Robe was once again a major sponsor of the TPi Awards, supplying nearly 300 lighting fixtures to the prestigious 2016 event. Produced by TPi Magazine, part of Mondiale Publishing Ltd, this year's show - and the event’s 15th birthday - was production managed by Ryan Esson alongside production assistant Daniel Jones.
The sci-fi themed production utilised 50 BMFL (24 x Spots, 14 x Blades and 12 x WashBeams), 24 x Pointes, 16 x miniPointes, 24 x LEDBeam 100s, 30 x CycFX 8s, 42 x Squares, 24 x ColorStrobes, 40 x PATT 2013s, 20 x picklePATTs and two VIVAs, which were made available for a spectacular lighting design by Chris Green of technical event production expert, Hawthorn - lighting rental partner for the event.
The lighting design itself was collaboration between Hawthorn and the FIX8Group and it was the first big gig for Robe’s new picklePATT and BMFL WashBeam products.
For the second year running the TPi Awards was staged at the Battersea Evolution in London and - also for the second year running - was presented by writer, comedian and actor, Russell Kane.
The event honours the technical and creative achievements of the live production / event industry over the preceding 12 months and was attended by almost 1,400 leading industry professionals and personalities, who enjoyed a superlative evening of entertainment, networking and fun as the 27 winners were greeted in great comedic style.
Working on the TPi Awards is a high-pressure job for all involved, with work on display in front of some of the most influential names in the industry. Always keen to offer its young talent opportunities to shine, this year Hawthorn asked up-and-coming lighting whizz kid Chris Green to take up this character-building gauntlet and create a lighting design.
He worked closely on the initial stages of the design with last year’s LD Jack Sayer and was supported by Hawthorn’s in-house production manager, Tom Ring.
A major objective was to make it look different from last year’s event. Chris also wanted to ensure the lighting was as immersive as possible, including everyone in the room in the action, with a series of ‘big room’ looks for the dinner section of the evening and lots of energetic and dazzling show-stopper lighting for the presentations.
Hawthorn owns Robe’s BMFL Spot and PATT 2013 products, but it was the first time that Chris had had the chance to work in depth with many of the other Robe products on the rig. He commented: “I had an excellent selection of tools to help create the dynamics and drama needed to complement all of the action.”
To bring the design to life, the Hawthorn team first installed nine linear trusses in the roof of the Evolution, a large multi-event space located in London's Battersea Park.
The Robe fixtures were rigged all over the trusses and used for a variety of tasks and functions.
The 42 Squares – one of Robe’s newest products - were used to wash light around the room during the dinner. Chris also mapped 25 individual pixels on each Square so he could mimic the content appearing on the stage's LED video screens (provided by Euro Screens). FIX8Studio managed the visual content. He also used the Square’s single pixels as eye-catching and piercing beam effects to dart around the room – an on-trend look that’s currently enjoying popularity for TV audience lighting.
The BMFL Blades and Spots were the main workhorse beam and profile lights of the design, used for powerful, elegant beam scenes around the space, and for stunning breakup effects sweeping across the 122 dinner-tables, floor and stage areas. Chris favoured their extreme brightness, colours and good selection of gobos.
The ColorStrobes, another new Robe LED product, were spread out around the trusses and used to add intense punches and accents to the evening’s big moments, such as the musical sequences leading up to the award winner announcements and high-tension snapshots such as the Outstanding Contribution winner, Stageco's Hedwig De Meyer.
The CycFX 8s were also used in ‘video-style’ to fill gaps between and around the edges of the onstage LED video screens, extending this visual focal point further to the sides and into the corners, adding more general lighting texture to the room. He used both the tight beam and the wash options on the individually-mapped LEDs to create a range of funky sweeping and scanning effects.
The strong, well-defined beams of the Pointes were used to slice through all the washes in the air and shoot beams around the room - adding depth and enlarging the perception of space seen as almost 200 more guests attended than the previous year! With frost filters added, Chris also used them in wash mode as backlight during the stage presentations.
The LEDBeam 100s were rigged on towers at the back of the stage in groups of six, creating fans and linear patterns between the screens, helping to fill the backspace and the back-of-IMAG camera shots with interest.
A total of 31 PATT 2013s graced the main rig, spread out around the room and on drop arms extending down the walls – adding an architectural element as well as a nice warm tungsten glow. They were also an ideal source to bump general light levels across the room, and punched up to 100%, they added to the WOW moments during the presentations.
Eight of the new smaller - cute retro - PicklePATTs were distributed at the back of the stage in full view of the IMAG cameras and audience making a nice addition to the set and a complete contrast to the raw and edginess of the standard screen ‘look’.
Chris controlled all of this from an MA Lighting grandMA2 Light console, with another running in full tracking backup, plus three NPUs which distributed 26 x DMX data universes around the room.
He noted: “It was a real experience working on this show! I really had to push myself as a designer and programmer and get my head around some cool new and innovative technology from Robe, but I loved the challenge and the learning curve. It was a brilliant opportunity for me to showcase what I can do on a big stage and it goes without saying that I had amazing support from the incredible Hawthorn crew.”
Tom co-ordinated the project, appointing Chris to design and operate, with Paul Bird as crew chief. Paul also programmed lighting for the atrium and the main space invader-esque main bar area, on an Avolites Tiger Touch II – utilising 12 of Robe’s brand new BMFL Wash Beams, 16 x miniPointes and 8 x PATT 2013s.
The Robe VIP Area was lit with two VIVA profiles and more PicklePATTs on stands / trussing, providing a relaxed environment for guests to party the night away with - a scenario embraced with huge enthusiasm by attendees, allowing another great TPi Awards to carry on until 4am!
Robe again sponsored the ‘Favourite Lighting Rental Company’ Award, which was presented by CEO Josef Valchar, and won for the third consecutive year by Neg Earth Lights.
Josef commented: “It was fantastic to support the TPi Awards again and see the industry unite for another memorable event, and re-live so many exciting moments from live shows over the last 12 months. It is a real honour for our brand to be involved, and to recognise some of the incredible creativity, dedication and passion that makes our industry rock!”
General Manager of TPi Magazine & Awards, Hannah Eakins, added: “We were really excited to work with Robe again this year and to incorporate their brand new products into both the show and after party. This was the biggest and best TPi Awards to date, and we have been blown away by the positive feedback and encouraging response received from our creative and technical audience. It was a fantastic evening which set the bar for the TPi Awards live production; Hawthorn and FIX8Group did an incredible job with their collaborative design.”
Other winners included Arcadia Spectacular, which collected ‘Live Production of the Year’ for their jaw-dropping Metamorphosis show in Bristol city centre, an event that featured Robe moving lights illuminating the giant spider!
Everyone was also delighted to see Ed Warren win the ‘Lighting Designer of The Year’ Award, known for his flair, innovation, intelligent and different approach to sculpting a lightshow, all at Robe look forward to seeing more of Ed’s fabulous work in 2016!
Photos by Lindsay Cave