SA’s Got Talent

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Rapid Blue is a production company who love telling stories and have produced thousands of hours of television. Their latest offering, the eighth season of SA’s got Talent, was aired on e-TV. It was the first time that Blond Productions and Visual Frontier worked on SA’s Got Talent, and also the first time the two companies pitched to do a job together. It seems it may not be the last!

“We decided to join together to do this, using the strength of Blond Production’s technical delivery and the strength of my design capability for television,” explained Joshua Cutts, lighting designer from Visual Frontier. “We thought if we joined forces it would be a good exercise and in the end, it turned out to be very successful.”

There were two portions to SA’s Got Talents namely the auditions hosted at the UJ Theatre in Johannesburg and at the Baxter Theatre in Cape Town, and then the main televised competition held at The Soweto Theatre in Johannesburg.

Mauritz Neethling, General Manager from Blond Productions, professionally handled all the technical and logistics for the lighting alongside Stephan Kruger, also from Blond, who took care of all the audio aspects for the auditions and live shows.

There were two lighting operators. Ryan Lombard from Blond operated on a grandMA2 light at the auditions, while Andre Siebrits from Visual Frontier operated the seven live episodes broadcast from the Soweto Theatre every Sunday evening, using the same desk. “It was the first time that Andre ran the show all by himself,” said Josh. “It was a proud moment for Visual Frontier.”

SA’s Got Talent has been around for many seasons, and Rapid Blue decided that they wanted to try something new. “There was a bit of pressure as the production had been done very well in the past,” said Josh. “We knew we had to maintain the standard, so I thought, how do I bring my own look to the show that wasn’t there before?”




He decided to use rows of LED lights, namely the Robin CycFX 4, around the edges of the screens to create dots, and he used Robin LEDBeam 100s on the side set pieces and downstage proscenium arch.

In the past tungsten fixtures like parcans and blinders, had been used for the show. “This year I decided to change the look to LED. That was my personal stamp. It worked out very well and looked great on television. I was worried, admittedly, but they did exactly what I wanted them to do for the auditions, and did it so well, that for the live at Soweto Theatre we decided to do the same thing.” However, they brought in more CycFX4s and more LEDBeam 100s and also used them for the arches of the set. There was a total of 24 CycFX 4 and 48 LEDbeam 100s


“It’s an interesting show to light because it’s not your conventional music show. It has many acts such as acrobatics, jugglers, dancers and more theatrical performances, so you have to sometimes under light to achieve the desired effect rather than creating effects to compliment every song, chorus and verse. I try to ignore the ‘noise’ and rather light the person. It was a different style of lighting but it worked well.”

Art of Dance

The winners of the competition was Anecnote, an acapella band, who along with second runners-up Art of Dance and Amazebra, proved that SA does indeed have talent!

Lighting and Control Equipment List

1 x grandMA2 light

1 x grandMA2 onPC

1 x grandMA VPU onPC

1 x grandMA NPU

2 x  Cat5 to Fiber Converter With grandMA2 Port Node


6 x Robe MMX Spot

12 x Robin 600 Beam

12 x Robe miniPointes

12 x Philips SL PAR 155

42 x RRobin LEDWash300

48 x Robin LEDBeam 100

24 x Robe CycFX 4

2 x Robe Patt 2013

12 x Robin 600 Spot

12 x Claypaky Sharpy

60 x ETC Source Four

11 x LED Strip Controller with LED Strip

1 x MDG Atmosphere Hazer

2 x Le Maitre MVS Hazer

2 x Robert Juliette Topaze


Photos courtesy Rapid Blue