As the San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs battled it out for the NFL Championship, the Pepsi Super Bowl LIV Halftime Show brought a little Latin flavour to Miami’s 65,000-seat Hard Rock Stadium on Sunday 2 February 2020, thanks to an explosive show by Jennifer Lopez and Shakira, aided by Puerto Rican rapper Bad Bunny and Colombian star J. Balvin, and a cast of near 170 musicians, dancers, and performers.
This massive production – an eagerly awaited annual event – was broadcast live by Fox to 100 million viewers worldwide, all of whom witnessed a superb lighting show which had at its centre over 120 Ayrton Perseo IP65-rated multi-function profile lighting fixtures.
The spectacular production was created by the legendary Super Bowl team headed by show designer, Bruce Rodgers of Tribe, Inc. and lighting designer, Bob Barnhart of 22 Degrees. “We quickly decided the Ayrton lighting rig would be the centrepiece of the whole design,” said Barnhart.
Rodgers’ stage design included four runways of light upstage of the main stage, delineated by 52 Perseo fixtures which would also outline the circular main stage. He also installed 24 further Perseo fixtures on either side of the tunnels to light the teams as they made their pre kick-off entrances onto the field.
“The upstage ramps were the background of the show for us,” says Barnhart. “It’s very hard to get elevation in a set in the middle of a field with only 8-minutes set-up time, so we depended on those four long rows of lights to give us a really strong background.
One section of the upstage ramp containing 24 Perseo fixtures was capable of elevation, tilting 5ft into the air during Lopez’s song On The Floor. “This gave us a nice hard background for this number,” says Barnhart. "Shakira’s Empire was perhaps my favourite light cue in the show though. I loved how the Perseo light strobed so effectively – it was the second song in the show and we were waiting to really roll them out in that number. It was great to have an LED fixture capable of genuine strobing instead of using its shutter, and it became an incredibly strong dynamic effect.”
Rodgers and Barnhart wanted to keep to the same lighting fixture across the entirety of the stage for the sake of uniformity, and Perseo’s aesthetic played a major part in Barnhart’s choice. “Form factor is very important and Ayrton has chosen to pay a lot of attention to its aesthetic design. If a fixture is going to be on camera you want the inside and the outside to be as sexy and high tech as possible.
“Perseo is great to look at and, from a designer standpoint, I like that large aperture with its big glass face which you can use to create ‘hokum’ to fill in for camera shots.”
The successful fixture needed to be waterproof above all else “because Miami loves to rain! There were several downpours during programming in the parking lot and I can attest the Perseos are truly IP65-rated! We just let them run and they didn’t care at all! They were like dogs in a lake!”
But it is not just the IP rating that Barnhart found so attractive: “Perseo has many great features: the shutters were something I didn’t think I would need when I first picked the fixture, but as the show developed they became a really handy tool.
“The show gets very colourful at times and Perseo’s colour rendering is very good. Fox used new cameras running 2020 Vision – a new colour rendering system which increases the colour range the cameras can perceive. It was great to be able to see on camera all these colours that Perseo can produce.”
Barnhart was also pleased with Perseo’s zoom capabilities which belie it compact size: “But Perseo does really well on this front – it’s a small fixture that zooms out really well. It’s both a good close up fixture and pretty good distance fixture.”
In total, 124 Ayrton Perseo were supplied on a quick turnaround in a joint venture by JamPro Productions of Reno, NV, Mid-America Sound Corporation of Greenfield, IN, LEC of Chicago, IL and Harvest Productions of Kansas City, MO, all of which was faciliated by Aaron Hubbard at ACT Lighting, Ayrton’s exclusive distributor in the US. “We’d like to thank these companies who were willing to pre-ordered the Perseos with shipment direct from the Ayrton factory in order to make the deadline,” says Hubbard. PRG’s Vice President of Television & Special Events, Tony Ward, and his team provided the transportation and onsite technical logistics for entire lighting system, including the Ayrton Perseo units.
“Aaron worked really hard to ensure we would be able to use Perseo and supported us at every step of the way,” says Barnhart. Crucially, Hubbard was instrumental in helping solve the crunch point that guaranteed Perseo’s place on the field. “I’m probably the only one in the world who cares about a lamp’s calibration time but it’s a vital element to us because of the extreme limits to our set up time in the interval,” explains Barnhart. “We have precisely 8 minutes from the moment 500+ half-time crew exit the tunnels until we go live to over 100 million viewers. Perseo originally had a 2-minute calibration time – which was just too long, especially when the opening cue made a big feature of Perseo from the very first beat. So Aaron made a call to the Ayrton engineers, and within half an hour I had a call back telling me they could re-engineer the software to reduce the time to 70 seconds! So it was game on!”
“I’ve become a fan of Perseo. Ayrton has moved from creating unique effects lighting to truly functional workhorses. For a production like this you need a multi-purpose fixture with an LED source, shutters, iris, gobo options, a frost, prisms, ideally animation wheel – plus they need to quick and responsive and dependable - all of which Perseo has. With a fixture like that you have a workhorse that you want to put through your entire rig!”
For the full story, go to https://www.ayrton.eu/live/ayrton-perseo-adds-pizazz-to-pepsi-super-bowl-liv-halftime-show/
For more information on Ayrton Perseo and the full range of LED lighting fixtures, visit www.ayrton.eu