DBN Lights History for the People
Manchester UK based DBN Lighting supplied an innovative lighting artwork, equipment and control for the week long opening event of the redeveloped People's History Museum in the heart of the city.
The £12.5m project includes the refurbishment of the existing Pump House and the construction of a four storey extension alongside it, with old and new buildings joined together by a spectacular glass walkway.
Event producers Walk The Plank commissioned DBN's Stephen Page to produce the concept and the work, which involved more than 80 individual LED lighting fixtures. These were strategically positioned in various locations inside the building, to be viewed externally by the public via a patchwork of windows on the river side of the building.
Walk the Plank completed the launch week’s visual picture with the installation of a flame jet system on top of the roof, which worked in conjunction with the interior lighting to produce a spectacular visual event for the re-opening of the Museum.
DBN and Walk The Plank have collaborated on many previous projects, and Stephen Page comments, "It's exciting to have the opportunity of creating something original and memorable like this that is so directly related to our home town and the history of the region".
The LED fixtures specified were a combination of ChromaQ ColorBlock Mk2s, i-Pix BB4s and SGM Palco 3s, dependant upon the specific throw requirements. LED fixtures were chosen for their rich colour changing abilities, low heat output, and the practicality of powering the whole installation from existing sources within the building.
The fixtures were located on window sills, desk tops, filing cabinets, etc. "It had a nice element of ‘randomism’ whilst also being very meticulously thought-out to get the right effects and coverage for the different spaces, in the process creating an eye-catching flow of colour through the building for those experiencing it from the outside" explains Page.
Drawing on the colours of the Museum's signage and branding for inspiration, the lights were programmed into a series of clips on a Jands Vista S1 console, making good use of the Date-Time-Events panel functionality to trigger the lightshow to start and stop each evening. Once programmed, control was transferred to a laptop that was used to replay the show.
The idea was based on the energy and organic flow of movement, representing the interesting and often idiosyncratic twists and causality of social change of working people's history. This also tied in with the fluid motion of the adjacent river.
Page worked closely with DBN's Nick Todd, who as senior project manager oversaw the installation and ensured it was a smooth one for DBN.
Together with Craig Horner, the Museum's IT Manager, they devised a series of Ethernet gizmos allowing them to patch in to the building's Cat 5 network and utilise this to spread DMX throughout the building to where it was needed. Radio DMX was also used in a couple of the more inaccessible places.
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