Toby Freeman

Toby is European Product Specialist for CHAUVET DJ and will be bringing his expertise to BPM | PRO 2017 as the designer of the CHAUVET DJ ARENA. We caught up with him to discuss the challenges of building the Arena and what we can expect from this year’s lightshow!

You’re responsible for creating the CHAUVET DJ Arena at this year’s show. How will the atmosphere and feel be different from previous years?

This year I’ve gone for much more of a ‘club’ feel, where the lighting encompasses the audience as well as the stage. The structure reaches out over the crowd to provide a more powerful presence and we’re also dressing the truss with more products, in order to make every aspect of the structure a feature. The visuals won’t just be about the beams but also about how the product displays itself. I’m really looking forward to the design being implemented, as we’ve not done a design like this at BPM | PRO before!


What products will you be using to bring the performances inside the Arena to life? 

To create a roofed feel, we’re covering the mother grid in Festoon RGBs which will drape to the sides to provide both a ceiling and walls of light. The Festoon RGB will also allow us to pixel map across the entirety of the Arena, making the whole room come alive! We’re also bringing our top-end Intimidator units to provide the output level the Arena deserves. The Intimidator Beam 140SR and Intimidator Hybrid 140SR are great at making their presence know, so I think a space like the Arena is ideal for them! Their output allows for exceptionally crisp beams, while the diversity of functions in the Intimidator Hybrid 140SR allows for a huge amount of floor-filling effects.


What are the main challenges you face when working on a project like this?

There are a number of design implementation challenges when taking on a project like this. However, we have a highly experienced team and they’re exceptionally good at making the projects happen, so I don’t really have many issues with those challenges! The main challenge I face is getting the right number of products and the right mix. We have so much to offer for the Arena and it can actually be very easy to put too much variance in there. But on the other hand, you don’t want to limit it too much because you still want to show a mix of effects and features. So it becomes quite a balancing act!


What’s the best event you’ve been to in the last 12 months? And why?

Download Festival is always my favourite event of the year. It’s a great atmosphere, they always have a decent line-up, and everyone puts on a good show! Aerosmith was definitely the highlight for me this year.


What can visitors expect from the CHAUVET DJ stand at BPM | PRO 2017?

One of the most popular features of our stand design is our Play Podiums and this year we’ll have more of them than ever before. Our FlareCon system will also be available for visitors to connect to via their phones, allowing them to control many units. We find the best way to experience a product is to try it out yourself and we like to provide that opportunity. Part of our stand will also be dedicated to demonstrations of SoundSwitch [a new technology, distributed by CHAUVET DJ, that lets users sync DMX lighting with audio files in Serato DJ], which will demonstrate the possibilities of the unit while showing off the features of our other products.

“The best part of my job is the customer interaction. I’ve been lucky enough to attend the BPM | PRO show every year that I’ve worked for Chauvet and hearing what people have to say about the company and our products is great.”

Will visitors be able to check out any of the products used inside the CHAUVET DJ Arena out on the CHAUVET DJ stand?

Yes, we’ll have all the products used in the Arena displayed over on our stand – quite a number of which will be on our Play Podiums, so you’ll be able to try out controlling the lights and check out their features.


What do you think BPM | PRO offers lighting users and enthusiasts?

I think it’s a great chance to see the latest developments in technology and to find inspiration for how to use lighting effects. There are lots of demonstrations showing the practical use of units to produce phenomenal effects at all levels of lighting, from the small disco to the CHAUVET DJ Arena. The show is a great opportunity to better see the fixtures – to have a go at using them and see their functions in person.


How long have you been working for CHAUVET DJ? Best part of the job?

This is my fourth year at Chauvet and my first year as CHAUVET DJ’s European Product Specialist. There’s a lot to this job that I find very rewarding; developing products which utilise the latest technology always excites me. However, the best part of my job is the customer interaction. I’ve been lucky enough to attend the BPM | PRO show every year that I’ve worked for Chauvet and hearing what people have to say about the company and our products is great. Every year I’ve had people seek me out to thank me for the support or advice we’ve given them or just to chat about products.


What upcoming CHAUVET DJ products are you most excited about?

We’ll be showcasing the new Intimidator Spot 375Z IRC, which I’m particularly fond of because it has so much versatility built in. The 150W LED means it has the power to perform at larger venues, while its array of features – such as the zoom and two prism types – means it can handle any event it’s put on. I’m also looking forward to seeing the Intimidator Wash Zoom 450 IRC in action in the Arena! The twelve 15W LEDs will cover the area nicely and the zone control on the unit will provide interesting colour mixing opportunities. The EVE F-50 will be there too and it will be a great opportunity for this unit to show how much power it has –  it’s a product designed for this kind of event!


Favourite venue/place to see live music or DJs?

Nottingham Arena is my favourite. I’m lucky to have such a good venue near where I live! The space allows for some spectacular shows and most of the live performances I’ve been to have been there.