9 Aug 2018

The Presets


The Presets

By Cat Strom.
Photography: Kane Hibberd.

The electro duo played to packed houses with Matt Hansen back behind the lighting console.

Matt Hansen

In support of their long-awaited fourth studio album, HI VIZ, Aussie legends The Presets embarked on a headline tour of Australia taking in gigs in Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne, Canberra, Wollongong, Sydney, Brisbane and Gold Coast. Supplying both the lighting design and the gear for the electro duo was Matt Hansen and his company MPH Australia. Matt has worked for The Presets for many years in a variety of forms including operator, designer, tech, and supplier.

For this tour the act decided to have a scaled down lighting and video show, something quite unusual for them. Their last tour had a massive LED element including LED tape that proved to be expensive and problematic, as it was still early days for that technology. This time around a selection of different video artists were engaged to produce unique clips for every song and Matt’s brief was to basically keep up with the videos!


“With all the different styles it was very tricky to design the lighting around the videos,” said Matt. “The LED screen is so dominant and so bright, finding the correct balance took some time. “Obviously I saw the clips before I designed the lighting, but it didn’t really make my life any easier as it was difficult to get a theme running through the set. Having said that, I think we have achieved it!”

One of the main reasons the band went down the path of having a video show was that if they were doing festivals in daylight, they had a constant element that could simply be played through Catalyst whether the lighting rig was theirs or not.

The lighting design was conceived to be scalable with addition or subtraction to the floor package. If a venue did not have rigging facilities, the towers alone could be used.  At Sydney’s Enmore Theatre, the band performed on a super-sleek and clean stage, using IEMs with minimal audio clutter on stage and all of their control equipment out of view. The lighting flanked the video screen, again keeping the overall stage look clean with no lights silhouetted by the video screen.

To combat the brightness of the screen, Matt straight away turned to the Robe Robin Pointe. “I specify it on every job I design and not just because I own some!” he said. “Compared to a Claypaky Sharpy, they have a lot more features; they have a zoom, you can have rotating gobos and when there’s 40 of them in the rig, it’s hard to mess up.”

The screen was surrounded by Robe Robin Pointes with eight located above it, another eight positioned on the floor, and the four floor towers each held a further six. At the top of each tower a Robe Spiider was positioned with more on the front and back truss plus a couple on the floor.

“The Robe Spiider is my wash light of choice at the moment,” commented Matt. “I have 18 in the rig and although I have dabbled with their centre flower effect, they are mainly for wash on this show. They’re super bright, have a nice form factor, and are a good size. The zoom is very nice and they’re really quick.”

The band are not keen on front light so it was kept fairly minimal with four Spiiders, some 4-way molefays and a couple of SGM P-5 strobes. Another eight SGM P-5s were scattered through the rig with Matt describing them as not only a good strobe but a great wash fixture too.

The main spot fixtures were 12 Robe BMFLs which are super bright, especially in a theatre venue, and very, very fast for a big light. FOH Matt was running a High End Hog4 having never found the time to learn an MA console.“I was very tempted to do this tour on an MA2 but I got scared!” he admitted.

“I decided to stick with what I know. It’s pretty well all time coded with a couple of songs still a work in progress. The guys have a track the whole way through, just for consistency and to make life easier as there are a lot of cues that would physically be tough to playback that quick every night.”

The time code came from the band’s Ableton Live with a Catalyst media server onstage to handle the video.


This article first appeared in CX Magazine August 2018 – in print and online. CX Magazine is Australia and New Zealand’s only publication dedicated to entertainment technology news and issues. Read all editions for free or search our archive
© CX Media




Published monthly since 1991, our famous AV industry magazine is free for download or pay for print. Subscribers also receive CX News, our free weekly email with the latest industry news and jobs.