For the second year running, Robe’s newest moving lights - including the just launched MegaPointe multi-purpose moving light – featured prominently on the UK’s much anticipated 2017 X Factor final series. Six weeks of nail-biting live show excitement with lighting designed by Tim Routledge … will reveal some incredible singing talent and culminate on the final at Wembley Arena this weekend.
The show was staged for the first time at LH2 Studios in Park Royal, north-west London, and joining the 43 x MegaPointes on Tim’s rig were another 270 Robe fixtures …112 x Spikies, 52 x Spiider LED wash beams, 37 x BMFL Blades, 34 of the brand new LEDBeam 150s, 35 x onePATT single cells which are also new … and a BMFL RoboSpot … adding up to a grand total of 314 x Robe lights.
Another stunning set by Florien Wieder of Wieder Design included multiple LED screens and a strong video presence defining the space, building on the look that was such a big hit with everyone last year. The set occupied slightly more space this year, incorporating a series of balconies and a mezzanine level.
A new creative team from The Squared Division came on-board for 2017 alongside series director Julia Knowles. The executive producers wanted an immersive feel to the show, so the 3mm high definition LED screens gave a wide and apparently continuous look, with some discreet breaks in between that were filled with concealed lighting.
A trough beneath the main screen and the slim gaps in between the LED surfaces were the starting points for Tim’s lighting design. His goal was to keep the hardware largely hidden but carefully positioned, so powerful and dramatic surprises could be revealed and blasted through from nowhere when needed.
It was a case of diligent balancing and complimenting between the two media of lighting and video.
The base ‘production’ lighting package – primarily made up of the 300 plus Robe units – was used for each weekly live show, supplemented with different specials that were added for each song.
Additionals this year have included 48 x Robe Halos for Week 5, used for Irish brothers Sean and Conor Price who performed their own version of the Jimi Hendrix classic ‘All Along The Watchtower’.
MegaPointes and Spikies were the main feature lights for 2017.
As soon as Tim first saw the MegaPointe demonstrated earlier in the year, he was “really struck with its possibilities as a ‘Swiss Army knife’ of a light” and immediately thought they would be ideal for X Factor.
Above the stage this year was a large circular screen, with 20 x MegaPointes rigged around its perimeter, while the other 23 were dotted around the main lighting rig.
The massive brightness and functionality of the MegaPointe helped evoke the pacey dynamics and diversity demanded of the ‘house’ lighting system as Tim and programmer / operator Tom Young kept the fresh new looks coming relentlessly as the series unfolded!
Tim is always happy to work with new technologies and was delighted to be able to incorporate MegaPointes for the first time on a UK television show … and one of ITV’s prime time hits at that!
The Spikies were installed in the gaps in between the screens … they enabled a myriad of cool big looks and scenes. On some sections of the set, they were alternated with old-skool tungsten pars.
A major X Factor challenge is always to keep the visuals pumping throughout the series, and making sure they don’t get repeated or tired, and to achieve this properly, several different layers of multi-purpose effects are essential.
Last year, Tim debuted the then just launched Robe Spiider on the X Factor live shows and finale which he loved … and the move was a massive success. He used them again this year as he still absolutely loves the light!
Fixtures like Spiiders and LEDBeam 150s were positioned strategically and optimised for being in both background and foreground camera shots.
BMFLs covered all the key lighting and also kicked in with epic hi-impact looks when needed. Tim was again among the first LDs to specify BMFLs on a major spectacular with the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.
Shiny and new on X Factor were a series of onePATTs, rigged in the mezzanine and balcony areas of the set and around the audience, where their vintage style accentuated the functional, slightly industrial setting complete with exposed brick walls and steelwork.
onePATT is the latest in Robe’s growing PATT family of ‘scenic’ retro-styled luminaires, a high-powered, multi-coloured RGBW multichip LED lightsource housed in a slim brushed metal frame characteristic to the PATT series.
Tim and Tom worked closely on site with gaffer Keith Duncan, and lighting equipment was supplied by multi award winning rental company Neg Earth, where the account is handled by Damien Jackson.
Photos : Tom Dymond / Thames Television