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Clay Paky at the 2013 Sanremo Music Festival
Lighting Designer
Ivan Pierri
DB technology
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The 2013 Sanremo Music Festival, presented by Fabio Fazio with the help of Luciana Littizzetto, introduced many innovations into the most popular, most talked about and most followed Italian Music Festival. For example, for the first time in the history of the Festival, each artist presented two pieces of music, which the audience at home could choose between by televoting.

The choice of scenery was also adapted to emphasize the idea of a “break with the past”. “We decided to go against the trend of previous years and use LED walls less and lights more, almost all of which were Clay Pakys, including the latest arrivals, the Sharpy Wash 330s,” revealed the Director of Photography Ivan Pierri.

“Several times in the past, Festival Director Duccio Forzano and I have found ourselves thinking that maybe LED walls have been used excessively in every television concert and TV show we have seen. So we decided to turn over a very new leaf and retrieve that ‘materialness’ in the scenery which we had almost lost. In this way, the lights once again become the main variable expressive element that transmits feelings to the audience at home.”

The backbone of the lighting system consisted of Clay Paky Alpha Profile 1500s, Sharpys and Sharpy Wash 330s.

In a certain way, responsibility also increases with this new lighting concept, as Ivan Pierri pointed out: “Personally I thought it would be difficult to improve on previous years, where we had made the utmost effort to harmonize impressive lighting and LED structures elegantly. I felt it was right to try a new way of expression to overcome our limitations. This year, there was a great deal of team work to try to give the position of the lights a meaning.”

The impression you get is of “cleanliness” and “tidiness”.  Every light or group of lights was aimed very precisely and specifically at various points in the scenery and on stage, as well as being “tailor made” for each piece of music. Pierri told us: “A beam of light is part of a vanishing point and, as such, directly or indirectly creates a centre of attention: it must not be wasted! I almost always try to “custom make the outfit” for each song that is the only one that fits, because songs project you into a world where there is only one outfit that makes you feel comfortable.”

From a technical point of view, Pierri explained that the vertical height and mobility of the scenery, designed by Francesca Montanaro, prevented the construction of special supporting structures. The lighting system therefore had to adapt itself to be as functional as possible within the space allowed. It consisted of five battens parallel to the proscenium, with about 70 Sharpy Wash 330s and 60 Alpha Profile 1500s, arranged to cover the whole depth of the stage. There were also 36 Sharpy lights along the truss above the orchestra and four vertical structures anchored behind the scenic LED totems, with approximately eleven Sharpy lights each.

Clay Paky Sharpy Wash lights are absolutely new on the international scene. They are very compact and lightweight with 330 watt lamps, but with the light output, graphic effects and optical performance typical of a 1200 watt light. They are fast and silent, and equipped with CMY colour mixing, special colours, a rotating beam shaper, mechanical dimmer and motorized top hat. The optical system is very versatile with a zoom that ranges from 6.5° (a “narrow” angle that makes it almost like a beam moving light, like the Sharpy) to 48°, which is perfect for theatrical and television environments.

“I am particularly happy to be among the first, if not the very first person ever, to use the Sharpy Wash lights,” said Pierri. “It is an innovative new concept washlight. I was particularly surprised by the high light output in comparison with its consumption, its speed and its colour rendition, even – and especially – as regards warm tones. I think this light will have a great future, even in television environments.”

DB technology was the lighting service company for the 2013 Sanremo Music Festival. Quintino Caci and Fabio Gallotta were the lighting desk operators. Roberto Corona was on the white lights. Maurizio Ranaldi and Alessandro Fedele were on the Catalyst media server. Riccardo Coi was the gaffer.