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Blinding Light In The Park With  The Proms and The Pope

Blinding Light In The Park With The Proms and The Pope


Reading, UK, based lighting rental company Blinding Light supplied lighting equipment including trussing and rigging for the BBC's 2010 Proms In The Park event in London's Hyde Park.

Blinding Light won a competitive tender to provide the kit to Mantaplan for the large scale classical and popular music spectacle staged to coincide with the traditional Last Night of the Proms at the Royal Albert Hall. The equipment was specified by lighting designer Anthony Hall (Turbo) who has lit London's Proms In The Park for the last 9 years.

Blinding Light's Patrick Stacey commented, "We were very proud to win such a high profile show and enjoyed working with Turbo and his team enormously". Blinding Light has recently moved to new larger premises, and is now better enabled to provide a far greater level of production and designer support.

"It was a fantastic opportunity to use all our resources within the first few weeks of the move to supply everything needed for this show efficiently and thoroughly" continues Stacey. The project required support from a wide range of suppliers, and in this case, sub hired lighting equipment was sourced through Elstree Light and Power and rigging from Outback.

The key to the lighting design was flexibility as the day after Proms in The Park, the 40 metre wide stage, supplied by Serious, and lighting rig would be used for an Elvis tribute concert, and then a week later, to host an appearance and Prayer Vigil by Pope Benedict XVI.

For The Proms alone the design needed to cover all bases and complement a range of music genres, lighting the BBC Concert Orchestra and a selection of soloists including Dame Kiri Te Kanawa and Jose Carreras, plus special guests Brian May & Kerry Ellis who really got the party rocking, along with legendary singer/songwriter Neil Sedaka. In addition, the final design also had to provide illumination for the set, designed by Hattie Spice.

Turbo's crew sub hung 6 straight trusses from the roof structure to facilitate above-stage lighting positions, plus 2 upstage/downstage trusses for cable management and some smaller trusses in the centre, specifically for set lighting. Another 4 smaller trusses were rigged towards the edge of the stage, used for hanging side lighting for the downstage areas.

The basic lighting rig building block was a PAR can wash - corrected for the cameras - created using 36 bars of 6, dotted all over the roof space. A selection of these were focussed almost directly downwards and used to section off the orchestra. The moving lights were layered on top of this wash, used for adding prettiness, texturing and effects.

This year the roof had a high trim height and the set a flat floor, so there was plenty of scope for lighting to fill in some of the spaces in between. One of these was upstage of the orchestra, where Turbo strategically placed 14 Vari*Lite V*L3000s on the back of the risers for mid level beam-work. They were joined by another 6 V*L3000s in the air.

The main workhorses of the rig were 36 Martin Professional MAC 2K Performers, used extensively for set illumination below, along with 36 MAC 2K Washes and 36 MAC 2K Profiles arranged alternately on the cross stage bars for maximum coverage.

Turbo was impressed with Clay Paky's Alpha Beam 300s, 8 of which were positioned down the sides of the stage. Across the back, also at high level were 14 CP Alpha Beam 700s, used for punching through tight beams of lighting in the rockier numbers.

Martin 301 LED washes were used on the front truss to produce some interesting twinkly effects into the audience, who were generally lit with nearly 80 8-lites dotted around the auditorium, hung on the delay and video towers, FOH and spotlight platforms, etc. This looked great on the crane camera long shots as it swooped in from the back of the auditorium.

In addition to this show, Turbo had to consider how the rig could be used for the Elvis show the next day and the Pope's address the following weekend when finalising his design. For the Pope's visit, they had to re-position and re-rig some of the trusses.

All the moving lights for Proms In The Park were run on a grandMA full size console, with another running in full tracking backup, operated by Martin Seymour, and connected over a network with 3 NSPs. Turbo ran all the generics off a Road Hog Full Boar, with Arnaud Stephenson (Cookie) operating lights for the Elvis show.

Turbo was really impressed with Blinding Light. It was the first time he'd worked with the company, and comments that their attention to detail and commitment to supply exactly what was asked for made it "very easy" for him and his team on site.

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