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  •   Radiohead Glastonbury Performance Uses Ground-Breaking LED Effects

Radiohead Glastonbury Performance Uses Ground-Breaking LED Effects

29th July 2003

Radiohead are the first band to utilise a ground-breaking new visual effects software linked to LED fixtures. The lighting rig concept was specifically designed for the band's shows and was used for their performance at this year's Glastonbury festival.

Radiohead's memorable performance was watched by thousands of festival-goers and broadcast live by the BBC as part of their annual TV coverage of Glastonbury. The band's stage rig, which had first been unveiled on US tour dates earlier this year, will be used for the remainder of their European tour dates to promote new album 'Hail to the Thief'.

Radiohead are known for their innovative visual as well as musical style and the lighting rig designed by LD Andi Watson for their latest tour is no exception.

Working from the design specified by Andi, all stage equipment was provided by approved Radiohead global lighting supplier and touring rental company Bandit Lites. To obtain the LED fixtures for the pioneering lighting rig, Bandit Lites Touring Manager Mark Powell turned to the Projects division of entertainment technology distributor A.C. Lighting, who used their specialist LED knowledge to source and supply the final battens solution used.

The fixtures consists of 48 × 4ft Thomas Pixeline™ 1044, high brightness LED battens, installed end-to-end in 24 × 8ft strip vertical towers and spaced at 3ft intervals across the back of the stage. The battens are controlled by a new and soon-to-be-released Beta version of High End System's Catalyst™ software, which now includes control of LED lighting fixtures amongst a host of other new features.

Radiohead are the first band to use this feature of the new software version in their concert lighting. The software acts as an interface between video and lighting media, taking video pixels from a QuickTime™ movie and mapping them to LED lighting panel cells via an Artistic License Artnet™ Ethernet to DMX interface. This can then be controlled via DMX from a lighting console. The result is stunning visual sequences that can now be run across LED lighting fixtures.

LD Andi Watson commented "The Thomas Pixellines are wonderful fixtures, the saturated colours produced are so intense and their light output is fantastic. Being able to control so many individual cells within the fixture was also a great factor in my decision to use them on the tour. My only difficulty then was finding the best possible control solution. Richard Bleasdale provided me with a version of Catalyst which enabled me to control the led fixtures in an organic, beautiful way. Using his software was the only way I could treat the complex led array effectively as one 'entity' and I have been saved untold hours of button pushing. Combining such great lighting instruments with such a unique and easy to use piece of software has let me concentrate on what I want to see, not on how I am going to program it."