Emphasizing beauty, style and cultural appreciation, the Galaxy International Pageant was established in 2002 and attracts entrants of varied ethnic backgrounds and of all shapes and sizes. Following regional preliminary events across the US and around the world, the grand final takes place each summer in Orlando, Florida. This year, to allow the contestants to shine to their full potential, the pageant was illuminated by an advanced lighting rig featuring more than 40 ADJ fixtures.
Arnoldo Offermann of A Premier Entertainment was originally brought in a few years ago to DJ at the ‘White Party’, a reception held for the pageant’s delegates as part of the five day finals program. However, having attended the event, Arnoldo felt that the staging of the proceedings could be improved with better lighting production and so put together a proposal for pageant director Maria Torres.
“I showed Maria some of the stuff that we can do,” Arnoldo explained, “including the fact that we are able to use lots of LED lights instead of conventionals, to keep the heat down for the contestants on stage, which took care of a major problem. I also explained that we could add more depth to the stage and use DMX to introduce movement and color, which got her really excited about working with us. Even though we came in at a whole different price range, she decided to go with us for all the AV the following year. That went well and so for the 2016 event we were brought in again and took the production to a whole different level.”
Due to the nature of a beauty pageant, it was essential that Arnoldo’s design for the show kept the contestants fully illuminated from every angle no matter where they were on stage. To achieve this the A Premier Entertainment team positioned lights in front of, behind and at either side of the stage.
As the venue doesn’t allow rigging from the ceiling, Arnoldo chose to put in two truss totems at the back of the room fitted with Global Truss DT Dyno Wheel circular truss toppers to provide mounting points for the front-facing stage lighting. Explaining his choice of the DT Dyno Wheel Arnoldo told us, “I knew that if I needed to move the totem for any reason, I can adjust the lights in any direction because the Dyno Wheel is 360-degrees, all the way around”.
For lighting the stage from these totems a selection of conventional Lekos were used, to provide warm light, as well as six ADJ Inno Spot LEDs, to wash the stage in cool white light. The moving heads were used to augment the wash from the conventional fixtures and also to provide spotlighting when required and movement to add anticipation before the winners were revealed.
Additional truss totems were also positioned at stage left and right, each loaded with five ADJ 5P HEXs to provide side in-fill as well as color washes. “The 5Ps were a natural choice,” explained Arnoldo, “as the show involved lots of choreographed dance routines and we wanted to incorporate some black light effects and deep red colors. The warm amber that these fixtures offer was also very useful to even everything out on stage as we wanted to get a really good color balance so that the girls’ skin tones looked natural.”
Each of the truss totems were covered using Global Truss Pro Zip Cover scrims, both to improve their aesthetic and to hide the cables powering the lights. “The biggest time waster setting up a show like this is cable clean up,” Arnoldo told us. “We don’t want the audience to see a single cable, but hiding and taping them down can be very time consuming. But using those Pro Zip Covers allowed us to not have to worry. We just dropped the cables down the middle of the truss and then covered them up at the end. We saved quite a bit of work!”
Another important element of the lighting system, to ensure the contestants on stage were illuminated from all angles, was the footlights. For this task Arnoldo made something of an unconventional decision, choosing ADJ Freq 5 LED strobes attached to pipe and drape bases. “By setting the Freq 5s to static, we were able to make use of their 120-degree throw to light up the contestants from below, head to foot, which really helped to reduce shadows on stage. An unusual fixture choice, but one that worked out really well.”
To create the backdrop for the production, A Premier Entertainment installed 100’ of Global Truss raised up on three DT-PRO5200 crank stands. This was then used to hang drape and also to support eight additional ADJ 5P HEX fixtures to provide rear illumination of the stage. ADJ Dotz Par RGB COB LED wash fixtures, without their optional lenses so as to provide broad 60-degree beams, were then used to down-light the drape and add vibrant color into the show. Two FREQ5s were also aimed straight down at the entrance opening, allowing the girls to truly shine when they appeared on stage.
To complete the stage set, Arnoldo and his team constructed two truss goal posts, one on either side of the stage, which were used to hold up custom splats for use as rear projection screens. Arkaos Media Master Pro software was then used to display logos and other graphics on these screens, trigged by DMX. Finally, a total of sixteen ADJ Mega TRIPAR Profiles were used as truss warmers arranged across the two goalposts.
To operate the show, Lighting Designer Monica Offerman used Elation Compushow and an Elation Midicon Pro to control approximately 3,500 channels of DMX. To aid with patching, and also running out the signal cables, an Elation eNode 4 was also used to split the DMX signal and allow different sets of lights to run on separate DMX universes.
All in all, this was a pretty big setup that involved lots of planning and a day and a half on-site rigging and programming, so we were interested to find out the reaction from Arnoldo’s client. “Maria was elated,” he told us. “One of the challenges of this show was that the photographer didn’t want to use a flash so that it wasn’t off-putting to the contestants. So we needed the stage to be bright enough for him to get great photos, but we didn’t want it to be so bright that the light caused too much blinking. We go that balance just right. Another cool thing that Monica did was match the color of the lights to each contestant’s dress. So the TRIPARs around the truss would be the same color as the dress of the girl on stage and the Dotz Pars lighting the backdrop would match the dress of the next girl to come out, or vice versa, depending on the look. At the point she walked on stage, the colors would then switch. It was a very subtle touch and we weren’t sure if people would catch on, but since then we’ve taken calls for three or four more beauty pageants specifically because of that small detail!”
The summer 2016 Galaxy International Pageant was a big success, thanks in no small part to the efforts of Arnoldo, Monica, Allen, Billy and the team from A Premier Entertainment. Their use of ADJ LED lighting took the show to a new level with coordinated colors and energetic movement, while ensuring that the contestants were always clearly and evenly illuminated. Arnoldo is already making plans for an even more impressive show next year and we here at ADJ can’t wait to hear all about it!
Galaxy International Pageant (Organizer: Maria Torres)
8101 World Center Drive, Orlando FL 32821
Production, Lighting Designer & Photography:
Allen Brantley, Billy Tew
A Premier Entertainment
Winter Haven, FL
ADJ Gear List:
8x ADJ Inno Spot LED
19x ADJ 5P HEX
8x ADJ Mega TRIPAR Profile
10 x ADJ Dotz Par
2x ADJ Freq 5 Strobes
2x Freq 16 Strobes
Arkaos Media Master Pro
Elation Professional Compushow SDE
Elation Professional MIDI Con Pro
Elation Professional eNode 4
180 feet DuraTruss
4 x DuraTruss Pro Zip Covers
2 x DuraTruss DT Dyno Wheels
2x DuraTruss DT-PRO5200 Crank Stands
2x DuraTruss DT-PRO5000 Crank Stands