31 Days Of Plots: ABC's New Year's Rockin' Eve


To celebrate the achievements of 2019 and to welcome all the prospects of 2020, Live Design is conducting 31 Days Of Plots. Every day during the month of December 2019, we will highlight a different lighting design, from across theatre, concert tours, corporate events, and more.

Mike Grabowski of Lighting Design Group shares lighting plots for the ABC stage at 44th and Broadway in Times Square, highlighting the midnight moment for the 2019 Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve with Ryan Seacrest on December 31, 2018.

"Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve with Ryan Seacrest is always an interesting adventure," says Grabowski. "This is a bit of a weird setup, since a lot of the show takes place in the crowd of Times Square, but also from our platform right in the middle of the party. We're on air from 8 pm until about 1:15am, so over five hours live is a bit of a challenge as well. The biggest challenge is, however, always the weather. The past two years have been particularly challenging; 2018-2019 was one of the wettest years we've had, and the year prior we were at almost -10 degrees at midnight. It's a challange to find an aesthetic balance and gear that will function in these adverse conditions, but hitting numerous design milestones.

"The lighting rig needs to fit on two platforms that are about 16'x16' each," he continues. "One is a jib patform, one is for talent. We have A-List talent and guests and need to provide soft, controllable, beautiful light, but also support and mirror the energy of the party. The rig also needs to control sitelines and hide some of the 'junk' and the working aisles. We also need to light, BLOCKS away, but not impact any of the other broadcasts. We also need to have enough bells and whistles to have an amazing midnight moment. 

"We rely on HMIs as the base for this because they are just simple, and reliable. With proper planning, those lights will just work, regardless of how cold or wet it gets. The [Chroma-Q] Color Force and [Chauvet Professional COLORado] Solo Battens are the  primary backbone of the rig, hiding a lot of the staging rails and controlling sitelines of TSQ.  The handful of Claypaky Sharpy units give us some camera candy, but keep the power efficient. I need to be able to get some camera candy several blocks away, and even to other rooftops and helicopters. The [Robe] BMFLs are KILLER for this, and especally at midnight, they make that confetti show up blocks away. We can even get light in the lens of cameras over central park!

"Overall, its a rig that has to wear many hats, but my killer team is really what makes it all happen. Joseph Cartagena  as my head, Ryan Philips as my programmer, and the whole cast of regulars, Gene, Marshall, Chris, Flo, Paul and everyone I'm forgetting---some of the hardest working folks in the buisness, out in some of the worst weather, for days in a row, are the real stars who make this rig shine."

Click through the slideshow to view the plots.

Check out other plots from the 31 Days here, and stay tuned fore more inspiring lighting plots in 2020.


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