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A.C. Special Projects Helps to Deliver Vision for Sky Gallery at The O2

A.C. Special Projects Helps to Deliver Vision for Sky Gallery at The O2

July 7, 2011 14:39

A.C. Special Projects Ltd (ACSP), working with lighting designer David Atkinson of DALD, have supplied a complete effects lighting solution featuring the latest energy-saving LED technology, moving & conventional fixtures and a custom control system for the Sky Gallery at The O2, London – the world’s first 3D TV gallery.

The Sky Gallery - a showcase for Sky's new 3D TV service - is open to everyone visiting the arena. In addition, the separate Sky Backstage area offers an exclusive backstage / pre-show experience for Sky guests and VIPs who are attending concerts and events at the arena.

ACSP has a long-standing relationship with DALD dating back ten years, during which time it has supplied equipment for a diversity of David's projects. 

He says "ACSP and I work extremely well together. Their multi-disciplinary background in live events, TV, film and architectural lighting, and their vast expertise, knowledge and access to such a wide range of quality brands that can be sourced and delivered extremely quickly if needed, is absolutely invaluable."

As soon as his design for the Sky Gallery - commissioned by Sky's branding agency RPM - received the green light, David Atkinson and Production Science asked the High Wycombe, UK based ACSP to work with them, knowing that they could supply the extensive range of fixtures required in a highly competitive package on time and on budget.

ACSP supplied all items to technical specialists Production Science, who installed and integrated the complex lighting system for Sky.

The lighting supply involved ACSP providing nearly 50 different types of lighting fixture from over 40 leading brands - including Chroma-Q®, GLP, Spotlight, Robe, Osram, Traxon, James Thomas Engineering, Zero 88, Reggiani, Iguzzini, Sylvania, Froma Lighting and many more.

There were over 3,300 individual items of lighting, associated equipment and accessories on the kit list, including 580 separate power and data cables custom manufactured to specific lengths and fitted with assorted connectors. The whole installation adds up to around 4,000 DMX channels of control.

With the venue’s emphasis on energy efficiency and sustainability, the project was heavily LED orientated. The overall lighting scheme covers two main areas - the Sky Gallery and Sky Backstage – which are linked via an approximately 15m curved corridor with a glass wall one side and a white one the other.

It was important to give this space a transitory feel and create a sense of excitement and anticipation for those proceeding to 'Backstage', so the white wall side of the walkway is lit with 12 Chroma-Q Color Force™ 48” / 1.2m high output RGBA LED battens washing down the wall in a blend of changing colours - providing a spectacular ‘wow’ factor.

ACSP supplied custom-made brackets to enable the Color Force battens to be mounted above the wall and angled downwards, deflecting the intensity away from the visitors.

Sky Gallery

This area spans two floors, with 3D TVs 'floating' on the two-sided ground floor wall of the Gallery and the perimeter walls of the floor above.

To accentuate the spacious effect and enhance the whole 3D feel of the area, ACSP supplied approximately 280 separate 300mm lengths of Traxon 1-pixel RGB LED strips. Some are located behind the panels holding the TVs, with others ensconced in the cove detail around the room and mounted in the columns behind the walls. The discreet size and flexibility makes it perfect for the task.

Each pixel is individually DMX addressed, so they could easily be mapped and programmed to create the "gently flowing kinetic rainbow" effect in delicate pastel shades that David specifically wanted. The intensity levels have also been carefully balanced so not to detract from any content being displayed on the screens.

Upstairs, in the Gallery's first floor level, floating ceiling panels incorporate LED down-lighters for general staircase lighting, and ceiling mounted fluorescents throw additional ambient light down the staircase, highlighting the graphics applied to the wall.

The first floor of the gallery also features a series of light cubes flown from the ceiling, which are internally lit with RGB LED modules that emit soft light through opalesque polycarbonate panels on the bottoms of the cubes.

Recessed into the top face of the cubes are CFLs (compact fluorescents) which bounce light directly off the ceiling. All this combined enhances the educative ambience and feel of space in the gallery, making it a pleasant place to ingest information.

The Gallery's ground level general lighting uses dimmable recessed Reggiani Sombrado 16W LED downlighters fitted with medium optic lenses and 3000°K warm white LEDs, and custom metal halide fittings were chosen to illuminate the graphics wall of the gallery.

Sky Backstage

Guests entering this space are greeted with a reception and hair & make up area, then a striking interactive scenic Paparazzi Wall, which is skinned with a large image of real life papps behind red tape, cameras poised. Guests can have their photos taken by a remote digital camera, and these are uploaded to a website and available by the time they get home after the show.

This required flash-mimicking effects bulbs to be positioned exactly in cutouts behind the wall. The ACSP team suggested a special Chroma-Q LED strobe unit which can be manufactured to order. The 24 LED strobes provided another bespoke solution for this element of interactive fun.

Six Chroma-Q 4Play DMX buffers are used to integrate all the Chroma-Q equipment into the control system - the 4Play is a fault tolerant, self healing 4 way DMX buffer that fully isolates all the outputs from each other.

Lighting for the Backstage Bar and Green Room areas is more theatrical, indicating a change of mood and a complete contrast to the gallery, getting everyone vibed up for a great evening ahead.

ACSP supplied 24 GLP Volkslichts and 35 Volkslicht Zoom LED moving heads which are the primary lighting fixtures here. In the Backstage Bar, the Volkslichts are either directly skimming the walls or back-lighting (from above) a series of canvass fins installed in the ceiling directly above the bar. The ACSP team had custom frosted lenses fabricated for the Volkslichts to enhance the diffusion.

The central feature in the Green Room is a massive circular ceiling pendant which is also lit with Volkslichts rigged in the ceiling above.

These dynamic LED wash lights have been specified by ACSP for numerous applications. In this context they ticked all the boxes due to their small size and light weight of 8 Kgs, intensity and colour changing properties, and low power consumption.

Also illuminating elements the backstage area are 19 metal halide Spotlight Midi fresnels.

Jands Vista Control

Once David Atkinson had completed his fixture selection, ACSP specified this part of the package, choosing Jands Vista for its power, simplicity and flexibility.

The complete lighting system is controlled by two rack mounted PCs running Jands Vista. Each PC’s software is a 2,048 channel dongle giving a total of up to 4,096 channels of DMX.

The 'show' and looks for all spaces were programmed initially on a Jands Vista T4 console, giving full flexibility and easy programming. This was completed over an intense period of about three weeks by Stewart Parker, one of DALD's regular programmers, working closely with ACSP. The show files were then transferred to the Vista PCs, and set to playback.

ACSP Project Manager, Alex Wing concludes, "We are very proud to be part of this installation and work on another interesting and innovative project with David. Once the project went 'live' everything moved extremely quickly, with lighting equipment needed on site in a very specific order to fit the construction schedule, and some elements having to be sourced and supplied at very short notice to meet the deadlines for that section of the build. This has helped produce a stunning piece of work from David."

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