Lighting Director Tellson James is using a High End Systems Hog 4 lighting console to drive Mark Knopfler’s “Down The Road Wherever Tour 2019.” The ten band members backing the former Dire Straits frontman collectively play 49 instruments – from guitars and whistles to saxophones and fiddles – thereby offering lots of “sound textures” to light.
“I’m doing lots of pixel mapping of the eye candy in this show, and the Hog 4 is great for that. It is so easy to do on a Hog.”
This is James’ second time as lighting director for Knopfler. Lighting Designer Mark Henderson drew the lighting plots for the 2015 and 2019 tours, while James programmed both. The 2019 tour kicked off in April and is more scaled down for the North American leg, which started Aug. 16.
“The Change Type cloning feature (for swapping fixtures) is a lifesaver when working club/theatre tours, where you are faced with different fixtures every day, and it works very well!” James says.
“I also use Time Code a lot in other shows, especially when triggering video for lip-syncing,” he notes. “It’s very easy to use with the ‘Learn Time’ feature, whereby you can run cues manually while recording the time code value when you execute the cue. Then it’s possible to quickly modify values manually.”
Still elaborating on his favourite features, the lighting director adds, “I also love being able to create colour chases from the Effects Engine – a fast and easy way to accomplish colour chases.”
James says, “My friend Vince Foster introduced me on how to use Hog 2, and I had plenty of time to experiment with it (before taking it out on tour) during auto shows, trade shows, conferences when the console would be there,” he says. “And now, I just know it.”
The transition to Hog from another brand was so easy, he explains. “In the Hog, the ability to grab a fixture and change a parameter without it being overridden by the current state of the desk output was very useful. It was a different scenario with the other brand of desk, which was more complicated to achieve.”
James is also carrying related Hog gear, including a backup Full Boar 4 along with four external DMX 8000 Processors – three active, one spare. Each processor under HogNet manages eight DMX universes comfortably. “We could run Art-Net or sACN which then raises the processors’ capabilities to 16 universes per DP,” he says. “We are running 22 Universes. I leave the internal DP of the desk free for patching ‘house’ and ‘festival’ fixtures.”
Hawthorn was the vendor for the U.K. and European dates, and Christie Lites is supplying the U.S. tour.