November 09, 2021
ORLANDO, Florida—To complement the immersive video content featured on Porter Robinson’s Nurture Live Tour, Ben Coker designed and programmed a sophisticated lighting rig featuring Martin Professional MAC Ultra Performance and MAC Aura PXL fixtures controlled by a P3-50 system controller.
Porter Robinson is an electronic musician and DJ who was nominated for the 2019 Grammy Award for Best Dance Recording, named MTVu’s Artist of the Year in 2015 and listed among DJ Mag’s Top 100 DJs for seven consecutive years. After releasing his second album Nurture in April 2021, Robinson embarked on a nationwide tour with stops in 22 states. Featuring multiple video walls and a video floor displaying synchronized visual content ranging from abstract animated sequences to picturesque nature scenes, the Nurture Live Tour required a sophisticated lighting rig to complete the experience. To bring maximum immersion to the show, Lighting Designer Ben Coker deployed the new Martin MAC Ultra Performance and MAC Aura PXL fixtures, taking advantage of Martin’s flexible P3 platform for detailed pixel mapping.
“Porter has always valued production a lot, and he gets really involved with it,” said Coker. “We put a lot of emphasis on having plenty of flexibility in the show and being able to have different looks and layers throughout, but we try not to use the typical approach where everything’s at a hundred percent all the time. Instead, we try to give video and lighting their own moments and make them both play well together by matching color and intensity to get the content to play back and forth between the two.”
Coker selected the Martin MAC Ultra Performance, Martin’s next-generation moving-head LED luminaire, as the primary lighting fixture for the tour. Built to support the biggest live events, the cutting-edge fixture incorporates a proprietary 1150-watt LED engine that delivers up to 46,500 lumens with high-resolution dimming, strobing and Martin’s unique Animotion effect. A refined optical system provides 1:7 zoom range with precision focus control, while Martin’s innovative Extended Framing system offers unparalleled flexibility, response time, shutter angling and ease of programming. A complete effects package including two layers of rotating gobos, an advanced animation wheel, iris, frost and prism effects gives lighting designers unprecedented power to create never-before-seen looks.
“I've used a lot of the other bigger fixtures over the past several years and the MAC Ultra Performance is the nicest, brightest spotlight that I've seen,” said Coker. “For what I'm using it for, it checks every single box. It has a great gobo set, great colors, great zoom range, it's fast for its size and it’s super bright and punchy. When you iris it down, it holds its own with a lot of the beam fixtures, and when you zoom it out wide, you still have enough intensity to be able to see big gobo breakup patterns and aerials. That's really difficult to find in most fixtures.”
To enhance the tour’s immersive video content, Coker took advantage of the creative pixel mapping capabilities of the new Martin MAC Aura PXL. The latest iteration of Martin’s popular Aura Series, the MAC Aura PXL is a multi-source LED wash light with a separate 19-pixel beam and 141-segment backlight. Both engines offer independent control at the pixel level for ultra high-resolution pixel mapping and vivid effects. RGBW color mixing delivers everything from vibrant, saturated colors to subtle pastels and even realistic tungsten emulation. And, with up to 10,500 lumens of output, the MAC Aura PXL has enough power on tap for any application.
“The Aura and Aura XB have been my favorite go-to fixtures for a long time,” said Coker. “I liked their simplicity and dependability. When I first saw the PXL, I was really excited—probably the most excited about a fixture I've been for quite a while. I knew that it was going to be the right choice for the tour. The sheer quantity of individual LED diode sources inside the lens and backlight really appealed to me because it gave me a higher resolution of pixel mapping. The fact that I could still use a main engine wash light and not have to pixel map the main engine source, and that I can light a stage with a wash and still do a pixel map on the lens of it, was really appealing to me.”
Coker used a single Martin P3-050 system controller unit to map video content to the MAC Aura PXLs. The P3-050 System Controller is a compact and affordable unit capable of controlling systems of up to 100,000 pixels via Martin’s powerful P3 protocol as well as standard DMX and Art-Net protocols. According to Coker, P3 control unlocked many creative possibilities while remaining streamlined and reliable for a high-profile touring application.
“Since we have a video floor, I wanted to be able to take that content and replicate it overhead via P3,” explained Coker. “By using the P3-050, I could have that full pixel control and send whatever content I wanted to the lights, but I didn't have to use a ton of channels. That's a huge advantage for P3—besides ease of control, mapping and setup—not having to use tons of parameters. It would take one universe per light to be able to have that same control via DMX.”
The Nurture Live Tour kicked off September 23 at the Cuthbert Amphitheater in Eugene, Oregon and continued along the West Coast before covering the Midwest, East Coast and several southern states throughout October and November. After multiple sold-out shows and new dates added along the way, Robinson played the final show of the tour at the Pechanga Arena in San Diego on November 13.