ST. LOUIS, Missouri – The 2015 FIRST Championship pitted 900 international youth teams against each other in an exciting, weekend-long event at the end of April. Using robots they had designed, built and programmed themselves, each team competed in a series of qualifying rounds focused on this year’s theme Recycle Rush. Staged across five venues, the championship’s main events were held at the Edward Jones Dome, home of the St. Louis Rams. New Orleans-based entertainment design and production firm, Solomon Group, was asked to light not only the ceremonies and competitions, but also the concert that capped off the weekend – which it did successfully with the help of HARMAN Martin Professional’s versatile lighting fixtures.
FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) hosts several events throughout the year that target elementary and high school students. The annual championship is the culmination of dozens of regional qualifying rounds throughout the world. Solomon Group also produced eight regional events in addition to the championship, which Matt Foucheaux, Solomon Group’s Director of Production Design, describes as much more dramatic than the relatively straightforward regional productions.
“We mainly relied on simple PAR cans at the regionals, but our client wanted more pageantry at the championship, which introduced a new, Olympic-style event model,” said Foucheaux. “ Martin’s MAC Quantum Wash was our workhorse for the entire weekend. We put it on double-duty for lighting the competitions as well as the concert performers onstage.”
For the competitions, Foucheaux’s primary concern was finding a fixture that would be compatible with the robots’ sensors. Additionally, the lights were needed to make the competitions visible to everyone in the stadium while adding a sense of drama to the matches. The MAC Quantum™ Wash, like many Martin products, features a flicker-free LED bulb that did not interfere with the remote commands sent to the robots. Foucheaux praised the MAC Quantum Wash’s color temperature and bright whites, which he says were ideal for illuminating the eight playing fields in the stadium.
“Once the competitions were finished, all we needed to do was flip the MAC Quantum Washes around toward the stage for the closing ceremony to soak the entire stadium in color and movement,” said Foucheaux. “If we had used PAR rigs, we would’ve had to climb up and refocus everything manually.”
The MAC Quantum Washes, which were hung about 40 feet above the ground floor, were complemented by a host of other Martin fixtures including the MAC Viper™ Profile, MAC Viper™ AirFX, MAC Aura™, MAC™ III Performance and the RUSH™ MH 3 Beam, which Foucheaux sees as vastly superior to similar products from other vendors.
“We own a ton of RUSH MH 3 fixtures but I had never applied them on this scale,” said Foucheaux. “Out of the 76 used, we didn’t have one problem running continuously from Wednesday afternoon to Saturday night. Their brightness, color and speed are remarkable.”
Foucheaux says the event was a huge success with more than 18,000 students from 40 countries in attendance and performances from rock band Boys Like Girls. Foucheaux was more than satisfied with his team’s work to produce the FIRST Championship, helped in part by Martin’s fixtures.
“As designers, we want to make sure it looks exactly as the client envisioned it, but it’s also important to have confidence that the gear will work the way it’s supposed to,” said Foucheaux. “With Martin’s lights, we didn’t have to worry about problems like fixture failures on a huge rig. Those little details mean a lot when you’re on a big job.”
MAC Quantum Wash, 106 pcs.
RUSH MH 3 Beam, 76 pcs.
MAC Viper Profile, 24 pcs.
MAC Viper AirFX, 24 pcs.
MAC Aura, 32 pcs.
MAC III Performance, 14 pcs.
For more information about Solomon Group, please visit: http://solomongroup.com/
As a world leader in the creation of dynamic lighting solutions for the entertainment, architectural, and commercial sectors, Martin lighting and video systems are renowned the world over. Martin also offers a range of advanced lighting controllers and media servers, as well as a complete line of smoke machines as a complement to intelligent lighting. Martin operates the industry’s most complete and capable distributor network with local partners in nearly 100 countries. Founded in 1987 and based in Aarhus, Denmark, Martin is the lighting division of global infotainment and audio company HARMAN International Industries. For more information please visit: www.martin.com.
HARMAN (harman.com) designs and engineers connected products and solutions for consumers, automakers, and enterprises worldwide, including audio, visual and infotainment systems; enterprise automation solutions; and software services. With leading brands including AKG®, Harman Kardon®, Infinity®, JBL®, Lexicon® , Mark Levinson ® and Revel®, HARMAN is admired by audiophiles, musicians and the entertainment venues where they perform around the world. HARMAN also is a technology and integration services leader for the Automotive, Mobile, Telecommunications and Enterprise markets. More than 25 million automobiles on the road today are equipped with HARMAN audio and infotainment systems. The Company’s software solutions power billions of mobile devices and systems that are connected, integrated, personalized, adaptive and secure across all platforms, from the work and home to car and mobile. HARMAN has a workforce of approximately 25,000 people across the Americas, Europe, and Asia and reported sales of $5.9 billion during the last 12 months ended March 31, 2015.