Latin America. The annual Billboard Latin Music Awards are the biggest night of the year for Latin American music, and this year lighting designer John Daniels skillfully employed a selection of Elation lights to create captivating effects and aesthetic styles in the show.
Broadcast live on Oct. 5 from the Watsco Center in Coral Gables, Florida, Daniels creatively incorporated the Elation Proteus Rayzor Blade, Proteus Excalibur and Smarty MAX luminaires as some of the event's most impactful lights.
Daniels, in his fifth year working on the show, designed lighting looks for 16 performances by top talent such as Bad Bunny, Peso Pluma and many others, as well as numerous awards presentations. Elation fixtures played key visual roles in their lighting design and were instrumental in the dynamic camera looks created throughout the show. The lighting supply for the event was from 4Wall.
Opting for a streamlined approach this year, Daniels strategically selected fewer types of fixtures, allowing for more creativity with each light while also allowing lighting programmers Chris Fernandez and Felix Peralta to dig deeper into each fixture. Fernandez focused on key lighting for the talent and audience, while Peralta handled effects and ambience programming, and both acted as lighting directors for the show.
Fernandez, co-founder of Limitless Design Group, collaborated with Elation's Ryan Stumpp to source the Elation lighting units used for the event and was instrumental in connecting Daniels with Stumpp and 4Wall account representative Sebastian Yepes. "It was a team effort and we all worked closely together to make the vision a reality," Fernandez said. "We are excited about the performance of the Elation team."
The collaboration brought Daniels to 4Wall Orlando, where he had the opportunity to demonstrate the Proteus Excalibur and Proteus Rayzor Blade devices. Impressed with what he saw, he eventually decided to use them to anchor many camera shots during the show. The designer says he initially considered using the Excaliburs only for a specific performance, but after having trouble determining the right time to display them, he decided the solution was the event's unique FoH position.
Daniels explains, "FoH was so close to the stage that we decided to give him a video panel and make him part of the stage design. You invariably see FoH in a lot of the camera shots and we needed something there that would really round out the many 360 shots with the audience and the award winners. With that in mind, that's where the Excaliburs made sense. I knew that these luminaires needed room to breathe, and at FoH they could be used in a way that felt natural to them: long projections with a narrow beam of light. That was a logical location and they helped complement the story of the video."
The dozen Excaliburs in FoH were seen regularly throughout the show and were prominently displayed during a performance by Myke Towers and Yandel that began at FoH with the luminaries flying in a crescendo of powerful synchronized beams.
The set design for the awards show included several areas that required low-profile, linear lighting.
"In my designs, I try to find types of linear fixtures that don't clash with the design of the video, but rather function more as an add-on," said Daniels, mindful of an executive producer's preference for prominent silhouettes of large moving heads versus video. screen. "At the same time, with 20 to 30 people on stage at a time, I needed a washable fixture to illuminate the dancers."
Twenty-four Proteus Rayzor Blade fixtures, located both below and above the video element at the back of the stage, featured prominently in the performances and in the looks of the shows. Not only did the design retain the visual impact of the video screen, but it also perfectly enhanced the whole thing without overshadowing it.
"The Rayzor Blades are beautiful lights that really completed the linear look," says Daniels. "I love its versatility and how you can reimagine the device using pixels, strobe, or SparkLED. At that point you don't even realize it's a linear washing device." The designer used the Rayzor Blades in all its attributes: wash to illuminate the dancers or any production element, eye-catching effect, strobe light, and even as a background glow effect. "They harmonized the design of the video and improved both the performances and the look of the show, so it was a real win-win."
The dynamic show featured talent continually entering and exiting the stage, requiring lively looks that kept the dynamic lighting team busy. However, during the show's presentations, when the awards were presented, Daniels toned down the images but maintained a "nice syrupy movement" that didn't divert attention from the talent he was talking about. "We kept some flow effects through a lot of lights, for example the Rayzors, to keep the background interesting, but never enough to compete with the talent that's on the podium."
Smarty MAX Consistency
The lowest lighting element of the designer's stage consisted of two Smarty MAX airlines (23 per side), a small but impactful 21,000-lumen hybrid moving head that he has used at previous Billboard Latin Music Awards shows. "They were my lightning curtain left and right for big wide shots, entrances and exits, etc.," Daniels said. "For a powerful device, they're compact and very consistent. That consistency is important, particularly when doing large beam focuses because you want the color temperature to be the same for a uniform look. Consistency and uniformity are key for me and the Smarty MAX delivers on that. We were able to capture some really nice moments with them."
The Elation fixtures, part of a larger lighting package used in the show, added a lot to the show's production value, Daniels concludes.
John Daniels: Lighting Designer
Félix Peralta: Lighting Programmer / Lighting Director
Chris Fernandez: Lighting Programmer / Lighting Director
René García: Director of Floor Lighting
Mike Grimes: Chief
Stephanie Shechter: Best Girl
Ronnie Skopac: Lighting Tech
Tom Thayer: Lighting Tech
Amy Singerman: Lighting Tech
Kevin Brophy: Lighting Tech
Sebastián Yepes: 4Wall Account Representative