RoboSpot is a Flexible Solution for Little Mermaid
Luc Peumans of Genk-based Painting with Light, was behind the lighting design of The Little Mermaid production in Belgium. The lighting equipment was delivered by Benelux rental company, Phlippo Showlights together with audio and rigging. The RoboSpot system was tech’d by Ilse Witlox, the lead operator and an expert in the somewhat ‘black art’ of follow spotting. The 11 x BMFL Blades complete with 11 RoboSpot MotionCameras were positioned on a front truss, an advanced truss and on two side trusses. The two side BMFLs were specifically utilized for spotting lead character Ariel as she flew out from stage to FOH. Ilse and her two colleagues – Peter Pijnenburg and Emiel van Holderbeke – were all stationed at FOH with their RoboSpot Base Stations so they had a clear visual of how the spots looked in reality, in addition to seeing the effect on the base station HD screen monitor, which enables a ‘first-person’ view of the performance. Line of sight vision – in addition to remote screen – is also ideal for following the flying act and really helpful in keeping on top of the pace of the stage action, which in this case was fast and coming from multiple angles. The 11 x BMFLs are divided up as two groups of four and one of 3 between the three RoboSpot base stations. The RoboSpot systems were used in this case to control
the pan / tilt, dimmer and iris functionality of the BMFLs – via the handles and two programmable faders … with the operator’s movements instantly transferred to the luminaire via DMX …with no lag. The rest of the parameters were run from the grandMA2 console running the show lighting programmed by Niels Huybrechts and operated by Jochen Kerckhofs. While the operators could dim their BMFL follow spots when necessary, the maximum intensity was always set by the console operator. For Luc, having the 11 RoboSpot controlled BMFL Follow spots brought a lot of additional flexibility, “which can potentially help in creating a better lighting design! You can programme
parameters like colour and intensity etc. into the lighting console, so the (remote) spot operators can just focus on functions like iris and maximum intensity. “Being able to control more fixtures as follow spots is also useful. One of the most important elements in lighting any show, and especially a spectacular musical like this, is having sources coming from the right directions and angles. This system enables a greater choice of luminaires to be available – in a lot more colours which is also very helpful – for highlighting artists and performers”.