Robe Light

German Unity Day is an annual celebration held on October 3rd, marking the anniversary of the nation’s unification in 1990, when the Federal Republic of Germany and the German Democratic Republic became one single, federal Germany.

Being the 30th Unity Day, the 2020 event took on special significance, with even more resonance added to the mix due to the challenges faced by everyone in dealing with life during the Coronavirus pandemic, and broadcaster ARD highlighted a special TV show staged at the Metropolis-Halle in Filmpark Babelsberg, Potsdam which was organised by the Brandenburg Staatskanzlei (federal government). 

Robe Lights

The venue and Filmpark is a regular client of rental and production specialist Zound’z Unlimited Event Technology GmbH, also based in Potsdam, which was asked to provide lighting, audio and regular IMAG video for the telecast / live stream. 

A production lighting design was created by Zound’z Unlimited’s Marcus Meissner – who is head of lighting and rigging at the company – and included over 200 Robe moving lights, a combination of Pointes, Spiiders, BMFL WashBeams, LEDWash 800s and a RoboSpot system. Onstage, a diverse line-up of artists helped celebrate the dynamics of German music genres, from schlager superstar Roland Kaiser to the foot-tapping electropop of M.I.A., singer and actress Anna Loos to singer-songwriter Mark Forster and the Babelsberger Filmorchester, who backed each artist with special arrangements for this show.

Robe Lightings

Marcus’s starting point for the lighting design was the occasion itself and the fact that the show is essentially more of commemoration in style rather than being a big production entertainment spectacle. So the task was to light the show for TV and cameras and ensure that all the artists looked good. His biggest challenge was to ensure that light was kept off a large upstage projection screen and multiple gauze banners which were rigged all over the stage and used by Berlin-based video artist Philipp Geist. Meeting these two criteria involved a lot of attention to detail, and Marcus wanted multifunctional fixtures as the backbone of the lighting rig.

The 44 x BMFL WashBeams were used, for front and key lighting all over the stage, which undertook the technical implementation of the event broadcast on-site for ARD. Two BMFL WashBeams on an ‘advanced’ truss around 7.5 metres from the front truss, rigged above the audience area for a flatter angle, were running on a Robe RoboSpot remote control system. 

The 102 Spiiders were positioned over the stage and on trusses above the audience area in the hall, they were used for front light onstage and general washes. Some were positioned upstage where they could create video-style effects utilising the pixel and ring control features. Marcus comments that they looked great and produce a good, solid camera-friendly white. The 27 x Pointes were used for effects lighting and adding some energy and razzamatazz at the back. 

Robe Lighting

Up until one week before the event, they didn’t know if haze would be permitted, due to COVID-19 regulations, so it was decided to increase the Spiider count at the back of the stage to enable Marcus to create alternative effects with these, and an additional 32 x LEDWash 800s were then brought in to deal with back-lighting the socially distanced audience. All lighting was controlled, through a grandMA system – a grandMA2 full size with a Light for back up, dealing with 21 x DMX universes and around 8000 parameters. All the effect lightings for the broadcast show was operated by Fabian Lahme. 

The white light operator and the follow spot operator running the RoboSpot system – who was positioned backstage, adjacent to ‘dimmer city’ – were both supplied by RBB and worked closely with the Zound’z team. 

Marcus concluded: “After so long with no shows this was a BIG occasion for us with all the live and TV aspects and something we’ve all been dreaming about for some time.”