Talking with lighting control operator Adam Power before the Manchester show of Bring Me the Horizon’s recent tour, their biggest to date, he described the show lighting as ‘intense’. With over 180 lighting fixtures hung on numerous trusses and built into a technology laden set, Adam’s description of Okulus duo James Scott and Louis Oliver’s design was an accurate one.
Adam added: “James and Louis created a wide vista which used the full width of the arenas, we even put five lights each side of the stage in unallocated seating to stretch the design even wider. The band were passionate about having an intense show with lots of strobing and really big looks, James and Louis did a great job of keeping it classy and refined with so much going on.”
James Scott explained the process of designing the production and why he and Louis selected the lighting fixtures used on the tour: “The initial brief given to us by the band was that they wanted a big rock show, something that made a huge statement and filled as much of the arena space as possible. One word which kept being thrown around was panoramic—we designed a narrow, ultra-widescreen format LED wall, but were careful to make sure it could fit into the different size venues BMTH were playing (sometimes with just millimetres to spare), being able to fold the screen in on itself was where the design for a wrap-around LED wall originated from. Although the playback surfaces were designed by myself and Louis, we worked with many different visual creatives to assemble the video content.”
The band’s music is high-octane and demanding, there was barely a moment of calm or respite for the audience to compose themselves as the Sheffield based metal act rattled through their explosive set list to the delight of the Manchester crowd. Adam said: “Because there is so much going on, all the lighting cues have been pre-programmed and run off of timecode on a track by track basis. Most songs have at least a dozen cues in them, which would be virtually impossible to do manually. I trigger the timecode at the start of every song, but have a couple of key lights I operate manually to follow members of the band around. The band had a huge amount of input as to how the show looks, they knew exactly what they wanted to see, and what they didn’t—as such, I’d often be tweaking certain elements of the show lighting between gigs.” Adam operated the show from a GrandMA 2console, which he loves: “The MA2 is perfect because it’s so intuitive, easy to operate and quick to program. Having additional screens was really useful when programming to timecode. The show ran on fifteen universes of DMX, controlling the video content and lasers from the MA2.”
Louis went on to explain how they achieved the brief: “Following on from the initial conversation, the band had several ideas and concepts which we took away and worked with, before presenting them with our interpretation and awaiting their feedback. Towards the final stages of pre-production, the guys really sunk their teeth into the ins and outs of everything—production rehearsals were very intense, with lots of changes, updates and additions, but we got there in the end.”
The lighting rig consisted of: Clay Paky Sharpy wash and Mythos moving lights; as well as Martin Mac Viper profile and performance intelligent lighting fixtures. James and Louis also included an array of Ayrton Magic dot LED lights and a large number of Martin Atomic 3000 LED strobes. James added: “Everyone loves the Atomic 3000, by selecting the LED version we got the best of both worlds and were able to choose between the LED and xenon operating modes; treating it as a traditional decay atomic or as a sharp and precise LED unit.”
Account Director, Yvonne Donnelly Smith leads the lighting division of PRG XL Video’s music team in the UK: “Working with James, Louis and Adam is always a pleasant experience. The Okulus boys are really creative designers with an excellent technical knowledge, and know exactly how to achieve what they want. Adam’s a highly skilled operator with an excellent work ethic.”
Photography by PRG XL Video/Matt Rakowski and Giles Smith