Mexico recently marked the 150th anniversary of Cinco de Mayo–the commemoration of the Battle of Puebla, which halted an invasion by the French–with an array of festivities and special events. Clay Paky Sharpy fixures and grandMA2 lighting consoles were used for the Cinco de Mayo Spectacular, the nighttime gala orchestrated by Five Currents, the production company for the 2011 Pan American Games Ceremonies in Guadalajara, Mexico. A.C.T Lighting is the North American distributor of both Clay Paky Sharpy and grandMA.
The Cinco de Mayo Spectacular, hosted by former Miss Universe Ximena Navarrette, featured an appearance by the Mexican president and a display of fireworks. It was staged at the Guadalupe Fort in Puebla; the city is a UNESCO World Heritage Centre. Televisa broadcast the event nationwide.
Lighting designer David Grill, of David Grill Associates, Inc. in Mahwah, New Jersey, specified a grandMA2 for control of some 375 moving lights during the Spectacular and utilized a second full size MA2 as a backup console. A grandMA2 light served as the focus console remote. Solotech furnished the complete system.
“There was a massive main stage for the headline talent,” he reports. “Then there was the fort in the background. And the hill between the two was a performance area as well. So everything in the environment was really part of the shot.”
Grill said he opted for the grandMA2s “because of the strength of their networking. Stuff was everywhere, so we needed the efficiency of using the MA network. It made things really simple thanks to its processing speed. The way the system deals with effects enabled us to quickly do things that would have been much more time consuming on other consoles. We could also create all sorts of little visual mapping tools that made Pauls’ life much easier. All of this from a system more user-friendly than anything else. We had great support from MA in transitioning from grandMA, which we had been using, to grandMA2. And A.C.T took good care of us.”
Lighting director and programmer Paul Sonnleitner was accustomed to doing shows of the scale of the Spectacular, but this was his first with grandMA2. “I really liked the layout feature, which helped me manage the three distinct areas,” he said. “I could actually draw out where the fixtures fell. It’s a great tool for large rigs: You can see what color they’re in, what gobo. You can see the whole rig as a unit and grab large areas and change things without knowing the fixtures’ channel number.”
Sonnleitner also praised the grandMA2’s effects engine, which “has come a long way. It’s fun to build effects from scratch and add them to the MA toolkit.”
Grill deployed a complement of 44 Clay Paky Sharpy moving heads, which were mounted on the H truss at stage right for the headline talent and behind the main stage as backlights. “I’ve used them before on shows I’ve directed, but this was my first as a designer,” he said. “I love them to death. They’re incredibly bright, come in a small package and don’t chew up a lot of power. You cannot get anything else at 189W that has a beam that bright.”