Greg Brunton of Design Partners lit Film Independent's 2007 Spirit Awards ceremony on February 24 inside a beachfront tent in Santa Monica, CA. Currently in its 22nd year, the ceremony brings together top talent from independent film and Hollywood. Sarah Silverman was Master of Ceremonies. During the past six years, both Olin Younger and Brunton of DPI have had the distinction of lighting this event, and both found creative challenges and rewards designing under the enormous “big top at the beach.”

Brunton's design for the evening included a variety of Color Kinetics ColorBlast® and ColorBlaze® units, a Selecon Pacific 90° with Wybron Coloram II color scroller, several Selecon Pacific 45° - 75° Zoom fixtures, ETC Source Four ellipsoidals (including 19°, 26°, 36°, 50° units, some with Coloram II scrollers), PAR64s with Coloram II scrollers, ETC Source Four PARs, Strand Ianiro Bambino 5kW and 1kW Fresnels, and ARRI Fresnel 650s.

“I managed to make incremental improvements on the signature set, which was reused this year,” Brunton says. “The same solution worked very well; the walls of the set had been treated for several years by using ellipsoidals with color changers. It was never very satisfactory because the show is done in a tent that cannot accommodate a typical award show-sized set. The performers crossed through the set lighting often. By relighting the set with LED ColorBlaze strips, I was able to solve this issue and create bolder colors that we were better able to match to the screen graphics.” The show ran from an ETC Expression 3 console.

The tent shape also provided some unique challenges. “The roof slope of the tent prevented the use of followspots,” Brunton continues. “We used an elaborate array of ETC Source Four ellipsoidals to key the performers and their various entrances. There were no automated fixtures. The board was set up with a variety of keylight conditions, using submasters and inhibitive subs. Being a very spontaneous event, I had to anticipate each moment of the show, but this system served us very well this year and was successful on every level.”

The Spirit Awards was broadcast live on IFC (Independent Film Channel) with an edited rebroadcast airing on AMC.