Lighting designer Paul Normandale of Lite Alternative used 50sq.m. of Chroma-Q™ Color Web to provide low-resolution visual effects for the stage set of the James Blunt World Tour 2005/2006. The Brit Award-winning singer-songwriter has experienced considerable international success since releasing his debut album, Back to Bedlam in 2005; the album was the UK’s biggest selling album in 2005 and reached total worldwide sales of nearly 7 million.
Blunt embarked on a sold-out UK tour at the end of last year, extended to a full world tour in 2006. After recent European and UK legs, the tour visits North America in March, with further legs scheduled for Australasia and Japan.
Normandale decided to make Color Web one of the main elements of the set design after being impressed by its modularity and fresh approach to providing visual effects. “I particularly liked the fact that it’s lightweight, offers the chance to light through and indeed light the actual webbing itself, all offering diversity as opposed to solid products of a similar type,” he explains. “Its lightweight nature also means it can hang in a range of places and it’s re-configurable, which is a real advantage when faced with lower trims, widths and weight limits as the tour moves round the different world regions.”
Normandale’s set design features two separate layers of 25-piece Color Web panels hung from back- and mid-overhead stage trusses spaced 13’ apart. The webbing is configured in an arc shape to allow a clear passage for video projections from a front truss onto a 40’-high white projection cyc directly below the webbing at rear of stage. Moving lights are hung directly behind the Color Web on the same trusses, allowing them to light through the webbing for extra visual effect.
Color Web content is provided by combination of custom tour images–chosen by Blunt from sources such as the album artwork and library images–played back from a PixelMAD media server. During one song, ‘Dancing Days’ video footage of a star field is used for both media servers, giving an enlarged effect as the video projection of stars carries on and dissolves into the Color Web arc above.
To provide a visual contrast between songs and adapt to the changing mood of the set, the production switches between different combinations of webbing, video and lighting, as well as individual elements on their own. This includes hiding the cyc to offer a contrast of background to the Color Web and stage.
Due to the product’s quick and easy re-configurability, the production crew have the option of changing the webbing layouts to fit in with differing venue sizes on the upcoming North American tour.
“The Color Web’s very lightweight and robust, with some stunning looks via Paul’s design with the moving lights hung behind the webbing. It’s created a huge interest with the venues wherever we’ve been,” says lighting director Glen Johnson.
Rob Hayden, Tour Manager for James Blunt, commented: “I was promised a new and innovative product which would add another element to our show and I’ve been very pleased with the end result. It’s new and fresh and has many possibilities, and it’s also good value for money.”
The full tour lighting rig consists of 50 sq.m. of Chroma-Q™ Color Web, a PixelMAD media server, three 5K projectors, an Arkaos media server, Avolites Art 4000 dimmer, Flying Pig SystemsWholehog® 3 lighting console, four Etherlynx Artnet nodes, 40’ Black A Type, 80’ Stack truss and seven 1-ton Lodestar motors. Fixtures include two DP2000s, 11 Martin MAC 2000E, five MAC 700, 11 MAC 250, six ETC Source Four® profiles, six Omni, four 4-lites, and one long-throw spot.
The Chroma-Q™ Color Web is designed and manufactured by Artistic Licence and distributed worldwide by A.C. Lighting. Chroma-Q™ Color Web is licensed by Artistic Licence, Color Kinetics, and Super Vision.