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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.

LED Video Screen’s Flexibility and Ease of Use Ideal for Trade Shows 

Clearwater, Fla., March 5, 2013 — At Winter NAMM, the musical instrument industry’s signature trade show, standing out from the crowd is always a challenge. To get the attention of attendees, exhibitors rely on companies such as Guruz Media, a leading full-service marketing agency, to attract prospective customers to their booths.

Working on behalf of exhibitor Sabian Cymbals, Guruz Media developed an innovative and eye-catching 16’ tall by 8’ diameter tower of cymbals stretching from the ground to high above the trade show floor. To ensure the tower of cymbals would capture the attention of visitors no matter where they were, Guruz added a PixelFLEX LED video curtain wall as a backdrop.

Exceptionally light weight and extremely flexible, the PixelFLEX curtain was the perfect solution for creating a column of bold-colored LED lighting inside the interior of the cymbal tower that was sure to turn heads. According to Doug Webber, chief creative officer for Guruz, mission accomplished.

“Anybody can go to a trade show and rent big screens for their booth, but when it comes down to it, there has to be something that pushes it over the top to really get people to notice,” Webber said. “Whether that is something of the unexpected, or just maybe huge, like the cymbal tower. As soon as I saw the PixelFLEX screens online and how they could bend around nearly any shape or structure, I knew how I could use them at Winter NAMM to make a difference for my client at the show.”

For the cymbal tower backdrop at Winter NAMM, Guruz used 12 panels of PixelFLEX’s 20mm LED video curtain. Featuring 2500 pixels PSM (Per Square Meter) and 3240 nit brightness, PixelFLEX’s curtain provided Webber and his team a solution that was easy to set up and operate – benefits to trade show support that cannot be understated.

“We were trying to create an architectural design element that had some movement, visually speaking, going on inside the tower,” Webber said. “We found a nice piece of digital juice eye candy, colorized it to match the rest of the branding in the booth, and just allowed it to loop over and over again on the PixelFLEX screens.

With more than 200 cymbals on the tower, it was a perfect solution for filling the negative space between the cymbals,” Webber continued. “On top of that, it was super simple to install and operate. The client [Sabian] was extremely happy and competitors definitely took note. One even mentioned to us that it was the best cymbal display they had ever seen at Winter NAMM.”

Flexible in all directions and exceptionally durable, PixelFLEX LED Curtains are able to bend and shape around structures for a more creative display effect. 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.

See the Press Release live…

http://livedesignonline.com/guruz-media-drums-attention-sabian-cymbals-winter-namm-pixelflex-led-video-curtain-wall

http://blog.svconline.com/briefingroom/2013/03/05/guruz-media-drums-up-attention-for-sabian-cymbals-at-winter-namm-with-pixelflex-led-video-curtain-wall/

http://www.prosoundnetwork.com/thewire.aspx?entryid=1097&add=view

http://blog.mixonline.com/briefingroom/2013/03/05/guruz-media-drums-up-attention-for-sabian-cymbals-at-winter-namm-with-pixelflex-led-video-curtain-wall/