MIAMI – Every year since its founding in 2006, Life in Color, the world’s largest paint party, can be counted on for three things: drawing huge crowds (last year over 600,000 turned out around the world for the paint-drenching fun), featuring EDM’s biggest names like Calvin Harris and Steve Aoki, and coming up with some of the most wildly creative show themes on the festival circuit. The 2015 Life in Color Big Bang World Tour is no exception. The crowds have been thick, the artists like Dillon Francis and Bingo Players have been big, and the highly original theme breaks the mold into a million colorful pieces.
The tour’s “Big Bang” name says it all. So does its tag line “The Creation of Color.” Asking the big question, “How did color come to be,” the tour is built around a story line of the world’s color being imperiled only to be rescued by the vibrancy and energy of the crowd. This narrative plays out brilliantly on the tour’s “Paint Factory” stage, where a massive three-section video wall created with CHAUVET Professional MVP 18 LED Video Wall Panels plays a key role in the telling of this epoch-like tale.
“This tour is quite different,” said Dan Bouchard, Production Director of Life in Color. “The Big Bang theme isn’t an abstract concept that’s conveyed with lighting and set design, it’s a real storyline that’s told on the Paint Factory stage. The MVP video walls aren’t just there for eye candy and breakout images; they’re scenic elements that are part of the story.”
Bouchard explains that LIC is using an Alpha Channel file on the show’s media servers to block outside content from being displayed on large sections of the LED video wall. “We masked out large sections of the wall from the content created by VJs on stage,” he said. “Instead of showing the outside content, these sections display our own custom created and ever changing images that support our storyline. So you had the moving fixtures going and the VJ content going, but throughout the entire production our video wall focuses attention on our unfolding story.”
The story displayed on the video wall and played out on the stage revolves around a giant Paint Factory that has given the world color, but now finds itself dying. “There is a search for a missing formula that is needed to keep the Paint Factory and the world’s color alive,” said Bouchard. “Then it’s realized that it’s the energy of the audience that’s needed to save the Paint Factory. So people are encouraged to act. This saves the Paint Factory and brings it – and our crowd — to life.”
As this story unfolds and goes through its many moods, the Chauvet MVP video panels change accordingly, providing a vivid backdrop to the narrative. “We got amazing custom content looks on the panels that really reflect what’s going on in the story and help set the mood,” said Bouchard. “We had all our own images programmed, so we can take the panels from this grungy apocalyptic look when things are dying, and then bring things up to this brilliant shiny chrome image when the factory is saved that screams out the world is alive with color.”
A total of 150 Chauvet MVP panels were used on the Life in Color set, about evenly distributed among a center video wall and a wall on each wing of the stage. Bouchard praised the output and versatility of the panels. “We had a massive array of moving lights, but the Chauvet panels more than held their own,” he said. “In fact, we turned the brightness of the panels down to make the lights visible. The clarity and reliability of the panels were essential because we were using them in an unusual way as story elements, so the images had to flow seamlessly.”
In keeping with the outside-the-box thinking that has made LIC so unique, the show also used a collection of 40 CHAUVET Professional COLORado Batten 144 Tour linear fixtures in creative ways. “We used the COLORados to accent the stage as part of the Paint Factory machine,” said Bouchard. “They were excellent eye candy. We used them for beam and strobe looks. I know they’re intended to be wash lights, but they really performed great in the role that we created for them too.”
Using lighting gear in unexpected ways has become something of a tradition for Life in Color. Fans never quite know what to expect from LIC, other than that they’ll be entertained, enthralled and surprised in refreshingly original ways. For countless thousands of them, that’s enough to keep them coming back every year.