The annual International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) Awards came to the U.S. for the first time in 2014. The massive awards show took place in Tampa’s Raymond James Stadium on Saturday, April 26. Production Resource Group, LLC. (PRG), the production partner with the award show’s producer Wizcraft, provided all of the production elements—lighting, video, audio, and scenic as well as furnishing complete production management and site-coordination services. The IIFA Awards, which aired on the Star World Network, honored artistic and technical excellence in Bollywood, India’s famed Hindi-language film industry that sells more than three billion tickets every year.
The IIFA Awards, also known as the Bollywood Oscars, has been held annually around the world in cities including London, Amsterdam, Johannesburg, and Toronto, to name a few. The 2014 extravaganza marked the show’s 15th year.
The IIFA Awards included a week filled with events based on Indian film, fashion, music, business, and culture, with the climax being the IIFA Award ceremony. The weekend is typically as big as Super Bowl weekend, drawing over 30,000 visitors, and the ceremony being broadcasted to 600 million viewers in 108 countries.
PRG coordinated all of the technical and logistical aspects for the massive production taking place at Raymond James Stadium as well as peripheral events at the Mid-Florida Amphitheatre in Tampa. PRG brought in Ola Melzig of M & M Production Management AB, Stockholm to be the technical director for the event. Melzig has technically managed many large events including Commonwealth Games and Eurovision Song Contests.
The production was a turnkey solution provided by PRG supplying production management, lighting, rigging, audio, video, stage, set, site coordination, green carpet, pyro, and the crew for it all.
The IIFA Awards show was produced by Wizcraft. Personnel from Wizcraft included Executive Producer Viraf Sarkari, Producer Prapti Malhotra, Operations Manager Manmeet Singh, and set designer Varsha Jain. All of the video content was produced by Wizcraft and operated by Screens Producer Laura Frank. The Lighting Designer was Eugene O’Connor with Aloysius Dsouza handling the lighting programming.
“The IIFA Awards are the Indian equivalent of the Oscars with 800 million viewers worldwide,” says lighting designer Eugene O’Connor. “Cinema is huge there, and the awards show lasted more than five hours. It had a very big open and included production numbers with 60-70 dancers.” O’Connor’s gear list included ___ PRG Bad Boy Spots that he used for front light from the top of the stadium as well as down the sides of the stadium; 85 Clay Paky Sharpy units; and 30 SGM XC-5 Color Strobe LED RGB. Control was via a MA Lighting grandMA2 console.
The massive stage at Raymond James Stadium measured 62’H x 132’W x 63’D stage (approx. 19 x 40 x 19 meters).
O’Connor had 85 Sharpys on the IIFA Awards; 16 on the floor across the front of the stage and 14 across the back. There were six vertical towers with three or four Sharpys on each, plus a number on the roof over the stage. O’Connor commented that “when you light for TV you tend to light for FOH, but I light for many different angles. I like a lot of heights, and I let light wrap around the stage so everything is very big, bright and colorful.”
Three grandMA2 full-size consoles and one grandMA2 light were deployed for the show. “Console one was for all the moving lights, console two was its back up, console three operated the PRG Mbox media servers and console four, the grandMA2 Light, was its back up,” explains Melzig. “With the schedule as tight as it was during load in and rehearsals on stage from 10 am to 4 pm daily, once the stage was ready grandMA 3D was crucial for the lighting team,” Melzig says.
O’Connor decided to do a lot of pre-programming, so programmer Dsouza deployed grandMA 3D on his Apple MacBook Pro, which was connected to a plasma screen for external display. “We only had three days for programming while the crew was rigging lights and getting all aspects of the show ready,” Dsouza says. “The show also had the challenge of being outdoors with sunset timings.”