7 Jul 2021

Lighting DMA’s Global Online Concert

by Jason Allen

Photos by Dara Munnis. IG – @daramunnis

With almost 10 years on the clock as a touring band, Sydney Britpop revivalists DMA’s wanted to give something back to the fans to celebrate. But with a huge following in the UK, and with travel limited to within Australia (on a good day), what to do? With a cross-continental effort, the band along with UK management put together their ‘Global Online Concert’ for streaming platform Stabal, with all tech and production entrusted to Australian crew in Sydney.

David Fairless of lighting design firm Colourblind is DMA’s regular touring LD, so was a natural fit to design and operate the show. “The DMA’s and Crosstown Concerts organised the show to be streamed and sold on Stabal, who have been organising UK shows for an online audience,” says David. “Crosstown wanted us to do the show in Australia, with all local suppliers and full creative control, so it was up to all of us on the ground in Sydney to pull it together.”


Working with UK management remotely, David and the team organised the rig, found a venue, and set to work. “The venue chosen was Carriageworks,” relates David. “We bumped in four hours after The Voice bumped out, which Colourblind’s Technical Director Lynden Gare was working on. It was a matter of one Colourblind truck closing while another opened.”

David worked closely with Joey Sadler of Light + Dark Creative, out of Toronto, Canada. “Joey is living in Australia at the moment, and he was looking after key lighting,” continues David. “He made sure the light on the band members always looks well balanced so I could focus on the looks in the show. We worked really well together to put the attention into the show where it was needed. Having Joey there looking after key and intensity meant I could hit the cues and balance intensity into the camera. It was one take of each song, jumping all around the set, so we needed to be at attention the whole time.”

Lighting for streaming is of course very different than lighting for a live crowd. “You want to make sure that what’s being shot has some lighting effects in the background that draws the attention of the viewer,” explains David. “For me, that meant incorporating lights around the space and behind each member, to create interesting looks no matter where the camera is shooting from. Cameras are roving with no set positions so we needed to have an interesting shot everywhere and from different perspectives.”

Aesthetically, David drew on his experience with DMA’s on the road. “I wanted to keep a consistent look from their live show. For the stream, we used fixtures we have had on previous shows spanning the last five years, but used them in a different way. This design also compliments what we have in store for the upcoming headline Australian tour. We then incorporated other elements in the set that would look good for camera. Placing fixtures low on ground and shooting up instead of straight into lens and tricks like that helped in producing this show”.

A highlight of David’s design was the use of 34 old school Par Cans, dimmers and all, rigged as a wall upstage of the band. “I had them fairly spread out, and on an angle, which really opened the doors for looks with just the array of Par Cans itself,” he elaborates. “One look would use just bottom row, another look would use them to create a triangle, then I’d use angles and leading lines that point in towards the band. It’s a great way to use a solid, one channel fixture. I was challenging myself to get as much as possible out of a wall of Par Cans.”

Other fixtures in the rig included GLP impression X4 bar 20s, and Martin MAC Vipers on the floor. “We also had star cloth, which was a standout for me,” adds David. “You didn’t know it was there until it turned on, and we had a ‘starry night’ look for a downtempo song.” Control was via a grandMA2 light and grandMA2 full-size. All lighting was supplied by Chameleon.

“The team in the UK really put their trust in all of us on site in Sydney,” David concludes. “It was 3 am in the UK during the shoot, and there were a couple of reps on call discussing things and making sure everything ran to time, but creatively, it was a total handover. As soon as we were done, it was uploaded to the UK, edited a little, and approved by management. It was sold as a live concert, and aired in Australia first at 8 pm, before being aired again in the UK 8 pm their time.”

Crew Credits
Brad Fulton – Guitar Tech
Alex Nichol – Stage Tech
Monitor Engineer – Brendan “Bloss” Keane. Director of Photography – Joel Black
Camera Crew – Tommirock


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