Robe for First Delivered Live Shows
“Delivered Live” is a vibrant weekly music and comedy performance concept streamed live-and-direct from Melbourne, Australia, the result of a dynamic collaboration between Handshake Management, rental and production company Harry The Hirer Productions and the Victorian State Government …
It’s designed to feed the need for live entertainment and positive energy during the nationwide lockdown to beat the Coronavirus pandemic, and also to provide some much-needed financial support to artists, crew and technicians who have been left high-and-dry with the almost complete shutdown of the live performance industry.
The venue is The Studio, a new production and demo area at Harry the Hirer Productions’ HQ in the Richmond district of Melbourne, a large ‘development space’ with lighting and audio consoles, previz and demonstration facilities that’s designed for LDs, engineers and designers to block, program and work on their projects, shows, pitches, showcases and presentations.
Lighting designer for Delivered Live is Marcus Pugh, who in normal times works for Harry The Hirer Productions as business development manager, a role that also includes production design work. However, now he is returning to his lighting roots, revisiting and brushing up his operating and programming skills to ensure that everyone ‘Delivered Live’ is looking fantastic on camera!
For the latest webcast, Marcus’ moving lights of choice were four Robe ESPRITES and eight MegaPointes, part of Harry The Hirer Productions’ first investment into Robe moving lights at the end of 2019 … with the purchase of 24 x ESPRITES, 24 x MegaPointes and 2 x RoboSpot systems from Robe’s Australian distributor, Jands.
All Delivered Live’s audio and LED screens are also supplied by Harry The Hirer Productions, with cameras and operators sourced from Small Time TV. The impressive line-up of rising star, cutting edge and popular music and comedy stars are being sourced through Handshake Management, and the show is hosted by musician, singer / songwriter and TV personality, Henry Wagons.
The event operates within strict social distancing guidelines, so there is a maximum of 10 people in the room at any one time.
While large for a demo area, it’s ‘compact’ for a TV studio, and has been repurposed and adapted for these webcasts during this exceptional time.
A special stage was constructed offering separate areas for the bands – up to a max. of 6 people – and comedians, with their personal spaces delineated by LED tubes. There is also a host position behind the bar for Wagons.
The FOH lighting and sound positions are spaced out to give each operator four square metres of working space, and all the crew wear full PPE. Every artist receives a separate fully sanitised mic in sealed wrapping plus windsocks, and these and all the equipment are also disinfected after use.
Following each live performance, the artists sit in the front the bar for a quick chat with Wagons before each departing the building in their own vehicles.
The extensive premises have enough space for parking and a complete in / out drive-through route to be created.
Directed by Scott “Ando” Anderson, the first Delivered Live broadcast featured seven bands, five comedians complete with a pre-recorded mental health segment by radio & TV personality Myf Warhurst, and lasted around 5 hours. This was honed down to an alternative format comprising three bands, two comedians plus the Myf Warhurst play-in running for 2.5 hours on the second Saturday night.
This parameter and indeed the whole format is still a ‘work in progress’ on some fronts, but it has proved manageable, practical, achievable and highly watchable … drawing around 20,000 and selling over 2000 ‘tickets’ each time.
Whilst free to stream, viewers are encouraged to donate the equivalent of what might be an average gig or concert ticket. The money is divided up between the participating artists and crew and each act also nominates one person on their regular road crew and their favourite venue … to also receive a percentage of the funds!
The musical artists for the second show were Freya Josephine Hollick, Hayley Mary and Australian national treasure Tim Rogers while comedians Sami Shah and Adam Rozenbachs got everyone rolling around their lounges with some incisive wit!
Marcus upped the lighting setup for the second week using the eight MegaPointes and four ESPRITES, which improved the lighting on camera tenfold.
Six of the MegaPointes were hung in the roof up stage, with the other two poking through gaps in a series of staggered LED panels flanking both sides of the stage.
The ESPRITES were on the deck at the back of the stage behind the performers and used for back lighting and some big, bold up-lighting shots.
It was only the fourth chance for him to incorporate ESPRITES into a design, and the first time in a live music context, so he was ecstatic to be able to do this and delighted with their performance!
He relished being able to change up the CTO quickly and easily and “evoke such a nice and detailed range of pastels”. In contrast to the first week, the musical ambience of the second show was on the reflective and subtle side, so no flash-and-trash on this one!
“I was shifting between three of four intricately constructed looks and scenes on average per song,” he explained to capture the mood and spirit of the moment. Aesthetically, his mission was to apply a distinctive style and treatment to each artist, so it resembled a real live music venue … rather than a streaming studio!
He thinks the ESPRITE’s 5.5 – 50-degree zoom range is “amazing” together with the fact that you can focus gobos at any point along it. “The optics are great, and while I didn’t need to use the beam-shaping it’s been solid on other shows, features like prism overlay were useful and the gobo selection is excellent for both breakups and for aerials.”
The output was more than enough for the relatively confined room, and Marcus ran the lights under 80% intensity most of the time even in the saturated colour ranges.
“It is a fantastic fixture and I have not even used 10% of the capabilities,” he declared.
He’s had more experience in using MegaPointes, and they became the workhorse rear profile luminaires, mostly running in spot mode as he didn’t need radical tight beam effects on a close recorded show like this. They made powerful slices and shafts of light “light-curtain style” which looked awesome on camera.
A grandMA2 light was the console of choice for this and the other lights on the rig.
The first show’s rig day fell on Marcus’s birthday and he commented, “After many weeks of cancellations I can’t tell you how amped and incredibly happy I felt to be working and doing a gig setup on my birthday! Our industry is going through some extremely tough and uncertain times, but we have to be positive and focus on the other side of this crisis. I am so proud to be part of this incredible team helping to bring comedy, music and fun to an audience craving live entertainment and social interaction!”
Others involved in the Delivered Live technical production elements include Webcast & Vision Systems Ian Kirkwood, monitor engineer Richard Whitty and stage audio technician Sam Beresford. The camera operators and vision mix is by Small Time TV, Nick McKinley & James Seymour, the tour manager is Luke ‘Boo’ Johnson, artist liaison is by Johnny Salerno, the FOH audio engineer is Travers Chesney and video production is by Zig Parker. Additional MA programming is by Terry Lowe.
Delivered Live is executive produced by Leigh and Craig Treweek of Handshake Management and is filmed and streamed live from The Studio at Harry The Hirer’s in Melbourne.
Photo Credit: Marcus Pugh