Robe helps reshape the look for Idols SA
Monday, 6 December 2021
robe-idols-the series was produced at the Urban Brew complex in Johannesburg (photo: Duncan Riley)
South Africa - Idols South Africa 2021 underwent its most substantial visual transformation for a few years with a shift of venue, from the State Theatre in Pretoria to Studio 10 at the Urban Brew complex in Johannesburg. This moment was seized by the show’s long term lighting designer Joshua Cutts of Visual Frontier, for a radical re-think, and for the first time in 17 Idols seasons, he presented a lighting co-design created collaboratively with Andre Siebrits, also from Visual Frontier.
The pair relied heavily on Robe moving lights – over 200 were specified on the rig, plus two RoboSpot remote follow spotting systems – to assist with a fresh new aesthetic that takes the SA edition of the show production to “next level” status.
Owing to Covid regulations, a large live audience was still not possible this year, so Josh and Andre embraced this effective restriction by redefining the look and optimising it for the multi-camera direction of Gavin Wratten, who also had some clear ideas about visuality.
Taking a ‘bare stage’ approach was a bold and confident move that utilised lighting plus all the negative spaces in the room to create the drama, depth, and diversity.
“It had to look completely different from anything before but also very contemporary,” explained Josh, “and for this we needed multi-purpose fixtures to be at the core of the rig.”
The backbone of the slick modern lighting look was created with Robe Esprites and MegaPointes with 24 of each type.
The rig was enhanced by having the two RoboSpot systems controlling six BMFL WashBeams – also a first for an Idols SA series.
The RoboSpot systems controlled four front and two back BMFL WashBeam luminaires, bringing precise control of key lighting.
“It was a case of the right kit for the right space,” commented Andre, explaining that the clear uncluttered stage area and the way it was lit evoked the huge depth and perspective shots that Gavin wanted. .
The Esprites were rigged above the centre stage area with the MegaPointes arranged in striking horizontal left, right and centre lines running lengthways down the studio, producing a sense of linear elegance and numerous effects as the ‘show workhorses’.
Both fixtures are “light in weight, bright and proved perfect for lighting artists, bands and judges as well as creating big gobo looks, stage washing and those glorious ‘international’ scenes that we wanted as a signature for this season,” added Josh, who has been involved with lighting every Idols SA since the concept started there in 2002.
In between the MegaPointes in the studio roof were 24 x standard Robe Pointes and joining them on the rig, 24 x Spiiders for overhead washes, plus 24 x Spikies and 24 x LEDBeam 150s for fun effects and beam looks.
All technical AV equipment was supplied and managed by Dream Sets, co-ordinated for them by Eben Peltz for Idols SA producers SIC Entertainment. The show’s producer was Anneke de Ridder and it was broadcast live each week on the Mzansi Magic network.
The 2021 Idols SA winner was Berenike 'Berry' Trytsman, winning the title following weeks of intense competition with over 12m votes cast.

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