Elation and Obsidian on American Ninja Warrior
Thursday, 13 August 2020
american-ninja-warriorseason-121Season 12 of American Ninja Warrior was filmed at The Dome at America’s Centre in St. Louis
USA - On 12 March, Season 12 filming of NBC’s primetime series American Ninja Warrior was postponed in the middle of production in Los Angeles, and just one day before the reality competition was set to get underway beneath an Elation lighting rig with Obsidian control system. Delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the show eventually headed into production again in July with a crew happy to be back to work and a number of health measures to abide by.
Lighting was under the capable hands of two long-time industry pros and Warrior lighting veterans, Adam Biggs (lighting design) and Ed Motts (lighting direction). “We were all ready to shoot when the producers called us in and announced they were postponing the show as a health measure so we immediately started loading out that night,” recalled Motts, now in his eighth year with the show. “Then we sat at home like everyone else in the industry until we got a call in early June about possibly coming back for one city. By our 25 June tech meeting we knew it was a go and we were excited to be coming back.”
Season 12 of American Ninja Warrior was filmed at The Dome at America’s Centre in St. Louis during the middle of July and will air this fall on NBC. This was the first time a season has been shot in just one location as they usually film from three or four different cities across multiple weeks. Season 12 should have started in Los Angeles before moving to St. Louis and Washington, D.C. with the finale in Las Vegas. Instead, four preliminary rounds, two semifinals and a finale were taped at the multi-purpose Dome in St. Louis.
The eight days of broadcasts featured a nearly all Elation lighting rig, which ran on a complete Obsidian Control Systems network. An Obsidian NX4 console served as the main controller with a compact NX2 used as a tracking backup with Netron EN12 and EN4 Ethernet to DMX gateways used for data distribution. In addition, an interview area was under Onyx control using a laptop and a two-port dongle.
Aspect Lighting has supplied an Elation lighting system for American Ninja Warrior for years and the 2020 season was no exception. The southern California-based event lighting company provided SixPar 100 IP and SixPar 300 IP LED Par lights, SixBar 1000 IP LED battens, Cuepix 16 IP LED matrix panels, multi-functional Proteus Hybrid moving heads, Paladin LED effect lights and Platinum Beam 5R Extreme movers, along with a smattering of other lighting.
Motts says the course was switched out every night, which precipitated the use of three crews. “We worked around the clock, a morning crew to remount lights back in the course for areas that had been moved, a show crew to run it, and then a night crew to pull out the lights on whatever courses were being swapped out.”

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