THE VOICE 2020
In May 2020 The Voice Australia returned for Season 9 with coaches Delta Goodrem, Kelly Rowland, Guy Sebastian and Boy George going head to head to find Australia's best-unsigned singing talent.
This year it was more of a massive undertaking than usual as the show moved out of Fox Studios (which was fully occupied with the production of a Marvel movie) to a new temporary 13,000sqm warehouse location in Moorebank consisting of three studio spaces. Large super grids had to be installed, container walls used to separate areas, temporary buildings, art workshops, power, plumbing and air conditioning systems added to make the location TV friendly.
The base lighting inventory for the Playoff, Showdowns and Finals shows was entirely LED-based except for the Claypaky Sharpys and Robert Juliat followspots. This was a first for lighting designer Ian Anderson of Mitech Design with various needs leading to this decision; power supply was limited, total weight loads throughout the temporary super grid were lower than what the show is used to in a regular studio space and the reliability of the LED fixtures played a big part to minimise labour costs. In fact, Ian reports that they didn’t swap one light out of the rig the whole time they were in production.
“With manufactures now tending to focus more on the quality of light rather than the brightness or how many cool things they can do, it makes it much easier to be able to match colours and match colour temperatures throughout these larger systems,” commented Ian. “The Martin MAC Encores looked after the key lighting aspects of the shows with the Aryton Perseo and Boras jumping in as required. Then they also matched to the Cineo and Eclipse LED panels in the surrounding on-camera areas.”
Usually, Ian is not a ‘brand person’ preferring to mix and match his products, but he admits that he has turned into a big fan of the Ayrton Perseo and Bora.
Typically on a long-term hire such as The Voice, Ian would not be able to get his hands on the quantities of high-turnover gear that he did – not that his budget would allow for it anyway! But sadly Covid-19 restrictions were in place and Chameleon’s warehouse was depressingly full.
Also, the Chameleon crew on the show rotated frequently to give all the crew on JobKeeper the chance to work on a real show.
Navigating the making of such a large scale TV production in these Covid-19 times was also a challenge with Michael Kent leading the safety and wellbeing aspects of the production. Extreme measures to work within the current pandemic restrictions were activated including social distancing of participants and when London-based George and LA-based Rowland were unable to return to Australia for the remainder of the season when coronavirus ushered in extreme international travel restrictions, they appeared on video screens propped up in their iconic Voice chairs.
It takes a very large and dedicated technical crew to deliver The Voice for ITV and the Nine Network. Everyone involved excelled once again including Mitech Design, Chameleon, TDC, PDR, Kennards Hire, Gravity Media, Final Mix Post, JPJ Audio, Australian Crewing, Showcall Crewing, Event Horizons, Forkbiz, Skyreach, Stagekings, Clifton Productions, Strauss Lighting, Event Engineering and Tripoint.
Mitech Design Team
Technical Producer and Lighting Design: Ian Anderson
Lighting Director Blinds and Battles: Lynden Gare
Lighting Director Blinds and Battles: Tom Johns
Lighting Director Playoffs, Showdowns and finals: Ian Anderson
Lighting Director Playoffs, Showdowns and finals: Stuart Anderson
Site Manager: Christian Winberg
In the Blind Auditions, each coach had to complete their teams with 12 contestants. New this season, each coach had two Blocks to prevent another of the coaches from getting a contestant.
Ian’s base lighting system comprised of 8 x 5k Fresnel, 10 x 2k Fresnel, 8 x 10deg ETC Source 4 profiles, 8 x 14deg ETC Source 4 profiles, 1 x RJ Alex Followspot, 1 x Robe BMFL Followspot, 14 x ETC Source 4 Revolution, 68 x Varilite VL3000 Spot, 24 x Varilite VLX Wash, 12 x Claypaky Sharpy Wash 330, 19 x Claypaky Beye K20, 32 x Martin MAC Aura, 122 x Martin MAC 101, and 92 x ShowPRO Quad LED Fusion Bar QXV. Atmosphere was by 2 x ReelFX DF50, 2 x JEM ZR44 Foggers, and 2 x AF1 Fans. Control was 3 x MA Lighting grandMA 3 Consoles, 4 x MA3 Processors and 6 x NSP Nodes. Added to that was 240m of Black drape, 90 x Chain hoists and 500m Black Truss.
The Battle rounds, which started on 21st June, saw the coaches save two losing artists from any team, including their own. Contestants who won their battle or were saved advanced to the Playoffs.
Ian’s base lighting system comprised of Base Lighting System: 8 x 5k Fresnel, 10 x 2k Fresnel, 8 x 10deg ETC Source 4 profiles, 8 x 14deg ETC Source 4 profiles, 2 x RJ Alex Followspot, 2 x Robe BMFL Followspot, 14 x ETC Source 4 Revolution, 68 x Varilite VL3000 Spot, 24 x Varilite VLX Wash, 24 x Claypaky Sharpy Wash 330, 22 x Martin MAC Viper Profile, 26 x Varilite VL3500 Wash FX, 15 x Claypaky Sharpy Beam and 40 x ShowPRO Trussmates. Atmosphere was by 2 x ReelFX DF50, 2 x JEM ZR44 Foggers, and 2 x AF1 Fans. Control was 3 x MA Lighting grandMA 3 Consoles, 4 x MA3 Processors and 6 x NSP Nodes. Added to that was 240m of Black drape, 80 x Chain hoists, 200m Chrome F44 Truss and 500m Black Truss.
Playoffs, Showdowns and Finals
The Playoffs, which started on July 5th, saw each coach pair two of their artists together, with each artist singing an individual song following a theme. After all of their team's playoffs were done, the coaches chose one of their losing artists as a wildcard.
The Showdowns were broadcast on July 12th and 13th. Over the two episodes, all artists of the Top 20 took on a solo performance of a song of their choice.
The Semi-finals episode was first broadcast on July 14th and at the end of the episode, the coaches were allowed to take one artist each through to the Grand Finale, which was an exclusive feature of this season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Grand Finale was broadcast on July 19th. Each artist performed a solo song and a duet with their coach, or a guest singer. This was the only episode of the season where the results were determined by public vote and not by the coaches.
Ian’s base lighting system comprised of 52 x Martin MAC Encore, 51 x Martin MAC Aura, 42 x MAC Aura XB, 128 x MAC 101, 24 x Martin Rush Pars, 28 x Martin Atomic LED, 52 x MAC Quantum Profile,
45 x Aryton Perseo-S, 16 x Aryton Bora-S, 76 x ShowPRO Quad LED Fusion Bar QXV, 12 x Fusion Bars,
176 x Trussmates, 12 x ProLights Eclipse Panels, 28 x Robe Spikie, 72 x Claypaky Sharpy Beam, 28 x GLP JDC1, 2x RJ Victors, 2 x FlexiLED panels, 8 x Cineo 410 and 8 x Astera Titan tubes. Atmosphere was 3 x JEM 365, 3 x LSG Systems, 2 x DF50, 2 x Viper fog machines and 6 x AF1 Fans. Control was
3 x grandMA 3 Consoles, 1 x MA Video, 6 x NPU, 3 x MA3 Processors and 6 x Artnet Nodes. Added to that was 240m Black drape, 900m Black truss,120 x Chain hoists and control and 24 x Varispeed Kinesys hoists and control.
Performance extras included 36 x Sunstrips, 16 x GLP Impression FR1, 16 x GLP X4 Bar20, 16 x Aryton Magic Blade FX, 40 x Astera Titan Tubes, 4 x Aryton Wildsun, 50 x Claypaky Sharpy Beam, 16 x Claypaky Beye K20, 18 x Patt 2013, 6 x Patt 2017, 24 x Duets, 48 x Martin 1m Sceptron, 6 x City Theatrical snow machines and 20 x Altman Spectra cyc units.