To mark the end of a difficult 2020 and the start of 2021, DJ, producer and remixer Nicky Romero stayed local and recorded a performance that was broadcast to fans around the world from his website to help them to celebrate the New Year at home. The lighting rig for the shoot comprised predominately ADJ fixtures, including Vizi Beam RXONE and Vizi CMY300 moving heads as well as Pixie Strip LED battens.
Romero’s NYE broadcast also featured guest DJs DØBER and Timmo Hendriks who performed a back-to-back set. The venue for the shoot was Downtown Veenendaal, a modern community meeting space housed in a 100+ year old former church building. The livestream was organised by Artist Division, Romero’s management company, and Ronald de Man, through his company RDM Productions, was responsible for managing the project. He brought in local rental company NT Sound to supply all of the lighting and audio equipment, which completely transformed the space to create a nightclub environment.
NT Sound is owned and managed by Jonathan Jansen, who started his career in the production industry in 2003, working as an event technician. He founded his own business in 2009, initially as a sideline alongside working full-time for an established production company. When the company he worked for closed he became a freelancer, working for some of the biggest production companies in The Netherlands, while slowly building up NT Sound.
Although it does very little advertising, the company has built up a solid client base, predominantly through word of mouth, and – despite the ‘sound’ in its name – has historically focused on lighting. Prior to COVID-19, the majority of the NT Sound’s customers were large techno and underground dance events, while Jansen hopes to expand more into the corporate and live music markets later in 2021 and into 2022. For the Nicky Romero NYE video shoot, Jansen served as lighting designer – supplying all of the fixtures from NT Sound’s rental inventory. Koen van Elderen, who has experience of touring with Nicky, was then responsible for programming and operating the rig.
To fill the space with beam effects, NT Sound provided 28 ADJ Vizi Beam RXONE fixtures. This hugely popular dedicated beam moving head offers immensely powerful output from an extremely compact, lightweight unit which is also very tough. Utilising an efficient Osram Sirius HRI 100W 1R discharge lamp, focused through precision-engineered optics into a tight 3° beam, it is popular with designers who want a moving light that can be deployed in significant quantities.
For the Nicky Romero New Year’s Eve shoot, Jansen’s team hung 12 of the fixtures from railings on a mezzanine balcony, six on each side, positioned at a 45° angle to allow the beams to sweep under the balcony and also up towards the roof. In addition, they set 16 of the fixtures directly on the floor of the venue, in two angled lines of eight, running from the back corners of the space towards the DJ booth at the front.
“The RXONE is an amazing fixture,” enthused Jansen. “It’s really small, it’s very powerful and it does exactly what it needs to do. It is simple but effective. It has all the features I need and doesn’t have any unnecessary ‘extras’. There is one nice prism, one nice frost filter and then a bunch of usable colours and GOBOs on very fast wheels. It also doesn’t break down, which is very important for me. For the events we do, I like to use 30-40 of the same fixture type on my rigs, and I want to know they are all going to work when we switch them on and keep working throughout the whole night. The RXONE is a very reliable fixture, which I know I can trust, and I can’t say the same about some of the fixtures from other manufacturers that I have used. It’s also a very consistent fixture. We bought our first eight in 2018 and have since bought many more – both new and second-hand – and there is no noticeable difference in output or reliability between the different batches.”
The other type of moving head fixture utilised within the lighting rig was ADJ’s Vizi CMY300. Featuring a specially designed 300W LED engine that offers massive output, it is a hybrid luminaire, with a zoom range from 8° to 46°, which can be used interchangeably as a beam, spot or wash. Its expansive feature set is headlined by CMY colour mixing, while other key beam-shaping tools include a separate colour wheel, two GOBO wheels (one fixed and one with replaceable and rotatable patterns), two prisms (3-facet circular and 6-facet linear), and a motorised iris.
For the Nicky Romero NYE shoot, four of the fixtures were positioned on the floor behind the DJ position, while four additional units were placed on the balcony – two on each side – to project GOBO patterns up into the venue’s vaulted ceiling space.
“I bought the Vizi CMY300s for the flexibility that full CMY colour mixing provides, and I certainly wouldn’t want to go back to fixed colours for spot or wash fixtures. It also offers extremely good value, when you compare it to fixtures with similar feature sets from other companies. I must also give kudos to ADJ for the GOBO selection, they are really cool. When I first got to use one, I was really excited; it has exactly what I need. I don’t need all those stars and other gimmicky GOBOs, I just want a nice circle, dots and good, useable break-up patterns. The zoom is also nice and fast; overall, the Vizi CMY300 is a really good fixture.”
With a relatively large space to work in, and no crowd to fill it, pixel-mapping was the obvious solution to ensure there were no blank spaces in wide video shots. The main floor of the venue was filled with four runs of Mega Tri Bar LED battens, which were arranged end-to-end to create continuous lines of LEDs that ran from the back of the venue right up to the front of the DJ booth. These were angled – to match the rows of RXONEs – so that all of the ground-level lighting drew viewers’ eyes towards the central DJ position.
To fill in the sides of the venue, Jansen made use of ADJ’s new Pixie Strip series of compact pixel-mappable linear LED fixtures. Six of the 1m Pixie Strip 60 units were mounted vertically, raised up from the ground, with the stands positioned between pairs of RXONEs. Also available in 2m [Pixie Strip 120] and 0.5m [Pixie Strip 30] models, these versatile fixtures feature tricolour RGB SMD LEDs with a 16.5mm pixel pitch, a thin profile, magnetic end caps which allow seamless end-to-end pixel spacing, and integrated adjustable mounting brackets.
“I’m pretty excited about the Pixie Strips!” Jansen exclaimed. “In fact, I’d been looking for a product like them for around two years before they were released but hadn’t found a solution that was both affordable and well built. A lot of my customers are asking for a pixel-mapped LED effect and when this Nicky Romero job came along that was one of the things we were asked for – so it was a perfect opportunity to invest in our first set of Pixie Strips.”
The team invested in 14 of the 1m strips. “When we get back to doing live events, I want to increase our stock to between 90 and 100 pieces; we’ll then be able to make some really cool set designs. We’ve used them on three or four shows so far, and everyone has been very impressed. The fact that they come with four different lens covers [white and black finish in both square and rounded profiles] is also a nice touch. We’ve not used them yet, but I’m excited to try the black caps so that they will be hidden and then suddenly appear when they light up. Obviously, I can’t comment on their durability yet, but based on my experience so far, I think the Pixie Strips are amazing fixtures: good price, good build quality, good effect – what more can you want?” he explained.
To complete the lighting rig, Jansen utilised 12 of ADJ’s powerful 32 HEX Panel IP LED wash fixtures to illuminate the ceiling and rear wall of the venue. Featuring 32 12W HEX (6-in-1 RGBWA+UV) LEDs, arranged in eight individually controlled sections, and offering a 24° beam angle, this versatile fixture is ideal for colour washing but can also be used as an audience blinder or colour strobe. It features a robust metal casing that is rated to the IP65 standard, meaning that it is protected from dust, sand, moisture and liquids, and therefore suitable for use on both indoor and outdoor events in any weather conditions. As with all ADJ fixtures, it offers a combination of solid performance and reliable build quality, at an affordable price, which is the reason that NT Sound’s rental stock is filled predominantly with ADJ products and why Jansen plans to continue investing in ADJ equipment.
“What I like about ADJ,” he reported, “is that they make really good products, nicely built for a good price, which means that I can actually make money renting them out. I can get cheaper products, but they break too easily, and there are more impressive fixtures on the market, but they cost so much that I will never recoup my investment through rental. ADJ products offer the perfect balance between affordability, performance and reliability. Finally, I think it’s important to say that, although I don’t need to use it often, ADJ’s service department is very good. On the few occasions when things have broken, they’ve been fixed very quickly – and affordably [for fixtures out of warranty].”
Combining richly-saturated colour washes, piercing aerial beams, crisp GOBO projections and engaging pixel-mapped effects, the lighting rig Jansen designed provided a varied and engaging backdrop to the musical performances from Nicky Romero and his guests. It allowed Koen van Elderen to create a wide variety of looks, which ensured the two-hour broadcast was visually, as well as audibly, stimulating from beginning to end.