Back to the 2011 Live Design Excellence Awards page

Has there ever been a point in your life when your greatest dream was to actually experience that galaxy far, far away? When Star Wars In Concert took to the road in 2010, nearly three quarters of a million people across North America and Europe got to experience exactly that. With the largest LED screen of its kind as the backdrop, Star Wars In Concert blended the iconic images of George Lucasʼ epic story with the live performance of an 86-piece orchestra, John Williamsʼ iconic score, lights, lasers, and an immersive experience that thrilled audiences of all ages. Production designer and director Steve Cohen led a team of professionals to create what he describes as taking “the design language of the films and interpreting them for a live audience.”

Eighteen film sequences, re-edited by Lucasfilm video editor Jeremy Stuart, provided the base. Cut together as if they were music videos to Williamsʼ score, each piece told a thematic tale of the saga with dialogue and sound effects interspersed within the live orchestra’s performance. The core of the visual design is the main screen, a 60’ wide by 30’ tall HD LED wall comprised of Daktronics Mag 10 wall panels. The largest of its kind on the road, it presented the Star Wars films at a level of resolution never seen before. Under the control of video director Mark Haney, the screen moved from live camera images (supplied by Screenworks NEP) of the orchestra and Stuartʼs film sequences. As co-production designer, Seth Jackson, describes, “You lose yourself in the imagery and the music and forget you are watching a movie.”

Adding to that reality, video content creator Curtis Cox created an ocean of Star Wars imagery on surrounding SoftLED panels using Martin Maxedia media servers. Both on the side, and as a ceiling over the orchestra, the low-resolution imagery was taken from various moments throughout the films to support the images on the main screen.

The entire experience is joined together by the lighting. “It is an elaborate orchestral multimedia performance,” explains associate lighting designer Bryan Barancik. Supplied by Upstaging, Inc, the lighting system creates what Cohen describes as a “clearly defined” palette and thematic approach that created an environment, rather than a light “show.”

The final brush stroke to this painting is, of course, the lasers and pyrotechnics. Provided by Production Design International and under the control of programmer Scott Wilson, the system of flame generators, cryogenic cannons, and a high-powered laser system that engulfed the room added the extra magic that allows everyone to be a kid again.

Creative Team
Steve Cohen, Director, Production Designer
Seth Jackson, Associate Production Designer/Lighting Director
Mark Haney, Video Director
Bryan Barancik, Associate Lighting Designer/Programmer
Curtis Cox, Media Content/Maxedia Programmer

28 Martin Professional Mac 2000 Performance
42 Coemar Infinity Wash XL
8 Robe Colorspot 1200 ATs And 2500 ATs
16 Philips Vari-Lite Vl3500 Efx Wash
9 Philips Vari-Lite Vl3500 Profile
24 Martin Professional Mac Iii Profiles
12 Robe Colorspot 2500 Ats
6 Zap Little Biglite
8 iPix BB7
10 Elation Impressions
Maxyyz And Maxedia Control

1 60’-wide by 30’-tall Daktronics Mag-10 HD LED Screen
2 32ʼ-Wide SoftLED Side Panels
2 Custom Ceiling Sets SoftLED
4 Sony HRC 1500 HD Cameras
1 Ross Synergy 2.5 MRX Hi-Def Switcher
2 HD Green System
1 Doremi V1-UHD
1 Abbleton Show Control