The pageant reunited lighting designer Allen Branton, who returned for the fourth time, and fellow lighting directors Kevin Lawson & Felix Peralta, who marked their third year & fourth year on the show respectively. This also marked the first time that Lawson & Peralta had used the grandMA 2 on a live televised broadcast.
"Because of the way the pageant is structured, we had a little extra time with several days of the preliminary pageant," says Lawson. "Felix and I worked on the show for eight days splitting the lighting rig as programmers and using the grandMA2 light in multi-user-mode: Felix lit the set and I lit the people on stage and the audience."
Atomic Lighting provided the grandMA2 light and the lighting rig, which included Martin MAC 3 profiles and VARI*LITE VL-3500 spots and VL-500s. "It was primarily about lighting the contestants and the set," Lawson explains. "There were standard front and back light positions, and Allen lit the set from the floor quite a bit."
According to Peralta, grandMA2's "latest software version made it the perfect time to dive in. The pageant had three days of preliminaries and load in to get used to the console. It was great, and Kevin and I are very excited about the future of the grandMA2. Compared to the grandMA, processing is so much faster and the multiuser environment is so much more efficient - a must for Kevin and I who probably do more multi-user-mode shows than most programmers. And loading the show from one console to another is almost instantaneous."
Lawson agrees. "The grandMA2 was like getting a much better laptop or a much faster car: It felt faster and more powerful. The feature set is great, and the hardware is snappier. It did everything we needed it to do, and it felt faster at everything. The grandMA was always great, and the grandMA2 was all that and more responsive."
Peralta likes the ability to "customize the look of the desk so it can cater to your personal style. With the effects engine you can reference presets as opposed to forms and tables. It's good for color chases and position movements; it's easy to go from point A to point B. You're able to score timing parameters in preset pools now, too, so it's great for running media servers such as the Catalyst & Hippo's - you can have a preset that has everything snapping in with the right time and right delay."
Lawson also praised the "cool" effects engine, which he used to build the show, and the "great special dialogue boxes." In addition, the grandMA2 light was "extremely stable," he reports. "We experienced no problems.
"The show went really well, the producer was happy and the ratings were great even against the NFL playoffs!"
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