LOS ANGELES – “Dazzling!” The word was used often by the entertainment media when reporting on the Red Carpet at this year’s Primetime Emmy Awards. Journalists used this and similar plaudits to describe not just the TV stars as they exited their limousines, but also their sartorial splendor, from Jessica Chastain’s chartreuse Gucci dress, to Ali Wong’s embroidered satin Louis Vuitton skirt.
Helping the beautifully bedecked stars shine more brightly was an elegantly balanced lighting design that featured 124 CHAUVET Professional fixtures supplied by 4Wall Entertainment.
As one of the producers of the Red Carpet event, Barrett Hall of Invoke Entertainment collaborated with a talented team to create a stunning, vividly drawn and executed design that worked beautifully on camera. “For this event, I wanted to ensure that the lighting was perfect,” said Hall. “So, I brought longtime collaborator Ben Green onboard as our LD, and had 4Wall provide equipment.”
“Our ultimate goal was to make TV’s hottest stars look their best on their biggest night as they celebrated their own work and that of their peers,” continued Hall, who achieved this by working with veteran producers: David Jacobi, Neal Roscoe, and Jamie Watana. “How does this translate to lighting? By providing soft, even light anywhere the stars can be photographed or interviewed on-camera by the multitude of media outlets and press in attendance.”
Playing a key role in helping LD Ben Green realize this vision with the team were 96 onAir Panel 2 IP IP65, full-spectrum LED soft lights. Lining the entire Red Carpet space, from the arrivals area on through the step and repeat, these 1×2 format white light units provided consistently supportive light for the cameras.
“The onAir Panels stood out for us due to their clean black housing, onboard power supply, IP rating, price point, and modern adjustable PWM settings,” said Green. “For this project, having the PWM flexibility was notably important because of how many different cameras controlled by a wide range of different people needed to play well together. This was especially true for the high-speed E! “Glambot” camera taping slow motion reels.”
Although the media walk and step and repeat lighting was impeccable, some of the more fun moments of the design took place in the arrivals area, a new space for the Emmy Awards this year, where nominees and A-list guests met with their teams before hitting the red carpet.
Creating a richly textured setting in the arrivals area were 16 Rogue R2X Wash fixtures and 18 Rogue R1 BeamWashes. “They were our primary workhorses in this area,” Green said of the fixtures. “This space was a new addition this year and with help from the Rogues, we really succeeded in making it both functional and inviting. While the R2X Washes provided static, warm ambient light, the R1 BW fixtures were spotted down to add a subtle roving spotlight feel that offered some excitement without being distracting.”
Creating this magic on the red carpet required a great deal of collaboration. “This was a team effort,” said Green. “So many people helped us, including John Cox (gaffer); Ron Murphy and Dennis Sisul (best boys), Ryan Tanker (programmer/lighting director), Drew DeCorleto and Matthew Johns (4Wall); Nick Vincenti (staging supervisor), our local 33 electricians, and of course, Salt Productions, as the lead production company.”
Working together, this team met the project’s major challenges of time and weight. “Load in had to be swift — and keep in mind, a tent can only hold so much, so maximizing our capacity with fixtures that could do the most was vital, explained Green. “Another, challenge about red carpet events is that we spend as much time as we can producing an elegant, refined, and evenly lit experience, and then media outlets all arrive mostly day-of with their own equipment, technology, lamp types, and shakes things up. In this way, the toughest challenge is turning ‘pollution’ into grandeur. And of course, the pinnacle moment for any red carpet is when talent hits their mark at the step and repeat, collects themselves, and smiles ear-to-ear to the camera. It’s that photo which gets sent out to the world that people will remember: their wardrobe, their hair, their makeup, their presence.”
This challenge may have been tough, but the team met it in stunning fashion, since “grandeur,” like “dazzling,” would have been a word that readily came to mind for anyone watching videos or looking at photographs of this signature event.