13.05.2024 | Stunning Red Rover design for Franco-Manitobain Cultural Centre’s 50th Anniversary enhanced by Elation lighting

For Winnipeg's large French-speaking community, the Franco-Manitobain Cultural Centre (CCFM) serves as an important cultural gathering spot for events and celebrations. CCFM recently marked its 50th Anniversary in grand fashion with a dazzling show featuring a breathtaking production design by Red Rover Entertainment, and illuminated by Elation lighting.

With two large-scale shows as well as several smaller events on the schedule, the venue's year-long anniversary celebration commemorates the rich cultural heritage of Winnipeg's francophone community across five decades. For a special anniversary show that took place April 19, several francophone artists who have graced the CCFM stage over the past fifty years, old and young talent alike, were invited to perform backed by a house band.

Jon Stanners, who has operated Red Rover Entertainment in Winnipeg since 2013, has worked events at CCFM for years and as a francophone himself (along with several Red Rover employees), feels a special affinity to the venue. When asked to incorporate the distinctive CCFM logo into the stage design, he came up with a striking concept that integrated the logo into the backdrop, creating a can't miss focal point for the event. Jon and his team built a custom set featuring four large asymmetrical cyc panels that both reflected the shape of the CCFM logo and served as a dynamic backdrop for the performers. The twelve-foot tall frames, enveloped in spandex, were illuminated using Elation SixBar 500 linear battens, SixPar 200 PAR lights, and Colour 5 Profile ellipsoidal fixtures.

"When guests entered for the show, they were greeted by the four panels illuminated in the colors of the CCFM logo-red, yellow, purple, cyan-which for members of the community is instantly recognizable," Jon commented. "Then we transformed the panels into a towering backdrop for the performers with eye-catching colors that accentuated the acts and also looked great for photos."

Twenty-four of the linear SixBar color-changing fixtures lined each side of the panels with 12 additional units on the floor shooting upward. Twenty SixPar 200 color-changers provided side light and light from above. A single Colour 5 Profile sat atop each cyc with eight additional units out front-middle and side positioned-and used for key lighting and cyc lighting. Because the stage was somewhat shallow, Jon used the side-positioned ellipsoidals to separate the artists from the background, careful to avoid light spill onto the background or house band.

The designer, who first rendered his design in Capture lighting design software, says the outcome was better than he even imagined it to be. "We put it in Capture and hoped it would look as good in person as it did on screen," he said. "When we got on site, we were really happy with it. The panels took light really well and overall, it came out better in person than I anticipated." The result was extremely uniform and even color across the panels, a setup that also allowed him to create gradients of color across the panels to create depth, dimension, and visual interest.

Additional to the rig were six overhead Fuze SFX LED Spot FX moving heads which provided back spotlight looks, silhouettes, and the occasional volley of beams or gobo pattern onto the panels. The multi-purpose fixtures proved to be a versatile addition to the rig, offering a combination of capabilities that elevated the visual experience.

"They are so useful and I use them a lot on our projects," Jon said, noting that he has had good experience with them. "It's a versatile fixture that saves you from having to have both a beam and a profile fixture." For the 50th Anniversary show, Jon used them in white with CTO and zoomed them to the perfect size to keep the house band silhouetted in the background while accenting the artist up front. It was a different look than the more typical beam and gobo looks he usually uses them for but he says it worked out well.

The Elation lighting for the 50th Anniversary event was provided by Red Rover Entertainment and Eventlight with Jon Stanners handling lighting programming and operation. Jon concludes by saying that he's not sure if he'll repeat the look for the second big anniversary show later in the year-that's likely a matter of budgets-but based on the positive feedback he's received, it's certainly a possibility.

Photos: Mikey Jablonski

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