Gladiators – are you ready for the MAC2000 Wash?

Posted on Tuesday, April 29th, 2008

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After being a brief smash hit for Seven over a decade ago, the battering rams are coming out again with the successful return of Gladiators. It’s a colossal clash of Gladiator v Challenger that transforms the Dome arena floor into a spectacular battleground.

The massive action on the floor is matched by an immense and versatile rig designed by Francesco Calvi with Paul Collison acting as lighting director. Filming ran through January and February and the days were long for the crew.

“It’s a really tough show to make in many aspects,” said Paul. “From a lighting perspective it was very different from a normal show where you have a band on stage and your audience in one spot. We had a playing area that encompassed most of the floor area of the Dome and we could shoot from any one of the 360° that was available. The cameraman would be spinning around, the director would call stop and that would be the shot and within thirty seconds you had to have it lit and have the background covered. Consequently we were always on our toes! However the producers understood that things often wouldn’t be perfect and they wanted to go with that exciting, live feel.”

When designing the rig Francesco was careful to ensure that all bases were covered and providing the grunt in the system were ninety-three Martin MAC2000 washes used to light the floor, the set and the games.

“The MAC2000 washes were great and a pleasure to have,” commented Paul. “Thirty-one 8-lites were placed around the arena floor to supply a bit of a lift when required. Eight truss followspots worked hard lighting hosting positions and the players during the games, to isolate them a bit and bring a bit more colour and texture out around the games so it didn’t look like it was being held in a car park.”

Eighty-five Pro Shop Honeycomb LED fixtures were used to light the audience as were thirty-three Studio Due CityColors. Eighty Pulsar ChromaStrips add their usual bedazzle whilst seventeen of Francesco’s favoured Studio Due CS4’s throw their beam effects where required. A massive two-hundred Pulsar ChromaHeart LED MR16’s were embedded into the floor to provide colour and movement.

“There were kilometers of LED Neon Flex on the games, in the floor and in the main wall set,” added Paul. “The LED Neon Flex is great; it’s picked up where neon left off. Neon is a great effect but is just too brittle for the kind of things we needed to do whereas the LED Neon Flex looks great on camera and is easy to install. At the end of the day, it’s also relatively cheap. It’s no surprise that set designers are starting to use it in bulk!”

Of course Paul had a couple of MA Lighting grandMA consoles for control and two ArKaos media servers.