entertainment • presentation • installation

Australian co's put on biggest ever MAC show

19 April 2006

Australia - Martin Professional's Australian representative Show Technology were among the companies servicing the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne recently. The largest number of Martin MAC 2000 fixtures ever used on a single event graced the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) for the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the Games. Distributed through Show Technology, some 806 MAC 2000 series fixtures (868 MAC fixtures in total - also a single event record) were supplied for the quadrennial spectacular by local partners Bytecraft and Chameleon, with additional fixtures brought in from Procon of Germany.

"We are very excited to be associated with such a high profile event and to work with such talented people," said Emmanuel Ziino, MD of Show Technology. "Show Technology's vision statement is 'Lighting Solutions with Imagination' and it was a thrill to have had the opportunity to prove it."

The Commonwealth production team boasted a wealth of industry experts, many with experience from the Athens and Sydney Olympics and Rugby World Cup. Lighting design was by Mark Hammer with Paul Collison as associate LD and programmer. Others included Rohan Thornton, LD (Broadcast); Philip Lethlean, LD (Yarra River); Nick Eltis, technical director; and Philby Lewis, production manager; among others. The Opening and Closing Ceremonies were produced by Jack Morton Worldwide with executive production and creative direction by Andrew Walsh.

"Having to put together a lighting spec we wanted to come up with fixtures that would cut in a large arena," said associate LD Paul Collison. "At times we're trying to project at 100-140m, so choosing those kinds of fixtures it was pretty obvious where we had to head. The MAC 2000 Wash did such a sterling job on the Athens Olympic Opening and we had used it previously on the Rugby World Cup in 2003, so we went in knowing exactly what we were getting. It then turned into more of a question of what kind of numbers we could get a hold of in this country."

Those numbers turned out to be 314 MAC 2000 Profiles, 352 MAC 2000 Washes and 100 MAC 2000 Performances used in the stadium with an additional 46 MAC 500 profile spots, 40 MAC 2000 Profiles and 16 MAC 600 washlights located just outside the stadium at the Yarra River. Other Martin effects included 12 Atomic 3000 strobes and six Cyclo 03 fluorescent luminaires. Atmospheric effects were from seven Jem ZR33 Hi-Mass foggers and four Jem Glaciator X-Streams. Essentially the same rig was used for both the Opening and Closing Ceremonies.

"Having so many of the same fixtures from the same manufacturer and series was very beneficial," comments Technical Director for the Games, Nick Eltis. "We went to Denmark for a few days and went through the set-up and brainstormed any problems that might occur, but we never had to deal with any. The support of the manufacturer combined with knowing that the fixtures were reliable was great."

The two hour Opening Ceremony at the MCG on 15 March was attended by 81,000 spectators, with millions more watching across the globe. The parade included 4,500 athletes from 71 countries with a theme focused on Australia's cultural heritage. LD Mark Hammer's lighting brief came from producers Jack Morton with vision input from creative director Andrew Walsh and other ideas contributed from various segment directors. Lighting needs were twofold: to address the big picture - with a focus on TV lighting - while not losing sight of the details. "Everything comes and goes from what they call the 'million dollar shot,'" Mark explains, "that TV shot that works on an aerial where you can see the whole stadium, a media look that encompasses the audience, the main feature, pyro, etc. For some of the sequences we would start with the main look, or work into it and then out of it again.

"I used appropriate colours and lighting for the different segments and areas, whether it was a nighttime look, daytime look, indigenous segment or whatever. We didn't want each segment to look exactly the same so we used different treatments. Sometimes we didn't use background lighting for example, just a black background, to have elements stand out - but at other times we used background lighting to give it some depth."

Suspended 37m above a main stage was a 20m diameter truss circle supported by six lighting towers around the outside of the venue. This meant power runs of about 250m to fixtures. Suspended from the circle were 36 MAC 2000 Profiles equipped with Woodroffe gobos, 36 MAC 2000 Washes and 12 Atomic 3000 strobes to help out with lightning and strobe effects. The 72 MAC fixtures were outfitted with Martin RainMAC protectors. "We had a lighting position above the stage which was great," Paul Collison explains. "It allowed us to push back in the face of the audience or get some tight shots right down on the stage."

From the roof were 29 lighting trusses each with six MAC 2000 Washes, two MAC 2000 Profiles and four Vari*Lite 3000s. "These fixtures lit the audience and were at an angle to effectively cover the center of the stage for any tight pickups that the overhead truss didn't quite cover," Paul says.

Spread evenly across a top tier balcony rail were 120 MAC 2000 Washes (installed with 30 mm aperture rings), 100 MAC 2000 Performances and 40 MAC 2000 Profiles with additional fixtures ganged up behind the Queen's stage and another orchestra stage. "It's a hard working area," Paul says. "At no point are those fixtures not lighting something. From this position we can light the roof, the audience in the lower bowl and the stage area. This position is basically fill lighting, and projection from the Performances work well from that point."

MAC 2000 Washes were used all over the stadium. Mark comments: "Because it's in the round I was looking for something that could cover the field . . . We needed something we could use in a layer situation, different layers of colour and different levels of light to get the coverage. We also had to keep in mind the TV audience side of it - not only lighting that main stage. We had protocol as well, so we not only had fun with the artistic side but we had to keep in mind the cleaner, sharper protocol that happened at various other areas.

"I used different apertures for the 2K Washes. In the balconies I used the 30mm aperture ring because of their angle. I used them in the booster mode, the super tight mode. They just cleaned the beam up at a throw of 40-60m and they really defined some of the shots. Even the ones up high we had with the PC lens, but the standard rings work just as well; they did a lot of the big coverage area and on the audience." In addition, approximately 150 MAC 2000 Washes were used to supplement the stadium lighting throughout the 12-day event.

Paul describes the stage as an 'upside down saucer,' 100m across at its base with a flat top approximately 33m wide. Each side is therefore raked 33m down to the field. On the field of play around the stage were 180 MAC 2000 Profiles in 45 custom boxes, each housing four fixtures with standard gobos and a custom slot gobo that helped to light the stage. "Part of the reason for those Profiles was because we had PIGI projectors providing images on the stage and we needed a position where we could light performers or set pieces on the stage that didn't blow out the PIGI image," Paul states. "A slot gobo around that periphery wall gave us the ability to do that."

Inside the stage was an additional 22 MAC 2000 Washes. "They lit up different entrance and exit points," Paul explains. "There was a central hydraulic lift in the middle of the stage and a dozen 2K Washes filled that area." Jem ZR33 Hi-Mass foggers and Jem Glaciator X-Stream heavy foggers were used to fill the hydraulic lift with atmospheric fog. In addition, hung vertically in a 360 pattern to a central stick, were six Martin Cyclo 03 fluorescents used to illuminate an 8m blow up sphere that emerged from the stage.

Show Technology's Emmanuel Ziino was pleased with the successful event. "Show Technology positioned itself throughout the event as a support organization and ensured that whatever level of local support we could possibly provide was provided. I'm lucky to have such a great team. Our technical director, Vince Haddad, poured his heart and soul into this project early on and his hard work paid off. The effort expended by the technical team, internal and external, was tremendous and they should be very proud."

For more on the Commonwealth Games production, see the May 2006 issue of Lighting&Sound International magazine.

(Lee Baldock)


Tag Cloud

MAC Show Technology fixtures used event additional work Lighting production team Paul Collison LD included technical director lighting those went get stadium effects foggers Opening and Closing Ceremonies Games support great across segment TV Mark explains look audience main didn't background stage around position tight MAC 2000 Washes MAC 2000 Profiles cover Paul 2000 Profiles area light Performances side Profiles

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