The event was broadcast live on SABC1 and saw the presentation of 20 awards and nine special live performance collaborations (photo: Louise Stickland)
South Africa - Durban in South Africa once again came alive with the buzz and the excitement of the 2015 Metro FM Awards, with Robe BMFL Spots taking centre stage - as part of a rig of nearly 150 Robe moving lights - for a stunning stage presentation at the Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre.

Staged for the third consecutive year right in the heart of the city, attended by 4000 enthusiastic guests and VIPs, the massive evening organised by one of the country's leading radio stations was broadcast live on national channel SABC1 and saw the presentation of 20 coveted awards and nine special live performance collaborations.

Co-ordinating all the technical elements was Dream Sets. Their Project manager was Robert Hoey, who was also working on the event for the third year for event producers, Blue Moon. Lighting designer Francois van der Merwe from the Wizardry Group was again asked to add some Metro lighting magic, a task on which he lost no time in specifying the BMFLs as the core of his rig.

The 24 x BMFL Spots were supplied to Dream Sets by MJ Event Gear, the first rental company in SA to invest in these powerful new multi-purpose fixtures from Robe. This was their first high profile show since MJ took delivery a few weeks beforehand.

Lighting equipment for the Metro FM Awards was a combination of kit from Johannesburg-based Dream Sets and MJ, with additional support from locally based Black Coffee.

Francois' starting point for lighting the Metro Awards show was the set designed by James McNamara which comprised 30 scenic shards rigged asymmetrically around the stage, and a multi-level stage which stepped right down to audience level at the front. Three projection screens continued the gentle asymmetry upstage, the whole concept bringing a clean and contemporary visuality to the performance space.

The BMFLs were positioned on the 11 over-stage-and-audience sections of trussing and used extensively throughout the three hour show for a mix of stage and audience washes and specials and also for texturing the floor of the set with gobo looks, which worked brilliantly for all the overhead camera shots.

"Using one type of very bright fixture I could do all the beam and spot work and all the gobo effects I needed," explained Fran├žois, admitting that the BMFLs were so bright ... that to ensure the lighting was balanced for the projection, he ran them at 40 per cent for the entire show! In fact he did go to 100% once, when the lights were in a colour and full gobo look.

"They completely exceeded my expectations in every way," he enthused. He also used 120 other Robe moving lights on the rig.

Seventy-two LEDBeam 100s were dotted around the production trusses and primarily used to light the set shards and for some beam effects. Eighteen LEDWash 800s above the stage formed the main back-light and also washed the stage areas. Sixteen ColorWash 2500E ATs were rigged on the trusses above the audience and used to highlight the crowds together with 16 x ColorSpot 700s which textured and enhanced the audience looks.

There were around 300 lights in the rig in total including a few other movers, generics and strobes.

Robert Hoey sums up, "We were very proud to help deliver another great Metro FM Awards and to be part of Blue Moon's production. The main challenge for technical was the tight timeframe, and yet again, this galvanised some great teamwork between us and our technical partners, and energised some great experience, ingenuity and talent between all the disciplines."

Dream Sets constructed the set and provided the rigging and lighting design. They brought in AV Unlimited to provide video hardware and Sound Harmonics who supplied the L-Acoustics Kara/Kudo PA.

Lighting was a combination of Dream Sets and MJ plus additionals from Black Coffee and the latter also supplied lighting - including more Robe moving lights - for the VIP after party at the ICC Arena venue.


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