ADJ Lighting, Video & Effect Fixtures Create The Atmosphere For UK’s Biggest Online Haunted House Afterparty

The official 2020 afterparty to UK radio station Kiss FM’s annual Haunted House Party featured a backdrop of ADJ lighting and LED video fixtures, while atmosphere for the set was provided by an ADJ Entour Ice low-fog machine. Hosted by Kiss FM DJ Majestic, and featuring performers A-trak, Disciples, Gorgon City, James Hype (feat. Harlee), PS1, Sam Divine and Shift K3y, the live stream provided the ‘stay at home soundtrack’ for thousands of young people who weren’t able to go out to parties or clubs to celebrate Halloween this year.

 

One of the longest-running youth radio stations in the UK, Kiss FM organizes a Haunted House Party every year that is billed as ‘the UK’s biggest Halloween party’. Featuring live performances from some of the biggest names in urban music, the event usually takes place at London’s iconic Wembley Arena in front of thousands of music fans. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s party was instead fully live-streamed. In past years the event has been followed by a nightclub afterparty and this too was re-created for 2020 via a live stream. Broadcast following the show itself, from 9pm on Saturday October 31st, the afterparty was hosted by sister station Kiss Dance and featured continuous DJ sets that went on well into the night.

MLC Events, a small but growing Essex-based production company owned by Sean Smyth, was brought in to provide lighting, video and audio for the after party shoot. Since filming the performances for the live stream was also part of the contract, Sean in turn decided to bring in another rapidly-expanding local company, Kent Media Group, which has a team – headed up by Jack Wilson – specifically skilled in video capture. The two companies worked closely together to provide Kiss Dance with a full-service package that included both the lighting/video design of the stage set and filming/editing of the finished video material ready for live-streaming on Halloween night.

“Pretty much the whole rig was designed on the day,” explains Sean. “We did no pre-production, there was no time for it! Although we knew it was on the cards, we literally got the nod we had the job the week before. The venue [The Club Room at The Bedform hotel in London] was perfect, it really had the feel of a haunted house. We got in there at 7am on the Monday morning and were ready to start filming at 11am. We then did two solid days of filming: all of the sets for the afterparty as well as Dizzee Rascal’s performance for the main show.”

The backdrop to the shoot comprised of 32 ADJ AV4IP LED video panels (supplied by Kent Media Group), which were used to display ambient visuals as well as the name of each performer during their set. Meanwhile, the DJ booth was fronted by 8 ADJ AV6X panels, which were used to display the ‘Kiss Dance Haunted House Afterparty’ logo laid over matching ambient visuals. Both screens were driven by a single Novastar VX4S video processor, which made for an easy to setup and configure video solution.

The main moving head fixture of the rig that Sean and his team created was ADJ’s immensely popular Vizi Beam RXONE. Featuring a potent Osram® Sirius HRI 1R discharge lamp this compact and quick-moving fixture generates a super sharp 3-degree beam that will travel a distance of up to 100 meters. A total of eight units were utilized, four on either side of the rear LED screen. On each side, one pair were rigged to vertical truss totems while another pair were mounted to pieces of truss laying on the floor that came out from the rear video wall to the front of the stage at an angle. This had the effect of wrapping the lightshow around the DJ booth, giving it a three-dimensional feel, allowing performers to be surrounded by a myriad of beams.

“I have to say, the Vizi Beam RXONE is my favorite light!” enthuses Sean. “I like it because it doesn’t use a lot of power, especially considering the intensity of the beam it creates. It’s also very fast-moving and I like the effects you can create using the prism and split-colors – it really is easy to program. Because it’s so small, you can hide it away in a lighting rig too, but then, when it’s on, the beam is just spectacular! I don’t think there’s a fixture out there that can compete with its combination of output, features, size and price. It’s also very reliable; I’ve had these eight units for almost three years and never had a problem – I’ve not even had to replace a lamp yet!”

In addition, four of ADJ’s Jolt 300 LED fixtures did double duty as both wash and strobe lights. Each of these versatile units feature a central strip of 144 x 0.5W white SMD LEDs, surrounded on both sides by 144 x 0.5W RGB SMD LEDs. This provides lighting designers with the creative potential of generating both strikingly-bright white strobe effects and vibrant color washes from the same compact fixture. What’s more, each set of LEDs is divided into three independently-controllable zones, which means the unit can also be used to create engaging ‘eye candy’ effects and chase patterns. Lighting Designers Ryan ‘Lofty’ Lockett and Chris Gadd utilized the Jolt 300s to their full potential for the Halloween afterparty shoot, using them to add a colorful glow to the set while also adding excitement with chases and strobe effects that ran across all four units.

“For the money, you really you can’t beat the Jolt 300,” enthuses Sean. “It’s robust but also compact, so you can rig it in so many different places. And it really is bright! On the shoot we were running them at 70% brightness and that was more than enough to create some really intense effects. They provided nice ambient washes but also some great feature effects. Chris used the zone control to create stunning strobe chases that came across very well on camera.”

The beam effects were enhanced by an Entour Haze Pro, ADJ’s professional-grade oil-based haze machine which is built-in to a flight case. Then, to tie in with the Halloween theme, an ADJ Entour Ice was also used to fill the stage with atmospheric clouds of low-lying fog. This innovative piece of equipment re-wrote the rule book when it comes to using solid carbon dioxide (dry ice) to create low fog effects. Instead of a manual system that lowers a basket of dry ice into a tank of hot water, this innovative new machine utilizes an automated system that pumps the hot water into the dry ice chamber on cue. This not only allows remote triggering of the effect via DMX but also improved precision over the output volume.

Combined together, the video, lighting and effect elements made for a stunningly spooky visual backdrop to the afterparty video shoot. Sean and his team were very happy with the performance of their ADJ equipment and, in turn, his client was extremely pleased with the work of MLC Events and Kent Media Group.

“Kiss was a really nice company to work for,” confirms Sean, “and the people from the station, as well as the artists themselves, were really happy and appreciative of what we did. They were very impressed by the production, even though it was from two relatively small event companies.”

This just goes to show what can be achieved with hard work, positive attitudes and the right technical tools. Despite the huge challenges of this year, both MLC Events and Kent Media Group are well positioned to thrive and grow in 2021 as restrictions on the events and entertainment industry begin to lift. 

 

Event
Kiss Dance Haunted House Afterparty
www.kissfmuk.com

Venue
The Bedford
77 Bedford Hill, Balham, London, SW12 9HD
www.thebedford.com

Production Company
MLC Events
www.mlcevents.co.uk
Associate Production Company
Kent Media Group
www.kentmediagroup.co.uk

Production Manager
Sean Smyth

Lighting Designers
Ryan ‘Lofty’ Lockett and Chris Gadd

Video Team
Jack Wilson and Louis Smyth

ADJ Gear List
8 x Vizi Beam RXONE
4 x Jolt 300
32 x AV4IP
8 x AV6X
Novastar VX4S
Entour Ice
Entour Haze Pro