ATHENS, GEORGIA – Bandit Lites had the unique privilege of being the first to light a concert at the University of Georgia’s Sanford Stadium, where ACM award winner Jason Aldean played to more than 60,000 people. The 90-minute set, which was filmed for a DVD release, included a surprise visit from rapper Ludacris and a virtual appearance from Kelly Clarkson.
Award-winning lighting designer, Aaron Swetland faced the singular challenge of having to adapt his already massive rig for television with an additional 88 Sharpys, 20 Syncrolite fixtures, 34 3500 washes, 20 MAC Auras and 24 Bandit 5x5s. Giant artwork scrims were added above stage right and left with 30-foot trusses above them, while a 60-foot lighting truss was placed center downstage from the usual downstage truss for television lighting.
For his inaugural stadium show, Swetland focused on filling the space while being mindful of the challenges that accompany television shoot such as key light levels, leveling, and balancing the light difference. While typical concerts consist of the stage being much brighter and bolder, Swetland kept it more subdued in the interest of getting a good shot on camera.
“It changes the dynamic of the show,” he explained. “You are not just lighting the show for the 65,000 people in the room; you are lighting the show for the millions that may watch it on TV as well.”
Moreover, while Aldean is no stranger to playing to crowds of more than 30,000, Swetland says the Sanford Stadium show was a wild adventure.
“It’s definitely an experience that I’ll never forget: being able to work with Jason from when I first started, and we were still doing some clubs with about 500 people, and now we’re doing stadiums with 65 thousand people. That’s pretty surreal to work with one single band for that long, and to be a part of that climb of their career is really something special.”
Mark Buttsjoined the crew to facilitate with the television programming in addition to Mike Swinford, the production designer, who assisted with the television lighting design. Additional crew for the show who provided vital support included Andy Knighton, Chaz Martin, Sam Harden, John Lucksinger and Cody Cheatham.
About Bandit Lites, Inc.
Bandit Lites is a global leader in the entertainment lighting marketplace. From touring productions to fixed installations, Bandit Lites has a full staff of highly trained professionals to deal with all types of lighting needs. Bandit’s global presence will insure seamless transitions no matter where your next show takes you.