Robe Speeds Up For Autosports Live

Robe moving lights helped ramp up the drama, excitement and adrenaline for the 2014 Autosports Live Action Arena in Hall 5 at Birmingham UK’s National Exhibition Centre as part of the three day 2014 Autosports International exhibition staged by Haymarket Events.

Lighting Designer Nathan Wan used over 150 Robe moving lights as an essential part of his rig, which also featured Sunstrips, PARs and other generics. He has lit the Live Action Arena show for the past five years, and is a big advocate of Robe moving lights. Once again he was back in the lighting driving seat for the Live Action Arena’s technical production suppliers, Network Productions. 

With up to six shows a day, 5000 motorsport fans at a time could enjoy all the thrills and spills of fast cars right there in the Live Action Arena, including high-octane stunt craziness from Terry Grant, wheel-to-wheel racing and precision driving, all culminating in breath-taking motorbike acrobatics delivered by the UKFMX team.

Lighting this type of environment is one of the hardest and most challenging for any LD no matter how experienced. It’s a massive black box arena which voraciously consumes however many lumens are thrown at it!

The other big challenge this year was the 90 metre projection screen at the back of the space - which dictated that the lighting around it had to be fine-tuned and well balanced.

Wan’s brief also included keeping enough – and appropriate - lighting on the track so the drivers could see what was going on, but ensuring that beams didn’t blind them or get in their eyes. The bottom line was also that it was a show as well as a car display, so all visuals had to be extremely energized in every way.

To add more visual dynamics to the mix this year, Wan decided to rake all the trusses in the roof of hall five. This straightforward move alone had massive impact!

He used 30 of Robe’s new ROBIN Pointes right at the epicenter of the show, 16 of which were out-rigged on the two structural pillars in the middle of the arena and used as specials, shooting far and wide around the space and also as backlighting the presenters who faced the grandstand. The other 14 were on the left and right side of the concrete wall surrounding the track.

Forty-two Robe ROBIN 600E Spots were dotted all over the roof trusses and these – together with 30 x Robe ROBIN LEDWash 600s were the show work-horses. They were used to light and texture the arena floor and for bold, strong generic washes around the performance area.

Forty-six ROBIN LEDBeam 100s were positioned around the perimeter of the track wall and at the back underneath the projection screen.

Around 140 Sunstrips - also on the track wall - were used to chase the cars as they zoomed around the arena, and there were also over 300 PAR cans scattered around in the roof. Wan mentions that the intention is to swap these out for LED fixtures next year - one Robe ROBIN LEDWash 1200 can cover for 6 PARs!

“With this many Robes on the rig I had plenty of options,” comments Nathan. “The most important thing is to make big powerful statements with the lighting and then augment these with attractive looking specials for certain moments and to punctuate and highlight different sections of the show.

He adds that he was “Really impressed” with how all of these fixtures – all based on Robe’s ‘smaller-brighter-lighter’ technology principals - seriously cut through the darkness of the environment. Even the darker and moodier colours he was able to work into this pacey highly animated show that seamlessly matched the automotive elements.

All lighting was programmed and run via two Avolites Tiger Touch Pros and two TNP  processors.

Network Productions also supplied all the audio kit, a bespoke stage solution as well as many other technical aspects to the show and their Production Manager was Josh Williams. The projection came from XL Video with content provided by Colin Rozee of ZEEFX.