Staged at Teatro Ariston in Sanremo, Liguria, Italy, Director of Photography (DOP) Mario Catapano was tasked with illuminating the latest edition of Sanremo Music Festival with a lighting rig which included over 400 Robe moving lights – a mix of T1 Profiles, Spiiders, LEDBeam 150s, Pointes and a six-way RoboSpot system – all supplied by Pesaro-based rental company Sound d-light.
Aside from being one of the Italy’s biggest and best-known song competitions, the event selected the country’s entry for the Eurovision Song Contest, organised and broadcast by RAI.
The contest comprised two main sections – one featuring 26 established artists, plus a ‘newcomers’ section of eight rising-star singers. The voting came from a mixture of sources including a judging panel, a large public tele / internet vote and by the musicians and singers of the Sanremo Festival Orchestra. It was the fifth time that Mario Catapano has lit the event, enlisted by TV Director, Stefano Vicario and Artistic Director, Amedeo ‘Amadeus’ Sebastiani.
Catapano’s starting point for the lighting was the elaborate set design imagined by Gaetano and Chiara Castelli which comprises six large shrinking perspective octagonal portals surrounding a central staircase with a large LED screen at the upstage end, opening out into a triangular-shaped stage with mirrored floor. The orchestra and band were spaced out on two podiums either side of the stage edge.
In this challenging year, the set was interpreted as a spacecraft, a sort of time travel machine and entranceway to a transportation vortex that could take everyone – performers and audience – on a journey into multiple other dimensions.
Catapano worked closely with the set designers and positioned lighting trusses in between the scenic portals, so light could come in from all angles around the staircase as well as in the traditional positions above and to the sides of the stage.
This gave the overall show looks massive depth and huge dynamic potential – whether it was a grand sweeping wide shot to an intimate moment with a performer lit by a single fixture. “It was a fantastic way to work, great visual synergy between lighting and scenic elements made for a very memorable result,” Catapano remarked.
125 Robe LEDBeam 150 fixtures were chosen for their sharp beams and colour range. The units were rigged all over the trusses in between the set pieces and above the stage, with some on the floor – increasing the perspective illusion. “Their small size and huge power made them ideal for fitting into so many different places,” explained Catapano.
160 Pointes were dotted around the studio space, particularly at the back and along the sides in the ‘scenic’ trusses, for complimentary beam effects interacting with the LEDBeam 150s.The fixtures were picked for their versatility, efficiency and the compact dimensions which meant they could be ensconced within the set without interrupting the clean linear aesthetic of the set architecture.
60 Spiiders were used for washing the stage and staircase areas as well as the orchestra and band podiums, with 60 Robe T1 Profiles used for key lighting contestants, presenters, and musicians. Known for their great range of high-quality colour corrected whites and ability to produce perfect skin tones, they were also just what Catapano required. Six T1 Profiles were positioned at the back of the studio, and were running on the six RoboSpot remote systems, operated by RAI crew, all providing critical key light.
Two T1 Profiles running on RoboSpot remote follow spot systems were positioned on the left and right corners of the balcony, with two more T1 Profiles fixtures and RoboSpot BaseStations in the front centre of the same balcony. A further pair of RoboSpot BaseStations were onstage, each controlling one T1 Profile located back-centre in the roof rig used extensively for lighting and follow spotting in positions where it would not have been possible to rig traditionally operated follow spots.
In addition to Robe luminaires, 130 other lighting fixtures made up the lighting rig, which were controlled by two Compulite Vector Blue consoles operated by RAI’s Quintino Caci, Danilo Luongo and Adriano Barbanzolo. The Sound d-light crew comprised Diego Sacchi, Alessandro Agostinelli and Mirko Palanca.
Sound d-light Srl is owned and run by Luca Domenicucci, Lorenzo Antonelli and Paolo Marcuzzi, who started buying Robe products in 2014 after the manufacturer launched its famous BMFL high powered multi-functional fixture.
The company now stocks Robe BMFLs, T1s, LEDBeam 150s, Spiiders, SilverScans, Pointes and MegaPointes. “In the past few years, Robe has introduced the best and most innovative technologies,” said Domenicucci, adding that the “uniqueness” and engineering of each product ensures a long working life and ROI on the product. “The service from (Italian distributor) RM Multimedia is exceptional.”
All three company owners were extremely proud to be part of this historic edition of the Sanremo Music Festival, the ‘super final’ of which was won – against the odds – by Rome based four-piece rock group Måneskin, who received a staggering 53.5% of all the votes. The group rose to prominence after finishing as runners-up in the 2017 Italian X Factor and will represent Italy in Rotterdam on 22 May with their rousing anthem, “Zitti e buoni”.
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