Alex Merrett is a very talented final year BSc (Hons) Lighting Design and Technology student at the University of South Wales. A real go-getter in the lighting industry. Most recently, Alex has been working with Nathan Wan and Andy Webb of Robe Lighting on the lighting design for the TPi Awards that took place in London last week. We caught up with Alex right after the show for a little debrief, to get his take on what was required to do the programming for such a high-profile production, who he worked with and how things went, overall.
There were over 400 fixtures in the all-Robe rig on the awards night, including 60 of Robe’s latest fixtures – the bright, versatile SuperSpikie. Seems like Alex Merrett is a real trail-blazer. Not only does he use new Robe lights for a massive show, he used the wysiwyg VR feature for the previsualization part of production.
Just one look at the photos from the night are enough to give any of us at home severe FOMO (fear of missing out) and a profound curiosity as to how the team pulled of such a great light show. The pressure would have been incredible, considering the best of the best, anyone and everyone in the lighting industry was in attendance.
Alex Merrett’s role at the TPi awards was that of Assistant Lighting Designer, working alongside Nathan Wan and Andy Webb from Robe. He created the wysiwyg file for the show, creating the patch and all the paperwork within the program to send to Nathan and Hawthorn. Another one of his tasks was attending production meetings.
“I have been using wysiwyg since starting university in 2016. It is quick and easy to use. I can complete paperwork, patching all within wysigyg. The fixtures personalities are very useful, including power consumption and weight of the fixture. Perform is efficient and connects easily to a console and be able to start programming shows. There’s many features within the program that help massively when creating lighting rigs in CAD.” – Alex Merrett
Three days prior to the event were spent programming in wysiwyg and then spent additional time on site to update palettes and do the final fine tuning. One of the interesting things about the programming stage for this event is that Alex used the Virtual Reality previsualization feature for this show, which is really exciting for us here at CAST to know our users are enjoying this feature.
“My experience with VR is great, its an exciting way to show other people design concepts, not only from a lighting point, but also how the space will feel. I certainly recommend it.” – Alex Merrett
Any quick search of the internet for coverage of the TPi Awards 2019 boast of a wide array of beautiful shots where the lighting looks immaculately on point. The audience present reacted well and gave glowing reviews not only about the night itself but also the lighting design. It would be a tough crowd to impress when the biggest names in the industry don’t just make up part of the crowd, they ARE the crowd.
Every new Lighting Designer just starting out only dreams of being part of such a high-profile event. The work that goes into the planning, programming, execution – everything entailed in making ideas come to life, it’s a massive process. How does it feel when the lights go down? When the show is over, and everyone goes home?
“Part of what I enjoy about my work is seeing a project through, from start to the finish, and this was no different. It’s always nice to be putting the first bits of truss into wyg and then, fast forward to being onsite, running the show, and seeing it come together.
It was an exhilarating feeling when everything is said and done and was a success and it was wonderful to receive positive comments about what our team had produced.” – Alex Merrett
Congratulations to everyone involved in the production of the TPi Awards 2019. Thank you so much to Alex for taking the time to answer our questions, even when he could have rather been recuperating from his big night.
For those of you who were in attendance, lucky you!
For those of us catching up online, we wish we could have been there.
Robe Around the UK – https://www.facebook.com/robearoundtheuk/
Alex Merrett – https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100011444407573
Nathan Wan – https://www.facebook.com/nathan.wan.58
Andy Webb – https://www.facebook.com/andy.webb.756
About Robe Lighting:
Robe Lighting is the fastest growing moving light manufacturer in the world. The company is based in the Czech Republic and produces high quality intelligent lighting projectors for the professional entertainment, architectural and themed environment markets. The Robe brand is still experiencing record growth in all sectors and our products can be found on stages, in concert halls and TV studios all over the world.
About TPi Magazine:
Launched in 1998, Total Production International (TPi) is the definitive, authoritative publication catering for the global live event production industry. The internationally distributed magazine primarily covers the application of sound, lighting, video, staging design and technologies in the creative environment of concert touring, theatre, festivals, live music venues and special events, no matter how big or small. We endeavor to cover all aspects of production support throughout the year.
About CAST Group of Companies Inc.:
Established in 1994, Toronto Canadian-based software and hardware developer, CAST Software is a member of the CAST Group of Companies Inc. CAST Software serves its core markets in entertainment production, special events and meetings. CAST’s award-winning flagship software products are wysiwyg – lighting design and previsualization suite, and Vivien – Event Designer and the new real-time tracking technology, BlackTrax. All products are designed and created in-house and supported by an established global distribution and re-seller network.