Rain’s lighting designer, Stephan Gotschel programmed the show on an MA Lighting grandMA1 console, distributed in the US by A.C.T Lighting. Here’s why... in his own words:

“I specified the grandMA and programmed the show as well. It is a console I am very familiar with and have been programming on it for many years. Out of all the consoles I've tried since I've been in the business, it has given me the most options in ways of controlling the show. The console's layout is very intuitive to me, both from a programming and operating perspective. With most consoles, creating a particular result would sometimes cause me to refer to the manual, especially when it meant programming something more intricate. With the grandMA, I haven't had a need to look at the manual for several years. Everything just makes sense to me.

I use a lot of multiple split timing and dimmer/speed curves in the show, partially to create a more organic feel as opposed to a computerized feel. This was easily achieved and is easily adjustable so that everything happens as it should at the right time. Also, creating and manipulating effects using the effects engine is a breeze on the grand MA. I have all the tempos of every Beatles song on a spreadsheet, so when it came time to create a particular effect, programming the timing took about eight seconds... five seconds to look up the value on my computer, and three seconds to input it.

Occasionally, RAIN will be featured at a corporate event, which means that I often have to adapt the programming to a totally different lighting rig. With the grandMA's cloning feature, I can import my show file and be show-ready in no time while still maintaining the integrity and quality that the show demands and that the audience deserves. Other consoles have their own methods of cloning shows as well. I am just very familiar with the grandMA's way of processing.

When we started integrating media servers, I was happy to see that there was already a grandMA profile created by InFrame Designs for their servers (which I also specified). Before moving to media servers, all video was controlled backstage via hard drives, DVD players, computers, etc. by a video operator/designer. Many of the video effects were created manually. Once we moved to media servers, I worked with Darren McCaulley (one of the video designers) on the grandMA to recreate and enhance the current video cues and effects in the show.

Time was extremely limited, and with the flexibility of the grandMA, we were not only able to achieve the desired programming, but were also able to enhance the show with added effects. We programmed a lot of effects where live cameras are keyed in with video clips. This effect is very dependant on lighting and haze levels.

It is very hard to keep these levels consistent, so I programmed some faders to manually adjust certain parameters of these keying effects live. This was made easy with the grandMA's mechanized faders. I programmed the faders to move up to 50% at the start of the song. At that point, I have the ability to increase or decrease the given parameter to achieve the proper balance between live cameras and the video clip.
With the use of macros, effects, multiple split timing, custom dimmer/speed curves, and other features, I was able to fine-tune all of the cues so that everything flows throughout the show seamlessly and naturally.

Essentially, it boils down to this: The light console is a tool. It is the tool I have chosen since it allows me to create what I want to create without wasting time on figuring out how to use it. Many years ago, I was given a 15-minute lesson on the grandMA. Everything since then has been self-taught. That's how intuitive it is.

Related stories:

Rain: Lighting Design, Part 1

Rain, Lighting Design, Part 2

Rain Light plot and gear list