Miss World 2009 meets grandMA and MA VPU

Miss World in Johannesburg

Miss World 2009 saw another spectacular lighting design by Tim Dunn, who used a grandMA full-size console to control nearly 300 intelligent light fixtures, plus LED and generic lighting, altogether totalling 12,600 DMX channels across 24 active universes. He also triggered video content stored on an MA VPU (Video Processing Unit) from the desk, which fed an upstage LED screen, 12 x digital moving lights and 114 LED lights embedded in the set.

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Make it look stunning on TV

The event was staged at the Gallagher Convention Centre in Midrand, Johannesburg South Africa. It was the second consecutive year that the world's original and highest profile beauty pageant was hosted by South Africa, so the pressure was really on for Dunn and set designer Dewet Meyer to produce a visual concept as exciting and eye-catching as their creation for the 2008 event... and also something completely different.

A principal aim was to make it look stunning on TV. The telecast was directed by Ian Hamilton, recorded by SABC and broadcast live to 80 of the 112 participating countries. For the first time this included the US, India for both Hindi and English channels and China via CCTV4, reaching an estimated viewing audience of 1 to 2 billion. It also had to look good for the 3500 live audience who packed into the venue for the show.

A 45 metre wide set

Dunn uses a grandMA for all his shows and has done for the past three years. He likes the console for its flexibility, quick and easy programming and reliability.

Setting up and laying out the desk is an absolute priority, particularly when using digital lights like the Robe DigitalSpot 7000DTs which have a huge amount of channels. “Even though I have been using the desk constantly for all this time, I am always discovering new features and functions. I think it’s amazing to be able to access and view all those channels immediately,” commented Dunn.

The 45 metre wide set was based on traditional African jewels and built from a series of curves and concentric circles, with its periphery surrounded by two very elegant planetary style rings, and a curved cyc wrapping the whole space. Because of the extremely tight time between the lighting get-in and the first onstage show rehearsal, Dunn and lighting director Hugh Turner used the new grandMA 3D to snatch what pre-programming time they could during a gruelling schedule that included five overnight programming sessions.

The 45 metre wide set was based on traditional African jewels and built from a series of curves and concentric circles, with its periphery surrounded by two very elegant planetary style rings, and a curved cyc wrapping the whole space. Because of the extremely tight time between the lighting get-in and the first onstage show rehearsal, Dunn and lighting director Hugh Turner used the new grandMA 3D to snatch what pre-programming time they could during a gruelling schedule that included five overnight programming sessions.

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Lighting equipment and the full technical production package was supplied by Gearhouse South Africa

The lighting control set up consisted of the two grandMA full-size consoles run in Full-Tracking-Backup-Mode, with 7 x MA NSPs (6 active and a spare) set up backstage, connected via fibre optic cable. The moving light rig was primarily Robe fixtures arranged across a series of circular, ellipsoidal and curved trusses above the stage.

One hundred and fourteen i-Pix Satellite LED 'bricks' were built into the set, mapped via the MA VPU, so they could be fed the same video content as the upstage Lighthouse LED screen, which also displayed logos and various ambient material. The DigitalSpots were also fed specially created video content stored in the MA VPU, enabling Dunn to produce a plethora of subtle, gently moving texturing and effects across the set.

Lighting equipment and the full technical production package - including sound, LED screens, AV, media, rigging, staging and set - for the event was supplied by Gearhouse South Africa. The additional Robe kit and technical support was co-ordinated via leading SA sales company DWR Distribution, who also distribute the MA Lighting brand. Lighting crew chiefs were Lucky Nkosi and George Majola.

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