American rap and hip-hop artist, Vince Staples, who is currently performing at festivals across Europe, spent the first quarter of the year in the USA opening for the headliner, Tyler, the Creator. The two distinctive performers had incredibly contrasting looks needed for their shows.
Los Vegas-based Morpheus Lights two lighting rigs of Ayrton fixtures as part of their full tour package. With the two light rigs of Aryton fixtures, Morpheus Lights was able to supply dramatic lighting setups for each of the performances. The rig had to disappear quickly for the headlining show.
Staples’ performance took place in front of a dramatic backdrop that highlighted cold white, stark and graphics. On the other hand, Tyler, the Creator’s set featured a magical forest with lots of saturated colors, Kabuki drops and star drop visuals.
Between the shows, Staples’ Lighting Director and Programmer, Tyler Santangelo and Manager/Show Director, Corey Smyth had to quickly switch the lighting rigs.
Lighting for Staples’ Set
For Staples’ set, a 10ft-high back wall of 100 Ayrton DreamPanel™Twin fixtures in a 5 x 20 configuration provided a central focus. Two vertical side towers per side supplemented the ‘DreamWall’. Each side tower included 4 Ayrton MagicBlade™FX (16 total) and an Ayrton MagicBurst™ graphic strobe unit. Eighteen more MagicBlade™FX served as downstage ground row fixtures.
The ‘DreamWall’ was supplemented by two vertical side towers per side, each with 4 Ayrton MagicBlade™FX (16 total) and an Ayrton MagicBurst™ graphic strobe unit. Eighteen more MagicBlade™FX finished off the look as downstage groundrow fixtures.
Tyler, the Creator’s Lighting Rig
Tyler, the Creator’s headline rig featured Ayrton NandoBeam™S9 fixtures on the front truss, NandoBeam™S6 units in main midstage truss, and NandoBeam™S3 fixtures at stage level to uplight the trees in saturated color. The rig also made use of the MagicBlade-FX ground row from Staples’ set.
Ayrton’s DreamPanel™Twin is a unusual hybrid luminaire showing an optimized MagicPanel™ on one side and the DreamPanel™Shift on the other. The DreamPanel™Twin, which is capable of continuous double rotation on the pan and tilt axes, can alternate between displaying high-definition video images and 3D volumetric lighting effects.
The DreamPanel-Shift side has 4,096 RGB LEDs on a pitch black background that delivers extreme contrast for video rendering while the MagicPanel-R side features an enhanced resolution of 64 emitters (arranged in an 8×8 matrix) to produce volumetric mapping effects. The 6mm pitch of the video side provides the ideal balance between the definition needed to display video media on stage, the optimum screen size to enable full HD, and the highest overall system brightness.
Each of the DreamPanel™Twin’s of the two sides is controlled separately–the video side through Ayrton’s new HDMI DreamPanel™HD-Box control system, and the MagicPanel by Art-Net or sACN through an Ethernet link.
Ayrton’s MagicBlade™FX is a rotating baton fitted with seven of the distinctive squared output 65mm fixed frontal lenses found on MagicPanel™FX. The lenses offer a state-of-the-art short-stroke zoom with a 15:1 ratio for a wide zoom range from 3.5° to 52°. The MagicBlade™FX shares the same quality of color mixing and versatile effects as the Magic Panel FX including 3D volumetric projections, variation between the color-rich luminescent face or separated points of light. And both systems offer ultra-tight beam projection or wide angle wash from a unique zoom system with no visible moving parts.
For the opening act, Morpheus Lights constructed a modular infrastructure that enabled the complex rig to be set up downstage of the main act, and it could be set up in just 15-20 minutes. Mark Fetto, Morpheus’ Chief Operating Officer, explained, “The first step was to develop a floor base that would allow us to efficiently stand twenty 10′ sections of Tyler GT truss side-by-side in a way that would make the array of DreamPanel-Twins quick and easy to set up. Five DreamPanel-Twins won’t fit inside a 10′ section of GT truss so we top-mounted them on the truss. This meant that once the truss had been rolled onstage and flipped up onto its floor base, the GT wheel assemblies could remain attached to the truss. Casters on the custom floor bases and interlocks permitted the individual, five-fixture towers to be easily aligned to form the 100-fixture wall.”
Staples, who likes to be involved in the design process, requested that his performance rely on pure white lighting.
“Programming with one color did pose a challenge, but it forced a creativity for each song,” said Santangelo. “The design climbed an arc: it started minimally, with the video side of the wall and simple effects like bumps and chases. Things got more complex as the show went on and there was an entirely different look for each song. By the end of the set, everything was being used to its fullest potential; we had very specific programmed hits to sounds, and lighting and video were used at the same time, so you saw both.”
Santangelo points out one of his favorite moments was the introduction of Lift Me Up where the DreamPanel-Twin fixtures, appearing in an arc around Staples, and he also liked the combination of lighting and video during 745 when a giant star-field created by the individual DreamPanel-Twin ‘pixels’ surrounds Staples. Smyth indicated that during Alyssa Interlude the audience sees the DreamPanel-Twins move in real time. “It’s a very special and unusual moment for an audience to see a ‘video wall’ move,” he says. “It was one of the best mapped out moments of the show.”
Santangelo explained further, “The DreamPanel-Twin was new to me. Our tour manager, Danny Wasby suggested them to Corey. I’ll admit that initially, I thought they would just be another gimmicky type of fixture but then when I started to explore what they could do, I realized their potential. Having the ability to control all the pixels individually allowed us to be a lot more diverse and more creative. I like to choreograph the lighting to the music like a dance routine, and with the DreamPanel-Twins and the MagicBlade-FX we were able to pick up all the fine details of Vince’s music and translate them from sonic to visual form.
We were able to do lots of different angles and swipes and different hits, using different parts of the rig to make the show. Being able to use the video side of the DreamPanel-Twin and then flip it around and have a whole different world, has been really cool. The continuous spin is great. With DreamPanel-Twin, there are no limits; if you imagine it and figure out how to do it on the console, they will make it happen for you.”
Both Santangelo and Smyth admit to being converted to Ayrton DreamPanel-Twins. Santangelo comments, “These fixtures are a great tool if you take the time to explore their possibilities; we imagined it and they delivered.”
Smyth adds, “I love the DreamPanel-Twins. I want more of them. I would like at least 300 more DreamPanel-Twins to use exclusively for the next two years.”
“It is unusual for an opening act to have 120 lights and make equal impact as the main act,” said Fetto, “and for a rig of that size and complexity to have to come off before the main act. The guys did a great job of creating a look of intensity and closeness for Staples’ act compared to the scenic fantasy of the main act. We all enjoyed a great collaboration to make all this happen as efficiently as possible – both artistically and logistically – and Morpheus is very proud to be able to provide the solutions, the crew and the whole package for the tour.”