It's time for network upfronts, and lighting designer Christopher Landy of Vibrant Design LLC was tasked with one of the first as MTV kicked off the season at the Hammerstein Ballroom February 2, 2010.
Landy was challenged to craft lighting for a dynamic, talent-driven, authentic show where MTV featured an incredible musical performance by Usher and unveiled a number of upcoming programs for the coming year.
"This year, MTV had a variety of artists and talentspeak about what MTV meant to them," said Lynda Field, one of the executive producers for MTV's upfront event. "It was very performance driven and theatrical with a great sense of excitement, so Chris had to accommodate multiple performances and staging within the show."
In selecting Landy, Field was principally concerned with finding "someone who was accommodating and could handle a production with multiple elements." Field added " We wanted a lighting designer who could not only light the set, taking into account all the the music elements, but also transition into the party phase of the event that took place immediately afterward in the same space."
To work effectively, Landy chose automated fixtures that could serve MTV's presentation and party equally well. "In-house art director Ed Coco designed a set with a central screen. The set was only 12 feet high and the ballroom is 140 feet high," says Landy. "So we stacked the overhead electrics to fill the air with rows of VARI*LITE spots and washes. This also allowed the lights to be repurposed for the after-party, a savings the producers were thrilled with."
To meet that need he obtained 12 VL3000 spots, 30 VL2500 spots, 10 VL2500 washes, 8 VL1000 A/S and 30 VL500 washes from Scharff Weisberg. Landy added 135 Colorblasts, 12 72" and 20 48" Colorblazes to light the set walls and the architecture of the Hammerstein, and 24 iColor Accent LED fixtures to illuminate scenic frames that hung through out the after party space. An array of Source Four ETC Lekos and a pair of Robert Juliat Manon short-throw followspots were also on hand.
"Chris definitely understood the direction and took a lot of initiative as well," said Field. "He has a great sense of tonality, so he knew when to have some flash, when to go a little bit further, and when to tone it down."
Garret English executive produced the event with Field for MTV. Mike Grimes was the gaffer for Vibrant and Michael Appel manned two grandMA lighting consoles for front-of-house and on-stage moving-light programming. Matthew Piercy was the associate lighting designer.
About Vibrant Design
Vibrant Design LLC is an entertainment design firm providing a full range of set and lighting design services to broadcast and cable TV, live productions, corporate events and theater as well as architecture and interior design. For more information, visit www.vibrantdesign.tv.