Irish Lighting rental company Production Services Ireland (PSI) became fully embroiled in the weekend commemorating the centenary of the sinking of the world's most famous cruise ship – Titanic.
The ship – the largest afloat at the time - was built at the Harland & Wolf shipyard in Belfast from 1909 – 1911. She sank four days into her maiden voyage from Southampton to New York on April 15th 1912, after hitting an iceberg off the coast of Newfoundland with the loss of 1, 514 lives.
PSI's Belfast and Dublin operations supplied lighting, rigging and crew to three major events to mark this seminal moment in maritime history.
The first was a series of gala concerts for the Titanic 100 civic commemoration and tribute programme presented by The Port of Cork at Cobh, County Cork – the last port of call for the ill-fated ship. The second was “Titanic Sounds” for MTV, staged on the slipway at Harland & Wolf where the vessel was launched, and the third was for a live broadcast by BBC2 from Belfast's Waterfront Hall.
In addition to this, PSI also supplied lighting to three major boxing and wrestling fixtures traversing the same weekend, including WWE in Belfast and Dublin – so it proved a real brain-teaser for logistics and pre-planning.
This all instigated some cross-water co-operation with UK rental company HSL, who collaborated with PSI to supply the gear for Titanic Sounds.
Says PSI director Sean Pagel, “When all six events were confirmed to overlap that weekend, it made real sense to join forces and work with another like-minded company. It's further cemented our already excellent working relationship with HSL, and once again Mike Oates and the team were brilliant in every way”.
Titanic 100, Cobh
PSI supplied lighting, trussing and rigging to this outdoor stage, a 16 metre dome roof structure located in the middle of the harbour front, into which they installed four upstage / downstage â€˜finger' trusses, chosen to maximise the headroom.
PSI was working directly for Cobh 100 and with production manager Mark Anderson of Creating Shows.
The lighting design was developed by PSI's Sean Pagel. The event was primarily orchestra based, so the need was for good even, non-intrusive illumination rather than multiple whizz-bang effects.
The fixtures utilised were 40 GLP Impression 120 Zoom LED wash lights, two Space Flowers to add a bit of upstage sparkly looks from the back, and one follow spot to pick out the conductor and soloists.
Joe Byrne and Darragh McAuliffe co-ordinated everyone's lighting requirements for the four show days running the lights on a Jands Vista T2 console.
With the hugely atmospheric backdrop of Harland and Wolf and it's mighty iconic Samson & Goliath cranes juxtaposed against the new hyper-modern Titanic Signature Building (known as Titanic Belfast) designed by architects Eric Kuhne & Associates, this event was staged by MTV as part of their â€˜World Stage' music series in association with Belfast City Council.
The line up included Pixie Lott, Sean Paul, Olly Murs, Katy B and Rizzle Kicks, and attracted around 16, 000 enthusiastic music fans.
Lighting was designed by Eugene O'Connor working for MTV, following on from his acclaimed show for the massive outdoor gig coinciding with the MTV EMA's in the city in November.
An 18 metre wide stage was installed by the Star Events Group, under which PSI sub-hung a substantial trussing system, comprising five V-shaped trusses at different levels with their apexes downstage centre; three side trusses left and right, a back truss split into three sections and a front truss also split into three elements.
The moving lights were a mix of Clay Paky Alpha Beam 300s and 700s, Martin Professional MAC 2K XBs, Robe ColorWash 2500E ATs and ROBIN LEDWash 600s, Vari*Lite VL3000 Spots and Novalight Nova Flowers – over 100 in total.
A wide assortment of generics included Sky Pans, 4 and 2-lite Moles, PAR 64s, ACLs plus the ubiquitous Atomic strobes,
All the intelligents were controlled by Johnny Mac using a Road Hog Full Boar console and expansion wing, and all the generics were run by O'Connor on an Avolites Diamond 4. Nick Malbon controlled all the LED screens' playback material via a Catalyst media server.
The stage flaps were left open at the back of the stage for all to admire Titanic Belfast in all its distinctive shape and presence.
Four crew were supplied by HSL to work alongside two from PSI on site. In the run up, HSL's Mike Oates visited and worked out of PSI's new warehouse facility for a couple of days to ensure that it all ran like clockwork for the production period. This superlative teamwork helped create another great looking show.
Titanic Concert, Belfast Waterfront Hall
Bryan Ferry and Grammy Award winning Joss Stone were among the line up for this live telecast from Belfast's Waterfront Hall venue, which also featured top performances by Nicola Benedetti, Charlie Siem, the Ulster Orchestra, Alfie Boe, Katie Melua, and Mica Paris, all hosted by broadcaster John Humphries.
A capacity audience of 1000 caught the excitement and energy in the Waterfront Hall, while another 4000 saw the action relayed on a big screen in the grounds of the City Hall.
A fabulous and very flexible lighting design was created by Oli Richards.
PSI's client was Whizkid Productions, and on site, their four crew worked closely with Richards' lighting crew chief Stuart Pring plus four locals to fit a large amount of kit into the space.
The equipment was used to light all around the stage and auditorium. It included around 100 moving lights - Clay Paky Sharpies, Martin MAC 250+s and 250 Kryptons, Robe ColorSpot 1200s, ROBIN 300 Beams and ColorSpot and ColorWash 700s and Vari*Lite 1000TS's.
There were also 80 Chroma-Q ColorBlock DB4 LED fixtures dotted around, plus 10 Howie MR16 battens, 30 ETC Source Four Profiles and over 30 floor PARs.
All fixtures were rigged over the stage on drop arms – a protracted task which took up a lot of time and precision, but produced fabulous overall aesthetics - with no lighting bars being visible anywhere.
The moving lights were controlled via a Compulite console and the generics were run from the house ETC Expression board operated by PSI's Mark Galione.
Rigging this event was demanding because of the sheer amount of lighting and video kit – supplied by XL Video – put in the roof for the concert. There were a lot of flown projection surfaces - voiles, cloths and screen surfaces – all vying for positions in the roof and sometimes with just centimetres of clearance!
Due to the amount of flown kit, all PSI's distribution and cable management also had to be located in the roof catwalks, another task which took time to achieve neatly and efficiently …. But again, with great overall results.
These three events and the three sporting ones – WWE in Belfast and Dublin, Clan Wars at the Ulster Hall and the Tyson Fury v Martin Rogan Irish Heavyweight Boxing title fight at the Odyssey Arena on the Saturday night - left PSI's new Belfast warehouse completely bare for the weekend …..