The School Musical (1st published in CX Magazine)

The school has booked the venue to do their annual musical. The sort of affair where it is important that the parents see and hear their little darlings. The only problem is the teachers directing, yes, I said teachers – one of the issues, have no experience. Several teachers all directing by committee of sorts. This means you get different directorial inputs for the same thing. Agreements are few and far between.
Now they did ask for advice, on the day of the bump in. It becomes a rush to get more radio mics to ease the belt pack changes through the show. Sound check then becomes a very short affair, as again this was scheduled as part of the run through.
The technician tries not to lose their cool as the day progresses, as they are handed a USB with slides for a projection. So, they plug it into the computer, only to discover the images are PDF and are not all in landscape mode. Time to drag out own laptop and convert and edit files to something PowerPoint can be happy with. Time is running away. There is a backing CD, as it is a junior Disney production. At least that is one less job to worry about, micking a 20 piece primary school orchestra.
The radio mics are ready, the kids have been stopped from playing with them. The slides are working to the client’s satisfaction. Now time for the lighting, which is going to have to be done on the fly. It will have to be programmed as they rehearse, plus the audio levels will need to be set. Remember they only one tech to be around. A teacher was going to help with the audio, pity they freaked when they saw the digital console. Now they are backstage helping with the radio mics.
The Stage Manager has never learnt how to call a show, and constantly drops the headsets, without muting, to help a child, or yell at them. Oh, look the SM is on stage suddenly – that is an interesting cameo role.
The tech is now running on caffeine fumes wishing for something stronger. Lunch was a distant memory of a half-eaten sandwich. The client has become very cool on the idea of using the standard lighting rig with it’s 9 specials. It was a good thing that the venue keeps this is place, correctly focused and gelled. A colour gel change may happen, let hope the venue have a client friendly colour and the vertical lifter is charged.
One of the set pieces is drooping, the glue is not holding up to the weight of the students it seems. Nope it is the adhesive, it does not like a lot of warm lights. The tech puts away the sidelights, which did help make the show look interesting.
The theatre is starting to smell funny – old socks and something undefinable. Turn up the air conditioner. Only a couple of hours to go before the first performance before an audience, so why are there lots of them around in the foyer with bags of food. They are feeding the students in shifts, so the tech rehearsal can continue with out a break, also explains the multiple directors. The tech’s stomach smells the food and grumbles.
Audience are seated, the ushers trying to keep them from sitting in the aisles, it seems they have oversold. The tech will not allow the show to continue until cleared. The announcement is made about cameras, and phones. Lots of flashes still happen, and the tech watches the eerie glow on light on the audience faces.
The show staggers to a start. And settles into an uneasy rhythm, the audience seem to enjoy it. A parent walk outs after their child has finished performing. Phones are busier than the ushers. Interval arrives, batteries changed and a quick coffee and mars bar. Second act starts with a missing child, parents have taken them home. Thunderous applause signifies the end. The audience are happy, the kids are hyper with happiness. They hug on stage, trampling sets and getting in the way of staff trying to tidy up. The show will happen 2 twice more on the next day.
Then the alarm sounds “6.30am”, was it a dream? Or the upcoming day. Groan


WOMAD update

For the next 3 years, we will see the NW Group be the production partner for WOMADdelaide. So 2020, 2021 and 2022 will see the technical expertise of the NW Group on one of Australia’s premier music festivals in the city of Adelaide. This multi-stage multi-day event is a musical highlight for Australia, with world-class performers from overseas countries to local acts.
NW Group have many large scale events under their belt, ranging from the Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour, Adelaide Fashion Festival, and Fatboy Slim NZ Tour & Electric Gardens. That is only a small sample of what they have done recently.
We look forward to seeing and hearing these guys at work during WOMAD.

NW Group 


MagicQ MQ70 Compact Console – Latest from Chamsys

MagicQ MQ70 is the latest offering in the Compact Console range of small and lightweight consoles that you can fly with. The MagicQ MQ70 fits within hand luggage carry on restrictions of all the major budget airlines including, Southwest, Easyjet and Ryanair. The console features a 10.1” Multi touch display, with illuminated encoder and fader tracks. 

The console supports 24 universes with an option to expand to 48. The console has 3 network ports enabling ArtNet and sACN direct from the console, whilst also having 4 assignable physical DMX ports. This feature packed console also includes WIFI inbuilt to the console for quick connection to ChamSys MagicQ Remote focus application without the need for external networking hardware.

The MQ70 features an inbuilt UPS which protects both the console and the Ethernet switch in case of power fail. It has low power consumption and does not require a cooling fan – enabling silent operation making it the ideal choice for touring shows, broadcast, theatrical and corporate shows.

With built in MIDI input and output, LTC and audio input for synchronization, the MagicQ MQ70 provides many options for integration with show control and audio systems.

The MagicQ MQ70 runs the same MagicQ software as other MagicQ consoles, meaning that shows programmed on it can be loaded and ran on any other MagicQ console (within the universe limits). 


  • Universes supported: 24 *expandable to 48
  • Channels: 12288 *expandable to 24576
  • Number of fixtures: Up to 12288 *expandable to 24576
  • Cues: 5000
  • Groups: 5000
  • Display: 10.1”
  • Touch Screen: Multi touch
  • DMX 5-Pin XLR: 4
  • Faders: 12
  • Attribute encoders: 8
  • Network ports: 3
  • Inbuilt WIFI: Yes
  • USB ports: 5
  • Audio in: Yes
  • Audio out: Yes
  • MIDI: Notes, TC, Show Control
  • LTC in: Yes
  • Remote input port: Yes
  • Illuminated faders: Yes
  • Illuminated encoders: Yes
  • Wing Support: Yes
  • Multi console: Yes
  • 1 Dual Colour Dimmable LED
  • Console Lamp
  • UPS: Yes
  • Width: 525mm (20.6”)
  • Depth: 350mm (13.7”)
  • Height: 60mm (2.3”)
  • Weight: 7kg (15.4lb)



5200 NW 108 Avenue
Sunrise, FL
33351, USA

ChamSys Ltd – U.K.

Brooklands Courtyard,
First Avenue,
SO15 0LJ
United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0) 2380 238 666

Elation IP65 lighting for Montana’s inaugural Peak to Sky festival

Jereco Studios designs and supplies robust, professional lighting rig for iconic rock lineup

When your inaugural event has rock icons like Mike McCready (Pearl Jam), Chad Smith (Red Hot Chili Peppers), Duff McKagan (Guns N’ Roses), Josh Klinghoffer (Red Hot Chili Peppers) and Taylor Hawkins (Foo Fighters) on the bill, let’s just say you’re off to a good start. But you also know you need to deliver lighting worthy of that all-star status, and in a western environment where harsh weather is to be expected. That was the challenge local event producers Outlaw Partners and lighting suppliers Jereco Studios were up against at the first annual Peak to Sky festival in Montana in early July.

“We knew going in that we would have to put together a package that would be fitting of some of the biggest names in rock n’ roll,” says Frank Douglas of Bozeman-based Jereco Studios. With at least 75% of the live production done by Jereco Studios during the summer months outdoors, Douglas says that in southwest Montana at least 75% of those shows experience some degree of inclement weather. “From sustained high winds, to hail, to rain, to snow, our most exposed fixtures need to be able to withstand that. Elation has led the way with their large selection of IP-rated fixtures.”

Guitars and grandeur

The 4th of July weekend Peak to Sky festival, curated by McCready, featured two days of world-class rock under the striking backdrop of Lone Mountain in Big Sky, Montana. Produced by award-winning media and events company Outlaw Partners, fans witnessed history as multiple hall of famers took to the stage as an ethereal sky and picture-perfect sunset played out in the background. The festival also featured multi-Grammy Award-winning artist Brandi Carlile and Seattle-based female rockers Thunderpussy.

Lighting setup

Douglas, who served as lighting designer, programmer and lighting op with lighting design and programming assistance by Lauren Plant, says a wide, symmetrical combination of spots, hybrids, washes, and effect fixtures were chosen to populate a Stageline SL320 mobile stage provided by Rocky Mountain Rigging. The downstage electric housed all Elation IP65 fixtures (8 Proteus Hybrid, 8 Proteus Rayzor 760 and 2 DTW Blinder 700IP) with the midstage holding LED moving head effect lights. The upstage electric held 8 Elation Rayzor 760s while the upstage deck housed LED moving head effects as well as 12 Elation SixPar300s, 2 DTW Blinder 700IPs, and a pair of ADJ Mega Flash strobes.

The IP65 rating of the Proteus Hybrids and Rayzors, along with the DTW Blinders, were key to their downstage placement and role in the rig. “The new Proteus Rayzor 760s have excellent output and zoom all the way out to 77 degrees for total coverage at any distance, making them an ideal wash fixture in their standard mode,” said Douglas. “I normally like to put spots/hybrids on my upstage electric and deck, but the Proteus Hybrids have proven to be a versatile go-anywhere beast. In beam mode they cut through the sky, giving it that big rock show feel, yet they also thrive in spot mode, and at that distance from the cyc were used for crisp gobo projection and animation.”

The LD says the upstage Rayzor 760s wound up being a perfect choice for mirroring the large LED moving head effect lights. “I ran the upstage Rayzors in pixel mode, which were plotted in 2D to control each cell,” he says, “making for much more pleasing dimmer and color effects, as well as pixel mapping alongside the LED effect lights in their extended mode.” The potential for rough weather dictated that the Proteus Hybrids work from the downstage truss and not surprisingly the wind kicked up and there was rain on and off throughout the weekend. “Still, all of our Proteus tanks were completely unscathed.”

Useful as a simple wash or specialty effect light, the Rayzor 760 can pan & tilt continuously and along with its patented SparkLED pixel sparkle effect, provides designers ample opportunity to be creative. Douglas describes one of his favorite looks using them. “I was definitely looking forward to utilizing the infinite pan and tilt of the Rayzor 760s. My favorite look using that was to write an effect using the infinite tilt and fanning out the offset and rate to achieve a spider-esque look of continually cascading light beams. I was able to incorporate the new SparkLEDs just by selecting a bunch of my favorite looks from their built-in macros, then manipulating their rate with a fader. It was nice to know I could still get excellent utility from the SparkLEDs even without needing to run them in the full extended 80 channel mode.” Rounding out the rig were SixPar 300s, which provided upwash onto a cyc, while another pair of DTW Blinders were positioned directly behind Chad Smith and Taylor Hawkins’ drum risers to create a silhouette when blacking out the rest of the rig.

The future of entertainment lighting

Douglas says he has used Elation Platinum Spot and Beam fixtures previously in his career and has always had good experiences using Elation gear. “Elation has been at the forefront of developing LED and weatherproof fixtures, which are the future of entertainment lighting,” he said. “Since we are sticklers for efficiency and robustness, choosing Elation was a no-brainer.”

Douglas ends by saying he feels lucky to work for a company like Jereco, which affords him the opportunity to work with premium equipment and very talented individuals. “Our live production crew is one of the best around and they make my job the best a guy could ask for.” That Jereco crew consists of Jeremiah Slovarp (Owner), Stephan Gueguen (Technical Director/FOH Engineer), Matt Grayson (Monitor Engineer), Garrett Stephens (StageLine Tech), and “the most integral piece to our lighting world our L2, Lauren Plant.” 

With 5,500 people attending the two-day, sold out event in Big Sky, the inaugural Peak to Sky festival was a big success. After the festival, McCready, who took part in a number of classic jams throughout the festival such as renditions of Aerosmith’s “Sweet Emotion,” David Bowie’s “Ziggy Stardust,” Prince’s “Purple Rain” and an epic Led Zeppelin medley, said he hopes to make the festival an annual event.

Lighting Equipment:
8 x Elation Proteus Hybrid™
8 x Elation Proteus Rayzor 760™
4 x Elation DTW Blinder 700IP™
8 x Elation Rayzor 760™
12 x Elation SixPar 300™
ADJ Mega Flash™
2 x Antari F4 Fazer™

Photos:  Kene Sperry

For more information, contact:

Elation Professional US
6122 S. Eastern Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90040
Tel: (866) 245-6726 (toll free)
Tel: (323) 582-3322

Elation Professional EUJunostraat 2.
6468 EW Kerkrade
The Netherlands
Tel: +31 (0)45 546 85 66

Elation Professional Mexico
Av Santa Ana 30,
Parque Industrial Lerma,
Lerma, Mexico 52000
Tel: +011 52 728 282 7070

Clear-Com Unveils FreeSpeak Edge: The Next Generation of Digital Wireless Intercom

Advanced wireless intercom solution is purpose-built to harness the full capabilities of 5GHz and IP

Clear-Com® is proud to announce FreeSpeak Edge™, the latest addition to the industry-leading FreeSpeak™ family of digital wireless intercom solutions. FreeSpeak Edge is the most advanced wireless intercom system, delivering the best audio quality and enhanced performance in some of the most complex live performance environments. The system also gives the user more control and customization options, thanks to advanced frequency coordination capabilities and intuitive design features in the system’s transceivers and beltpacks.

Built from the ground up, FreeSpeak Edge is the result of extensive feedback from existing FreeSpeak II power users, incorporating recent advances in the fundamental technology, leading to an all-new 5GHz chipset that features an exclusive radio stack development which has been optimized for intercom. FreeSpeak Edge also leverages state of the art audio-over-IP developments in its architecture, utilizing AES67 connections between the transceivers and the host intercom frame for exceptional flexibility in deployment.

“FreeSpeak Edge is the future of advanced wireless communication,” said Bob Boster, President, Clear-Com. “While some manufacturers are trying to improve incrementally on existing solutions, we have leapfrogged right to the edge of what is possible with wireless intercom technology today, in readiness for tomorrow’s increasingly demanding requirements. We often hear talk of so-called game-changers, but FreeSpeak Edge is the real deal.”

The 5GHz band is an ideal choice for large scale communications, as it can be managed with frequency coordination for reduced interference and offers the widest range of RF channels available for exceptional scalability. Its higher frequencies mean there’s more bandwidth for data which allows for finer control, additional audio channels, more robustness, lower latency and better audio quality.

FreeSpeak Edge leverages all the power of 5GHz technology to perform flawlessly in even the most challenging venues and high multipath environments. The system takes advantage of Clear-Com’s exclusive RF technology which uses OFDM to provide a robust transport layer that is immune to most forms of interference. FreeSpeak Edge delivers the clearest 12kHz audio quality with ultra-low latency and is highly scalable with the technology and bandwidth to support over 100 beltpacks and 64 transceivers to accommodate the largest productions. It can be combined seamlessly with FreeSpeak II 1.9GHz and 2.4GHz systems, providing three bandwidths across a single unified communications system.

FreeSpeak Edge transceivers and beltpacks offer more customization and control than ever before to accommodate increasingly complex communication needs. The beltpack’s ergonomic design includes asymmetrical concave/convex top buttons for identification at a glance and touch operation; eight programmable buttons; rotary controls on both sides; and a master volume control and flashlight on the bottom. With a mic and speaker for headset-free or desktop operation, the beltpack was designed with today’s production needs in mind. Each ruggedized transceiver supports 10 beltpacks and includes attenuation and external antennas for custom RF zones as well as wall and mic stand mounting options. The system delivers the robustness and reliability that customers have come to expect from the award-winning FreeSpeak range.

FreeSpeak Edge is available for demonstration, along with a wide range of ClearCom’s trusted intercom solutions, on Booth 10.D29 at IBC2019. FreeSpeak Edge is scheduled to ship in January 2020.

Contact details: Kyle O’Hare
P: +612 9582 0909
E: KO’


Well, it is that day again. It is rather sad in a way that we need a day to ask people, R U OK. We should be asking this question every day. We need to constantly make sure our work colleagues, friends and family are traveling well. We need to be more aware of the people around us.

Starting an R U OK? conversation? Use these four steps:
1. Ask R U OK?
2. Listen
3. Encourage action
4. Check in

Mental health issues are very important, especially in our industry. We have either suffered problems or know someone that has. so we need to be aware of possible issues in our fellow workers and there need to be work practices put into place to offer help and assistance. Management needs to have systems in place for their workers and the staff need to feel that they can get help without stigma.

A lot of crew feel isolated, they working strange hours, often long, with little social interaction with others outside the industry. They are in the back of the mind when is the next gig coming from that will pay. Financial hardship is often a major cause of anxiety. As you can imagine work-life balance is not brilliant for those in the entertainment industry. Having suffered extreme anxiety, there was not much help around at the time. Now there is plenty of resources around and a lot of workplaces are aware the problem is real and can assist or at least point you in the right direction. The first step is to realize you have a problem and not be embarrassed in acknowledging you have a problem and looking for help. some people have turned to drugs and alcohol, but that is not the answer. As soon as you realize you have a problem seek help. And, if you notice a workmate looking like they are not coping ask, R U Ok? Don’t wait until the 12th of the 9th. Everyday should be R U OK Day.

Support Act
24/7 WELLBEING HELPLINE: 1800 959 500

13 11 14

Suicide Call Back Service
1300 659 467

1800 55 1800

1300 845 745

Obsidian Control Systems to show powerful NX 4™ with DYLOS pixel composer at 2019 PLASA

Obsidian Control Systems is pleased to be joining with UK distribution partner Entedi September 15-17 at PLASA in West London where the new NX 4™ lighting console with DYLOS™ pixel composition engine will be available for demo. Designers, programmers and operators are invited to Stand H40 for a look at this powerful console in the intuitive ONYX™ platform and experience the creative possibilities with DYLOS.

NX 4

NX 4™

Equipped with a range of professional features and using the latest in industrial components, the NX 4 is designed to handle even the largest show with ease. With a well-arranged combination of motorized and manual faders, along with an array of playback buttons, the NX 4 offers 44 total playbacks in a compact yet extremely powerful package. 

Fast boot times, instant operation and the ability to process 64 Universes right inside the console without the need for costly external processing networks result in unprecedented power in this form factor.


DYLOS aims to provide new and innovative ways that far exceed the capabilities of regular pixel-mapping systems and is the first of many exciting steps for the ONYX™ platform to provide a comprehensive toolset of dynamic fixture animation, exciting content generators and powerful media playback. Based on a full 3D environment and powerful DirectX graphics processing, the DYLOS engine has been designed from the ground up for power and performance to manage thousands of fixtures and parameters with ease.


ONYX is a powerful yet easy-to-learn lighting control platform designed for both hardware consoles and PC systems. It is a rebranding of the well-established M-Series control platform and is designed for use with all new ONYX and existing M-Series hardware. Obsidian Control Systems products are distributed exclusively by Elation Professional worldwide and are available in various sizes to accommodate any scale and budget. More information on Obsidian Control Systems and the ONYX platform can be found at

For more information, contact:

Elation Professional US
6122 S. Eastern AvenueLos Angeles, CA 90040
USATel: (866) 245-6726 (toll free)Tel: (323) 582-3322

Elation Professional EU
Junostraat 2.6468 EW Kerkrade
The Netherlands
Tel: +31 (0)45 546 8566

Elation Professional Mexico
Av Santa Ana 30,
Parque Industrial Lerma,
Lerma, Mexico 52000
Tel: +011 52 728 282 7070