An awards show like none other took Tampa's Raymond James Stadium by storm when the annual International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) Awards came to the U.S. for the first time. The IIFA Awards honor artistic and technical excellence in Bollywood, India's famed Hindi-language film industry that sells more than 3 billion tickets every year. The show, which aired on Star World Network, used a large complement of Clay Paky Sharpy fixtures, grandMA2 consoles and grandMA 3D for preprogramming. A.C.T Lighting is the exclusive distributor of the Clay Paky and MA Lighting in North America.
"The IIFA Awards are the Indian equivalent of the Oscars with 800 million viewers worldwide," says lighting designer Eugene O'Connor. "Cinema is huge there, and the awards show lasted more than five hours. It had a very big open and included production numbers with 60-70 dancers."
O'Connor knew that Clay Paky Sharpys "were always going to be the main light" for the show in a stadium that demanded "big looks" for its giant TV audience. "With so much video on stage we needed something that was going to break through," he adds.
Sharpys always top O'Connor's fixture list. "You can't beat them, especially if you can get enough of them," he says. "We had 85 Sharpys from PRG on the IIFA Awards. We positioned 16 on the floor across the front of the stage and 14 across the back. There were six vertical towers with three or four Sharpys on each, plus a bunch on the roof."
He notes that "when you light for TV you tend to light for FOH, but I light for many different angles. I like a lot of heights, and I let light wrap around the stage so everything is very big, bright and colorful. And the Sharpys performed really well."
Three grandMA2 full-size consoles and one grandMA2 light were deployed for the show. "Console one was for all the moving lights, console two was its back up, console three operated the media servers and console four, the grandMA2 Light, was its back up," explains technical director Ola Melzig of M & M Production Management AB, Stockholm.
"With the schedule as tight as it was during load in and rehearsals on stage from 10 am to 4 pm daily, once the stage was ready grandMA 3D was crucial for the lighting team," Melzig says.
O'Connor agrees. "Using grandMA 3D for preprogramming was a life saver. Last year we couldn't get the lights in the air until the last minute, and grandMA 3D really saved us. This time I decided to do a lot of preprogramming, and it performed perfectly."
Programmer Aloysius Dsouza deployed grandMA 3D on his Apple MacBook Pro, which was connected to a plasma screen for external display. "We only had three days for programming while the crew was rigging lights and getting all aspects of the show ready," he says. "The show also had the challenge of being outdoors with sunset timings."
Dsouza says he uses the grandMA2 exclusively. "It has unique features that are ahead of their time," he notes. "I have used only a small portion of them and aspire to use all of them very soon. It's an excellent and trustworthy console."
O'Connor also gives kudos to the grandMA2s. "They're great desks with a lot of fire power. I really like them."
Melzig says he's done "a ton of big, high-profile events" and has been "extremely impressed with how stable the MA platform is. They performed flawlessly at the IIFA Awards." He adds that, "the MA network ties everything up very nicely in a safe and secure way."
Melzig also showers praise on the staff of the Raymond James Stadium. "I'd like to send them an extra thank you. They were, hands down, fantastic to work with."