Robe played a major role in delivering the lighting design for the TPi Awards, produced by TPi Magazine, part of Mondiale Media, an annual event to honour some of the best creative and technical achievements in the world of live entertainment for the preceding 12 months.
TPi Awards 2020 was staged on Monday 24th February at the Evolution venue in Battersea, central London, and was hosted by Russell Kane. Around 350 Robe moving light fixtures were used inventively by lighting designer Nathan Wan, Associate LD Andy Webb and Robe’s own creative team, for whom the pressure was on to ensure that the 1,700 attendees and award winners were treated to stunning and memorable visuals for the evening.
To achieve the best and most spectacular end results, Wan and Webb worked closely with the video team from Visual Edge. Robe took the opportunity to offer selected NRG (Next Robe Generation) initiative students the chance to work hands-on on a high pressure, high-profile gig including Becky Gaskill from the Backstage Academy who was Wan’s assistant LD for the main room.
The theme for this year was a 1970s disco vibe – inspired by legendary New York nightclub Studio 54 – notorious as a hub for everything stylish, trending and at the cutting edge of cool and hedonistic. With that as a starting point, Nathan’s lighting scheme was also developed to show off the scope and creativity of Robe’s latest technologies, in particular illustrating the power and versatility of Robe’s newest product releases – the ESPRITE LED Profile with transferrable LED engine and the Tetra2 moving LED batten.
An arched shaped LED screen along the back of the stage provided a physical focal point this year, while the video graphics and content were a neo-deco nod to Studio 54’s stylised graphics which themselves dated back to 1927, when the building first opened as an entertainment venue.
Wan wanted to recreate some of the lighting ambience at Studio 54 during its 1970s heydays “but with a modern twist giving it a digital and contemporary look”. For this, he positioned 36 vertically rigged Tertra2 fixtures on drop-down bars on the upstage truss. These combined seamlessly with the video elements to create the Awards signature look for 2020. “We were really keen on everything being very coherent and harmonious,” explained Nathan.
He also positioned 24 LEDBeam 150s small moving lights around the main screen arch to echo the video vibe and so they could match their fast screen sweeps and swipes. A total of 56 Robe Tetra2s were used, together with 40 ESPRITES and 64 LEDBeam 150s. These were joined by 52 Spiider LED wash beams, 10 ColorStrobes, 26 MegaPointes and seven T1 Profiles in the Main Room.
Five BMFL FollowSpots operated from five remote RoboSpot BaseStations around the room were operated by Robe NRG students. Wan’s logic for lighting the 2-minute timecoded intro piece at the start of the evening’s Awards section followed the style of the live exhibition shows that he and Andy crafted for key expos worldwide, which group together different types of products. Each group of fixtures has its own prominent moments and movements in the show, so this sequential idea was introduced into the TPi Awards show for the first time.
The 36 Tetra2s at the back of the stage were fixed on drop-down bars (emulating Studio 54 lighting), with two fixtures rigged vertically below one another on the 18 drop-downs. Arranged like this, they were programmed with some fabulous liquid kinetic pixel effects. At the bottom of each drop-down bar was a LEDBeam 150.
The other 12 Tetra2s were on the front lip of the stage and used as handy footlights, floor keys for Russell Kane and for dramatic colour curtain effects. The remaining eight were hung vertically on the main rig above the tables.
Thirty ESPRITES were hung on the main rig which comprised 10m by 15m and 6m by 8m sections of LX truss – eight in each side of the room, all angled at 45° to the stage in a fully symmetric formation, with one horizontal LX truss at the front of the stage for the front T1 Profiles which were the main key lights from that angle. The other 10 ESPRITES were along the back edge of the stage, ready for rear aerial effects.
The 18 MegaPointes were mainly along the sides of the room in clusters of three on special one metre high risers, nine on the left and nine on the right. The rationale here was that they cut across the room giving another height and angle variation, adding an extra spatial dynamic; a treatment that works well in lower ceilinged rooms like Evolution. The other 12 MegaPointes were on the main rig. The 52 Spiiders were evenly distributed across the rig to provide a nice wash state for the dinner portion of the evening. During the show, they were mapped with ArKaos Kling-Net to provide dynamic pixel effects.
Most of the 64 LEDBeam 150s were creating the arch around the main screen. Having lights on the stage offered another angle and layer for the eye and enabled massive epic wide stage looks. Colours were matched to the video content and these lights could follow the movement and timing of this and virtually extend the size of the screen.
Four T1 Profiles were used for front key lighting with three at the back, and the BMFL FollowSpots – with the onboard cameras – were at the far end of the room on the final LX truss. One was dedicated to Russell Kane and the other four were used to pick up the winners on their tables and follow them to the stage.
Wan and the team were given the winner seating / table information immediately ahead of the show so the follow spots could be pre-positioned and immediately go to the correct location and highlight those getting up to collect their awards.
The main room show lighting was programmed by Wan and Webb on two Avolites Tiger Touch II consoles, one dealing with the main show and effects lighting fixtures, operated by Becky Gaskill, with Andy running all the key lighting and specials on the second console.
The bar / reception / pre-show featured 48 Robe SilverScans – a perfect nightclub product produced to commemorate the company’s 25th anniversary year in 2019 – as the feature lighting, plus 28 Tarrantulas – Robe’s largest LED wash beam moving light – plus four MegaPointes to light the 2m mirror ball centrepiece.
The lighting brief for this area was to evoke a Café Mamba, a famous Ibiza hotspot, to which end four LX trusses were flown in the centre of the room between a box truss above the bar, all rigged with SilverScans. These were supported by more SilverScans and all the Tarrantulas on two side trusses along the long edges of the room.
Kling-Net was fed to the Tarrantulas to help produce whizzy eye-candy effects and the SilverScans were programmed on another Tiger Touch II, operated by NRG students Charley Hardwick and Matthew Ascough, both from Rose Bruford College. Overhanging Evolution’s atrium were six BMFL Spots providing eye-catching gobo coverage as guests entered.
Robe’s VIP area was more moodily lit with an environmental and ambient style of lighting relating back to some original images of Studio 54, which was created with six T1 Profiles and four T1 Fresnels, operated by Jake Paige, also at Rose Bruford College.
Along with those already mentioned NRG students, Wan and Webb were joined by Ola Przytula from LAMDA as systems tech and RoboSpot operator, Rose Bruford’s Glen Leyser as lead RoboSpot operator / crew, working with Nari Smith from the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama and Gavin Kennedy from the LIR Academy on the RoboSpots.
In addition to supporting the show, Robe’s UK and International teams and their guests enjoyed a fantastic evening, Robe again sponsored the Lighting Designer of the Year Award, which was presented by JJ Valchar and won by Tim Routledge for the second year running.