Leading UK lighting and visuals rental specialist HSL supplied equipment for a bold, vibrant interactive lighting installation work - ‘Control t’force’ – created by Lighting Designer James Bawn, that illuminated the 330 metre high Emley Moor Mast in west Yorkshire UK, which is the tallest freestanding structure in the UK, an iconic local landmark and the main UHF transmitter for most of the county.
Specially commissioned by TG Events on behalf of Kirklees Council as part of ‘Hypervelocity’, the 5-day grand final of the 100-day 2014 Yorkshire Festival, the Control t’force project which ran over two evenings, also celebrated the start of the 2014 Tour de France cycle race in Yorkshire.
James has been involved in some previous architectural lighting projects for the council and when his ideas for lighting the Emley Moor broadcast transmitting station Mast (currently owned by telecommunications and broadcast transmission company Arqiva) received the green light, he immediately turned to Simon Stuart and Mike Oates at Blackburn-based HSL to provide the equipment and additional expertise.
Says Simon Stuart, “We were really excited to be involved and to help James realise such a stunning and inventive idea that made history as the first time the tower has ever been fully lit … and was enjoyed by so many people!”
HSL supplied A&O Technology Falcon 6000 searchlights, Robe CitySkape Xtreme LED floods, Chroma-Q Color Force 48 LED battens and Clay Paky Sharpies and continued its investment in Luminex with another brand new bespoke fibre optic system especially for the project. This incorporated Luminex Gigacore 16Xt switchers and Ethernet convertors coupled with a 350 metre run of Armourflex fibre cable.
James not only produced a stunning piece of pop-up public art involving the Grade II listed structure, he made it a truly interactive experience utilising Kirklees Council’s events Twitter page, creating #lightthemast.
This enabled people to request their favourite colours when the installation was live each night with James tweeting back as he changed the colours.
On the first evening, #lightthemast was the fourth most popular trending topic in the UK inciting a phenomenal reaction that also sent thousands of people flocking to the location a mile west of Emley in Kirklees … to engage in the experience first-hand.
To establish the exact kit needed and its optimum location for the 360 degree illumination designed to make the tapered reinforced concrete tower shine like a giant light-sabre visible for miles around, HSL supplied some sample fixtures and helped conduct a series of site tests. After this process was complete, James finalised his lighting plot.
Seven separate Steeldeck platforms – also supplied by HSL - were erected in a radius around the Mast approximately 20 metres away from the structure and each 20 metres apart. James also energised his best diplomatic skills in persuading the local farmer to embrace the project and let him locate some of the platforms on his land!
On each platform was an array of searchlights and a CitySkape Xtreme. On the floor directly in front of the platforms was another Falcon 6K and two more CitySkape Xtremes – all of them firing at the tower.
Inside the Mast’s control room, which is 274 metres off the ground, were the ten Sharpies and the 20 Color Force 48s, arranged so light bounced off the celling and was clearly visible through all the windows. On the roof of the control room a 30 Watt RGB laser was rigged and could be seen from miles around.
These fixtures were all controlled from the production platform set up in the field below via the fibre backbone, which would have been impossible to achieve it any other way.
Says James, who also works for sales and distribution specialist A.C. Entertainment Technologies (AC-ET) Ltd. in Leeds, “As always it was fantastic working with HSL – the service and equipment was fantastic, nothing was too much trouble, we had an excellent team who all worked extremely hard to ensure that the event was a massive success”.
He also says a big thank-you to Arqiva and Tim Garbutt from TG Events for their co-operation.
The most popularly requested colour for Control t’force proved to be yellow – for the leader’s shirt of the Tour de France – closely followed by blue and pink!
Photo by Gareth Welbourn