Broadcast by Choice FM, a two-hour virtual party recently took place on the island of Cyprus to raise funds and morale for families impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Featuring local DJs and performers, United We Can was filmed on top of one of the tallest buildings in the city of Limassol. An ADJ lighting rig, supplied by Sound & Vision By DJ Nick, illuminated a series of rooftop performers and the Cypriot skies above.
The venue for the video shoot was the rooftop of Cedar Oasis, a 16-floor tower located in the centre of the city of Limassol. The DJ booth was setup at the edge of the viewing platform; this mean that the cityscape provided a unique backdrop for the performances, which began just before dusk and continued well after the sun had set. A combination of drone shots and close-up cameras allowed the livestream to feel both intimate and epic, while the wide drone shots captured the beams from the ADJ moving heads which filled the sky and could be seen from a distance of more than five miles away.
Sound & Vision By DJ Nick, a company with a 30 year heritage in the city, provided lighting production for the video shoot. Owned and managed by the enigmatic DJ Nick, the company has grown from providing mobile DJ services to now also supplying AV rental and production for events and concerts of all sizes. In addition, DJ Nick runs a small retail store in Limassol, which supplies other local DJs and also provides installation services for bars, hotels and nightclubs throughout the region. An official reseller for ADJ’s Cypriot distributor, SP Megasound, DJ Nick has grown to rely on ADJ lighting exclusively in both the retail and rental divisions of his business.
“For the past six years we have only bought ADJ lighting through Stelios and SP Megasound, for use on our own productions, for sale to our customers here in Limassol and for our rental stock,” stated DJ Nick. “And in all that time we have had no problems with any of the equipment. In the past we used and sold many other brands, but we always had problems with faults and equipment failing on our productions or letting down our customers. Now, with ADJ, we only ever have positive feedback from our customers.”
A total of 38 ADJ lighting fixtures were utilised for the United We Can shoot, with lighting design and programming duties carried out by Dimitris Nicolau, who is a fulltime member of the Sound & Vision By DJ Nick team. Most prominent within the rig were Vizi Beam 5RX moving heads, with 12 units arranged along the semicircular perimeter of the roof and another four fixtures positioned in front of the DJ booth.
Powered by a Philips Platinum 5R lamp, this feature-packed beam fixture is designed specifically to generate intense aerial effects which cover a large distance. For the video shoot, they were used to generate beam effects around the performance space but also to shoot razor sharp shafts of light upwards to create sky tracking effects. The beams were clearly visible on camera even during the early evening part of the shoot, however after the sun had fully set the effects were truly awe-inspiring and attracted a lot of attention from the surrounding neighbourhoods.
“The Vizi Beam 5RX is extremely powerful,” enthused Nicolau. “Even with its 5° beam angle, which is pretty wide for a dedicated beam fixture, it creates a really nice bright output that will travel a long distance. I also really like the colours; it offers a good selection of choices which all look very nice. We’ve been using the fixtures for the past four years and have found them to be very reliable. Over the summer we work them very hard, and often use them outside at summer clubs, open-air concerts and parties, and they’ve never let us down. When it comes to beams, the 5RX is my first-choice lighting fixture, a real pleasure to use.”
In addition to the moving heads, five UB 9H linear LED fixtures were positioned in front of the DJ booth, arranged in a fan shape. Each loaded with nine 6-watt HEX (6-in-1 RGBWA+UV) LEDs, these generated colour washes for close-up shots and added interest to the rooftop for drone footage shot directly downwards.
Further colour washing was provided by six 12PX HEX par fixtures, which each feature twelve 12-watt HEX LEDs. Nicolau positioned these units in between the fixtures in the semicircle of Vizi Beam 5RXs, pointing directly forwards. This not only created an ambient wash for the performance space but also projected swathes of coloured light onto the surface of the roof itself, which further enhanced the drone footage captured from above.
“We used the 12PX HEX LED pars on this shoot,” explained Nicolau but we also use the 18PX HEX on a lot of events. Both models have really nice colour mixing. Even if you look into the lamps, you can’t see the different colour LED elements; the output is always just one solid colour. This means that you don’t get any colour shadows, which we’ve found to be a problem with other brands of LED wash.”
Illumination of the performers themselves was covered by a pair of Encore FR150Z LED-powered Fresnels. Featuring an enormously powerful 130W warm white LED engine placed behind a large 8-inch Fresnel lens, this fixture is ideally suited for lighting performers both for in-person audiences and for capturing crystal clear video footage. In addition, a single PAR Z100 3K LED-powered warm white par fixture was positioned on the ground behind the DJ position to provide backlight.
To avoid spoiling the natural backdrop provided by the cityscape behind the DJ booth, Nicolau deliberately kept his fixture positioning low to the ground, with most units standing directly on the surface of the rooftop platform. The only exceptions were four small 1-meter-high truss podiums which were used to raise up four Vizi Wash Z19 moving head fixtures. Each loaded with nineteen 20-watt quad colour (4-in-1 RGBW) LEDs and offering motorised zoom with a wide beam range of 10 to 60°, these powerful wash fixtures are versatile tools for creative lighting designers.
“Earlier this year, to celebrate Epiphany, we created a lightshow in front of our shop,” enthused Nicolau. “During that project we used a single fixture to light a full 5-story building across the street, which really shows the power of the Vizi Wash Z19. Even zoomed all the way out to 60° it has a very strong output. Then, if you zoom it all the way into 10°, it can also create a nice beam effect for indoor venues.”
In addition to raising the Vizi Wash Z19s, the truss podiums also provided rigging space for additional fixtures. The inside pair were used to support two Sweeper Beam Quad LED motorised linear LED fixtures, while the outer pair were rigged with Encore Burst 200 LED-powered blinders, which completed the lighting setup. ADJ atmospheric fixtures were also used on the shoot with an Entourage faze machine generating a beam-enhancing atmosphere and a Entour Cyclone DMX fan ensuring it stayed in place.
“My work as a lighting designer depends on having a good, even coverage of haze,” stated Nicolau. “That’s why the ADJ Entourage is my favourite piece of gear. We started off using the Entour Faze – which itself is a nice machine – but then we upgraded to the Entour Venue. With just one of those we can fill an average ballroom with a nice coverage of haze. But for the biggest shows – and for working outdoors – we now have two Entourage machines, and they really are incredible. Within literally 5 to 10 seconds, we can fill a large area with haze and be ready to make beam effects. When we’re working outside, like for this video shoot, we pair it with the Entour Cyclone. If there is any wind, we use the fan to push against it to keep the haze where we want it to be, which makes sure the light beams always look great.”
Combined together, this line-up of ADJ lighting and atmospheric fixtures, together with Nicolau’ programming skills and the stunning rooftop location, made for incredible visuals to enhance the music played by the United We Can performers. The live stream proved to be a big success, not only raising much needed donations to help those in need, but also lifting the spirits of the community in Limassol and across Cyprus.