Ayrton Perseo builds Castle of Light
Tuesday, 25 February 2020
edinburghCastle of Light - a celebratory visualisation of Edinburgh’s history (© Adam Robertson)
UK - There are few cities blessed with a more spectacular landscape than Edinburgh, over which Edinburgh Castle presides and forms a natural centre piece for events and celebrations in the city throughout the year.
Through November and December 2019, the city was treated to the inaugural Castle of Light, a celebratory visualisation of Edinburgh’s history portrayed by a combination of mapping, projection, lighting and audio, which treated visitors to a journey through thousands of years of the city’s back story of which its citizens are so rightly proud.
As part of the lighting design, nine of Ayrton’s Perseo-S fixtures made an impressive impact on the show, in particular during the finale of this promenade performance. At the top of the Perseo-S tick list is an IP65 rating making it a suitable choice for intensive outdoor use.
NL Productions (NLP) were part of a consortium that created the Castle of Light and Phil O’Halloran, MD of NLP and technical production manager for the event, explains why the Perseo-S was the fixture of choice: “The Castle of Light show was a huge event for the city; the historical narrative was told through extensive mapping and video effects, culminating in the finale piece in the Castle’s Crown Square where we mapped the entire front façade of the Royal Palace. We needed a fixture with an almost impossible list of features.
“It needed to be extraordinarily bright and punchy to provide aerial effects and crowd lighting that cut through all the ambient projection levels. In a normal environment we would use smoke or fog to help achieve this, but that wasn’t an option here. The Scottish Crown Jewels are housed in the Palace and any accidental leak of fog through a window or door would not only set off the alarm system but also generate an automatic armed response and evacuation - not an ideal ending for the audience!
“From a rigging perspective, the fixtures had to provide the perfect combination of low energy consumption, guaranteed complete weatherproofing, long term reliability and be lightweight and compact. Five units were to be rigged on the Palace roof with two more on the left and right PA towers at ground level. We had a very limited amount of power available in such an inaccessible location so the LED engine was a must, and with the fixture points not offering very easy access, a unit that was robust and reliable in the extreme was essential.”
Together with the other members of the production consortium - War Productions, Double Take Projections and Andy McGregor Design - and with support from Ambersphere Solutions and Impact Production Services (IPS), NLP went through a shoot-out process to judge which luminaire would be best suited to such a demanding application and Perseo-S came out on top.
“Perseo-S had all these things, and had to endure almost six weeks of the worst that the December weather could throw at them and they didn’t let us down. They were sat on top of the Palace roof, which apart from Arthur’s Seat, is the highest point of Edinburgh’s skyline so they were totally exposed to the elements.”
A month of spectacular shows have proved that the Perseo-S was the right choice as O’Halloran concludes: “These little fixtures have been simply superb; we have used the full range of their versatile features: zoom, strobe, the gobo effects across walls and rooftops, the shutters for framing buildings across the Square and forming intense squares of colour on the floor, the punchy, even beam for big sweeps of bright colour across the audience area in Crown Square, all of which crescendoed into a nightclub feel at the end - the Perseo’s were the only lighting we had in that area and they were never less than impressive. We had quite a few lighting designers who came to see them in action and feedback has been outstanding. Well done Ayrton; the Perseo-S is all round fantastic.”

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