Liverpool Updates City of Light 2005

Liverpool, England, played host to a unique "son et lumiere" show that featured effects and dramatic lighting and was screened and projected across a wall of water. The "City of Light" event, which showcased lasers, lights, and contemporary art, was staged over three evenings, September 16-18.

The 30-minute show, designed by Lee Forde, is part of an ongoing program by The Liverpool Culture Company (LCC) to deliver Liverpool as the European Capital of Culture by 2008 and maintaining World Heritage status.

The event attracted more than 30,000 people to Liverpool’s Sefton Park. LCC instigated several technical production upgrades and used a new set of production suppliers for the 2005 show. This included XL Video, and large-format projection specialists E\T\C UK and LCI, who supplied both lasers and the waterscreen.

The show integrated various technical elements into a fluid, fast-moving montage of images and music. A 15-minute piece detailing Liverpool’s history was displayed with popular tunes from Shirley Bassey and Yello, Moby, The Teardrop Explodes, and Liverpool’s own The Beatles. The finale was a scrolling photographic tribute to John Lennon–one of Liverpool’s most famous musical heroes–to commemorate the 25th anniversary of his assassination.

Projecting On Water
The water screen provided a 17mx35m projection surface. It was powered by two 75kW pumps with manual pump-starts that were fed through a single nozzle. Two sets of 3-phase power were fed out to the pumps via double-sheathed Camlok cables.

The show’s video content was stored on a Doremi hard drive and output by Stuart Heaney using a Panasonic MX70 mixer to feed two Barco R18 projectors, overlapped to double the image intensity. Timecode generated from the video was sent to sound, laser, and PIGI projection control

E\T\C UK supplied a single PIGI 7kW projector with double rotating scroller. This was run from a PIGI OnlyCue control triggered by the timecode. The system was programmed and operated by Karen Monid.

"We upped the ante this time around and it’s really paid off," comments event manager Kirstie Blakeman. "The addition of PIGI projection has made a huge difference."

More than 8m of film coupled with a series of blanking masks produced a variety of different looks–from the video framing techniques to the full-screen scrolling photo montage of John Lennon that closed the show. Paul Chatfield produced the PIGI artwork.

Lighting was designed, programmed, and operated by Audile’s Rob Leach to Lee Forde’s brief. It consisted of 12 Martin MAC 2000 and 10 High End Systems PC Beams that beamed onto the screen and into the audience areas. Four of the MAC 2000s were used for searchlight effects and located in domes along the lake’s shore.

Six City Colors were used, together with 28 Pulsar Chromaspheres, to create house lighting for the start and end of the show. Six Diversitronic strobes were also woven into the show. An Avolites Pearl 2004 console controlled all lighting.

LCI’s Martin Kapp programmed and operated the show’s lasers using a Pangolin system. The units were two 9W YAGs, sited 8m apart to give a twin-scan effect, telescoped to reduce the beam divergence and electronically blanked to produce the graphics. Kapp created a series of bold and intricate animations to fit specific sections of the storyboard, using a combination of images culled from the Pangolin’s onboard library and new material specially created for City of Light.

Audile supplied 12 stacks of Funktion One Resolution 5 audio. This was complimented with 10 stacks of F218 subs on the shoreside, all powered by QSC amps. Control and EQ was a combination of XTA SiDDs, XTA 224 processors and an XTA GQ600 graphic. To aid the EQ’ing process around the lake, they also used XTA’s wireless Walkabout system. Francoise Le Moignan used a Midas Venice mixing desk to run the audio system. Audile also provided two Tannoy T300 speakers powered by MC2amplifiers, for monitors, plus an RF feed for induction loop facilities.

To reduce noise pollution for nearby residents, they angled the system away from immediate buildings. The PA also reached the rear of the viewing areas, approximately 130m away across the lake.

Leicester-based Upstaging supplied the stage production platform, which was built into the slope of the lake bank. Fantastic Fireworks supplied fireworks and power was supplied by Buffalo.

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