South African Saturday Showdown for Robe
Tuesday, 18 October 2022
robe-saturday-showdown-hr-168editStudio 10 is one of the biggest TV facilities in the Gauteng province (photo: Annie Goetzsche)
South Africa - The Saturday Showdown is South Africa’s newest and hottest prime-time TV sports games show. Lighting designer Ryan Lombard was delighted to be asked onboard and he seized the opportunity to use Robe moving lights, including MegaPointes which were a new investment for rental specialist and lighting supplier, Blond Productions.
The show, recorded at Urban Brew Studio 10 in Johannesburg, and produced by Red Pepper Productions for broadcaster Mzansi Magic, is a hi-energy action-packed sport-themed entertainment game show with big prize money.
Ryan took Michael Gill’s set design as the show’s visual blueprint as he started to think about lighting. The two have worked collaboratively on several recent TV projects and enjoy a great synergy and creative language.
Ryan assessed the Showdown environment which included a ‘studio’ area where the contestants sat and the presenters did their bits, and an ‘arena’ space where many of the games were staged. He and his boss at Blonde Production, Christiaan Ballot, both thought of MegaPointes.
Robe’s South African distributor DWR had four of these fixtures in stock, so they bought these which almost immediately went on the show. They are the first MegaPointes for Blond, although the company has many other types of Robe moving lights in its lighting inventory.
Studio 10 is one of the biggest TV facilities in the Gauteng province and with throw distances of up to 7m in the arena part of the space, the beams had to be punchy and have real impact.
The 13 Showdown episodes were shot back-to-back over an intense two-week period, and each game needed its own aesthetic. Multiple ‘reactive’ lighting cues were linked with screen graphics and over 300 different AV clips were linked to lighting effects and activated via the grandMA3 lighting console as the games unfolded, so there was a lot of crossover between lighting and video, a challenge that Ryan relished.
The four MegaPointes were rigged in the roof behind the studio area and commentator section.
The arena/field of play area was defined by two circular trusses – an outer 6m diameter and an inner 3m diameter, flown above with LCD screens around them and these also provided the hanging positions for the front lights.
Six Robe Esprites were utilised around the arena to assist in lighting the more unpredictable games positions. Ryan used these as profiles and specials, together with four MMX Spots – one of his Robe ‘classic collection’ favourites for their excellent gobos and beam potential.
Twelve Robe LEDWash 300s provided core set lighting, augmented with 12 x iSpiiders for additional set and back lighting.
For front lighting and secondary set illumination Ryan picked six 600E Beas, with some vintage Robe ColorSpot 1200E ATs and making a valuable contribution to the bigger lighting picture with periphery beam work from behind the audience.
Other lights on the rig included some older beam lights, some other LED wash moving lights, 60 x LED pixel strip fixtures for camera-candy, plus LED panels, static LED profiles and fresnels and 120 x LED PARs dotted all around the arena creating a ‘stadium like’ effect.
All of this was programmed and operated by Ryan using a grandMA3 console – the first time he was running fully in full GM3 mode.

Latest Issue. . .