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Pixel Mapping Makes “Platinum” Shine Brighter On Miranda Lambert

Posted on November 3, 2014
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SUNRISE, FL – It’s very fitting that country superstar Miranda Lambert chose “Platinum” as the title for her sixth album and follow-up tour. Since its discovery in the mid-18th century, the precious metal has come to stand for the ultimate in excellence, a tribute not only to its brilliant glitter but also to its great strength — two attributes that the Grammy-winning Lambert possesses in abundance.  LD Chris Lisle celebrated these qualities in his lighting design for Lambert’s 2014 tour, by creating a massive “platinum” picture frame on stage, a dazzling visual element that was made all the more compelling by 47 Nexus Aw 7×7 pixel-mapped panels from CHAUVET Professional.

“We took the word ‘platinum’ to heart when we designed for this tour,” said Lisle of Chris Lisle Lighting Design (Nashville, TN). “We played off the word ‘platinum’ for the overall look of the stage. Our goal was to play completely off of the album title and make everything shine. We wanted to take the word ‘platinum’ and make it come to life!”

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At the heart of Lisle’s design is the 50’ by 30’ metal picture frame that surrounds a large video wall. “The overall visual of the stage was based on this frame,” he said. “Beyond that, there were a host of other platinum pieces within the set including truss fascia, mirrors, drapes, stairs, and even the floor!  The platinum reflects Miranda’s charisma, style and the strength that we’ve seen her develop as a performer.”

Fittingly, Lambert’s Platinum concert began inside that frame with a video of her and Carrie Underwood performing their chart-topping hit “Somethin’ Bad.”  This was followed by a 90-minute 21-song set that took off like a convertible riding through the country on a summer night, revealing a different side of Lambert’s immense talent at every turn, from the sweet to the sassy to the sentimental.

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Lisle’s rig, which was provided by Bandit Lites, rode along in perfect harmony with Lambert throughout this musical journey.  Working on what he described as a “song-by-song” basis, the LD created a design that matched the mood of each piece during the concert. “Everything we did revolved around the music and supported it,” he said.  ‘This was all about enhancing the performance.”

The lighting portion of the Platinum Tour rig was actually fairly simple, according to Lisle, who relied on set and scenic elements for the overall look of the show, using “some very dynamic lighting”  to accent everything.

“Our rig itself was comprised of DS, MS, and US lighting trusses along with wing trusses that had CHAUVET Professional Legend 230SR Beam moving fixtures on them,” said Lisle. “There were 32 active Legend beams that were in groups of 4 layered from top to bottom on each side of the upstage lighting truss. They were used for big rock looks called for by some of the songs in the set, and to punch beams through the rest of the lighting rig and video when needed.”

The 47 Nexus Aw 7×7 LED panels led the way in Lisle’s lighting rig.  Powered by 49 3-watt warm white LEDs with a smooth dimming curve and 2800K color temperature, the Nexus panels have a flexible software system for pixel-mapping displays, an attribute that made them well-suited for Lisle’s Miranda Lambert design.

Lisle built the Nexus panels into an “M” shaped truss downstage. The panels were driven via the lighting console to create a variety of visual effects that flowed with the far-ranging mix of songs in the concert set.  “My idea was that the Nexus panels would be nice eye candy for everyone above floor level,” said the LD. “I wanted to give them a little something more that the people on the floor wouldn’t see. Our programmer, Scott Chmielewski, worked hard to create some great mapping moments in the GrandMA2 for the Nexus panels.

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“Based on the orientation that we had them in, we were able to get some big punchy looks and fun motion from the panels,” continued Lisle. “This created a lot of excitement on stage and gave us a lot of flexibility to match design to changes in the music. Our biggest challenge was to make everything shiny without being too shiny and annoying the audience for 90 minutes, and the Nexus panels helped us do just that. They added a wonderful extra visual element to this concert, which made it even more memorable for everyone.”