Claypaky, Ayrton and MA Lighting with Shania Now
The Queen of Country Pop’s “Shania Now” 2018 tour is currently touring the country using a large complement of Claypaky Mythos2, Scenius Unico and Ayrton’s MagicPanel™-602 fixtures, as well as MA Lighting International MA2 for control.
The production features 48 Claypaky Mythos2 and 80 Scenius Unico fixtures. “The Unicos are the main workhorse of the lighting rig: They provide key light, back light and floor lighting,” explains Creative Director and Production Designer Rob Sinclair. “The Mythos2 are hung on upstage torms and side ‘cakes’ to provide fill and big-picture looks during the show.”
He notes that the lighting design for the tour “needed to be big, flexible and rectilinear to match the video cubes,” which comprise the core of the show’s visual canvas. Five 12-foot moving video cubes, covered with a total of 18 LED surfaces, continually reconfigure and recombine during the show to create an ever-changing environment for Twain, the band and the dancers. “It was hugely complex to rehearse as the stage reconfigures for every song.”
Sinclair adds that, “we also needed key lights that could reliably and sympathetically light Shania for camera. The Unico is my favorite light at the moment. It’s bright, has an even field, is easily corrected and has great optics.”
Lighting Director Michael Straun uses a light meter on the key lights every day “to ensure we always have the same brightness and colour temperature. On the whole I only need to tweek them slightly.”
He likes that the Unicos offer “lots of options within the one unit. We are able to use the framing blades for a couple of songs, and they remain consistent every day.”
The constant motion and changing looks on stage are aided and abetted by Ayrton’s MagicPanel™-602 fixtures.
Sinclair stated that, “Shania wanted a fast-paced show where the appearance of the stage and people constantly changed, with the band, the video cubes and the dancers in constant motion. We needed to find some square-faced lights to complement the square video cubes, and the MagicPanels were the perfect answer.”
In total, Sinclair used 100 MagicPanel-602 fixtures, cleverly and creatively setting them into five overhead pods each with 20 units arranged in a 5 x 4 configuration. The pods fit perfectly with the LED cubes, hanging behind and above each of them on automated winches. The video cubes variously carry singers, dancers, the drummer and other band members and can be deployed at different heights throughout the show to add to the overall spectacle. The MagicPanel pods also move up and down and can be angled into different formations so no two songs have the same arrangement of cubes and pods throughout the show.
The MagicPanel-602’s square face with its matrix of 36 LED emitters in a 6×6 layout is in perfect keeping with the sharp lines of the LED video cubes and gave Sinclair a lot of options to work with. “They read as part of the same language,” he says.
The MagicPanel-602 are certainly put through their paces, being used to full effect for both colourful backdrop lighting, where they show off their brilliant depth and intensity of colour, and full-on bright illumination.
Straun expands, “We are able to use the pods as ‘big lights’ for dramatic illumination from above, adding to the scale and spectacle of the stage design. While the Ayrton fixtures give us the square design we require, we also make full use of their independently programmable pixels.
By using the MagicPanels in full pixel mode, we have the scope to use all the features of the fixture. We can use the individual ‘pixels’ to create shapes such as individually outlined squares on the face of the fixture, or larger squares that emulate the windows in one video moment, or circles and other shapes, colour runs and sparkle effects. The arrangement of the pods can add a strong linear structure to the architecture of the stage or be angled in a haphazard fashion the next. The only thing we don’t use for this show is the MagicPanel’s option for continuous pan and tilt. We use an MA2 for programming and control, with 8-port nodes on the pods running the network directly to them.”
When asked how the fixtures toured, Straun confirmed they made set up and break down a much faster process: “The pods have the MagicPanels built into them. So, for freighting, they land on carts, split in half and roll into the truck. This means we are getting a lot of lights in the rig very efficiently and quickly and as long as they remain mounted straight, they are good at keeping their focus, so I don’t have to update any of their positions day to day.”