Puerto Rican rapper and singer Anuel AA played several high-profile venues – including MSG and others on the recent North American leg of his “Legends Never Die” tour, complete with a spectacular lightshow! This was programmed by Anuel AA’s lighting director Kenry Solano and programming specialist Nesmar Estiven Cepeda Medina utilising grandMA3 control.
Kenry, based in Costa Rica has worked as Anuel’s lighting director for a year. The lighting design for the US tour was created by him and production manager Pedro "Papito" Jimenez, in collaboration with Chronos Creative and DIH Studio. Nesmar was asked to assist on the programming due to the short timeframe after Kenry made the decision to utilise a full grandMA3 set up.
This comprised two grandMA3 full-size consoles running with two grandMA3 processing unit Ms, controlling approximately 400 lighting fixtures.
During the initial stages of programming, Kenry and Nesmar used grandMA3 onPC software plus the grandMA3 viz-key to keep things moving while the final design details were confirmed as they didn’t need a physical console for aspects like patch, screen configuration and other set up functions. This enabled them to get well ahead of the game before production rehearsals at the Amway Center, Orlando, Florida, four days ahead of the first show.
Once the initial building blocks were established, elements like the giant scenic heart that started the show were added so it became important to keep the lighting programming fluid and evolving. Everyone wanted the audience to be proactively involved with what was happening onstage, which was another nuance of this high energy show for which lighting was vital.
Other scenic assets continued to appear as the action unfolded. including a car, motorcycles on the B stage, and ATVs, keeping the choreography spontaneous and exciting … and the lighting department needing to react super-quickly!
Kenry wanted to work with grandMA3 on this tour as he thinks it is “the most robust console on the market” and knowing the power, speed, and flexibility of the architecture, he knew this was the way-to-go.
Nesmar has been a grandMA user since series 1 as well as an official grandMA trainer in Latin America, more recently specifically focusing on the grandMA3 software, and was delighted to be asked onboard for the programming period.
They made extensive use of the grandMA3s Phasers and the Selection Grid.
Phasers with multiple editing options via the Phaser Editor plus MAtricks enabled them to work and create effects extremely rapidly and efficiently.
“Phasers offer amazing functionality,” stated Nesmar. “It is incredible just what can be achieved with two steps in a simple dimmer Phaser, and accompanied by MAtricks, this is a perfect mix,” he enthused, adding that being able to edit the timecode was “really incredible” especially with so many songs to program.
Kenry commented on how they used Phasers in combination with the Selection Grid which allows fixtures to be selected in the same way they are positioned in the layout, so the Phaser can run horizontally or vertically, “facilitating building effects expediently without needing multiple steps to achieve a result.” Especially with so many pixels, it was ideal to be able to run the pixel Phaser in different ways.
In the latest software using the 3D function, fixtures can be chosen in the Selection Grid exactly as they appear on the design.
For Nesmar, the top benefit of grandMA3 is saving time. “We all know how time is a sacred currency in our industry and specifically in the lighting and programming world.”
This was an arena tour so tweaking in real-time was possible, however in other circumstances having the internal grandMA3 visualizer makes it practical to work and tweak at any time in any place even during outdoor shows and daylight. “It will never fully equate to seeing the stage and rig in situ and for real right in front of you, but it is a hugely useful tool,” he commented.
This was echoed by Kenry. “Another massive plus of having the 3D viewer integrated in the console in real time is being able to make changes without it being noticed live! What once took 5 steps can now be achieved in one or two!”
For Anuel, they had to program lighting for nearly 60 songs, many of which were evolving during the rehearsal period into different medleys with alternative styles and arrangements and sometimes special guests were also added that changed the dynamics for a number as it became a duet.
Kenry is certain that he would not have been able to so comprehensively incorporate these changes in such a short time if not for grandMA3!
The consoles were supplied to the tour by Guadalajara, Mexico-based Procolor, and arguably this was the first time a Latin artist had toured North America running on grandMA3, which was also operated on the road by Kenry. Procolor’s Martin Perez stayed with the whole tour ensuring that all things lighting and technical went smoothly.
Kenry was extremely proud about this: “It is always great breaking new ground, and I hope it encourages more Latinos to run their projects on grandMA3.”
Nesmar concludes, “This was a great challenge as well as a brilliant example of how powerful grandMA3 is working at this level. We are very satisfied that it illustrates how much the grandMA3 software can assist the creative process.”
The tour’s set design and build were coordinated by ABA Solutions Productions – based in Puerto Rico and headed by Pedro Jimenez – in conjunction with Cronos Creative, DIH Studio and Kenry.
Photos: © Jay Betancourt
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