Transmission Gets to The MegaPointe
At last year’s Transmission Festival at the O2 Arena, Prague, Czech Republic, lighting designer Bas Kemper used 24 of Robe’s then just-launched MegaPointe multifunctional moving lights … with which he stunned and amazed the crowds!
So when he returned to light this year’s annual pilgrimage for trance-lovers from all over the globe … “The Awakening”, 60 MegaPointes were prominent on the spec, along with 18 x BMFL Blades, and 20 x LEDBeam 150s all delivered, together with the rest of the lighting production for this massive event, by Slovakian rental company, Ministry Rental Services in collaboration with RentAll.
Bas also designed the set, working closely with the Dutch VJ Vision Impossible collective on the video design and content production, with additional scenic video deco banners made by Bedrich Vlach of Czech company, Promo Production.
Transmission is known for its impressive sets, deco elements, high production values and fully visual and sonic immersive environments, and this is a USP that Netherlands-based Bas and the creative team strive to deliver in spectacular fashion at every Transmission event for United Music.
Bas had 30 x MegaPointes rigged over the stage, divided into blocks of three, with the other 30 deployed on the deck, also grouped in threes. This positioning was to ensure they could create a dynamic wall of light around the stage that could also move down and embrace the audience full on.
The lighting design involved mirroring left and right and also, the set, lasers, video, lights and SFX were mirrored 90% top and bottom, hence the 30 x MegaPointes at the top and 30 x MegaPointes lower down, with a similar set up for the 10 LEDBeam 150s top and bottom.
“It’s all about simultaneously wrapping the DJ / performers and fans in the energy and vibes coming off the stage” commented Bas, adding that “MegaPointes with their excellent colours, zoom and sheer range of effects and possibilities are ideal units for lighting trance music”.
Sixty units was a nice number to create high impact effects lighting and have decent backlight looks explained Bas. “After last year’s show, the MegaPointes really proved they could do the job well; a combination of the excellent spot and beam mode, plus the power, speed, availability and reliability of the fixtures … made it an obvious choice”.
In previous editions of Transmission, he’d used a competitor brand moving light for this specific back / effects lighting task, but this year, everyone on the team felt MegaPointes were the way forward.
The 16 x BMFL Blades lit the vast set and stage elements, with two fixtures providing front / top key light for the DJs which this year included Above & Beyond, Paul van Dyke, Markus Schultz and a host of others.
Bas believes that the BMFL Blade is still among the best profile fixtures on the market for its “high output, good gobos, fabulous colours and accurate control”.
Bas has used Pointes and BMFL WashBeams on previous editions of the event in Prague so there’s always been a strong connection between the Czech Republic’s renowned moving light company and their most famous trance event.
The challenges of lighting a large indoor event like this are intense, explains Bas, talking through some of them.
For a start there is Transmission’s reputation to live up to and exceed everyone’s expectations year-on-year!
Aligning the video set pieces in the room is a galvanizing task, comprising five large apex-ended video screens flown above the stage and audience area, plus six columns of video hanging out of the roof down the long sides of the auditorium. These elements greatly enhanced the depth and perspective of the space together with podium dancers at the base of each column offering an immersive and cozy club vibe.
These set pieces are also designed to be scalable for when the festival moves to different venues and locations worldwide, and with its ever-expanding global reach, this year might also include an outdoor show.
Another challenge is to maintain the signature Transmission look - a vast stage, lots of shaped LED and LED banners – whilst bringing a fresh and invigorating new look and style each year.
Bas, who has worked on Transmission Prague for the last 13 years, right since the start, admits that the easy route would be to re-visit and re-work earlier editions of the production design, but because they are considered a trailblazer in the world of dance event production, the pressure is on for each show to look and feel unique and be like a complete a one-off experience.
Also, the lighting and the video ideas need to gel and work together in order to deliver a proper visual fluidity and harmonization across the room, which takes a lot of advanced work and inherent creative chemistry!
While the MegaPointes were at the core of the lightshow for this one Bas also had a bunch of other lights including beamers and other hybrid fixtures, all pulled from Ministry’s vast rental stock.
Lighting was operated by Zis Ankone and Martijn Deenen utilizing a grandMA2 platform.
The lasers were delivered by Rudo Tucek and his team from Ministry and they are a big part of the Transmission style and ambience. Ministry also supplied most of the event’s LED screen.
The overall technical production was coordinated by United Music Productions.
Photo Credit: Pavel Kral, Petr Klapper