Lighting designer Andre Huff specified Robe moving lights as core elements of his rig for the 2012 Miss Mississippi Scholarship Pageant held at the Vicksburg Convention Centre in front of a capacity audience of 2,000 people, and broadcast live on NBC’s affiliates in the state of Mississippi.
Residents and full time students in Mississippi competed for the title of "Miss Mississippi", a preliminary to the Miss America program which awards scholarships to young women in 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.
It’s the fifth year that Huff has designed lighting for the Miss Mississippi event, which includes a live entertainment production as well as the beauty competition. He and Chris Bennett also designed the set.
The starting point for the lighting was a brief from production manager Allen Ditto who wanted a theatrical look for the stage. Huff and Bennett took up the theme and created a series of three large trussing arches, which also made the space a more architectural environment.
There were many technical challenges involved in transforming a conference centre hall into a vibrant setting for the beauty pageant. A complicated system of air conditioning and ducting in the roof added to this in terms of being able to get everything positioned in the correct places.
Lighting equipment was supplied by Knoxville, Tennessee based TERI Productions.
The Robe elements included ROBIN MMX Spots, ROBIN 600 and 300 LED Washes, ColorSpot 1200 and 700E ATs and ColorWash 2500 and 700E ATs – around 80 fixtures in total – all specified by Huff and Jay Coatney and supplied through TERI's production inventory.
Robe was chosen because of the quality of the fixtures, the intensity of the output and also for the amazing array of gobos and effects that the MMX Spot’s dual graphics wheel can provide.
The units were hung on trusses above the stage. A mother grid was rigged over the stage and the three large set arches under-hung beneath, which provided back lighting positions, with an Austrian drape upstage as a backdrop. Front lighting was rigged on an A-shaped truss mimicking the contours of the stage front.
The ColorSpot 1200 and 700E ATs were used for general beams and break-up patterns on the stage and for back lighting across the main stage and runways.
The ColorWash 2500 and 700E ATs were used for strong side-lighting of the contestants when they were on an upstage platform, and for illuminating the MCs.
The ROBIN 300 LEDWashes were specifically utilised for back lighting of the runway and front lighting of the crowd for cut-aways and during commercial breaks. Huff really appreciated their brightness and flat beam field.
The ROBIN 600 LEDWashes took on a proper multi-purpose role for this show. Huff used the individual ring control to produce eye and camera-candy effects, and this also allowed massive looks to be created with fewer fixtures.
“The LEDWash 600s were very powerful for rear lighting and the rings looked fantastic, especially with the correct amount of haze.” comments Huff.
He also found the range of true whites in the LEDWash 600s ideal for making perfect flesh tones on the contestants.
The MMXs were used for “Fantastic” gobo looks and the dual graphics wheel proved highly effective for adding texture and depth to the Austrian curtain backdrop throughout the contestants' talent section of the pageant. This enabled each to have her own individual visual space.
Two programmers worked on the show – Chris Bennett using an Avolites Pearl running Titan Expert and Jay Coatney on an Avo Sapphire Touch.
Robe luminaires have been used on many beauty pageants worldwide where they have proved themselves time and again to be versatile workhorse lighting products.
Marie Wicks, Miss Dixie, was crowned "Miss Mississippi 2012" and will compete in the prestigious Miss America pageant in Las Vegas in January 2013.
Photo Credit: Susan Elderton