Professional boxing returned to prime time with the debut of “Premier Boxing Champions” on NBC Sports on March 7. Clay Paky Sharpys and grandMA2 consoles packed a punch for the headline bouts executive produced by Michael Marto of Executive Visions Inc. (EVI) for the Haymon Boxing. A.C.T Lighting, Inc. is the exclusive distributor of Clay Paky lighting fixtures and MA consoles in North America.
The debut of the “Premier Boxing Champions” series marked the first major prime time boxing broadcast on network television since 1985. NBC Sports promises five cards a year in prime time for the high-end series. The first card, held at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, found Keith Thurman winning a unanimous decision in a welterweight bout with Robert Guerrero and Adrien Broner taking the super lightweight bout against John Molina.
“We want to take boxing out of the dark corners and put it front and center in the American psyche,” says John Featherstone of Chicago-based Lightswitch Inc., who served as lighting designer with Chris Medvitz and Warwick Burton. “We are approaching the series like a televised concert tour with a big show feel. For me, that meant Clay Paky and grandMA2 were the logical choices.”
According to Featherstone, “we wanted to get a lot of excitement and dynamic imagery – camera candy, if you will – and Sharpy was the natural way to go. I wouldn’t use anything else. It’s lightweight, has a punchy beam, is super reliable and tours very well. Sharpy has a proven track record.”
He positioned 75 Sharpy fixtures throughout a rig of over 300 fixtures. “The rig was a large circle that was our primary key light position, which was different for boxing,” he explains. “The majority of the Sharpys were around that circle with a few darted around the arena and some on the main stage.”
Featherstone says he turns to grandMA2 consoles for all his projects. He deployed a pair of the full-size desks for the debut of the boxing series.
“We had an extensive previs suite using MA 3D,” he reports. “The accuracy of the rendering was fabulous; it looked flat out gorgeous. Having the TV guys drop their cameras into the previs was amazing. It really helped with the broadcast portion: It achieved cohesion between the TV guys and the lighting guys. We all had a good idea of what we were doing thanks to the previs.”
Featherstone says the Sharpys and grandMA2s performed “flawlessly, of course. A.C.T’s support was amazing – second to none. One of the reasons we go to Clay Paky and MA is because of the level of service and support we get from A.C.T. The equipment is great anyway, but having A.C.T back it up is remarkable.”
Upstaging provided the lighting gear; Prelite Inc. did the previs. Mike Robertson was the lighting programmer with David Zuckerman as production electrican. Ken Burns, Jr., Devon Zuckerman, Brian Kasten and Josh Wagner comprising the lighting crew. Mario Educate, from OSA International, was the technical director; Bruce Rogers, from Tribe Inc., did the production design.
About A.C.T Lighting
A leading importer and distributor of lighting products, A.C.T Lighting, Inc. strives to identify future trends and cutting-edge products, and stock, sell and support their inventory. The company provides superior customer service and value for money to all of its clients.
For more information visit www.actlighting.com.