The RADlite system went straight out on tour with LD Simon Honnor and the Jools Holland Rhythm and Blues Orchestra on their current “Jack O’ The Green” UK tour.
Lighting supplier Entec consulted digital media server and content specialists Projected Image Digital in order to launch a new ‘Visual’ department. PID’s Rob Fowler demonstrated the various alternative systems available at Three Mills Studios, before Honnor chose a RADlite as the best option for the Jools tour.
Honnor has lit Holland for the last four years. He’s used video previously, but this year everyone--including Holland himself, and production manager Andy Salmon--was very keen to push the visual envelope further, letting the video make a large aesthetic impact. Honnor looked at the various digital media servers available and decided that RADlite was the most flexible choice, as they wanted to run a combination of live cameras, film and stills footage and computer graphics throughout the whole show.
A 30’ wide by 23’ high upstage projection screen forms the set backdrop to the 18-piece band, headed up by Holland on piano, and joined by a series of talented guest singers including Sam Brown and Ruby Turner.
Every scene produced from the various video elements of the Jools show is carefully considered and thought-about. Running for 98% of the two-hour show, the screen features an eclectic, perfectly timed collage of IMAG with assorted film and graphic playback material, sometimes running alone, and sometimes overlaid and treated. There’s never a repetitive moment.
Projected Image Digital also supplied a selection of its new Beacon Digital Gobos to Entec with the RADlite system, some of which Honnor incorporates into the set as the graphics elements. The wide selection of effects includes colour blocks, checkerboards, clouds and an assortment of ‘natural’ images, plus shapes and patterns, all of which can be mixed up, manipulated and completely changed and reinvented using RADlite computer.
Archive footage stored in the RADlite runs during some numbers, including clips of the old London to Brighton train run, and couples jitterbug dancing at Madison Square Gardens and Glasgow Barrowlands in the 1950s. There’s also a slightly surreal home movie created by Jools and MD Pete Long, shot in and around Jools’ extensive model collections.
The live camera mix is cut by Richard Hutton using a four-channel Panasonic MX50 mixer at side stage. Camera sources are two strategically placed lipstick cameras onstage--one focused on Jools’ hands on the keys, and one on the drummer, plus two Dome surveillance cameras on the front truss. The latter are used to zoom in and out on the rest of the band and the soloists as they do their stuff.
The 10,000 lumen Sanyo XF45 projector, is rigged on the front truss. It’s from Nottingham-based Quadrant, who also supplied all AV hardware other than the RADlite.
Honnor works closely with Richard Hutton and third visual crew member Steve Major to produce the show, which contains day-to-day improvisation, combined with specific cueing, and varies according to the set and mood of the moment, “It’s a very ‘live’ and organic creative process” explains Honnor.
It’s a process that’s allows them all the chance to experiment with the RADlite, which is activated via Honnor’s Avolites Diamond 3 lighting console. At the outset, it was important that one operator had control of lighting and video, and Honnor comments, “RADlite has definitely achieved what I wanted, which is essentially to help create a dramatic and different theatrical impact”.
Andy Salmon’s audio rental company Midland Sound & Light is supplying audio equipment. FOH engineer is Ronnie Box and monitors are mixed by John Shaw.
The sold-out tour continues till December.