MA3 gives McFly the Power to Play

16th January 2024

Home 5 Ayrton News 5 MA3 gives McFly the Power to Play
LD Sam Parry opted for the latest grandMA3 hardware and software platform to deliver stunning classic rock-inspired looks on the McFly Power to Play UK tour. After years working with other console brands, the LD feels truly at home in the MA3 systems. 

“The support and patience of Ambersphere was a major push to take the leap and dive into the MA world head first,” says Parry, noting that this tour was his first time using the MA software in the field. “I will admit that I was apprehensive to say the least, this was not a small endeavour and I was relying on software that was incredibly new to me. I can honestly say that I could not have been any happier with how easy this show was to program, operate and adjust for the myriad of venue sizes that presented themselves across this tour.”

The LD also made use of Ayrton’s Eurus Profile to supplement and add dynamic movement. “The Eurus were the ideal balance between size, versatility and output,” explained Parry. “The output of the Fusion Pars was quite a force to be reckoned with; for the majority of the academy shows they ran at a maximum of 8% of their total available brightness, so I really needed a profile that competed with that; one that also wouldn’t snap a tech in two when it came to rigging it!”

The Ayrton gobo selection was also given significant praise. “It’s tasteful and all usable – I much prefer a well curated selection of gobos that are easily focused than option paralysis. The Eurus really complemented the 80s concept the band were looking for on this tour.”

The large fixture count and segmented concept of the design was made significantly easier to program thanks to the revamped Selection Grid, MATricks and new Phaser Editor tools in the MA3 software, allowing for complex effects to be made in moments rather than minutes. The layout view tools also helped Parry create pixel mapped effects without the need for any external software or data merging.

“I really felt like everything was at my fingertips with the MA software,” he says, commenting on the lack of time to train or experience the software before embarking on the tour. “Despite absolutely no prior experience of MA in any significant capacity, I found the new UI and tools available within the software distinctly logical; they easily adapted to my programming methodologies and creative choices.

“Adjusting shows between venues was a breeze and the smoothness of operation really showed me how much power is available within this platform. Basic pixel mapping text was really as easy as drawing on paper with the Selection Grid and Layout Viewer.”

Commenting on the implementation of the flagship Recipe feature, Parry noted “It is absolutely a huge selling point and makes total sense from a touring and busking perspective. I made a lot of use of the options it presents for a lot of the hits and bumps that are used in this show. I would like to see the option for storing data as a recipe become a default choice in the future to speed up workflow even more dramatically.”

“Trying to make 250ish Pars look unique in every song was a significant challenge. The speed and capability of phasers coupled with the fresh MATricks system is quite astonishing,” he adds. “I don’t think I’ve ever felt like I can get the concepts I dream up out into the world with such ease as I have with this effect engine. The logic is based on sensible physical constraints, so suddenly, the concept of effects transitions is put into real world terms; it’s very easy to understand.”

“I’d really like to thank Ambersphere, in particular Loz Marshall, for taking the time to really discuss my worries and queries, setting my mind at ease for taking this project on under a new console brand.”

Lighting Design: Sam Parry

Programming and Operation: Sam Parry

Lighting Supplier: PRG UK

Lighting Crew Chief: Simon Port

LX Tech: Josh Shewell

Photo Credits: Dean Sherwood, Federica Burelli & Sam Parry