Robe for South African Music Awards

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Robe moving lights were specified by lighting designer Robert Hoey for the 2009 South African Music Awards (SAMA), staged at the Sun City Superbowl in front of a live audience of 5000 and broadcast live on SABC1. The high profile show that honours the very best of South African music was produced by Blue Moon and directed by David Bloch, with Strike Productions co-ordinating all the technical requirements.

The eye-catching, bling-tastic set was designed by James McNamara and contained lots of gold and silver surfaces and texturing. Hoey took this as his creative starting point and designed an equally attractive lighting show based on asymmetry to match the set. He utilised Robe ColorWash and ColorSpot 700E ATs and ColorWash 2500E ATs. These formed the core of the rig. "They worked really hard providing lots of WOW factors and a wide variety of looks," says an impressed Hoey, adding "and they really kicked".

The show included a resident band and special guest appearances by Prime Circle, Big Nuz and Rhythmic Elements as well as a host of Awards, so he needed plenty of flexibility to make all the different sections of the 2 hour show look distinctive and interesting.

The Robes were hung on trusses above the stage. Far upstage were 16 ColorSpot and ColorWash 700E ATs covering the back area and used for movement and animation. These were also used to back light the guest band performance area. In front of this was the presenter area on stage left, and to their left, a large 'pit' in the stage that housed the resident band. The rear 700s were also used extensively for lighting this area.

Downstage of that was an LED wall, and above that 3 trusses heavily laden with lighting including another 16 ColorSpot and ColorWash 700E ATs (8 of each fixture), plus 10 ColorWash 2500E ATs. These were all used for down-lighting and dramatic back lighting of the stage thrust, as well as for standard movement and flashy effects.

The set was also illuminated with LED battens and PARs, and from the front, Hoey key lit the stage action with Source Fours. The audience was highlighted with the venue's house rig of 100 PARs.

There were also 8 ColorSpot 700E ATs on the stage floor, positioned in the monitor trough, which concealed them well for camera shots, as one of the requirements was to keep the stage area as clear as possible from kit.

Lighting was supplied by Johannesburg based Sound Stylists. It was the second time that Hoey has LD'd the SAMAs, and although he's used Robes before on several shows, this was his first using them as the main element of a design. "I have never had a moving light rig so reliable before," he observes, "There wasn't one single problem with any of the units". Also having worked extensively as a technician, he really appreciates the benefits of robust equipment!

He adds that since Robe's South African distributors DWR took on the brand he has been increasingly impressed with the service, and that helped him make the decision to go with Robe for his moving light requirements.

"I really love the Robe 700, 1200 and 2500 Series.” he says "The 700 Series gobos are fresh and different and enable you to produce great coloured texturing".

Hoey has been in the industry for 15 years, starting in the theatre, and admits to being a bit of a colour freak. "There is a huge amount you can do with colour and I really enjoy playing with it in all forms, hues and intensities" he enthuses.

He ran the show on a Road Hog Full Boar console. The rig was tech'd by Adrian Skinner and Sean Crawley from Sound Stylists, who built and tech'd everything in the very short timeframe, "They were really fantastic," says Hoey "And I would like to say a big thank you to them for all their efforts".

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