The ASTRA Awards sparkle

Posted on Tuesday, July 20th, 2010


The ASTRA Awards are the Australian subscription television industry awards, which have been presented annually since 2003. This year they were held at Sydney’s State Theatre with Mark Hammer designing the lighting for this prestigious event.

Sky News political editor David Speers hosted the event with performances by, amongst others, country music star Lee Kernaghan and pop group Operator Please.

The floor of the stage was shiny black Perspex which made Mark’s job quite tricky as he tried to avoid too much light reflection or bounce off the floor.

”Consequently the light angles were quite crucial,” he remarked. “Even the follow spot operators – using two Robert Juliat Korrigans – were aware that they had to do half-people pick ups to avoid bounce off the floor. However the producers wanted a rather dark and mysterious look so that worked.”

With clever use of Pro Shop LED Tubes and also JARAGs, Mark managed to create a variety of looks for the different bands playing that night. For example, the fifty Pro Shop LED Tubes were used to form five ‘stars’ two of which were wheeled in for Operator Please whilst the other three were suspended from the rig.

”They worked really well,” reported Mark. “I pixel-mapped them and they looked amazing with just different colours running through them. They gave a sparkling effect as the colour was chasing from the centre out like a star and I also did a bit of a rotate effect too. It was nice and simple – yet very effective.”

Twenty-four Pro Shop Honeycomb 72 LED fixtures were either placed in a row to down light drapes or were up lighting the proscenium arch.

”So when awards were being collected we’d colour-roll through them to add a bit of fun,” said Mark. “I also used twelve JARAGs in a variety of ways; for the first act I turned them in to use them more as side lighting onto the act. For the next act I rotated them around and shot them more into the audience like a back light. I also put some blue colour in them for the first act but for the rest of the show I left them in open white.”

Mark didn’t find the need to pixel-map the JARAGs as he found there were enough patterns and sequences already onboard. Also in the rig were twelve Martin MAC2000 profile, forty PAR64 and twenty-four profiles. Control was a grandMA with two NSP Nodes.

”I got the gear from Chameleon and, as usual it was reliable, so I’d like to give them a pat on the back,” added Mark.