March 24, 2014

Another community in Kensington

Filed under: Events, Industry Tips, Mixing, Uncategorized — Tags: — Kyle Napier @ 5:54 pm

We were asked to run a setup yesterday at the Plaza Theatre in Kensington.

We ran three sections of lighting truss, two light trees, 24 channels from musicians into the digital board from two snakes, five independent monitors, and several wireless microphones – all in a record two and a half hours!

It was great working with such talented and experienced musicians.

Some of the artists involved had flown in from Vancouver and Toronto to perform in the event. As they were so experienced, the setup flew by with wonderful communication and coordination.

As there was such little time between setting up the event and the audience filing in, Kris had had to conduct a soundcheck on the fly. Before the audience had filed in, Kris worked with each artist and their respective instruments to ensure we were getting clean signal, and then we worked through the frequencies and monitors throughout the first song.

Pictured to Kris’ right is the Q Light Controller digital light mixing interface. Because we’d already preprogrammed a few scenes and lighting tricks for this event, we were able to run the lights to the event, sound and organizers’ preference.

We ran the SM 57 instrument mics under the congas – allowing us to capture the full-bodied sound of the instruments. We had also ran several Sennheiser drum mic clips on the kit, with an overhead condenser microphone to capture the symbols.

As there were several performers and speakers, we’d left three SM58 vocal microphones at the stage, and ran a few wireless microphones as well. This allowed for a few constant singers, and mobile and changing presenters and speakers.

We’d also had to be cautious of working within the power limitations of the outlets and venue, which required a bit of planning and understanding of power drops and most ideal locations.

We’d ended up running six different drops across the stage – three in the front and three in the back.

The truss may have been one of the more time consuming elements in this setup.

To plan for this, we ran the necessary cable and connectors on the truss with the lights ahead of time. After setting the truss safely on either side of our crank stand, the event organizers were able to erect their backdrop and sign.

After ensuring that each of the lights DMX addresses and power ran fluidly, we angled the lights appropriately, and then cranked the truss up.

The event went very well, and the artists and audience seemed to really enjoy the event.

We were quite proud of the effort and coordination of those involved in helping set up this event -
especially in just under two and a half hours!

January 24, 2014

It Was A Pleasure Then…

Filed under: Events, Industry Tips, Non-Profit, Uncategorized, Video — Kyle Napier @ 11:25 am

The Calgary Outsider Art Society and the University of Calgary Film Society banded together for a Victorian Surrealist art party last night at the Globe Cinema.

The collaboration amid the event really does lead one to consider a few of the involved elements necessary to hold this event: the blending communities, the spectrum between analog and digital arts, and the rich range of media for the audience.

The event featured performances by Rob Roy and the Sultans, Post-Namers, Tomahonqii and Firestarter on the top floor; a theatre downstairs airing contemporary experimental video projects between classic black-and-white films; an opium den photo booth in the basement; and medium-bending art and photography on the walls between each floor.

Amid the scene were photographers taking stellar shots with nice wide apertures, patrons dressed in 1860s chic, videographers filming component elements, musicians of all ilk — each contributing to the scene in their own individual way.

To me, the most amazing part of the event is in its inherent nature, owed to the cohesive interconnectivity between these dynamic – yet similar – communities.

For instance, Rob Roy and the Sultans were able to get a video feed in which the projected visuals directly reflected the resonance and tone of the music being played live. To do this, Patrick – a guitarist in the group – called the video engineer, while the video engineer ran an auxiliary output to a computer program which then responded to the volume and frequencies, which then tied into a projector. It was awesome.

We’re glad to say we were able to donate a bit of gear in support of this non-profit event.

October 11, 2013

Breakout West 2013 Kick-Off Street Party

Last Thursday, we helped kick off the Breakout West 2013 kick off street party.
The all ages event was free and open to the public, and hosted on Stephen Avenue – just a few steps east of the entrance to Flames Central.

The lighting truss we had set up held six Par 56 lights and two Mac 250 moving heads, daisy chained as a single circuit from the computer light mixer.

Kris and Mike from Calgary Sound Rentals, tech’ing both audio and visual respectively. This picture is contrary, however, as the two had swapped positions for Kris to review the light fixtures before the show.

This band came prepared, and what a way to start the evening. Opposite the name, these musicians are veterans to the scene, and came prepared with in-ear monitors and their own mixer. We worked with a the band’s iPad interface to adjust the different faders involved. As this was unexpected, we learned how to use the interface fairly quickly from the band. They played a very clean set, and were great to work with. They brought a sweet crowd-draw from the get-go.

Crystal Kid’s preferred digital mixing interface.

We’ve tech’d for this duo fairly regularly, and have been thoroughly impressed on every occasion. As announced at the event, both members of this group are international award winners – sought to no end.
As always, they floored the standing audience – with both jarring vocals and rhythmic soul.

This self-proclaimed folk and reggae band laughed and said they were heavy metal on stage. This four-piece seemed every genre but metal, but seemed they could take the genre on if need be.
Their confident country jive fit the mood nicely, warming up spirits while the weather sent us chills.

This soulful rock star gave’r the whole set, hearing holler-alongs from the street passers-by and a dedicated fan base out to see her.

Described as infectiously catchy, she got the crowd up and dancing early in her set, creating a few moments of moms and daughters singing together.

Initially, they’d tested the limits of feedback from the mic – and with good reason. The lead singer performed a hair’s distance from the microphone, and, damn – did they sound awesome.

This band engaged the floor off the cuff, resonating like a backwoods twang.

Calgary-based Reuben & The Dark headlined the evening, bringing old adorers and new fans to the stage to sing along. A great way to end the night, the band played poetically into the evening.
The warm hot chocolate, combined with their engaging performance, really topped the night off.
Overall, it was an absolute blast to work with all of the bands, managers, organizers and fundraisers involved in this shotgun set. The show required quite a lot of communication – both prior to and during the performance.

Because of effective planning, good judgement, and professional edges on the grind – all of those involved helped to pull off an awesome show, bringing Calgary and its culture a little closer. Of course, a group has to huddle to stay warm.

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