Robe goes big for SA Idols finale
Robe goes big for SA Idols finale
A variety of lighting fixtures from Robe were deployed for the 2020 finale of SA Idols. Taking place at the 640-seat Drama Stage in Pretoria’s State Theatre, the show saw Joshua Cutts of Visual Frontier provide lighting design with technical production delivered by Dream Sets for SIC Entertainment.
The State Theatre’s Drama Stage also hosted the 16th season rounds. While the production would then typically decamp to the 3,000-capacity Carnival City Big Top Arena in Johannesburg for the finale, this year everything remained at the State Theatre and accommodated a strictly limited audience of 250.
The live show rig featured a healthy dose of Robe luminaires – 48 Robe moving lights, including six BMFL Blades which were used for additional back light; 16 LEDWash 800s on ladder trusses used as upstage blinders; 16 Pointes also on ladders, plus 16 ColorWash 2500s which created a rear “blanket” effect. There were also ColorWash 700s positioned around the house band.
Cutts has lit the finale for the last 10 seasons, so part of his challenge this year was to make it dramatically different from before. Furthermore, without the move to the larger venue, his key task was to create a signature visuality and help ensure that fans watching would still enjoy a great value experience. In addition to the house band which had been present through the series, an array of aerial performers was added for the finale, giving the LD some extra elements to work with.
As a result, he took the chance to expand the rig with an additional 120 Robe moving lights for the finale, which was broadcast live on the Mzansi Magic CH 161 on DSTV as usual.
Twenty-four Robe MegaPointes were loaded onto six custom-built dollies which could be wheeled around the stage and positioned anywhere to instantly create different architecture and structural looks. “The more I use them, the more I like them and still find new effects,” Cutts commented of the MegaPointes. “It’s an outstanding beam/spot light source, with the colour mixing adding another whole level.”
Twenty-four Esprites, with the Transferable LED Engine, also joined the rig for the finale. These were flown above the stage and in the side wings. “I was amazed at the compact size of the Esprite for the power and number of features – very impressive,” Cutts declared.
Eight out of 24 Tetra2 moving LED bars proved ideal for edging the top and bottom of the upstage 10m x 4m LED screen, with the other 16 placed along the edge of the stage in the footlight position, giving three distinctive lines of Tetra2 beams. Next on the Robe extras list was 48 Spikies, which were rigged on five steel frames also on dollies and used to create columns of light 2.5m x 1.5m (HxW) in different locations onstage.
Cutts also brought in three RoboSpot systems for the final. Two BaseStations controlled two Robe BMFL WashBeams located at FOH and the third system was connected to four BMFL Blades on one of the back trusses, used for tight and neat rear spotting on the theatre stage. A healthy splattering of pyro was also added for extra glitter and sparkle.
Approximately 350 custom pixel blocks were scattered around the audience seating which twinkled and chased in the background, adding atmosphere and filling what would otherwise have been a dark empty space with presence.
Cutts worked with his associate Andre Siebrits who programmed and operated the grandMA full-size console which was running with a light as backup and an MA OnPC for visualisation, with 32 universes of DMX feeding the system. A Green Hippo Boreal+ media server running via the console dealt with playback content for the LED screens.
This setup with Siebrits allowed the LD to focus on directing the lighting and creating a variety of iconic signature looks for each song as well as generally making the space look bigger and different from the rounds.
“It allowed all of us on the production team to end an exceptionally challenging year on a high,” concluded Cutts, who like everyone in the industry, has been hit hard by the shutdown of live events.