Luke Stratton turns to the creative design options of Elation’s powerful hybrid moving head for string of masterful shows
When electronic musicians and legendary trip hop group, Thievery Corporation, played a month-long tour last fall, lighting designer Luke Stratton turned to Elation Professional’s Platinum FLX™ hybrid moving head to visually complement the band’s innovative music with a variety of dazzling textures and graphics. Respected for their creativity and innovation in electronica, Thievery Corporation has an impressively long discography and is among the most adventurous groups of the genre.
Stratton, owner of Luke Stratton Designs (lukestrattondesigns.com), who designed lighting for rock band Dopapod for seven years, punts all his shows, a hands-on approach that allows him to better customize looks for a creative band like Thievery Corporation. Calling himself an ‘old Elation user’ and ‘a big fan of hybrid lights’ and the versatile design options they provide, Stratton has been using Elation gear for years, including the Platinum FLX on festivals.
Stratton worked a series of shows with Thievery Corporation in 2016 before being tabbed for lighting design and lighting direction for the 2017 fall tour. He came to the project late however and when he saw a previous design that was heavy on beam fixtures the LD wasn’t convinced they were the best choice for Thievery’s more mellow, down tempo beat. He subsequently dropped them and added a more flexible color mixing fixture that could lay down a variety of visually interesting gobo textures while still providing beam looks and ample color when needed – enter Elation’s multi-functional Platinum FLX.
On Thievery’s fall tour, Stratton alternated the Platinum FLX hybrids with 1000W short-arc discharge fixtures across up- and mid-stage trusses with more fixtures lined on the floor behind three upstage risers. With its 20,000 lumens of power, the FLX not only had no problem keeping up with the 1000W fixtures, the LD had to tone them down a bit. “The FLX were so bright in beam mode I had to dial it back a bit by adding in gobos so they were more on par with the 1000W fixtures,” the LD stated.
The FLX’s host of design features like CMY color mixing, dichroic colors, two gobo wheels and dual prisms allow designers ample creative options while its independent dual optics can switch quickly between beam, spot and wash modes. Stratton says on Thievery’s tour he usually used the Platinum FLX in spot mode to lay down gobo pattern looks but occasionally dialed in wash mode to add more color to the set or beam mode, which, as mentioned, he found extremely bright.
After seeing the show, you wouldn’t be remiss in thinking that projection played an important role in the backdrop visuals. You’d be wrong however. There wasn’t a projector or LED screen in sight. Instead, Stratton created the eye-catching visuals using gobos from the Platinum FLX and 1000W fixtures working in tandem. “There are some gobos in the Platinum FLX that I really like,” he says of the fixture’s selection of 8 rotating-interchangeable and 6 static-stamped gobo. “They allowed us to create some nice saturated looks onto the cyc and unlike the 1000W fixtures we didn’t have a single mechanical problem with them the whole tour. They provided a degree of reliability that I wasn’t expecting.”
Other fixtures in the rig included compact LED moving head wash lights as well as Elation Cuepix Blinder WW2™ white light LED blinders, which the LD had placed between the airborne FLX and 1000W fixtures as a crowd-hyping audience blinder. “I could hardly tell they weren’t a traditional blinder,” he said of the bright, high-density output warm-white blinders that mimic the look of an incandescent source. American DJ Inno Beam Z19 fixtures were also used as ground lights.
Lighting vendor for Thievery Corporations fall tour was Atlanta Sound and Lighting, a leading event staging and production company in the Southeast U.S., who Stratton says took care of any needs and did a great job.