Halftime show dazzles with spectacular lighting
In 2007 the Dallas Cowboys hosted the New York Jets for the annual NFL Thanksgiving day game. The crowd got to see a spectacular game with the Cowboys winning 34-3, but the fans were also entertained by the spectacular lighting effects during the halftime performance, which was enhanced by Color Kinetics intelligent LED lighting.
Texas-based Media West, Inc.— the technical producer for the halftime event—was charged with taking the show to a new level in terms of lighting effects. “In year’s past, we mainly used conventional lighting, but this year we wanted to create a visually dramatic show that would absolutely wow the crowd and the nationwide audience watching the live broadcast,” said Media West, Inc.’s Executive Producer Lathy Williams. Williams contracted Las Vegas-based, independent lighting designer John P. Marovich to develop a lighting show that would dazzle the crowd with stunning effects, but also complement the halftime performance of Kelly Clarkson. Marovich chose Color Kinetics LED-based luminaires for their “rock solid functionality” and reliability. “With only six minutes of airtime for the performance I could not afford to have any units fail, and true-to-form we had 100% performance from all of the Philips gear at the show,” said Marovich.
Marovich lined the thrust stage with ColorBlast 12 luminaires to generate saturated colored footlight during the performance, which included Clarkson, her band and backup dancers: the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders. Additional visual interest was created by ColorBlaze 72 luminaires that were hung in a vertical array, 2 luminaires high x 12 luminaires wide, directly facing the audience to create a video-like backdrop. The ColorBlaze luminaires were run in A-mode to provide the greatest flexibility to enable each 6-inch (15 cm) segment to be controlled individually, achieving a matrix of 288 individually controlled pixels. A DMX control system was used to utilize pixel mapping technology, allowing Marovich to play video clips and apply linear and matrix effects.
The LED luminaires allowed Marovich to create the effect that he desired, especially the ColorBlaze video wall. “The fixtures were very close in proximity to each other and it was essential that all the units within the matrix executed their DMX values identically to create the illusion of one solid image,” said Marovich. “A major problem that I have faced with other manufacturers is the varying output color between units, particularly with the color blue. Blue is ‘the’ color of the Dallas Cowboys and I needed the steadfast color output that the Color Kinetics LED fixtures provide.” Color Kinetics LED luminaires provide that ‘steadfast color’ due to the company’s proprietary Optibin technology, which minimizes the variance and inconsistency in the bins delivered from LED manufacturers. This allows Color Kinetics to deliver optimal color consistency from one luminaire to the next.
Marovich chose LED luminaires because of their inherent ability to produce a vast palette of colors and effects. In addition, their lack of radiated heat allowed the fixtures to be positioned in close proximity to the performers on stage, in some cases merely one foot away.
Marovich and his firm make it a priority with every design project to consider its environmental impact. When using LED technology, he not only saves energy because the luminaires consume little power, but he also creates less waste by not throwing out burnt lighting gels.
"One aspect that viewers at home miss is witnessing the amazing feat of getting the stage ready for the show. In only four minutes—while viewers at home are seeing a commercial break—Media West's team of 75 people push the mammoth stage pieces from their storage positions down a ramp and then another 50 yards into position on the field. Once in place the pieces are assembled and locked into place while yet another team of lighting technicians orchestrates nearly 50 data and power connections (only 6 of which were for the LED fixtures) to bring the lights to life," said Marovich. "The moment that the LED fixtures received power and data they were online and ready to rock, while with the conventional fixtures, we faced the additional step of relamping all of the units whose filaments broke during the mad push onto the field."
Not only did Dallas Cowboys fans get to watch a great show, but the cutting-edge LED technology enhanced the spectator experience, bringing it to another whole level.