NEWS / EE BAFTA Film Awards

Version 2 supplies the lighting for the EE BAFTA Film Awards 2024 at the Royal Festival Hall

Hosted for the first time by David Tennant, the 2024 EE BAFTA Film Awards took place on Sunday 18 February at London’s Royal Festival Hall, and was broadcast internationally on BBC One, iPlayer and BritBox International. With cinema enjoying a strong post-pandemic resurgence, partly thanks to the Barbie/Oppenheimer
effect, the BAFTA Film Awards has lost none of its prestige.

Attended by the President of BAFTA, HRH the Prince of Wales, and a glamorous audience of glitterati, 25 Awards were presented – voted for by over 7,500 BAFTA creatives and film industry practitioners – for categories that included Best Director, Cinematography, Documentary and Film Not in the English Language. The Award for Best Film ultimately went to seven-BAFTA winner, Oppenheimer,
with a surprise appearance by Michael J Fox to present the Award earning a standing ovation.

TV, broadcast and event lighting specialists, Version 2, traditionally known for its involvement in television lighting was, for the first time, the official lighting supplier for the EE BAFTA Film Awards. Version 2 supplied lighting and manpower for the live Awards ceremony, artists performances and the traditional obituary tribute, as well as the audience lighting and the live event broadcast.

Also involved in designing for the Awards for the first time were veteran Lighting Director, Tim Routledge, of Tim Routledge Lighting Design – no stranger to lighting high-profile events – and Set Designer, Julio Himede from Yellow Studio New York, in a partnership first formed for the Eurovision Song Contest in 2023.

“I’d programmed the BAFTA Film Awards a decade ago, but this was the first time I’d lit them,” explains Routledge. “It’s a tricky show as you are only in the venue for a short time with a very short load in and load out. The live show starts at 6pm and is broadcast as live on television around 8pm, so there is a super-quick turnaround to get it out that night with editing happening on the fly.”

Under those circumstances, with such a high-prestige, high-profile event, Routledge called on trusted suppliers to work with him. “I brought Version 2 on board because I use them a lot for my television design work. We have a great relationship and they always look after us very well.”

Version 2 chose seasoned gaffer, Sam Healey, who has a track record working on the BAFTAs and with Routledge, to keep everything on track.

“It’s a challenging schedule in a challenging building!” says Healey. “We had a pre-rig day on the Thursday night which was really beneficial. The RFH staff were really accommodating in allowing us this time around their daily schedule of shows. The main load in started at 11pm on Friday and we were all built by 7am the next morning. There was a lot of infrastructure to put in place which necessitated great collaboration between departments and suppliers. We then came in at 7.30am on Sunday morning, were on camera by 9.15am for the dress run between 9.30-12noon and the show starting at 6pm. It was a long day that flew by before loading out by 4am Monday morning!”

The centrepiece of Himede’s set design was a series of outlines of the BAFTA Award mask, arranged in a circular fashion and backed by a large, semi-circular gauze around the back of the stage.

The show was lit using a mix of the Royal Festival Hall’s house rig and lighting from Version 2. “We use 310 × 1m long Martin VDO Sceptron 10s rigged vertically behind the sculptural set piece, back-lighting the semi-circular gauze to add a load of sparkle and give the appearance of a giant zoetrope,” says Routledge. “This involved a lot of work in the framework and the rigging of all those Sceptrons overnight!”

Healey explains further: “We were able to collect the truss for the Sceptron in advance and spent a good couple of days pre-rigging them onto the framework, labelling and patching them so we were able to install it all within the short timeframe. It was challenging to get the Sceptron frame to match the design, but we worked closely with Kev Monks from rigging supplier Blackout, and it was great to have his input. We had a couple of great guys installing it on site who probably had a bit more of a rock and roll mentality than television, but it needed to be loaded in and go up quickly!”

With the central set piece predominantly washed in reds, blues and golds, the Sceptrons provided a twinkly backdrop behind the presenters. This changed to more vibrant, dynamic effects and content for Sophie Ellis-Bextor’s performance of Murder on the Dancefloor which has been enjoying a revival since its notorious inclusion in Emerald Fennell’s film Saltburn, with more sparkles added for comedian Nick Mohammed’s appearance. The mood was later transformed to a serene, ethereal monochrome with beautiful shaping of the stage and set during Hannah Waddingham’s moving rendition of Time After Time as BAFTA paid tribute to artists who had passed away this year.

Version 2 supplied Robe Forte fixtures for Routledge’s key lighting on the performers and presenters, with more Robe Forte units, in conjunction with a Robe Robospot system, as follow spots, all of which proved perfect tools for broadcast.

Martin Mac Aura XBs were rigged on the front truss and bridges, and more Mac Auras on the floor upstage by the drape. A half circle of Robe Megapointes were rigged around the curved onstage truss completed the onstage lighting inventory, while Astera Pixelbricks were rigged on stage facing outwards to light the star-studded audience.

Version 2 drafted in freelancers Tom Young as operator for the moving lights and Seb Williams for the key lights. “Programming time was in short supply which meant they were sometimes programming in working light and when set was being built, with maybe a few hours in the evening,” says Healey, “but they dealt with it well!”

“The Royal Festival Hall is a tricky place to light because, not being a particularly modern venue, there’s not many rigging positions,’ explains Routledge. “It’s a modern-looking show however so, for the first time this year, we added in more lighting features around the room, on the balcony fronts and down the walls to make it pop more on camera than in the past.”

To add definition and interest to the room Routledge mounted 2m Astera Hyperion tubes horizontally on the front of the auditorium boxes which fitting neatly into the straight lines of the modernist architecture. He also added Robe LED Beam 150 fixtures to the back wall of the stalls and dress circle for eye candy effects during the walk downs.

“It is a pleasure to work with Tim as he does great plans and his paperwork and designs are fantastic,” says Healey. “This makes life a lot easier, especially under such time contraints. Line producer Sophie Huda assembled some of the very best in our industry to cover all aspects and disciplines for this year’s show. It’s been an honour to be a part of this fantastic team.”

“Version 2 has been great as usual,” concludes Routledge. “Sam really looked after me and the V2 team are always on it. I can rely on them to pay excellent attention to detail. There’s no drama there!”

Kit List from Version 2:

Martin VDO Sceptron 10
Martin Mac Aura XB Wash
Robe MegaPointe
Robe Forte EP (HCF)
Robe LEDBeam 150
Astera HydraPanel
Astera Hyperion
Astera Pixelbrick
Litepanels Gemini 2×1 Soft Panel
Robe RoboSpot
Fomex FL-1200 2×1
Fomex FL-600 1×1
Prolights Smart BatPlus


Set Designer: Julio Himede

Lighting Director: Tim Routledge
Lighting Design: Tim Routledge Lighting Design

Lighting Gaffer: Sam Healey
Moving Light Operator: Tom Young
Key Light Operator: Seb Williams 

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Version 2 Lights Limited
The Old Grain Store, Childs Court Farm, Ashampstead Common, Reading, RG8 8QT
[email protected]
0203 598 6938

Call 0203 598 6938 Email [email protected]