LONDON – There are many things that Joe Beardsmore likes about being a lighting designer. High on that list is the chance to create unique looks by “playing with angles of light.” The Cotswolds-based designer is being afforded ample opportunity to pursue this passion in his work for Tom Odell on the BRITs Critics’ Choice Award winner’s current Jubilee Road Tour.
Using an impressive collection of CHAUVET Professional Maverick and Ovation fixtures, Beardsmore is supporting his chart-topping client’s music with a diverse lightshow that weaves colorful silhouettes, starburst backlighting, gentle top washes, blindingly intense specials and a host of other dazzling effects into a seamlessly integrated visual package. Controlling the 15-universe show is a ChamSys MagicQ MQ80 with a Stadium Wing and a PC Wing Compact. A double-draped backdrop ties this multi-faceted panorama together.
“I have been working with Tom Odell across the world in many venues,” said Beardsmore. “When he asked me to devise a new design to take out on his Jubilee Road Tour, he pretty much gave me free rein. However, he had a red drape backdrop that he wanted. I didn’t want to be stuck with that for the whole show, so I came up with a design that allows me to switch between a mixture of red and cream backdrops through the use of rotating double-sided drapes and kabuki drop. This lets me have the plush red backdrop Tom wants, plus a clean canvas for other songs.”
Beardsmore is using this canvas as the backdrop for a far-ranging lightshow anchored by 12 Maverick MK2 Spot, 6 Maverick MK3 Wash and 8 Maverick MK2 Wash fixtures, along with 6 Ovation E-910FC and 6 Ovation E-930VW ellipsoidals.
The MK3 Wash and MK2 Spot fixtures in the rig are double rigged on three prerig truss structures with four spots on top and two washes below them. These structures travel as stacked floor skids on the tour. At the start of the show, the structures are hidden behind the red drapery. Emanating from behind he drapery, side lighting from these fixtures creates an air of expectation, especially when it illuminates fog.
About two-thirds of the way through the evening’s performance, the red drape kabuki drops, revealing the fixtures and a white cyc to create a striking theatrical moment. From that point on, these Maverick fixtures also provide dramatic backlighting and uplighting.
Beardsmore uses six of his Maverick MK2 Wash units as key lights. Tucked discreetly on the floor, these fixtures are angled at 45° behind the band members. The remaining two MK2 Washes are used as front fill on the downstage edge. Angled as they are, the washes add a greater sense of depth to the stage.
“I was impressed with the great zoom range and brightness from the MK2 Wash, especially given that it is a small discreet fixture,” said Beardsmore. “We barely use them above 30% intensity, but it’s great to have more output available on a fader when needed.”
The Ovation fixtures in the Jubilee Road rig are being used for both shadow and silhouette effects. “I like to go to the ellipsoidals at times, because even though they are not as obvious as a moving light on the stage, they still create great effects,” said Beardsmore. “What’s more, they are also very good for your budget.”
Creating a richly diverse lightshow on a consistent basis, even when variations in venue and stage size make slight adjustments necessary, is a challenge, but it’s one that Beardsmore has met handily with help from his system techs Simon Robertson and David “Fletch” Fletcher.
“This tour has been a great experience, and I’m grateful that Tom has trusted me to complement his show with the best design and ideas that I have,” said Beardsmore. “For me, it’s been great fun to push the design process.”
Judging from the reaction of crowds on the Jubilee Road Tour, audiences are enjoying seeing that process pushed too.