Live Design's Project In Focus, sponsored by A.C.T Lighting and Meyer Sound
What happens in the second act?
After intermission, the show moves to the Peace and Love segment. Visually, there are remnants of the psychedelic scenes from before the intermission, but this all gets toned down once the show moves to an acoustic set.when the band sits on stools and interacts with the audience for a bit. It's the part of the show where everything comes back down to basics.
The final scene is the Abbey Road sequence. For the most part, I went back to more natural front lighting in this sequence. This would have been during the anti-war protests in 1969 and a much more serious topic than the fictional characters of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. Revolution was one of my favourite songs to program in this segment, programming the lights to mimic rapid gunfire to the sounds of the drums, then bringing them back to the stage as the band sings about peacefully changing the world.
Was there any consideration to the Beatles actual lighting (or lack thereof)?
There was, but then I'd be out of a job. Actually, the Beatles didn't really have much for lighting. From my understanding, they had basic white light and that was it. These days, with all the fast cut scenes in movies, special effects, all the dynamic live shows, and the fast pace that we live in, productions need to have a little "eye candy". I tried to keep true to the lighting that would have existed when they were touring, but once the show moves to the eras where they stopped touring, the lighting shifts to mirror the music. Once the Beatles stopped touring, they began to experiment with different sounds and effects in their music. Likewise, when this show shifts to those eras, I changed the lighting to reflect the change in musical style.
How did you collaborate with the scenic and projection designers?
Since I've been working on this show for several years, the scenic and video designers and I have become pretty close. Since the media servers are tied in with lighting control, it's easier to tie the two together. Working with the video designer, we tied in custom video content with live camera shots. We also discussed colours and textures along with timing so that it all blends together while trying to maintain the organic feel of those days. Often times, I programmed very slight delays and varied fade times in the projection output and lighting to create a staggered fade effect, trying to not make the show look computerized.
The scenic designers and I worked together mainly with regards to positioning... creating a balance onstage while still allowing me to light the elements properly. In the early stages, we discussed ideas... some of which wouldn't work given the space, and some which ended up a reality. Once in place, I was given a canvas to light.
The costume designer and I worked together to choose fabrics that would show well under the lights. For me, this was most important in the Sgt. Pepper's segment since the colours of those costumes needed to be very specific. Under white light, the different fabrics looked similar, but under the saturated colours of this scene, some of the fabrics looked brown and muddy while others became even more vibrant, retaining the proper colour. For these fabrics, we went through the entire lighting colour palette to make sure the costumes always looked right.