Sheffield Town Hall
UK - The high lumen output of the Vari-Lite VL3600 Profile IP from Signify was seen by millions of people for the King’s Coronation Concert, where landmarks across the UK were lit at part of the Lighting up the Nation event. Lighting designer David Bishop sourced 41 VL3600 fixtures, which were rigged outside Sheffield Town Hall in changeable weather with their IP-65 rating, to achieve the intricate Union flag design using their rich colours and optics system.
“I discovered the VL3600s at Prolight+Sound in Frankfurt, getting a demo and trying out the output and colour wheel mixing system,” says Bishop. “The Sheffield project was meant to be a projection mapping job with a few luminaires around the building as fill light. However, this approach changed after I realised I could use the VL3600s even at a 66m throw from the building to both create strong enough light and match the colours of the flag perfectly.”
Bishop and his team used an official Union Jack product from which to homogenise the red, white and blue colours. They designed three specially constructed scaffold towers seven meters high, upon which the VL3600s were positioned. They then set about creating the intricate shapes that make up the flag design, using the flexible zoom range of the fixture to gain coverage, while the framing shutters provided the shapes making up the flag. Mark Jones served as lighting programmer for the event.
“It isn’t an easy design to replicate, but the VL3600s did a great job of creating the rich blues and reds, and bright white which was required, and creating the odd shapes and angles that make up the flag,” says Bishop. “The flexibility of the fixtures opposed to a media server/projection solution using a stock graphic also meant that we could scale perfectly to the size and intricate façade of the building using multiple colours and shapes, rather than having just one graphic.
“In fact, after the event was broadcast, I had well established lighting designers messaging me to ask how we’d created the projection, and I had to tell them it was actually achieved using the VL3600s. I thought that was the biggest accolade.”
Setting up in the northern English city of Sheffield meant that torrential rain was a concern. “It did pour down during the rigging and programming process,” says Bishop, “but the IP-65 rated VL3600s worked perfectly throughout, and they were in-situ for some time. The entire week in the run-up was torrential.”
The live concert coverage happened as singer Paloma Faith performed as part of the BBC Studios Coronation Concert, and the programme was interjected by landmark light-ups from around the UK and the Commonwealth. People gathered in the nearby Sheffield Peace Gardens to witness the ‘spectacular’ lighting event, with many posting images and videos to social media. The VL3600s were supplied by Simon Perrott at Version 2 Lights.

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