AFL Kicks Off With Robe

The Australian Football League (AFL) Grand Final day kicked off and ended in great style… with a little help from Robe on the lighting front!

The ‘official’ tournament Breakfast was hosted by North Melbourne and staged in hall 2 of Melbourne Exhibition Centre, with all lighting and rigging supplied by Clifton Productions. The rig included Robe ColorSpot and ColorWash 1200E AT moving lights.

A long day of great entertainment ended with the post match After Party, held in the Punt Road Oval (home of Richmond Cricket Club) in downtown Melbourne – with Cliftons again supplying lighting, staging – and more Robe moving lights!

The Breakfast event was broadcast live on Australia’s Channel 10 network and attended by 2,300 people. The star studded ‘Top table’ was headed by Australian Prime Minister John Howard, various other leading politicians, dignitaries and a glittering array of celebrities from the sporting world.

Lighting design for the Breakfast was a collaboration between Alex Saad (also the event’s moving light operator) and TV lighting director Don Collins (who operated the generics). Cliftons’ main systems tech was Michael Parsons.

The stage set was designed by Mal Nichols, who has created looks for 7 previous AFL Breakfast events, usually involving large trussing elements which are carefully lit for maximum effect. Imaginative lighting is vital to most of Nichols’ set designs, particularly since this event moved to the MEC a few years back. With the Hall being so enormous, the idea is to keep scenic elements as “Bold, clean and simple” as possible.

This year, the set comprised 9 trussing circles. The centre one measured 6 metres in diameter and the other eight were 4 at 3 metres and 4 at 4 metres, each with projection screen material stretched across their fascias – making them ideal objects for lighting.

The stage was 21 metres wide and featured three overhead trusses – front, mid and back.

Onto these were rigged a total of 32 Robe ColorSpot 1200E ATs and 16 ColorWash 1200E ATs. Specified by Saad, they were used to illuminate the stage and the set with a dynamic series of gobo, colour and beam effects.

Several guest artists performed onstage throughout the telecast including 2006 Australian Idol winner Damien Leith and Irish comedian Paul Martell, plus a host of live interviews. The breakfast was also addressed by John Howard and leader of the opposition Kevin Rudd, along with AFL officials.

Alex Saad operated the moving lights using an Avolites Diamond 4 console, and has used Robe moving lights on many occasions. For this event, he only needed to run them at 30 per cent – such is their intensity. Apart from the incredible brightness, he also likes the gobo effects and colours. For a multi faceted show like this, Robe offered him plenty of options.

Cliftons currently have the largest Robe rental stock in Australia – supplied by Robe’s distributor ULA.

For the Breakfast, Cliftons also supplied approximately 500 metres of trussing, over forty 5K and 2K fresnels to illuminate the head table, over 400 Litecraft Multi PARs plus additional profiles and fresnels for the over-stage lighting. On top of that there were over 100 rigging points and a dedicated rigging crew of 8.

The Match

This took place in the afternoon at Melbourne Cricket Ground, broadcast live on Channel 10 and watched live by nearly 100,000. The 2007 AFL Grand Final was won by local team Geelong (The Cats) who spectacularly thrashed opponents Port Adelaide by a record 119 points.

After Party

After all that heady excitement, those who had been invited or bought tickets were treated to a full on After-Party with stonking performances by leading Australian bands BSG and Jet.

Lighting for this event was designed by Chris Newman (BSG’s LD) and co-ordinated by Cliftons’ engineer/technician Aaron Humber. Once again, the requirement was for it to work for all bands appearing onstage – so they needed plenty of diversity and different looks. Jet’s lights were operated by Matt Hansen who also production managed the After Party event.

Robe moving lights were again at the core of the rig, which was based on two overhead trusses and 4 angled trussing sections standing onstage – two at 2 metres and one at 4 metres, attached to special base plates.

Each of these four floor based truss sections was rigged with 4 Robe ColorSpot 700s and a 4-lite. The self climbing stage was also supplied by Cliftons, providing a 12 x 12 metre performance space with 8 metres of headroom.

Overhead, on the back truss were 8 ColorSpot 1200E ATs, 6 bars of PARS and four 8-lites. The front truss was loaded up with 10 Robe ColorWash 1200E ATs, eight 26 degree Source Fours and three at 19 degrees.

Cliftons supplied a Hog iPC for control, run Hog II mode by Newman for BSG and in Hog 3 mode by Hansen for Jet. They also supplied 2 Robe Haze 400 hazers.

The After Show was also recorded for Channel 10. The biggest lighting challenge for the After Party was the weather as the venue was outdoors, and this can be very unpredictable in Melbourne! Aaron Humber comments that despite the front truss Robes getting a good soaking during the set up period, they continued working! “A great testament to their toughness”.

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