Professional Lighting & Production - Winter 2017 - Page 20

20 PL&P he was particularly excited by the possibilities of the JDC1s. “They’re incredibly flexible. You’ve got a blinding white LED array surrounded by fully pix-mappable RGB modules and then, to top it off, the whole thing can tilt,” he remarks. “To increase their flexibility even more, we’ve mounted them so they’re recessed into concave mirrors so I can bounce the light around instead of always shooting it directly at the audience. At times, we even feed low-res video content through them and the X4s. The creative possibilities with this wall are just endless.” Throughout the first few songs, we begin to fully comprehend the complex build of the main stage. The two downstage tiers are also lifts that run the full width of the stage and the third tier is actually split into three lifts itself. Bennett takes inspiration for his creations from many sourc- es – fashion, art, nature, and, in this particular case, architecture. “I had seen a rendering for this proposed hotel in Switzerland, Hôtel des Horlogers, and it inspired me to create these lifts which not only elevate, but tilt.” The fronts of the lifts are covered in blow-through LED screens and each tier has 30 Robe Spikies installed underneath it. The transparent screens allow not only the Spikies to shine through, but also ensure that the JDC1s can do the same when the lifts are elevated. Although the main stage is capable of many different configurations, Bennett exhibits remarkable restraint in not playing all his cards at once. “I always try to hold back something until late in the show,” he explains. “On this tour, for instance, I get through about 10 songs on the main stage without having shown everything it can do because I know we’re going to end the show there and I still want to be able to create something exciting and new.” After a brief video interlude (for a costume change), Lady Gaga launches into her tune “Applause” and things get even more interesting. The three pods over the audience (which up to this point appear to be not much more than cool video surfaces and convenient places to hang audience lighting), reveal their true nature – each one conceals a bridge that lowers in one at a time as Gaga begins a long journey from the main stage to each of the satellite stages and, eventually, the B stage. Each of the two round satellite stages is mounted on scissor lift mechanisms, which allow them to rise up to about 12 ft. high and meet the bridges as they descend. While Gaga is clothed head to toe in black for this tune, the dancers accompanying her on this journey wear a variety of colourful floral prints to match the imagery being projected onto not only the pods, but mapped to the bridges themselves as they fly in (and, occasionally, flip onto their side). To provide the necessary resolution and brightness, 22 of Barco’s new UDX-4K32 Laser Phosphour projectors are used. 20 | Winter 2017 Much of the content created for this tour is by filmmaker Ruth Hogben, a close collaborator of Lady Gaga’s for the past few years. Bennett works closely with her to determine how to best use this content. “For me, video is most exciting when it’s used in new and unconventional ways,” says Bennett. “I like to use the shape of different surfaces to my benefit rather than just having one large, rectangular screen.” (He adds with a laugh, “It’s actually kind of refreshing when I do a show for, say, Rammstein, where we don’t have any video – just lots of lights!”) Once Gaga reaches FOH, the cloth is pulled away to reveal the crystal-shaped B stage and perhaps one of the most stunning showpieces on tour anywhere right now – Gaga’s piano. Built out of clear plexi and covered in an iridescent film, it literally sparkles like a jewel when lit up. And, like everything else on this tour, the piano has a trick up its sleeve. Each key is mapped to a single laser beam (that’s 88 beams!) that shoots out of the piano as she plays. “When Gaga sits down at that piano, in some ways, it’s the end of the road,” says Bennett. “We wanted to create a place that was other-worldly, where she can truly show off her talent. No band, no backing tracks – just Gaga, her voice, and her piano.” During the design process, Bennett works closely with his art director, Peter Aquinde, to shape his initial concepts into reality. “I’ve been working with Roy for over 20 years and, over that time, we’ve developed a verbal shorthand when bouncing ideas back and forth,” explains Aquinde. His job has become much more involved through the years. Initially, he was just doing drawings and renderings, but now, as the tours have grown in complexity, he still does renderings but also deals directly with Tait Tech- nologies, the company that built the stage for this tour and many others with which Bennett has been involved. “When dealing with Tait, my primary focus is to ensure that LeRoy’s vision is carried through the engineering and building stages,” com- ments Aquinde. “For the Joanne Tour, Tait was involved much earlier than [usual] because there were so many advanced technical elements that it made sense to streamline the process a bit. We also needed to rough out the footprint for Live Nation so they could get tickets on sale. Sometimes we need to find a compromise between Roy’s design and the realities of budget and engineering. While I understand that what we’ve envisioned is not always possible, I als ٔѼɔѡЁQЁͻeЁͥ)ЁѼѡЁݡɔЁѕ䁱͕́́쁽ѕ$ٔ)ѼݽɬݥѠѡѼͅѡ́Ѽѡɥ٥ͥt)=եéѡȁչѥ́́Ѽ՝х͔)Ʌѥ́ѡЁ Ёٔѕq!٥ɝ)ѥɕ́́ѡ쁥ӊéѡȁѼѼх)եݡݗeɔѡՅɅѽɵ