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Tour Theory: hierarchical relationships

Taking a break today to talk about some tour theory, if you will. This will be one of those posts that isn't really gear or project-related. What I want to instead focus on today is leadership styles on touring.

If one takes away nothing else further from this screed, take ye this, because its the core of my philosophy on tour: people, in general, hate being given direct orders. What I mean by a direct order is any imperative that comes in the form "X, go do Y."…


Added by Craig Rutherford on December 17, 2014 at 5:45pm — No Comments

LDI, part III

[Note: Apparently PLS doesn't like videos embedded in IFRAMES, probably a security feature of the site. So you'll have to click through to the videos below.]

In which I break with my title convention, talk about gear at LDI ONE LAST TIME, and pictures! Everybody likes pictures!

Lightwave International Phenom

Lightwave International released the Phenom, a small moving head laser…


Added by Craig Rutherford on December 16, 2014 at 9:30pm — No Comments

LDI: Part II

The Robe BMFL

This is one of the big fixtures at LDI I saw that I'm really looking forward to playing around with. Made by Robe, the BFML is the "Bright Multi-Functional Luminaire", though various backronyms regarding the name exist. We won't get into those. The unit is fairly sizable, probably a little smaller than a VL3K, with an Osram HTI 1500-watt lamp. By default the lamp is overrun to 1700 watts, which shortens its life to 500 hours, but…


Added by Craig Rutherford on December 15, 2014 at 11:00pm — 2 Comments

LDI 2014: Part 1

Here are some initial thoughts regarding some of the things I saw at the Live Design International (LDI) trade show.

The Clay-Paky Stormy strobe

Finally, someone realized that some LDs just do not like the look of LEDs in a direct view application. I love the TMB Flare, but it is certainly one of many direct view LED fixtures on the market. The Stormy (Clay-Paky has chosen an interesting naming convention for its new fixture lines) is an LED strobe that looks like…


Added by Craig Rutherford on December 15, 2014 at 12:00am — No Comments

Followspot colors

I generally specify followspots for tours where the artists are expected to walk around the stage, though I am generally not really a fan of followspots. The colors are finicky, the spots themselves are generally not maintained well - a venue typically bought their Super Troupers from Strong back in the '70s, and hasn't upgraded since, letting the components rust and get sticky, etc. Typically, followspotting is given to the crustiest, lowest-on-the-totem-pole guy on the call, usually not the… Continue

Added by Craig Rutherford on December 10, 2014 at 10:34pm — 4 Comments

URBANSCREEN installation

Another Creators Project video, this time from Germany:

The installation consists of 21 high-powered projectors inside a really, really big gas tank, projection-mapped onto the surface. They also play sound in the space, which due to the acoustics and sheer size of the… Continue

Added by Craig Rutherford on December 9, 2014 at 2:41pm — No Comments

Gel colors I like

Gels and dichroics might seem antiquated to the new kids on the concert lighting scene, what with the abundance of LED sources floating around the stages these days. The fact remains, however, that as wonderful as LED lights are for their electrical efficiency, it remains very difficult to get certain colors from them because of the narrow-bandwidth nature of their output spectrum. This makes them prone to the phenomenon of metameric failure - where two materials that look the same under one… Continue

Added by Craig Rutherford on December 9, 2014 at 2:30pm — No Comments

Just a bunch of Roadies

So there is group of roadies, led by the legendary Charlie Hernandez, who do a lot of good globally. Call themselves JABOR. They get food and medicine to countries that have been ravaged by natural disasters as well as good karma type stuff here in the states. Charlie recently wrote a letter that I would like to post here just to let you guys know what this cat is up to. Pretty phenomenal pay it forward type stuff.…


Added by Nook Schoenfeld on December 6, 2014 at 3:39pm — No Comments

Race Track gigs

In my career I have done concerts in all kinds of places. Minor league ball parks with stages towed behind tractors. State fairs where the stage was set on railroad tracks and moved into place. And then there's the circuit of race car events they seem to have every year. As I understand it, plenty of good old boy country acts play the Nascar circuit. Nascar is big time stock car racing I believe. Makes me think of the Dukes of Hazard. These races attract humongous crowds and I'm sure there…


Added by Nook Schoenfeld on November 10, 2014 at 9:31am — No Comments

Via Negativa II

Via The Creators Project on YouTube comes a fascinating piece of art reflecting (ha, ha) on themes of self and self-awareness.

From the description:

Experience Lee Bul's Via Negativa II, a maze of fragmented reflections that…

Added by Craig Rutherford on November 7, 2014 at 12:30pm — 2 Comments

Some Misty Thoughts On Color Theory

Other than position and intensity, possibly the most striking quality of any sort of light that can be emitted in a concert context is its color. One of the questions that designers get asked, at least during those rare occasions that someone is actually wondering, is "How do you decide what color a song should be?" There are many different facets involved in the design of any particular scene - matching the energy of the lights to the energy level on stage, gobo selection, the angle we…


Added by Craig Rutherford on November 6, 2014 at 11:28pm — No Comments


     It’s not that often that I get to play some club gigs. Usually it’s because one of my acts is playing a benefit show for a worthy cause, or they just want an occasional break from an arena to do an intimate show. Seems to be the trend now with bands doing residency stays in Vegas or other hot spots. The exception is when a group has some backing and is willing to pay my fee. I long ago accepted the fact that money talks, and when it does, I listen.

    So for a quick…


Added by Nook Schoenfeld on October 30, 2014 at 10:57am — 2 Comments

Gear Review - Streamlight ProTac HL

I bought my first Streamlight back in 2013, after many years of being a die-hard SureFire fan. I still have several G2s scattered around my various bags and Pelican cases that I use when traveling, and they're still great. For a long time I carried a 6P LED, and was very happy with its performance over the years. But I wanted something that would do dual-brightness, and had significant output for those times when I really, really needed to set something on fire light up a large…


Added by Craig Rutherford on October 20, 2014 at 2:30pm — No Comments

Last night in Dallas

I screwed up again last night. Broke the number one rule in our biz. I assumed something again. I assumed the front of house table at the House of Blues was set up sturdily. I didn't check it. Slayer, the house LD didn't check it. Nobody had ever checked it as it got used successfully every night. Til I get there of course.

    I'm carrying a video wall and mini-mac Catalyst media server. Using a Martin M1 console this run. I receive camera feeds via rf from the stage. I have various…


Added by Nook Schoenfeld on October 20, 2014 at 8:45am — 1 Comment

Nice see in ya

      One of the greatest things about our biz is the ability to run into the same people at various gigs in your life. I mean unexpectedly. Last month I ran into two guys I hadn't seen since the eighties, at the same venue. We caught up. No need to become Facebook buddies or anything, just saying hi.

    Last night I was in Boston for a quick one show affair at some club. I walk into a pub next door to get some chow and a beer before the show. 5 minutes later my buddy John Macleish…


Added by Nook Schoenfeld on October 14, 2014 at 8:19pm — No Comments

Done done and I'm on to the next one.

OK, I'm done working with my first so-called Legend. Meaning old guy who sold a bazillion album a bazillion years ago. It was fun yet uneventful. Now I'm moving in the other direction. Going to light a young act from Australia calling themselves the Janoskians. This term stands for Just Another Name Of Silly Kids In Another Nation. They are basically a singing comedy troupe from the streets of Melbourne that has made it semi famous thru a series of you tube videos that have gone viral. While…


Added by Nook Schoenfeld on October 9, 2014 at 1:00pm — No Comments

Shooting lights through video walls

Last month I saw yet another big rock show where they put hundreds of LED movers behind a video wall with the intent to shine them thru the wall and make it look cool. But to be honest, for the umpteenth time that I have seen people do this, it did not look great. It was not phenomenal. In fact I think it was rather a waste of gear.

      I'm not sure why people think this looks cool. So I gotta think now that maybe it's me. Maybe there are acts out there doing this and it's supposed…


Added by Nook Schoenfeld on October 8, 2014 at 6:15am — 5 Comments


      As one gets older, they realize they have played so many venues in their life that you feel like you have been to them all. Up until this year I felt that way because I had been to every arena, shed and hell hole that could hold up a truss. Or so I thought. I had never played all the little gigs. While I have probably been in every House of Blues in America I am far from having played every club. For instance, For years I have heard of a place called Cain's Ballroom that is somewhere…


Added by Nook Schoenfeld on September 29, 2014 at 9:41am — No Comments


 ----On the Texas Rodeo Concert Circuit----

 (Yes, it really exists.)


6 Rules:


1. When you grab a bite at the local diner, don’t try to fix the wobbly table by stuffing a bunch of sugar packets under the leg.


First off, according to most nutrition experts, processed sugar contains a whole bunch of stuff that’s bad for you, including nuclear waste and raw sewage. And second off, the paper packets will…


Added by Wayne Lambert on September 24, 2014 at 9:47am — No Comments

Various light fixtures

I think the coolest thing about traveling on a tour using just local production, is that you get to use all sorts of fixtures. My GrandMA console imports fixtures daily as I need them. Within 1 month I have used 60 different fixtures. From moving heads to star drops to every blinking LED - I have used a lot of stuff. Some of it is good, some garbage. But if it emits light, it has some value right?

    Well maybe not. I played a theater last night that had a dozen Clay Paky super scan…


Added by Nook Schoenfeld on September 21, 2014 at 5:29pm — No Comments

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