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When it needs to be the same but different...

“I wanted an old school, bold look; there is a strength in the premise of using numerous lamps of one type…” So says Paul Normandale about his rationale for the lighting design for the eclectic American band, Kings of Leon. “I have a reoccurring theme of melding new technology into older looking fixtures to create the unexpected.” Normandale was looking for a bold dramatic look from both source and beam that would be effectively part of the set. With only weeks to go before rehearsals, it became clear that neither manufacture nor hire of twenty four 2k Mole Richardson lamps would be possible, compromising the entire premise of his design.

Normandale turned to Specialz.

Dave Smith, Sales Director of Specialz fills in the background, “When Paul came to us we only had six weeks in which to build a very specific type of lantern that was essential to physical look of the set and the ambience of the lighting design. We chose to build our units with three PAR64s in each one. I think Paul opted for Very Narrow Spot lenses after we did tests on the various lens options open to him.”

Normandale agrees, “Specialz did the tests on the options and I picked the VNS – the ability to produce movement, chases and break-up the expected beams gave me an unexpected and extra dimension when programming the show.”

Meanwhile, the team at Specialz were fully occupied with combining the manufacture deadline and ensuring the units themselves ticked all the aesthetic boxes as Smith explains, “The aesthetics of the unit were a vital part of the remit; our lanterns were finished in a matt silver while the stirrup and power supply box were pink. I know Paul appreciates the unexpected! As always, we tried to keep weight to a minimum; with this particular unit we used a combination of aluminium and mild steel. It took three weeks to design and have the spinning tools made; two and a half weeks to have the all the parts manufactured and four days to assemble them. There was little or no margin for error!”

As the band went into production rehearsals the lamps duly arrived on set as Normandale explains, “The resultant lamps arrived, were hung and programmed in a very, very tight time span... Specialz did their customary wonders to meet the deadline.”

As is often the case, every cloud may have a silver lining, as Normandale reflects, “The look and the use of these units was so integral to the set design so a last minute change could have been catastrophic. However, having the triple light source in the one unit, as opposed to the single 2k in the original design, gives a board operator far more flexibility in programming and chases as well as the ability not to use all three bubbles at the same time. And they came in on budget. You couldn’t ask for more!”

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