SAN PEDRO, CA – Intensity is the name of the game at American Ninja Warriors. More of an athletic event than a reality show, the popular NBC program, which is perennially number one in its time slot, treats its 6 million viewers to a breathtaking display of physical power, quickness and dexterity. Lighting director Edward Motts brought forth similar qualities in the searing lightshow he created for the 2015 edition of the program, using Next NXT-1 and Nexus LED fixtures from CHAUVET Professional provided by Aspect Lighting.
Taking place at the USS Iowa battleship museum as a salute to the armed forces, the Summer 2015 American Ninja Warriors set featured a daunting obstacle course made of gleaming aluminum truss. Accenting the imposing image of the course were a collection of Nexus 4×4 LED panels and Nexus 4×1 LED strips.
Motts positioned two rows of four Nexus 4×4 panels across the top of the tallest truss tower on the American Ninja Warriors set. The intense output from the panels’ 27-watt COB RGB LEDs cut through the Southern California night sky, creating an air of excitement around the competition.
Other Nexus 4×4 panels as well as 4×1 strips were truss mounted at key points along the obstacle course, accenting the non-stop action during amazingly difficult events like “Bungee Road” and the “Unstoppable Bridge.” Aside from engaging the live audience at the USS Iowa Museum, the intense output Nexus fixtures served to frame the action on the set for TV cameras.
Like the superbly conditioned athletes who compete on American Ninja Warriors, the show’s producers strive to maintain the edge at all times and never rest on their laurels. This commitment was very evident at the 2015 program, which featured 23 new and very original obstacles. It was also reflected in the lightshow, which was revved up by the addition of 36 Next NXT-1 moving LED panels.
“We’re always looking to push the lighting rig further to keep up with the intensity of American Ninja Warriors,” said Motts. “Sid Khera at Aspect Lighting is great to work with, because he shares my passion for continually pushing the envelope. We came up with the idea of adding the Next NXT-1 to our arsenal to up the intensity level and create more eye candy for the viewers on the set and at home watching TV. The NXT-1s were the perfect complement to what we had on the show’s rig.”
Motts ran the Next NXT-1 fixtures in two modes: 109 and 10 Channel. “The 109 mode was for eye candy,” he said. “We used it to have a lot of pixels chasing each other, which helped create the sense of drama that makes this show special. We placed some panels on the ship and aimed them at the crowd and at the cameras, because when you saw them in action it just kind of swept you up in the excitement.”
Other Next NXT-1 moving panels were positioned on the set and aimed at the USS Iowa itself. “We used these panels set to 10 Channel mode to fill in some dark spots on the ship and bring out its beauty for the live audience and TV viewers,” said Motts. “It really created a nice image.”
The producers of American Ninja Warriors like to point out that no one has ever actually won their event, since the obstacle course is so daunting no one has ever managed to complete all of its stages. While that may be technically true, there were a lot of winners at the 2015 event that took place on the USS Iowa, including the athletes who gave it their all, the fans who saw excellent competition and the Next NXT-1 and Nexus, which performed like superstars.