Riyadh, Saudi Arabia – Called upon by event producer Maestro Group to light the prestigious King Cup Final in Riyadh, lighting designer Koert Vermeulen used the versatility of a rig exclusively from Vari-Lite, a Signify (Euronext: LIGHT) entertainment lighting brand, to deliver his spectacular, stadium-scale design. His creation utilized 350 Vari-Lite fixtures from the pioneering moving light brand, including 100 of the powerful, feature-packed new VL10 BeamWash and 100 lighting fixtures from the LED-based VLZ range.
The King Cup, the highlight of the Saudi soccer season, was held in May at Riyadh’s King Fahd International Stadium. The event included three separate shows - a five-minute pre-match entertainment, a 17-minute half-time show, and a post-show entertainment featuring an hour-long set by Saudi popstar, Rabeh Sager.
Vermeulen, of Belgium-based consultancy ACTLD, is no stranger to the challenges of designing on a stadium scale, and the variety of demands it makes of a lighting rig. Using six different Vari-Lite models, Vermeulen created a dynamic and flexible show lighting environment with depth and texture, for both live audience and television cameras, encompassing the pitch and performance area, the audience seating and the stadium structure.
Discussing his approach to the design, he says, “We are collaborating with the artistic director, Haitham Dghaili. It’s his vision we interpret. We deliver what is possible and then maybe add a few sparkles of our own on top.”
The powerful effects capabilities of the VL10 BeamWash offered sparkles aplenty. Vermeulen positioned these around the outermost audience perimeter to serve “as beam lights and eye candy” and to illuminate the stadium’s roof structure and canopies. This was his first experience using the fixture. “The VL10 was a big surprise - a real contender among the other fixtures on the market,” he says. “It compares very well with them.”
His extensive Vari-Lite toolkit also included the company’s latest LED-based lighting fixtures. In all, 30 VLZ Washes were provided a low backlight wash for the audience and effects during the presentation ceremonies, while 70 VLZ Spots were positioned around the stadium, in groups of six and eight, to cover the pitch area. “The VLZs met my expectations,” said Vermeulen. “They performed very well.”
Delivering impactful beam looks from high on the stadium’s supporting columns were 50 of the popular large-format ‘searchlight’-style VL6000 Beams, while 50 VL800 BeamLines added to the audience wash. Vermeulen also placed 50 VL4000 Spot fixtures on the stadium floor, making use of the internal shutter system to avoid interfering with the on-pitch projections.
Vermeulen concludes, “This was the first time in a long time that I had a full Vari-Lite rig, and they delivered - even above my expectations. I have experienced now, first-hand, that Vari-Lite is back with some quality products.”