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Alex Manning

Alex Manning

Alexander Manning is an award-winning Director specializing in large-scale corporate and entertainment projects. Alex’s portfolio contains hundreds of completed works in a diverse range of styles and genres – including Automotive, Fashion, Gaming, Music Video, Travel, Virtual Reality, & Experimental.

Gemini and Apollo deliver a perfect performance.

Lights going crazy, colorful graphics bursting, air cannons, exploding pyrotechnics and a jib sweeping across the scene to a hard rocking guitar track. It’s a rock concert, but this is a concert with a twist–a pinball twist!

When Jersey Jack Pinball needed a launch video for their latest machine, a Guns N’ Roses themed rock extravaganza under glass, they called on the experts. North Carolina based commercial video and photography specialists for the entertainment and amusement industry, Elements Studio.

Jersey Jack had already worked together with Director Alex Manning and DP Tripp Green to produce launch videos for their “The Hobbit” and “Dialed In” pinball machines, now they would collaborate again on their most audacious machine yet.

Ain’t it fun

“When Jersey Jack explained the concept of the new machine, we knew we had to go all out,” says Alex. “Because the game is based in their ‘Not in this lifetime’ tour, we decided to throw the first ever pinball concert. We had big LED walls to display animation from the tour, a 360-degree rotating turntable for the machine, gigantic concert speakers, and a model playing pinball and rocking out. Sick cameras, crazy lights, Rock N’ Roll, and pinball – I mean, what more do you want?”

Raw power

Alex and long-term collaborator DP, Tripp Green, decided that because there would be a lot of event-style practical lights and with color being a major element, they needed RGB lights. “We knew we’d get the intensity and flare we wanted by the moving concert lights and LED wall” says Alex.  “But to light the Pinball Machine, we wanted a very large soft source directly above the turntable – and we needed full control of it.” Enter Litepanels Gemini 2×1 Soft RGBWW LED panels.

“It was super important the viewer see the machine in the proper light,” says Alex. “A project like this could get too crazy, you watch it, and you don’t even know what just happened. So, we wanted to make sure that you can absorb it – at least for a second,” he laughs.

We mounted four Gemini 2×1 Soft panels together in the Quad Array kit to create a large light source rigged above the pinball machine. “We’re big fans of the Gemini 2×1,” says Alex. “The built-in ballast is fantastic – it makes the fixture super-quick to rig and manoeuvre and is still lighter than similar fixtures.” He adds, “We only had a single day to prelight the concert and machine – so the time saved was critical.”

It’s so easy

Using the Apollo with an iPad, we could control the Gemini’s wirelessly and make any changes we needed – instantly. A thousand times easier than running DMX cables, and the app is so intuitive.

Mounting the Gemini Quad Array directly above the pinball machine and turntable presented a challenge for the crew to get the most out of the light. A challenge easily solved with Litepanels’ Apollo Bridge and control app. “We knew we wanted this light above the turntable, but the turntable was making the light inaccessible,” says Alex. “Changing settings manually was going to be impossible and we had a limited time to film everything. We were looking for solutions when Studio Gaffer, Joe Tese reached out about getting our hands on an Apollo Bridge. Using the Apollo with an iPad, we could control the Gemini’s wirelessly and make any changes we needed – instantly. A thousand times easier than running DMX cables, and the app is so intuitive.”

Pretty tied up

Apollo Bridge integrates seamlessly into DMX systems to bring wireless versatility to lighting. “DMX boards are fantastic, they can do tons of great stuff, but they also tie you down to where the board is,” Says Alex. “No one wants to shout adjustments across set to the tech – ‘A little brighter! A little dimmer! The mobile app meant Tripp & Joe could walk around the space with the camera during the prelight, make necessary changes, and save the values per setup for actual production.” He adds, “I don’t think I can stress how awesome the ability to do that is. It gave us confidence in each setup’s desired light output and color values.”

For Alex and the Elements crew, the ability to plug the Apollo Bridge into a DMX controller expands the scope and versatility of their projects. “Who doesn’t want to control their lights, wirelessly?” he says. “Virtually anything you would want to do via DMX, Apollo allows you to do, it is essentially a wireless DMX controller, the sheer versatility and the ability to decide how you want to use it is very attractive.”

So fine

With a CCT range of 2,700—10,000K and a CRI/TLCI rating of 99, the Gemini could provide the perfect light to match the pinball concert and the pinball table. “The RGB LEDs inside the pinball machine read about 10,000K,” says Alex. “The ability to change the colour temperature of Gemini to 10,000 – on the fly – meant more accurate colours and a correct white balance for everything on screen when we got to the critical playfield shots.” He adds, “Some people might look at the Gemini specs and ask, “when would I use 10,000?” But this was a perfect example of when that versatility becomes applicable. The Apollo / Gemini combo is a game-changer. Incredible CRI, High Output, full RGB – and now wireless. Yes please!”

Watch the final teaser

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