Over 90 ADJ Fixtures Create The Perfect Ambiance For Pennzoil VIP Party In Las Vegas

Serving as the opening party of the SEMA automotive industry trade show, Pennzoil’s ‘Dare To Perform’ VIP party featured a carefully curated program of entertainment that included a variety of mesmerizing performances. Guests were given a treat for the senses, which was accentuated by an extensive lighting setup incorporating Focus Spot 4Z and Vizi Hex Wash7 moving heads among a variety of other ADJ fixtures.

Filling the Las Vegas Convention Center, the annual SEMA show is the premier trade event for the automotive aftermarket industry. The most recent installment took place at the end of last year and kicked off with an exclusive party hosted by Pennzoil for invited VIP guests. Held in a large function suite above one of the main exhibition halls, the event was organized on behalf of Pennzoil by local event producer Dreamland, which specializes in bespoke interactive events. The company’s team developed a vision for the evening, based around Pennzoil’s theme of ‘Dare To Perform’, which incorporated a series of interlinked performances from singers, live musicians, dancers, acrobats and jugglers.

To create the right atmosphere in the room as well as to illuminate the performers, Dreamland brought in California-based R TECH Productions to provide lighting design and equipment rental services for the party. The company’s principal, Ramiro Valenzuela, met with the Dreamland team in advance of the event and put together a lighting design that covered all the creative requirements. “Basically, when it came to lighting, my job was to take their ideas and turn them into reality,” explains Ramiro. “Overall, we went for a sensual intimate look and red was definitely the key color, as it fit with the theme and also features in Pennzoil’s logo. However, every part of the show was subtly different and had its own distinct look.”

The performers were spread across three stages, which meant there was always something for guests to watch throughout the event. The main stage was located at the end of the 160’ long room, while the other two smaller stages were positioned at either side. In addition, a drummer was setup in a different part of the room, meaning that Ramiro’s design had to illuminate four separate performance spaces. To further complicate things, the venue isn’t designed to allow rigging to the ceiling, which meant Ramiro couldn’t fly fixtures or cable runs.

In order to distribute fixtures throughout the large space above head height, the R TECH Productions team erected sixteen 10’ totems constructed from Global Truss F34 sections attached to heavy duty base plates. Focus Spot 4Z LED-powered moving head spot fixtures were mounted to the top of many of these, which were used to create slow, sweeping GOBO projections to add interest to the plain walls of the venue and create ambiance in the space. In addition, Vizi Hex Wash7 LED-powered moving head zoom washes were used to inject swathes of slow-moving color.

Additional color washing was supplied by a 58 of ADJ’s battery-powered and wirelessly controllable Element HEXIP LED uplighting fixtures, which each incorporate four 10W 6-in-1 RGBAW+UV color mixing LEDs. These units were spread around the room to provide perimeter uplighting and also used as truss warmers, positioned within the totems. Additional fixtures were also used to up-light a saxophonist, who performed on one of the smaller stages, and the drummer, who was setup away from the main performance areas.

“The Element HEX IP is one of my favorite up-lights to use,” enthuses Ramiro. “But this was my lighting programmer’s first time using them and he was very impressed, as were the people from Dreamland. They were surprised by how well the fixtures were able to communicate wirelessly, how quickly we could set them up without having to run cables or worrying where we were going to get power from, and how neat they looked during the event. Even though we used 56 of them, they were definitely the easiest part of the lighting rig to setup.”

To light performers on the main and second stage Ramiro utilized ADJ’s Focus Flex L7 moving head wash fixtures, which had only just been released at the time. Featuring seven 40-watt LEDs – which incorporate a lime element, alongside the red, green and blue primaries, to deliver enhanced color mixing and a high CRI – this compact, quick, and punchy LED-powered moving head luminaire offers a wide zoom range that allows for the creation of both tight beams and wide washes. For the Penzoil party, two fixtures were rigged to each of four extended totems, which were positioned to flank both the main and second stage.

“This event was our first time using the Focus Flex L7 and it worked wonders, so I’d like to thank ADJ for getting it to us in time for the show,” says Ramiro. “It is small and compact, but also extremely bright. It is a flexible fixture that is able to zoom in tight to highlight a single performer or wash a large area to cover the whole stage. With on-board DMX and individual pixel control, it has all the options one could look for in this type of light.”

Six Jolt Bar FX linear LED fixtures completed the event’s lighting package. Featuring a central strip of 112 x 5-Watt cool white SMD LEDs, surrounded on both sides by a total of 672 x 0.3W RGB color mixing SMD LEDs, this versatile fixture allows lighting designers to generate both intense white strobing and multi-colored chase effects. For the Pennzoil event, Ramiro positioned them in pairs behind the stages and used them as effect lights to flash backlight behind performers on certain cues. Also positioned beside each stage was a Magma Prime water-based fazer from ADJ’s sister company Magmatic Effects, which ensured a beam-enhancing haze was maintained throughout the room for the duration of the event.

The lighting was controlled using an Onyx NX2 board from another of ADJ’s sister companies, Obsidian Control Systems. The DMX signal was then converted to ADJ’s WiFLY protocol, using an Airstream DMX Bridge wireless transceiver, to transmit to the fixtures with onboard wireless receivers. In addition, a number of WiFLY EXR Battery transceivers were utilized to receive DMX wirelessly for different groups of fixtures around the room that weren’t natively equipped to receive a wireless control signal.

“The WiFLY Battery units were really useful for communicating to some of the lights that were not accessible for cable runs, which was especially important on an event like this where nothing could be hung in the air and the Fire Marshall wouldn’t allow cable runs along the floor in areas where they could be a trip hazard. Combining these compact devices with the in-built wireless receivers on the Focus Flex L7 and Element HEXIPs really helped us to minimize cable runs, which improved the aesthetic of the event and also kept the Fire Marshal happy! If not a must, wireless DMX will definitely be something we consider extremely important as we make choices about investing in new fixtures in the future, as it is incredibly useful at events like this.”

Despite the challenges of the room – not to mention a grueling load-in which required the R TECH Productions team to come in through the exhibition hall before rolling their equipment into a freight elevator and up to the second floor – the company was able to deliver exactly what was required of them. The floor-standing lighting rig Ramiro designed ensured the performers on stage were all clearly illuminated and also created the required ambiance to set the right tone for the party, complementing the entertainment program perfectly.

Pennzoil SEMA VIP Party

Lighting Designer
Ramiro Valenzuela

Lighting Vendor
R TECH Productions

Brian Dowdle