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GLP helps to create the virtual world of Jack White

Lüz Studio creates illusory 3D effect using X4 Bar 20 and JDC1 for Supply Chain Issues tour

GLP’s JDC1 hybrid strobe and X4 Bar 20 batten, along with ‘virtual’ X4 Bar 20s, had a big part to play in Jack White’s Supply Chain Issues tour – with stage set designed by Canadian creative director Matt Larivée, of Lüz Studio. 28 JDC1s and 12 X4s were deployed.

“The JDC1 is one of my favourite fixtures for washing a band from the floor, so that was a go-to to define the space and light up the band with washes and powerful tube FX,” noted Larivée. “As for the impression X4 20 Bars, they are also a regular fixture that I use, this time in a more subtle role to define the space above the band, next to the video wall.”

Larivée has worked with White for five years, designing the show for his previous tour in 2018, as well as being involved with one of his side projects, the Raconteurs. The artist himself contributed a good deal of creative input, “which was actually a good thing, because he’s very inspiring,” explained the designer.

“It is really collaborative,” he went on. “We came up with the first design and he responded with ideas of his own… and so it went on. For example, there’s a Hawaiian statue similar to the one Jack used in his latest music video. We suggested using excerpts of this statue in the video content but after a few discussions, we ended up having a 6’2’in [1.8m] white statue on stage. Positioned within the statue is a pedal board that controls the lighting, and depending on the song, the colour changes in accordance with the music. So, for White Stripes it’s red, for Raconteurs green, and so on.”

The concept of the show is a stage upon a stage that would be scalable to fit both theatre- and arena-sized venues. “Jack improvs all the time – there’s no set list, so the proximity with the band is very important,” said Larivée. “That stage-on-a-stage idea was also good to support that.”

However, to create that concept, they needed to define space – and they used a clever bit of GLP illusion to pull it off. Larivée explained: “There’s a curtain that surrounds the downstage and upstage, and a video screen that matches the width of this curtain. We didn’t want to use random images or flat images. so we needed to create set extensions architecturally. But since it’s a concert it has to be dynamic, and because it’s improv it can’t be pre-rendered – therefore all the virtual, volumetric lighting was created in CGI and integrated in the scene with no intensity. The intensity and colour were controlled from the lighting console.”

Created in Notch VFX and driven by the Disguise gx 2c servers, the render-free lighting followed the lighting programming. New fixture profiles were created similar to the original, using a zoom but no tilt “We used wash lights and other ambient lights, but the main feature was those X4 Bar 20s,” said Larivée “because they look like the real ones and they are hung just as they would be in real life. The FX felt real because they were designed by lighting people who were familiar with producing content.”

The realisation was entirely down to Lüz Studio, which designed and programmed all lighting, production and video. “The virtual lighting is an art form of ours – but this one required a lot of R&D,” added Larivée.

As for the GLP inventory, he noted that “everything fulfilled our expectations. These are reliable fixtures, which is always reassuring for a road crew.”

Lighting for the tour was supplied by Solotech Nashville. Lüz Studio was responsible for creative direction, production, lighting and video content design, under the show direction of Matt Larivée. Other key personnel were MC Dufort (creative producer), Dave Pawsey (video content director), Philippe Marquis (server, R&D and GMA video programming), Simon Rouhier (Notch designer), Adam Cutty Richards (production manager), Lalo Medina (tour manager), Michelle Sarrat (LD and programmer), David Leonard (video content director) and Kevin Chan (lighting crew chief).