Blinding Light at the Microsoft Midseason Party
Working for leading UK event production company Sledge, Reading-based lighting company Blinding Light designed and supplied lighting equipment, a Catalyst digital media server, video content for all the LED walls and lightsources, plus crew for the Microsoft Midseason Party. This was staged at London's Hammersmith Palais and featured lively performances from pop superstars Girls Aloud, Soul II Soul and Earth Wind for Hire.
Ambiguously titled "decadence" - a word with many meanings and inferences - the party wasn't corporately branded at all. However, it had a loose time related theme celebrating the chronology of Microsoft's origins in the 1970s through to the present day.
Taking this as a starting point, Blinding Light's Paddy Stacey evolved a conceptual Lighting design for Sledge.
He then brought in Dominic Main to produce the lighting design, Svend Pedersen to programme and operate the Catalyst and Chris Plant to create 'live' graphics and video content that was fed into the Catalyst.
Onstage, at the very back, were four vertical LED columns that were central to Main's design, and served as a back wall to the bands. Blinding Light utilised the in-house rigging and trussing, and lit the area with a mixture of Martin Professional MAC 600s, 500s and Entour 250s for the moving elements, along with fresenels and Source Fours for the generics.
All this was controlled from a WholeHog II and a Avolites Pearl 2004. The Pearl concentrated on the lighting and was operated by Tim Ball, and the Hog II the media content, operated by Pedersen, running the Catalyst and triggering all the video sources.
There was an additional DJ/dance floor area that was separately lit, and during the band changeovers, the whole emphasis shifted over there. It had a goal-post truss arrangement as a backdrop, filled with twenty 600 x 600 Chroma tiles, and additional lighting from 15 Martin Entour 250s. Six mirrors balls, LED Star cloth and the trussing was toned with three runs of ChromaStrip 300 LEDs. The vibe in this area was lots of busy colour changing sequences and jazzy patterns being run through the LED fixtures from the Catalyst.
The graphic content was supplied by Sledge, this including special Microsoft party logos and Microsoft connected signage, which was then taken by Plant, manipulated in the Catalyst and output via thought the LED sources. Much of it ended up as tasty abstract, and sometimes recognisable forms - all geared towards partying and having fun.
Sledge scripted and scheduled the event, which kicked off with Gina Yashere onstage and featured Radio 1's Trevor Nelson in the DJ hotspot and Rob Brydon.
The look of the show, particularly the video aspect was a huge success reports Paddy Stacey saying, "Bringing the lighting and video design into one team was amazingly powerful. Main, Pedersen and Plant's creative skills combined to create a very slick and synchronized show for our client Sledge”.
Celebrating the chronology of Microsoft's origins in the 1970s through to the present day.