Gearhouse sets the stage for Starlight Classics
SOUTH AFRICA: Gearhouse South Africa has provided many of the technical systems for Starlight Classics for several years and the recent Cape Town iteration at the Vergelegen Wine Estate was no exception. The rental company’s project manager, Ryan Shepherd, once again oversaw the implementation of lighting, staging, power and an LED screen.
‘Starlight Classics is a biannual event, which takes place in Cape Town and Johannesburg annually and I have been working on the event since 2009,’ said Mr Shepherd. ‘It makes use of a full orchestra with various solo artists, ranging from vocalists to violinists to beat boxers. This multitude of artists requires a large performance area and very specific lighting. Over the years, the show has kept in line with technology advances and we now use an almost entirely LED lighting rig with the exception of the “front light” that is positioned on towers 50m from stage.’
The lighting design was produced by Chris Bolton and Joshua Cutts and called for a variety of moving lights, washes, spots and beams. To meet the deign, Gearhouse supplied a rig that included Robe Robin LEDWash 600s, LEDForce 18 RGBWs, ColorWash 2500Es, RedWashes and Robin Pointes. ‘This year Starlight was recorded for TV and so we needed to adjust the lighting accordingly,’ noted Mr Shepherd. ‘Therefore, eight Robe BMFL were used to light specific areas on stage.’
Joining the Robe fixtures on the lighting rig were Martin Professional MAC Viper Profiles and Rush PARs, Acclaim 2kW Fresnels, ETC Source Four Profiles, Molefays, Xenon Supertrouper fixtures and Longman Colorme 011A pixel LED washlights. A grandMA2 Lite console was employed to operate the setup, as well as Jands HP12 dimmers, Spazio metal halides, Le Maitre MVS Hazers, floor fans and a Martin Professional Ether2 DMX box.
‘We are moving toward more LED moving lights and static fixtures instead of the old generic white light,’ said the project manager. ‘The feel of the show was a lot beamier on this year’s event. Robe Pointes were used onstage as well as on top of the PA towers.’
Gearhouse was also responsible for setting up the stage and all of the surrounding structures, such as the FOH towers. ‘We built a 30m wide by 20m deep Layher deck for a three-bay In2Structures Maxi Dome Roof including back wall and cantilever to rest on,’ explained Mr Shepherd. ‘This creates a 20m x 20m tiered performance area with space on the outsides for PA wings and artist holding areas as well as a central staircase to the top level. The PA wings are 5m x 5m and are 14m high to give good height for the PA to throw the 90m needed.
‘We also built a 4m x 4m x 12m FOH structure with three levels for audio, LX and A/V with follow spots at the top and various towers to light the 300m x 150m parking lot.’
For the arched screen that served as a backdrop on the stage, Gearhouse’s LEDVision brand supplied 144 Lighthouse R6 LED panels and 288 R1200 LED strips, which were integrated within the stage roof and run from a Barco Image Pro HD. Sets Drapes Screens delivered the all flattage, steps, draping facings and other set elements.
‘Gearhouse loves being involved in this event and we enjoy being able to provide an ever-evolving technical solution for Rand Merchant Bank’s Starlight Classics evenings with the Production team from Jam Events,’ concluded Mr Shepherd.