Having a Crush on grandMA3

The unmistakable buzz and excitement of music concerts as a teenager initially sparked lighting professional Soyoun Lee’s interest in lighting and visuals, so much so that later she left her office job, trained in lighting and is now pursuing a very successful career. Currently, she is working for Lite Factory in Korea, designing and programming shows for several high-profile K-Pop music artists in Singapore and Korea.

One of these is talented Korean record producer and singer-songwriter, Crush, who recently played several show-stopping Wonderego concerts – in support of his incendiary third album – at Seoul’s Jamsil Arena, for which Soyoun designed, programmed and operated the lighting.

For the first time, she chose to run the lighting control on a full grandMA3 system.

Soyoun had used the grandMA3 console / hardware many times already (running in mode 2) and felt that this was a great time to ‘make the switch’, for which she prepared herself via online training videos and in-person training arranged via MA Lighting’s Asia Pacific base in Singapore.

Through the training, her grandMA3 knowledge increased exponentially and she realised that the platform’s many effective programming techniques were also triggering more creative ideas!

The grandMA3 lighting set up on the Wonderego concerts comprised 1 x grandMA3 full-size, 1 x grandMA3 light, 1 x grandMA3 processing unit XL, 1 x grandMA3 processing unit L and 3 x grandMA3 8Port Nodes, controlling a total of 329 lighting fixtures that was a mixture of moving and static lights and LED fixtures and panels, all adding up to 17,685 parameters.

Soyoun found herself using three main grandMA3 features – Recipes, Selection Grid and Phasers – as the backbone of her workflow, all of which enabled her to programme a complex and detailed show quicker, more efficiently and with greater creativity.

While Recipes required a steep initial learning curve, being persistent, she adapted to “this distinctive workflow” very naturally. The potency of a Cue Recipe became even more apparent when fine-tuning and adjusting cues she notes, utilising powerful tools like the effortless modification of fixture selection, quick adjustments to Phaser application and cue timings.

“I firmly believe that the Cue Recipe workflow will continue to evolve and offer enhanced capabilities in the future,” she affirms.

Selection Grid, in offering a clear view of the selection order and structure, enabled a swift and logical selection technique mapped to the lighting rig, allowing the building of various scenes with dynamic values. “With numerous multi-instance fixtures, Selection Grid combined with MAtricks was instrumental in helping craft diverse looks that enhanced the overall show vibe.”

Phasers allowed the streamlining of intricate value changes in a straightforward manner. “Employing MAtricks and Selection Grid with one Phaser, I could easily generate a multitude of looks which simplified the process saving considerable time and effort,” she added. Time, as we know, is a commodity of which there is never enough, whatever the project!

Soyoun also likes Swipeys which offer swift access to the menu eliminating the need to manually input commands, and she also appreciated the timecode’s minus offset function so it can be adjusted back and forth as needed. She didn’t use Recast Preset for this show, but reckons it is a great function for touring shows.

Overall, her first experience with running an all grandMA3 system was “excellent, it unlocks the ability to work quickly and flexibility on building complex shows.”

An MA user since 2010 (back in the day of grandMA1) Soyoun thinks the brand is solid, trustworthy, and “state-of-the-art” technology.

Underlining the Wonderego show lighting design were a series of messages that Crush wanted to convey to his hugely enthusiastic fans, so she searched for the best to support these visually.

Merging the two themes of “wonder” and “ego”,  he also delves into the intricacies of love in this album. “Shortcomings are what made me who I am for a long time. Wonderego is a journey that begins with this,” he stated in a recent interview referring to the album.

Inspired by the Wonderego album artwork, the show creative director Eddie Oh designed some triangular set risers complete with a thrust stage so Crush could get out close to his fans, the idea being that while these different fragments each have individual value and worth, they also work harmoniously together, signifying both ‘ego’ and ‘essence’.

He added 5 square shaped lighting pods flown downstage on an automation system bringing further elements of surprise to the show, and the central pod was used to elevate the artist.

To accentuate his idea, Soyoun added a truss mimicking the angles of the riser design above the A stage, populated with lights that could be utilised as lines or for surfaces, bringing resonance and depth to the performance space.

“Lighting can really help the artist communicate their stories and narrative, and my lighting showcases their craft and performance skills whilst also capturing the festive and emotive atmosphere associated with their music and experienced by the audience,” she explained.

She believes that lighting can be impactful without the need for excessive fixtures, preferring a balanced setup where less lights can be thoroughly maximised and therefore used with more versatility and multifunctionality.

“In this context, the grandMA3 system is proving to be a perfect tool for adding complex details to a look or scene and assisting in properly optimising the fixtures.”

Photos: © P Nation

Info: www.malighting.com

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