GrandMA2 for Will Young

Glen JohnsonGlen Johnson of i-Lite Ltd, set and lighting designer for the current Will Young’s Greatest Hits UK and Irish tour, is using 2 grandMA2 light consoles to run the show’s lighting. The two are networked together, with the first used as the main console, and the second running in full tracking backup.
Johnson has used the grandMA2 light on a number of other tours and events this year, including Maximo Park and Tracy Chapman, and didn’t think twice about what to choose! He cites the reliability and ‘feel’ of the console as two principal reasons, plus the “small, compact” working area that it provides, and knowing that it will be the same every day and “not fail on me!”
He likes many features of the grandMA2 light. The screens and faders are a “joy” to use and he reckons they are the best of all the current lighting consoles. He’s also impressed by the hardware the build quality and the sheer speed at which it saves.
He’s now experienced a few tours and software upgrades with the grandMA2 light, and with the latest one, is very happy enjoying the power of the new effects engine within his sequence stacks, and watching them slow fade in and out as required. “The speed in which I can create custom effects using palettes as reference points is perfect” he states, adding that now being able to use WYSIWYG direct via Ethernet in MA2 mode was really helpful in the set up process.
Command line triggering is also something very useful, with snap black outs at the end of songs and a simple ‘go’ command that can trigger all his individual key light faders to 0% “No more half leaning across the desk to swipe all the faders down”.
The grandMA2 light is controlling - in the air - 18 Martin Professional MAC 700 Profiles arranged across a front, mid and upstage box truss, 7 x MAC TW1s on the front truss, 5 x 4-lite Moles, and 8 1000watt bare light bulbs, think of your 40watt home special and its a 1000watt version
On the floor there are 11 white CCT 650 fresnels for shadow-play on the set, 4 x MAC 250 washes for cross stage lighting and another 5 MAC TW1s with standard lenses for uplighting 5 x motorised silk drops and for general back-lighting. Six MAC 250 Beams are behind the set for blasting the mirror ball and up-lighting a 40 x 30ft black silk kabuki. There are then 35 i-Pix Satellite LED ‘bricks’, 5 ensconced inside each of 7 smoked white Perspex columns and 10 x 48-way CK ColorBlaze LED border lights, all run in single cell mode
His creative starting point for the design was a meeting with Will Young, where the star - the UK’s original Pop Idol who’s gone on to enjoy a hugely successful career - indicated that he wanted a clean TV studio look with an all-white floor and  everything in the air above black and concealed until towards the end of the show. He wanted some solid white columns around the stage, which Johnson changed to the 7 x white Perspex curved sections measuring 8 ft high and 6 ft wide.
Working with Sam Booker at drapes specialist Hangman, they designed the white smoked Pespex sections with no internal frames, so the i-Pix Satellites could be installed to give blocks of light with no ridges. The reflective surface of these also offers the chance to throw the footlights back at the audience.
To meet the request to light behind and through black silks and voiles, he is using 10 motorised gauze drops - 5 for black silks and 5 for black voiles.
The consoles, lighting equipment and soft goods have all been supplied to the tour by Lite Alternative, project managed for them by Jon Greaves.
Johnson adds that the support from MA UK’s Callum Howie and Philip Norfolk has been excellent.