Most recently Paul returned to the versatile catalog when producing the concept for Georgia-based rock band Widespread Panic’s latest theatre tour—developing the set almost exclusively around GLP’s latest impression X4S super-compact, lightweight fixture, which despite its size derives enormous punch from its seven high powered RGBW LED’s. Such is the versatility of the X4S that it has also functioned superbly as a key light, enabling the LD to dispense with most of his traditional inventory.
As Paul explained, the decision to make this almost exclusively an ‘impression’ based show — with 30 heads upstage and 18 downstage — required both a leap of faith and extensive testing. “I toured in the fall with lekos and the X4S, and experimented between the different technologies for key light. By the end, I had sufficient confidence to not bring any conventionals on the spring dates,” he confirmed.
Having started as lighting programmer back in 2006, graduating to the band’s LD by 2009, he is fully aware that the band’s set list never remains the same from one show to the next. “I try to create two completely unique looks each year across three tours — plus a special New Year show,” he says.
Already familiar with the X4S, having worked with brother, Preston, on the 2013 Warren Haynes Christmas Jam—described as “a significant test platform”—he is now using nearly 50 impression X4S, supplied by Bandit Lites. The rig was scaled down for the first half of the tour (which was acoustic), to deliver a sympathetic, toned down, softer look. But it also had the advantage of reducing a normal three-truck tour to just two.
There were other economic benefits, as the LED head has also helped the designer ‘green up’ his operation in two ways. “First is the obvious fact that LED fixtures use a fraction of the power. Secondly, the ability to use it for key light has enabled me to get rid of my lekos, dimmers and associated cabling which reduces space and weight on the truck and thus fuel consumption.”
And while the upstage and downstage sets serve different purposes it is the downstage X4S rig, functioning simultaneously as both stage wash and key light, that gives the greatest cause for satisfaction. “Rather than a leko on a fader, the fader is now actually a cue which brings certain lights into a certain position, color, zoom and color temperature for highlighting the performer. They also pan/tilt which eliminates the need for a climbing focus and lastly, of course, you can color your key light on-the-fly however you like.”
He was also full of praise for Bandit Lites. “Their customer service has always been excellent—whether in offering technical or design support—and in this case I think I influenced their purchasing decisions with the X4S. Having used the impression range for years I knew an upgrade was due—the X4S was the perfect size for us so they purchased it against my promise to keep using it.”
Looking back, the advantages of the X4S on this tour had been manifold. “It meant fewer spares and fewer parts to carry around while the small form factor also allowed the fixtures to travel inside the trusses for a tighter pack and quicker set-up.”
When the tour resumes production will ramp up - but Paul confirms he will keep elements of the spring rig intact, “… particularly the X4S inventory,” he says. “This new fixture will be with us for a while I’m quite certain.”
For more information, visit www.germanlightproducts.com
About GLP (German Light Products).
Founded by Udo Kuenzler in 1994 and headquartered in Karlsbad in Southern Germany, GLP (German Light Products GmbH) this year celebrates its 20th anniversary. GLP is a leading manufacturer of cutting edge lighting technology equipment and in recent years has been at the forefront of LED technology in the use of entertainment lighting. The company’s award winning impression series has become a standard around the world, specified by top LDs for its versatile and packed feature set. Constantly expanding its product range, GLP is committed to bringing environmentally friendly lighting technology to designers without expecting them to compromise in their artistic expectations. In 2009, GLP purchased the German video company G-LEC and increased its global presence by establishing a subsidiary in Los Angeles, USA, and in Hong Kong the following year.