The Grey Cup, the Canadian Football League's championship game, attracted over four million viewers when televised from Vancouver’s BC Place Stadium on November 27, 2011, with a halftime performance by Nickelback. “The Grey Cup Halftime Show was the first major sporting event to be held in the recently renovated BC Place Stadium since the 2010 Olympics,” explains production designer Robert Sondergaard of Vancouver’s Electric Aura. “Part of the upgrade to the facility was the installation of the world's second-largest center-hung LED video system by Lighthouse.

“We took still images from Nickelback’s current video, When We Stand Together, and created a custom montage that was played back on these screens during their performance,” Sondergaard adds. In addition to the center-hung screens, a 518-meter fascia display made up of 20mm panels was added around the whole front edge of the second level. This video elements was integrated into the show by Jason McKinnon of Electric Aura Projects who created custom content for Martin LC Panels that were part of the stage design, and this content was modified to go on the fascia display as well. All lighting and video previsualization was done by Sondergaard in wysiwyg.

“We also fed the video content to the Jarag towers on stage,” says Sondergaard. “We were using the Vixen media server, which has a built-in module to translate video pixels to DMX values. This allowed us to create effects like fireballs that rolled through the Jarag towers and onto the side LC screens. We decided early on that flying truss lines wasn’t going to be possible because we didn’t want to block any of the spectators view of the new video screens, they would have been trimmed so high they wouldn’t have been useful. Therefore we mounted about one-third of the lighting rig on the railings of the voms. We ended up using W-DMX boxes to send a DMX signal from 2 separate universes into the upper levels of BC Place Stadium where there was no convenient path to run cable.”

Martin Professional Mac 101’s were used extensively (see full gear list below) in locations where it was challenging to get large power drops. “We were able to put them in the upper levels and power them off of wall outlets and sent them control signal using W-DMX. This help the rig look huge on the wide-angle shots,” notes Sondergaard. “They were even bright enough to be useful for the pre-game entertainment that was staged in full sports light. This was our first time using the Martin Mac 2000 Wash XB Beam’s and we were very impressed with the beams we got out of them. These fixtures were positioned on stage and on the voms in the lower levels.

“We put the Mac III on the upper level railings directly in front of the stage and used them as key light for the members of the band—they gave us the light level we needed even at a 200’+ throw and mixed to 4000°K. Special thanks goes out to Christie Lites Vancouver for their stellar work on our behalf. We are always impressed by the quality of the gear that comes out of their shop and the efficiency of their packaging.”

Producer: Patrick Roberge Productions, Patrick Roberge

Lighting team:
Production Designer: Robert Sondergaard
TV Lighting Director: Jason McKinnon
Programmer: Shaun Forbes
System Engineer: Jason Bolger
Production Electricians: Charles Arrata, Corey Proulx, Ken Reckahn

Gear:
4 - MA Lighting grandMA2 light consoles
2 - MA Lighting Network Signal Processor
2 - Vixen Media Servers
4 – W-DMX Transceivers
2 – Lycian M2 2.5kW followspots w/long throw lens
28 – Philips Color Kinetics ColorBlast 12
26 - Philips Color Kinetics iWhite Blast 12
98 – Martin Professional MAC101
30 - Martin Professional MAC 2000 Wash Light XB Beam
20 - Martin Professional MAC 2000 Wash Light XB
6 - Martin Professional MAC III Profle
76 - Elation Professional Octostrips
20 – Chromlech Jarag-5
16 – Martin Professional Martin LC Plus 2mx1m Panels
16 – Martin Professional Martin LC Plus 1mx1m Panels
32 - A Type (12") Blk Truss 8'
4 - A Type (12") Blk Truss 6'
8 - A Type (12") Blk Truss 4'
10 - A Type (12") Blk Truss 2'
12 - A Type (12") Cor 90 Deg 6-Way

Related articles:
Martin Rig At Grey Cup

W-DMX On The 99th Grey Cup Halftime Show