Lighting Designer Tom Kenny and programmer Laura Frank of Luminous FX specified a Jands Vista T2 lighting console for the MTV News pre-show event to this year’s MTV Video Music Awards.
One of the biggest music awards on the calendar, the VMAs took place at the American Airlines Arena in Miami on Sunday 28th August and provided a showcase for some of the industry’s hottest musical talent.
Frank–who has worked on some of the industry’s most cutting-edge shows, including Madonna, Tom Kenny’s lighting designs for David Bowie, and the Broadway musical Spamalot– had heard positive things about the Jands Vista from other programmers and came across the Vista at this year’s Broadway Lighting Master Classes.
Frank decided test the desk at the VMAs, as she was interested in its timeline-based programming and the logic of its programming structure. She was also confident that the console’s unique visual interface would make it easy to program the various show looks.
A.C. Lighting, the exclusive North American and European distributor for the Jands Vista, sent Darryl Ross to the VMA site Monday through Thursday before the show to train Frank on the T2 console, which features one programming and one playback module.
Fortunately, the Jands Vista was intuitive and easy for Frank to pick up, as Hurricane Katrina disrupted some of the VMAs pre-show festivities. The hurricane eliminated three nights of programming, limiting Frank’s rig rehearsal time. Working late into her only rehearsal night with the rig and as much as possible during the daylight hours of Saturday and Sunday, she managed to get the show finished.
“Despite the pressures created by the hurricane and my lack of familiarity with the console, I had a great time using the Vista,” says Frank. “Its visually based working environment made it very easy to pick up the basics in just a few days and being able to see the show run to a timeline proved incredibly helpful, particularly when the hurricane took away three nights access to the rig.”
The Vista ran seven universes, using its onboard connectors and an additional Artistic Licence Etherlynx box. The rig and fixtures, which were supplied by PRG, included four dimmer packs, 62 VARI*LITE VL2416™ automated washes, 54 High End Systems Studio Color® 250/575 washes and 79 HES Studio Beams, 25 Martin MAC 2000 Profiles, and 16 ColorBlaze LED border lights.
The pre-show event went on live for two hours prior to the awards ceremony and 30 minutes afterward. The set consisted of a performance area at the water boundary of the arena. The majority of moving lights were used for the red carpet area where music performances were held, tricked out cars arrived to drop off celebrity guests, and various celebrity shots and interviews for the media took place. The fixtures were also used on HMI towers for visual effect and to illuminate inside the entrance to the red carpet tent. Fixtures were mounted on the ground to highlight the exterior of the building and the large rock garden MTV logo.