CQLP X Ayrton: The 2023 competition

On Saturday, March 4th, the final of the 4th edition of the Cqlp (Who is the Boss) 2023 by M-Light competition took place in partnership with Ayrton. The numbers speak for themselves: 401 Ayrton, Portman, and Astera fixtures, 1 grandMA 3, 2 grandMA 2, a jury of 4 professionals, 9 partners, 104 registered contestants, and 2 finalist teams.

CQLP Award, the only competition for lighting desk operators. This special Ayrton, Portman, and Astera edition will be remembered for the diversity of the tests given to the candidates.

For this new edition of the CQLP Award, the team behind the competition has partnered with Axente (Ayrton distributor in France) to offer a live broadcast that took place according to a modus operandi of television broadcasting. The professionalism and experience of the technicians involved gave it the high quality needed for this type and level of event.

The trophy this year was covered with LEDs, Wow!!

The finalists were welcomed with, a lighting kit of 401 fixtures, provided by Axente and Impact Evenement, was deployed on the set of the latter and a jury of four professionals: Sophie Limeul, director of photography, Aziz Baki, artistic director, Alain Lonchampt, lighting designer, Lukasz Sztejna, designer of the Portman projectors, was able to judge the qualities of the different shows “performed” by each of the two finalist teams, the Black Falcons and the White Grizzly’s.

The CQLP by Ayrton competition, which also featured Portman and Astera fixtures, really inspired the 104 participants and dazzled the jury.

The Design and the setup

The design was imagined by the whole team and finalized on Vectorworks by Thomas Jedwab-Wroclawski, manager of BeatPerLight and lighting designer.

(from left to right) Fred Fochesato, (Axente) and Thomas Jedwab-Wroclawski (BeatPerLight), take us through the lighting kit and tell us the anecdotes of the setup.

Thomas Jedwab-Wroclawski : We started with the partnership with Ayrton to begin the design without knowing the availability of equipment or the room/venue.
As we progressed, we gradually targeted the products that we were going to highlight and added Portman and Astera projectors also distributed by Axente.

We were inspired by a racecar track while giving ourselves the possibility of having a three-dimensional look for the kit to highlight the fixtures’ shape. Eventually, we had several layers of fixtures backlit by the upstage ones. Players, therefore, had the opportunity to work with a perspective with the main subject being the spotlights. Personally, I found this idea quite appealing.

Maxime Raffin helped Yannick Duc (both co-founders of CQLP) to finalize his correct positioning before the live broadcast on the Internet.

SLU : Did you run into any problems?

Thomas Jedwab-Wroclawski : At the beginning, there were a lot of big fixtures, and thanks to the Portman and Astera fixtures, we were able to complete this design with very interesting and complementary lights from a creative point of view.
Portman highlights the kit with its LEDs which emulate halogen very well and the Astera fixtures are easy to install and use without big power supply needs.

SLU : How did the adapting of the kit go in the Impact Evenement studio?

Thomas Jedwab-Wroclawski : During the first meeting, Pascal Bonnet, technical director at Impact, told me “I have a problem with 5.5 tonnes in overweight for the rigging”.
So it was a big technical “head scratcher” but in the end, after having restructured the entire rigging points of the studio, he was able to make adaptations which lead to a margin of maneuver of about 5 cm.
Everyone gave their all in their own specialization and we made voluntary adaptations for a stress-free site. I warmly thank him for knowing how to use a golden shoehorn (laughs).

The upstage wall is impressive and it seems that it can even change into a “Transformers” if necessary to save the world…

SLU : Was there a major difference in the colorimetry between the different manufacturers?

Thomas Jedwab-Wroclawski : Between Ayrton and Astera, the LED sources do not have quite the same shades or color temperatures, it is a classic between manufacturers, but we manage to match them easily.

SLU : And what about the Followspot?

Thomas Jedwab-Wroclawski : We have deployed a ZacTrack tracking system linked to some of our fixtures. This system is ultra-efficient and helps us to follow Remi, the host, thanks to two trackers that he keeps in his pockets. This allows him to navigate everywhere but without illuminating the whole stage. We get a focused point and that also is within our objective of using as much new technology as possible in our kit. The contestants also have them so they can be followed when they move around. This system uses eight antennas and five trackers.

The lighting kit

In the control room, everyone is hard at work and Yannick Duc (far left), co-founder of the CQLP competition and console operator, takes the time to pose for a photo before plunging right back into rehearsals. Everyone knows their score like the back of their hand.

About fifteen days were necessary to first uninstall the lighting kit from the Impact Evenement studio already installed, then successively remove all the rigging structures, redefine the rigging points, and reinstall the rig, so that the structures are as close to the side walls as possible, under the technical direction of Pascal Bonnet of Impact Evénement.

“Pascal redefined the whole rigging structure so that the kit could fit because at the very beginning of the project we had imagined a bigger room” explains Thomas Jedwab-Wroclawski.

The Cqlp / M-Light team then arrived at the beginning of the week with volunteers to finish the setup, give that last effort to settle the final little problems, and have it trouble-free. The team was therefore able to focus on rehearsals two days before the final, a tight schedule but an efficient one.

Frédéric Fochesato, product manager at Axente then presents the finished kit on site and thanks his colleagues Arnaud Da Silva Lachot, Julien Pereira, and Maxime Wolf for their interventions on this project.

The back wall is lined with 30 x Portman P1 Mini Led and 25 x Ayrton Zonda FX for maximum flexibility, a super “eye candy” look, and a nice backlight for the whole kit.

The back wall is made up of 35 x Portman P1 Mini LED – a recent product which, as its name indicates, is part of the LED evolution of the brand’s iconic device, alternating with 30 x Ayrton Zonda 9 FX.
With its circular matrix of 37 RGBW 40 W lenses and a luminous flux of 25,000 lumens for 1400 W maximum consumption, its zoom range extends from 4 to 56°.
Here the FX version is used for point-by-point management of a network of LEDs installed between the lenses and controllable in video or via a macro for a superb “LiquidEffect”.

The backlighting, seen here in a front view, alternates between the columns of the Zonda 9 FX and the P1 Mini LED.

Moving forward a notch, a concentric assembly of circular trusses from the largest diameter to the smallest.

Portman Mantis, Astera AX9, and Portman P1 Mini Led are rigged on separate circular trusses and enhanced by particularly elegant Astera Helios with their tubular shape.

The first outermost “circle” receives 10 x Ayrton Karif, the second carries 18 x Astera AX9 Power Par (in yellow on the plan), the third 10 x Portman Mantis, the most in the center 8 x Astera AX5 Triple Par (in blue in the plan) and the center 5 x Astera Mantis make up a circular shape like the trusses.

Not really complete circles but arched trusses to give great possibilities and depth to the major playground of the kit.

Like an enchanted parenthesis, two symmetrical structures nicely frame this crazy close-up background with a framework enhanced by 24 x Astera Titan Tube and from which 24 x Ayrton Zonda 9 FX washes project all their power.

To bring even more depth to the backdrop, two structures were designed with Titan Tubes and loaded with Zonda.

The Portman S-Tribe delight participants with their controllable band in detail and color. It gives depth to the stage and more span to the effects of the Ayrton Zonda 9 FX in addition to extending the beams of the Ayrton Cobra.

On the sides, stage left and mirrored on stage right, there is a set up pleasantly highlighted by 30 x Portman S-Tribe.

Positioned in “bas-relief”, they give a beautiful depth of field to the set. Portman’s latest 100% LED lighting creation, the S-Tribe, is recognizable by its tribal motifs.
With a linear format of 1.2 m, it has 5 warm white LED modules with an R7S LED in the center of each in front of a hammered reflector. These modules work alongside 10 small RGBW segments (strips) which are also LEDs.

Here again, the framework of the structure is enhanced by 31 x Hyperion Tube, and the stars of the set make their entrance: 24 x Ayrton Cobra, in reduced output “mode”, due to their power in this limited environment.

The SL structure (there is the same at SR) receives the 15 x Titan Tube, 12 x Cobra, and also two Huracans.

Installed in front of this wall, two grandMA 2 consoles are reserved for the contestants to control the kit. They will turn their backs on it to stay in a TV game show setup. Astera Hydra Panel, small and discreet with a battery of a maximum autonomy of 20 hours are used to pick up the shadows on the candidates.

The front light of the participants is by Astera Hydra Panels, here very discreet, they are hidden behind the microphone for additional lighting running on batteries.

With its 25 W of Titan RGBAM LEDs (red, green, blue, amber, and mint) the Hydra Panel is presented as a high-tech light fill. The quality of its beam, its 6 filters, and diffusers, as well as a wide range of rigging fittings, make the Hydra Panel one of the best floodlights in its category.

Both powerful and ultra-high quality, it accompanies its exceptional output of 1300 lumens with complete colorimetry and a range of well-calibrated whites with a CRI of 96. A Portman S-Tribe is, also, positioned in front of each of the two grandMA 2 consoles to display the points like a scoreboard.

The Ayrton WildSun K25 for a powerful wash thanks to its 17 White LED sources (7500 K).

On the floor, a first upstage row of 4 Ayrton WildSun K25 washes, with their punchy flux of 100 000 lumens.

6 x Ayrton Karif for beautiful volumetric beams ensure a second row.

And 8 x Ayrton Huracan Profile along with 6 x Ayrton Bora washes are arranged in a V on the set.

The floor kit.

The overhead rig is loaded with a beautiful matrix composed of 19 x Ayrton Eurus S and 48 x Astera Titan Tube which form a gnomonic square created by successive regular polygons.

Eurus S and Titan Tubes are together in this geometrical look for the set.

The Top trussing, squares are made of 48 Titan Tube with 19 profiles Eurus S inside.

Finally, a 100% LED kit with laser beams produced by the Cobras and to capture these beautiful sources, eleven PTZ cameras were coordinated, and controlled from the control room by director Séléné Grandchamp.

SLU : Did you have any surprises when turning on all these fixtures?

Frédéric Fochesato : We prepared and wired all the fixtures beforehand so that they only had to be hung. The only small struggle we had between the 3D render and reality concerned the Astera tubes which were rotated 180° and whose effects did not go in the right direction. However, with the Astera application, we solved this detail in a few minutes.

SLU : How was the lighting kit controlled?

Frédéric Fochesato : We have two control “rooms”, the main one with a grandMA3 with NPU3 for Yannick Duc and those for the players with grandMA2 with NPU2. For the network which carries several MA-Net 2, MA-Net 3, and Art-Net protocols, the idea was to adopt the simplest possible solution because there are a lot of machines on the set.

We had 3 distribution points, SR, SL, and Upstage with switches and ELC nodes because all the fixtures are wired and controlled by DMX. There is a MadMapper that sends 75 universes and which merges into the GrandMA3 console or into the contestants’ grandMA2 consoles to control the whole kit, and from the MadMapper there is another flow via Art-Net of 169 universes to ensure the transmission of the video signal in the Zonda FX. In total, we are up to 55,000 parameters in the fiber optic network.

SLU : Three separate lighting desks can control the kit, how was this managed?

Frédéric Fochesato : Yannick needed a visual cue to know who had control of the console at the moment T. I proposed the idea of installing a small Oxo PixyLine whose LEDs light up green or blue depending on the color code defined between him and the players. This avoids moments of stress “live” because console changes are frequent.

The Show

The Jury’s vote combined with the audience’s is how the contestants were to be evaluated.

From left to right : Aziz Baki, Sophie Limeul, Alain Longchampt and Lukasz Sztejna.

– Sophie Limeul, Director of Photography
– Aziz Baki, Lighting Designer
– Alain Lonchampt, Fixture designer at Portman
– Lukasz Sztejna, Fixture designer at Portman

The stakes were high, and the prizes offered to the winning team, including a superb GrandMA3 Command Wing…

– Axente : a Command Wing grandMA3
– Design Express : Vectorworks Vision Full license
– Oliverdy : one week of training
– Smode : a Smode licence
– SoundLightUp : a personalized article in our Web magazine

The white Grizzly’s Raphael Rowenczyn …

… Take on the Black Falcons, here with Quentin Douriez. The Portman S-Tribe set up in front of the grandMA 2 desks are ready to start counting the points.

The live of the final event

The winning Team

The Black Falcon team, made up of David Liou Tchen San and Quentin Douriez, won the favor of the jury and the public. A big “bravo” to them for this great success.

The “Black Falcon” Quentin Douriez (left) and David Liou Tchen San are the winners of the CQLP 2023 edition.

David Liou Tchen San grew up in Poitier and very young he was interested in painting. Through a friend, he got his first touring experience in 2009 for a group called “Slave Farm”. He then approached the Theater sector and the SMAC (a distinction the French government gives to a local venue) of his city, “Le Confort Moderne” in Poitier.
Enthralled, he is trained “on the fly” on different projects while working for the service provider “ZProfessionnel”. More recently he moved to Paris to become an operator. After going through all the stages, he is now a designer and console operator on live tours and events.

Quentin Douriez, trained in architecture, has a passion for enhancing volumes with light. By chance, he finds himself working as a Stage Hand/Carpenter, technical director, stage manager, or decorator for theater companies. One day he is asked to replace the lighting designer at short notice and it’s “love at first sight”.
He decides to devote himself to it and one thing leads to another meets Maxime Raffin, a reference in the industry. The latter invites him to back-to-back performances and get involved in more or less major tours and events as a board programmer/operator and technical director, in addition to his work in television which currently constitutes 50% of his professional timetable.

SLU : How did you two meet?

Quentin Douriez : In Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in 2019, at a big festival where there were two of us at the inhouse/welcoming console with a kit that included between 800 and 1,000 fixtures. We quickly connected from a human point of view and we became friends because we have a similar vision of this profession. I really like his work.

The Ayrton Zonda 9 FX particularly stand out from a kit where quality was at the rendezvous with the tungsten colors of the Portman luminaires, the darlings of many lighting designers.

SLU : Why set yourself this challenge?

David Liou Tchen San : We found the idea rather fun and even if it takes time, the fact of being able to do it as a team had us convinced. Basically, it was an opportunity to have a good time with friends, and in the end, we won, it’s great!

SLU : Have you participated in this competition before?

Quentin Douriez : This is my second participation in this contest, but the first time I was a volunteer to support the project. When we decided to compete with David, we promised ourselves to take it seriously.

David Liou Tchen San : This is my first participation and I think it’s really nice. The atmosphere and hospitality on site are great. Maxime, Yannick, and all the volunteers gave us a warm welcome with a special mention for Thomas Jedwab-Wroclawski who was in charge of the consoles on the Wysiwyg station. I would also like to say a big thank you to the partners. They spoiled us and it was a pleasure.

SLU : How did you organize yourselves?

David Liou Tchen San : Quentin was more at the console. I also worked on the desk, but I had more of an eye on design or the “photography” in our collaboration.

SLU : In this kit was there a fixture that caught your eye?

David Liou Tchen San : I would say the Zonda. On CQLP we used it as a wash but I think we are far from having discovered all its qualities and it makes me want to look more closely at these fixtures. Otherwise, I tend to like tungsten a lot and so Portman projectors are my “drug of choice” if you will (laughs).

Quentin Douriez : For me too it is the Zonda. Honestly, it was a bit of a slap in the face. I think it’s a very nice fixture and that it offers lots of accessible possibilities and multiple ways of working with light. I would have liked to have had more time to make it prove its worth.

A grandMA 3 Command Wing, one of the major prizes in the competition, also includes a Vectorworks Vision Full license, a week of training at Oliverdy formation, a Smode license, and a Team portrait in Soundlightup.

SLU : You won a GrandMA 3 Command Wing, how will you use it?

Quentin Douriez : We have already discussed it with David and it is he who will get it. As far as I’m concerned, I sold my share to him at the market price and for my part, I plan to invest in a grandMA 3 Light but not right away, perhaps when creating my own business. That being said, we know full well that we will lend it to each other if necessary.

David Liou Tchen San : Before CQLP I already had plans to set up my business in some time. I already have a lot of consoles and software-type equipment in stock that I share with a colleague and this is an opportunity to have one more console available in it!

Eve Ledunois, the show/cue caller, says see you next year!

SLU : Do you have a message for people who would be interested in participating in the next competition?

Quentin Douriez : Have fun! Take inspiration from everything around you. The organizers of the competition are caring and believe in mutual aid. It is a very important event in the community sense. This is an opportunity for console operators and lighting designers to see further and meet each other. It’s very pleasant.

David Liou Tchen San and Quentin Douriez are the big winners of this edition, but I don’t think I’m wrong in saying that all the professionals who participated from near or far enjoyed this unique experience.
The audience, partners, volunteers, and participants have come together for a great collaboration on a project that finally seems to fill a void by offering the opportunity for console operators and lighting designers, beginners or experts from all sectors, to progress with kits of state-of-the-art fixtures well supervised and advised by the founders of the competition.
A fixture clearly sparks the “players” curiosity. It is the Ayrton Zonda 9 FX. Creative lighting par excellence, it seems not to have revealed all its secrets yet. Other very beautiful fixtures have taken over the set, including the ultimate Cobra beam, Portman luminaires and their golden light or Astera projectors, concentrates of technology with the particularity of being unanimously approved in cinema, video, TV, and live events….

I have a particular admiration for the great energy that everyone has put into this project. Congratulations again to all the volunteers and partners who gave life to the limitless ambition of Maxime Raffin and Yannick Duc, founders of the CQLP competition. 😉

For more information on the partners of the event:

– Cqlp by M-Light
– Ayrton
– Portman
– Astera
– Axente
– Impact Évènement
– Oliverdy Formations
– Vectorworks
– Design Express
– Smode


Crédits -

Text by Allison Cussigh – Photos: Allison Cussigh, CQLP – Video: CQLP - Translation Ted Hall

Leave a Reply