Last blog I was talking about writing cues for the holiday shows I had last year. After elaborating on the creative process I go through in selecting color and other aspects of the songs I found myself rather enjoying my rantings so I decided to continue discussing the programming for a couple more songs. I ended the previous blog asking myself how I would go about writing cues for “Rudolph The Red Nosed Raindeer.” This song is one of the most cherished holiday songs ever, so I felt obligated to do this song justice and come up with a cool idea for the lighting and video that I had never used before. The first thing I did was find a cooky cartoon of Rudolph and project a few images of him on our scenic elements upstage. My next move was to take the Varilite 3000 spots and put them in red with a thin iris. Now to me this idea felt that kind of simple and not appealing enough to the eye, yet I knew I was headed in the right direction. What I ended up doing then is taking two of the Varilite 3000s downstage and masking them over the cartoons of Rudolph's nose and in addition used a focus effect with the GrandMA console to sell the appearance of a glowing nose. The rest I put in a pan/pan ballyhoo out in the audience since the tempo of the song is upbeat. It turned out really well and presented a unique look for the song.
Another holiday song the artist does is one of his own called “Christmas on TV.” This one is a fun song that is sorta themed as if the movie “It's A Wonderful Life” had gone wrong. For this one I did some photoshop work to have yet another custom look for a song. In the lyrics for this song it has Jimmy Stewart aka George Bailey references so I acquired a couple still images of the character and then superimposed them in a couple cartoon televisions to match the main theme of the song which is about the artists version of Christmas as if you were watching it all alone on television. During the chorus the lyrics say “the lights across the street, they look so warm they look so sweet.” Along with the video content that I've created I like to give a warm feel using the 5K fresnels we use on floor stands by raising the intensity slowly to about 35 percent at this part of the song. The key here is not to use too much intensity with the 5K fresnels or your video image with be blown out and the translation of the video content will be lost since this particular fixtures get so bright.
I guess looking back at what I've written so far I can tell you that writing cues for songs just isn't about picking colors. For me it is about identifying the main theme and ideas of the song so the audience can associate with it visually. It is much more easier for a song to be translated using video elements but you'll find a lot of the same ideas are recycled over and over again in video (especially with elemental themes). That is why it is always important to try something new by purchasing new content, making your own content, or use some interesting effects with the standard clip you may be using. The last thing you want the audience, management, or artist to say is that they have seen that boring old stock content a bunch already. The same thing goes for lighting since you are definitely limited on color selection it is important to use effective color combinations for the looks you are writing combined with a multitude of preset focuses, beam shapes, gobos, etc.