Studio & Theatre

40 tonnes of lighting gear used at MTV Music Awards Europe 2003

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For the first time held in Scotland, Edinburgh hosted the 10th Anniversary MTV Europe Music Awards 2003. The event was broadcast live to a 110 million homes in Europe and to a further audience of 1 billion around the world. A 6,000 capacity venue was built on the waterfront at Western Harbour, Leith Docks, specially for the ceremony. Host of the glamorous show was Christina Aguilera, assisted by guest presenters including Kelly Osbourne, American actor Vin Diesel, Michael Stipe from REM and Sharleen Spiteri from Texas. Performing on stage were The Darkness, Pink, Black Eyed Peas, Missy Elliot, Beyonce Knowles, Kylie Minogue, Kraftwerk and Sean Paul. The winners included Justin Timberlake ('Best Group, 'Best Album' and 'Best Pop'), Beyoncé ('Best R'n'B, 'Best Song' for Crazy in Love featuring Jay-Z), Coldplay ('Best Group',) Punjabi MC ('Best Dance'), Eminem ('Best Hip Hop') and other celebrities.
VLPS Lighting Services were the main lighting contractor and supplied numerous Vari*Lite automated luminaires which comprised of 12 VL3000, 32 VL2C and 48 VL6C spot luminaires as well as 4 VL1000 luminaires, 40 VL2416, 96 VL5arc and 24 VL2000 wash luminaires. VLPS also supplied 6 Pigi projectors, 60 Strobes, 24 VLM moving mirrors, 48 Pulsar Chromabanks, 8 Mirror balls, 17 Synchrolights, 4 Lighting Strikes, 6 Gladiators, 12 City Colours and 25 Diversitronics, 1500' (ft) of lighting truss hung from 80 motors and 18 ˝ miles of lighting cables. This accounted for 9 x 45' truck loads of lighting equipment weighing a total of 40 tonnes. It took 3000 man hours from start to finish, to erect, run and dismantle the rig, which drew 6000 amperes of power.
Al Gurdon was the Lighting Designer and Operators Mike "Oz" Owen Virtuoso and Dave Hill operated the Virtuoso console and Whole Hog 2 respectively. Mike 'Oz' Owen said: "The lighting elements that Al tailored towards strong looks for particular music styles all worked well and enabled the programming to get straight to the point. The simplicity of the setting for each performance, being the environment of the temporary structure with the screens and lighting wrapped around the stages and walkways, again allowed us to put strong looks in place quickly. Splitting up the programming, giving Dave the TV requirements of keying and audience lighting, allowing me to concentrate on the performance lighting, worked very well to reduce stress levels. Al's shows are not known for their simplicity of equipment and the crew led by the absolutely indispensable Richie Gorrod did wonders to get it all up - including six different types of strobes!"
Dave Hill commented: "The MTV Europe Music Awards 2003was a lighting extravaganza in a custom built venue. The lighting crew led by the highly respected Rich Gorrod performed wonders installing a mammoth lighting system within the confines of an 8 pole Galaxy tent. Al Gurdon's vision of lighting for the show was the driving force, and the use of projection and silk drops combined with the lighting systems created truly breathtaking scenes. Mike Owen and myself put it all together with one Virtuoso and one WholeHog 2 console, with Mike taking the lion's share of the performance lighting and I looked after the audience and key lighting. This splitting of the system allowed both programmers much more freedom within their areas."
Crew were Gareth Morgan, Gavin Norris, Christine Henry, Phil Sharp, Craig Harrower , Simon Cox, Steve Bellfield, Lars Kristiansen and Simon Anderson led by Crew Chief Richard Gorrod.
The Darkness performing
8 pole tent at MTV Music Awards 2003 in Edinburgh
©  12/2003 Pro-Light-News

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