Chameleon lights Australia Day celebrations
Friday, 19 February 2021
australia-day-live-2021circular-quaysydneydpcanna-warr9677-copyThe Australia Day concert was held on the Sydney Opera House forecourt along with a spectacular fireworks display
Australia - While Australia’s national day might be a little different this year it is still, however, a day of reflection, respect, unity, gratitude and a celebration of many achievements.
The day is a national holiday and celebratory events take place country-wide. In Sydney, the harbour is a focal point for a day-long of events but thanks to Covid-19, many activities were cancelled. Fortunately, the popular Australia Day concert was still held on the Sydney Opera House forecourt along with a spectacular fireworks display, a flotilla of yachts and jet-skis. The event was produced and managed by The Department of Premier and Cabinet.
This year’s audience was capped at 1,200 with specially invited, social-distanced frontline workers.
Chameleon Touring Systems supplied the lighting for the concert, lit by Stuart Anderson, and the surrounding lighting lit by Paul ‘PC’ Collison. Usually, PC is tasked with lighting the Live at the Quay show for around 200,000 people but this year with no audience the show was entirely focused on the live-to-air broadcast to the ABC.
“This meant we didn’t have to entertain people in a 360-degree fashion so our story was being told through a lens,” says PC.
A deal was done with Iain Reed of 32 Hundred Lighting to use the fixtures (LightSky Beams and custom LED fixtures) he already had on the Sydney Harbour Bridge from New Year’s Eve with his lighting designer Ziggy Ziegler allowing PC to use his design and layout.
“That added a huge amount to the concert because we had something quite full in the background of the forecourt shots,” adds PC. “The lights on the bridge are traditionally very narrow and point down the harbour on NYE so we refocused them all and pointed them at the SOH. Even at 6.30 pm they were reading on camera and giving us a great background and another layer of texture.”
Over at the Overseas Passenger Terminal were 24 Claypaky Scenius Profiles and 24 ShowPRO Colliders with PC commenting that the Colliders were a great addition as they added colour to the wider shots.
A large barge floating in the middle of the Quay supported 4m high letters spelling AUSTRALIA that were lit by 18 ShowPRO Brix FC LED floods. Prolights Panorama Beams and a bunch of Colliders were also on the barge.
“We had a lot more colour in the Quay this year which is directly attributed to the Colliders, and of course the Bridge,” remarks PC.
PC’s company Eleven Design also designed all of the video content for the show performances and that drove the colour palette for his and Stuart’s lighting.
On the Cahill Expressway, 12 Claypaky Sharpy Plus provided beams into the night sky whilst around the rest of the Quay were 12 Prolights Panorama Beam adding some camera-candy to some of the wider shots.
Control was an MA Lighting MA3 light running MA2 software. Riedel supplied a fibre network around the Quay with PC sending streaming ACN from his position on the forecourt through to the Harbour Bridge. Paul Barrett of Barrett Evolution developed a system to enable streaming ACN through the air via the 4G network onto all the different lit-up vessels around the harbour. An ELC dmXLAN buddy converted the streaming ACN to DMX on each of the vessels.
“We had eight yachts with strings of ShowPRO Dreamfest digital festooning and ShowPRO EX36 floods on them,” explains PC. “By having direct control as opposed to pre-programmed sequences allowed greater scope for us to be agile during the show - we could change chases and colours on the fly and it was a bit of a game-changer for us.”
Eleven Design supplied PixMob LED Wristbands to each of the audience members with the wristbands tracking the colour palette of each of the songs over the night.
“The broadcast had so much more synchronised colour than ever before,” commented PC. “It was one big holistic production.”
Stuart Anderson lit the main stage with 16 Ayrton Bora, 12 Ayrton Ghiblis fixtures with 35 Claypaky Mythos providing the bulk of the stage wash. There were no follow spots with six Ayrton Perseo hung on trusses from the FOH structure for front light plus two more lighting the steps and one more used for backlight. Eight Prolights Panorama IP WBX were also located on the FOH structures to provide backlight for the audience.
The eight Ayrton Mistral were used as floor fixtures around the band.
Ten ShowPRO EX36 LED Floods lit up the sandstone walls by the stage whilst 30 ShowPRO Colliders were located off the FOH structure as well as the main stage structure to supply audience lighting. Eighteen Martin MAC Aura XB lined the thrust of the stage.
Sixteen Claypaky Sharpy Beams were located in front of the stage, as well as eight on either side, with another 18 used on top of the stairs of the Eastern side of the SOH and six more in front of the hosting areas facing the Quay. These were operated separately by Tom Wright and technically were part of PC’s overall look. On the stairs were 20 x LED Pars to light and colour that area for the drone shots. Nine more LED Pars were on the Western side stairs to give that edge some definition.
Set lighting was provided by 48 Martin Sceptron VDO located on the four trusses above the stage. A total of 34 ShowPRO Quad LED IP Strips were also within the pre-rigged truss from where they didn’t compete with the Sceptrons. 36 Chauvet ColorDash IP LED Pars were utilised around the site.
A 30-member choir was positioned on the Northern Broadwalk with each choir member standing on an acrylic panel which was uplit by a ShowPRO PixPad as well as ShowPRO Quad Zoom PARs per person, to great effect.
There were two hosting positions lit by Prolights EclPanel TWC, a fixture that Stuart loves.
“They’re great because they’re bright and also IP rated,” he says. “On the rehearsal night, we had full sunlight so we had EclPanel TWCs with no honeycomb in them close to the host to get enough level. Normally you’d have a couple of 4K HMIs to try to get in there.”
Stuart also ran the show from an MA Lighting MA3, with four NPU Nodes, time coding every song. Out front with him was Tom Johns on another MA3 running the hosting.
Chameleon also supplied trussing, motors, rigging, and data and power distro to suit.

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