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Clay Paky fixtures score a win at Pan American Games opening and closing ceremonies in Rio
Lighting Designer
David Grill
Procon Event Engineering
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Clay Paky fixtures scored an award-winning performance at the XV Pan American Games in Rio de Janeiro where 122 Alpha Spot HPE 1200s were used in the opening and closing ceremonies.A continental version of the Olympic Games held every four years, the Pan American Games are one of the leading competitions on the international sports calendar.This year more than 5,000 athletes from 42 countries participated in 34 sports.

Lighting Designer David Grill specified the instruments, which were supplied by Procon Event Engineering in Hamburg, Germany.He positioned all of the Alpha Spots on the balcony rail around Rio’s Maracana Stadium.

“The opening and closing ceremonies are on par with those of the Olympics,” Grill notes. “The theme was the energy of Brazil — the energy of man, water and the sun — and we helped spectators in the stadium and the home TV audience ‘Share the energy’ which was the motto for the Games.The Alpha Spots needed to give us key light for the performers on the field and also create texture for a canopy and an overall look throughout the stadium using unit movement, color flowing, multiple gobos and rotating gobo elements.”

Grill’s lighting design for theater, dance, opera, television, architectural projects and industrials has taken him from the Great Wall of China to the Great Stage of Radio City Music Hall.No stranger to big events, he received a primetime Emmy Award for Best Lighting Direction for the Opening Ceremony at the Salt Lake City 2002 Olympic Winter Games, and he recently lit “Cinderellabration” at Walt Disney World® Resort Magic Kingdom® Park.He has worked on numerous Super Bowl halftime shows and The Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular.He has extensive dance credits with such companies as the Milwaukee Ballet, Atlanta Ballet, and the Houston Ballet to name a few.

The Pan American Games opening ceremonies toasted the host country while the closing ceremonies celebrated the athletes and their feats.Some 75,000 people attended the opening ceremonies, which presented the ‘Share the energy’ motto through three different kinds of energy. The energy of the sun was illustrated by Brazil’s wildlife — coral snakes, Victoria waterlilies, birds and a crocodile.For the energy of water the stadium was transformed into a large blue sea with boats floating among the waves; the sandy beaches and sidewalks of Copacabana were also depicted.And the energy of man was shown in the diversity of Brazilian culture and its traditional dances and mythology.

Clay Paky’s Alpha Spot HPE1200 guarantees extraordinary luminosity by combining a top performance optical unit and a 1200W discharge lamp.Featuring a large, newly-designed effects section, color mixing CMY and linear zoom 10-40 degrees, Alpha Spot HPE 1200 is the most silent of the Alpha range and is a great choice for lighting designers who want maximum results in professional lighting.

Grill was pleased with the fixtures’ performance.“They had to meet the unique challenge of having an average throw distance of 100 feet and did quite well.They were still punchy and effective at such a long throw,” Grill reports.

“We were very pressed for time,” he adds, “and I was happy that the Alpha Spots worked every day, were very consistent in color and behaved as I needed them to with no surprises whatsoever,” he reports.“They proved to be quite reliable with no call for maintenance.The Alpha Spots are not only designed to provide a good feel and color but also a multitude of opportunities in terms of gobo movements and gobo effects.”

Paul Sonnleitner and Laura Frank served as Lighting Directors and programmed the Clay Paky fixtures using two grandMA consoles.