ABC-TV's musical drama, "Nashville," features a number of performances in every episode. The final episodes performance got the full star treatment with Clay Paky Sharpy fixtures and two grandMA2 consoles for lighting and media control. A.C.T Lighting, Inc. is the exclusive North American distributor of both brands.
The series, which just finished its second season, shoots in and around Nashville with many of the musical performances staged in a purpose-built studio in town. Sometimes the musical sequences are shot on location; the recent two-part season finale featured performances at Fort Campbell, the US Army base on the Kentucky-Tennessee border, and at Nashville's LP Field.
"The storyline included performing for the troops at Fort Campbell and involved a mobile stage on the tarmac with Apache helicopters flying over the stage," says lighting director Steve Fallon, who works with DP Michael Lohmann on the lighting design for these segments. "Then we had the star of the show in the grandeur of a stadium performance at LP Field."
Fallon, of Fallon Media Design, has been using Clay Paky Sharpy Wash fixtures throughout season two. "They're a great light for TV in terms of color temperature and their small footprint," he reports. "But we opted for the Sharpy Beams for the stadium, and they were perfect."
The stadium was a challenge to light because Fallon had "a vast, three-level area to cover," he explains. "Sharpy was the right choice because it was the only fixture that would give us the throw distance required. And it was the only one that delivered the punch we needed."
Fallon deployed 150 Sharpys from Tony Macre of VER Nashville spread over multiple levels of the stadium, and reports no failures. "The load in was in the rain and freezing cold, but we had literally a zero failure rate. That's amazing. We're very happy with the Sharpys."
The grandMA2 was located on the 50-yard line, "1,000 feet away from many of the instruments," he notes. A back up unit was also on hand. The show marked Fallon's first time using the grandMA2, and David (Fuji) Convertino handled the programming.
"We needed grandMA2's networking capabilities since it was controlling not only the lighting but also the Hippotizer, video elements, the stadium Jumbotron and video ribbons. grandMA2 was the only solution for handling everything; it was the console of choice for that kind of application. Distribution was via the console to the NPUs; we used fiber optics, which made the process really simple."
According to Fallon, the plan for season three of "Nashville" will include larger production values. "It will feature lighting, media servers, ENG cameras and video screens, all controlled via grandMA2."
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