Slovakia’s top lighting designers, Martin Kubanka and Michal Schmidt, are using 85 Robe moving lights on the country’s top-rated TV series, Superstar, based on the British hit show Pop Idol.

Now in its second season, the weekly Friday night primetime show proved so popular that it had to move to a larger venue, the Incheba Expo in Bratislava, which has with a capacity of 5,000. The show is also watched by up to a third of the county’s 5.5 million population, and is proving to be a great boost for Slovakia’s burgeoning young musical talent.

All lighting for the series is supplied by leading Bratislava-based rental company Q-99, who also supplied the inaugural series last year which also featured Robe moving lights. Q-99 has invested heavily in Robe over the last year to keep pace with its busy schedule, which includes many of the top TV shows, concerts, tours, conferences and corporate events.

Q-99’s Marek Adamik says, “It’s great to be working on the second Superstar Series. It has a massive profile and because the first series was so successful there was great pressure on to improve and make it look even better, resulting in plenty of experimentation with the lights. I think the lighting department has excelled itself and has had a big hand in the overall show design”.

Kubanka and Schmidt work closely with Superstar’s lighting cameraman Jaroslav Zeman. Each week’s show has to have a distinct look and, within the show, each act also has to have their individual lighting looks, so much diversity is needed. “This is why we used Robe fixtures” says Kubanka “Because of the dynamics and creative scope offered by all their features – we never run out of functions to make different looks and scenes”.

The futuristic set was designed by Danil Šichman and the late Maros Kravec and features a selection of different sized LED panels and curvaceous metallic trussing and metalwork. The overhead lighting trusses criss-cross above the stage, enabling lighting fixtures to be hung everywhere they are needed, to hit the various performance areas of the large space.

Twenty-six ColorSpot 1200E ATs and ten ColorWash 1200E ATs are used along the main upstage trusses for beam and gobo effects and set washing. A further 20 ColorSpot 575 ATs and Scan 575 XTs are scattered around the rig in the air and on the floor for dramatic cross stage lighting, fill, and general effects.

They have had custom gobos made for some of the Robes, and Kubanka comments that the standard gobos are also work well in Robes. Kubanka comments that the color correction facility on the 1200s to balance the fixtures with tungsten sources is a great aid in TV lighting.

Schmidt also has approximately 120 PARs and a few other conventional fixtures at his disposal, plus some ARRI white lights, but the vast majority of the show’s lighting relies on Robe. He runs the show using a GrandMA console. “Apart from the wealth of features, all the Robe fixtures are bright for their specific class and that’s exactly what we needed to have balancing the lighting and contrast it with all the onstage LED sources,” comments Schmidt.