Slipknot Out Again with Elation Lighting and Video

Copyright 2016 Todd Kaplan

American heavy metallers Slipknot are out on the road again and thrilling audiences using Elation Professional’s hybrid Platinum SBX moving heads with visuals projected across a large LED wall made up of Elation EPT Series video display panels. In what appeared to be a sensory-overload, a massive projection screen made up of EPT6IP LED panels flashed a mix of chilling imagery while Platinum SBX hybrid moving heads kept the mid-air visual look electric.

Production and lighting design was by Trevor Ahlstrand of Ahlstrand Productions with lighting supply by Gemini Light, Sound & Video, both of which have worked with Slipknot on several tours. Knowing that the band is famous for their aggressive style of music and energetic live shows, Ahlstrand was looking for a combination beam and profile fixture that could keep up with the hard driving show. “The SBX were chosen for their output to punch through the battling light of the video wall and to be able to backlight the band below,” he explained. “One of the main reasons I chose the SBX was its great beam while in profile mode. It has a great even field with a lot of output.”

Ahlstrand has a row of the three-in-one SBX luminaires placed on top of the set to give separation between the set and video wall. “The gobos look great and with the combination of the two prisms and its beam mode you can get so many different looks out of the light you never really have to repeat anything.” Because the SBX also includes a frost system the fixture can also be used for wash effects. For audience lighting the designer utilises Elation’s high-impact white light Cuepix Blinder WW2 with two 100W COB light sources.

Slipknot has been touring with an Elation lighting and video package since it kicked off its Prepare for Hell world tour in late 2014. That tour featured a video centerpiece made up of Elation 9mm pixel pitch EPT9IP LED video panels. For the current tour, Ahlstrand turned to Elation’s EPT6IP video panels with a tighter 6mm pixel pitch. The video wall is a large 16:9 upstage screen flanked by fixtures on either side. “It was added to help give us a different look from previous years going into some of the same markets,” Ahlstrand explained. “These panels look amazing with incredible balance of blacks and colour. The weight was minimal for the size and resolution of the wall.”

Designed for rapid setup and teardown, the EPT6IP LED panel delivers 5,000 nits of brightness, plenty of power to shine through and is an ideal solution for shows with high ambient lighting. The current tour plays a mix of imagery across the video wall with the band themselves involved in content production. Ahlstrand commented: “We run some B-roll content from the band’s videos mixed in with a lot of their logos and original art and content shot by Clown, one of the band members. Clown is very involved in the video process and brings a lot of his original art that fans know and connect with into the show.”

Supplying the Elation products for the tour is Gemini Light, Sound & Video a Dallas-based company that has been working with Slipknot for years. “The Gemini crew has been great and so has the gear,” Ahlstrand said. “They handled both video and lighting on tour and got it up and down quickly without any real hold ups. The gear was in great condition and needed little to no maintenance throughout the tour.”

Out on tour as lighting director for the past couple of years is Greg ‘Little G’ Kocerck, who Ahlstrand acknowledged for his excellent work. “He has done an amazing job keeping the show looking great everyday no matter what venue type or country,” he said. “He has impeccable timing and a great eye!  The production manager, Jordan Coopersmith and the entire Slipknot crew do an amazing job working together to keep the set and show consistent and looking great.”

The current Slipknot tour, which sees the rockers touring with Marilyn Manson, started in June and plays US dates through September.