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Glastonbury Festival has been the hot topic this month, we supplied an array of equipment along with crew to set up the lighting and rigging on The Pyramid Stage and The Other Stage.

Artists such as Sir Paul McCartney, Kendrick Lamar, Billie Eilish, Lorde, Megan Thee Stallion, Pet Shop Boys and Elbow performed, illuminated by our lighting.

We would like to recognise the hard work the crew put in to create such spectacular performances. Project Manager Gavin Maze attended the festival and captured the very essence of peace, love and rock and roll in his photographs.

We are fast approaching this year’s Kartfest, the annual karting day in aid of Backup Tech, The Technical Entertainment Charity.

 

Meet our karting team, Neg Earth, Wind and Fire. A team with grit and determination that plan to put us at the top of the leader board on 7th July.

 

Photo left to right: Fadil Abanur Rigging Technician, Zin Vaitiekunas Warehouse Operative, Josie Richardson HR Advisor, Ciaran Markey Senior Consoles Technician, Abi Roberts Digital Marketing Executive, Jake Williams IT Manager.

 

Join us in cheering for Neg Earth, Wind and Fire!

 

We feel privileged to raise money for such a fabulous charity that supports our industry. Find out more about Kartfest: Kartfest 2022 — Backup (backuptech.uk)

 

Let’s race.

Europe – Like many a band, Scottish rock superstars Biffy Clyro have just embarked on a busy summer of festival appearances with a headline slot at Download.

“The only way to spend the Summer,” said creative lead Richard Larkum, “And so it is, but a lumpy restart to all things touring has seen us need to devise four different scales of shows depending on where we are playing. We also have a leg in Germany coming up in August that demands another big system and I will revise yet again. It’s a constant thought process in that August is already in the back of my mind.”

A bonus for trucking companies as the four to five systems leapfrog their way around Europe, but for main suppliers Neg Earth Lights and Video Design it is quite a challenge. Production manager Jerry Hough described it succinctly while backstage at Download, “Every supplier is having a tough time at the moment with availability and finding crew. Fortunately, we have long term relations with both companies and that has been reflected in the excellent way we are being supported now. They have really stepped up to the mark. Talk to Alex at Video Design and you’d think this was a normal summer; that’s very reassuring on a festival schedule as complex as this.”

Larkum, meanwhile, has that ability to make it all sound easy. “Download was all LED based, lots of hi-def screen surfaces everywhere: a big upstage screen, on curved riser fronts and a number of hanging LED rectangles I refer to as the Tetris pieces. Lighting is also LED: Ayrton Khamsins, Robe Spiiders and GLP JDCs. As we left Download a slightly scaled down Scandinavian rig was already on the ferry to Norway while we flew out to Prague for our next show with rig version three. The start has been very successful, the prep of equipment from Neg and Video Design has been faultless. My lighting team led by crew chief Alex Peters have been fantastic. The band are really happy, the punters are loving it, and I’m really glad I’m back doing what I love.”

The show is based around the band’s two most recent albums, ‘Celebration’ and ‘Myth’. “The visual artwork of the covers has determined the look,” confirmed Larkum. “Based on Misty Buckley’s original design outlined before Covid interrupted our flow, what we have now all springs from those two sources. A high point of the shows is when James (the bass player) grabs a camera and feeds headshots to our video director Oscar Sansom. Video Design have added a paint strip effect via Notch onto our d3 (Disguise) server which I trigger from my Hog 4 console. It’s something that stems from the band’s own Instagram filter. The Notch effect does the same thing there, a blue strip across the eyes of the headshot for Celebration, a red strip for Myths. Lots of the fans in the audience recognise it immediately but it’s such a great effect the response is always huge.”

Despite the differences in system designs the show is as cohesive as it can be, the punters get an authentic, distinctive Biffy show. Interestingly, the changes in video disposition have seen Larkum adopt an asymmetric approach to lighting for the big system. “I’ve had to revise my thinking about focusing, it’s a different thought process than a symmetrical rig, but it makes a great impression, a world away from the more traditional all symmetric look of the older rock bands. Either way, the band always feels comfortable and familiar with whatever presentation package we build around them.”

Article Credit: et now

Photo Credit: Joe Guppy 

 

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160 PIXEL LINE IP fixtures have arrived at our HQ.

Acme’s PIXEL LINE IP STROBE 3 IP revolutionises mapping strip technology boasting Smart Glass Technology (PATENTED), with a simple switch turn the front glass from frosted to transparent depending on your desired result.

Avoid empty black holes with 672 RGB LEDS and a hidden 112 x 3W Cold White strobe tube within an all-weather enclosing making this the perfect fixture for any outdoor live event.

A big thank you to Acme for the fantastic service and swift delivery.

PIXEL LINE IP’s are now available for rental and dry hire.

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UK-based designer Daniel Richardson, working for innovative international creative practice Sinclair Wilkinson (Rob Sinclair & Andrew Wilkinson) … took the role of production designer for Craig David’s recent acclaimed “Hold That Thought 22” UK tour. The scope of his work included a full stage, scenic, lighting and video design, plus content direction for the star’s acclaimed tour that was rescheduled from 2020.

Daniel’s spec included Robe moving lights – BMFL Spots, BMFL Blades and a four-way RoboSpot remote follow system – which were supplied by lighting vendor Neg Earth Lights. Matt Arthur went out on the tour as lighting director and operator.

Craig David himself was very much involved in the show creation, explained Daniel. He shared his initial ideas with Rob Sinclair and Daniel back in 2019, who refined these into workable touring options from which a concept was chosen and developed.

Plans were then halted due to the pandemic and in this time the artist produced a wealth of new music!

During a production meeting in February of this year to get the tour re-started, “Craig indicated that he wanted to involve scenic elements in the show and loved the idea of having some real foliage on stage,” explained Daniel.

Taking the new 22 album artwork as inspiration, he and the team reimagined and reworked the stage design to capture the essence of all these fresh aspects. In the album, Craig is a journeyman, travelling under the moon and stars through different lands, his previous homes in Miami to his present one in London.

With this in mind, a ‘real’ moon on a Kinesys hoist system was added, together with the cool LED ‘neon’ 22 signs plus some real palm trees and other foliage.

A strong narrative arc underpinned the whole show which started at night-time with David under a moonlit sky, complete with the 4-metre diameter scenic moon and twinkling stars. The timeline moved through sunrise, daytime, and dusk and back to the night, moving through three distinctive sections.

The set kicked off with David and the band onstage, morphing into a special TS5 DJ set – a project started in 2012 when hosting parties for friends in his Miami apartment – for which two centre stage screens flew in to cover the backline. The band returned for the final songs of the set.

The final song “Seven Days” concluded in front of another moon nightscape with twinkling stars and flickering neon ‘22’ signs.

The various snapshots in time were all accompanied by scenic and other content on a large upstage LED screen that helped depict different environments, including highways, the neon buzz and hustle of Miami, London and other city skylines, waterfronts, nightscapes, and sunrise etc.

Fundamental to creating the right overall show setting were some real palm trees and other foliage, plus some scenic sand dunes made by Hangman were included in the set elements which looked spectacular. Daniel also commissioned the video content from Really Creative Media (RCM), and all this scenic and digital intricacy and detail needed very careful lighting.

He chose BMFL Spots and Blades for the hard-edged fixtures – adding 35 x BMFL Spots and 16 x BMFL Blades to the plot – because he needed a powerful, multifunctional, and reliable fixture. “They were in action constantly throughout the show and are a solid workhorse,” he commented.

Two wing trusses each side of stage were each rigged with five BMFL Spots, and these 20 x BMFLs were primary lightsources for the TS5 section, pumping vibrance, energy, infectious dance beats and the atmos of heady summer nights out into the arena, also helping to expand the area around David’s DJ booth and ensuring there were no dark spots.

They were joined by a row of 15 x BMFL Spots on the floor at the back shooting powerful beams forward, all of them creating massive high impact looks to invigorate the stage and connect with the multi-generational audiences who enthusiastically rocked up, proving that Craig David is still every bit the master showman and entertainer after 20 years at the top of his game!

Daniel remarks that these upstage BMFLs worked brilliantly for the transition looks between show sections when pointing forward with spinning gobos creating light curtain effects. Together, these 35 fixtures were an essential part of the show lighting aesthetic.

The BMFLs on the wing trusses also provided back and side lighting on the palm trees and even at the lower levels, they emphasised their three dimensionality and helped them pop out, adding plenty of depth to the performance space.

Adding in gobos to the BMFLs also helped light and through-light the palms very effectively.

The 16 x BMFL Blades were all on the front truss as “they are a great key and front light and we needed intensity (of light) from these positions.” Daniel notes the usefulness of the shutters in accurately highlighting the palm trees and other foliage, and he thinks they make excellent follow spots.

Four of the front BMFL Blades were on the four RoboSpot systems, two dedicated to following Craig David closely, with the other two on standby for solos and other specials including band positions and the palm trees.

Originally, they envisioned two RoboSpot systems, but soon discovered more were necessary to cover the band who are extremely active, constantly running around and covering a lot of the stage area, so two more RoboSpots, cameras and BaseStations were added. The operators were all located backstage, and Daniel describes the system as “very convenient and stable.”

In addition to these luminaires, also on the rig were quantities of wash moving lights, pixel fixtures and strobes.

The main challenges for lighting the show were following the storyline and keeping each different part interesting and exciting, all the time establishing how to push the energy of the lighting without it becoming overwhelming.

Vitals included ensuring that the colours followed the storyline, but also keeping it fun with plenty of surprises. Lighting the greenery was also important to making it a seamless part of the setting, and other attention to detail like adding a palm tree vignette to the main screen for certain moments kept the treatment smooth and slick.

Lighting was programmed onto a grandMA2 console by Daniel over 10 days starting in his own studio in London ahead of production rehearsals in Nottingham Arena, two days before the first show in the same venue.

It was a galvanising show for Matt Arthur to run, with some of it tightly cued and other parts like the TS5 section where lighting was more improvised, so the design and the programming had to be flexible enough to deal with this. All the video playback content cues were also triggered from the GM2 via a disguise media server.

IMAG camera feeds were sent to the left-and-right side screens, directed by Jamie Cowlin, and keeping everything co-ordinated and running smoothly on the road was production manager Joel Stanley.

Daniel loved the collaborative nature of creating this design – from the artist to Rob Sinclair’s input plus that of other technical departments on the tour – as well as being able to craft the whole visual design covering all disciplines to present a coherent bigger picture.

The Hold That Thought 22 tour was a huge success and in terms of production, also a moment in time.

 

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Date of issue: 17th June 2022.

Artcile Credit: Robe

Photo Credit: Daniel Richardson 

We have recently received 100 Color STRIKE Ms from Chauvet Professional Lighting.

Color STRIKE M can be described as a motorised strobe/wash with two ultra-bright, white light tube elements surrounded by a colour-mixing and pixel-mappable face with two omega bracket attachments for flexible mounting.

This new-to-our-inventory product is IP65 rated, come rain, or shine the resistant casing protects the fixture from weather conditions making it a perfect candidate for festival season.

A big thank you to Chauvet Professional Lighting for the seamless order and delivery.

Chauvet Color STRIKE Ms are now available for rental and dry hire.

World renowned American rock band, The War on Drugs, have spent the first 4 months of 2022 touring the UK and Europe showcasing their newly released album, I DON’T LIVE HERE ANYMORE.

 

Production manager Jimmy Russo and Lighting Designer Ben Silverstein, who have both been working with The War on Drugs for several years, enlisted the help of Neg Earth Lights to supply the tour with lighting, rigging, and network and control equipment.

Ben explains, ‘One of the challenges was to design something that would be scalable from 1,000 to 2,000 capacity venues all the way up to the O2 arena’s 20,000 capacity. We constantly needed to go from ‘A-rig,’ to B-rig,’ to Z-rig,’ and back with a system that would be compatible for each. Dave Ridgway and Gavin Maze understood those challenges and really did some backflips to make it happen for us.’

 

Neg Earth Lights’ Project Manager, Gavin Maze, was the key contact for Jimmy and Ben. Gavin took Ben from vision to reality with our fantastic CAD team providing lighting plots, rigging plots and custom fabrication solutions and welcomed The War on Drugs crew to Neg Earth’s HQ in London for rehearsals in the LH3 Studio, where they could see the rig and lighting fully set up.

 

‘This project was a perfect example of what Neg do best, all departments working together to make sure Ben got the show he wanted. Having them in our LH3 studio space with our workshops and warehouse team in the same building meant that any tweaks that needed to be made could be done speedily without holding up programming,’ states Gavin.

 

Ben continues, ‘A huge advantage for us too was using the LH3 production space at Neg Earth to get the whole rig set-up and prepared for all of the various venues we would be performing at whilst on tour. We had all our backline, audio gear and crew at LH3 studio to do a full set up prior to the tour. It was a perfect facility for the team to work and sort out how the production needed to come together.’

 

The lighting rig featured Ayrton Khamsin-S and Robe Robin Spikie LED WashBeam controlled by a full size GrandMA3 Console and network infrastructure. The simplistic, yet effective staging and lighting layout gave the illusion that the band members were playing in an illuminated cube, the theme and colour changing with each number The War on Drugs played.

 

Ben highlights how this set up was far from usual, ‘The use of LH3 pre-production was crucial because the design has a full rectangle on the floor and in the air of X4-Bar20s which totally cuts off any stage access. The only way to enter and exit the stage was to step over the lights and the only cable access was through the little gaps in corners. Obviously creating something that has no stage access is not a normal thing to do, but the band and crew was fully supportive and were fine with stepping over lights to access the stage.’

 

Gavin also assembled a highly skilled team of freelance crew to support The War on Drugs Tour.

Ben gave a special mention to this, ‘Neg Earth provided us with the most incredible crew who made it happen every day. Mr. Keith, Craig, T.O, and our tour rigger Nippy just did an incredible job everyday without fail. On ‘B-rig’ or ‘Z-rig’ days they were always finding solutions to get the most bang for our buck at each venue.’

 

Gavin concludes, ‘it was a pleasure to work with Jimmy and Ben once again. Their productions get more ambitious each time they come over and it’s great fun collaborating with them to achieve their vision.’

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Article credit: Neg Earth Lights.

Photo Credit: Jessie Kamp (Netherlands) and Neg Earth Lights (London O2).

Tour Manager: Craig McQuiston

Production Manager: Jimmy Russo

Lighting / Production Design: Ben Silverstein & John Frattalone

Crew Chief: Mr. Keith Johnson

LX Crew: Craig Ralph, T.O. Robertson

Tour Rigger: Steven “Nippy” Williams

FOH: Matthew Walsh

Monitors: Ricardo Garcia

Audio Tech: Rob Greene

Backline: Dominic East, Josh Goldsmith, Eddie Chappa

Tour Coordinator: Lori Delancey

Merch: Swax

We are excited to announce that we took delivery of 55 out of 115 Ayrton COBRAs this week.

The all-new COBRA pushes all the limits boasting an infinite pan and tilt, 92 gobos’, and an impressive laser source. Planning an event outside? This fixture can do everything inside and out with the luminaire’s simplified waterproofing EasyProtect-65™.

A big thank you to AYRTON and Ambersphere for the seamless delivery.

Ayrton COBRAs are now available for rentals and dry hire. 

 

The legendary band Genesis has reunited for “The Last Domino?” world tour, their first since 2007.

Long-time Creative Director for the band, Patrick Woodroffe, worked with Roland Greil to design the set and lighting for the tour. Genesis core members Phil Collins, Mike Rutherford and Tony Banks kicked off the COVID-delayed tour last September in Birmingham, England then played a US leg in November and December. The open-ended tour continues in March with dates booked in Germany, France, the Netherlands and England.

The lighting design calls for 148 versatile Claypaky Scenius Unico spot, wash and beam lights for the show, which were supplied by Neg Earth Lights.

“As Genesis has a rich history of pushing the envelope in terms of show design, it was important to keep that momentum going for their return to the stage,” says Roland Greil. “For Patrick and myself it was key to create a very versatile and theatrical design, which allows for all kind of different looks. Therefore we designed a stage that can change its look and overall feel for each and every song giving them all a suitable look and feel.

“Over the stage we built five pods, which are fully automated to change the scenery,” he explains. “Each of them holds 16 Claypaky Scenius Unicos and a linear array of LED Neon Flex. Together with Jeremy Lloyd, who did the show’s technical integration and design for Wonderworks, we have designed 2mm high-resolution LED wall panels upstage as a backdrop, which track horizontally and can spin to reveal lights on the back of the walls.

“A decently-sized floor package helps to support the overall look from the floor or create imagery with the emphasis on strong floor lighting and silhouettes,” Greil adds. “The whole lighting system extends into the audience to create an immersive experience for the fans and include the auditorium in the overall look.”

Greil and Woodroffe have found Scenius Unico to be “a proven workhorse” fixture for their shows in the past. “It’s versatile and has a lovely big front lens, which works perfectly for an arena rig,” says Greil. The majority of the Scenius Unico fixtures for Genesis are integrated into the five fully-automated pods over the stage with additional units mounted on two audience trusses and an advance truss.

Greil also acts as the Lighting Director for the tour. Marc Brunkhardt is the Lighting Programmer and Joshua Key the Video ProgrammerSam Pattinson and Giles Maunsell of Treatment Studio did the content design and production.

Article Credit: Clay Paky 

Photo Credit: Manfred H. Vogel 

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