The latest production of TINA, The Tina Turner Musical in Australia is the first show worldwide to feature GLP’s new impression X5 IP Bar. The IP-rated linear LED batten contains 18 powerful 40 W RGBL LEDs, a wide zoom range, and next generation iQ.Gamut colour calibration algorithm to guarantee superior colour rendering.
Designed by Bruno Poet since the original production in 2018, the show is playing in a number of cities around the world, but only in Sydney has GLP’s staple impression X4 Bar been replaced by the new impression X5 IP batten. Neg Earth supplied the first 24 of these after the rental company’s project manager, Lindsey Markham, had suggested them to Poet and the show’s international associate LD (and co-collaborator), Max Narula. The production at Sydney’s Theatre Royal is the ninth version of the show, which is also running in London, Stuttgart and on tour in the US, and is now serving as a tribute to the Queen of Rock’n’Roll following her sad death.
Narula explains the circumstances surrounding the unexpected adoption of the new fixtures for the nine-month season in Sydney, followed by a two-year tour of Australia. “Traditionally, we have used X4 Bar 20s, but when we were looking last August there was no available kit in Oz, so we were asked to reach out to companies in the UK.
“We’ve worked with Neg Earth on arena shows previously; their personal attention to detail is next to none, and since they no longer wished to invest in further X4 Bars Lindsey instead suggested trying the impression X5 IP Bar, which we didn’t know existed.” GLP UK’s Simon Barrett provided the rough specs and along with Neg Earth will provide back-up for the first field test. Local service company Resolution X is also on hand to provide local service support.
If there had been any limitations with the X4 Bars, believes Narula, it had been the slight lack of brightness and ability to handle warm colours well. All that has now changed with the impression X5 IP Bar.
The new firmware ensured complete compatibility with the X4 colour palette and enables precise programming on the 18 individual pixels. “We are very picky with the colours in theatre because we have time to tweak and fine tune over the show’s four-week technical rehearsals – and this includes the new lime chip,” Narula continues.
“You can take your X4 shows and transfer them onto X5 and it gives you individual pixel control on RGBL as well, as RGB which is brilliant.” Narula says there is a virtually limitless number of attributes presented by the impression X5 IP Bar: “They are absolutely fantastic: they are bright and the colours are outstanding, with wonderful saturates. In fact, the spectrum on the warm side is now unmatched. In addition, they are silent, and the dimming curve is as brilliant as on the X4.
“The silent operation is vitally important,” he adds, “as a lot of the scenes in the show are incredibly quiet.”
Further to this, Narula highlights the compactness of the unit, which is a great asset on this production given the way the truss is designed. Consequently, the 24 impression X5 IP Bars in use form an integral part of the show’s design and handle “some big light curtain scenes” effortlessly.
Finally, Max Narula also notes another extremely neat addition: the much requested 2° frost feature, which is now also available on the X5 IP Bar.
The take-away, he says, is that any designer can simply flip from X4 to X5 and notice no difference “apart from brilliantly new bright light.” He adds: “If people want to use it, they know they can just drag and drop.”
His enthusiasm is supported by Bruno Poet himself, who says: “Since Max and the team did all the set-up in Australia, my first glimpse of the light curtains in action was when I arrived during cast dress rehearsals on stage.
“I was immediately blown away by the improvement over the original X4 Bars. The additional intensity made the light curtain look bolder and crisper, giving us a better balance against the video images behind. I was also really impressed by the quality of the colour we could achieve with the new lime chip.
“I’m now a huge fan of the impression X5 IP Bar, which will be my go-to light curtain for future productions. A huge thanks to Neg Earth and the GLP team for getting these first units ready for us.”
In summary, Max Narula says: “GLP have shown us how to design [shows] using light curtains. Now we have a weatherproof version, which is great. I must say it’s fun to be the first show in the world to use these.”
Aside from Bruno Poet and Max Narula, other credits include John Viesta (US associate); Kathy Pineo (Australian associate); Sarah Brown (European associate); Tamykha Patterson (European programmer), Jason Fripp (Australian programmer), Sam Floyd (international production electrician); Dale Mounsey (Australian production electrician) and Jeremy Wahlers (US production electrician). The show director is Phyllida Lloyd, choreographer Anthony Van Laast, and designer Mark Thompson.
Photo credit: Daniel Boud