Home Floor designer Dress for VMA 2021

Dress for VMA 2021


Dress for VMA 2021

Dress for VMA 2021

United States – The 2021 MTV VMA (Video Music Awards) were back in person, in style and with a live audience at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, making it even more special this year the event celebrated its 40th, so the pressure was on for lighting designer Tom Sutherland of DX7 Design to break it in terms of visual flair for the occasion.

He accomplished this by working closely with a talented team including Creative Director Paul Caslin, Camera Director Joe Demaio and Decorator Julio Himede of Yellow Studio, and with the help of over 300 Robe motorized projectors!

The number of dresses included 204 WashBeams BMFL, 80 MegaPointes and 50 Spikes that adorned the platform with an impressive 16-way RoboSpot remote tracking system.

Last year, Tom first lit up this high-profile entertainment industry event famous for its ultra-slick visuals, and 2020 had also been special as these were the only VMAs to be held virtually with a range of remote performance. So, this year, everyone was delighted to be back to “live”.

Tom’s starting point for the lighting was the striking Julio set – the biggest and worst of a VMA stage design to date – which featured a huge 45ft tall inflatable astronaut towering over the side along the stadium. The figure mimicked the popular VMA logo and rewards statues introduced in 2017, inspired by images from various moon landings, and came to life for the show with video mapping.

The artist’s main entry and exit point was through the astronaut’s chest, with two full stages built to the left and right of it, directly across from each other, each occupying one end of the event space, all connected by an elegant 360-degree oval. shaped walkway.

The walkway was constructed from video floor panels that looked stunning in aerial and crane shots, and it circled a sunken “golden circle” pit, filled with ecstatic fans for the broadcast. There was a smaller circular performance space in the center of the pit, so Tom needed key and effects lighting literally everywhere and from every angle to capture all of the tightly choreographed live action and quick presentations. , ensuring that every shot was fabulous.

“As always, it was a careful balance between making the house impressive while also meeting the demands and wishes of the various creative directors of the artists,” he explained.

Fourteen trusses were installed in the roof space above the two floors, flown over at different heights so that they formed a domed shape with the tallest carved out at 70 feet. Most of the lighting was installed on these farms, including the BMFL WashBeams.

More of the BMFL WashBeams were on two long ‘off stage’ beams that crossed the room lengthwise on both sides with angled ends.

BMFL WashBeams were chosen for their power and functionality, as Tom needed sources that were truly punchy and capable of producing the thousands of different looks needed. With optimal positioning, they gave him excellent coverage for both stages as well as for the astronaut, the bridge and all sections of the audience.

MegaPointes framed three sides of each of the two screens traversing panoramic proscenium arch contours, creating large looks and daring tunnels, cones and slices of fragmented light all around the arena, and there was a floor set 12 BMFL WashBeam also available on each organize.

These were used to describe the central performance space – in the pit – for part of Buster Rhymes’ set with him also surrounded by the audience. The WashBeams on the ground have been put to good use in silhouetting Lil Nas X and Justin Bieber.

Spikes were deployed around the inner perimeter of the ovular walkway with ten more spikes on each side flanking the astronaut.

Tom’s design featured a lot of sullen, dramatic shadows and silhouettes and worked the lighting to match the tone and raw aesthetic of some video content that looked great on camera and for enthusiastic crowds.

To get the key lights in exactly the right places, Tom found the RoboSpot system to be a perfect precision solution.

Ten of the 16 RoboSpot systems controlled ten BMFL FollowSpot LT (with the integrated camera) mounted on the dome trusses that were too high for human pursuit operators to work safely. “It’s a great system and it was absolutely the right product for the job,” he said.

In addition to these, three BMFL spots per floor were controlled by the other six RoboSpot systems, for a total of 16 systems.

The local team operators had control of the iris, dimmer and motion, everything else was done through the main lighting console, and the spots were called by the operator of the conventional lighting console. Brian Jenkins, also one of Tom’s programmers.

In addition to Brian, Tom’s talented lighting crew also included directors Hunter Selby, James Coldicott and Jasmine Lesane as well as programmer Joe Holdman who all worked on the grandMA2 control system.

A truly memorable VMA was created in close collaboration with several other equally intelligent and imaginative people, including screen producer / creator Trevor Burke of Visual Noise Creative, art directors Matt Steinbrenner and Gloria Lamb, and media programmer Kirk Miller.

The lighting equipment was provided by Solotech, Harry Forster and Dave Evans were the account managers, the lighting manager was Alen Sisul and the technicians were Dennis Sisul and John Cox. The head rigger was Brian Lolly of Kish Rigging whom Tom compliments on the “amazing” work of the department.

The challenges for lighting included the pace and intensity of the action which unfolded over three hours of live television with 14 featured guest appearances including Kacey Musgraves, Camila Cabello, Lil Nas X, Normani, Foo Fighters, Chlöe and Justin Bieber, who all wanted their own coolest looks on stage. The creative team saw them on stage purely for their unique 90 minute rehearsal window before they had to imagine a different masterpiece presentation for each one that blew everyone away!

The executive producers were Bruce Gillmer, Jesse Ignjatovic and Barb Bialkowski with Alicia Portugal the executive in charge.

The 2021 MTV VMAs were presented by American rapper Doja Cat. Lil Nas X’s “Montero (Call Me by Your Name)” won the Video of the Year award, and the artist and Tanu Muino also took home the award for Best Director for the same popular and acclaimed work.

It was the first major awards show in the United States to return with an audience at full capacity.

photos: Stephen Bondio and Yellow Studio


Dress for VMA 2021Dress for VMA 2021

October 26, 2021

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