The production values on this year’s X-Factor Live Tour, the UK’s immensely popular talent hunting television show, certainly maintain the look and feel of the original TV show. Video plays a large part in this with two IMAG screens stage left and right reminding the audience of the journey the performers have completed prior to each acts’ performance. Part of the video wall is used as a sliding reveal for the artists’ entrances while the TV dynamic is continued in the design of the stairs, the independent stage thrust and the hi-gloss flooring. Add to that a lighting rig that begins with fifty-nine Clay Paky Sharpies and it is clear that, for a followspot to cut through and make its mark, it would have to be something powerful, very bright and with a clarity of focus that works effectively with the cameras.
Step forward, the Robert Juliat Lancelot, a 4000W HTI discharge unit that is fast becoming accepted as the long-throw followspot of choice for large live events and concerts. Now part of the family of manufacturers that are exclusively distributed and serviced in the UK by Ambersphere Solutions, Robert Juliat is much more than a company best known for architectural and theatre lighting. The quality of build and features that characterise Robert Juliat units are fast becoming as sought after in the touring market as they are in the more traditional theatre sector.
Lighting director, Jonathan Rouse, explains their value, “This is a show where the light level on the performer is paramount – there is so much live IMAG going on and the X-Factor is all about the artists who have earned their place on the tour. The audience feel they know them as individuals and part of the X-Factor Live experience is seeing their favourites in the flesh. I have five Lancelots working front-of-house to make sure that happens. Their level of output is second to none and the beam created is always perfectly even and completely flicker-free. We always use our touring Lancelots in preference to any house spot available: I prefer it as I know exactly how well they are going to work with the rig and the operators prefer it as they find them so user-friendly to work with.”
The final followspot on this Pete Barnes-designed show sits on the truss upstage centre. Once again it was a Robert Juliat followspot that was specified but this time in a smaller package. “The Manon is the perfect little weapon for an on-truss spot,” continues Rouse. “Like the Lancelot, it is a beautifully balanced unit which is vital with any truss spot, the operator can dim, pan and tilt with one hand and retains its colour temperature perfectly during a dimming operation.”
“Neither the Lancelots nor the Manon have ever let me down. With the quality of the Robert Juliat build and the security of customer service from Ambersphere Solutions I know these spots were the very best choice.”