The owner of Envizion Group, Will Chandler has created a flowing set and lighting design for Grammy winners Bob Moses, on the Canadian duo’s current summer tour. Engendering this organic mood are his artful use of dark spaces, a blow through video wall, and a rig configuration that allows him to “hide” fixtures when not in use.
“My vision was to maintain a level of transparency in the set,” explained Chandler. “Going into the design process, I wanted to incorporate video into the rig, but more as a scenic element and light source than as a traditional screen. The use of blow through screens, along with the space created by the strips, allows me to hide moving lights and blinders behind the set so that they disappear when not in use. This creates a lot of different visual opportunities, even in a small space.”
Helping Chandler conjure up this transparent, open look are a collection of CHAUVET Professional STRIKE 1 and ÉPIX Strip Tour fixtures from Envizion Group’s own inventory.
Hung inside the vertical truss towers that support the video walls, the 12 STRIKE 1 units in the rig are key to Chandler’s design strategy of having fixtures appear and disappear. “We have some moments in the show when the set essentially disappears,” said Chandler. “When this happens, the vertical rows of STRIKE 1s hidden behind the structure allow me to reveal the structure in a stark, compelling way.”
Then when the STRIKE fixtures are not in use, they vanish, which adds a nice transcending element to this show. The video walls are blow through, so as the STRIKE fixtures fade up they cut through this design element.
“There’s something about the bold simplicity of a tungsten-type light from the STRIKEs fixture that really compliments the industrial aesthetic we created,” said Chandler. “It’s such a powerful look that it creates a great contrast to the moving lights and color mixing LED sources. There is a moment where we strip out all of the color and go with a simple look with stark content from the Strike 1s glowing through the back of the set. I think the cut from a big colorful stage look down to raw monochrome and tungsten is one of my favorite parts of the show. Sometimes the simplest looks are the strongest.”
In keeping with his vision to use video as a scenic element, Chandler broke up his LED panels into four different sized walls, bridging them with three rows of ÉPIX Strip Tour fixtures. The 27 ÉPIX units are pixel mapped via a media server run over ArtNet. A customized square milky filter over the strips diffuses their light, adding to the transcendent aura of the set.
Given the subtle nuances in his design, Chandler initially wondered if it would have to be adapted for the larger venues on the tour, which includes big amphitheaters As it turned out, he needn’t have worried.
“I was surprised at how much the rig filled the larger stages despite only being 28-feet wide,” he said, noting that the use of dark space, created the impression that the rig extended further out than it did in reality. Another case, perhaps, of art’s perfection lying in its concealment.