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Lighting The Ultra Music Festival Main Stage, Part 1 | Ultra Music Festival 2013 conten... - 0 views

  • Lighting The Ultra Music Festival Main Stage, Part 1
  • We caught up with Richard Neville, lighting designer for the main stage for Ultra Music Festival 2013, to discuss his work on one of the largest stages in concert festival history, the staging structure and roof structure for which was built by long time Ultra Music Festival vendors Mountain Productions, with scenic and set elements built by Tait.
  • Live Design: How did you involved with this year’s Ultra Music Festival? Richard Neville: I’ve worked with one of the stage’s designers, James Klein, on a number of projects, both back home in Australia and overseas before, including a number of party and festival events. He called me when he started putting the stage design together with Bruce Rodgers, and it went from there. There’s a long-established dance music scene in Australia and South East Asia, which my company has been involved with
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  • for years. However, it was exciting to take it to the next level at Ultra and really work toward the festival'’s amazing production standards and reputation. Photo Rudgr.comLD: What was the design philosophy going into the project? RN: When I first saw the stage design, the first thing that really struck me was the need to create a
  • ighting design that would support the awesome geometry of the structure. There are so many great features of the structure: the overall shape, the hundreds of smaller pyramids that make it up, the central archway, and the giant Ultra logo, to name a few. When it's dark, it becomes lighting’s responsibility to make sure that this great design keeps its shape, size, and definition. I worked closely with Bruce Rodgers, Tribe inc, and James Klein Events to ensure that every part of the structure took light as best as it could. Together we looked at different
  • finish options for everything, right down to the acrylic used in the DJ booth logo, to make sure it really came alive with lighting. The final design had lights literally everywhere; there were fixtures covering the logo, all the way across the arch, and we had a moving light on every single one of the 176 pyramids that make up the structure. A glance at the Ultra schedule reveals six days of non-stop lighting—up to 12 hours per day—and the knowledge that many partygoers would spend a good chunk of the six days standing in front of the main stage. I had to abandon my usual mindset of keeping fixture types to a minimum to give the stage a massive array of effects, positions, and fixtures that would keep people guessing what else we had to reveal. We didn’t reveal almost 100 fixtures until day two of the festival, and there were a few effects we kept our sleeve just for weekend two.
  • I had to also be mindful that several artists would bring their touring LDs along, so it was important to keep some elements consistent with other festivals. I kept a large number of spot and wash fixtures in fairly traditional positions inside the main stage, and then placed groups of these fixtures out on the structure to ensure that the lighting would always be spread out across the full width of the stage. All of this led to the creation of a lighting design that has well in excess of 1,000 intelligent fixtures, which also checked off the requirement that the lighting looked huge! LD: What others were involved in the lighting team? RN: Back in Sydney, we had four of our staff involved in the preproduction and
  • paperwork. Alex Grierson is my associate designer and programmer who did a great job managing everything from visiting LD requests through to getting the visualization files setup and operational. On site, two of us operated the shows and also assisted other LDs with programming when they required it. I’m a firm believer that EDM events don’t allow for the traditional lighting designer/operator relationship, where the person who designs the rig isn’t the one operating it. When a DJ can change tracks and cut the music completely in a split second, the lighting has to react instantaneously. With Alex and me involved since day one with
  • the design and then physically operating the consoles in the day, we can react quickly to these changes. Furthermore, as the designers, we know the reasoning behind every light’s placement and how to get the best out of each fixture, so these reactions do have a sense of artistic reasoning behind them. It’s certainly a demanding and draining way to operate, where we are not just producing paperwork, but also programming thousands of cues, listening to around 50 different artists, and also finding time to assist other LDs, but I wouldn’t change a thing because we’re incredibly happy with the results. LD: Talk a little about your lighting rig and fixture choices for the main stage. RN: I specifically went out to try and give the stage a unique identity with the lighting, and a part of that was finding either new or obscure lighting fixtures that would breathe new life into the stage. I used 176 of the new Robe 100 Beam fixtures on
  • As I mentioned with our goals, there were a number of fixtures in the rig that we use as reveal effects—things that weren’t always visible to the audience but were instead revealed momentarily or for particular acts. I designed a wall of 40 [ICD] Elements KR25 panels interspersed with [Martin Professional] Atomic strobes, Robe 600 Washes, and Sharpys, which completely covered the rear of the automated doors. When the doors opened and rotated, this intense wall of light looked absolutely huge. On stage, we also had half a dozen Novalight Supernovas, which do a great enveloping beam look at select moments with their huge moonflower looks. (Check out Neville’s lighting plots here.)

Is this the future of the festival sound system? - Music Feature - Digital Spy - 0 views

  • Is this the future of the festival sound system?
  • Last week, Bowers & Wilkins launched a company-first product that took them out of Abbey Road Studios and into the festival circuit.The British audio trailblazers unveiled their Sound System; a collection of four top-end speakers aimed to deliver hi-fi quality clarity to thousands of festival goers. The project was turned around within five months by the company's engineers, drawing upon 45 years of acoustic innovation.
  • Jamie xx was honored with the chance to give the speakers their first public testing, thumping out '70s disco to hundreds of fans in the Bowers & Wilkins tent at Primavera Sound in Barcelona, Spain. The sound was as clean as the product's design. At three metres high, the speakers boomed out 120dB of bass with reduced distortion and improved directivity."In creating this new system we've asked ourselves why people go to gigs and festivals," Bowers & Wilkins brand director Danny Haikin explained. "The answer is that nothing beats the rush of experiencing music with others. But there's a catch. Although concerts and live events are responsible for some of our most treasured musical memories, all too often something is missing from the experience; sound quality."
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  • Most will question whether high-end speakers are needed at festivals. Surely an electronic music tent only requires dance fans to get lost in the beat, rather than question the quality of the sound. Nevertheless, like many of the technological advancements made in cinema and studio visual and sound quality, Bowers & Wilkins' Sound System is an encounter you notice when returning to the standard set-up elsewhere. Sound is important, and with festival ticket prices getting marked up year after year, it's only natural that we should start to expect an increased quality in experience."I think the sound was so perfect that I can see people really enjoying it no matter what," Primavera curator DJ Fra said of the Sound System, after performing his first set on the PA system. "Usually that tent can be a dangerous place at the festival because it's the perfect place to end an evening after lots of drinks. But I think you can really enjoy the sound, so it's another approach to experience dance music."
  • Bowers & Wilkins are hoping to recruit a family of talented and well-regarded electronic producers and DJs to provide the best experience using the system which, when paired with their 360 projection technology, creates a multi-sensory effect unlike anything seen in the average music festival tent. They want artists who have a keen ear when it comes to speaker quality, arguing that their appreciation for the technology will produce the best results. There are also plans afoot for classical playbacks, letting the speakers demonstrate their full-range capability from scuzzy electro beats to intricate string sections.
  • Reduced distortion has been achieved by replacing conventional horn-loaded technology with hi-fi-style direct radiating transducers, while each of the stacks features four mid-high frequency enclosures. It's all part of a system that manages to produce pure sound in an acoustically-challenging environment, highlighting that the finest-tuned technology can deliver impressive results in surroundings with uncontrollable boundaries when it comes to audio. It's remarkable how directly the Sound System delivers its output considering it was housed in an Igloo tent.
  • "With Bowers & Wilkins Sound System, we bring hi-fi quality sound into the live music environment, meaning you get all the realism you'd expect from a top-end speaker, but delivered at scale for the first time," Haikin added. The Sound System is not commercially available and is the first step for Bowers & Wilkins towards upscaling their systems for a large audience. There are plans to take the Sound System to WOMAD Festival in the UK between July 24 and 27, and with a concerted effort to advance live music technology, let's hope it becomes a widespread standard in the foreseeable future.

Shure | Axient Wireless Microphone Systems | Case Study | Shure Axient Rocks London's W... - 0 views

  • “All UK summer festivals are busy, but Wireless is one of the busiest, with over 190 acts taking to the stages over three days this year,” explained SDUK's Tuomo Tolonen. “Different acts are on different stages simultaneously all weekend; it's the very definition of a crowded RF environment, and this against the background of generalized spectrum scarcity thanks to the recent Digital Switchover. Fortunately, Axient is designed precisely for events like these, offering high channel counts even where the available RF spectrum is restricted, and with extremely effective resistance to interference, plus the ability to find interference-free frequencies and switch seamlessly to those in the event of a problem.” Axient was used on the main stage all weekend with a selection of Shure capsules, including KSM9 and Beta heads. Lez Dwight of Britannia Row Productions added, “This was Wireless Festival's first year at the 2012 Olympic site, and after having heavy audio restrictions for many years in Hyde Park, all involved on the new site, from the engineers to the paying public, were treated to a truly great sounding outdoor event. Tuomo really helped us out with the Axient and PSMs; we had planned to use them on the Pepsi Max stage, but so many of the American artists on the main stage requested Shure mics, we switched the Axient handhelds to the main stage.”

Wearable Technology: Music Festival Edition - SoundCTRL - 0 views

  • By Carolyn Heneghan As the summer festival season comes to a close, it’s time to reflect on what we’ve learned to improve our experience next year. Need to wear shoes that can get amazingly muddy? Need to bring ponchos or toilet paper next year? How about needing to consider using more wearable technology in the future? Wearable technology is the next frontier after creating monster computers the size of your palm. This technology could be beneficial for everything from fitness to hands-free calls, but it also has some unique possibilities for use at music festivals. Wearable Tech Already Put to Use
  • We’ve already seen wearable wristband tickets which can be scanned for entry and worn throughout a festival. While at times uncomfortable, these bands are one way to eliminate the need for paper tickets and paper wristbands that can wear and tear from normal festival use. And what about the shirts that light up to the beat of the music? Those too have been around awhile, and they’ve grown in popularity as they’ve become more technically impressive.
  • sider Band at Outside Lands 2013 About a month ago, San Francisco’s Outside Lands found itself to be a test drive of ClearHart Digital’s Insider Band. Esurance and ClearHart set up eight 14-foot towers throughout Golden Gate Park, each armed with NFC-enabled Nexus 7 tablets mounted on all four sides. To make use of these towered tablets, participants registered for a free wristband online, which they then connected to their Facebook accounts.
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  • For all who registered for a band, the user would tap that band on the tower and would then be able to check in to that location, take a photo or send a message to Facebook friends who had also registered for an Insider Band. That data could then either be stored and accessed the following week or posted immediately to Facebook. If a user’s phone died or had poor reception, all he or she had to do was visit one of these towers to complete at least some of the actions they would have normally performed with their smartphone, such as find friends or check in at a location, without worry. As any test drive might end up, there were a few snags along the way, such as long lines to receive a functional Insider Band because of spotty Wi-Fi in the Esurance tent. But all in all, the project seemed to be pretty successful with 8,060 users who tapped 29,753
  • times and uploaded 4,780 photos throughout the festival. Smartwatches
  • Smartwatches have been around for a little while now, but this month, the industry releases two new models, the Samsung Galaxy Gear and the Sony SmartWatch 2, with Apple reportedly on their heels for a smartwatch release in 2014. Besides telling the time, how can these smartwatches really help at a music festival? The Sony’s SmartWatch 2 will have 300 apps released in tandem with the device itself, more than four times as many as Samsung’s Galaxy Gear at 70 apps. But if you’re a fan of checking in, tweeting, sharing Facebook statuses and uploading photos of all the action, both smartwatches will allow you to do that. The social network Path’s app also allows you to share photos, post locations and allow feedback, similar to its online site.
  • Have trouble keeping up or meeting up with friends? One of Galaxy Gear’s apps, Glympse, can enable someone to be tracked using the app, and you can figure out where that person is just by glancing at the watch’s screen. Those people will have to have the app on their smartphones too, but it could still come in handy. The SmartWatch 2 hasn’t released a list of many of its apps yet, but there’s a good chance that some of the apps you might normally use at a festival will be on there as well—if not in the future, possibly by next year’s summer fest season.
  • While the commercial version of Google Glass is still not yet available, developers are creating more and more apps that may eventually be of some use to festival goers—as long as they can keep the glasses on while jumping around in the crowd. Imagine a Google Glass app that allows you to pull up live Twitter updates from other users about a festival set while it is actually happening. Or a map app that pulls up the trackable locations of your friends onscreen and directs you exactly to the spot they’re at. Or a camera that snaps a picture with every hard blink, hands-free. The possibilities are endless as Google Glass slowly becomes a reality. App developers will assuredly come up with uses beyond our wildest fest tech fantasies, and it will be exciting to see where it goes in the coming years. Wearable technology for music festivals is still in its infancy,
  • but it shows great promise. Let’s wait and see what tech companies have in store for us by summer fest season 2014.
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