Martin Kames works double duty designing lighting for his own art project’s five debut music videos
When the new Austrian electronic/metal/pop art-project, CueStack, recently got together to produce a string of debut music videos, they had a distinct advantage when it came to the lighting design and set-up. Half of the two-member art-project is made up of Martin Kames, successful lighting designer and owner of Austrian-based rental and production company MartinKames.com.
CueStack music is a mix between electronic elements and electric guitar, a fusion of heavy metal, electronic music and pop/hip hop. Kames worked double duty on the video shoots, operating behind the camera on lighting and set design then moving round front of the camera as vocalist and synth player.
Together with vocalist/guitarist Bernth Brodträger (a Viennese virtuoso guitar player whose signature sound has added originality to a variety of metal bands), Kames boldly began what he calls the two-person CueStack “project” in January 2017 with a go-big-or-go-home attitude that has a large professional lighting rig as a key component. He comments: “In my opinion, big production is essential to this project so it either works in a big way or not at all. In the past, my vision for the ideal lightshow was never fulfilled on a level that I imagined. There were always limitations like budget, stage size, truck size, different expectations. For this project, the lighting design plays an essential role and has been part of the project since day one.”
Because Kames stocks an abundance of lighting, video and trussing equipment in his MartinKames.com warehouse in Vienna, an inventory that includes quite a bit of Elation gear, he was able to overcome any limitations for the music video designs and create impactful looks that he was wholly satisfied with.
CueStack logo and lots of lights
The set-up features the art project’s logo built as a gigantic stage made out of risers, trussing, set parts, and lots of lighting and effects. Used as the main visuals in all five music videos, Kames used an impressively large number of intelligent lighting fixtures on the project. The set-up comprised several groups of fixtures including some 170 Elation Professional luminaires: 36 Sniper 2R™ multi-effect lights, 40 Lumina Matrix™ LED matrix panels, 16 DARTZ 360™ LED beam/spot luminaires, 48 Chorus Line 8™ and 10 Chorus Line 16™ pixel bar wash luminaires, and 20 Paladin hybrid effects. The Elation gear worked with other LED lights, as well as discharge moving heads, other effect lights and LED video displays.
The set-up’s main visual component was made up of Chorus Line LED pixel bars used to outline the individual letters of the CueStack truss logo. “We used a lot of backlight in the venue in order to make the room look huge and had many of the lights illuminating the logo itself in a theatrical way,” Kames describes. “I specifically needed the Chorus Line to be able to draw the logo outlines but also to make great looks and moving effects. The zoom gave us the possibility to make impressive beam looks but also just bright blinding colors. I specifically like the macros in the Chorus Line. Since every lamp was doing multiple individual beams it made it look really impressive due to the amount of single beams that were produced in total.”
The color-changing pixel bars house 40W RGBW LEDs, a 4° to 40° zoom and have individual pixel control. Perhaps its most remarkable feature is a 220° tilt motor function that lets designers position or move the unit dynamically during a show. In one special look, Kames used the fixture’s tight zoom, random macros and moving tilt function to create a “huge chaotic look” that is a main part of the video for the project’s new cover single “Alive.”
The CueStack logo letters were also illuminated using warm-white Lumina Matrix panels and multi-functional Paladin lights. “The bright output and zoom of the Paladins allowed us to illuminate the whole logo,” Kames said, adding, “They had enough power and were bright enough to cut through the huge amount of fixtures aimed straight into the camera.”
Unique looks for each song
Used as an essential part in the design to create unique looks for each of the five songs were Elation’s new DARTZ 360 LED beam/spot fixtures with narrow three-degree beam, which Kames placed on the floor on each side of both musician risers. “Due to the positioning we were able to create very interesting looks,” he said. “When all of the DARTZ were pointing up for example, it created a kind of cage of light around us. We used LED panels along with the DARTZ on the floor for overhead shots to make us look more a part of the set rather than just standing in front of it.”
Extremely bright for its wattage and size, DARTZ produces very homogeneous color mixing and delivers an output comparable to larger discharge lamp fixtures. Eleven fixed gobos can be multiplied via two prisms and a linear frost can be employed for bright wash effects. Finally, used to fill the space in a full-room light effect were Sniper 2R multi-effect lights, a beam, scanner and laser simulator in one that can produce beam looks at dizzying speeds.
The five debut music videos with the full lighting rig on display can be seen at www.cuestack.com. Kames, who started as an LD in 2003, has worked with a number of popular artists over the years including Heaven Shall Burn, Kreator, Hatebreed, As I lay Dying, Machine Head, Bushido and many more. He founded MartinKames.com in Vienna in 2009 and has seen the company grow to become the biggest special effects supplier in Austria. MartinKames.com operates facilities in New York, Los Angeles and Australia.
48 x Elation Chorus Line 8™
10 x Elation Chorus Line 16™
16 x Elation Dartz 360™
20 x Elation Paladin™
36 x Elation Sniper 2R™
40 x Elation Lumina Matrix™
14 x Antari W-715Z™