Posts

PixelFLEX Thrives in Personal Record-Breaking Design

Nashville, March 20th,2014 — When a music artist has big visions for a tour, it’s up to the guys behind the scenes to bring that vision to life. Casting Crowns Production Manager Carter Hassebroek and Lighting Designer Chris Lighthall worked with Peter Streiff, an account manager at Elite Multimedia Productions, a PixelFLEX rental partner, to create the visuals necessary for the emotions related to the contemporary Christian act’s “Thrive” tour.

The creation process for this project just happened to result in brand-new, custom rigging hardware for a personal record-breaking PixelFLEX LED wall.

“I don’t think we had even started designing anything yet, but we were at a conference and there was a smaller PixelFLEX wall set up behind the guys and [Casting Crowns’ lead singer] Mark turned around and said, ‘Can we have this on our tour?’” said Hassebroek.

Using 20mm panels, the wall is six panels (24 feet) wide by four panels (32 feet) tall – the tallest FLEXCurtain has ever been used. Because of weight constraints, Streiff immediately began working with PixelFLEX, SetCo Inc.Griplock Systems and Custom Sling to design new rigging hardware. It was designed to take pressure off the rigging bar joints in between each panel, and a safety feature has been added as well.

“When Carter told me what he wanted, I knew we needed to redesign the rigging,” said Streiff. “It was a collective effort that resulted in a custom solution. PixelFLEX has really opened up a world of possibilities with this new rigging.”

The FLEXCurtain was originally designed with the touring world in mind. Both lightweight and flexible, PixelFLEX LED Curtains are able to bend and shape around structures for a more creative display effect. FLEXCurtains weigh between 4.5 lbs to 19.9 lbs per square meter, which is 60 to 90 percent less than most other LED screens, which provides substantial savings on transportation costs and space. With the latest improvement made by PixelFLEX, touring with their products is only getting easier.

“We are constantly looking for ways to improve upon our products to make them more tour and user friendly,” said PixelFLEX’s Director of Marketing David Venus.

With touring contemporary Christian artists, the visual needs are unique in that they need to remain emotional and intimate while still bringing a certain entertainment value. Displaying lyrical content as well as IMAG were the biggest requests that assisted in accomplishing that need. By having a wall taller than it is wide, Lighthall was able to discover a new and creative way to present Casting Crowns’ songs.

The bigger, the better wasn’t the only benefit of bringing PixelFLEX out on the “Thrive” tour. The FLEXCurtain takes up less space in a truck compared to products Casting Crowns’ production has used in the past, and the price for the size of the wall made sense for the budget. The clarity of the product continuued to impress as well.

“That 20mm curtain product to me looks more clear than other 20 mils I’ve seen before in person,” Hassebroek said. “I’m looking at it from the side, from 30 feet away, and it’s clear. I can see every single thing on it.”

PixelFLEX is proud to have made this improvement on one of its many popular LED products, and feels honored to make this step with Casting Crowns.

For more information on Casting Crown’s “Thrive” tour, visit their website. To learn more about PixelFLEX’s FLEXCurtain and other lines of LED screens, visit pixelflexled.com. Follow PixelFLEX on Twitter, and like them on Facebook.

 

###

by Erik Parker – Lighting Designer and Programmer, One Republic, Billy Currington, Here Come the Mummies, Kip Moore, Lee Brice, Jennifer Nettles, and current designer forNashville Based, Chris Lisle Lighting Design.

Video has changed the game of live concerts and lighting design. I was fortunate to come into the touring game after video made its entrance, giving me a great understanding of seamlessly incorporating both video and lighting elements into the overall production design for touring artists.

In any capacity, before being able to design anything, you must look at all logistical factors as well as artist creative direction. For example, if an artist wants a HUGE video wall on stage, but you’re limited due to small transportation and stages for club tours, you have to get creative to make it happen. If the artist wants it to feel like a fantastical and elaborate Oz on stage, you don’t want to approach your design with a streamlined, Apollo 13 in mind. Another thing to look at is the content that will be shown on the screens. The artist might provide previously built custom content, pay to have it made, rely on IMAG (putting a live feed on the screen), leave it up to you, the designer, to come up with the content on your own with no additional budget, or a mixture of the above.

Personally, I typically approach the design to give as many possible “moments” to the crowd as possible. By this I mean that I try to allow for several looks throughout the show without moving the rig, if budget doesn’t allow for automation. This means also designing video and lighting so at any point during the show either could take over and become the focal element.

There’s no right or wrong to accomplish this, but I have a couple things that I try to do on each design.

1.  Make the video element large enough to see what’s going on… but not too big.

If you are putting any kind of actual image on the screen, the audience needs to be able to see what it is. Whether it’s a clip from their music video, an accumulation of random shots from each city, beach clips or whatever feels appropriate at the time, you should be able to tell what the image is. With that being said, I’m not a fan of the video wall being on at all times, therefore, I don’t want the screen so large that when you turn it off you get a huge black hole. Breaking up the screen with lights would fill this space, or using a lit backdrop could add a completely different effect.

2.  Figure out how the video wall design will fit in the lighting design.

You want to make sure the whole production has a flow. You may want a square wall with a circular lighting rig, but that may end up not being quite what you’re going for. Make sure everything is concise and matches what you and the artist have in mind for the overall look.

3.  Look at ways to mount it and either you or the road crew will travel with it.

Nothing is going to float in thin air. Mounting everything is important, as you want it to stay  where it belongs. Many video and lighting companies will have hardware for some of the most common set-ups, but as you begin to change the orientation, work more closely with the vendors to come up with a plan to mount everything that will not make the road crew’s life a living hell. And by hell I mean zip ties… nobody has time for that.

4.   If all else fails… Just remember, EVERYTHING on in open white, and if it moves, point it to the monitor guy.  

They’re going to blame you for that anyway. Unless that’s your PM, then go to the FOH guy. Bring your sunglasses.

Beyond this, it’s all art. Paint your picture as crazy or simple as you desire. There’s no one to tell you it’s the “wrong” way to do it. They may try, but just because it’s not their way of doing things doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the wrong way. Think outside the box, and remember that the goal is to help the artist give the audience a show worth more than they paid.

Nashville, Feb. 17, 2014 – Ten voices, 10 microphones, a unique vision and a stage is all it took for national sensation, Straight No Chaser (SNC), to change the common image of an all-male a cappella group. Since the band’s reunion, coordinated by Atlantic Records in 2008, the men have seen huge success by continually modernizing their act with humor and timeless, as well as current, pop songs to captivate their audience, something that has set them apart since their inception in 1996 at Indiana University. This year, PixelFLEX LED Curtains were included during the act’s 68-city Under The Influence tour promoting their album of the same name. The curtains added a brand new element to the shows with the panels’ versatility, flexibility and affordability.

PixelFLEX, the industry leader in lightweight, flexible LED video curtain panels, offered a cost-effective, practical and simple packing solution to the tour and production manager when the crew wanted to balance new visuals with the vocals, emotions and originality of the act.

“The PixelFLEX video curtain gave the show a bigger presence for the crowd without overwhelming the art of the performance,” said Richard Korby, Tour and Production Manager for Straight No Chaser. “We were pleasantly surprised at the reception from the audience; the panels brought the experience to another level for those who had seen the show before and those who were seeing SNC for the first time.”

Throughout the three month tour, the 20mm LED curtains displayed an introductory video about the group, served as a tool for promotional material, and added a novel element of background images and video throughout each performance.

“It’s the marriage of artistry, economics and logistics,” explained Korby. “It travels very efficiently and that was the key. The way it packs and folds up into a single road case kept us from having to add trucking, which is important because we’ve got to watch every penny when we’re out on the road.”

The curtains are flexible in all directions, making it possible for the panels to bend and shape around structures for a more creative, dynamic and artistic display. Though the six screens were used statically throughout the tour, they provided the unparalleled bonus of being compact and simple to set up, take down, and pack into two road cases, something that the Systems Technician, Bob Rager, and Lighting and Video Director, Christ Jones, were impressed with.

Looking forward to the 2014 tour season, Korby is planning to again utilize PixelFLEX technology for SNC’s video needs.

For more information on PixelFLEX and its growing line of lightweight LED video screens, visit www.LEDCurtain.com.  Follow PixelFLEX at www.Facebook.com/PixelFLEXUSA and @LEDCurtain.

Portfolio Items