Nicky Romero rings in the New Year with ADJ-heavy livestream lighting rig

DJ and producer, Nicky Romero celebrates the New Year with a livestream performance lit by over 100 ADJ fixtures, supplied by N.T. Sound.

Following the success of his 2021 New Year livestream broadcast, DJ and producer, Nicky Romero brought together the same technical team to produce his 2022 show, which was filmed outdoors and featured a large lighting rig composed almost exclusively of ADJ fixtures.

‘Nicky Romero and Friends Presents NewYear Show 2022’ was streamed exclusively on the DJ’s website from 10pm until 1am, local time. It featured warm up DJ Marc Benjamin, a guest performance from Wildstylez, and an hour-long set from Romero to welcome in the New Year. 

Filmed outdoors in front of the iconic Kreelpoort (town gate) in Romero’s hometown of Veenendaal in The Netherlands, the livestream was organised by his management company, Artist Division. Ronald de Man, through his company RDM Productions, was responsible for managing the project and brought in local rental company N.T. Sound to supply all the lighting and audio equipment, including over 100 ADJ fixtures. The company’s owner and manager, Jonathan Jansen, designed the lighting rig, while programming and operating duties were handled by Koen van Elderen, considered as one of the most prolific lighting designers and programmers in the Dutch EDM scene.

“The brief from the customer was to create something nice with LED strips and moving heads that would fill the street in front of the monument and they liked the idea of curved lines,” explained Jansen. “I came up with a design based on four arcs of fixtures in front of the DJ position and another arc, curving in the opposite direction, behind. This put Nicky and the other DJs right in the middle of the rig. Then we also lit the Kreelpoort itself and put moving heads behind and also within the structure, so that it could be filled with beams and GOBO projections. Koen did a really great job of using the rig to its full potential, he created a really interesting show that made good use of all the different fixture types and locations. He is a very talented programmer and operator; he is very creative and everything he does looks nice, so kudos to him on a great job!”

Having spent two years on the road with Romero, van Elderen is very familiar with the artist’s music as well as what he likes in terms of lighting, which made him an obvious choice for this project. However, he is quick to point out that there are important differences between working on live events and streaming projects.

“The main difference between a livestream event and a regular show is obviously that there is no crowd,” stated van Elderen. “This allows for flexibility in the placement of fixtures – in this case the whole floor in front of the DJ booth – where the crowd would be for a live event – was filled with fixtures. But what it means for me is that I have no audience to react too, so it is purely about the music. I put in my in-ears and really lose myself in the music, translating what I hear into lighting. The other important thing to remember is that the audience are watching on a screen, they’re not dancing in the middle of a big crowd. So, it’s important to focus on the eye candy, to change the looks regularly, to keep things fresh for the viewers. If it looks constantly the same, they might switch off and go watch something else!”

Koen was able to achieve this on Nicky Romero’s New Year’s Eve show thanks to the variety of fixture types included within Jansen’s rig design. However, ADJ’s Vizi Beam RXONE was the common factor running throughout the whole setup. These units were utilised in all five of the arcs of fixtures and also positioned behind the Kreelpoort to allow beams to be shot through its arches.

“I have worked with the Vizi Beam RXONE many times before and it does exactly what a beam has to do; it is fast, it has a nice prism and GOBOs, which is all I need from a beam,” commented van Elderen. “It is very bright, especially considering its compact size. It is also very light, which means that it is easy to fit a large quantity of fixtures into a design without having to worry too much about weight loadings for trusses.”

The four arcs of fixtures positioned in front of the DJ booth each featured Mega Tri Bar linear LED washes interspersed with the Vizi Beam RXONE moving heads. These were angled forwards and programmed by Koen to create colour chasing eye candy effects. These were continued behind the DJ position by pairs of Pixie Strip 60 LED pixel bars, rigged to upright pipes, and spaced between the RXONEs in the rear arc. This provided a backdrop to the DJ position without obstructing the Kreelpoort. The monument itself was illuminated by ADJ 32 HEX Panel IP LED wash fixtures, which were positioned in front of, within and, behind the arched structure. The rear of the building was lit specifically to allow for drone shots captured by flying in from behind the performance area. Finally, SIXPAR 200IP LED par fixtures from ADJ’s sister company Elation Professional were utilised to illuminate each of the Kreelpoort’s eleven structural pillars.

Completing his lighting design for the project, Jonathan positioned Vizi CMY300 moving head fixtures within the arched structure beside each of the upright pillars. These were specifically chosen to create GOBO projections and wider aerial effects behind the DJ position to provide contrast from the tight beams of the Vizi Beam RXONEs. This addition to the rig was much appreciated by Koen as a tool to create the variety of looks he feels are essential for all shows, but especially livestream performances.

“To keep within budgets, a lot of designers are skipping spots these days at dance events, because they are expensive,” explained van Elderen. “And they try to create the same kind of effects using beams with a prism, but I just don’t think it looks as good: it’s a prism, not a GOBO, so there will always be a hole somewhere! For this reason, I always like to have some proper spot fixtures in my rigs; so, I was glad that Jonathan included the Vizi CMY300s. In my mind, lighting design starts with spots and washes, and beams are effect lamps that we can add to that base. If you just have beams, there’s not a lot you can do to add variety when it comes to the soft music in the breakdowns.”

Powered by a 300W LED light engine, focused through an optical system, the Vizi CMY300 offers a huge output. Serving as a hybrid utility fixture, it can function interchangeably as a beam, spot, or wash and offers a huge variable beam angle range of between 8° and 46°. It is also loaded with beam-shaping tools, including its signature CMY colour mixing feature as well as a separate colour wheel with CTO and UV filters, two GOBO wheels, two rotating prisms and a frost effect.

“I think the Vizi CMY300 is amazing!” enthused van Elderen. “It isn’t really that big, but its output is fantastic. This was my first time using it outdoors and I was shocked at how well it performed; even zoomed out the output remained bright and punchy. I also liked the colour mixing. Using just one colour can make a live stream seem flat, so I used a lot of mixed colour looks and colour effects, which worked very well. Some of these I ran across the LED bars, pixel strips, as well as the spots, which looked very effective.”

By combining the eye candy chase patterns of the Mega Tri Bars and Pixie Strips, the beam effects of the Vizi Beam RXONEs, the aerial GOBO projections of the Vizi CMY300s, and the vibrant illumination of the Kreelpoort by the 32 HEX Panel IPs, Koen was able to create a truly stunning light show. Not only did it offer a sufficient amount of wow factor but was varied enough to ensure viewers remained as engaged with the livestream’s visual content as they were with the musical performances. Such a large rig composed predominantly of ADJ fixtures also provided a compelling showcase of the brands’ potential, which didn’t go unnoticed by Koen.

“When I first became aware of ADJ Lighting, early on in my career, the products were smaller, cheaper fixtures designed for club installations,” he concluded. “But over the last few years I’ve really seen the brand evolve hard and now, for me, these latest fixtures work just as well as those from the ‘big name’ brands. However, because ADJ fixtures are really good value, I can include five fixtures in my lighting designs where the budget might only allow for one from those big names. Most of my work is on festivals and large EDM shows, and ADJ fixtures work really well for those while also being very affordable. I was already feeling that way but doing this show, which was 90% ADJ fixtures, was a real eye opener and showed me the full potential of the latest fixtures from ADJ.”