KNOXVILLE, TENNESSEE – What event could bring an Academy Award winning director, an American Idol finalist and more than 1,400 teams of students from 15 different countries together for three days at the University of Tennessee? The answer is Destination Imagination (DI), a non-profit organization that works to inspire students to be innovators and leaders in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Bandit Lites provided the lighting for the Global Finals, where teams from around the world gathered to compete in challenges created to stretch their creativity and logical skills.
For the largest opening ceremony in DI history, American Idol finalist and DI-alumna Rachel Hale performed the national anthem, and America’s Got Talent finalist David Garibaldi used both creative dance and artistry to create a painting. Then, director James Cameron shared a video message offering his congratulations to the students and sharing, “If you use your brain, imagination and curiosity, you can do anything you want to do.”
Although Bandit has been lighting the Global Finals for years, for the 2014 event lighting designer Shawn Beaulieu created a design that would be done in-the-round of Tennessee’s Thompson-Boling Arena giving an incredible open feeling and drawing in all 16,000 in attendance. Using 24 hexagonal truss structures to ensure every inch of the stage was covered, Beaulieu utiized Bandit’s GRNLite moving head wash for lighting that would ‘punch’ even in color washes.
“The stage also changed several times over the course of several days, so it was very helpful to have the horsepower,” explained Giff Swart of Bandit. “We had 6 Mac 2k Washes with beam-kits fitted on the hex truss plus 8 on the floor. The tight beams created by these were used to produce some powerful visual effects. There were also several Mac 2k Profiles for gobo projection.”
Two Vari-Lite 3000 Spots were used to project custom-made gobos 135’ clear across the arena, and Bandit tech Shawn Beaulieu added color in them, resulting in the crowd of 16,000 being able to see the intricate designs from that throw distance. Furthermore, GRN pars were used as truss toners, and crazy chase effects with saturated colors created for excitement.
“The best part of this show is being able to pull out all the tricks with lots of color and movement – because the kids all LOVE it!” enthused Swart.
In addition to creating excitement, Bandit also provided functional lighting as well for many of the challenges and events. For the Duct Tape Challenge, a truss structure was provided for both support and illumination.
Bandit not only provided lighting for the massive opening and closing ceremonies, but also illuminated the Knoxville Convention center ballroom which hosted the Innovation Expo. By using curved truss in a non-conventional configuration, students were greeted with a roller coaster of light. Mac 2k Profiles with custom gobos projected on the walls and floor in constant motion, generating the sense of wonder and excitement as students explored booths provided by NASA, 3M and other sponsors in addition to competing in mini challenges.
One unique challenge was Explore the Uncharted, which took place in an exotic jungle setting. To help with the immersive environment, truss was used to form a grid upon which jungle scenes could be hung, as well light the scenic elements. Using LED Pars, Will Twork was able to create dramatic sunlight colors which filtered through camo netting and foliage. Twork also simulated lightning strikes going along with a pre-recorded soundtrack of thunder using VL 2500 spots and gobos.
“I only had a very vague understanding of what set elements would be present,” Swart said of Explore the Uncharted, “and even less certain was the exact placement of any of these set elements within the confines of the truss grid. I had to be careful how I arranged the lights on the truss to make sure everything was covered, could be lit in a dramatic way, and would not be in the way of any hanging elements. The end result exceeded my hopes, and all of the kids really seemed to enjoy the experience.”
With limited personnel resources; keeping labor costs within budget was a major concern, and this was accomplished through careful planning and a flawless execution during the prep. Bandit crew included Shawn Beaulieu, Will Twork, and Wayne Lotoza who ensured all the details were looked in every location.
About Bandit Lites, Inc.
Bandit Lites is a global leader in the entertainment lighting marketplace. From touring productions to fixed installations, Bandit Lites has a full staff of highly trained professionals to deal with all types of lighting needs. Bandit’s global presence will insure seamless transitions no matter where your next show takes you.