For his “Liberté Cherie” tour, French pop star Calogéro selected Vincent Lérisson, the talented young lighting designer of the French electro duo Justice. In this extraordinary stage and lighting design project, he uses 63 MagicPanel™FX luminaires mounted under variable geometry pods. 

We saw his fabulous show at the AccordHotel Arena in Paris

Vincent Lérisson is a respected lighting designer in France, famous for running his impressive and high-energy lighting totally live. No timecodes or playbacks for this LD. Vincent believes in live lighting, adding a unique flavour and touch to create his own signature. (By the way, he is also the lighting designer for the French electro-music team Justice). 

His stage lighting is mainly defined by two specific factors that make this show’s design remarkable and unique.  

The upstage is completely decked with Svoboda fixtures mounted on moving yokes and fitted with mirrors on the back. The ceiling is made up of an impressive array of motorized pods that can operate at all heights, redrawing, narrowing or widening the stage space as the music plays. These pods are adorned with Ayrton MagicPanel™FX luminaires.

The Svoboda Wall

Let’s talk about the upstage lighting. A wall of 60 Svoboda fixtures are mounted on moving yokes. This setup is the work of Dushow, who provided all the lighting gear for the French tour, according to Vincent’s specifications. Mirrors are mounted on the back of the Svobodas, following their unique, asymmetrical contours. 

I find this absolutely magical. Incorporating the warmly traditional effect of this gear in a totally modern setup creates a effective contrast when using this sort of light source. Vincent is an expert when it comes to this kind of mix. This is his signature, what he does best.

Ceiling, pods and “socks”

The entire upper part of the stage is supplied with a enormous system of trusses that support a set of 21 moving components, arranged in three lines of seven. 

The lower side of each component carries a beam-spot hybrid fixture and three Ayrton MagicPanel™FX units. 

This square assembly, wrapped in fixtures, can be dropped almost to the ground, unfurling a band of white cloth stretched across its four sides, and hidden inside are two wash lights that colour the entire scene. 

The installation spans a length of almost 10 metres, achieving some rather spectacular spacial effects, adjusting the supported fixtures to constantly varying angles, capable of moving right above the heads of the musicians. But it also provides a backdrop for the video projection covering the entire surface of the canvas and on three sides.

Here, Vincent takes full advantage of this extremely complex setup that could be used for just about any application imaginable.

When the upper part of the pods are folded up, we see a wide, open stage and the Svobodas and tight beams filling the space. On one musical number, the pods are dropped almost all the way down and the ceiling virtually “squashes” the musicians, who are in a confined space with a low ceiling hanging only inches above their head.

The effect is eye-catching, just like using automated sprawling moving-head stage fixtures, and Vincent pushes his concept to the maximum, producing striking visuals and powerful emotion throughout the show.

The MagicPanel-FX luminaires are perfect for the design of this show. This lighting designer carefully chose them for their main quality – squared heads and their ability to generate a powerful and malleable beam. This addition adds perfectly to this impressive lighting setup.

The video – a strategic touch with finesse

The video in this show is not overbearing but is used to project specific media according to the songs and provide close-ups of the artists. Images are projected by six videoprojectors onto the canvases deployed by the descending pods. There are two frontal projectors of 30,000 lumens and two 20,000-lumen projectors on either side for projecting relief images on the sides of the socks.  Alabama Media provided a team to control the video. The different angles of the socks are covered to emphasize the relief effect and enhance the three-dimensional aspect. 

Interview with Vincent Lérisson

We met with Vincent Lérisson to ask a few questions about his work on the tour.

SLU:  We recognise your touch – with themes that you love to use in so many different ways, especially moving the equipment through the air.

Vincent Lérisson: I love it when things get magical and come to life. It’s something I’ve been working on for a long time and that I’m constantly perfecting. I like to modulate space using light. I hang the fixtures, use animation by moving accessories around the musicians on stage.

I am fortunate to have found people like MECAoctets, who know how to do this and who work with me.

SLU:  Let’s talk about your famous “pods”.

Vincent Lérisson: Actually, it’s an idea that I had without really knowing how to use. It had to be a main feature in the show. We have a structure that holds the MagicPanel™FX fixtures and adjusts to the angles as needed and that allows us to modulate the scenic space above the musicians. The components are decorative and are illuminated from the inside, and then we have the video part, because the system also serves as a projection screen. This device has multiple uses.

SLU:   Why did you choose to use the Ayrton MagicPanel-FX? 

Vincent Lérisson:  Because in some ways it was what I wanted to add to the scenography. Its square shape works perfectly on the ends of the square pods.

I like its hybrid function having the mirror on the back. It works well with the Svobodas. On one side, I use the Svobodas that create a more rock ‘n roll effect: multi-source (9 low-voltage) with a mirror on the back. And on the other side, I have the MagicPanel-FX fixtures, which are more futuristic, but that have the same characteristics: multi-source (25 LEDs) and mirror on the back. 

I also like its zoom that lets me control the size of the beams according to different trav-elling distances and to how the pods move.

I find that the MagicPanel-FX is Ayrton’s best accomplishment. I always liked the 602, but missed the zoom. In the FX version, it’s a full-fledged luminaire that is more than just an effects projector. 

SLU:  How do you control the system during the show? Do you send commands from your console?

Vincent Lérisson: No. The system is managed by the operator, Rico, who is on the side of the stage. He has special software developed by MECAoctets that reacts to specific queues. The operator has to be there for safety reasons, essentially. The pods can travel all the way down to the ground but we’ve set the maximum distance to avoid any incidents. 

We were absolutely amazed by Lérisson’s sumptuous lighting. Again, this is an example of a design job displaying fine use of technique in a stunning production with light that is totally alive – live lighting at the subtle hand of Vincent Lérisson. And there is no substitute as long as live music can convey emotion to the public.

Bravo! 

 

Extracts from the webzine SoundLightUp.com

Text & Photos: © Jocelyn Morel

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