Production Designer Paul ‘Arlo’ Guthrie, the man behind award-winning country singer Miranda Lambert’s Keeper of the Flame tour, has opted for a Kinesys automation system for Lambert’s US dates. Having used Kinesys successfully on other tours, including Lady Antebellum and Sheryl Crow, Guthrie again added it to his stage plot.
The brief for the stage, lighting and visual design was to keep the look clean and direct, with all the attention focussed on Lambert and the powerful music and stage presence that has earned her the title ‘Queen of Country’.
The automation was supplied by Upstaging, which are also the lighting contractor, and comprises 20 Kinesys Elevation 1+ drive units, which worked in conjunction with 10 one-tonne Liftket motors moving five 18ft tall by six ft wide wood-framed LED video columns, and 10 half-tonne Liftkets which raise and lower five ‘finger trusses’ that are loaded with 10 moving lights. It was being operated on the tour by Paul Mundrick, a freelance automation specialist based in New York, using a Kinesys Vector controller.
There are about 30 automation cues in the show as the finger trusses and video frames move into slightly different positions for every number of the set, mostly during the blackouts in-between numbers.
Mundrick also recently used Kinesys on the last Arcade Fire tour in the US and Europe and on 5 Seconds of Summer’s tour in 2015.
On the load-ins and outs, the video crew use the riggers remote to operate the Elevation 1+ drives so the video technicians can work without needing the full automation control setup in place and Mundrick on stand-by, allowing him to work efficiently on other things.
Discussing his working relationship with Guthrie, Mundrick said: “I really appreciate designers who integrate automation into their shows, particularly when it’s used like this, sparingly, considered, well thought out, and with maximum impact.”