An Adamson Systems Engineering CS-Series loudspeaker rig was deployed for a remote performance by pop singer that was recorded on video specifically for The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and the NBC television network.
Directed by Jonah Haber and filmed in Brampton, Ontario, the Alberta-based singer’s performance of her hit song “You Broke Me First” was outfitted with the trappings of a high-end video shoot courtesy of Vancouver-based production house Boldy and set design, video and staging by Toronto’s Congo Blue Productions.
Typically on video shoots, audio is an afterthought, but not this case explains Jeremie Ngandu, who designed the system for the production and credits the Adamson loudspeakers as integral to the live energy of McRae’s performance. “We converted a 28,000-square-foot warehouse into a performance space,” Ngandu explains, adding that the set included four separate performance areas or “room”’ that McRae moved between during the song – each kitted out with lighting and video screens to create a variety of effects.
Having worked with McRae on similar virtual live performances for The Jimmy Kimmel Show and The European Music Awards, Ngandu understands what McRae and her dancers need to hear for their performances. The CS-Series system was a big part of that, he notes; in terms of ease of setup, the power and SPL necessary to set the tone and enhance the performance in what was, acoustically, a difficult environment, and, most importantly, in allowing Ngandu to provide quality sound for both McRae and the dancers.
Soundbox Productions supplied Ngandu with 18 CS10 line array cabinets and six CS119 subwoofers that were deployed in six ground-stacked positions, each consisting of three CS10 on top and one CS119 on the bottom. These were spread across the set to provide even coverage as McRae and two dancers moved through the space.
“I had the different zones on matrixes, so I could ride the levels as they moved throughout the set and could really feel the music everywhere,” Ngandu notes. “Using the Adamson stacks provided a live feel for the dancers and Tate. It’s important to keep in mind this was very much a live performance – one shot, no edits – so I think the ability to feel the track, with impact, enhanced the performance.”
The degree of control CS-Series provided was also helpful, he adds: “This wasn’t an ideal environment. It’s a concrete space with a metal roof, exposed brick, and no sound absorption. That’s where the zones came in. Tate and her dancers felt every note and every beat of the drums because, as they moved, I’d bring up the level up in each area, but only to where I could still control the dynamics in the room. I really like the dispersion pattern of the CS10. It’s very focused, but it’s also wide and powerful so you don’t have to blast them to have that impact.”
Ngandu has previously utilized the company’s S-Series loudspeakers in addition to completing Adamson Certification Training. The final piece of the puzzle was a pair of Adamson CS7p two-way full-range loudspeakers that served as reference monitors.
“Tate was very pleased. She loved the sound overall, and I enjoyed having the CS7p as reference monitors,” he concludes. “Tate wants her in-ear mix to sound like the studio record. That’s one of her biggest requests. I’ve listened to the record a million times. I know what it’s supposed to sound like and I know what Tate wants it to sound like. So, flipping between in-ears and the CS7p, you hear a true representation of the mix, which helped a lot. The CS7p allowed for a clean, tight, and punchy mix that translated one-for-one, exactly the way she wanted it to.”