grandMA3 Benefits for Two Friends at Coachella

Lighting designer Kyle Kegan of Voyage Productions enthusiastically embraced a full grandMA3 platform for lighting control whilst DJ duo Two Friends delivered two exuberant, hi-energy sets in the Sahara Tent at the 2023 Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival staged in Indio, California.

Kyle, who works with many high-profile international clients, adapted the lighting design and showfile he had created for Two Friends’ recent tour to work with the Sahara Tent production lighting rig, collaborating closely with Michael Sheck who was the LD and helped program the show.

Their show was based around the same cool and funky spaceship DJ booth designed by Kyle and built by Dark Moon Designs for the tour, complete with over 3000 LED pixels across 24 DMX universes all running through their grandMA3, plus some onboard practical lights.

All of this was integrated with Coachella’s house rig which was coincidentally and conveniently based on five concentric circular trusses in the roof, comprising a perfect overhead match for the 360-degree spaceship! The approximately 300 moving lights on the house rig were supplied by Aspect Lighting, and the house design also featured multiple LED surfaces that were fully utilized by VJ Richie Sanchez.

“Coachella was interesting in so many ways, a major one being how we were able to reshape and reprogram the show so quickly and efficiently due to the flexibility of the grandMA3 software,” explained Kyle.

He and his Denver based design studio had used time during Covid to really start drilling down into the grandMA3 architecture, and over the last couple of years had utilized it for selected projects including major one off live streamed shows and events. These were followed by their first major tour on grandMA3 for Odesza in 2022 which was a great success.

“Going forward the future is definitely grandMA3,” Kyle stated, “so many tasks that used to take a lot more time to achieve … are now so much easier.”

Since making the switch and properly leaning into the grandMA3 programming space, Kyle and his colleagues at Voyage Productions have developed a new workflow based around Recipes.

The traditional programming workflow would be something like ‘selecting fixtures, putting them in a preset and then recording this data directly into the cues’. Now, with Recipes, you think a bit differently as the information is collected together by data groups, presets, and MAtricks within a Recipe line.

Recipes are now much easier to update and manipulate.

This is a massive time saver when it comes to updating shows or working at festivals or locally supplied rigs rather than carrying your own production.

“At Coachella, we updated the Groups of our showfile and then the nuts and bolts of a show were already there, so we could spend the preciously short programming window that we had fine tuning and being creative rather than just getting the basic show in the console,” Kyle explained.

In this scenario, Kyle reckons those vital building blocks can be established in just a few hours as opposed to having to engage in multiple workarounds to achieve the same result.

Kyle notes that there has been lots of advancement in grandMA3 over the last year, with Recipes and Groups as key components, all connected to another essential tool, Selection Grid.

He also maximized the power of grandMA3’s Phasers and Selection Grid functions, commenting, “Overall it was a fantastic exercise and worked really well.”

“grandMA3 is all about helping to advance the design / programming / operating workflow using new tools and technologies,” he notes, “and as soon as you wrap your head around the process and understand what is happening … you will never look back!”

He added that the support from MA Lighting’s USA distributor ACT Entertainment during the ‘switch’ had been “outstanding”.

Photos: © Greg Fry

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