UK-based LED creators i-Pix created a brand new fixture, the BB7, a seven-cell high powered homogenized 10 degree RGB light source, which is being utilized by Radiohead’s lighting and visuals designer Andi Watson for the band’s current world tour. The tour kicked off in the US last week.
Forty-eight of the BB7s are in various positions around the rig, including 25 in five custom five-way frames produced by Specialz. Watson is also using 48 of i-Pix’s new production model BB4s on his front truss. The BB4 is a four-cell high-powered, homogenized 20-degree RGB light source. In additionally, there are 14 i-Pix Satellites with holographic film mounted on the floor in and around the backline to light the band at close quarters.
This project started when i-Pix’s Chris Ewington visited the US last October to see a new prototype narrow optic. He then showed Watson the BB4, which was already in production in January of this year, along with a test rig of the embryonic idea he had for the BB7, without optics.
Once the new optic became available, Ewington sourced the first 12 and again met Watson in March, along with Radiohead production manager Richard Young and lighting crew chief Andy Beller, and showed the first prototype BB7 with the new narrow optic.
Watson liked it and thought the fixture was exactly what he wanted, which ultimately resulted in an order to produce 206 fixtures (enough for two rigs) from scratch in just over five weeks. Ewington comments, “From our experience, most shows spend months in discussion and a maximum of six weeks in prep, so this timescale did not come as a surprise.” He adds, “Our first fixture, the Satellite, was developed under similar circumstances to coincide with Radiohead’s last tour.”
The BB4 uses new custom LEDs produced by Lamina for i-Pix, and the evolution of the BB series produced the building blocks—both electronic and mechanical—that could be applied to the new BB7 using the narrow optic.
The design period was condensed from six months to four days, the components were produced in two weeks, and the units built over two weeks. “It was not a case of penalties for late delivery,” elucidates Ewington, “We just had to do it. Andi put his trust in us before when he integrated PixelLines into his groundbreaking show for Radiohead back in 2003. He relied on us again in 2005 and in 2008 he really upped the anti. We all appreciated him taking a massive leap of faith in having the courage to dispense completely with conventional lighting in his show. Not having a single discharge or incandescent lamp in the design sets a new benchmark at least a couple of years from what we had anticipated.”
Watson’s unique energy saving design uses the three i-Pix fixtures plus other LED products, all of which work seamlessly together to produce a stunning, headline-grabbing design.
“I always enjoy working with Andi,” continues Ewington. His professionalism, attention to detail, and progressive approach to pushing the industry forward never ceases to impress. I often design fixtures with him in mind and consider both he and his team as exceptional and very important to our industry.”