Professional Lighting & Production - Fall 2017 - Page 23

Mole blinders hitting hard despite lack of haze PL&P: So how did you get hooked up with Rise Against in the first place? What led to you being tapped to design and oper- ate the rig for this tour? MH: It kind of all came as a surprise to me. My tour manager with Billy Talent at the time, Jon Dunleavy, who is the longtime produc- tion and tour manager for Rise Against, had kind of poked around and asked me if I might be interested in taking on the project. I submitted what I thought was a strong concept and got a call back relatively quickly from JD asking me if I wanted the gig, and he needed a yes or no answer right away. I said “yes” and went running across a parking lot in joy somewhere just outside of Winnipeg. Lit- erally running. I swear a gig is never as good as the moment you get it. I’m a fan of the band, to say the least, and Jon later admitted that he thought my stylings were a perfect match for Rise and saw this as a winning combo before we had even spoken about it or I had submitted my portfolio or design treatments. PL&P: What kind of mandate were you given, either from the band or their camp? MH: The mandate was pretty simple. First, we wouldn’t be shipping large set pieces in sea containers, so whatever the design was, it would need to be recreated in different places all over the world using readily available lights, video, etc. Second, video had to be utilized in the design, and third, we’d be contracting an animation team to build 90-second interlude/segue pieces to create a narrative to run throughout the show. PL&P: So what were they going for with the overall lighting and visuals? MH: Overall, the band sort of left this aspect in my hands. I present- ed them with a few options in my treatment and let them take their pick for a general aesthetic. I modified the design from there into something roadworthy. PL&P: What was the collaboration like in bringing the design together? Were the band or management very hands-on, or were you largely left to do what you saw fit? MH: The collaboration process was kind of a perfect scenario for a designer working with tight deadlines. This team really had a lot of confidence and belief in my abilities – something I am extremely honoured and thankful for. This allowed me to really let myself go in creating something I thought could deliver a high-impact show in the vast number of venue scenarios Rise Against finds themselves in, whether it’s a Rock am Ring-sized festival for over 80,000 people and 20-minute changeovers to get on and off stage, down to a few thousand people for a nightclub headline show. The band and management were pretty trusting while we were getting the project off the ground. Jon Dunleavy was instrumental in making sure this project would travel correctly and roll on and off everything from our smallest to largest stages as well as advising me on what this band expected to see. He kept me clear of trouble by making sure I had no [intense strobes] anywhere near the band – a mistake previous designers had made in the past – as well as making sure I didn’t over-light from the front. He really knows this camp. PL&P: Tell us about your approach to the design. What were the key things you wanted to deliver? MH: To be blunt, my approach to this design was a little more raw than anything I had done in the past. New album artwork wasn’t readily available, so I wasn’t able to be overly specific in my inspira- tion. It was more utilitarian in nature, like, how can I blow people’s hair back with this show while sometimes only having a 20-minute changeover to get our package on and off the deck? I think we achieved that; I mean the carts are all show. No dead weight. PL&P: Which specific fixtures were most integral to realizing your artistic vision? Any that you’d used for the first time, or that delivered results you were particularly fond of? MH: Martin’s MAC Quantum Profile and Wash fixtures are the back- bone of this design. I had been working with them and requesting the fixtures for my up-tempo rock acts since they became available. When it comes to LED source lamps, I don’t believe there is anything available of equal or higher quality. The Quantum Profile gobo wheel set really covers all the basics of rotating gobos – great thin/thick breakout gobos, a spiral gobo, and a breakout called “To Boldly Go,” which I think most designers have come to know and love as this wild, extra-thin breakout gobo that delivers a mirror ball-like effect. It’s all there in that one gobo wheel. Programming with one gobo wheel is particularly helpful when you get into festival season in more remote parts of the world and are cloning to other fixture types. The dimmer speed of an LED profile was the second most important quality. Punk music is fast in nature. Try to imagine that fast punk drumbeat in your head; I wanted to write some strange waveforms and do some really fast button mashing to emulate that drum beat in several different ways while at the same time not doing too much. Just having the light pulse between 50 and 100 per cent via a custom MA2 waveform was the perfect solution. And not my first reason, but probably the most helpful feature was not dealing with the lamping on fixtures during changeover. My tech was able to hook up our soca breaks, breaker on the lamps, and see my test pattern running. If the light was moving, generally Fall 2017 | 23