In preparation for Kenny Chesney’s sold-out nationwide 2006 tour, “The Road & The Radio,” motion design and production collective Lightborne was asked to create visuals for stage projections to be used in conjunction with Chesney’s live performance.
The elaborate stage set-up for Chesney consists of three separate screens: one large screen across the center stage and two portrait-format screens, which flank and are angled away from the center screen.
“Kenny [Chesney] wanted to bring something new and fresh to the table with his new stage show, keeping in mind that many of his fans see him perform every year,” explains Chris Gliebe, Lightborne Creative Director. “He did not want to deliver the same show as he had on previous tours, so making his stage and visuals fresh and new were key to keeping his fans hooked.”
Lightborne was asked to create song-specific pieces for five of the country singer’s hottest tracks, which included “Big Star,” “Who You’d Be Today,” “She Thinks My Tractor is Sexy,” “There Goes My Life,” and “When The Sun Goes Down,” featuring Uncle Kracker. For the visuals, all of the animated elements are choreographed across the three screens, which blend together to form one large composition.
Lightborne had edited and created animated elements for Chesney’s original music video for “Big Star” so they were the perfect choice to create a new visual look for the stage. Following a young female country star’s rise to fame, which is the storyline of the song, the visuals include bright lights, flashy graphics, animated stars and details of guitars.
“Playing off the obvious star theme, we took the direction of the visuals from the organic approach used in the music video to a sleek modern look consistent with a musical act that has made it big,” comments Gliebe.
“She Thinks My Tractor is Sexy” is a tongue-in-cheek country song from early in Chesney’s career, and has a cult following among his loyal fans. Working with Chesney’s video director Shaun Silva, Lightborne devised a humorous and visually arresting send-up of Apple’s iPod campaign using the silhouettes of three sexy country girls and a stylized tractor in a rural setting. Keeping with the classic John Deere color scheme of green and yellow, Lightborne layered in farm imagery, 3D elements and splattering paint to create a fast moving and visually captivating piece that fits with the lighthearted tone of the song.
For “Who You’d Be Today,” Lightborne Editor Jeremiah Shuff, who had worked on the music video, created a dynamic three-screen edit of existing B-roll footage from the video, which plays as the backdrop to Chesney’s live delivery. “The deep emotional message of losing loved ones becomes even more poignant when seen on such a large scale with multiple repeated images and massive montages of famous cultural icons who have passed on,” remarks Shuff.
“There Goes My Life” is told from a father’s perspective as he watches his young daughter grow up into a woman and leave home. Lightborne created a heartwarming montage of real home video and photographs that feature daughters and their fathers reaching various milestones in their lives. Creative Director Tuesday McGowan along with Director Shaun Silva created various vignettes, which help transition from one part of the song to the next and act as a real life backdrop to the photos and memorabilia. Refrigerators, scrapbooks, and bulletin boards were all shot practically, and used as the foundation for moving in and out of various footage that features the lives of several young girls and how they unfold during the song.
The last piece is the party song “When the Sun Goes Down,” which features vocals by fellow country pop star Uncle Kracker. Chesney asked Lightborne to give his existing music video a fresh new look. Creative Director Chris Gliebe took the traditionally shot video, treated it with a severe color correction pass and re-edit, and added animated graphics and footage, which were all combined together.
“The rich colors, Hawaiian prints, and surf graphics add a unique new vibe that will keep his audience in awe,” concludes Gliebe. “With this project, we were able to flex our creative and design skills to create visuals that were dynamic and engaging. We were excited to work so closely with Kenny Chesney and Director Shaun Silva, and from the sold out status of the tour, we know the fans will enjoy the experience too.”
Project: Kenny Chesney “The Road & The Radio” 2006 Tour
Production Company: Tacklebox Films/Nashville, TN and Lightborne/Cincinnati, OH
Director: Shaun Silva
DP: Steve Gainer, ASC
Executive Producers: Scott Durban and Molly Donnellon & Lightborne
Where shot: Lightborne/Cincinnati, OH
Editorial Company: Lightborne, Cincinnati, OH
Editor: Jeremiah Shuff
Junior Editor: Nate Clark
Assistant Editor: Bradley Trimble
Postproduction Facility: Lightborne/Cincinnati OH
Creative Directors: Tuesday McGowan and Chris Gliebe
Animator: Dave Irion
Junior Animators: Tim Salikov, Eric “the Red” Lawshe
Post Supervisor: Molly Donnellon
Lightborne is located at 212 East Fourteenth Street, Cincinnati, OH 45202 Phone: 513.721.2272. Fax: 513.721.2310.
For more information please visit: www.light-borne.com.