Ayrton MagicPanel 602 in the Frame for Shania Twain

Ayrton’s MagicPanel 602 fixture - Shania Twain: Shania Now, Todd Kaplan

Shania Twain has been back on the road for her long-awaited, Shania Now tour, which has visited North America and Europe throughout summer and Autumn of 2018. The singer-songwriter’s tour included an ever-changing stage show with constant movement provided by Ayrton’s MagicPanel 602 fixtures.

Creative Director and Lighting Designer Rob Sinclair, and Lighting Director Michael Straun were very specific in what they needed to achieve the stunning visuals for this show which are based around five large, automated LED video cubes with dancer platforms placed on top. Sinclair stated that: “Shania wanted a fast-paced show where the appearance of the stage and people constantly changed, with the band, the video cubes and the dancers in constant motion. We needed to find some square-faced lights to complement the square video cubes, and the MagicPanels were the answer.”

In total, Sinclair used 100 Ayrton MagicPanel 602 fixtures, setting them into five overhead pods each with 20 units arranged in a 5 x 4 configuration. The pods fit perfectly with the LED cubes, hanging behind and above each of them on automated winches. The video cubes variously carry singers, dancers, the drummer and other band members and were deployed at different heights throughout the show to add to the overall spectacle. The MagicPanel pods also moved up and down and were angled into different formations so no two songs have the same arrangement of cubes and pods throughout the show.

The Ayrton MagicPanel 602’s square face with its matrix of 36 LED emitters in a 6×6 layout is in perfect keeping with the sharp lines of the LED video cubes and gave Sinclair options to work with. The LED emitters Ayrton MagicPanel 602 were put through their paces, being used to full effect for both colourful backdrop lighting, where they show off their brilliant depth and intensity of colour, and full-on bright illumination.

Straun said: “We were able to use the pods as ‘big lights’ for dramatic illumination from above, adding to the scale and spectacle of the stage design. While the Ayrton fixtures gave us the square design we required, we also made full use of their independently programmable pixels.  By using the MagicPanels in full pixel mode, we had the scope to use all the features of the fixture. We used individual ‘pixels’ to create shapes such as individually outlined squares on the face of the fixture, or larger squares that emulate the windows in one video moment, or circles and other shapes, colour runs and sparkle effects. The arrangement of the pods added a strong linear structure to the architecture of the stage.”

When asked how the fixtures toured, Straun confirmed they made set up and break down a much faster process. “The pods have the MagicPanels built into them. So, for freighting, they landed on carts, split in half and rolled into the truck. This meant we were getting a lot of lights in the rig very efficiently and quickly and as long as they remain mounted straight, they were good at keeping their focus, so I didn’t have to update any of their positions day to day.”

The tour started in May 2018 and runs until December 2018 throughout Europe, the Americas and Oceania. Sinclair and Straun are joined on the Shania Now tour by Production Manager Joel Eriksson, Lighting Programmer Andre Petrus and Crew Chief Mike Hosp. All the Ayrton MagicPanel 602 fixtures that were supplied for the US leg of the tour by lead lighting supplier Upstaging Inc.