The winners (L-R): Matthieu Laurent (3rd position), Jean-Pierre Cary (winner), Bruno Garros from Robe France and Alexandre Marcadé (runers-up)
France - Robe Lighting France delivered its first Robe Awards event, a lighting design and programming competition that saw 10 finalists battle it out by utilising a full Robe lighting rig.
The competition, which attracted more than 160 entrants, was initiated after Sebastien Dendele, president of rental company MursDeLeds (MDL), and well-known TV lighting operator Yannick Duc discussed the idea of organising a lighting competition after MursDeLeds had installed some Robe fixtures in a Paris club.
Robe France account handler Jean Philippe Fouilleul was then approached, who in turn involved his colleagues Bruno Garros, Elie Battah and Vincent Bouquet who floated the idea of engaging lighting designers and operators.
The competition kicked off in December 2020 and was open to anyone in France familiar with professional lighting consoles and visualisation software and able to programme and operate a lightshow. The initial three stages were virtual and entered via a dedicated Facebook page.
Entrants had to create a 90-second timecoded lightshow utilising grandMA 3D, Capture or Depence2 and 133 Robe virtual moving lights, all working to the same predesignated music track.
Those gaining the most ‘likes’ went through to the next round and the process was repeated - until three rounds later, the 10 finalists emerged. They ranged from practising lighting professionals to breakthrough designers, programmers, and operators.
The final was staged IRL (in real life) at Les Studios de la Montjoie in the La Plaine St Denis in a fully COVID-safe and socially distanced event environment which was livestreamed via Robe France’s YouTube channel. The lighting system comprising of nearly 300 Robe fixtures including the just-launched high-powered Forte (with self-referencing, data capturing TE 1,000W White LED Transferable Engine), and a physical lighting console that had to be programmed and operated live and in real time to a royalty free music track of the competitor’s choice.
Andreas Monschauer production-designed the studio lighting rig used by the finalists for their lightshows, which included a spectacular central feature utilising a combination of 1 x PixelPATT, 12 x PATT 2013s, 36 x OnePATTs and 23 x PicklePATTs. The PATT centrepiece was flanked by two flown grids of bespoke moving LED panels framed with RGBW pixel dots designed by MDL whilst six groups of two Robe Tetra2 bars were rigged vertically in front of the main LED screen at the back of the space, with five more Tetra2 moving LED battens in a line upstage along the floor. All the other fixtures were distributed between a series of curved floor-mounted trusses, the studio’s roof grid and the deck.
The 10 Robe Fortes were joined by 10 Esprites and 8 Spotes - also among Robe’s newest moving luminaires - as well as popular industry-standard Robe products like Spiider and Tarrantula LED wash beams, MegaPointes, LEDBeam 150s and miniPointes.
In addition to the competition rig, a load more Robe fixtures were deployed for general studio lighting like illuminating the judge’s platforms and other areas, with nine T1 Profiles for key lighting, plus more Spiiders, miniPointes and PicklePATTs, ParFect 150s and two RoboSpot remote controlled follow spot systems.
Each finalist had three days to pre-vis their show at home before arriving at the studio with their show-file, and a further three hours onsite to upload this and fine-tune, with a choice of grandMA or ChamSys consoles. The light shows were judged by four leading industry professionals - Philippe Cerceau from Paris-based creative design company Clair Obscur; Frédéric “Aldo” Fayard, founder and artistic director of Paris-based creative design practice Concept K; Dimitri Vassiliu, one of France’s best-known music, concert touring and show lighting and visual designers and scenographers, and Robe s.r.o.’s global business development manager Bram De Clerck.
De Clerck comments: “It was fantastic to see these efforts made by Bruno, Elie, Vincent, Jean Philippe and the team from Robe France and their partner companies, all of whom gave their time and resources into making this event happen during one of the toughest lockdowns. The quality of the contestants was excellent as was the Finale event! The whole competition has proved a great talking point, generated lots of positivity, engagement and conversions and it’s also been a lot of fun presenting these new challenges to the contestants!”
Jean-Pierre Cary, a lighting designer and assistant operator, was declared the winner whilst the runners up were theatre LD Alexandre Marcadé and lighting technician Matthieu Laurent, with LD Eve Harpe in fourth.
Garros said that it is intended to run the Robe Awards again, probably at the same time of year, because even in ‘normal’ times with no pandemic and the industry buzzing and everyone working, December through early February is a traditional ‘down’ time.
The event’s technical partners included MDL who provided lighting, video, 3D tracking, teams setup, catering, and more; Plani-Presse who supplied cameras, sound, mics, and editing services; and JBL Sonorisation who delivered the 12 x Robe SilverScans that were also included in the final lighting rig together with some of the power / electrical distribution.The event’s technical director was Florian Thuillier, the lighting technical director was Vincent Bourveau, director of photography for the livestream was Dimitri Gogos and the cameras were directed by Marc Regnaudin. Yannick Duc was the operator for both lighting and media server during the final. Media server and XR tracking was looked after by Sebastien Barry with streaming support from Quentin Fayette. The studio video and lighting equipment, logistics and supply for the Finale was overseen by Sebastien Dendele. Watch a recording of the final here.

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