“What really makes this show are the lighting bitmap effects,” beams California-based Terminal Design Grouplighting designer Michael Lee, who worked with Scharff Weisberg and Video Applications on the 2007 Fall Tour of post-hardcore quartet Thrice. Rigging, lighting, and video on the 41-date tour had to reflect the personality and integrity of the band.
“Thrice has a very strong personality. They’re very anti-rock star and quite well mannered,” reflects Lee. “Rather than be spotlighted as people, they want their music to shine.” Therefore, members of the outfit are always side lit or backlit – in shadows, not in the spotlight. Not as a means to a practical end, the lighting was to be a graphic version of what the music is “trying to portray.” With a limited budget, it was time to get really creative.
Lee goes on to say that Scharff Weisberg “was awesome. They really worked with me to build a rig that was worthy of the band.” The setup features a video wall comprised of 144 Philips Color Kinetics iColor Cove. The centerpiece was built onto 6-foot pipes and put on triple riser stands. Martin TWLs are used as sidelights. A compliment of Clay Paky Alpha HP 1200’s were brought in for use as audience candy—all aerial graphics—gobos and colors for flash and excitement. “The Clay Paky Alpha’s are great,” claims Lee. “They’re so bright and fast, I have to back up on intensity. And I haven’t had to tweak or service them.”
And of course, the bitmap effects emanate out of a grandMA console. States Lee: “grandMA is the only console I use. It’s the only one that is advanced enough to handle any application of any size and any type of event. I did everything on the Visualizer offline. I did three days of programming and things were spot-on when I was on the rig the last day. We were 90% on the way to having a show out-of-the-box before sitting down at the console.”
Lee has had complete and utter confidence in working with Scharff Weisberg. He maintains that his relationship with Scharff Weisberg over the last couple of years has been “amazing…and balanced. As a lighting provider, their gear is unrivaled. No other company can provide their distinct quality of service. They always supply the best equipment. There’s no comparison. And I always know,” adds Lee, “that it’s going to show up pristine. Support is always there, and Scharff Weisberg can build for any size show.”