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Hollywood Style: grandMA2 Accepts Invitation to the SAG Awards

The new SAG Awards set was primarily white with silver accents, classic and sculptural in look

grandMA2 got up close and personal with the 17th Annual Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards when programmer Willy McLachlan tapped a grandMA2 system to control lighting designed by Jeffrey Engel. The awards show was simulcast live on TNT and TBS from the Los Angeles Shrine Exposition Center.

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“I’ve pretty much switched over to the grandMA2 full time,” says McLachlan who has teamed with Engel for the last 23 years. “One of the challenges of the SAG Awards is that it’s a seated banquet for several thousand people with a stage at one end of the hall. Although there are no performance numbers on the show, the footprint of required light and the classic set make it very tricky and time consuming to bring out that old Hollywood grandeur. But the grandMA2 allowed me to work quickly and in a non-technical way that felt much more like painting than programming.”

Engel agrees that the banquet-style show is “fairly simple compared to some awards shows” but it poses a particular challenge in its quick turnaround. “We had over 200 movers and a lot of LEDs and only eight hours to program about 12 looks,” he says.

The new SAG Awards set was primarily white with silver accents, classic and sculptural in look with hard, curved set pieces that had to be approached from multiple angles. “We depended a lot on intelligent lighting and colour-changing instruments,” Engel explains. “The set was 35 feet tall, and because there was video upstage on a very shallow stage, we needed a lot of shutters to be able to see the clips. We had over 40 shuttering instruments, but the grandMA2 command screen, graphic display and touch screen made things go fast and efficiently. We had seamless integration with the distribution system and experienced no problems at all.”

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McLachlan points out that grandMA2’s “multi-touch interface for shuttering was essential” to the project. “Working my way around the set unit by unit and shutter by shutter would have been prohibitively time consuming. That’s the main reason why I wanted to go with the grandMA2.”

McLachlan points out that grandMA2’s “multi-touch interface for shuttering was essential” to the project. “Working my way around the set unit by unit and shutter by shutter would have been prohibitively time consuming. That’s the main reason why I wanted to go with the grandMA2.”

He notes that the grandMA2 had the ability “to build a front end that is really simple to use and allow Art-Net to control the system. Even though the show was 16 universes of gear, we used just one Art-Net system. My only output of the console was a single Ethernet cable.”

A backup grandMA2 was on hand since the SAG awards went live to air. But it didn’t see any action because the primary system “worked fantastically,” McLachlan reports.

PRG and Nobius productions supplied the lighting equipment. A.C.T Lighting is the exclusive distributor of grandMA in North America.

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A.C.T. Lighting Nobius

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PRG

About MA Lighting International

MA Lighting International, based in Paderborn, Germany, is the dedicated sales, support and service entity for the renowned grandMA control systems, digital dimming systems, networking tools and media servers of MA Lighting Technology, based near Wuerzburg, Germany. The product range offers cutting-edge solutions for control and dimming, including the award-winning grandMA/grandMA2 consoles, the popular Lightcommander and reliable digital dimmer racks and packs. With its innovative MA Video Processing Unit (VPU) MA bridges the lighting and video worlds. Today, MA Lighting is respected for its technical knowledge and has achieved a unique international reputation for its operational philosophy. The company offers 25 years experience and strictly follows a professional user-centric approach, getting as close as possible to the market via its own international offices and support centres in the UK, North America, Latin America, the Middle East/India, Asia Pacific and Scandinavia/Eastern Europe/Russia – supported by a world-wide distribution and service network.

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MA Lighting

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