Tom Kenny Gets To The Pointe with Robe at MTV Upfronts


International Lighting Designer Tom Kenny specified Robe’s latest Pointe moving lights for the 2013 MTV Upfront presentation, staged at the Beacon Theatre in New York City. This was the first ‘live’ use of the newly launched Pointe in the US.


Kenny – never shy of taking creative risks - has a penchant for using new technologies in his massive range of work, and jumped at the chance to be the first LD in America to get hands-on with The Pointes!

The annual network Upfront event  - announcing  upcoming programming releases and strategies for the next year - featured incendiary musical performances by a host of international superstars like Selena Gomez and Emeli Sande, with a special guest performance by Snoop Lion (formerly known as Snoop Dogg).  It was hosted by MTV personalities Sway Calloway, Nikki Glaser and Sara Schaefer.


The Robe moving lights – which also included a plethora of Robe ROBIN 600 LEDWashes – which are among Kenny’s current favorite wash fixtures, were supplied by rental company VER, which has a wide range of Robe moving heads at its disposal.


The Pointes, launched in April at Prolight+Sound, Frankfurt, were used primarily to light the show’s live performances, and were particularly featured during Selena Gomez’s set which included smoldering renditions of her new single, ‘Come and Get It’ and her older song, ‘Love You Like A Love Song’.

Pointes were placed on each side of the stage and behind the performers pointing towards the audience. Kenny used them for spectacular aerial effects and other ‘beam technology’ treatment of specific elements of the show.

“We were very impressed with their size and extreme brightness, and comparing it to other products, The Pointe can work as a wash and spot fixture in a very small space!” he states.

The LEDWash 600 units were positioned on some of the scenic elements along the back of the stage, and were used for rich and complete set and stage washing.


Kenny has lit hundreds of shows in The Beacon and always starts his design concepts with its fabulous Gothic architecture.  This was juxtaposed with Production Designer Julio Himende’s wonderful futuristic set for the Upfront.

“Just like the shows that the MTV Upfront was promoting, I wanted something new and refreshing to add to the sleek modernity of the set – and the Pointes were a perfect solution” he explains.

The lights – which included other movers, generics and LED fixtures - were programmed by Michael Appel using a grandMA2 full size console.

Appel, one of the industry’s top programmers and operators, also loved the Pointe and all the effects it brought to the table… particularly the prism and beam looks. “It will replace a lot of other similar fixtures,” he and Kenny both agreed.


“There’s simply no comparison” states Appel, who has taken the time to run through all aspects of the Pointe in parallel to its competitor products.

Kenny has been using Robe fixtures on his shows for many years.  He appreciates their reliability and the fact that Robe listens to what LDs want and then actively implements these requests and suggestions in their ongoing product development.


Kenny recently used 24 Pointes on The 2013 CMT Music Awards at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee.  In the larger and very different arena setting they still “Blew us away with how much brighter and more fun they are to use than other products.” he concluded.

Kenny is currently touring Europe with The Who, one of his many high profile long term clients to which he brings his renowned Irish wit and repartee, as well as some way cool lighting!

Producers: Garret English, Michael Barrish (MTV)
Production Designer: Julio Himede
Art Director: Aaron Black
Staging Supervisor: Tony Houser
Lighting Designer: Tom Kenny
Programmer: Michael Appel
Gaffer: Mike Grimes
Lighting Tech: Steve Leif, Jason Livingston, John Ellar
Set Design Co: Atomic Design; Pat Bonner (Account Manager); Zak Keller (Project Manager), Jason Miller (Production Carpenter)
Video Co: Video Equipment Rental (VER); John Healy (Account Manager)


2 MA Lighting grandMA2 Full consoles
4 MA Lighting NPUs
20 ETC Source Fours (750W, 19°)
20 ETC Source Four PARs (750W)
536 Color Kinetics iCove Chromacore fixtures
52 Robe 600 LEDWash
16 Robe Robin Pointe fixtures
12 Vari-Lite VL500 ARCs
16 Vari-Lite VL3000 Spots
12 Vari-Lite VL3500 Wash fixtures
12 Vari-Lite VLX Wash fixtures
12 Clay Paky Sharpys (Chrome)
12 Solaris LED strobes
12 Color Kinetics iWhite Chromacore 12s
4 Daylight 1’ LED light panels w/battery packs
2 Kino Flo 4’X4’ panels (Daylight)
4 ARRI Baby 1K Fresnels
6 ARRI 650 Fresnels