This installation was developed for UK electronic music artist Sub Focus. The initial brief was to develop on his previous design, which was a simpler, ring shaped, low res LED fixture. The artist's aim was to develop his show to include more "live" performance elements departing from the typical laptop based "play/stop" type of show that often characterizes electronic music shows. He therefore wanted his performance area to be more visible to the audience than it was in his last show, while still maintaining the “Circular/Ring” look of his branding. The initial idea was to make the ring wider to reveal more of the performance space, this created structural challenges which where solved by designing a platform system to elevate the performance area and allow the various rings and structure to interlink. A custom-built desk to embed all the artist musical instruments was also designed to fit the overall structure.

As the artist could not yet afford very high res LED products or graphics, a high impact but low cost content and programming system needed to be developed to ensure the show would stand out from the rest. This was done by creating a hybrid between a video, and a lighting show, where relatively simple video content was used to create interesting and tightly audio synched lighting effects. The strength of the system relies on the very accurate and complex midi programming that very closely links the audio and video, which creates a very synesthetic experience for the spectator. The system also allows a lot of flexibility for the artist to alter the music on the road, and the video being adaptable without the need to go back to graphic designers or long rendering times. Also in order to further emphasize the live performance element of the show a new system was developed to link the artists midi instruments including some motion sensors to generative video patches so that elements of the video react in real time to the musical performance. The whole set was designed for musical representation right from the start, with its depth being made out of 4 different layers of video fixtures to represent the typical 4/4 beat structure of electronic music, and with 12 LED panels making up the width, representing the 12 notes on a musical octave.

Working with circles was also a challenge, custom built LED panels were created with LEDs arranged in perfect concentric circular arrays right on the printed circuit boards rather than the typical grid like structure, which would have not being able to convey circular content properly particularly with a relatively low res 20mm pitch. This created various pixel mapping challenges that were successfully overcome by creating a system for direct pixel co-ordinate mapping with an AI media server.

Finally the artist had also just signed his first major record deal so the new show had to be very modular, and cater for both the club type venues he was already popular in, as well as bigger music halls and festival stages he was starting to be booked for. This created a lot of challenges particularly for scenarios with change overs, which were overcome by interesting rigging solutions and creating a very modular system of interlocking structures that can be stored on stage wings and then be put together in a short change over.

Equipment List:

  • 3 x Custom built LED rings (6m, 3.5m 2.5m)
  • 48 x Custom built LED battens
  • 1 x Ai Media Server
  • 10 x Clay Paky Alpha Beam 1500
  • 6 x Clay Paky Sharpy
  • 6 x Martin Mac 301 LED Wash
  • 17 x Thomas 2-Lite Mole
  • 17 x Martin Atomic 3000 Strobe
  • 9 x Martin Atomic Color Scroller
  • 2 x DF50 hazer and fan
  • 1 x Chamsys desk

 

Design Team:

  • Set, Video & Lighting Designer / Production Manager: Giani Fabricio
  • Lighting programmer: George Hill
  • Graphic Designers: Dan Conway, Chris Stoneman / Immersive ltd
  • Video Sequencing & Midi Programming: Giani Fabricio, Zak Norman
  • Circular Pixel Mapping Developer: Martin Harvey
  • Audio Visual Interactive Systems Developer: Giani Fabricio
  • Custom Built Circular LED Manufacturer: Simon Deary / LED Poison

 

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