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Bandit Lites Provides the Ultimate Fighting Experience
The world’s leading mixed martial arts sports association recently spent some time in Manchester, England. Long-time UFC Lighting Designer, George Smith (and Showlight Designs - the company he co-owns with Frank Gatto) provide equipment for the U.S. shows. However, for UFC 70: Nations Collide, Smith collaborated with Bandit UK chief executive, Lester Cobrin and staff to provide lighting equipment.
Lighting the UFC is two-fold. Initially there is a substantial amount of video to entertain the audience before the fighters come out. During this portion of the evening, the lights are minimally used to provide an atmosphere for optimal video viewing. Then, when the fighters arrive, the full lighting production begins.
Smith said that one challenge for lighting these shows is that the fighters request that there is very little smoke. As a result, he has to use as little df-50 as possible, but still somehow achieve the same result. He accomplishes this by only releasing the smoke at key lighting moments.
For Smith, another challenge revolves around the actual quantity of equipment he has to work with. “UFC lighting used to be similar to that of WWE - complete with lasers, LED screens, pyrotechnics, etc.,” Smith explains. “Then, when the UFC decided to revamp the show to a more traditional boxing experience, they took away about 60% of my lighting but still expected the same element of excitement as before.”
In order to achieve this, Smith added four audience trusses with Martin MAC 2ks. This allowed him keep the main focus on the boxers, but also bring the crowd into the show. Another key lighting element is that the main rig features a substantial amount of LEDs. Smith incorporated the LEDs to draw attention to the fighters as they are introduced. The LEDs turn the truss red for the red corner fighter walk and blue for the blue corner walk. Then, during fight action, the truss is usually gold. This provides Smith with another opportunity to keep the focus on the fighters but still add an extra flair to the overall lighting design.
For this show, Smith chose Martin MAC 2000 Profiles and Washes, MAC 600s, High End Systems StudioColor 575s, ETC Source Four PARS, Pixel Par 90s and Avolites 72 Way 2.4k dimmers to light the show. Lighting was controlled by an Avolites Pearl 2004.
Bandit UK’s Lester Cobrin comments: “It is very exciting to be working with George Smith, Allan Connal and everyone within the UFC organisation. I am looking forward to continuing the relationship between UFC and Bandit Lites in the future.”
Jason Eible acted as board operator for the Manchester event. Bandit and the UFC will team up again in Belfast, Ireland on June 16, 2007. It will be the UFC’s first appearance in Ireland to date.
18th May 2007
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