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DALLAS – ’Twas almost the night before the Christmas show at Prestonwood Baptist Church, when a technical snafu threatened to keep the annual live stage production from ever happening. A spectacular multi-media event, The Gift of Christmas has become the centerpiece of the Dallas church’s Yuletide season, bringing the Christmas story to life in visually stunning fashion, complete with costumes, choreography and special effects.

With seven sold-out performances, The Gift of Christmas 2012 was primed to be a more elaborate pageant than ever, featuring an original music score, live nativity animals, flying angels, and -- to make it all come alive -- an 80’ long video wall that would provide virtual scenery and dazzling magical effects. But as the production was being rigged, a last-minute serious design flaw came to light: the massive video wall was too heavy for the church roof’s load limit.

Desperate to salvage their show, which was dependent on having a video backdrop, the church turned to Gemini Light, Sound, Video (Dallas) to find a way around the problem. “The wall they had brought in was about 30,000 pounds, which was almost twice what the building’s roof was weighted at,” said Terry Cain, CEO/founder of Gemini. “We were called in to see if, by using some truss or stage towers, we could take maybe 15,000 pounds off the roof and put it to the floor. But we determined the floor couldn’t handle the weight load either.”

The only viable alternative would be to use a different, lighter weight video product. Cain recommended the EPV762 LED panel from Elation Professional. A high resolution 7.62 mm 19.2” square video panel containing 3-in-1 RGB SMD LEDs, the EPV762 produces 2,000-nit brightness and features high refresh rates for flicker-free performance. Cain said his company has used the Elation EPV762 for a variety of projects in the past, ranging from TV commercials to theaters and touring productions. “I’ve owned this wall for nearly two years, and used it in all different types of applications and had really good success with it,” he said.

Best of all, each EPV762 panel weighs only 28.7 pounds. Thus, the 420 panels needed to construct The Gift of Christmas’s specified 80’ wide by 14’ high video wall would weigh in well below the building roof’s 15,000-pound load limit. With a slim cabinet design, seamless mechanical system, built-in 100-240v power supply, Ethercon in/out for video signal and Powercon in/out for power link, the panels are fast and easy to rig – a critical factor with the clock ticking away to showtime.

“We were awarded the contract late Friday evening, and dress rehearsal was the following Tuesday, with the first performance on Wednesday,” said Cain. Adding to the crunch was the fact that Gemini had to outsource about 125 panels from other vendors, which turned the project into a dramatic race against time.

Cain credits Elation, its dealers, and sales representatives Red Walter and Joe Adams of Professional Sound and Lighting Products, Inc. with “going all out” to get him the needed panels on a very tight deadline. “Between Merstone Productions (Phoenix) and Pacific Coast Entertainment (Huntington Beach, CA), we were able to get all the panels that were requested. Everybody went above and beyond. Pacific Coast opened shop on Saturday and weighted for the air freight people on Sunday. I can’t say enough good things about them helping us make this happen.”

Physically obtaining the panels was only the beginning. With three different batches of panels coming from three different sources, the panels had to be color corrected for consistency. But here, too, the EPV762 proved to be up to the task. “Everything went smoothly. There were no problems in getting everything color corrected on time,” said Cain. “The show was absolutely flawless – beautiful.”

And a true Christmas miracle in its own right!

For more information, contact Elation Professional at 866-245-6726 or visit www.elationlighting.com

Gemini Light, Sound, Video can be contacted at 214-341-4822 or visit www.geminilightsoundvideo.com

For more information about Professional Sound and Lighting Products Inc., visit www.pslp.com
Slipknot – one of the most visually theatrical, bizarre and renowned speed metal acts in the universe – used 30 Robe ColorSpot 1200 ATs to great effect on their "Subliminal Verses" tour, specified by lighting designer Jason Cain.

He used the ColorSpot 1200s for stunning beam and colour effects. "I like the brightness, strobe rate, pan/tilt and the gobo selection," says Cain. He also likes the colour mixing properties and reckons that the 1200s are far brighter than similar comparable moving light brands.

Cain’s crew members also liked the Robes which proved themselves as highly reliable and robustly built, "They did well over the two month tour" says show Technician John Johnson, "We had no real hardware issues, the lamps are bright and they ride well in the trussing." Lighting electrician Dennis Waite adds, "The multi-position pan/tilt locks are good and the overall solidity of the fixture is great." Lighting equipment for their recently concluded 2 month US tour was supplied by Gemini Stage Lighting from Dallas, Texas.
“UVLD Brings Media-Management Expertise to Slayer and Marilyn Manson Double-Headliner Tour”

Unlimited Visibility Lighting Design (UVLD) brings its media and media-management expertise to the concert-touring arena with Cameron Yeary consulting on the dual Slayer and Marilyn Manson tour.

Yeary teamed with lighting designers Jason Cain and Sonny Satterfield, with the Slayer and Marilyn Manson tours respectively, as the bands set out on a double-headlining tour of the US this summer. “They brought me in to help merge the two shows together as they moved from small venues and European festivals to large amphitheaters,” says Yeary. “My job was to assist with the equipment interface and make the transition as seamless as possible. Combining equipment and managing media for a show now twice the size was quite a challenge.”

According to Yeary, Slayer had been deploying High End Systems’ DL.2 digital lights and a Catalyst system while Marilyn Manson favored Coolux’s Pandora’s Box. “I had to figure out a way to run Catalyst through Pandora’s Box as an input and to add to add the cameras Slayer requested,” Yeary explains. “We needed to operate five lipstick cameras and two front of house cameras through Pandora’s Box and mix the live cameras on top of Catayst.”

In addition, the designers had to be capable of controlling, from front of house, seven cameras and their own media and content live. “That was a pretty cool feat,” Yeary notes. “I had to make sure all of those elements would be able to come together in time for the show. It was definitely fun to see cameras come into a show that been programmed with nothing but prerecorded media; now the tour was able to use live content.”

Yeary was also tasked with re-encoding media and checking files as they were received from production. “There were drastic differences between the two bands in terms of content and technology,” he notes. “Slayer’s content was very literal while Marilyn Manson’s was more theatrical. It was also interesting to see the two media systems combined, one Mac and one PC, each requiring drastic different codec types.”

Two stacks pf twp Christie Roadster S+ 16L projectors handled the big-screen display which along with the Pandora’s Box, were provided by Delicate Productions. All the lighting gear, rigging and Catalysts were provided by Gemini Stage Lighting.
“Lights Seal Unholy Alliance”

Dallas – Speed metal band Slayer brought along four other heavy metal bands on its brand-new touring production, “Slayer: The Unholy Alliance.” The line-up featured Lamb of God, Mastodon, Children of Bodom, Thine Eyes Bleed and some Clay Paky Alpah Spots to shed light and add drama to the spectacle onstage.

Lighting Designer/Director Jason Cain specified 20 Alpha Spot HPE 1200 luminaires for his lighting rig. “I chose the Alpha Line because of their light weight and bright output,” Cain explains. “It was also nice to have two rotating gobo wheels, and the fixed wheel as well. I was able to achieve multi-layering of the gobos to produce different lighting effects.” Cain also handled video duties.

The automated lighting was rigged in moving light pre-rig truss built by Xtreme Structures. Any concerns Cain had about the lights holding up for two months riding in the auto truss were quickly dispelled. “No worries, the Alpha Spots help up nicely,” Cain says. “For the duration of the tour, none of the Alphas had any failures.

“The show consists of lots of smoke, and very dark and moody lighting cues. Mostly deep saturated colors, reds, blues, greens are used throughout the show and gate chases are a constant. I did use the effects wheel on a song titled ‘Hell Awaits’ to help achieve a fire effect. The Alphas lived up to the fast pan and tile movement, and never-ending shutter chases.”

Dallas, Texas-based Gemini Stage Lighting served as the vendor for all of the lighting, video, trussing and motors. Backing Cain up in the lighting department are lighting crew chief Dennis Waite and lighting technicians Danny Willet and Jason Wright.

After spending two months playing mainly arenas in the United States, the tour is now headed to South America and then Mexico, Singapore and Japan before arriving in Europe in the fall for the final leg of this year’s tour.