Lighting Designer Rob Sinclair used fifty square metres of Chroma-Q™ Color Web as a low resolution video wall backdrop on The Human League’s Synth City UK Tour 2005 in December.
The three-week tour featured a career-spanning set of the influential electro-pop group’s greatest hits, backed by a cutting-edge lighting and video show designed by Sinclair and supplied by Lite Alternative.
Sinclair had always been intrigued by the group’s pioneering use of slideshow visuals during their early days and, having worked as a member of the lighting crew on the previous tours in 2003 and 2004, had been trying ever since with Lite Alternative to create a modern video show in the spirit of the original.
Having been promoted to LD for the 2005 tour, the only real brief from the band’s manager was that the show look completely different to the last tour, giving Sinclair total freedom to explore his various ideas.
However, the tour’s production budget also meant that he needed to be careful with his choice of equipment to achieve the desired look.
Having heard rumours of a new low resolution LED display matrix called the Chroma-Q™ Color Web, he caught a preview of it in September and was totally sold on using it for several key reasons.
Due to the product’s low cost compared to a large LED screen, he could afford enough webbing for a big effect. The webbing’s modular design also meant it was flexible enough to go anywhere on-stage, suiting the wide variety of venues the tour would visit.
The product’s 80% transparent surface area also enabled Sinclair to provide a seamless integration between the video and lighting elements of the show by using it as an additional visual effects layer between the rig’s lighting fixtures and normal resolution video projection screens.
As a result, he was able to use the Color Web on its own as the main video wall backdrop, light through it from behind for extra impact, or use it to provide extra effects behind the front projected video screens which came in for six songs in the set.
Color Web distributor A.C. Lighting worked closely with Sinclair to get the first webbing product delivered in time for the tour, providing the designer with full technical support and training on an updated version of PixelMAD software specially developed to exploit the webbing’s features.
For the Color Web video content, Sinclair went through the PixelMAD library footage and chose suitable images to complement the nature of each song. For some songs, he had specific ideas about what he wanted to use as content, such as the image of stick men during "Sound of the Crowd." He also created various custom images using icons, logos, and four-letter words.
The whole rig consisted of 50 sq.m of Color Web configured for each venue’s stage dimensions and driven by PixelMAD software connected to a Jands Vista T2 lighting console. Fixtures included 14 Martin Mac 200s, 10 Mac 500s, four Atomic strobes with color changers, four Mac 2000s, 12 Omnis, 12 Encapsulites, eight ETC Source Fours, and four 2-Lights. Normal video projection was provided by a Sanyo 10K projector using images played back through Catalyst.
Commenting on his choice of Color Web for the tour, Sinclair said: “I’m really impressed with the Color Web. It was fun experimenting with it to get the best out of it and enabled me to light the show on multiple levels, seamlessly integrating the lighting and video in a way not previously possible. The product’s affordability and modular design make it ideal for achieving a big video look on a small budget. The reaction from the band, management, and fans has been great, and I’m really happy with the result.”