• Laser goes round the globe with Drake

Laser goes round the globe with Drake

PRG XL Video help create a highlight for Drake’s Boy Meets World Europe Tour using PT-RZ31K, d3 and Blacktrax

Drake is currently one of the biggest music artists on the globe. With the 2016 release of his album 'Views' and playlist 'More Life' in 2017, the Canadian rapper embarked on a number of dates across Europe following a hugely successful North American tour. The artist was keen to give European fans a different show to the one which had been seen already.

Tour Director and Designer Steve Kidd, and Lighting Director and Designer Guy Pavelo have both worked with Drake for more than five years, and have provided the designs for multiple tours in that time. The duo use major event technology supplier PRG to realise their concepts across North America and Europe.

The show design was incredibly complex, featuring multiple elements of lighting and video technology including an LED lighting system and video wall as well as a variety of projection.

A major addition to the show for the European leg was the projection globe, where eight PT-RZ31K laser projectors arranged in four double-stacks created an awe-inspiring image thanks to Blacktrax and d3 technologies.

Guy Pavelo explains where the idea came from - "The projection globe was from an art installation that happened in Toronto this past season. It was called Death of the Sun and it was a 45ft round sphere on top of a pedestal which was projection mapped onto. It was a 12-15 minute progression which had the different stages of the sun - from the birth of the start, through the nebula, until it finally burns out."

"The guys who created the globe had worked with Drake in the past, so we were fortunate that with one phone call we were able to secure the ideas and the original and get the ball rolling," Guy Pavelo continued. "Two days later we had an object to start playing with here in Europe.

"The guys are using d3 and Blacktrax to map and track the ball as its inflated during the show, so we can realign and hit it completely."

Real-time tracking specialist Blacktrax has developed a special system that can track objects across multiple dimensions, taking into account the yaw, pitch and roll of the object as well as its direct 3D movement. From there it can supply that information to other systems, such as sound, media controllers, lighting or cameras.

As all the different technology in the show has the data to accurately follow moving objects, the result is an impressive visual effect.

The PT-RZ31K was used to great effect at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, the first major event for the then-prototype model. With 30,000 lumens of SOLID SHINE laser brightness, it's a projector that had proven itself capable to handle the biggest of live events.

January 2017 saw PRG make a major investment in ultra-high brightness Panasonic laser projectors, with theatre production Bat Out of Hell - The Musical being the first to take advantage of the PT-RZ31K in Manchester.

"The guys are using d3 and Blacktrax to map and track the ball as it's inflated during the show, so we can realign and hit it completely."

Image credit © PRG UK LTD/Alison Barclay

The reduced heat output from the laser diode modules means the cooling system has been completely reengineered. Relying on fans to push air around, lamp projectors can be very noisy which is an issue in certain types of installations such as theatres, galleries and corporate events.

Laser based projectors on the other hand are far more quieter to operate, which, coupled with their reduced maintenance requirements, are ideal for the live event & rental market.