Robe for Autosports 09

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Lighting designer Nathan Wan used over 80 Robe moving lights for the Live Action Arena at the Autosports International 2009 show, staged in Hall 5 of the National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham, UK.

It was the first time that Wan has lit the event, for which lighting and audio equipment was supplied by Network Productions. The Live Action Arena was co-ordinated for exhibition organizers Haymarket Events by Waltham Services.

With up to 6 sold out shows a day watched by 4700 people each time, the Live Action Arena saw some serious seat-clutching speed, smoke and burning rubber from an array of fast vehicle genres, all completing in a series of hair-raising races.

Wan's brief from show director Roger Burlinson was to bring a real flow and continuity to the pacey, highly choreographed show which segued seamlessly from one set of hot-rodded vehicles to another. They zoomed round the track at breakneck speed, with slots for VT inserts, presenter live-to-camera sections and a world record busting attempt by stunt ace Terry Grant.

The 136 metre wide arena was a massive area to light and also a very dark space which voraciously absorbed any light thrown into it.

Wan used 60 ColorSpot and ColorWash 1200E AT fixtures spread out over 3 roof trusses stretching the width of the arena to provide top lighting. "I needed really bright, powerful lightsources to make any sort of impact" he comments, “So the 1200s were ideal”. He also needed moving lights with a wide range of features, which again made Robe his first choice.

He worked the fixtures very hard to set moods and for general lighting as well as throwing beam, gobo and special effects onto the arena floor, giving each of the 15 different races its own set of looks and generally keeping pace with the adrenalized excitement of the show.

For additional drama and dynamics and to add some lower level depth to the big picture, he positioned 18 Robe ColorSpot 700E ATs along the back wall of the arena, opposite the audience grandstand.

The client was keen to get some searchlight effects around the perimeter, so he used 4 Robe ColorWash 2500E ATs with the new PC lenses, stationed at each corner of the track, behind the outside wall. “I was very impressed with the way the lens narrows down and intensifies the beam” he observes, “It enables a real 3K type of look which was exactly what we wanted”.

The Robes, plus a substantial generic rig, were all controlled by Wan using a Jands Vista T4 console running on ArtNet protocol with Luminex distribution.

Wan adds that the Robe's all worked flawlessly through one intensive programming day and 4 full-on show days, plus two additional evenings of Oval Racing, featuring full 10 lap races in all the vehicle categories. “Once again Robe proved itself to be strongly robust and reliable” he concludes.

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