ADJ IP65-Rated Fixtures Used To Illuminate San Francisco Pride Events

Central to this year's pride celebrations in San Francisco were the movie nights hosted across two consecutive days in mid-June. Held at the city's Oracle Park, the events featured live entertainment and special appearances - including Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the United States House of Representatives - before omvie premieres shown on the stadium's big screen. A total of 35 ADJ Lighting fixtures, controlled via an ADJ LINK, were used to light the stage, enhance the atmosphere in the stadium and fill the sky above it with a rainbow of colored beams after dark.


Although ongoing COVID-19 restrictions meant that this year’s Pride weekend in San Fransico wasn’t able to go ahead in the normal way, with a parade through the streets and a celebration at the Civic Center, organizers were still able to mark the occasion with the Pride Movie Night at Oracle Park. Thousands of people gathered safely in the stadium to celebrate pride and enjoy premiere screenings of In The Heights (Friday) and Everybody’s Talking About Jamie (Saturday). Longtime SF Pride Show Producers IDK Events were responsible for organizing the events and brought in regular collaborators Islay Events to look after the lighting requirements.

“Two years ago, before COVID, we started the process of bidding on San Fransico Pride 2020,” explains Islay Events’ Principal, Jeremy Cable. “We have a good relationship with IDK having worked with them on other events such as the Julefest Holiday Celebrations in Solvang and were looking forward to working with them on the project. Then, as we all know, the pandemic hit, which meant that the 2020 event was completely canceled. Over the past year, Scott [Shuemake, IDK Events President] and I kept in touch, commiserating together, and lifting each other up. When he first told me about the plans for Pride 2021, I didn’t think there would be any lighting required, and simply wished the team all the best. However, as the relaxing of COVID restrictions became more imminent, and it became clear the events would be able to go ahead at reasonable scale, we started to talk about ideas for incorporating lighting.”

As plans for the event came together, including speeches from high profile guests - such as Mrs Pelosi - that would be televised, it became clear that a stage setup would be required. Even though the presentations would be made in the late afternoon, in full daylight, stage lighting was included in the plans to ensure that the speakers and performers were clearly illuminated for the cameras. To achieve this, Jeremy and his team deployed six of ADJ’s IP65-rated 18P HEX IP LED par fixtures on a pair of truss towers flanking the stage. The general stage wash provided by these static fixtures was then supplemented by two pairs of Hydro Beam X2 IP65-rated moving heads; two sitting on top of the trusses and the other two positioned on flight cases on a raised walkway behind the stage.

“Although they are predominantly beam fixtures, the Hydro Beam X2s served us well as specials to enhance the stage lighting coverage,” states Jeremy. “They have frost filters as well as color correction – which was handy as we were dealing with TV cameras – so we used them as key light for the speakers and performers. This proved essential, as the position of the sun was backlighting the people on the stage, so they would have been just silhouettes on camera if we didn’t have such a powerful instrument to light them from the front. It really made a big difference for the cameras. We were also glad that we included moving lights on the stage rig, as the organizers kept changing the position the guests spoke from. There was also a DJ on the upper level, who they wanted to be lit at certain times, and sometimes the host spoke from up there. So, it proven invaluable to be able to remotely refocus the lighting to wherever it needed to be.”

An additional eighteen 18P HEX IP fixtures were positioned in front of the stage pointing out into the stadium towards the audience. Jeremy and his team used these to create a rainbow chasing effect, which added to the atmosphere of the event without detracting from the speeches and presentations on stage. Each of these robust pars is loaded with eighteen potent 12-Watt 6-in-1 HEX color LEDs, which proved powerful enough to create the desired effect even when viewed from the opposite side of the huge stadium during the daytime.

The final component to the event’s lighting was a collection of nine additional Hydro Beam X2 fixtures that were positioned along the edge of the stadium which borders the San Fransico Bay. With their precision optics, 370W Osram Sirius HRI discharge lamps and razor sharp 3-degree beam angles, these fixtures are ideal for creating impactful aerial effects. For Pride 2021 they were used to create a rainbow of sky-searching beams later in the evening, which could be seen both inside the stadium and throughout the wider area.

“The latest version of the Pride flag has eleven colors,” explains Jeremy, “but two of them are black and brown, so we obviously couldn’t do those! But we did all of the other nine colors. Eight of them matched nicely to the color wheel options in the X2s, but for the final one we had to go old school and use a gel. We knew that the most elegant solution would be to have a custom glass GOBO made with the color we wanted, but found that simply taping a gel over the lens worked fine – and since the fixtures were hidden out of view, it really didn’t matter. We were really impressed with how well the colors stood out in the sky, even the red came through pretty well, which is usually the filter that sucks up the most light so is hardest to get to look right. Especially on the second night, the fog behaved and came in to really show up the beams in the sky, which my client was very happy with. We had them running all throughout the show so as the sun set, and the fog rolled in, you started to see the colors scroll across the sky and as it got thicker and darker the effect got better and better.”

To control the lighting equipment, the Islay Events team used the latest addition to their equipment inventory, an ADJ LINK. This unique hardware/software system combines the wireless connectivity, processing power, and multitouch screen of an iPad with lighting-specific tactile controls and a four universe DMX interface to deliver a unique control solution. Powerful and user-friendly, the LINK fills the void between small single universe DMX controllers and large format lighting consoles.

“My LD had been looking for a new console, saw the ADJ LINK and thought it would be ideal for our needs,” enthuses Jeremy. “So, when this show came up, we went ahead and made the investment. Honestly, for that price point, we’ve been pretty impressed with it. We found it easy to setup, the integration between the iPad and the hardware is seamless, and four universes of DMX is really nice to have. Visually, it was a nicer look for us than just sitting there with a laptop, and having a tactile control interface really makes it easy to use; when you need to tweak something, you can just grab that fader and get it right where you want it. The only issue we had was getting up to speed with it quickly for this first show. As my LD has a little more time with it, I’m sure he’ll figure out more tricks and stuff. But, for its first outing, he liked it and it seemed to work very well for him.”

By combining effective control with the right fixtures for their respective tasks, Islay Events were able to effectively enhance both San Francisco Pride Movie Nights. The event attracted thousands of visitors across the two nights and allowed Pride to be celebrated in a safe and joyful way. Since the lighting elements of the event were last minute additions, the project involved a flurry of activity for Jeremy and his team, after more than a year’s hiatus from largescale event work, however they were pleased to be able to count this high-profile project as their first event back in the saddle!

“The biggest challenge for us on this event was the quick turnaround,” Jeremy confirms. “Because plans had to be rapidly updated based on changing COVID-19 restrictions, our involvement was only 100% confirmed around 12 days before the show. This meant that we had to work quickly on gearing and crewing. Fortunately, we had all the equipment we needed in stock, so it was just a case of sorting out the logistics of getting our crew up there. We also brought in some local crew. It was great to be able to put some of those guys to work again and build those relationships, so we didn’t feel like the jerks from out of town coming in and taking all the work! I think we all valued the opportunity to be a part of a great community event and to have it be our first major gig since the restrictions started to be lifted was really nice for us. It was really uplifting to still feel wanted by that level of client!”


San Francisco Pride Movie Night at Oracle Park

Show Producer
IDK Events

Lighting Production Company
Islay Events

Production Manager
Jeremy Cable

Lighting Designer

Jeremy Cable

Gear List
11 x Hydro Beam X2
24 x 18P HEX IP
1 x LINK