Slovakia's highest profile lighting, sound & video rental company Q-99 supplied the full technical production – lighting, video, sound - for the 2010 Miss Universe Slovakia pageant, a live telecast on STV 1 staged in front of 5000 people at the SIBAMAC Arena (National Tennis Centre) in Bratislava.
The show's lighting was designed by Martin Kubanka, and the equipment included Robe moving lights as the main â€˜workhorses' of the rig.
Miss Universe is one of the most popular programmes on the Slovakian TV calendar and enjoys massive ratings. It is organised by former Miss Slovakia, Silvia Lakatosova-Chovancova, and her company the In Agency. This year the set was designed by Michael Klang, the show was directed by Thomas Eibner and the DoP was Vladimir Durcansky. It was also broadcast live in the neighbouring Czech Republic.
Kubanka has lit the show 11 previous times ... and each year it comes around, he is under pressure to create something new, inventive and original in the aesthetics department ….. which is better than the previous one!
Other than that, he had to illuminate the 12 contestants to look fabulous on camera, light 4 live diverse performances including Kristina, Slovakia's 2010 Eurovision Song Contest hope; Slovakian rockers Gladiator, chart topping singer Zuzana Smatanova and Czech superstar David Koler plus a lively dance medley section. All these layers of entertainment ensured the show was kept pacey and interesting.
This year the set's scenic elements were stripped back to an absolute minimum, and instead LED screens, panels and columns were used to create locations and atmospheres - the first time that â€˜digital scenery' has been utilised this way on Slovakian TV. This introduced a whole new level of dynamics to the event, and also required very careful and specific lighting to compliment and contrast.
The Q-99 team installed 180 metres of trussing in the roof over the stage and audience onto which the lighting and LED was flown.
Lighting consisted of 16 x Robe ColorWash 1200E ATs and 48 x ColorSpot 1200E ATs, 18 ColorSpot 575E ATs and 18 ColorMix 575 ATs, along with a selection of Source Four PARs, blinders, LED moving lights, 3K Falcon Beams, LED strips lighting the side of the stage, and LED blocks illuminating the set steps.
Eight of the ColorSpot 1200E ATs were upstage on the floor, used for bold beam effects and sweeps into the audience. The rest of the ColorSpot and Washes were distributed across the overhead rig, and utilised for a mix of stage washes, gobo texturing on the floor and set materials - some giant scatter cushions and a skirt around the stage made up of a special reflective and translucent material, which picked up the light very well. The colour mix units were positioned under this stage â€˜skirt'.
The ColorSpot and ColorWash 1200s were also used for key lighting in specific positions. These rigged onto side trusses protruding into the auditorium were used for sweeping across the audience.
Kubanka has been a Robe fan for many years and uses the fixtures on all his shows, "In my opinion, it's the best moving light brand on the market - the units are exceptionally reliable and just keep on going!" he states.
He likes the versatility of the features, and still keeps finding new and inventive combinations to produce looks and scenes. "The colour mixing is great and the fixtures are well bright enough - this was essential this year in particular with all the LED onstage - we really needed lighting fixtures that could hold their own against the brightness of the LED".
Another parameter they had to deal with was the speed at which everything needed to be programmed for this busy show, in which the contestants also had to demonstrate their musical, dancing or singing talents. “Again, Robe fixtures are very quick and easy to programme,” he affirms.
Michael Schmidt (lights) and Thomas Lecky (video) worked with Kubanka on the programming, using two grandMA full size consoles.
From a rental company angle, Marek Adamik from Q-99, which has a large stock of Robe, comments “These lights are incredibly tough and reliable – they are ideal for what we need as a busy rental operation, and are proving outstanding value for money.”
For the first time, Q-99 also used their new L-Acoustics Kiva/Kilo system with SB118 subs, all driven by new LA8 amplifiers. Enjoying another Slovakian premier with Q-99 was their new LED flooring modules from RGG in Lithuania, which ensured that the understage area was as spectacular in look and feel as the rest of the performance space.