Chromatik underscores Fous Chantants d’Alès with Group S CHAUVET units

CHAUVET Professional Color STRIKE M and Rogue Outcast 1 BeamWash fixtures supplied by S Group illuminate Chantants d’Alès concert. Photo: CHAUVET

The art of lighting design lies not only in how it heightens an audience’s visual experience, but also, in what it shields an audience from seeing. Guillaume Fournier and Victor Lagiewski from Chromatik mastered both ends of this artistic spectrum recently at the Fous Chantants d’Alès concert, featuring Pascal Obispo.

A 1,000-member choir joined the superstar singer/songwriter on a 50m open stage for his performance. To preserve the dramatic impact of their arrival, they had to step on to the stage unseen by the audience in the Arènes du Tempéras arena. This was not a simple endeavour, given that the venue’s big stage has no curtain.

Nevertheless, Fournier and Lagiewski, along with AD Fabrice Schwingrouber, were able to cloak the choir’s entrance in secrecy by expertly practicing the art of concealment. During the seven or so minutes that it took every choir member to get into place on stage, the audience’s attention was diverted by two musicians dressed in Daft Punk outfits who performed electro hits with hints of Pacal Obispo’s sound from the top of the bleachers, behind the singers.

While these musicians provided the show, Fournier and Lagiewski hid the rest of the stage, where the choir was assembling in the bleachers, by backlighting the duo’s performance with intense light from their CHAUVET Professional Color STRIKE M and Rogue Outcast 1 BeamWash fixtures supplied by S Group.

Once this wall of bright light was removed, the audience was delighted to see the “sudden” appearance, as if by magic, of the thousand-person choir on stage. The full impact of this memorable moment was made possible through the deft use of concealment. Then, as the concert progressed, a more revealing art of lighting quickly came into play to enchant the crowd.

Fournier and Lagiewski from Chromatik have been lighting Fous Chantants d’Alès since 2017 with S Group, their design is always prepared in the studio. This year, the team decided to add a seven minute timecode sequence to boost the intensity level for the first moments of the show. They relied on 160 projectors, all but a few of them IP65 rated, since the concert was outdoors.

Relying on the colour rendering prowess of their rig, they created a warm, intimate feeling at the concert by covering the big arena in inviting monochromatic palettes. They also used distinctive light angles to accentuate different performers during various segments of the concert.

Aiding them in this undertaking were the Color STRIKE M motorised strobe/washes. Most of these fixtures were installed on top of towers elevated behind the stage, while five others were set near the choir. “The tilt of the Color STRIKE M turned out to be very practical: you could either be in blinder mode on the audience, or light up the choir from the same position,” said Fournier. “This fixture was heavily involved in lighting the singers on stage. In ramp mode, only five were enough to cover the whole choir, even in a place as spacious as these arenas, thanks to their large opening: an ideal configuration to occupy such a vast volume.”

Adding a further level of immersion to the show, the designers sometimes conjured up various colourful patterns on the stage deck with the Rogue Outcast 1 BeamWash. The RGBW moving fixture with a wide 3.9ﹾ to 55.3ﹾ zoom was also used to create dramatic downlight effects on the musicians as well as an attractive backlighting effect.

This combination of effects left those in the audience impressed with the panorama they had seen during the concert, including the notable reveal of the choir at its start. However, it’s doubtful that many talked about what they hadn’t seen that night – the assembling of the choir on stage… such is the nature of the quiet and discrete, but profoundly powerful, art of concealment.