In just a few short years, The Weeknd has become one of the most dominating artists in pop music, winning multiple GRAMMY Awards, topping the Billboard charts and earning millions of fans worldwide. Recently, Lighting Designer Sooner Routhier was hired to design the stage lighting for The Weeknd’s 2017 “Starboy: Legend of the Fall’ world tour. The performance features numerous projectors that display video content on custom surfaces, including a large spaceship shaped structure suspended above the stage.
Routhier wanted to add LED fixtures to the set that would enhance the visual experience, without competing with the projected video content. In order to achieve this goal, Routhier deployed more than 650 Martin VDO Sceptron 10 LED video fixtures to create a unique blend of lighting effects, video projection and vibrant imagery.
“Rather than put a flashy light show over the top of everything, our goal was to work with the video design and ensure that any lighting we added to the set didn’t take away from the projection,’ said Routhier. “When we attempted to match every single note to lighting, it got messy and the overall vision wasn’t adhered to properly. By outlining the set with the VDO Sceptrons, we were able to create a “Tron like’ edge to the video content. It provided more depth to the structure as a whole.’
The Sceptrons are controlled by Martin P3 System Controllers, which receive content from the same video server as the projectors. The Sceptrons alternate between neon lighting effects and video content, which creates a dynamic visual presentation that changes with the music. During the initial design phase, Routhier knew she wanted to line the set with thin LED video fixtures that were available in different lengths, since the projection surfaces varied in size. Routhier has worked with Sceptron fixtures on numerous other tours, and she knew their robust build quality, versatility and flexible sizing options would be perfect for the “Starboy’ tour.
“We’ve worked with the Sceptrons many times in the past, and we love them,’ said Routhier. “We don’t use the Sceptrons for just lighting effects—we run content through them that enhances the projection and creates an even larger content map. We also run a separate clip of content with different movements that match the beat, which creates creates an interesting contrast and furthers the texture.’