Here is a link to a lighting design magazine with some technical mumbo jumbo regarding our recent effort to help turn Downtown Louisville into a winter wonderland of lights. If you understand all the technical talk, we might have a job for you in our lighting department.
Louisville, Kentucky, is known for its festivals and special events and the city’s annual “Light Up Louisville” event between Thanksgiving and New Year’s is one of its most popular. Elation Platinum Beam 15R Pro moving heads and IP-65 rated ELAR 108 PAR RGBW lights were used for the 2013 edition, which included an extra component, “40 Nights of Lights” that featured light projection and a nightly light show set to music.
Designed to bring more citizens and visitors downtown to celebrate the season, “Light Up Louisville” is a four-block festival of lights and this season included two 15-minute timecoded on-street light shows set to Christmas music. The light shows played each of the 40 nights with color projection onto trees, street lights and buildings all adding to the festive atmosphere.
Axxis, Inc. of Louisville was responsible for the entire production design and installation with Chris Burgin of Axxis handling lighting design and programming (Elizabeth Squire programmed the second timecoded show).
Axxis placed sixteen Platinum Beam 15Rs in weatherproof domes on top of towers in the middle of a courtyard. According to Chris, “This gave us an opportunity to surround the audience with light as well as the option to hit the surrounding buildings, trees and people passing by. We put them on top of custom 3-sided 15’ tall towers that had the Fleur de lis (Louisville’s symbol) etched into Plexiglas. We then lit the tower up with Elation ELAR 108 LEDs.”
Axxis designed and constructed columns around each light pole in order to mount the Platinum Beams to the structure and sent the signal to each light via the fixture’s built-in wireless system. “The Platinum Beam 15R’s built-in wireless EWDMX Receiver was one of the most useful features for us,” Chris says. “This allowed us to send signal across the city block without running any data cables. We could then get data to the ELAR 108s in the towers as well.”
A powerful beam was also an important factor with ample lumens and a narrow beam a must for a decent throw and eye-catching mid-air look. “Another nice feature was the tight beam they produced. We decided to add haze but even before that they were punchy enough to see the beams on most nights,” Chris comments. “One thing we wanted to do was play with the lights and that included onto the side of all of the buildings in downtown. It was fun to put a gobo or colors onto them. The Platinum Beams could hit the top of every building we threw the light onto.”
“Light Up Louisville” ran for 40 straight nights and according to Chris there were no issues with the Elation lighting other than expected lamp changes. “We even left them on with a slow movement in order to keep them warm and keep the domes from frosting over and still there were no issues.”
Head of Scenic: Andy Hammond
Lead Electrician: Malcom Sells
Project Manager: Chuck Holbrook
About Elation Professional
Elation Professional is one of the world’s leading lighting and visual solutions providers and is the global brand of Elation Lighting. Founded in 1992 and headquartered in Los Angeles, with European sales, distribution and support based in The Netherlands, Elation designs and manufactures a comprehensive range of innovative yet affordable lighting and video products that are distributed through a global network of dealers and distributors. Made up of a spirited team of dedicated personnel, Elation is setting new efficiency and performance standards in Platinum lamp and LED technology and is acknowledged for a comprehensive commitment to Total Support. As a company in expansion with a presence in a growing variety of market segments, chances are you’ve experienced Elation lighting at a concert, special event, TV, theater, late night venue, House of Worship, theme park, cruise ship, exhibition, architectural space or elsewhere. For more information, please visit www.elationlighting.com
AXXIS, Inc, Louisville, KY recently added 30 Stagemaker ½ ton chain hoists to the inventory. As this acquisition took their hoist inventory past the one hundred unit mark, a decision was made to tailor a portion of the package with the company’s hotel clients in mind. Part of that decision was to have hoists with only 40’ of lift, rather than their standard of 60’, and to package them in single hoist road cases. A single hoist case is more expensive than half of a double case but it allows for a hoist to be placed at each rig point without either waiting for a first hoist to be raised from a double case or having to drag oily chain across client carpet. Additionally, the single cases are more flexible in the truck pack and are more easily handled by the technical crew.
Axxis recently acquired two new Mobile Studios Portacast Classic rack systems for our video department.
These units feature a flip up design that allows for a built in monitor, a pull out tray for the switcher, 2 shallow, and 10 standard rack spaces in the bottom.
This has been a great addition to our inventory because of the finished package look it presents to our clients but it also works well for the technicians by reducing setup time and truck space.
Setting up and running an outdoor 40-night Christmas light show is not a warm - or pretty - task.
Somewhere about day 5 of the installation, you start questioning your judgment in taking on this difficult of a project. 10 days into the production (especially when hit with single digit temps) you vow to never to do this again.
But in the end - when a group of kids start dancing to the animated light display programmed to Christmas music on a concert sound system – it is all worth it. And, when they come up to you and say “thank you”, “we had such a great night” and “it was awesome!” - you know you have to do even more next year.
It's now late January and we are about ready to start planning this year. We hope to see you the Friday after Thanksgiving for Light Up Louisville. And, we hope you make it to downtown Louisville to see what we add this year. Frankly, now that we’ve thawed out - we’re starting to get curious too.
Here is a video and some pictures below.
Ten years ago, we stuck up our noses and placed a ban on spandex in our scenic designs.
Spandex was everywhere and in every production company’s designs... including ours. The spandex was fairly ubiquitous in design and shape. Almost always it was either three star-like shapes or several hour-glass shapes, all as backdrops. Add some colored lights...et voila!...a scenic design.
Some continue to do this today.
Well, we've embraced spandex again - but now call it "tension fabric" to combat the hypocrisy. We've invested in some very cool updated scenic elements using tension fabric, back lit Plexiglas steps and columns - along with hard surfaced flats and screen surrounds.
The investment was substantial but the design options are proving to be worth the expense and effort. The result is a clean and crisp set design that really establishes the environment we are trying to create.
It’s all for a good cause.
We have a current mission to get rid of black drape in our scenic design wherever we can.
Stand by on stuck up noses.
Here are a few examples:
After 10 years of struggling each time we set up our Applied tower roof system...we finally put on our big-boy pants and purchased a Thomas Roof System just in time for its use on Light Up Louisville 2013. The Thomas towers are 15’ so we get over 30' of trim. We now can self-support our LED video wall off the downstage trussing. Our current configuration is at 30' X 30" but we have plans for both a smaller roof and a larger roof as the need arises. As you can see in the picture, the structure is beefy enough to hang a fair amount of PA without the addition of PA wings. Yes, we said “beefy”.
As part of this graduation, we purchased new understructures for our newest decking. The new understructure speeds up the install tremendously and lets us go from 4’ to 6’ in stage height. We already have structure to take us below 4’ down to 2’. Steps and railings were also purchased for the decking. Looks like we’re set for another decade or so. Or are we?
Oh yea...the $678...that was just to make sure that no one else ever has to set that old tower system up again. As of yesterday - scrap aluminum is $.54 a pound.
We hope you enjoy the article below on our latest and one of our most favorite projects to date; the article makes it sound easy to pull off the design, but it was anything but easy. Special notice needs to be given to Chris Burgin and Andy Hammond who worked non-stop to engineer and flesh out the design of the "napkin concept". Without Chris and Andy's hard work and talent, the concept would be worth about as much as the napkin.
We also want to thank Creative Connors who supplied the automation hardware and software that we purchased to automate the turntable. You guys rock!
Finally we want to thank the video crew who pulled off a flawless show with this new deign: Mike Graves, Production Manager; Matt Brewer, LED and Media Server lead; Tony Habich, Video Director; Dave Clan, LED Technician; Daniel Baxter, Lighting; Mark Belicove, Audio and Nate Webster, Graphics.
Our team loves a challenge and everyone played a critical role in a successful show. We used the turntable two months later with great success and we are at it again next month (June) with another turn or two.
The turntable is rated for use with loads of up to 30,000 lbs.“We meet with a client on a Wednesday in December. They pushed us pretty hard to come up with something new and different to work within a space,” says Davis. “That Friday, on the flight home to Louisville, I started doodling like everyone does. There was a little ring on the napkin from my coffee. I started to draw and completed the circle, from there I started thinking ‘What if I build a turntable?’ And so this coffee ring kind of morphed into a circle, and then into an stage design for our client.”
Pretty soon, the idea of a turntable was turning around in Davis’ mind, and he started thinking of how it could be used as a reveal for the band or an event finale. He then imagined placing an LED wall on the turntable and curving it. “What if we flanked the turntable with LED panels and put it on traveler track to have even more reveal and endless walk-on opportunities?”
The turntable is rated for use with loads of up to 30,000 lbs. Napkin Sketch to Showtime
Back on the ground, the design quickly became reality. Forty five days after the flight and the napkin sketch, the turntable, curved LED panels and traveler track were fully designed and in place, used for an awards show at a big convention that took place Jan. 31-Feb. 2 within the Hilton Convention Center in Branson, MO.
The system consists of 80 curved EC-10 LED panels on a ground-supported turntable, plus 100+ EC-20 LED panels on traveler tracks. Despite the high number of panels used, the two-rail system is rigged at only six points with 48 casters beneath. The entire turntable, rated for use with loads up to 30,000 lbs., can support anything from a large band setup to an automobile for reveals.
“We may have over-engineered the structure, but we wanted to be able to offer this to almost anyone without weight being an issue,” Davis says. “What we did was, we built in plates into the turntable and had that part of the engineering so that we can have three towers that connect to the turntable. That means the wall is 100 percent supported by the turntable.”
The finished look along with its functional aspects, the design gives free rein to a variety of aesthetic designs with LED panels ranging in resolution from 10mm and 20mm working at various depths and consisting of both moving and stationary elements.
“The fact that we can support a curved video wall this size from the ground, a 10mm video system, speaks to the fact that it’s lightweight. It took the weight off the structure so we could use it for other purposes,” Stewart notes.
Space is often an issue with such a large video setup, and the backstage area for the Branson event was no different, with only six feet to work with. “This level of production, with such a small footprint, is only possible with LED, and with the modular Martin LED panels we could fit it to the space,” Davis says. “It’s also easy to strip it down and send it out to another user.”
LED Screen Control
The system is controlled via the Martin P3 System Controller. Davis notes that, along with intuitive and straightforward LED setup, P3 can be used to control the LED screens like lighting instruments with direct DMX control of brightness, color, pixel-mapping and more.
The entire system is portable and highly configurable to a client needs. While the system was initially designed to incorporate the Martin LED panels, Davis says it can use alternatives as well. “Since the wall is so modular, we can hang the LED panels, hard walls, curtains, almost anything the client request,” says Davis.
“We’re not done yet,” Davis adds, noting how Axxis is busy with tweaks and improvements. Originally, “the turntable was not able to continually revolve. It had to go back the way it came.” A slip ring solution now addresses that hurdle. “We are working on the wiring and cabling coming through the center hub so the turntable will be able to spin indefinitely without wire getting crossed.”
Axxis plans to reuse the set design often, and is now working on modifications of it for other clients. “Our clients love the fact that we can ‘hide’ something for them until the big moment on stage,” says Davis, noting that the turntable has already been used on different occasions, with more bookings coming in each week
We are helping organizers transform the River Park Center in Owensboro, KY for a benefit to support The Wendell H. Ford Government Education Center with the erecting of a 180 stage decks attached to the center’s existing stage. Sometimes it’s nice to take a break from all the technology and build something! If your looking for some staging while these decks are in Owensboro waiting for Bill Clinton to address a generous audience...not to worry...this is only 25% of our staging inventory. It seems we have more decking than we have sense.