Television survival expert and adventurer, Bear Grylls, took to the road on a high-tech arena tour during the tail end of 2016. PRG XL Video supported Lighting Designer Adam Bassett, from lighting design company Woodroffe Bassett Design, with a comprehensive package of lighting and rigging for the show. Adam was keen to share his experience of being a key designer on this ambitious production:
How did Woodroffe Bassett Design become involved with the Bear Grylls Live? “We were invited to get involved by the producer Harvey Goldsmith and Luke Carr from the Live Firm. This combined with a good working relationship with Stufish, the creative production company behind the show, made this project a good fit for us.”
Please explain the concept behind the Bear Grylls Live Show: “This was a really unique production. A mix of live storytelling and staged re-enactment, all bought to life with video, lighting and sound in an immersive format. The show took the audience on a journey, re-telling a number of the most extraordinary stories of endurance and survival. Our job was to work alongside the video material and paint an ever changing environment that bought the audience into the story rather than simply watching it.”
Could you explain the design, what looks you wanted to achieve and the technology you used to fulfil your vision? “Everything was about texture and colour. The lighting concept can most easily be described as environmental. Far from being merely a backdrop, video was integral to the show and lead the way visually, in terms of colour palette and timeline, and we followed by painting the bigger picture around the projected imagery and over the audience. The second element to lighting the show was making sure the action was well lit, for which the complexity could not be underestimated. Bear was a moving target, sometimes on-stage, sometimes flying and on many occasions climbing up a video projected wall. This made lighting him extremely difficult whilst protecting the video image from stray followspots. The ideal solution for this was to use the PRG GroundControl remote followspots, we had six of them in various locations which allowed us to precisely follow him from the most appropriate angle at all times. Furthermore, it allowed us to program every attribute of the light to make sure it was perfectly balanced with the other lighting and video—something that would be far too complex to have a manual operator achieve particularly in regards to live colour mixing.”
What was the biggest challenge you faced bringing the show to the stage? “Key lighting Bear to a level where the audience and IMAG can clearly see yet doesn’t obviously look like he’s being followspotted and removed from the environment.”
The Woodroffe Bassett team on Bear Grylls, left to right: Nico Bray (Tour Lighting Director), Terry Cook (Associate Lighting Designer), Adam Bassett (Lighting Designer). Cameron Affleck (Lighting Assistant), John Coman (Lighting Programmer).
Lighting products used in Adam’s design included a large number of PRG proprietary lighting products, including the Bad Boy spot, Best Boy spot, Best Boy wash and six PRG GroundControl followspot systems. Other lighting fixtures used on the tour were GLP Impression X4 moving lights, iPix BB4 and Chauvet Strike 4 LED lights.
PRG XL Video’s Account Director Yvonne Donnelly Smith coordinated the supply of lighting and rigging for the tour: “Working with Woodroffe Bassett is always a good experience, Adam’s a great designer, ably assisted on this project by the very talented Terry Cook. The Bear Grylls show was something very different from what we normally do—we all jumped at the additional and unexpected challenges. It was clear from the outset that GroundControl would be the only option for followspots, because of the acrobatic work Bear does during the show, conventional followspots wouldn’t have worked as well. It was a rewarding project to work on, and a pleasure to continue our relationship with Adam and the rest of the team at Woodroffe Bassett.”