The Last Domino? Reunion tour already previously rescheduled to April 2021 finally kicked off September 20th in Birmingham. We’ve all been living the pain but the reward is unseen and the Genesis stage an explosion of e-motion. Defying all odds in full COVID lockdown period 2020, the legendary prog icons decided to sign for a highly innovative and impressive touring stage set. WI was commissioned to engineer, manufacture and build the stage flooring system, risers and stage motion assets all of them prebuilt in our warehouse, pre-programmed and operated with WIMOTION cloud software and desk.
THE ORCHESTRA OF MOVING OBJECTS
Piece de resistance for the overwhelming Genesis stage and first realization by WI on that scale of collaboration, is the flawless motion control of 23 moving objects in 3D. We count 12 video screens(1), 5 lighting pods(2) and 6 FX trusses(3). It took no less than 56 devices (motion machines) to bring them to life. Nice to know: objects are designed and controlled to move individually, in group formations or in a symphonic manner directed by meticulously measured scenarios. A powerful extra scenic layer to support and emotionally amplify music, light and dynamic video content at crucial touch points. We’re pretty sure that with the Genesis stage, we’ve set the tone for a next step in stage automation. An advanced motion ecosystem of WI ampleur will from now on be required by every creative aspiring a holistic experience of the Genesis stage level. As to the moving objects, let’s warm up with headline grabber number 1: lighting.
We’re pretty sure that with the Genesis stage, we’ve set the tone for a next step in show automation
DANCING LIGHTING PODS
Enjoy the mother grid with 5 fully motion controlled and highly decorative moving lighting PODS finished to a high standard with aluminum composite sheeting and integrated LED strips. Sending out PSN protocol, the lighting desk captures the exact position of the pods during its tilting movement and allows them to adjust instantly and maintain their focus. Video and light thus collaborate flawlessly with the position and angles of the pods in order to achieve the perfect end game.
Each lighting pod consists of 16 moving heads, all of them controlled independently from each other together with the integrated LED strips that can separately dim, flash up or fuse in mesmerizing color explosions.
GIANT SCREENS FUSING
As frequently mentioned by the international press, the WI automated rigging system for the GENESIS stage is no less then truly impressive. The set’s backdrop and masterpiece is a 36m long truss with 12 tracker dollies and 12 rotators as the base rig for 12 LED video structures of different heights varying between 6m and 10m high, not all of them starting at the same height. And here comes the technical spoiler: the rotators reveal the backsides of the frames set with an enormous amount of moving lights (#144) creating a whole new stage experience for the spectators when rotated 180°.
The video content tracks SL and SR on their respective high definition screens in order to harmoniously fuse into a fluid 360° view at predefined show moments. A world’s first.
When approached by the GENESIS set designers unfolding their high expectations as to visual effects, we were immediately triggered. What an honor! Challenge : how to technically translate such incredibly high end imagineer demands to the level of perfection? Next step was what we always do : a deep dive into our so-called WI R&D mode. With an entire team we restlessly designed, tested and developed until everyone of us was finally satisfied with the result: a completely new screen balancing and locking system with a potential ’du jamais vu’ on the market up to now. The WI system has been specially devised to support huge high definition (3,8mm) moving and rotating video screens with a very clear target: to bring synchronized media content to a whole new level of detailed precision on enormous visual landscapes moving, fusing and color blocking into pieces to the rhythm of the music.
This screen balancer is a pressure based equilibrating system rigged onto a rotator allowing a perfect horizontal flush of several video columns. WI locks allow video screens to harmoniously align after rotation.
FLOOR AND RISERS
Besides motion control, WI engineers and manufacturers also created a new (patented) stage flooring system for the first time operational for the GENESIS tour together with 5 complementary custom rolling risers.
The rolling stage consists of a main stage area at 1m675 high and measuring 18m wide x 11m deep flanked by 2 offstage band platforms at a lower level and lined downstage as well as upstage with lighting shelves. All of this, including quickly removable tailor-made handrails, castor wheels and staircases fits in 12 bespoke set carts. Our objective was to create a flexible, quick and easy to set up stage with a strong and stable construction in mind and still a lot of storage and tech space underneath.
Imminent planning and touring stress during COVID sharpened the necessity for flexible, swiftly assembled and stable stage constructions. We’re pretty sure the WISTAGE will become an evergreen.
Additional eye-catchers and integral scenic parts of the GENESIS show are the 5 custom made rolling risers. To mention because surely not mainstream : the high quality finish and the DMX controllable LED contouring strips flashing up and down thus highlighting the special cladding. Accessible yet hidden are the built in DMX controllers.
The entire Genesis stage has been pre-produced, pre-programmed and operated with WIMOTION software and desk. All of this built in view of a short and timed load-in targeted at 5 hours for 17 trucks of equipment. Much of this sharpened by covid timing, planning and touring unpredictability. Besides the technical unique developments of the project, this project was also a world’s first in the preparation phase with WI’s WIMOTION CLOUD COLLABORATION. In advance of coming onsite and during lockdown, the WI team collaborated in the WICLOUD with various expertise profiles amongst them the video content designers and programmers Ellie Clement and Ray Gwilliams.
- Howard Hopkins - production manager
- Stephen “Pud” Jones - tour manager
- Patrick Woodroffe + Roland Greil lighting and set design
- Jeremy Lloyd - WonderWorks technical consultant and coordinator stage manager
- Mike Humeniuk - stage manager
- Steve Armstrong - head rigger
- Chris Organ - head carpenter
- Roland Greil - lighting director
- Luke Radin - lighting crew chief
- Marc Brunkhardt - lighting operator
- Ruary Macphie - video director
- Ellie Clement - video designer
- Ray Gwilliams - video operator
- Koen Peeters - project lead
- Wessel Fortuin - technical engineer
- Filip Wouters - head R&D
- Xander Ballet - motion programmer / onsite project manager
- Lesly Van Rompaey - motion programmer
- Valentin Stofkooper - motion operator
- Miroslav Kusik - motion operator
- Robert Vrbjar - technician