NEW YORK – Upfront Week in Manhattan may well witness the most intense series of sales presentations anywhere. For a few frenetic days, broadcast and cable television networks pull out all the stops in an effort to convince advertisers to sponsor their programs. The stakes are high: up to 75 percent of advertising time is sold during these negotiations; so is the glitz and glamour as TV stars appear on stage and at after parties to pitch their shows to potential sponsors.
Any network that hopes to stand out during this ad bazaar had better create a strong visual impression on potential sponsors. The red-hot and rapidly growing Spanish Language Azteca Network did just that, thanks in part to an inspired stage lighting design by Barrett Hall that featured CHAUVET Professional Next NXT-1 moving LED panels provided by WorldStage.
Hall used a collection of 12 Next NXT-1 panels to surprise and delight guests with dramatic looks, unique patterns and unexpected movements during the Azteca Upfront presentation and after party, both of which took place at the Best Buy Theater in Times Square. The vivid colors and intense beams of the LED panels provided an ideal accompaniment to the star-studded performances and powerful presentations taking place on the stage.
“I was contacted by producer Guy Genis of Eventmakers to create a design for the Upfront presentation in addition to the after party,” said the LD. “Given the vibrant nature of the event, I wanted a lighting display that conveyed energy and movement. Drew DeCorleto of WorldStage told me about the NXT-1. I already had a great experience with the Nexus from Chauvet so I was receptive to trying out the NXT-1 – it did not disappoint.”
Hall positioned six of the NXT-1 panels on overhead downstage truss and six along the downstage apron directly on the stage deck. “I wanted to hang some of the panels because I love having the ability to pan/tilt them into a diamond shape from the front view, since we typically live in a square and circle-faced fixture world,” he said. ”Having additional panels on the deck allows me to create some extremely dramatic looks by panning around. Also doing something like a flyout from that on-deck position creates a very exciting feeling.”
Although the NXT-1 panels are capable of very swift movements, Hall kept them in a stationary position at the start of his lightshow. The better, he says, to surprise guests later in the evening. “I’m a fan of keeping some things in your back pocket and not showing everything that a light can do within the first few minutes of a show,” he said. “We started with the Chauvet panels being stationary. Once the audience got accustomed to seeing them this way, we started moving them, which really added to the wow factor.”
In keeping with the hurried pace of the New York advertising world, time is always a factor in setting up events for Upfront Week. Azteca Upfront was no exception. “As a result of our very tight rehearsal schedule, we had to make a lot of choices in near real-time,” said Hall. “Having the NXT-1’s virtual gobo wheel function at our fingertips allowed us to program very dynamic looks with shapes, alphanumerics and rotations that would not otherwise have been possible given the time factor.”
The color rendering capabilities of the Next NXT-1’s RGBW LEDs also aided in the success of the show. The Azteca Network recently added bold new jewel-toned colors to its logo. Hall was easily able to duplicate these hues using the panels’ “Auto Color” function.
Hall added another magical touch to his lightshow by having the Next NXT-1’s razor sharp beams hit the two giant mirrorballs over the area in front of the stage. “The NXT-1 is fun to use with large mirror balls,” he said. “Each panel is like using 25 super bright pin spots (the NXT-1 has 25 pixel mappable LEDs) with the added bonus of being able to change their shapes and rotation, so you can create some really incredible light rays.”
The Azteca Upfront lightshow also featured a variety of spots, floods and moving beams, all controlled by a grandMA2. Hall had praise for his “fantastic and fast” programmer Eric Christian. “This was a fun project because of the great looks we created and the great people we got to work with like Eric and the folks at WorldStage, who were pros all the way,” said the LD. “In the end, I think the show made a lot of people feel good about Upfront Azteca, which was our goal.”