Nashville-based production provider works with designer Ben Shockley to provide a versatile and memorable LED video and lighting design for the certified platinum-selling artist
During a 20-plus-year career as one of country music’s most alluring outlaws, Gary Allan has sold over 8 million albums with five number one hits, 14 top-10 hits, and has amassed over 1.8 Billion total streams. With a fan base that stretches around the world, the California-native is often out on the road showcasing his unique and artistic vocals in a raucous live performance. Readying now for the 2019 tour across North America, production designer Ben Shockley once again worked with the Nashville-based production provider Elite Multimedia Productions to supply a versatile and memorable LED video and lighting design.
“As an artist, Gary typically tours all year long without a set schedule,” began Shockley. “I have been with him for a little over two years now, and each year we try to bring something new. Since we will be playing a lot of the same venues each year, we have to have a fresh look to give the fans a slightly different experience each time.”
Getting started on the new production design, Shockley understood that video would play an integral role. Knowing how the artist likes to create a dynamic visual experience out on the road, Shockley took the opportunity to be a bit creative in creating this year’s LED video design.
“Gary likes to have good video content as part of the overall tour design, and in years past we have done a straight LED wall or LED strips along the back of the stage,” added Shockley. “This year we wanted to think a little more out-of-the-box, so we created a video wall that was a hybrid between a circle and square, that we affectionately call the ‘8-bit circle’, like an old video game. We also added some truss facias with video panels that created an additional 26-feet of video surface. The trusses are then arranged into two separate Chevron’s with the 8-foot ‘video game’ circle centered below them, giving us a lot of flexibility and making it a much more dynamic video design.”
With the expanded LED video design, Shockley also wanted to make sure they were using the ideal technology in order to take full advantage of the new tour layout. Wanting a deeper visual connection with the fans, he worked with Elite Multimedia Productions to ensure the use of a high-definition LED video solution with a creative backend control.
“In the past we have traveled with 12.5mm video, but this year we decided to take it up a bit and go with the 3.9mm product which has made a huge difference in the video design,” admitted Shockley. “For the content, we are also now using the Resolume media servers that have a great effects engine and mapping capabilities and are very easy to use. This really helps us get the most out of our video design because it gives us the power to quickly change our stock content to get very creative looks that we wouldn’t be able to get otherwise.”
Turning his attention to the lighting design for the 2019 tour, Shockley was focused on making sure that the lighting elements wouldn’t be lost in the video. Still desiring a lighting package that could create a visual impact on its own, he was able to work within the expansive inventory of Elite Multimedia Productions to find the ideal fixtures needed.
“With the lighting design, we had traveled with larger fixtures, but with the expanded video design we needed smaller yet powerful lighting solutions,” explained Shockley. “I wanted to still have a strong impact with the lighting, so we decided to go with Clay Paky Sharpy luminaires to be able to get a lot into the rig, and then we added in Mac Aura’s for our wash lights and Philips SL Nitro strobes to give us a big hit when we need it. With this set-up, the lighting design is still really impactful and versatile with a great mixture of looks.”
Ready to now head out on tour, Shockley and the crew would be tasked with playing a multitude of different venues and adapting the rig to maximize its potential. Working in a system based on teamwork and support, they are able to plan accordingly ahead of time and maintain the same high level of fan experience at each tour stop along the way.
“We are currently touring with a crew of eight tech members, and many of us often pull double duty,” said Shockley. “We typically have about 3 to 4 hours each day to get everything fully up and running, and since we are playing a wide variety of venues from theatres, casinos, arenas, amphitheaters and even clubs, we have to be flexible in what we put up each night. With how our production design is laid out, we can quickly adapt and create the design that best fits each venue.”
As touring artists continue to excite fans around the world, each team working behind the scenes relies upon the support of their production partners out on the road. In this fast-paced live event environment, the gear must be ready to work on a consistent basis, and it is often this partner support that is key to the tour success.
“Working with Elite Multimedia has always been a fantastic experience and they seem to always go above and beyond to get us the gear we need at a price that makes sense for both of us,” concluded Shockley. “They take great care of their gear and it’s always ready to go out the door and work night-after-night. Should we ever need something last minute, I can always call and get a live person and I really appreciate everything they do as a touring production partner.”
Based in Nashville, Tennessee, Elite Multimedia Productions is a one-stop shop for all things entertainment, specializing in concert touring, live event production and production gear rental. Offering full-service audio/visual production, video production, and live event lighting and LED, they provide the most comprehensive production support and services at the highest quality to clients across the world. No matter the size of the event, their passion for helping create unforgettable experiences is what sets them apart. With a combined 85 years of industry experience, their team of dedicated professionals knows how to pair the right technology with your vision, and their passion to innovate knows no bounds. For more information on how Elite Multimedia Productions is the right partner for you, visit www.elitemultimedia.com, follow on Twitter at @EliteMultimedia or find on Facebook and Instagram.