Reading-based Blinding Light theatrically lit the "American Express Global Adventure" at The 2004 Motor Show.
The brief was to produce a series of dramatic - and changing - lighting states for four different zones of a 'dark drive' - New York, Desert, Arctic and Jungle. Vehicles are driven around the zones on special tracks demonstrating the amazing off-road capabilities of the Land Rover range.
Blinding Light's Patrick Stacey project managed and Hugo Beaver was overall lighting designer. They worked closely with the designer meeting extremely tight deadlines. This resulted in a degree of improvisation being required from the lighting department once on site. "We're used to this lateral and 'thinking on ones feet' style of approach" comments Patrick, "So we took it in our stride"
Blinding Light's four additional technical crew were also given the opportunity to input their own creative ideas into the different areas as they were being rigged.
The big lighting challenge was that there were no flown rigging points, so all lighting fixtures had to be floor-based. A raw-edged, metallic, industrial ambience pervaded the entire area - boosted by 4 smoke machines and 3 cracked oil machines also supplied by Blinding Light.
Some areas were obvious in terms of lighting - hot and dusty colours for the desert; cold and crisp hues for the Arctic with Aurora Borealis effects, etc "Basically we lit the sets to bring colour and feeling out of the flat walls and set graphics panels". The most traditionally 'scenic' area was New York, which included a large metal drive over bridge in the centre, a series of skeletal metal scenic 'skyscrapers', partially covered with silk material, and several cityscape wall panels.
Lighting fixtures utilised included over 50 moving lights - a mix of Martin MAC 500s and 300s, High End Studio Spot 250s and Studio Due Mini Cities, plus over 150 generic fittings, an assortment of Source Fours, Fresnels and PARS. The lighting sequences for all four zones were programmed into and controlled by an Avolites Pearl 2000 console.
Being a ground-based lightshow also had advantages, explains Patrick, including the opportunity of using a greater number of smaller fixtures to create more detailed lighting effects and enables you to get a wider range of light and shadow to the right areas giving depth and contrast to the wall panels.
Up to 15 cars per hour negotiated the track, and all agreed the ride was transformed in terms of visual drama and experience by well applied and imaginative lighting.