Robe for Skoda ENYAQ iV Launch in Prague

Photo: Chris Moylan

Iconic Czech brand Škoda world premiered its new ENYAQ iV all-electric SUV in the main hall of the O2 Universum event and conference complex in Prague.

The event generated a huge buzz of excitement, not just because of this landmark vehicle, but also as one of the first properly ‘live’ events delivered safely in a post COVID-19 world!

Meeting all the COVID compliance rules, this jaw-dropping 35-minute show – which was also streamed – highlighted once again the talent, creativity and solutions based ‘can-do’ mentality of the live events and entertainment industry sector … presenting action, information and drama with all the emotion and engagement that comes with having a real audience present, plus amassed press and media.

Germany-based creative producers Schachzug collaborated with event planners Pure Perfection, technical specialists MacomNIYU and technical supplier Ambion, with the latter delivering the lighting, audio, video, SFX, staging, etc.

The MacomNIYU team had started speaking to lighting designer Chris Moylan from Berlin-based design company Optikalusion about the event back in January, well before anyone realized how changed the world would be by showtime.

Chris created a flexible lighting scheme for the event, with his choice of beam fixtures being 54 x Robe MegaPointes. He also utilized three Robe BMFL Spots operated via three separate RoboSpot remote BaseStations, which joined around 450 lights on the rig all supplied via Ambion.

As the COVID relevant rules were constantly changing almost daily, the show evolution was also fluid right up to the last moments as recommendations about distancing, mask-wearing and audience numbers shifted. As the show dealt with these demands, Chris ensured that he had enough lights to cover all possibilities.

All the crew were tested prior to starting work on site, then rigorous mask-wearing and social distancing was enforced during the build and rehearsal period, with plexi dividers denoting the different FOH workspaces, etc.

As Chris predicted, the look and style of the show that was presented had developed substantially from what was initially envisioned, and this was further fine-tuned during the 9 days on site leading up to the show.

The show presentation space was dominated by a 23 metre by 5-metre-wide 3.9mm pitch main screen flanked by two 7.5-metre-wide screens at the sides.

The aesthetic was clean, slick, contemporary in keeping with the concept of electric transport. Vehicles were driven in and out of the space throughout and the shiny floor was also used as a giant video projection surface, so lighting had to compliment this with precise gobo patterning and blasts of colour filling the voids with atmosphere, vibrancy and animation.

Lighting was also used to build drama by creating accents and punctuation in line with the music track, as well as being functional as key lighting for presenters and vehicles.
Irish indie rock band ‘Inhaler’ popped up into the action on a rolling riser, revealed during a blackout partway through the show as a complete surprise, and all three cars came onstage for a rousing finale, ensuring the visual thrills kept the energy and anticipation pumping throughout.

At the end, the audience were invited down to the show floor to inspect the vehicles … so the lighting also had to make sure the cars were appropriately lit for this phase of the presentation.

“I needed to keep all options on the table,” commented Chris.
MegaPointe is a favourite choice for Chris who recently used them for “Lux Partum”, a streamed interactive light artwork created in Berlin during the lockdown. In Prague, the MegaPointes were rigged on the upstage trusses. “They are a great beam light and perfect for everything I needed on this show – the accents, the punctuation, reinforcing the breaks and changes in tempo.”

The BMFL Spots were positioned on the front and side trusses – so they could pick up presenters and cars across the whole floor space, with the three operators stationed backstage in dimmer city – where they could also be on hand to do some other technical tasks if needed.

Chris and his two programmers Matthias Schöffmann and Andreas Schindler worked closely on their grandMA3 control set up, each enjoying the various challenges of lighting the show and finding creative solutions including highlighting the cars without interfering with the projections and producing a large and diverse amount of ‘lighting choreography’ in a very short space of time.

A pre-vis studio set up on site where they worked in Depence2 modelling of the event was extremely helpful in achieving the spectacular looking results.

This was arguably one of the first corporate live events to be staged since everything came to a halt in March. It is being hailed as a massive success and everyone was very proud to be involved in effectively breaking new ground.

Having a live audience – and VIPs like Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš – together with the press and media present added a heightened resonance to the atmosphere in the room as well as demonstrating that live events CAN be safely and effectively delivered during the pandemic!

Event Safety Consult from Heidelberg coordinated all the health and safety aspects including the COVID related ones.

Chris was very impressed with the smoothness and organisation, right down to practical details like colour coded masks so guests, cast, crew, security, venue staff, etc., could be easily and instantly identified plus a myriad of other common-sense practices.

“This really illustrated how well-planned live events can meet all the COVID regulations and still deliver an amazing experience,” he commented, adding that – naturally – he and all the crew were simply ecstatic at being back on the road for the 10 days, programming lights, working long hours, feeling alive and doing what every person involved in shows will tell you is “what we all live for”.