Playboy - C3 Party Showcases Talent, Martin Gear

Playboy - C3 Party Showcases Talent, Martin Gear

May 12, 2008

For the second year in a row Playboy and C3, an event planning and production company, held a late night VIP musical showcase party in conjunction with the South by Southwest (SXSW) Conference & Festival in Austin, Texas. Held on March 13th at a warehouse in the heart of downtown Austin, the event was a showcase for Martin Professional lighting gear from Mania club and DJ effects to MAC moving heads and the newest Martin LED products.

“It was the perfect blend between what you would see at a corporate event and what you would see at a concert,” stated Bryan Azar of ILIOS Lighting, lighting designer for the event. “That was the interesting thing with this event.” ILIOS Lighting supplied all the Martin gear for the party.

SXSW
SXSW is a yearly event for entertainment and related media industry professionals. Designed to showcase artists and their work, it is a chance for up-and-coming talent to get noticed by producers, record or film labels, documentary financiers and others. Held from March 7-16, SXSW is actually three events: SXSW Music and Media Conference & Festival; SXSW Film Conference & Festival; and SXSW Interactive Festival.

Two environments
Notables of Austin society mingled with media industry professionals and Playboy Playmates at the invite only Playboy - C3 event. Performers included The Heavy, MGMT, DJ Justice and others with Moby headlining.

The warehouse was divided into two main areas; a high impact concert area and adjacent to that a relaxing ultra lounge escape zone.

Ultra lounge
ILIOS created a moody yet relaxing lounge atmosphere using lots of saturated LED color along with image and effect projection from Martin Mania lights. Mania PR1™ image projectors were used for crisp image projections including corporate sponsor logos – Playboy, C3, Toyota and Jack Daniels. The images were projected onto a surface of texture and color created from Mania DC1™ effects projectors as well as LED.

Stage area
In contrast to the lounge area, the performance stage and open audience area required an energetic and more varied feel. “Here we needed to create the highs and the lows, moods and energy,” Bryan explains. “We decked out the perimeter of the venue with ten foot truss towers with MAC 700 Profiles™ on top. There is a series of vertical poles in the warehouse, building support beams that we wrapped in mirror tiles, which the 700s were able to play with using animations, gobos and textures. We hit the poles with effects and it decorated the entire space.”

Versatile Stagebar 54
The stage was not large, so here Bryan went with Martin’s MAC 250™ series with downstage Lekos for specials. Color wash for the entire downstage area came from Martin Stagebar 54™ LED luminaires mounted on a downstage truss.

“We used the Stagebar in several different applications for this event which really showed its versatility,” Bryan stated. “We used it entirely for downstage wash and had them spaced about every five feet. One or two Stagebars can take the place of an entire six bar, depending on the throw distance, and then some because of the color capability. With the Stagebar we’re not limited as far as colors which are very potent and saturated. Without question, of all the LED fixtures we’ve come across for wash purpose, it is the brightest.

“We now build our rigs using Stagebars downstage. It’s easier than having huge dimmer racks and because of the addition of the extra white you can soften the color if you need that. The red for example is so blood red that sometimes you need to soften it and the white gives you the flexibility to do that.”

Besides the downstage wash, Stagebars were also used upstage as six and eight foot linear arrays. “We created vertical linear pixel bars with them upstage and created chases and direct view effect for Moby,” Bryan explains. “They gave us the best of both worlds and really dazzled the audience.” Also upstage, MAC 250 Entours™ were placed for hard edge and MAC 250 Washes™ for cross wash.

Turn key ease
With high profile sponsors and Austin elite in attendance it was important to incorporate a wow factor so Bryan turned to ILIOS’s first digital media product in their inventory, the Martin LC Series™, a semi-transparent, modular system of LED panels, perfect for displaying video and images.

The LC panels were floor mounted upstage and used as a video and graphics backdrop. Bryan explains, “Band management debuted MGMT’s 3D video at the event, which was played in the background through the LC panels. They gave us a copy of the video which we uploaded to a Maxedia Compact™ media server.

“Maxedia with the LC is such a turn key package and so easy. We actually only received the Maxedia and LC panels the morning of the event, which shows you how turn key it is. We also put stock Maxedia graphics up on the panels - another example of how turn key the package is.”

Because the wall behind the stage was white, they had the opportunity to utilize the transparent nature of the LC panels by placing Stagebars behind them to color the wall and create depth.

Simple set up
Using standard Prolyte CCS6 conical truss connectors, linking the lightweight LC panels together is simple. With no external power supplies or drivers, each unit comes with everything it needs built in, which reduces logistical costs and set-up time.

“Brad Haynes (Martin Regional Sales Director, Entertainment – Central) came down to help introduce us to the LC panels and it was almost unnecessary because it goes together so easy,” Bryan says. “The fraction of time it took to put the wall together compared to the rest of the rig was jaw dropping.”

Lighting control for the event was from a Martin Maxxyz™, a lighting console that ILIOS has been using since its launch. “We have it down and are very happy with it,” Bryan states.

Lighting programmer/operator and stage designer for the evening was Jack Davis of ILIOS Lighting. He commented, “I was surprised at how simple the LC panel wall was to set up and link together with the Maxxyz. I was expecting it to be a lot more complicated than it was. I'm pretty new to the video world and was a little concerned about debuting a product that I had no experience with. We had just received the shipment that morning and Brad quickly dissolved my concerns within minutes. We literally had the thing set up and linked to the Maxxyz in under an hour.

“Once linked to the Maxxyz, it was just like controlling another light fixture. It was almost easier. I set up different Banks for different parts of the show throughout the night. I had a Bank pretty much for each band. Having worked for Justice earlier that month I new they liked using all white for most of their show so we loaded a bunch of white video content; a series of things like lightning and TV static, and also a pure white wall that looked great for silhouetting. The Atomics complemented this part of the show as well. I was also impressed with the MGMT video intro. They had video content that had music that went with it. Executing the cue for their intro made it all happen at once without even needing com to tell the FOH sound engineer to start the music. It just made everything easier. I was really impressed!”

Production Manager for C3, Mike Walker, expressed his satisfaction with the event. “I was very pleased with the ambiance created by ILIOS Lighting at my event,” he commented “The band room truly rocked and I was very impressed with the effects in the lounge room. The effect was that of a living thing, which was the goal. The fixtures were truly cool and the installation outstanding.”

Lighting Designer: Bryan Azar
Lighting Supplier: ILIOS Lighting
Lighting Programmer/Operator, Stage Designer: Jack Davis
Production Manager for C3: Mike Walker

Lighting equipment:
8 x Martin LC Series™ 2140
24 x Martin Stagebar 54S™
12 x Martin MAC 250 Entour™
6 x Martin MAC 250 Wash™
8 x Martin MAC 700 Profile™
4 x Martin Atomic 3000™
1 x Martin Maxedia Compact™
1 x Martin Maxxyz™
6 x Martin Mania PR1™
6 x Martin Mania DC1™