out of Valencia, CA.