The high-profile Belgian Golden Shoe Awards – produced by DPG Media and Het Laatste Nieuws (HLN) – is a coveted prize given to the Belgian First Division A’s best male and female football players based on performance over the preceding year.
Broadcast live on the national television channel VTM, this year for the first time, the lighting design ‘hot seat’ was taken by Thomas Boets of LDP.
Thomas made sure he scored plenty of aesthetic goals with the choice of lighting fixtures, which included 162 x Robe moving lights installed at “the Avenue” venue, Antwerp Expo Centre, right in the heart of this buzzing Belgian port city, where the 50 x Robe T1 Profile, 60 x LEDBeam 150s, 40 x Pointes and 12 x Spiiders were supplied together with other lighting kit plus all the audio and video production by rental company, Lust for Live.
Thomas worked closely with creative director Steven Segers and producers Sanne Van Der Elst & Klaas Devriendt to create a production design that was new, fresh and brought an exciting look to the event which was attended live this year by a reduced audience – to meet Covid protocols – of 200 VIP and celebrity guests.
The lighting design was based on a series of elliptical and circular trusses hung in the venue roof with fixtures positioned around these to help create the ambience of being in a stadium. The awards podium was right in the centre of the room, surrounded by tables with seated VIP guests and other guests around the perimeter, so Thomas’s design took this 360-degree geometry as a start point.
“We wanted to accentuate this in-the-round perspective and add a structural look to the room with lighting that worked from all camera angles,” explained Thomas, “basically a look that could instantly be associated with football, stadiums and something with scale and drama for the wide shots, but that would also look cosy and intimate for the special moments of the night like the award presentations and supporting interviews.
“Essentially, we wanted to give the vent a proper ‘live’ feel, as if we were in the stadium catching the game action amongst fans and supporters.”
The central area above the awards podium and the six top tables containing nominees and their relatives were lit entirely with T1 Profiles running in high CRI mode, and each table also had two Spiiders focused for back fill.
The T1 Profile is one of Thomas’s favourite key lighting fixtures. “Small, light, bright and with a great selection of colour temperature whites and many other features” that make them perfect for TV environments he stated, commenting on how the T1’s pristine skin notes are a winner on any stage.
Having that many T1 Profiles in a concentrated area meant that everyone had their designated key light sources, and these didn’t have to move during the 90-minute telecast, which made certain lighting cues a lot easier to execute.
The T1 Profiles were hung on all the venue’s eight in-house trusses all on 3 metre drop-bars. The trusses can be moved into the right places in the venue via a trolley-beam crane system, and from these positions they could also light the presentation zones which included a sofa and chaired area.
Pointe is another favourite fixture for Thomas, whether he’s lighting a banging rave party or a slick TV production like this. “There’s always a place on the plot for some Pointes!” he declared.
The 40 Pointes for this Golden Shoe event were deployed on the upper (and inner) 6-metre trussing circle which additionally supported a 1 metre drop-down cylinder of LED screen, and they were also on a 15-metre diameter outer circle of truss.
Among numerous other effects, they produced UFO-like fans of piercing beams shooting down and surrounding around the Awards presentation area. The high gloss black floor added to the effect, reflecting the Pointe beams back for a cool mirror look, and these Pointe beams became a signature aesthetic of the show.
The outer 15-metre circle of trussing was dressed with LED panels, and the LEDBeam 150s that were rigged on it served a double function. Firstly, they were for show lighting effects, and furthermore provided rear lighting treatments for the outer audience, who were bathed with softer 1K fresnel light from more units on that same truss.
These LEDBeam 150s also brought a general football match aura to the space.
The director particularly liked this LEDBeam effect and Thomas created shades of his favourite pale orangey hue for the set which mixed and interacted spectacularly well with crisp whites shooting across the audience.
Above and around the entire awards area were three large and tasteful curved LED screens which finished off the visual elegance of the space.
The challenges on this one, alluded Thomas, included it being live TV and a landmark annual show so “there was absolutely no margin for errors!” and he is the first to credit the “ace” team with whom he collaborated to deliver some great results.
They included his lighting operators Kristof Blancquaert, who took care of the show lighting and replaying the playback video content, and Frederik Heerinckx who ran all the white lighting using two grandMA full size consoles, plus a gMA light which was used for a mobile technical desk. The Complete system was network linked and was triggered by midi signals.
The DoP was Peter Van Den Bosch, the lighting systems engineer was Bart Reijns, Rene Bruisten was the head rigger, ensuring a large amount of production fitted into the venue in a timely manner, and the video operator / server engineer was Jan Lerminiaux.
Co-ordinating all the disciplines on site was technical manager Bart Weyts.
The show was directed by Steven Segers & Klaas Devriendt and produced by Sanne Van Der Elst from PIT; a division of DPG Media.
The event going on around the TV setup was managed by Sandy Amerlynck and Joris Bensch working closely with site managers Jan Wouters & Nicolas Franck.
The presenters were Lies Vandenberghe, Maarten Breckx and Gilles De Bilde, and the male 2021 Belgian Golden Shoe winner was Genk striker Paul Onuachu becoming the first-ever Nigerian and the fourth African to claim this prestigious honour. The 2021 female Belgian Golden Shoe accolade was awarded to Olympique Lyonnais midfielder, Janice Cayman.