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Ambersphere brands shine brightly in the Enchanted Forest
UK – The Enchanted Forest is Scotland’s largest outdoor light and sound show; in 2015 it entranced a staggering 62,000 visitors, even more impressive when you realise the location of Faskally Wood near Pitlochry is hardly a densely populated urban hub. Organisers, The Enchanted Forest Community Trust, have ensured that for each of its fifteen years, a fresh theme using the very latest in technology, has been designed to bring the forest and loch to life.
This year appears to be no exception. Running from 29th September to 30th October, the event has so far scooped awards from the Scottish Events Awards (Best Event Marketing), CIPR Pride Awards Scotland (Best Integrated Campaign & Outstanding Small PR Consultancy) and the Perthshire Chamber of Commerce Business Star Awards (Business Growth Award) to name but a few. For the sixth year, lighting designers Kate Bonney and Simon Hayes joined forces with NL Productions from Edinburgh to supply the lighting specification.
Craig Bellshaw was NL’s project manager: “NL Productions have worked on this event for some years now so we have a great deal of experience dealing with the unusual setting and environment. Any kit we set up has to deal with the often brutal Scottish weather for a month, not to mention more than 65,000 people walking past and the occasional uninvited curiosity of the local wildlife. There’s always a conversation between us and the LDs about the specification but we all agree that the lighting choices have to be both reliable as well as producing a spectacular show.”
On the specification list this year were Clay Paky Alpha Spot QWO 800s, Sharpy Washes and a significant number of Mythos, which are not usually perceived as outdoor lighting choices. Co-lighting designer Simon Hayes elaborates: “My co-designer, Kate Bonney was part of the original design team and I joined her in 2013 so we have learnt over the years to be reactive to the ever changing environment of the forest. We’ve used Sharpy Washes before; the intensity of the fixture and the richness of the colours coupled with its robust construction has always impressed us. It has a great track record for reliability on site.
“The QWOs are another stalwart of the forest, set under inflatable domes as well as open fronted hides. Their wide arsenal of effects and gobos help keep customisation costs down. This year we are using them to create a shimmering backdrop to areas of the forest. Located around 30m from the main path we are using gobo and animation effects through the tree trunks to create a mirage of interesting effects.
“The Mythos are a new addition to our design and we have been very impressed with its intensity and flexibility: the beam is so powerful it is can even be seen dancing on the clouds, a really memorable visual. We rigged some of the Mythos on floating pontoons in the middle of the loch very close to a large water screen but they have coped brilliantly with the moisture laden environment.”
The choice for control is MA Lighting grandMA2 onPC Command Wing and PC with an accompanying NPU. Bellshaw again: “We have used the MA control system for the last three years and has proved to be very reliable; we have two onPC units acting as main and back up with an NPU sharing a lot of the processing. We also utilise the Clay Paky on board art net converters on the units to distribute the DMX around the site.”
For the designers and for programmer Lawrence Stromski, the MA system provides the platform to create the vibrant looks this event demands. “The effects engine is unrivalled and allows us to quickly create amazing dynamic looks,” comments Hayes. “While the wing gives us a compact and easily transportable solution to programme around the site.”
All round quality and performance has proved a winner in the forest for both these brands that hail from the rather less leafy environs of Ambersphere Solutions in West London.
photo: Angus Forbes
8th November 2016
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