WAUSAU, WI – New York City may be over a thousand miles away, but local company, JEM Productions, created the look and feel of Manhattan jazz club at its warehouse- turned-studio, as it hosted a livestream fundraising show by the Sara Rifleman Trio.
The performance by the Wisconsin-based musicians was the latest in a series of livestreamed shows emanating from the lighting and audio company’s makeshift studio. It was the smoothest production to date, according to Joe Ellis, president of JEM Productions.
“We’ve been doing these for weeks now, ever since the COVID-19 shutdown started,” said Ellis. “I think we’re getting familiar with this process! Our lighting and production crew did a really great job creating the look of a classic New York jazz club on the set. Sometimes, the simpler the look, the harder you have to dig into the art of design. This was a great exercise for us! With Jazz, the musicians really carry the dynamic and we fill a supportive role.”
Helping Ellis and his team fill that role was a collection of CHAUVET Professional Rogue R2X Spot, Rogue R2 Wash, STRIKE 4 and COLORado 1 Solo fixtures. Washing the livestream set in deep purples and cool blues, which played off well against brick wall images on video panels, the JEM team created the smoky vibe of underground jazz haunt.
Shadows of the musicians and their instruments created by low angled side lighting added to the depth of the scene, while columns of warm white light from the STRIKE 4 fixtures endowed it with a sense of urban excitement. “Our goal here was to create a scene that translated well on camera, even if it was viewed on a relatively small computer screen,” said Ellis.
Designing such images for the tidy confines of a hand held or desktop device isn’t something that Ellis and his crew are accustomed to doing. They have built their reputation by lighting live events, corporate events and shows.
Of course, in light of recent events, this is a new skill they’ve had to develop. It is one that is likely to serve them well, even after the current lockdown becomes history.