LD Charles Ford’s challenge was creating a design in the space, or “iris” of Perry’s cat-eye shaped set. Hanging eight HEX vertically in trusses and another six HEX on the floor positioned horizontally, Ford’s flexible rig gave the illusion of having more fixtures.
“The HEX is awesome. It’s a good effect light: brighter, faster and versatile. I needed as much light in the small space as possible,” he says. “Katy’s rig is 60 to70 feet wide, so the HEX, directly behind Carly, give her backlight. The HEX can be spread out wide, and are useful in filling space with bright beams.”
Ford found the HEX “fun to play around with” when he first saw them in 2016. So when the pop star of the 2012 hit Call Me Maybe got the opening slot for Perry – with tour vendor Upstaging – there was no maybe about it. Ford contacted longtime friend High End Systems’ Terry Heisler for another look at the fixture.
“I attended a show last year with CRJ and I knew the HEX would fit nicely into Charles’ design,” Heisler says. “I like the way he programs the HEX to frame and silhouette Carly.”
Ford says the fixtures were “set up well to show their versatility” in High End Systems’ Austin demo room. “I got more cool ideas from that visit.”
The HEX fixture uses six individually controllable and movable RGBW LEDs with high efficiency TIR lenses. The 540-degree pan and 220-degree tilt enhances the LED movement with fixture movement.
“I use them in all six songs of her opening show. We can’t have too many fixtures – so the HEX gives me plenty of looks and versatility and it works well with her music.”
Ford uses the “extra punchy” indigo highlighter feature to make a statement. The highlighter emits a glowing blue backlight for its own effect. “The indigo is the first light you see in the first song and the last light you see at the end of her show,” he notes.
The LD created other effects, such as a two-blinder look, by programming just two of each of the six LEDs in the fixture. At other times, he individually sequenced all the LEDs in a random colour chase. Or, using the pan and tilt, he would move the vertical fixtures into horizontal positions, with an undulating lighting chase linking them. Sometimes the units were skewed into random angles, again showing their versatility and giving the rig different looks.
Programming is a breeze. “They are easy to program and use different parts of the fixture in different ways,” Ford says. “The low parameters are very important.”
Photo credits to Lewis Lee.