The 29th series of the popular TV dance competition “Dancing With The Stars” (DWTS) returned to ABC this month with new host Tyra Banks and 178 x Robe MegaPointes on the lighting plot as part of lighting designer Tom Sutherland’s precision‐crafted epic look for the first series performed without a live audience! Tom’s company DX7 Design was initially asked to develop lighting for the 2019 season by executive producer Andrew Llinares. The set – including the extensive video elements like a giant LED panel chandelier filled with lights – was designed by Florian Wieder. Tom enjoys working with Florian because of the latter’s great eye for how lighting can be integrated into set architecture, as was the case for this production with a series of scenic girders running the length of the performance space which were specifically designed to incorporate lights. This is where a quote of the 168 MegaPointes were rigged. Felix Lighting also supplied 16 Robe BMFL WashBeams to the show plus four BMFL Blades which are running with four separate RoboSpot base station systems for remote operation. Additional Robe products are brought in as extras for specific routines, joining around 900 lighting fixtures being utilized by Tom in total, all supplied by Felix Lighting. More MegaPointes are sitting in rows at audience head level along two tiers of balcony rails (for upper and lower levels), with the remainder of the fixtures lined up around the edge of the dancefloor. The BMFL WashBeams are rigged on two vertical towers left and right of the pros arch. The four RoboSpot controlled BMFL Blades are positioned in the four corners of the dancefloor. Tom is working alongside a talented DX7 Design team comprising lighting programmers Joe Holdman and Nate Files, and they are using a grandMA control system, and Hunter Selby is his assistant LD.
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