It was an historic evening for Romeo Santos, one of Latin music’s most successful icons. On September 21, he headlined a night at New Jersey’s MetLife Stadium, which became the single highest-grossing concert in the stadium’s history, a record previously held by U2.
Named for his latest LP, Utopia, the concert, which spanned 45 songs over four hours and included a guest appearance by rapper Cardi B, was as much a visual tour de force as a musical one, with 22 LED screens covering literally almost every square foot of the stage, including the ceiling. It was an undertaking that required the most robust video servers in the world, and video production designer YC3 Lighting Design turned to Avolites Ai servers to make the night magical.
YC3, which was in charge of the overall stage and production design, fashioned the system around eight Avolites Ai servers—two Q3, two R8, one R4, and three custom servers using Avolites-compatible hardware and Miami software licenses—plus an Avolites Tiger Touch II lighting control console.
“It was the biggest show in the history of Hispanic music!” shares YC3 Lighting Design Owner Yamil Charif of the estimated 85,000 fans who were there. “It was also the highest-grossing concert at the MetLife Stadium, even bigger than U2. It had to be perfect.”
And it was, though not without its challenges. Santos, known as “King of Bachata,” the strain of Latin music from his native Dominican Republic, rarely follows a script, and this show was no exception. “He likes to improvise, to make it up as he goes along,” says Charif. “There was no way we could do this with a single file and just program a server and hit a macro; this show required a lot of flexibility, which came from using many servers, so we could adjust the video images to follow what he was doing as he was feeding off of the crowd.”
He estimates that each of the 45 songs in Santos’ set would need as many as 40 files, spread out over eight servers, which would give him the flexibility he’d need to keep up with Santos’ creativity on stage. Multiply that, and you get the nearly 1,800 individual video files the show would require.
Charif, whose brother Elian was the lead programmer for the entire event, says that only the Avolites servers could provide the robust reliability that the show would demand. He assigned all of the IMAG files and cameras using Notch effects to the Q3 server, the newest in the Avolites Ai series, which unlocks 4K playback through a single DisplayPort 1.2 connection and combined with two additional DVI outputs is the perfect solution to power live events like this one.
The R8 server, which is natively compatible with Notch software, was applied to the main LED screens and to mapping on the stage floor, which also used the custom servers he built to work within the Avolites ecosystem. Effects screens on the venue’s sides and ceiling were assigned to the R4 server.
Finally, the Avolites Tiger Touch II console was utilized for pixel-mapping all of the lighting and projection fixtures used for the event, using Avolites’ new Synergy software, as well as several Notch blocks provided by Creative Integration Studio for IMAG effects. YC3 was able to keep up with the fast-paced performance for all four hours, thanks to how Avolites’ technology created an incredibly efficient workflow for the event.
“But none of this would have worked without the support of Avolites team,” Charif stresses. “Ai Support Engineer Ruben Laine from Group One [Avolites’ US distributor] was with us from the beginning, planning the layout of the servers. The support team there is very strong,” including, he adds, “emotional support, because a show like this really takes it out of you. Knowing that Avolites was there with me allowed me to concentrate on making sure the video was everything it needed to be for an historic show like this.”
For more information on YC3 Lighting Design, visit www.yc3lightingdesign.com.