Slovakia’s leading lighting designer Martin Kubanka, used 70 Robe moving lights and a wide selection of generic and studio fixtures for the final of the 2006 Slovakian Miss Universe qualifier. All lighting was supplied by the country’s top lighting rental company, Q-99.
The show was staged at the National Tennis Centre in Bratislava in front of a live audience of 4000, and broadcast live on Saturday night by Joj (pronounced ‘yoy’), Slovakia’s largest private TV channel. It attracted an audience of up to 4 million – 80 per cent of the country’s population – making it one of the highest profile media events on the Slovakian TV calendar.
Kubanka has designed the show’s lighting for the last 8 years, and Q-99 has provided lighting and sound for the same duration. Each year the visuals have evolved in complexity and in terms of technology, and Kubanka explains that it’s a collaborative effort between himself, lighting cameraman Milan Dostal, director Jiri Adamec – both from the neighbouring Czech Republic – and scenic designer Michal Klang.
“Michal’s sets are always a challenge to light” says Kubanka … and this one was no exception, 40 metres wide and constructed from a series of white Lexan and Plexiglass cubes, complete with strategically located, coloured neon ‘flashes’. While some areas of it took light extremely well, in other places, light would also refract at wild and unpredictable angles, so he had to be meticulous about avoiding spurious reflections entering the cameras.
As always with these shows, the task was also to make it look good for the live audience as well as on camera, and to ensure that the contestants looked consistently good throughout, with even lighting right across the stage – all of which was used.
The show featured several different sections, including traditional beauty pageant elements like the swimsuit and eveningwear parades, and the contestants also had to demonstrate how their talents went beyond their looks, with a singing/dancing and ‘other’ performance section. Each section needed its own distinct lighting look and feel, and three of the country’s top pop acts performed in the ad breaks, so the stage also had to be lit for them.
With such an action packed show, “It was essential I had a dynamic selection of moving lights to choose from, and that they were placed in a variety of different places and at different angles” expands Kubanka. His design started with Robe’s powerful ColorWash 1200E and ColorSpot 1200 ATs, in quantities of 10 and 26 respectively, rigged in key overhead and floor positions. Then he filled in with 10 Robe ColorWash 575 XTs and 20 Scan 575 XTs, dotted about the overhead trusses.
Q-99 has invested heavily in Robe moving lights over the last 2 years, and now has over 200 fixtures – the largest quantity of any rental company in Slovakia. “Robe is an excellent brand from our perspective” says Q-99’s Marek Adamik “There’s a good section of fixtures for all types of application, they are extremely reliable. We get great service from Czech distributors KVS, and also from Robe Show Lighting themselves.”
Q-99 supplies many of Slovakia’s highest rated TV Productions, including the hugely popular Superstar (their Pop Idol roll out) for STV1 and Vyvoleni – a Big-Brother style show, also for Joj. They also have a selection of other moving light brands, generic and studio fixtures of all types and a large inventory of EAW sound equipment.
Martin Kubanka operated all the moving lights for Miss Universe Slovakia himself, using a Grand MA console – the desk of choice. The generics – which included an eclectic mix of PARs, ACLs, profiles, ARRI 1, 2 and 5K fresnels, Griven Kolorados and Rainbow colour scrollers, plus all the set neons – were controlled by Josef Arpa, using an MA Light Commander.
He adds that over the years of lighting the show, he’s now using less overall fixtures, but using the latest moving lights, the imaginative scope has vastly increased.
The broadcast show also featured some pre-recorded play-in spots, completed in the afternoon, so ensuring continuity in lighting between them and the live footage was also vital. Here Kubanka found the ColorWash and Spot 1200’s colour correction flags invaluable, dropping them in to correct the white to a camera-friendly hue. He adds that the low noise factors of the fixtures are also essential for live TV of this type, with include interview slots as well as the louder livelier sections.
Miss Universe Slovakia 2006 was won by Judita Hrubyova who will go on to represent the Slovak Republic in the final in LA on July 23rd.