When 24 year old South African R‘n’B singer, music producer and rising star Cassper Nyovest blew everyone away at the 2015 Metro FM Awards in the Spring, scooping five trophies - including Best Male Album for his debut ‘Tsholofelo’ work released last year and the popular Listener’s Choice category - that was just the start of a truly stellar year!
Recently, his #FillUpTheDome concert on October 31st featured over 130 Robe lighting fixtures and played to an ecstatic sold-out audience of 20,000 in the Ticketpro Dome in Johannesburg, making history as the first ‘local’ artist to ever sell out the venue.
Nyovest himself approached Cape Town based design agency Formative to provide creative direction and technical production, including video content design, for the epic show. The pressure was on to do something awesome production-wise, and the realisation was led by Formative Creative Director Grant Orchard, whose lighting was a co-design with Technical Project Manager Thomas Peters.
The incredible #FillUpTheDome achievement was also a defining moment on the country’s vibrant music scene. A host of celebrities and VIPs joined the enthusiastic crowds and Nyovest was even congratulated by South African President, Jacob Zuma!
Grant, Thomas and Formative first met Nyovest during the 2015 MTV Africa Awards where they were producing video content and providing playback. For #FillUpTheDome, they turned to Gearhouse South Africa, the country’s largest rental company, to provide all elements of the technical production – sound, lighting, video, staging and rigging.
“Gearhouse was the only company that could deliver comprehensively all the disciplines and resources needed to stage a show of this profile,” comments Thomas.
Robe was right at the hub of Formative’s production lighting design, for which they utilized 60 x Robe Points, 38 x LEDWash 600s, 12 x PATT 2013s, 11 x CycFX 8s and eight CitySkape Xtremes, all of which were integrated into the slick and edgy visual design.
Nyovest entrusted the production aesthetics entirely to Grant and his team with the instruction to reproduce an iconic show on a par with live performances that had inspired him over the years including by Jay Z and Kanye West.
His one special request was to have a specific choreographed ‘hero’ moment during the show … created using a combination of his stage presence and various technologies.
As the stage design evolved, the set was covered with multiple high gloss surfaces and intense powerful light beams were required to generate the many memorable moments and looks that built throughout the show. It wasn’t a conventional “front lighting” rig as Grant and Thomas wanted a rawer, meaner and moodier look rather than something that was too over-produced.
The lighting scheme was “essentially about creating darkness” Thomas elaborated …. “We approached it more like creating a piece of art rather than a standard light-show”.
With over 65 square metres of 7mm LED video screen surface centre-stage, and another 50 panels of LED mesh product built into the trusses and two separate LED floors, Thomas needed lights that really held their own in intensity - that’s why he chose 60 x Pointes.
Ladders - for lighting positions - were rigged either side of the stage and in the auditorium, and all loaded with Pointes. Forty Pointes framed the top and bottom of the main screen, perfectly aligned for back lighting and effects.
The LEDWash 600s, described by Thomas as “A real workhorse of the SA market”, were used for numerous tasks including as traditional wash fixtures, and also run in ‘wide’ mode as effects via individual control of the three LED rings.
Ten LEDWash 600s were deployed below the screen, with 10 above, six to the sides to light the band and the rest joining the balance of the Pointes on the ladders.
The CycFX 8s – a fixture that Thomas had been wanting to use for some time – were positioned upstage in front of the mesh LED clad trusses. Their individual pixels were mapped and run via the d3 media server that also output the show video content, and they were also run as conventional lightsources via the grandMA control console.
The pan / tilt looks, creating spectacular sheets of light from the CycFX 8s were a bonus that worked extremely well with the music.
The 8 CitySkape Xtreme LED floods were scattered asymmetrically around the stage floor on the band risers – this large lightsource was used to shoot across the musicians and dramatically silhouette them. “The scale and look of the light source is amazing,” says Thomas.
The PATT 2013s – along with the Cyc FX 8s also sourced from MGG - were used for that BIG moment in the original brief.
This came in the encore, as Nyovest stood on a section of the LED floor which rose up on a flying platform as a tumultuous wave of euphoria swept through the crowd, and simultaneously a truss was lowered in above his head loaded with the 12 x PATT 2013s -Thomas really likes the look of these, which lends itself to numerous scenic applications as well as having practical light output.
With the upstage video blasting through in this scene, Nyovest appeared to be floating in air as his show came to a spectacular conclusion … an event where the visual imagination of the production and creative teams matched the balls of the artist in ambition and achievement!
Photos courtesy of Formative