Robe MegaPointes for the People’s Choice
Friday, 18 December 2020
robe-peoples-choice-awards-2020-nup1922760025‘The pressure is really on for productions to come up with new and original looking concepts’ (photo: Chris Polk)
USA - The 2020 E! People’s Choice Awards (PCAs) was again staged at the Barker Hangar in Santa Monica, California, and lit for the third consecutive year by Tom Sutherland of DX7 Design, working for production company Den of Thieves.
Tom utilised 154 x Robe MegaPointe moving lights - all supplied by Felix Lighting - as part of the lighting package which helped create a stylish super-clean architectural aesthetic for this year’s live broadcast.
The popular online-voted awards show that recognises achievements across multiple fields of entertainment took on a different format this year, with a digital live audience replacing a real one in the venue, all requiring a novel approach by camera director Ryan Polito, creative director Paul Caslin and production designer Florian Wieder.
The two-hour show hosted by Demi Lovato included two live performance segments - by Justin Bieber and Chloe x Halle - plus multiple awards, with many winners rocking up in person to receive their trophies and their share of the adulation.
The set comprised a long, black hi-gloss runway - the central section of which was a video floor - that traversed the Hangar lengthways, with several huge angled sections of LED video wall installed on both sides which had to be ground supported due to the roof weight loadings.
At the end of the runway was another section of stage and an LED screen, and along the same trajectory as the catwalk itself was a long, blow-through screen that dissected the space lengthways. Flown on a Kinesys automation system, this moved in and out at strategic moments throughout the show.
One of the tricks this screen was used for was to reveal stars coming up to collect their awards. Images and text intros of the host and artists played out on it beforehand, and it would then lift to reveal them there for real!
The MegaPointes were rigged in the roof trusses and on the floor, parallel with the runway.
Once Tom arrived on site, the MegaPointe count on the floor increased to complete the light tunnel look that evolved as they started to block the show, so the Felix Lighting team rapidly dispatched 24 more fixtures.
All the screen graphic content - created by Blink - was based around lines, angled colour blocks and bold texturing, so Tom complemented this with beamy lighting looks that accented and defined the structural elegance of the space.
MegaPointe beams pierced and sliced through the air, adding layers of depth which looked great on camera and everyone loved.
Tom highlighted the shape of the venue’s roof with multiple pixel-controlled LED battens using around 400 lights in total on the rig plus approximately 300 LED tubes.
“The idea was to immerse guests and viewers as much as possible in the show and the vibe,” comments Tom. It’s a treatment that he’s used - differently but equally successfully - on other recent productions like Dancing With The Stars, which also featured Robe moving lights.
With the public taking in so much screen entertainment since the pandemic, the pressure is really on for productions to come up with new and original looking concepts that work as televisual art!
Tom worked alongside an FOH team comprising Joe Holdman and James Coldicott who programmed the grandMA console. The gaffer was Chris Lopez, the lighting technician was John Cox and his account handler at Felix Lighting was Nicole Barnes.

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