When BlizzCon 2010 opened its doors at the Anaheim Convention Center, fans of the wildly popular video games produced by Blizzard Entertainment were treated to a spectacle as never seen before. At the helm of the lighting design for the 4-day event was designer Arnold Serame, Serame Design, who was tasked with creating a consistent yet rock-n-roll atmosphere. To bring his design to life, Serame worked with 4-Wall Los Angeles and 200 VARI*LITE luminaires.
“This was my first year with BlizzCon and right away I knew I would be in for a challenge,” began Serame. “In our initial discussion about the event, Blizzard Entertainment made it clear that they wanted to really step up the production values over previous years. When BlizzCon first started it was about one-quarter of the size it is today, but the lighting, sound and video elements had not grown to support it. This year we had to step it up.”
At BlizzCon all the activities revolve around Blizzard Entertainment's three video games Diablo, StarCraft, and World of Warcraft with exhibit halls dedicated specifically to each title. There would also be one Main Stage hall used for panel discussions, an awards ceremony, and the events closing night concert featuring Tenacious D. Plus, for those who could not attend BlizzCon in person, event organizers had one HD Pay-Per-View broadcast along with three live Internet streams covering the event in its entirety.
Serame continued, “With so many elements affecting the lighting design for this event, we started the design process by focusing specifically on each game title first and then let the rest fall into place. For the individual game halls, we wanted to make sure that each had its own identity through a consistent color scheme and gobo pattern, but then we also had to make sure that the lights we used would give us the ideal color temperature for both the HDTV and Internet feeds. So when we factored these things together, it made perfect sense to go with VARI*LITE luminaires.”
To gather all the lights necessary, Serame worked with Authorized Dealer 4-Wall LA to bring together 100 VL3500 Spot, 30 VL3500 Wash, 50 VL3000 Spot, and 20 VL2500 Spot luminaires.
“It was awesome working with 4-Wall. I love their real-time inventory tracking between multiple shops because as we were finalizing the plot and making the design choices, fixture count swings from one plot to the next could be significant. With their tracking software, 4-Wall could track between all their shops to help me find the ideal package which helped keep our shipping costs down by using the inventory that was available on the West coast.”
Now that he had the lighting instruments necessary to bring BlizzCon 2010 up to the production level desired by the producers, Serame and his team had four days to complete the install and programming for the entire event.
“In the design, we knew that we wanted to use the VL3500 Spots for the fantastic color, beams, and their shuttering capabilities to frame the large video screens throughout the event. The VL3500 Wash fixtures would be our workhorse key light for all stages because of their color and power. The VL3000 Spot luminaires would provide the design with great gobo patterns and then also backlight on all the stages. And then since they would have statues in key locations throughout all the halls, we used the VL2500 Spots for their pattern and color consistency to match all the other VARI*LITE luminaires.”
At BlizzCon, the color renditions, texturing, and patterns that were already established for each particular video game were also very important. The lighting fixtures had to have color consistency and pattern matching abilities as each title would need its own gobo identity to match the patterning created by the Blizzard Entertainment graphic designers.
“VARI*LITE fixtures offer a true lighting package for a client who is very visual with a strong sense of identity, such as Blizzard Entertainment. We had to carry those identities that they had already established through the lighting and VARI*LITE luminaires gave us the perfect tools. We used the “Tribal” gobo pattern for Diablo, the “Uneven Bars” gobo pattern for StarCraft, and the “Dust” gobo pattern for World of Warcraft. You just can't match the VARI*LITE color consistency and their gobo package is second to none.”
With the color schemes and gobo identities for each hall now established, Serame also had to focus on making sure that the color temperature for each hall was ideal for the HDTV broadcast and Internet feeds.
“With the various broadcasts going on at the event, each stage had to have a consistent color temperature. The Internet feeds were absolutely crucial with 200,000 people watching online and so we needed the media to look good on computer screens as well as on a HDTV broadcast. For this color temperature consistency, we needed the VARI*LITE fixtures on every stage and every point of broadcast was lit primarily by VARI*LITE.”
To round out the event, Blizzard Entertainment brought in the always energetic Tenacious D. Not knowing exactly what fixtures their lighting designer would want to see hanging in the rig, Serame was confident that the VARI*LITE luminaires would fulfill all their needs.
“For the Tenacious D concert it was a natural carry-over to a rock-n-roll atmosphere. I had to make sure that the fixtures we had in the rig could be used by their visiting LD, and to make sure we would have no problems, we had the VARI*LITE luminaires. Simply put, VARI*LITE provides great comfort and all the tools necessary for any lighting designer.”
At the end of BlizzCon 2010, both Serame and the producers at Blizzard Entertainment were extremely proud with how the event was carried out. But not to be outdone, it was the attendees of the event that gave the lighting design its highest accolades.
“The thing I enjoyed most about this event was taking what the client wanted and bringing it all to life through light,” concluded Serame. “I loved working with Blizzard Entertainment to merge their gaming identities with the consistent colors and patterns created by VARI*LITE luminaires. But what stood out the most was that we had fans come in who were used to the production values of the past and they were absolutely blown away by what we had done. We needed a strong baseline of quality and consistency throughout this design, and VARI*LITE was that baseline.”