HSL Enjoys One Hell Of A Nite With Chris Brown

Photo: Louise Stickland

HSL supplied lighting, rigging and a Kinesys automation system for the recent European leg of Chris Brown’s One Hell of a Nite tour, working for Production Designer and Manager Tom E. Marzullo from Out Of Our Minds Creative Services.

Project Managers John Slevin and Jordan Hanson coordinated everything for the Blackburn-based rental company and ensured that the production design – created collectively by Marzullo with input from Christie Lites’ Robert Roth and Robert Achlimbari from All Access – was supplied with all the lighting, rigging and automation elements it needed.

The tour’s Technical Director Brian Spett and LD Charles Ford (also the Lighting Programmer/Operator) additionally had their input, while HSL supplied a top crew chiefed by Simon Lynch, to ensure that everything ran as smoothly and seamlessly on the road for a gruelling three and a half week schedule.

“We were hugely honoured to be working with a production director of Tom E. Marzullo’s calibre and his talented team,” commented HSL’s MD Simon Stuart. “The tour was invigorating and visually exciting, and although with 12 trucks it was good sized production… those involved also maximised all elements to go a long way applying imagination and thought.”

The stage design was based around four onstage sections of eight and nine mm LED video screen, a multi-level stage deck and several lighting trusses overhead and running down the sides of the space.

HSL supplied all the necessary trussing for lighting, and rigging for lighting and video which included over 100 motors. The production Riggers were Tom Cusimano and Billy Daves Jr.

Lighting was rigged on eight overhead trusses and two moving pods. The pods each measured three by three metres, one downstage above the B stage and one mid-stage, both populated with a six by six grid of Elation SixPar 200’s purchased specially by HSL for the tour and 16 Clay Paky Sharpys around the perimeter of each pod.

Martin by Harman Vipers were positioned on the downstage truss used for key lighting on Chris Brown and the dancers – the show was choreographed by Rich and Tone Talauega – and for aerial effects.

Other spot and beam moving lights on the rig included Clay Paky Mythoses and Sharpys, with 68 Sharpys in the show – including 32 framing the pods. Six Mythoses were positioned on the floor.

46 Robe LEDWash 1200’s were dotted around on the various over-stage and side trusses and these formed the base stage and set washes for show and key lighting for the dancers and Chris Brown himself.

Sixteen Martin by Harman Atomic strobes were scattered around in the air on the mid and upstage trusses with 24 Martin by Harman MAC 2000 Wash XBs on the upstage truss. The lighting count was completed with 16 4-lite Moles.

Technical Director Spett, who triggered the d3 4×4 Pro media servers running the playback video from a MA Lighting grandMA2 full size console, explained that he and LD Charles Ford both worked very hard to ensure there was plenty of definition in the show.

“There were enough different types of light to make it versatile but not so many that it turned into a mush,” commented Brian.

Both lighting and video content was run by a combination of timecode from the ProTools rig and manual operation.

Joining Simon Lynch on the HSL crew was Simon Anderson on dimmers and technician Dan Cloake. Ian Tucker from Christie Lights worked on the touring crew bringing continuity from the US sections of the tour and Bobby Braccia from the production worked with HSL in Blackburn on prepping the rig ahead of the European production rehearsals at LH2.

Charles Ford originally became involved in the Chris Brown touring production as LD for Trey Songz for the co-headline leg with him and Chris Brown in 2015, continuing with Chris Brown’s own production for this third One Hell of a Nite section. Lighting Director and programmer for the first leg earlier in 2015 was Bryan Hartley.

Video content for the tour was created by Possible Productions and LPX Digital, with animations by Jaime Lopez for LPX Digital. The five-camera IMAG mix was directed by Richard Parkin with video hardware coordinated by US-based BTV Touring Video.

Sound was supplied by Eighth Day and Strictly FX delivered pyrotechnics with trucking by Transam.