TNA (Total Non-stop Action) wrestling stormed British shores this month for a series of adrenaline-fuelled shows with lighting operator with 24 years of experience as well as Emmy-nominated LD with significant combat sports experience, Andre Huff.
Huff ran the show on an Avolites Sapphire Touch console with ART2000 dimmers providing the power behind the scenes.

The dynamic tour, featuring some of the major names in world of wrestling, had a vibrant light show designed by another Emmy award-winning lighting designer Jeff Bornstein who used production gear and crew from Ian Livie. Bornstein 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, I knew I was not going to get a whole lot of programming time, so speed and layout were critical,” says Huff.

“Bornstein instructed me that he wanted big two-tone looks for each wrestler’s entrance, rather than a lot of flash and trash with the lights, he chose to do big panning movements with two colours and sometimes a gobo. No real crazy flashing looks with a lot of colour changes,” comments Huff. 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 says.

Due to time constraints, the requirements ended up expanding from a simple live and back-up console show, to demand two programmer-operators. “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 Jonathan Dawson-Butterworth stepped up to the plate and did an excellent job. He had to make some corrections to the dimmer patch meaning my show dimmer patch was not correct,” recalls Huff.

Avolites sales manager Stephen Baird-Smith stepped in and showed Andre and Jonathan how easy it is to 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 Huff 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 four 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, I think that is where some other consoles have fallen short,” concludes Huff.