Chauvet enhances Tempe’s 4th of July festival
Wednesday, 11 July 2018
tempe4thfest3Independence Day celebrations in Tempe
USA - If Hollywood film makers were looking for an ideal natural backdrop for a 4th of July fireworks display, they would do well to travel about 400 miles east to Tempe Town Lake. The glistening water and the wide-open dome of a desert sky add a compelling and powerful dimension to the pyrotechnics that are launched from the waterway’s graceful Mill Avenue Bridges every year. It’s a scene that other venues would be hard pressed to match. But the same environment that provides such a dramatic setting also poses special challenges for anyone trying to set up a stage for this Independence Day event.
John Garberson of Creative BackStage, who has been involved in Tempe’s 4th of July fireworks festival’s stage show for 18 years, knows how to handle the setting’s natural elements. He convinced the festival’s organizers to switch from a motorized roof to a Stageline to account for sudden desert storms, and he keeps all gear fanned and shaded to protect against the heat. Keeping cool this year, while serving up some red, white and blue hot looks for the six-hour festival, was a rig he anchored around Chauvet Professional fixtures.
Garberson used eight Maverick MK2 Spot and 24 Rogue R2 Wash moving fixtures in his rig, as well as five STRIKE 4 multi-formatted units and a collection of beams, along with LED video panels. Although the event didn’t start until 5 pm on account of the heat, there was still plenty of daylight when the opening acts performed. (The fireworks didn’t begin until 9:20.) The output from these fixtures was bright enough to make an impact from the moment the first performers took the stage.
“Brightness is essential for us in an event like this,” said Garberson. “The STRIKE 4s are invaluable in this kind of setting, because they’re bright enough to show up even in daylight. We used them as blinders during the day to engage the crowd, then as nice warm white washes at night to set moods.
“Our team of Elie Knight (lighting programmer), Maxine Kichler (rigger/L2), TJ Watson (video manager/Center VJ), Jamie Rivera (video switcher), Johnny Chilcher (camera op) and Wes Webb (camera op) did excellent work under sometimes challenging circumstances,” continued Garberson. “Heat is a very serious concern when it comes to this event each year. We never set or strike in the day. We start about 5 pm. We work through the night -- and we strike 100 percent right after the event.”
(Jim Evans)

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