Held at New York City's Radio City Music Hall on August 29, MTV's Video Music Awards were as colorful as ever thanks to a plethora of music superstars (Bruce Springsteen, Guns N’ Roses, Eminem, White Stripes), not-so-intelligent speeches (Michael Jackson gave an acceptance speech for an award he didn’t win), and intelligent lighting projection.
Michael Appel, an automated lighting programmer from New York City, worked on the awards show with lighting designer Daniel Kelley from the Lighting Design Group. Their challenge was to light the outdoor pre-show and post-show as well as the building facade during the main show.
Appel explains, "The main scenic element was going to be a banner covering the outside of Radio City Music Hall. In order to light this banner and frame it out from the rest of the building the LD originally spec'd an automated light that, in my experience, wasn’t going to be bright enough to compete with the lighting conditions at dusk. I spoke to the LD and we decided to go with four Martin MAC 2000 Performance units to light the sign and another 13 MAC 2000 Profile units to light a performance on Sixth Avenue in front of Radio City, as well as to color the air for wide shots of the street." The MAC units were provided by Paradigm Productions.
"We couldn't have been happier with the MAC units," he continues, "especially the Performance fixtures. The 'scene machine' feature [gobo animation system] helped us create various interesting looks on the banner and the fixture’s output and beam coverage were most impressive. The framing shutters were very accurate in repeating focuses."
Then the rain came. "We were deluged by rain the morning of our show and because of how some of the hanging positions had been built we could not send up any stagehands to bag seven of the MAC 2000 Profiles. They were rained on for about 10 hours. When the rain finally let up we let the units air-dry for about one hour and then we needed to power them up to see what kind of situation we would be in for the show. The units powered up and after a couple of lamp strike attempts they all fired and worked for the show--an amazing feat for any moving light."