Blinding Light creates Magic Mushrooms in Royal Albert Hall
Reading-based Blinding Light supplied Studio Due Mini City colour changing luminaires to TV lighting director Bernie Davis for a special edition of the BBC's "Songs Of Praise" called "The Big Sing", staged at the London's prestigious Royal Albert Hall.
Their seminal role in the show was to light the acoustic 'mushrooms' (also known as 'saucers') in the Albert Hall's roof, in a series of beguiling, rich saturated colours. This brought a sense of magic to the environment and 'framed the picture' for both the wide camera angle shots and for the live audience.
The mushrooms - normally a dull, uninspiring off-white colour - are a vital ingredient of the Hall's sound, but a constant source of aesthetic distraction to anyone working on visuals. By transforming them into a feature, the mushrooms become an integral part of the live experience of being 'on location' (in reality or on TV) in one of the world's most architecturally spectacular venues.
Sixteen Mini City's, complete with the optional wide angle lenses, the latter purchased specially by Blinding Light from Coe-tech for the occasion, were rigged in the gallery arches around the RAH's top tier. This was the optimum position for them to beam onto the mushrooms. The lighting control area was also located up there for this show.
Their light weight, quiet operation and cool temperature makes the Mini Cities ideal for this gig explains Blinding Light's Patrick Stacey (Lighting designer of the famous Caen Hill Lock illuminations in the New Year - for which he also used his Mini Cities).
They can be rigged quickly and easily on stands - without the need for any heavy scaffolding support structure, or alternatively deployed on the floor - or a combination of both - as they did for "Songs of Praise".
The units are easily powerful enough to light the 60 odd mushrooms evenly, and are far quicker and easier to rig, and more versatile than using PARS with scrollers. For occasions when the gallery is sold to the public, Mini Cities are again the ideal lighting fixture, as the noise and heat-output levels are virtually non existent due to the fixture's convection cooling system.
Bernie Davis was extremely happy with the results. It was the first time he's used Mini Cities, but it certainly won't be the last, "They are neat, compact, bright and did the job really well" he commented.
Bernie is one of the regular "Songs of Praise" LDs. The series is usually recorded in various churches around the country. A large generic and moving light rig for the RAH show was supplied by main lighting contractors ELP. Bernie controlled the conventionals from his Compulite Spark console, working closely with moving light operator Mark Ninnim, who also had the Mini Cities running off his WholeHog II.
Date of issue : 9th April 2003.
For more press info please call Louise Stickland on +44 (0)1865 202679/+44 (0)7831 329888 or Email 'firstname.lastname@example.org' . or Patrick Stacey at Blinding Light on +44 (0)118 958 9090/+44 (0)7768 315145
Editors note on the 'Mushrooms'
The Royal Albert Hall was opened in 1871 ... and featured a natural echo that became an issue throughout the hall's illustrious history. In 1969, the renowned acoustic saucers (commonly known as 'mushrooms' to production crews working in the venue) were installed following proposals by Ken Shearer in consultation with the BBC. This followed an intensive study of the acoustic measurements in the Hall and the new arrangement reduced the hall's inherent echo, dramatically cutting the reverberation time from approximately 3.5 seconds to less than 3 seconds, and providing good sound dispersal to all seats.