Dutch Production Company Transforms Offices Into Livestream Studio Using ADJ Lighting

A Dutch production company that usually supplies lighting and sound for festivals and theater concert tours has reinvented itself as a video livestreaming studio. Using more than 30 ADJ lighting fixtures, the owner of MPA Geluidstechniek has transformed his offices into a permanent video studio, which has been used over the past year by a wide variety of bands, singers and other performers to live-stream shows and create other video content.

 

Based in the city of Gorinchem in the Netherlands, Martin van Tricht established MPA Geluidstechniek over 30 years ago. Initially focusing purely on audio and operating the business on a semi-professional, part-time basis, while also running another company, Martin expanded into lighting around a decade later and went full-time 15 years ago. Prior to COVID-19, MPA was a very well-established production company with a packed diary of theater concert tours, festivals and corporate projects. Having always had an interest in photography, Martin was quick to make the transition to video production when the global pandemic hit last March.

“I have visited a lot of professional TV studios during my career, and most studios are actually very small, so I thought I could make my own!” explains Martin. “I knew my office space was big enough, and I had all the ADJ lighting and pro sound gear I needed on hand so, when coronavirus hit, I decided to buy some cameras and setup my own livestreaming studio. This was a gamble, but one that has definitely paid off. Despite all my theater and concert touring work being cancelled, I actually managed to keep very busy for most of 2020 with video projects. The only downside is that the office is upstairs, which means it can be hard work getting all the gear in when a full band comes in!”

The transformation of MPA’s facility from production company offices to dedicated livestreaming studio was a gradual one. Initially Martin setup a small studio space in the corner of the office, which was used by young Dutch crooner Dennis van Aarssen and his band to livestream to fans when live gigs first began to be cancelled due to the spread of COVID-19. Winner of the 2019 season of The Voice of Holland, van Aarssen recently won the Edison Jazz Award for his album Forever You and was busy touring theaters, with MPA providing production, when coronavirus hit.

Due to the success of these early streams, Martin decided to expand the studio to the point where it has now completely overrun his office space. As well as continuing to regularly host Dennis van Aarssen, the space has been used by a wide variety of other performers including singers Kes and Bastiaan Ragas, American trombonist and singer Joseph Bowie of the funk band Defunkt, and even comedienne Lenette van Dongen.

ADJ lighting comprises the majority of the fixtures in the MPA studio, which reflects the company’s overall rental inventory. Martin invested in his first ADJ fixtures five years ago and has since grown to trust the brand for most of his lighting requirements. This is due to the versatility of the product range, the quality and reliability of the equipment as well as the service he receives from ADJ’s European headquarters in Kerkrade.

“The fixtures are good value, but the build quality is also strong,” Martin confirms. “More than that, ADJ offers a good level of customer service. If I have any problems – even with the older fixtures – I can easily arrange repairs and spare parts, which is very important. Steven Samaan, my local salesperson, is also a good guy who always looks after me very well.”

At the heart of the studio lighting setup are eight of ADJ’s Vizi HEX Wash7 professional moving head washes. Each featuring seven 15-Watt RGBAW+UV LEDs, this quick-moving fixture offers motorized zoom with a wide variable beam angle of 5 ~ 55-degrees, making it equally capable of narrow beam effects and wide color washes. For the MPA studio, six of the fixtures are positioned, in two groups of three, at the rear of the performance space to generate backlighting as well as aerial beam effects. Meanwhile, a further pair of the units are utilized off camera to color wash the stage area.

“I like the Vizi Hex Wash7, it is a lightweight fixture and its light output is perfect for this space, it is picked up very well on camera,” explains Martin. “I like the color mixing, it is very smooth and the HEX LEDs allow lots of options, and the built-in WiFLY is also very useful. It makes it very easy to move around the fixtures when necessary, to fit around a band’s equipment, for example. I use a WiFLY EXR Battery connected to my lighting console, which sends the DMX signal wirelessly to the WiFLY compatible fixtures, I then use them as wireless bridges connecting cables to my other non-WiFLY fixtures. This helps to reduce the number of cables running around the studio, which is important in a small space. I must also say that I have found the WiFLY DMX system to be very reliable; in all the time I’ve had the studio setup, I’ve not had a single problem with it.”

Further ADJ WiFLY fixtures are also utilized within the studio in the form of WiFLY EXR HEX PAR battery-powered LED pars, which Martin moves around the space depending on the personnel and musical equipment involved in a particular shoot. The fixtures are predominately used to up-light the backdrop curtain, while cabled Ultra Hex Par 3 LED wash fixtures mounted to tripod stands provide color wash for the stage and backlight for performers. The extensive lineup of ADJ lighting fixtures utilized within the space is completed by a pair of Sweeper Beam Quad LED motorized linear LED units. Positioned on the floor in the center of the space, these fixtures create a beam curtain effect that shoots up behind performers.

For key lighting, Martin uses a pair of ADJ’s Encore FR50Z fixtures. Featuring a 6” Fresnel lens and powered by a highly efficient 50W LED engine, these compact and versatile stage lights offer a variable beam angle of 14 ~ 30-degrees and are supplied barn doors to adjust the beam dispersion. However, due to the limited space in his office/studio, Martin also wanted some even smaller front wash fixtures to ensure uniform lighting across the whole performance area.

“Since we are working in such as small space, I wanted some really compact fixtures for front coverage,” states Martin. “I bought six of ADJ’s Saber Spot DTW units, which I really like a lot. They are perfect for the small space of the studio, the color temperature at 3100K is really nice and the brightness is very good considering the size of the fixture. The 20-degree beam angle is very usable, but I also like that they come with 10-degree and 45-degree lenses too. In the studio, I use four up front and then have two positioned behind the artist, one at each side, as ‘hair light’ to get a nice cinematic look.”

The complete lighting package provides Martin with the versatility to capture crystal clear video of all kinds of performances, from solo singers to large bands. It also allows him to create a wide variety of different looks to complement all musical styles. In addition to the lighting, Martin also uses an ADJ Entourage to enhance the atmosphere in the studio.

“Haze is very important so that the light beams are caught on camera and we use the ADJ Entourage, which is perhaps overkill for such a small space! But we run it at 5% output and 5% fan and that works well. The studio has been up and running for almost a year now and we’ve never had to fill the tank! I would prefer to use oil-based haze, because it is a little bit finer, but that leaves a residue, so every week I would have to clean all the fixtures! For a water-based machine, the Entourage is perfect. Before COVID-19 I used it for festivals and concert tours and found it to be very reliable, I’ve had it for three years and never had a problem. Built into its flight case, it is very tough, so I don’t have to worry about it getting kicked on stage. It heats up quickly and at 100% outputs a huge amount of haze.”

Martin’s ability to pivot MPA Geluidstechniek’s business during the pandemic is an encouraging success story. However, despite enjoying the challenge of learning new video skills, and the variety of the different livestreaming projects he has taken on over the past year, Martin is still keen to return to providing audio and lighting production for festivals and live concerts as soon as possible. And, when that time comes, he plans to expand his inventory of ADJ lighting fixture even further!

Production Company
MPA Geluidstechniek
www.mpa-geluidstechniek.nl

Owner / Manager
Martin van Tricht

Gear List
8 x Vizi Hex Wash7
6 x Saber Spot DTW
2 x Encore FR50Z
2 x Sweeper Beam Quad LED
8 x WiFLY EXR HEX PAR
8 x Ultra Hex Par 3
1 x Entourage