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BTS: DX7 Design Delivers For The 2021 MTV Video Music Awards

The 2021 MTV Video Music Awards celebrated the network's 40th birthday with a mouth-watering marathon of performances from the world's biggest stars. LD Tom Sutherland, of DX7 Design, delivered a design as energizing as a stadium concert with the polish needed on camera for a global broadcast - and we loved every second of it.

It is a massive gig balancing the needs of remote stages, cameras, VR elements, set changes, pyrotechnics, cryogenics, and lasers for performance after performance. Check out below for a complete crew list, full gear list, photo gallery, and more.

All photos by: Stephen Bondio

Busta Rhymes

The 2021 MTV Video Music Awards produced the most performances in VMA's history. Doja Cat, Madonna, Justin Beiber, Olivia Rodrigo, and Kid LAROI all arrive in the opening minutes, and it only gets better from there. Our favorite moment? Without any doubt: Busta Rhymes and all the pyro we could have hoped for. 🔥🔥🔥

2021 MTV Video Music Awards

  • Broadcast Live from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY

  • Most VMA Performances in Show History

  • Performances by Justin Bieber, The Kid LAROI, Olivia Rodrigo, Kacey Musgraves, Twenty One Pilots, Lil Nas X, Jack Harlow, Camila Cabello, Shawn Mendes, Tainy, Doja Cat, Chloe, Normani, Ozuna, Busta Rhymes, Spliff Star, Machine Gun Kelly, Travis Barker, and Global Icon Recipient Foo Fighters

  • Additional Performances Included Remote Performances by Ed Sheeran, Alicia Keys, and Swae Lee, Pre-Show Performances by Polo G, Kim Petras, and Swedish House Mafia, and Extended Play Stage Performances by Saint Jhn and Latto

  • Appearances by Madonna, Jennifer Lopez, Hailey Bieber, Cyndi Lauper, Madison Beer, Rita Ora, Billy Porter, Avril Lavigne, Charlie XCX, Leslie Grace, Simone Biles, Conor McGregor, Halle Bailey, Wyclef Jean, Ciara, Fat Joe, Ashanti, Ja Rule, AJ McLean, Lance Bass, Nick Lachey, Billie Eilish, SZA, Tommy Lee, Swizz Beats, David Lee Roth, Megan Fox, and Kourtney Kardashian

  • Celebrated MTV’s 40th Anniversary

  • Show Received 38 Million Interactions Across All U.S. Platforms, Beating Out the Super Bowl for the 1st Time

  • Audiences Have Viewed 1.4 Billion Minutes of Content from the Show Across All Platforms

  • 2021’s Top Telecast in Social Media Buzz

  • Broadcast Across 13 ViacomCBS Networks: MTV, The CW, MTV2, VH1, BET, BET Her, Nick at Nite, CMT, Comedy Central, Paramount Network, TV Land, Pop TV, and Logo TV, in Addition to Streaming on Paramount+

  • Top Awards Included Lil Nas X for Video of the Year, Olivia Rodrigo for Song of the Year and Best New Artist, and Justin Bieber for Artist of the Year

  • BTS, Lil Nas X, and Olivia Rodrigo were the Most Awarded Artists with 3 Wins Each

Justin Bieber & Kid LAROI



Lighting Design by: Tom Sutherland / DX7 Design

Associate Lighting Designers: Joe Holdman & Hunter Selby

Assistant Lighting Designer: Jasmine Lesane

Lighting Directors: Hunter Selby, James Coldicott, Jasmine Lesane

Lighting Programmers: Joe Holdman & Brian Jenkins

Lighting Gaffer: Alen Sisul

Lighting Best Boy: John Cox

Lighting Tech: Dennis Sisul

Gear & Equipment: Harry Forster & Dave Evans / Solotech


Produced by: MTV / ViacomCBS & Den of Thieves

Executive Producers: Bruce Gillmer, Jesse Ignjatovic, Barb Bialkowski

Executive in Charge of Production: Alicia Portugal

Directed by: Joe DeMaio

Creative Producer: Paul Caslin

Production Design by: Julio Himede / Yellow Studio

Art Directors: Matt Steinbrenner & Gloria Lamb

Creative Producer / Screens Producer: Trevor Burk / Visual Noise Creative

Rigging by: Brian Lolly / Kish Rigging

Sound Design by: Mark Dittmar / Firehouse Productions

Coordinating Producer: Gary Lanvy

Line Producer: Marni Colon

Media Programmer: Kirk Miller

Lasers by: Lawrence Wright / ER Productions

Main Show Screens & Projection Content by: Silent Partners Studio

2021 MTV Video Music Awards



(9x) Philips Vari*Lite VL6500 Wash

(204x) Robe BMFL WashBeam

(92x) Clay Paky Scenius Unico

(16x) Clay Paky Scenius Profile

(48x) Philips Vari*Lite VL3500 Spot

(80x) Robe MegaPointe

(90x) Clay Paky Mythos 2

(50x) Robe Pointe


(236x) Solaris Flare Q+ LR

(80x) Solaris Flare Q+

(8x) GLP X4 Atom


(7x) Strong Lighting Super Trouper

(6x) Robe BMFL Followspot

(10x) Robe BMFL Followspot LT


(12x) ER Productions AT-30


(8x) Reel EFX DF-50 Diffusion Hazer

(8x) Haze Base Base Hazer Pro

(2x) MDG theONE

(2x) Martin ZR44 Hi Mass


(2x) MA Lighting GrandMA2 Full (Primary)

(2x) MA Lighting GrandMA2 Full (Backup)

(2x) MA Lighting GrandMA2 Lite (Tech)

(12x) MA Lighting GrandMA2 NPU


(160x) ETC Source Four PAR WFL

(1x) ER Productions AT-30


(8x) Astera AX5 TriplePar


(24x) Robe MegaPointe


(4x) Robe BMFL WashBeam


(1x) MA Lighting GrandMA2 NPU for LED Pixel Tape Ring

The Foo Fighters

2021 MTV Video Music Awards


2021 MTV Video Music Awards

Lil Nas X

2021 MTV Video Music Awards

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