Production Design and Manufacturing

Production Design and Manufacturing

Calvin Harris

Lighting tailored to fit on a tight deadline

In late 2011 Specialz were approached by audio visual company The Picture Works to design and fabricate dollies to facilitate the speedy deployment of their LED Video screens and set for Calvin Harris.


In 2012 Calvin Harris supported Rhianna on the European leg of her sellout “Loud” tour.  The visual experience was deemed to be of great importance and the Rihanna tour management team needed to ensure the support slot was as powerful to look at as it was to hear.


The added design complexity was that the video system had to be tailored to fill the stage space allocated by the production team, whilst offering the flexibility to be used in larger or smaller depending on stage space for different venues. Additionally, the video kit also needed to be suitable for use on Calvin’s own shows and festivals in the future.


The Picture Works were contracted to supply the LED video screens and used a total of 96 x Martin Professional EC-20 LED panels and two Martin P3 Processors.


To deploy these screens The Picture Works designed a rig which comprised 4 x dollies. Each dolly had an LED screen on the front and another screen on the rear and measured 2m by 1.2m.  Once the stage crew had the dolly in place it then opened out to increase the distance between the front and rear screen to 2.2m.  A custom designed DJ table was then attached to the top of the centre of the front screen. Each dolly bolted together to create one big eight metre wide LED screen.


The Picture Works teamed up with Specialz who fabricated the dolly design in just three weeks.


Design and manufacturing house Specialz have produced over the past 10 years custom effects, sets and revolutionary design concepts for clients such as Coldplay, Robbie Williams, Radiohead and U2 before working on the 2012 Calvin Harris tour. After receiving The Picture Works conceptual sketches in mid September 2011, SpecialzTechnical Director, Keith Owen, and Senior Designer, Warren Steadman, worked for two weeks to rationalise the concept to a workable solution in the time frame with off-the-shelf solutions for the screen lifting mast and the practical construction of the riser frames.


These were not only stage risers, but had to double as transport dollies to conserve truck space. This was achieved by a centre deck and end frames being removed and sliding front and back halves of risers together on guide rails. The two halves were fastened together and the space left between panels was used for storing components of the system. The fronts of the video screens were protected in transit by padded panels also provided by Specialz.


“As each video riser weighs around 800kg, the mobility of the units was important.  When the units are on flat venue surfaces, they can be pushed by four of the crew. The riser system takes around 45 minutes to fully set up prior to moving on stage,”


“Additionally, as a support act, there had to be a quick turnaround. Another major design criterion was that they had to fit through a doorway in Rihanna’s stage set that is 3.4m high. This meant there had to be a mechanism to lower the mast to accommodate this. As the tour progressed, the touring crew had the entire system offstage in between 12 and 16 minutes, depending on the venue, which is a testament to the design team.”