GLP Lights Up James Arthur

Photo: Hywel N Williams / Chaz Callingham-Woods

Having previously been involved with putting together the lighting design for James Arthur’s club/theatre tour in early 2017, LD Michael Straun has moved up to lighting the larger arenas for the artist — again using GLP fixtures extensively in his toolkit. He was invited by Meggan McKenzie, creative director of production company, The Live Dept, after previously working with the company on shows with Tinie Tempah and Katy B.

Straun and McKenzie worked closely to evolve the concept. “She would send me ideas which I would adapt and add lighting elements. We wanted to move away from custom builds so we used different fixtures in different ways to create the stage set,” said Straun. “James was also involved throughout the entire creative process. The key was to make the show look big and impressive — and the wall of [GLP] JDC1’s did this.”

The JDC1 is GLP’s new low profile hybrid strobe. A traditional single tube element, created with LED’s to produce a white output, is combined with a surrounding full face of RGB power, utilising a large array of complementary LED sources. These 2 elements have independent control and can be used as separate or combined effects. It therefore not only functions as a powerful strobe light, but both the tube and full face sections can be run continuously for high output blinder and wash light effects. Some 80 heads were supplied by Christie Lites, along with GLP’s X4 Bar 20s.

Straun explained the reasons for sourcing gear through Christie Lites: “Since the design was heavily based around a back wall of strobes, I wanted units that would give us a bigger pallet than a static coloured strobe. Christie owns a vast quantity of the JDC1’s so were able to offer the number of units I wanted, within the production budget. Secondly, I was keen to work with Andy Strachan [Christie Lites account handler] on a new show. We have a good working relationship and he’s great at making sure all details are considered from beginning to end.”

The back wall was made up of all 80 GLP JDC1’s hanging from custom-made soft ladders. These were complemented by 38 GLP X4 Bar 20s, with 14 staggered across 3 flown trusses and the remainder on the floor.

“I used the tilt function to either backlight the stage or light the audience as well as hiding the source of the fixtures when they were not being used,” Straun continued. “You don’t always want to blind the crowd, so being able to focus the strobes slightly down was a nice addition to have.” In several songs he also bitmapped effects through the different zones on both the wash and strobe sections of the fixture.

James Arthur wanted this show to look ‘rocky’, so the Straun positioned the GLP X4 Bars in the rig with gaps between them. Explaining the rationale, he said: “It meant I could still wash the stage but also zoom them in tight to create ACL type effects. I staggered the fixtures between trusses so that when you faced them out to the crowd all the gaps were filled.”

Summarising the GLP JDC1, Straun concluded: “GLP have really developed something useful and exciting here. The back wall of JDC1’s was a major part of the look. Without a big video wall they were the key element of the stage design. With them being so versatile compared with other LED strobes on the market they improved the looks within the show tremendously.”