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23/01/2007

HSL Purchases 12 Robe DigitalSpot 5000 DT Moving Projector Fixtures

HSL has bought 12 new Robe DigitalSpot 5000 DT moving projector fixtures, six of which went directly out on the Human League’s latest UK and European tour, specified by lighting designer Rob Sinclair.
Sinclair has been producing and operating the Human League’s visuals for the last 4 yours and designing their lights for the last 2 years. He first saw the DigitalSpot 5000’s in action at PLASA 2006, where HSL’s Mike Oates demonstrated their capabilities. This was enough to convince him to use them on the upcoming tour.
HSL’s Mike Oates said: “We’d been itching to buy the DigitalSpots as soon as we knew they were coming to the market at PLASA. I can see enormous potential in all sorts of applications for a highly efficient moving projector."
Human League’s live work has explored alternative visual avenues for some time. However the enduring popularity of their vintage 1980’s electro pop made returning to a strong projection show this year particularly relevant. Sinclair explains that some of the band’s most memorable gigs of 20 years ago had featured a ‘slide show’, and Human League’s Philip Oakey wanted to inject this sort of vibe back into the current show.
The visual design was based around three upstage screens, each measuring 10 ft x 7.5 ft. The stage set and floor including monitors and equipment racks were also white, so Sinclair utilised these - and the band members themselves - as additional projection surfaces
The DigitalSpot 5000’s were rigged onto a truss in front of the screens and operated by Sinclair via his Jands Vista console, running ArtNet. This gave an Ethernet signal path between the fixtures, the console and Sinclair’s laptop. He used the latter for updating the content while the fixtures were actually rigged, which proved very useful.
Projection kicked in after the 6th song of the set and continued throughout the rest of the lively, up tempo show that stormed through the band’s repertoire of blockbusting hits from the 1980s ands 90s.
Each song had its own specific pierce footage. All of it was specially created for the show, either shot from scratch by Sinclair or composited by him from various sources, including archival and historical Human League footage and clips from the DigitalSpot’s extensive onboard library.
It varied greatly - smoking guns and exploding glass for “Lebanon” to a selection of pseudo-psychedelic dreamy fish for “Human” and a collection of classic retro computer technology images for the finale of “Electric Dreams”.
They proved to be extremely bright in the various gigs - primarily theatres and concert Halls of up to 2000 capacity.
Sinclair worked alongside technicians Mike Sheppard and Dave Jolly on the tour. For the UK leg, Lite Alternative supplied the rest of the lighting rig, but when they hit Europe, they just took the DigitalSpots plus some assorted specials, utilising assorted house rigs for generics and moving lights.
The backup and support from both HSL and Robe UK has been “Fantastic” says Sinclair. Robe also added QuickTime file compatibility into the DigitalSpots just before Sinclair started the tour, allowing him to keep his existing editing workflow.
(DS/SP)
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