Lighting Designer Tom Kenny traveled with lighting director Brian Klunder and programmer Dirk Optende for the much-anticipated "X Factor" as the new show made talent stops across America in Chicago, New York, Miami, Dallas and Seattle. Then they settled into LA's Pasadena Theater for two weeks of boot camp.
The show required four trucks of lighting gear including a grandMA2 control system which "really impressed" Kenny. "MA obviously listened to programmers and lighting designers in creating updates that have made everything easier with the Series 2 board," he says. "It worked flawlessly on 'X Factor.'"
Earlier, MTV aired its Video Music Awards; Kenny had teamed with programmers Mike Appel and Dirk Optende to field four grandMA2 systems to control over 2,000 lighting fixtures for the "massive" show. "The grandMA2s were a great upgrade and worked perfectly," Kenny reports.
Kenny was eager to use Clay Paky Sharpy moving heads, which he first saw in London, on a charity event with The Who. "They are such a small unit - with set designers and directors not wanting to see lighting units on camera, they are very easy to put anywhere," he notes. But their small footprint belies their power. "The output of the Sharpy surpasses any other light," Kenny says. "I had them alongside 3K and 4K units, and they just cut right through."
Kenny deployed 18 Sharpy fixtures on the floor for "X Factor" with another 18 on the rig. "They provided this big graphic, powerful stadium look that the producers wanted," he recalls. "The days for the live auditions were very long, but the Sharpys performed brilliantly - they would be on for 16 hours with no problems. Their focusability and shape were amazing. The judges were very impressed with the look of 'X Factor.'"
So was Kenny -- so much so, in fact, that he decided to use Sharpy fixtures on the VMAs where the lights "were the talk of many an artist," he reports.
"I plan to use the Sharpy on all my future shows - they are just great to work with," he says.
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