Even by LA standards, the 2014 BET Experience Concert at the Staples Center was a star-studded affair, with the likes of Jennifer Hudson, Mary J. Blige and Grammy winners Maxwell and Jill Scott gracing the stage for three glittering nights. Visions Lighting of Brea, CA created a lighting design that looked right at home with this on-stage glitz by using a visually powerful combination of video panels, strobes, and moving fixtures, along with some unique “light diamonds” created with 64 Nexus 4×4 LED panels from CHAUVET Professional.
“We rigged the Nexus panels in diamond shapes to create a different look and project an image of glamour in keeping with the character of this event,” said Todd Roberts of Visions Lighting, which built the lighting and trussing system for the BET concert. “This was a big stage with big stars, so the lighting had to make a powerful statement. Brandon Dunning, our LD, did just that; he got the most impact out of each fixture.”
Dunning positioned 32 Nexus panels on each side of the turntable stage in “columns of diamonds.” The columns featured descending numbers of Nexus panels as they moved closer to center stage. Used as audience blinders and as set pieces, the Nexus panels were controlled by DMX.
“The Nexus panels provided a great visual element throughout the three nights of performances,” said Roberts. “We used a variety of different colors from the panels to accent different songs, and they worked out very nicely. This was true not only for the live audience, but on video as well. The panels are very camera-friendly.”
Roberts also praised the Nexus panels for their intense output, a quality that was essential given the high-impact design Visions Lighting created for the three-day concert series. Concentric rings of overhead truss, LED ribbon wrapped around curved truss and multiple layers of video panels were used along with the Nexus panels create a powerful visual impression, while also providing the flexibility needed to accommodate the wide variety of artists who performed on stage.
Looking at Visions Lighting’s massive BET rig, it’s hard not to be impressed.
This would be true under any circumstances, but it’s especially so given that the short time frame available during setup. “There were severe time restraints on this project,” said Roberts. “The Staples Center had another event booked the day before we set up, so we had only six hours to pull this all together.”
Accomplishing this impressive feat required long hours in preproduction, a lot of careful planning, reliable gear and a dedicated talented team, said Roberts. Opining on the latter, he observed, “You can’t pull this kind of thing off without a lot of good talented people.
The entire Visions crew stepped up to make it happen. We owe a special debt of gratitude to Kevan Wilkins from AEG Live (Los Angeles), who did a superb job as our Production Manager.”
Roberts also thanked his warehouse crew headed up by Nick Balderama, who turned around the rig from a previous Las Vegas show in one day to load everything for BET. It was, as Roberts says, a stellar performance — a performance that was well served during the three-day concert by an equally stellar set of “Nexus diamonds.”