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M-Net Celebrates 25 Years

Lighting designer Robert Grobler from TechRig was asked to create a visual environment for a four day event celebrating 25 years of M-Net, South Africa’s first pay-TV channel.

This was staged in a multi-room temporary structure erected at M-Net’s studios in Randburg, Johannesburg, Gauteng, which was divided into two areas, a reception space and the main room housing the gala dinner for 400 people and an 18 metre wide entertainment stage.

The lighting equipment – including 49 Robe fixtures - was supplied by TechRig Pty, also based in Johannesburg.

Given an open creative brief, he decided to approach lighting the main stage and the set – designed by Michael Gill - from a theatrical perspective, and ensure that there was enough inbuilt flexibility to cover a variety of stage action, including a main show that ran every night, with two performances for one of the evenings.

Twenty-four Robe CitySkape 48s – from Robe’s LED range – were used for lighting the stage set. Their neat design and expedient size means they can be tucked in and concealed into all sorts of places, and the rich and varied array of colours possible from its high quality LEDs makes them ideal for this application.

Nineteen Robe ColorSpot 700E ATs were positioned over the stage, some hung from the venue structure’s internal supporting metalwork and others from a carefully concealed ground support system, and these were used for beam effects and top lighting.

The ColorSpot700s are TechRig's work horses out of all their moving lights, and they have a fair amount in stock.  Says Robert, “They have proven time and again to do the job perfectly.  Output vs Beam Angle is great, and the optics are sharp with a very rich colour mixing system”.

The ‘Robe count’ was completed with six Robe ColorBeam 700E ATs outside, used ‘searchlight style’, to ramp up the excitement and anticipation for approaching guests.

Robert comments, “These made great ‘first impressions’ for people arriving, and I thought  they would be a perfect searchlight effect to use without getting the regional aviation authority on my back due to the high air traffic in the area! In fact, I was surprised they didn’t call, because I lit a few curious private planes!!”

These – and a wide selection of other lighting fixtures including LED sources and conventionals – were controlled by Robert using a grandMA desk.

The special M-Net 25 gala show encompassed 18 songs and was performed by a cast amassed and choreographed just for the event. It was also recorded for potential future DVD and broadcast purposes.

Photo Credit: Rebecca Hearfield