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Aurora and Robbie Williams – For One Night Only!

UK - Aurora Lighting Hire Ltd supplied full TV lighting facilities to the legendary Robbie Williams "One Night at The Palladium" on Friday 8th November for a very special performance of swing songs old and new.

The evening was a one-off to introduce his new album Swing Both Ways, which was released a week later. Following in the footsteps of Swing When You’re Winning album, this covers a mix of classics and new songs.

The audience was in for a treat on the night as Robbie was joined by none other than Miss Piggy, Kermit the Frog plus Statler and Waldorf from the Muppets. Robbie also performed duets with Miss Piggy, Rufus Wainwright and Lily Allen.

Nick Edwards, managing director of Aurora said: “Lighting director Oli Richards approached Aurora early on with an interesting concept. Oli had the vision of creating a staggered celling sculpture out of Martin Mac Aura’s. The Aura’s were required to be rigged on individual scaff drops to make ‘sleek’ ‘smart’ vertical drops.”

He continues: “Aurora worked closely with rigging experts Actus Industries to develop these bespoke custom pipes. Richards rig also featured Martin Mac Vipers, and Clay Paky Sharpies. Aurora was also able to provide some new beautiful retro tungsten lights including vintage Mole Richardson 2-Lights and the new James Thomas Patt 2013s”

Oli’s team included moving light operators Theo Cox and Alex Pocock. Vision supervisor Daryl Bidewell, lighting gaffer Seb Williams and head rigger Stephen 'Nipper' Fitch.

Aurora regular Seb Williams was brought into to become a conduit between departments. Seb explains the challenges he faced: “Trying to squeeze all the production elements onto the Palladium stage was quite an effort. The back of the set ran further upstage than the fly bars so we had used every available inch of space. In addition all the stage left wing space was take up with the crane to fly Robbie over the audience, the Miss Piggy Love seat truck, a wardrobe covered in glitter and several lighting stands. Sound and lighting had to share the stage right wing space with another wardrobe.”

He continues: “For the lighting system we used 13 of the house fly bars, seven of which were used to suspend MAC Auras on Aurora's custom made scaff drop arms with TV Spiggot attachment on the end. These tubes result in no visible rigging between the tube and the fixture.”

“We worked closely with Stufish to integrate the lighting rig with the set. We drew up the lighting plan in AutoCAD and imported the set to ensure all the different flown elements worked together. We had to revisit this several times as set pieces were introduced and this close working relationship ensured there were no major problems on site.”

He concludes: “The rigging challenge was the short load in time for lighting. Over 140 moving heads and strobes had to be rigged, powered and tested from the console in seven hours to leave a clear stage for the set to come in. The nature of the event meant all the equipment over stage was flown from the house fly bars with offstage lamps suspended from trusses installed by Aurora. The custom made Aurora drop arms all needed to be installed in perfect straight lines, this task was made trickier by the final seven fly bars in the venue only coming in to 17' off the floor. All was complete with only seconds to spare leaving the stage ready for the set and the rig ready for Theo Cox to start programming. From that we were able to turn our attention to the 50 plus fixtures in the auditorium”.

Experienced lighting operator Theo Cox stepped up to the invitation of controlling this monster moving light rig. Theo commented: “The Mac Vipers and Auras were perfect for the scale and style of the show, and it was great to use the SGM X-5s in anger and prove their worth, they are great LED alternatives to traditional strobes. 

He continued: “The kit was impeccable, I don't think we had one piece of equipment fail during the entire period. There was a sense of satisfaction after the show from all of the lighting and vision team, knowing that we had done a particularly good job with this one!”

Robbie Williams One Night at the Palladium is due to air on BBC1 Friday 6th December and released on DVD and Blue Ray on 9th December.

9th December 2013

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