CHAUVET Professional Contributes to Patrick Dierson’s Transformative ‘Love Has No Limits’ Stage
May 25, 2023
Size matters, doesn’t it? Well, not necessarily, especially when you’re talking about the unlimited, perhaps even infinite, scope of collective imaginations. Proof of this was plain to see in the endlessly engaging lighting and AI looks that transfixed the crowd at Love Has No Limits – 1 Day Houston, which was actually a two-day event, that raised awareness and funds for community organizations in the Texas city.
The Activity’s Patrick Dierson, who led the talented creative team, initially planned on working with a much larger stage at The Toyota Center. Unfortunately, but ultimately fortunately, logistics got in the way, necessitating a change in his design strategy. “Ultimately, we were forced into having a smaller turntable, which led to a slightly tighter performance area,” said Dierson. “With things beginning to narrow, we started playing with the idea of going with a more elongated look for the project. So, we decided to base the overall design on a series of trusses that would be orientated upstage to downstage at an upward rake. This ended up giving us a much larger overall look.”
Working with this rig, Dierson and Lighting Director Justin Cheatham created a wide variety of looks for headliners Tim McGraw, Parker McCollum, Tobe Nwigwe, Tori Kelly and other stars, ranging for soft monochromatic washes, to intense crisscrossing patterns of bright white light. Contributing to the panorama were 32 COLORado PXL 16 motorized battens from CHAUVET Professional, which, like the rest of the fixtures, were supplied by Gemini Light Sound & Video.
The COLORado linear units were flown on alternating fingers. Drawing on the wide (5.7°-47.9°) zoom range, and 200ﹾ tilt of the pixel-mappable fixtures, the designers were able vary coverage areas throughout the show. While the linear battens were on one group of fingers, washes, spots, and other moving fixtures were positioned on the others.
“I’m not a fan of having linear LED, strobes, moving washes, moving spots, etc. all crammed onto the same trusses,” said Dierson. Much of that is done for efficiency, driven by productions where the budgets require us to eke out every dime in value. After a while, it becomes almost formulaic, and that starts to breed complacency in design.
“Here we had an opportunity to break that habit; and thus, we started looking for other options. Being a huge fan of negative space, I wanted to find a way to achieve that without wasting large swaths of airspace, especially since our performance area was compressed. This ultimately led us to take a slightly different approach to how fixtures were used. In this regard, we had our alternating trusses of wash lights and Chauvet PXL Bar 16s both being able to provide a proper even stage wash in the performance area as well as being able to provide aerial effects that were truly unique to each of those types of fixtures’ look.”
Harmonizing beautifully with this lighting rig, and creating next level immersion on the stage, was a multi-layered video wall that displayed a plethora of 3D images. Created with AI and Epic’s Unreal Engine, these images included geometric patterns, soft whimsical metaphors, photographs, and a host of other visualizations. Dierson credits media director Bob Bonniol and his team at MODE Studios for their work in adding this dimension to the production.
“Mode is always my first stop team for cutting edge technology,” said Dierson. “Bob Bonniol and I have worked together for a little over two decades now and it just gets better each time. For this we wanted to do something a little different. The base edict was that we would need to provide some rather generic content to have standing by for all artists who would not be providing their own. Understanding that that this could be achieved easily with Bob’s hard drives of tricks, the natural geek instinct in us was to see how we could kick things up a notch, and thus the ever-trendy buzzword ‘AI’ started getting thrown around our discussions.”
“It didn’t take us too long to end up shifting almost entirely to AI generated content for the project, all of which was done onsite at very rapid speed,” continued Dierson. “Regardless of the infancy of the technology as it pertains to consumer access, Bob has seemingly mastered how to navigate it and is already considered a power-user. Working with it has been a fantastic experience for us and, personally, I’m very much looking forward to how far we can leverage this digital alchemy to the advantage of productions around the globe.”