The Activity turns to Elation for live and camera lighting on Made In America Festival
Patrick Dierson and The Activity have been involved in the Made In America Festival in Philadelphia since 2014 and this year turned to ElationProfessional Proteus™, Protron™ and Smarty™ luminaires as key elements of a lighting package supplied by 4Wall.
“Our goal is always to provide as many of the various lighting tools that guest LDs expect to find at modern festivals so that we can ensure that the cloning of their existing shows are as seamless as possible,” commented Patrick Dierson of The Activity. “We also have to take into account the proper design placement of all of the elements so that the design has various layers and fills the overall visual space, not just for the attendees but also for the live stream’s camera shots.”
The Activity provided the overall production design, lighting directors for all stages, project manager, art director, and technical management of all guest LDs and VJs and their camps. 4Wall supplied all lighting, video, truss, and rigging for all of the Made In America stages, as well as various levels of media and lighting support for back of house elements such as dressing room trailers, etc.
Rocky Stage – Proteus Hybrid, Protron Eclypse
For the Rocky Stage, Dierson sought an IP65‐rated beam unit that could overcome two major challenges. “Firstly, it needed to be IP65 because the units were absolutely going to be exposed to the elements. Secondly, whatever we chose needed some serious punch because a majority of the units would be competing with the large LED portrait screens directly behind them and we didn’t want to see those light beams get lost. Proteus Hybrids were the perfect choice in the end.”
The Rocky Stage included 14 Proteus Hybrid™ moving heads and 50 Protron Eclypse™ hybrid LED eﬀect lights.
The Proton Eclypse units served as a “great workhorse,” said Dierson, who had the fixtures doing double duty. To oﬀer a variety of instrument types, the Eclypses alternated between all of the Proteus Hybrids along the downstage edge while a complement was used for broadcast audience lighting.
“When it comes to lighting an audience for broadcast,” Dierson states, “we do everything in our power to use units that can follow along with the color tones and energy of what the main stage lighting is doing so that it extends the overall experience out into the crowd whether that be simple color changes or full chases and strobing. With that in mind, we utilized six Protron Eclypses on the downstage truss to give a ringside wash and then another twenty units mounted to the tops of our follow spot towers that would provide a beautifully even wash out toward the rest of the 40,000 person audience. The Protron's output was exceptionally suited for this task as it was a large area to cover and, in the end, we had perfectly even coverage.” The RGBW blinder, strobe, wash luminaire powers out over 27,000+ total lumens.
Dierson says that the Protrons saved them in many instances as several guest LDs insisted on having very dark stage looks that were simply unreadable on camera. “One artist did an entire song in complete and total blackout and that simply doesn’t make for great television unless the people at home have really great speakers,” he quips.
“The ability to override the audience lighting to give the cameras ANYTHING to shoot at moments like that become quite critical and the Protron’s even field really helped save us on a number of instances.”
Liberty Stage – Smarty MAX
For the Liberty Stage, The Activity specified 40 Elation Smarty MAX™ hybrid moving heads to handle the task of beam fixture for the entire rig. The 21,000‐lumen Smarty MAX units were spread across three overhead truss arches that were trimmed to descending heights from downstage to upstage. Each truss contained 10 Smarty MAX units as well as various other instruments. The Smarty MAX has become one of The Activity’s staple beam fixtures, says Dierson. “It’s just so feature‐packed and has incredible output. One of my personal favorite things about it is its massive 160mm front lens. That just lets a ton of light out of its optical train and ultimately allows you to see the point source of the instrument much more prominently.”
All of the Elation gear held up exceptionally well, as Dierson says was expected. “These rigs get trucked in and loaded up very quickly,” he states. “The 4Wall crew had the Rocky Stage up and running within six hours which was well ahead of what we had scheduled. A large part of that procedure is often troubleshooting fixture issues that are usually caused in transit. The fact that the gear could be unloaded from trucks and deployed in working order so rapidly is a testament to Elation’s manufacturing quality.”
The Made In America Festival is a celebration of the close of summer and Dierson says it remains one of their favorite projects each year. “The producing team at Diversified Production Services puts together an amazing group of people that have all been involved in one way or another for as long if not longer than we have. Everyone is such a pleasure to work with on this production,” he concludes.