Six60 get NZ to come to them – Both Audience and Production
by Jenny Barrett.
Photo Credits: Dexter Cheng.
Six60 opted out of the traditional Summer circuit of vineyards and iconic pub backyards and stunned a nation by getting 50,000 Kiwis to travel to Auckland to see a home grown band. They repaid their faithful by delivering a stage show worthy of any international tour, yet hired an all-Kiwi production team to ensure that the show remained true to themselves, their Dunedin student roots, and their audiences.
The Six60 concert at Western Springs was a ground breaker. The first New Zealand band to headline a sell-out gig at Western Springs with an audience of 50,000. First stadium-sized concert produced entirely by New Zealand based companies. Largest LED setup in NZ at 320 m2 (sadly to be trumped a few days later by Eminem). First stadium gig for the New Zealand duo at Global Production Partners Ltd. First stadium show designed by Jason Steel under the auspices of his own design company Negative Space.
Recommended by some of the bigger entities involved, Global Production owners Leon Dalton and MJ Van Lingen began work on the show in October 2018 as Production Managers, with MJ also picking up the Video Technical Director role.
“It was unusual in that we weren’t handed a design and were heavily involved in the concept stages, with input from the band, ourselves and Jason Steel, the show designer.” Jason recalls the brief from the band as being five more or less contradictory words “Stealth, moody, dark, edgy and not too rock and roll.”
Five designers both nationally and internationally were shortlisted and Jason, having recently moved on from Oceania, and Mike Knapp (Snapper) from The Green Room NZ, were the guys who impressed the band and joined the production team.
The team interpreted the five word brief as the band really wanting to tell their story, and create something unique to them, from point of entry through the entire concert.
“The band wanted the audience to feel that the show started when the audience first arrived, as they walked over the hill into Western Springs. They wanted people to know that they weren’t just at any concert, that they were at a Six60 concert.”
Jason took advantage of the huge screen to show a simulated ‘live feed’ from Six60’s original flat in Dunedin where the band interacted with the crowd by walking out of the house, waving to the crowd and sitting out front, hanging out and even ordering a Pizza.
“It was a great way of really showing that everyone was invited to what was essentially a big block party.”
The band did not want the evening to be just about them being up on a stage. “It is really important to Six60 that the audience feel that they are a key part of the show. As we all worked on the show design there was a natural progression towards the concept of bringing together ‘the choir of 50,000’ that the band referred to on the night.”
Jason achieved this by using live video sources over all the video elements and his team then crafted it using Notch, a real-time rendering agent usually used to create and edit content and renowned for enabling users to work in real-time all in one place.
Jason went a step further and exploited Notch’s powerful capacity to interact with IMAG.
“We used a lot of IMAG over the whole LED canvas, also overlaid with graphics and made the crowd look like part of the show. It achieved the desired effect of letting everybody feel like they played a part in the show.”
He was able to create sophisticated visual effects in real time whilst watching the target output on the huge LED screens, stylizing the nine live inputs with black and white imagery, and blinding graphics that lit up the band Any changes were instant.
“The best thing about it was that the IMAG screens didn’t look like a clip-on, they were part of the actual stage. Plus, because we were manipulating the IMAG content and had such huge screens, for the people 130 metres away on the hill, it not only served its purpose of delivering content but really created a visual impact for them too.”
One of the significant advantages of Notch for Jason on this show was its capability to control the overall look for the lighting, vision and cameras. This meant that he was able to create a really cohesive feel to the whole show and keep any major ‘scene’ transitions very tight with everything changing from one look to another simultaneously.
The Rest of the Kiwis
Other members of the all-Kiwi production team included Spotlight Systems for lighting, Big Picture on video, College Hill Productions running the audio, CP Solutions on automation and Viking providing the staging. And all the gear was sourced locally.
“Sourcing the gear for a stadium-sized show is less of a problem now in New Zealand, although getting it at the right price is a different story!”
Negotiations must have gone well though, as the production team didn’t skimp. Leon, Production Manager, describes pack in as being reminiscent of an AC/DC or Guns N’ Roses show.
With Six60 having successfully pulled in 50,000 Kiwis and put on a show to rave reviews, it will be interesting to see what Kiwi band is next to rise to the challenge of filling Western Springs Stadium.
The band ended the evening by announcing that they are set o play Western Springs again in February 2020, and by then they could potentially be a far more international beast as a result of the large numbers of international record companies that flew in.
Both Global Productions and Jason Steel at Negative Space also view the success of this concert as a platform to more overseas ventures.
“New Zealand designers are starting to be noticed by the international market and we’d like to be a part of that and have an opportunity to do bigger shows.”
It would seem not only are Kiwi bands moving to the next stage, but so too are our Kiwi Production companies.
From CX Magazine – April 2019 CX Magazine is Australia and New Zealand’s only publication dedicated to entertainment technology news and issues – available in print and online. Read all editions for free or search our archive www.cxnetwork.com.au
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