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HSL is main lighting and video contractor for current Depeche Mode tour
Blackburn lighting rental specialist HSL is the main lighting and video contractor worldwide for Depeche Mode’s ‘Spirit’ tour. They are partnering with CT to deliver the video package. The production design is by creative director Anton Corbijn, who has always pioneered video as an essential vehicle of live production. Lighting has been designed by Sooner Routhier and Robert Long of SRae Productions and is being directed on the road by their associate LD, Manny Conde.
The ‘Spirit’ tour is being production managed by Tony Gittins and plays a mix of stadiums and arenas. HSL’s project manager Jordan Hanson is working closely with CT’s music and touring specialist, Graham Miller and the HSL crew of five is being chiefed on the road by Ian Stevens. They will be travelling internationally, together with the full lighting rig.
The stage has an upstage walkway with the front clad in LED screen and a long runway on stage left extending into the audience with a shorter one on stage right. The large upstage video wall is a 15.6 metre wide by 6.6 metre high 7 mm pitch rectangle which meets the lower strip - along the front of the walkway measuring 15.5 m wide by 1.8 m high, also 7 mm in pitch - which looks like one continuous surface from the front. These two onstage screens are packaged in CT’s touring frames.
The IMAG screens are constructed from 8 mm pitch Aoto M8E product from CT. The stage right one is in a landscape orientation and the stage left one is portrait and these asymmetrical elements, together with Corbijn’s request for a stark, edgy feel to the lighting led to Routhier’s proposal of the asymmetric lighting rig.
The workhorse lighting fixtures are VariLite VL6000 Beams, which were purchased by HSL for the tour and work in conjunction with Robe BMFL Spots as the main profile fixtures. These are distributed on three or four (for the stadium shows) upstage/downstage orientated trusses on stage right and three (or four) onstage/offstage trusses on stage left, together with two flown vertical side torms either side of stage.
GLP X4 LED washes in the overhead trusses provide back and rear effects. Four of the BMFL Spots - two a side - are positioned on the deck for low-level cross lighting onto the band. There is also a row of VL6Ks behind the band and upstage of the backline, and Claypaky Sharbar moving multi-beam LED battens.
Forty-eight Philips Nitro 510C LED strobes are rigged on the audience end of the stage right trusses and on the side torms, arranged to look like stadium house lights. They are used for additional wash lightsources and audience blinding as well as for standard strobing and zoned effects.
Routhier specified eight specials on Pantographs, which required custom fabrication. HSL sourced eight classic 10K fresnel housings, refurbished them and custom fitted each with two GLP X4S compact LED washes. For general stage and set washes, Elation SixPar 200s are used as truss warmers and for band lights and LED PARs on each of the pantographs highlight the scissor mechanism is lit as it extends downwards.
The stage left runway is outlined with Martin Sceptron LED battens, which together with the Sharbars, are mapped and fed video sources via a Green Hippo server triggered by Manny Conde’s GrandMA2 full size console. In front of the PA wings and below side IMAG screens each side are 8 x Robe MMX WashBeams installed in weather domes. Two Robert Juliat Lancelot follow-spots are also on the spec.
Anton Corbijn produced eight films which play out in the big screen in specific numbers, and other video pieces are composited from his animated artwork. The content is programmed and run via Green Hippo Taiga servers. The IMAG mix is directed by Richy Parkin, utilising a Panasonic 6000 PPU from CT together with five operated Sony HXC-100 cameras positioned at FOH, in the pit and hand-held onstage, plus three Q-Ball robocams dotted around the stage.
Brian Jenkins worked alongside Conde and Routhier as a programmer and associate designer. Joining Ian Stevens is Harrison Cooke who is co-ordinating the moving light technology day-to-day, Andrew Whitaker is on ‘dimmers’ and completing the team are are Jake Jevons, Neil “Braveheart” Smith and Ben Eastham. Mixing FOH sound is Antony King, Sarne Thorogood is the monitor engineer and Shawn Saucier is stage manager.
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