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Production Light & Sound Looks Forward with RoboSpots

PLSN Staff • International NewsNewsroom • December 20, 2021

Lone Flyer. Photo by Isobel Nicolson

UK–Rental company Production Light & Sound in Leeds, UK made a large purchase of Robe RoboSpots–four systems, complete with motion cameras–and like so many enterprises, they were looking forward to a bumper year ahead. This was in March 2020. “With theaters, venues opening up, shows restarting and gigs, tours and events being scheduled and rescheduled post Covid, we hope there’s going to be plenty of work ahead for the RoboSpots,” said Sarah Buckmaster. The company also offer a range of Robe fixtures to work with the RoboSpots, including MegaPointes and BMFLs.

The company was founded in 2000 by the late Jason Salvin and is now headed by Buckmaster, who has been working for the company for the last 16 years and a director since 2018. The scope of their work includes draping and staging in addition to lighting and sound production and embraces all areas of technical production: live music, concerts, festivals through to slick corporate and business events.

Buckmaster and the team had been looking for a remote followspotting solution for some time. “For all the safety and flexibility coupled with the additional speed and efficiency it brings to a show, remote followspotting is definitely the future,” she said. They spotted a gap in the market for RoboSpots in their area, so it was a solid investment geographically, especially with the highly active arts and music scenes enjoyed in the North of England.

“It’s easy to set up, intuitive to use and being able to locate operators in a different room is fantastic for theaters squeezed for space,” Buckmaster said. In addition to using the systems on PLS’s own shows, with RoboSpot now being one of the most popular remote followspotting option, Buckmaster sees it as a value-added cross rental item.
Another recent Robe purchase–this past September–included Robe LEDBeam 150 to boost its existing stock.

Peaceophobia. Photo by Ian Hodgson.

The fixtures went directly out on the acclaimed Peaceophobia produced by Fuel Theatre, Common Wealth, Speakers Corner and the Bradford Modified Club, an unapologetic response to rising Islamophobia staged in Oastler Market Car Park, Bradford and at the Contact Theatre in Manchester. Part car-meet part-theatre, three characters reveal how their modified motors are both an escape and an expression in a world that tries to define them. Andy Purves lit the show.

PLS has invested steadily in Robe in recent years, but their first Robe purchase included 600E Spots that joined the rental inventory more than 10 years ago and are still going strong. Recently two of these fixtures plus two MegaPointes were supplied to the Hull Truck for Lone Flyer, a co-production with Newbury’s Watermill Theatre, a work documenting the courage, bravery, and incredible life of “Queen of Aviation” Amy Johnson. The LD for this production was Harry Armytage.

PLS also purchased Robe’s MiniMe effects fixtures, which have proved a winner for corporate events requiring simple plug-and-play logos, graphics and other animated media projections and branding.

For Buckmaster, an “excellent” relationship with distributor Robe UK has been another key to the continuing brand loyalty. “The Robe UK sales and tech support team are excellent,” she said, adding that as a brand generally, she believes Robe has developed and brought a range of solid, reliable products and innovations to the market. Looking ahead to 2022, like most, she is cautiously optimistic that it will be an exceptionally busy year if all the Covid numbers keep going in the right direction.