Unlimited Visibility Lighting Design (UVLD) helped Nickelodeon “slime” the network’s cable upfront and lent its lighting expertise to the presentation which was staged as a mock awards ceremony, with headline entertainment by The Naked Brothers, at Broadway’s Nokia Theatre.
UVLD lighting designer Gregory Cohen teamed with producer Christine Somers of Somers & Associates and show director and TD Marty Goldenberg of Marlyn Productions to craft a standout experience for the upfront attendees. It began outside the theater where a Nickelodeon signature orange carpet was unfurled, a step-and-repeat graphic drop was hung with large format film fixtures for a TV look, and fake paparazzi popped their flashbulbs.
Guests entered the building and rode the escalator, lined with two 60-foot strips of Element Labs’ Neoflex tube-like orange LEDs, down to the lower level. There, a breakfast bar was decked out Tinsel Town-style with Nickelodeon’s name replacing Hollywood in a re-do of the famous sign which Cohen backlit with LEDs and front lit with six Mac 250 Entours for a sky-tracker feel.
Additional lights employed outside the theater or in the interior public spaces included a Source Four 750-watt 50-degree ellipsoidal, 12 MR16 Birdie MFLs, and 44 ColorBlast 12s.
In the theatre itself Cohen lit the specially erected proscenium truss with LEDs and an upstage cyc with patterns. “Theaters like the Nokia are well equipped, but there’s always a fair amount of engineering that goes into augmenting house systems with rental systems and determining how best to use house gear with our gear for quick and accurate control,” he explains.
Cohen also crafted an innovative onstage slime portal using a G-LEC LightFrame transparent LED graphics display curtain supplied by Scharff Weisberg. UVLD built a continuous slime loop from animated clips furnished by the network and stored on a Green Hippo Hippotizer media server, which triggered display of the content on the LightFrame. The LightFrame’s curtain-like configuration enabled it to both display slime imagery and serve as a virtual slime “dispenser” when people walked through the portal.
“Given the schedule it didn’t seem possible to figure out how to make a mechanical slime wall,” Cohen explains. “So we suggested using low-res LED panels to emulate slime effects and the G-LEC worked very well.”
Cohen lit the onstage talent for the show, which took the form of an awards presentation where guests nabbed honors in bizarre categories like “Client With The Longest Title.” “We also lit the audience with Vari*Lites so we could grab shots of people receiving their honors,” Cohen adds.
Network executives introduced video roll-ins, showcasing Nickelodeon’s program lineup, on a large, high-resolution LED screen. Cohen lit one executive who took part in a Broadway-style song-and-dance number, with less than subtle cabaret theatrical lighting. He and programmer Cameron Yeary had the luxury of taking some time to layout the consoles to best extemporize the lighting for headliners The Naked Brothers.
The total complement of lights used inside the Nokia Theatre numbered 65 Source 4 Elipsoidals; 21 VARI*LITE 2500 spots; four VL2000 spots; 21 VL2500 washes; and two Le Maitre Radiance hazers. Two MA Lighting grandMA consoles were also used.
“All traditional media clients have the highest expectations for live shows,” notes Cohen. “Christine Somers was outstanding in dealing with Nickelodeon’s expectations and translating their needs to initiatives we could deal with. We were lucky to have a great director in Marty Goldenberg: As always, he was able to establish and then manage an environment where it was possible to work quickly and creatively.”
"Once again it was a pleasure working with Greg Cohen and UVLD who not only achieved the parameters of the job but did so within budget and with a cheerful attitude. Also, their knowledge of media servers and low resolution LED contributed to a great slime effect," comments Marty Goldenberg.
At UVLD Cameron Yeary was the associate lighting designer and programmer. Tom Blancato, who served as production electrician, was assisted by Sal Restuccia.