South Africa - Three years ago, Martin Professional held a lighting competition to showcase their lighting design software and controllers around the Frankfurt Pro Light and Sound Show in Germany and in Russia. Entrants submitted videos of their designs, set to a pre-determined piece of music and let the public vote on the best submission and contestants then won prizes from Martin Professional.

Electrosonic SA decided to take this concept to the next level: Why not invite entrants to design their own show, to their own music, and then perform the show to a live audience?

"A year ago the Electrosonic SA Lighting Team pitched this idea to the organisers of Mediatech Africa in the hope of hosting the competition at the 2015 trade show. Claire Badenhorst (general manager) and Simon Robinson (exhibition director) liked the idea and we were all confident it would prove a drawcard to southern Africa's largest media and entertainment technology trade show," explains Bruce Schwartz, entertainment lighting manager at Electrosonic SA.

"This was indeed the case. We had tremendous interest from entrants and audiences and the contest proved an excellent fit for the 2015 Mediatech Africa show, which ran from 15 to 17 July. Besides teaming up with Mediatech in hosting the contest, Electrosonic SA also partnered with Martin Professional and Lighthouse (the Holland based developer of Martin's ShowDesigner software)."

From the numerous entries the top six finalists were selected, five of whom (one could not make the finals) performed on Thursday 16 July at the show. The contestants played their lightshow to their track of choice and were adjudicated by a panel of independent judges comprising Simon Robinson, Denis Hutch, Peter Dahlin (from Martin Professional) and Christopher Bolton.

The fixed rig was made up of four Martin MAC Quantum Profiles, six Martin MAC Quantum Washes, six Martin MAC 101s, three Martin Atomic Strobes, six Martin Rush MH3 Beams, all under a Milos 8x6 Arc Roof. Two hundred spectators, many of whom were key industry players, were wowed by the fantastic light spectacles.

Winner Gary Sam took home a Martin M2PC controller and a year's subscription to the Martin ShowDesigner 3D Software. Second placed Kurt Du Preez won a Martin M-Touch Controller and a year subscription to Martin ShowDesigner 3D Software. And third placed Blessing Vilakazi won a Martin M-Touch Controller.

Gary Sam had this to say about his win, "I felt ten times more nervous than usual, knowing the audience were mostly people from the lighting industry. After running my show I was happy with my performance, but the win came as a big surprise. With all the excitement I couldn't sleep that night, which gave me the chance to unpack and play with my new Martin M2PC lighting console - at 3am! Thank you Electrosonic SA for giving me this opportunity; and thank you for all the help and support over the years".

Electrosonic SA intends teaming up with Mediatech Africa to make this a biannual and even more spectacular event in the future.

(Jim Evans)

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