Two-hundred-and-fifty Element Labs VersaTUBES™ LED fixtures were used for the hugely popular finale of You’re A Star 2006, the Irish national TV search for the most talented next generation of pop stars. The production marks the biggest Irish-produced VersaTUBE show to date. The finale was filmed before a live audience of 1,200.

Andrew Leonard designed the lighting for You’re A Star, with programming by Peter Canning. Canning also coordinated the supply and design of the VersaTUBE feature and the Catalyst system used to run it, via his company Zencorp.

Dublin-based Zencorp specializes in digital media and LED fixtures and control systems. They purchased a quantity of VersaTUBEs from UK and Irish distributor Projected Image Digital at the end of last year, which have been in constant use ever since.

You’re A Star ran for 10 weeks before the finale, recorded live at the Helix Theatre at Dublin City University (DCU). The contest received some of the biggest audience ratings ever for an Irish TV show–with well over 1 million tuning in for the semi-final and final show–which is more than 25 per cent of the country’s population.

This year the series was given a completely new formula and revamped. For visuals, Leonard and Canning brought a contemporary, rock-n-roll look to the show, deciding on a circular truss.

Wanting something extra special for the finale, Leonard and Canning decided to build a VersaTUBE scenic feature into the set, wrapping it around the sides of the stage and dipping it under the lower end of the circular truss. The idea was to run specially produced content to create a wall, of movement, color and patterns that could also incorporate text and key words. The feature was also ideal for sweeping, wide-angle camera shots, and a great background filler for close ups. The tubes were attached to a series of flats that were either flown or anchored to the floor.

Canning commissioned digital animation and graphic designer Derek Darlington of Rocket Science to produce custom content for both the semi-final and the final shows. Working on 3-4 clips per song, he produced approximately 40 that could be mixed and matched as desired. He paid specific attention to the Raster Map of the VersaTUBE feature as a whole, ensuring the clips were perfectly pixel accurate.

Darlington produced a massive selection of effects, from traditional favorites like fire to bouncing VU metres, 3D stars, a selection of liquid psychedelics, polka dots, etc., including text. He used a variety of software: 3D Studio Max, After Effects, Flash. The files were saved as QuickTime movies and compressed using Sorrenson 3 software, which is very compatible with the Catalyst. Canning triggered the Catalyst from his Avolites Sapphire 2000, on which he was also controlling over 60 moving lights.

The effects were spectacular, says Leonard, “Having the VersaTUBEs as a big blocky effect gave me real scope to build the atmosphere, tension and energy levels onstage, which then permeated throughout the audience.”

From a technical angle, the TUBES were “absolutely great–they behaved themselves perfectly,” states Canning.

You’re A Star 2006 was directed by Pat Cowap, produced by Shin Awil and production managed by Sheila Meaney. Generic lighting was operated by Terry Mulcachy and the VersaTUBES were tech’d by Ian Henderson. The finale was won by 23-year-old Lucia Evans, who beat guitar duo The Sullivan Brothers.