Measuring 88-metres long and 132-metres wide, with a roof spanning 11,600 m², the Sportpaleis is an impressive structure by any standard. But, for one weekend this September the big building and the neighboring Lotto Arena melted into intimate spaces of sound and light for Reverze, the internationally renowned hardstyle music festival produced by Bass Events.
Celebrating this ultra-intense form of electronic music that was born in Benelux, Reverze radiated immersive energy that defied notions of space and time as it enveloped the huge crowd with its sights and sounds.
As one critic observed: “This isn’t your ordinary concert where you can get away with swaying side to side; the music is far too hypnotic to allow such an approach. Your limbs and internal organs will twist and pulse as soon as the bass drops.”
Contributing to this experience was a series of transformative lightshows run by designer and programmer Leon Driessen of LD Company with help from two ChamSys MagicQ MQ500M consoles with Stadium Wings. (A third MQ500M was held in reserve, but never used.)
Featuring 1017 lighting fixtures (or “heads”) and 36,225 channels spread over 117 universes run through sACN and ArtNet, the lightshows, which supported performances by 14 different artists, filled the entire venue with massive waves of visual energy.
Driessen described the vision behind the visuals: “The looks mainly have to do with how the show is programmed,” he said. “A show file will often be divided by lamp type, but we did the opposite. We made combinations of lamp types and looks that were related to color bumps, looks, and movements. A small example of this is how we triggered an odd/even bump and had everything go along with it. Think of the grouping for strobes / washes / movements etcetera, so that any addition you make with a type of lamp enhances the look because they are uniform on the odd/even bump.”
Of course, shows of this magnitude are never one-person operations. Driessen credits the success at Reverze to his team, which included ALD and programmer Bart Stofmeel, and Jeroen Claes for lasers, along with Dewico for pyro, Axiom for production design, APEXX for lighting production, Last Blast Show Creations for show design and Eyesupply for video.
The design team ran the shows with two operators working at the same time to allow quick transitions to different looks and accents. One of the consoles and wing were used for moving light, while the other was used for static light and specials. The consoles were run in session using MagicQ’s Net-Sessions.
“A key advantage of this arrangement is that both programmers and techs are working on the same show and session simultaneously. We had one Cue List / Cue Stack for intros on timecode shows that we were able to work in at the same time,” explained Driessen. “Also, during the updating of the show on location we were able to take over fixtures from each other if desired. We timecoded the intro for each of the 14 DJs and busked everything else. After each intro we made an automation to the busking page for each operator so that we could continue straight away.”
Driessen described The Net Sessions feature of the MagicQ MQ500M as “indispensable” for the team in the Reverze project. “Because one programmer had programmed the time code shows, they were able to work from the same list in the same session on site,” he said. “So, one of them could operate in Cue 20 of Cue Stack 1, while the other programmer worked on Cue 30 of the same Cue Stack.”
The Reverze shows were pre-programmed at LD Company’s studio over a 10-day period using Syncronorm Depence2. “Because Depence2 uses physical data from the console, we already had the identical situation as on location during pre-programming,” said Driessen. “So, during this period we already sent all 117 universes into the workstations mixed over sACN and ArtNet.”
Driessen was impressed with how the new MagicQ MQ500M facilitated his work at the venue. He was especially pleased with how the console made it faster and easier to program. “The new Timeline feature was fantastic for this production,” he said. “Being able to play audio directly linked to cues in cue list / timeline makes the programming process much faster. In addition, we first imported cues from reaper into the timeline.”
Thanks to the convenient user-friendly new features in the MagicQ MQ500M, Driessen and his team were able to spend more time focused on creating bold looks at Reverze – and as anyone who attended this spectacular festival would agree, it was indeed time well spent.