TNA (Total Non-stop Action) Wrestling stormed British shores this month for a series of adrenaline fueled shows across the UK, with Lighting Operator Andre Huff running the show an Avolites Sapphire Touch console, and ART2000 dimmers providing the power behind the scenes.
The dynamic tour, featuring some of the biggest names in world wrestling, had a vibrant light show designed by Emmy Award winning LD Jeff Bornstein and used production gear and crew provided by Ian Livie.
“Jeff instructed me he wanted big two-tone looks for each wrestler’s entrance, rather than a lot of flash and trash with the lights,” says Huff; an Emmy nominated LD and Operator of 24 years, with significant combat sports experience. “We chose to do big panning movements with 2 colours and sometimes a gobo. No real crazy flashing looks with a lot of colour changes.”
Knoxville based Limelite Design Service, which Huff founded, owns a Sapphire Touch, which he uses on many projects. “I would like to say I use it on all my shows but it’s often being rented, so I also use smaller Titan consoles like the Tiger Touch II or a Titan Mobile and Wing.”
He specified an Avolites Sapphire Touch console for this show due to the speed of programming it allows. “It was a no brainer of a choice,” he notes. “I knew I was not going to get a whole lot of programming time, so speed and layout were critical.”
Due to the time constraints, the requirement ended up expanding from a simple live and back-up console show, to demand two programmer-operators. As Huff recalls, “I was supposed to run the whole show myself with another Sapphire Touch as back up.
“I needed a static operator for the ring and audience lights and JDB [Jonathan Dawson-Butterworth] stepped up to the plate, using a second Sapphire Touch console, and did an excellent job. He had to make some corrections to the dimmer patch meaning my show dimmer patch was not correct.”
Avolites Sales Manager Stephen Baird-Smith stepped in and showed Andre and Jonathan how easy it is the map the fixtures in the show library and they had it sorted in about 30 minutes - and had the consoles linked with Multi User, prompting Andre to say “Sometimes you forget that with Avolites, it ‘really is that easy.’”
“The set up and use was effortless, just like Avo is known for. With all the quick palettes and Quicksketch, we were able to whip a great show together very fast.”
Having programmed with Titan for 4 years, Huff is familiar with the software. “Titan has many great features over other consoles. There are still things to add, of course, but with the impending Version 9, Titan software can safely say it does everything any other console can, easier and faster, plus more!
“The aggressive new approach to keep improving it with multiple version releases each year is also great,” he adds. “I think that is where some other consoles have fallen short.”