Lightfactor feels the goal at Tussauds

Monday, 1 July 2002
Lightfactor feels the goal at Tussauds
Following our earlier news piece on Lightfactor’s involvement with the new Madame Tussauds venue in Amsterdam, we have more details on the role the company played in a new exhibition section within the Tussauds attraction in London.

Feel The Goal is based around the goal scored by David Beckham in the 90th minute of last year’s World Cup qualifier against Greece. There are just two figures in the exhibition - Beckham and England manager Sven Goran Eriksson. Lighting is a crucial atmospheric element of the piece as it leads up to the goal, complete with dramatic sound effects and a pulsating floor, replicating Beckham’s heartbeat. The rationale behind Tussauds new exhibition area is to be able to re-theme the space every two or three months, allowing the highlighting of topical issues of the day, and enabling visitors to re-live ‘magic moments’. Dealing with a constantly changing environment, it was paramount that any lighting had to be as flexible and adaptable as possible.

Lighting designer Paul O’Brien of Rainmaker came onboard to conjure up the creatives for Feel The Goal and the lighting supply quote went out to competitive tender, which Lightfactor won. Lightfactor’s managing director Paul de Ville has supplied the Tussauds Group with effects and show lighting requirements on several other occasions, including the two new floors of the expanded Amsterdam venue earlier this year. The installation of Feel The Goal was completed by Sloane E & M and co-ordinated by Tussaud’s Scott Desborough, project manager for Wax Exhibitions.

The room is white with a massive videowall. O’Brien chose to sink 39 Roblon DMX-controllable fibre optic heads with HQI light sources in the floor - walked over by visitors as they enter. These are time-coded to the AV track, turning the floor green as the show starts - to resemble a football pitch. The fixtures are zoned, and as the moment Beckham’s about to take the free kick approaches, the video turns sepia and goes to slow motion, his heartbeat starts throbbing, and the entire floor starts pulsating red from the centre outwards and then back in again in time to the heartbeat. Overhead, Lightfactor supplied ETC Source Fours and LDR Fresnels, which also pulse. O’Brien also specified four MAD moving lights with rotating gobos, two of which contain football gobos. The balls scan down to Beckham’s feet and fly upwards when he runs and kicks the ball. Lightfactor also supplied low-voltage recessed fittings to illuminate Eriksson without breaking any of the contours of the room.

The build period was fast and furious. Tussauds wanted the space opened the week before Easter to capitalise on the enormous press coverage surrounding the tournament - and it was just 10 weeks from completion of the concept drawings to the opening. Sound, videowall and control system for Feel The Goal was supplied by Sysco, and the heartbeat was devised by Patrick Vigne. The video was commissioned by Tussauds and made by Chris Credition from Planet 21.

(Ruth Rossington)

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