Electric Aura Projects has collaborated with Christie Lites and Solotech to deploy a unique rig featuring a wide range of Martin lighting solutions for the Twisted Tea Grey Cup Halftime Show, delivering a hybrid lighting and creative video display that translated both on television and in person.
Established in 1909 and named for former General Governor of Canada Albert Grey, the Grey Cup is the championship game that concludes each Canadian Football League season. With regular viewing audiences of four million, the Grey Cup is Canada’s largest annual televised sports event. The 109th Grey Cup final took place on November 20, 2022 at Mosaic Stadium in the Saskatchewan city of Regina. The highly anticipated Twisted Tea Halftime Show featured performances by Tyler Hubbard, Jordan Davis and Josh Ross.
To ensure a successful halftime production, Patrick Roberge Productions (PRP) once again turned to Electric Aura Projects to supply a lighting design that simultaneously entertained the live audience in the stadium and millions of viewers at home. Electric Aura Projects’ Robert Sondergaard and Jason McKinnon designed a unique stage show using a plethora of Martin lighting fixtures supplied by Christie Lites and Solotech, including the MAC Aura PXL.
“The Grey Cup is one of the most watched TV programs in Canada every year,” said Robert Sondergaard, production designer / co-owner, Electric Aura Projects. “We needed to put on a show for the television audience, but it also had to look good for the 40,000 fans in the stadium. On this show we had Martin fixtures integrated with LED video screens as part of the visual backdrop. Because the fixtures are part of the camera shot, the actual look of the fixtures was important. The MAC Aura PXL fixtures were perfect as dynamic set pieces because it has a large lens and looks interesting.”
To create an immersive visual environment that integrates lighting and video, Sondergaard and his team deployed a large number of Martin solutions. The MAC Aura XB fixtures delivered “beautiful” backlit washes, while MAC Axiom Hybrids were deployed above the video structure to provide beam effects. The team used MAC Viper Performance fixtures to illuminate the stadium’s roofing structure. To extend the video elements wider than the screens behind the stage, Sondergaard’s design included rows of VDO Sceptron linear video fixtures.
Martin MAC Ultra Performance fixtures played a key role in the Halftime Show as manual follow spots. The MAC Ultra Performance’s benchmark output and next generation framing system helped the Electric Aura team deliver warm and bright front light for the primetime broadcast. Finally, Sondergaard deployed an array of MAC Aura PXL multisource wash fixtures to give the Halftime Show’s visual design a fresh and unique element. The MAC Aura PXL is the first wash light in the market to give lighting designers individual pixel control over main beam pixels and backlit pixels, with a variety of control standards including DMX, Art-Net, sACN and Martin’s very own creative P3 video protocol.
“I’m always looking for an opportunity to use a new fixture on the Grey Cup,” said Sondergaard. “We want to do something that people haven’t seen before. The MAC Aura PXL was exactly the fixture we needed to bridge what was happening on the video and recreate it to some effect with the fixtures themselves. All the individual pixels inside the face of the fixture gave us a dynamic creative element as a palette to work on.
“Christie Lites and Solotech have been our partners on the Grey Cup for twelve years. The attention to detail they put into their pre-show preparations always results in a simple and flawless deployment process. The quality of Martin fixtures is fantastic, and we know they’re going to work no matter what. That reliability is the reason I like to stick with Martin fixtures. On events like the Grey Cup, we’re putting them through harsh winter conditions, and they stand up great. We didn’t have issues with any of the fixtures. It didn’t matter how cold it got or how windy – everything worked perfectly for the show.”