12.02.2020 | Innovative Show Design’s Elation rig at 2019 College Football Awards on ESPN

Updated design includes use of Rayzor 760 to fulfill multiple lighting roles. Lighting vendor was CYM Lighting Services.

On December 12, college football's most talented student-athletes were recognized at the 2019 Home Depot College Football Awards presented live on ESPN from the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta, Georgia. Justin Garrone and production design firm Innovative Show Design (ISD) have been involved in the show since 2012 and again produced outstanding visuals for the 2019 edition, employing a setup that featured 90% Elation Professional products.

This was Innovative Show Design's 8th year doing the College Football Awards and 5th year since it moved to the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta. ISD served as a one-stop-shop for ESPN for the production, handling every aspect of the show from the first truck's arrival to the last truck's departure. Not only did they create and manage all lighting, scenic and graphics, ISD handled complete fabrication and installation of the set and was also responsible for all logistics involved with the production inclusive of project management.

Asked by ESPN to update the design and modernize it scenically, as well as help with the reverse shots into the audience, ISD changed the sets configuration, and added 36 linear light boxes to accommodate the request. "As the years have progressed, one of the things I always enjoy is that this event is a type of one-off but because we do it every year we have the ability to go back and improve on it for the following year," stated Justin Garrone of Innovative Show Design. Lighting supply for the event was by CYM Lighting Services of Thousand Palms, CA, a full service lighting production company that ISD has worked with for years.

Functional and flexible
The Awards show took place in a long yet narrow windowed room in the Hall of Fame, a turfed area scaled to nearly the size of half a football field and used by visitors to throw and kick footballs. It is a space Garonne says was never designed for a large amount of production but ISD and CYM found creative ways to hang fixtures and relied on multi-use lighting fixtures like the Elation Rayzor 760 wash LED luminaire.

"The most important task for the rig was to be functional and flexible for multi-point / multi source TV light," he says. "Secondly, fixtures were strategically placed throughout the rig and venue to add beauty and sparkle to the camera shots enhancing the award show feel. All these lights played together to transform the cues to take on school colors for the winner cues. Lastly, we enhanced and illuminated the natural architecture of the venue to give it vibrancy as well as make it look larger on screen."

Rayzor 760 - multiple roles
With the scenic change came a lighting change and this is when Garrone says he took the opportunity to incorporate the Rayzor 760. "Kevin Swank with CYM Lighting believed in the Rayzor 760 and purchased 50 of the fixtures to add to his inventory," he explains. "He convinced me that these lights would be a great addition to the College Football Award rig and I'm sure glad I listened to him! I streamlined the rig and reduced the amount of fixture types because I was confident the Rayzor could take on the multiple roles necessary of the light. These roles consisted of beauty lights to beam effects to lens effects and audience front and back light."

Color and sparkle
ISD created custom "sparkle" effects using the Rayzor 760's SparkLED technology, a unique twinkle effect of 28x 2W white LEDs inside the fixture's lenses that give designers a fresh way of creating layers of effect on stage. Garrone comments, "I was extremely impressed how we could add these effects on top of the primary duties of the light. The SparkLED effects added to the celebration of the win cues and added to the beauty of the camera shots when you could see the lens of the Rayzor 760 on camera."

Lining the tunnel entrance and main staircase of the stage, the Rayzor 760s projected a team color with the sparkle effect rotating around the fixtures. Garrone also created custom pixel chases for the team wins. "I was extremely impressed with the brightness of the individual 60-watt RGBW pixels. At 30+ feet from the ground we were able to read saturate color on the audience during the team win cues."

Garrone says that with the amount of options the Rayzor 760 provides, it felt like the 58 fixtures in the plot were multiplied by three. "We could use them as a broad even wash light, a narrow and bright beam light and or a direct lens effect light with individual pixel control. Depending on the camera shot, we could always add the SparkLED on top of whatever mode we were using the fixture in and the effect would read on camera. Now the rig has been multiplied by six! With this amount of options, I was able to minimize quantity of fixtures to accommodate the budget but still provide the lighting systems necessary for an award show look."

Full Elation lighting and video package
The Rayzor 760s were just one of several Elation lights utilized in the design. Used for main key lights both front and back, audience specials, as well as main key lights for talent standups were Elation Satura Profile LED movers while Platinum Beam 5R Extreme moving heads provided beam lights for air effects and team win ballyhoos. Elation's tiny ACL 360i single beam effect lights were incorporated as background beauty lights with SixPar 100 LED Par lights used for architectural lighting highlights. CuePix Panels were used to cap the end of trusses that were in camera shots. A large 60' wide x 19.7' tall LED wall covering the room's glass windows was made up of 261 Elation EVLED 1024 SMD 20mm blow-through LED panels.

One of the challenges faced, says Garrone, was increased production needs coupled with shrinking budgets. "This is where employing Elation is the right choice," he says. "The quality of the lights coupled with the price point allows us to constantly raise the bar of the lighting design and meet but more often exceed the needs of the shows. This provides support to our budgets, allowing them to continue to be as competitive as possible for our clients."

When Garrone first designed lighting for the College Football Awards years ago, he says most of the lights were from other manufacturers. But as the years passed and lighting vendor CYM Lighting invested more in Elation gear he had the possibility to get more fixtures for the dollar. "Over the past five years it has been more and more Elation until this year I suddenly realized that we're now at about 90% Elation," the LD says, adding that he appreciates the diverse fixture options within Elation's catalogue. "When designing the lighting for the production, it is always nice and convenient to go to one manufacturer and choose a fixture to employ to handle the job." Summing up an event he truly enjoys, Garrone concludes, "It's really a week of hype and fun to be a part of. It's one of my favorite shows throughout the year."

Garrone would like to take the opportunity to bring attention to Kevin and Colleen Swank of CYM Lighting. Not only are they truly dedicated to all ISD projects, they also share the same dedication to the AIDS/LifeCycle (ALC) charity event, whose aim is to reduce new HIV infections and improve the quality of life for people living with HIV/AIDS. "From May 31st through June 6th, they both will be riding their bikes with their Desert Roadrunners team 545 miles on a life-changing ride, not race, from San Francisco to Los Angeles to support and raise awareness to end the stigma surrounding HIV/AIDS and honor those who have passed from AIDS-related causes. Information can be found at www.aidslifecycle.org. If you find this as inspiring as I do, please consider supporting them by making a donation via their individual pages (www.tofighthiv.org/goto/kswank, www.tofighthiv.org/goto/Colleen2020).
Thank you so much!"

Lighting Designer / Project Manager: Justin Garrone (ISD)
Lighting Programmer: Andrew Giffin
Lighting / Rigging TD: Kevin Swank
Red Carpet Lighting Director: John Lotz
Master Electricians: Chris Wagner & Greg Hays
Electricians: Ignacio Sanchez, Tony Mora, Mikey Pacilio, Max Vigil, Anthony Miller, David Ruiz & Leo Garcia
Artistic Director: Chris Runnells (ISD)
Creative Director: Nate Mitchell (ISD)
Lead Fabricator / Scenic Installer: David Barber (ISD)
Innovative Show Design - www.iShowDesign.com
CYM Lighting - www.cymlighting.com 

Elation equipment:
58 x Rayzor 760
23 x Satura Profile
44 x Platinum Beam 5R Extreme
24 x Design Wash LED 60
16 x ACL 360i
44 x SixPar 100
7 x CuePix Panel
3 x Colour Chorus 72
261 x EVLED 1024 SMD 20mm LED panels