Two hundred and fifty six (256) Robe ColorWash 1200E AT moving light fixtures filled the massive riders arena with light for the cameras and action at Red Bull’s adrenaline-pumping X-Fighter Freestyle Motocross event, staged recently at Slane Castle, near Dublin, Ireland.
Lighting for the event was supplied by Irish rental company Just Lites and project managed for them by Ian Smith. In conjunction with Irish promoter MCD, this was the fist time Red Bull has staged an X-Fighter event on a completely green site.
The second leg of the Red Bull X-Fighters tour 2007 saw 10 of the world’s most respected freestyle motocross riders battle it out, launching themselves up to 12 metres in the air at breathtaking speeds as they completed the course.
The Robes were arranged on eight 15m high towers, strategically positioned around the perimeter of the arena, each rigged with 32 fixtures.
Just Lites has the largest stock of Robe fixtures in Ireland, and has used them for all types of shows, events, and installations. When they were confirmed for this project, it meant persuading X-Fighter’s LD/DOP Manfred “Ollie” Olma to use the brand for the first time.
“We needed fixtures that were really incredibly bright to cover the arena,” explains Smith. It’s approximate dimensions were 120m x 60m, and in addition to that, the towers were located between 70m and 35m away, so some of the throw distances were really challenging.
“There are not many fixtures that could have done as efficiently as this,” adds Smith. “We have had a real result with Robe—it looked great on TV and everyone was extremely happy.”
They also needed lights that would not break down however harsh the weather conditions became. True to form, the Irish weather offered up copious quantities of rain and high winds. Custom rain hoods that Just Lites has designed for the 1200s ensured that the bases were protected and kept dry and working throughout. “The Robes had a 100% record,” confirms crew chief Liam McCarthy. “Most impressive.”
Smith and McCarthy did the initial site visit and decided where they needed the towers erected in and out the seating layout to achieve optimum lighting of the action. Apart from the fact that the events were televised, requiring a smooth and even lighting field, it was critical that the riders could see where they were going at all times, specially as darkness fell.
Just Lites and SGB designed the towers together. The 32 units were attached on eight 5m trusses per tower, flown up into position on motors, and then clamped in place on ledges. They also worked very closely with MCD’s site manager Padraic Boran on this aspect.
An additional 40 Robe ColorWash 575E ATs were positioned on the floor around the edges of the arena to illuminate at lower levels. There were another twelve 1200 ColorSpot 1200E ATs on the stage, which featured performances from Ash and others. Just Lites also supplied lighting for the Castle walls and the bike preparation and press areas, a mix of conventional and other fixtures.
McCarthy led a lighting crew of 12 who got in a week beforehand. Power for each tower was provided by a 150 KVA generator sitting at its base, and all lighting was controlled from the bottom of Tower 2 via two grandMAs, operated by Manuel da Costa.
While Just Lites has an extensive Robe stock, amassing enough lights to complete the X-Fighter project was also a huge undertaking. Units were supplied from Nicklen in Germany, HSL in the UK, and directly from load out of the Eurovision Song Contest in Helsinki, Finland.
The X-Fighter Freestyle Motocross event was watched by a live audience of 35,000.