Entec Visits the Doctor
Tuesday, 4 April 2006
Entec Visits  the Doctor
UK - West London based Entec Lighting is supplying equipment for the phenomenally successful Doctor Who exhibition. This is currently in residence at the Red Dragon Centre in Cardiff, returning to its regional roots after an initial launch and six month stint on Brighton's Palace Pier, celebrating the Doctor's much anticipated return to TV screens in the new 2005 series.

Entec was contacted by Martin Wilkie from Experience Design Management Ltd, the production company licensed by the BBC to operate Doctor Who exhibitions and activities worldwide. In addition to the lighting kit, Entec also supplied technician Niall Hannell to rig and programme the exhibition.

The exhibition features a wide selection of monsters and villains - including the legendary Daleks - and a host of original props and costumes, designs and video clips from the new series starring Christopher Eccleston and Billie Piper. Wilkie was keen to present it in a theatrical, dramatic and visually stimulating way, and that's why he wanted to use a lighting company experienced in shows and events.

The transfer to Cardiff saw the exhibition transformed and fitted into a completely different space, which in turn mean a redesign and a re-light - undertaken for Entec by Hannell, who explains: "I was given a basic generic brief and then left to get on with lighting the show as I thought fit."

Working with an expediently sized lighting rig, each fixture has to be precisely positioned. The 14 moving lights - eight 575 Spots and six 575 Washes are multi-functional and are worked particularly hard. They are strategically positioned on ground supported trusses and have to move and throw effects and illumination into several different areas of the exhibition from their one optimum rigging point.

Apart from these, each specific exhibit has either a Source Four profile or PAR key light, and Entec also supplied some Thomas MR16 'Birdie' battens. The Dalek section, for example, has its own Source Four PAR key-light and is also illuminated with a series of gobo effects and textured lighting from the moving lights positioned elsewhere in the room.

All the lighting is programmed onto an Avolites Azure console which runs the whole show all day and is proving ideal for the job, says Hannell. He programmed a series of chase sequences for each area, which are run as different 'environments' on the Azure, and the whole desk is operating via its scheduler.

Entec has supplied two new Jands Hub 24 dimmer/distro units - offering a 12 channel dinner and 12 channels of 16A hard power outlets in the one box - which are also perfect for this application.

Wilkie says: "The exhibition relies on very good lighting and the maximization of a small but well designed rig to highlight all the creatures, monsters and other pieces, adding a real element of tension and excitement. It had to be really theatrical on one hand, and also keep doing day-in-day-out for six months, so the quality of the installation and reliability of the fixtures chosen was vitally important. The service from Entec has been excellent, and all the hard work has been reflected in the figures". The exhibition has attracted over 100,000 people in its first two months in Cardiff alone.

(Chris Henry)

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