People complain that young people today are abandoning traditional religious values, but the Catholic Church's World Youth Day, held in Toronto July 18-28, attracted over 800,000 visitors from around the world. Events included a re-enactment of the Way of the Cross, seminars on spiritual topics, plus cultural and recreational activities for young adults ages 16-35.
Two of the biggest events took place at Downsview Lands, the site of a former military base turned into a park. The area is also home to the Bombardier Aerospace corporation and the Toronto Transit Commission. This venue hosted two services presided over by the Pope: a Vigil on Saturday evening and Mass on Sunday morning. Freelance lighting designer Kelly Jones was responsible for turning it into a sacred space.
“After meeting with [World Youth Day technical director] Scott Pollard and [director of operations] Peter Scarsella, I went to have a few meetings with the director of design, Michael Madden,” Jones explains. “From his logo I got the concept of what I wanted to do with lighting trusses. His logo looked like a circle, to represent the world, with a stylized cross coming out of it which had a nice smooth curve to it. So I incorporated a couple of circles as the centerpiece of the design, flanked by two large curved trusses that represented crosses. It just kept with the overall feel.”
The main stage at Downsview, built by Tower Scaffolding Company, was 208'×136' (62×40m) and raised 28' (8.4m) to allow maximum viewing for all people to see the Pontiff. Above the stage was a 100'×65' (30×20m) cross lit internally on 5' centers with a total of 40 wide-angle ETC Source Four PARs. Lighting equipment, supplied by Christie Lites Toronto, included Martin Professional MAC 600 NTs, MAC 2000s, MAC 500s, Martin PAL 1200s, ETC Source Four ellipsoidals, 5kW and 2kW fresnels, four 7kW Pigi projectors, and four Robert Juliat Cyrano long-throw followspots. Jones also specified Airstar lighting balloons out in the field for audience safety. “It gave a nice general light,” the LD says. “When you looked out there were these big glowing orbs, which kind of fit in with the whole thing.”
Because the Vigil and Mass were telecast live, “I chose MAC 2000s and MAC 600 NTs because of the color temperature,” Jones says. “With the MAC 2000s especially, being an HMI fixture, it would match daylight. The Papal Vigil on Saturday started when it was still light, but as it got darker I didn't want to have to rebalance the cameras for color temperature by going to tungsten. During the Vigil and Sunday Mass, it was all strictly open white. I was very mindful of what we were trying to light.”
Saturday night after the Vigil, however, things loosened up with a concert, in which the LD used “almost every color of the rainbow. There was a lot of singing and dancing, and it went back and forth from being rock and roll to orchestral stuff with ballet dancers,” he recalls. “During the orchestral stuff I would do one big nice look and keep it static, just highlighting the individual dancers, and during the rockier stuff we could play around and get a little bit of movement in. I tend not to use moving lights just to move. For the audience it was so big and so far away that people had a tendency to look small. I used them more to focus the people and help bring them out.”
Christie Lites crew at Downsview included lighting crew chief Mike Aldcroft, head dimmer and automated light technician Jason Bolger, lighting console operator Geoff Frood, head rigger Ted Odell, and audience lighting crew chief Pete Siller. Control was provided by two MA Lighting grandMA consoles with Artistic Licence Ethernet expansion units, and one ETC Insight III. Jones operated the Insight and one grandMA; Geoff Frood operated the other grandMA console.