MGG Lights the Sky in Johannesburg
Monday, 1 June 2020
robe-mgg-light-the-sky-johannesburg-dji0085-pFlying the flag in lights (photo: Duncan Riley)
South Africa - On the evening of 19 May, Mark Gaylard of technical production company MGG and his crew of 20 replicated a version of the South African flag using 214 lighting fixtures, predominantly Robe, at the company’s premises in Johannesburg.
During the Covid-19 lockdown, MGG has thought on its feet and adapted to the new environment, becoming an ‘essential service’ provider by offering a virtual studio for broadcasting and streaming. Other activities have included assembling information noticeboards, developing a hands-free door opener, and producing essential PPE kit like masks.
“I wanted to shine our lights in solidarity for South Africa, and I wanted to reach out to Robe and the other various #TogetherWeAreStronger and #LightTheSky projects,” Mark explained. “Also, I wanted to highlight the plight of the thousands of freelancers in our industry, many of whom are reliant on food vouchers provided by the #FeedOurCrew initiative.”
Kevin Rieck, head of drafting at MGG was asked to draw the South African flag which would be outlined in the extensive car park area. “We had previously split our staff into teams to minimise risk and properly social distance, and so had to rely on all departments this time to do the setup.”
General manager Denzil Smith and operations manager Rianda Van Burick measured out the flag shape using tape, and the lighting fixtures were then deployed within the design.
The Robe elements included 24 x LEDWash 1200s, 32 x LEDWash 600s, 16 x Spiiders, 22 x Tetra2s, 14 x BMFL Blades, 10 x Pointes, 25 x LEDBeam 100s and 24 x MegaPointes.
“With so many lights, we didn’t have enough power in the building and had to use two generators,” said Mark, added to which the area suffered a power outage, so they ended up using three.
“South Africa has the coolest flag in the world, and as a country we really are all in this together,” ended Mark. “I’m hoping that we will inspire corporate organisations to come up with projects and ideas during this time, and that they’ll turn to our industry to help them create and share a message of hope.”
Feed Our Crew was established during lockdown by MGG’s Tamsyn Strydom and Kagiso Moima from Blackmotion. It is a non-profit organisation that has distributed hundreds of grocery vouchers to assist theatre and technical freelancers left stranded by the government’s current relief programmes. The SOS Charity fund, an initiative started by Robe’s South African distributor DWR, has also financially backed this project.
(Jim Evans)

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