Light to Unite

The Brief

Auckland’s event supply industry decided to say thank you to the COVID workers and the whole of New Zealand, even though the country’s events industry has been hard hit by COVID with the cancellation of events right across NZ. “It’s not just the artists themselves, it’s the event promoters, producers, the suppliers, the caterers, the sound, lighting and video guys, the cameramen, stagehands, the ushers,” commented event producer Pak Peacocke. “It’s an industry that has a lot of casual workers and it’s also an industry that already had a real problem with mental well being.


It was decided to illuminate the Silos with inspirational projection work and singer Stan Walker was keen to perform. “During initial planning, Auckland was a strikingly quiet world with people mainly indoors, no planes and little traffic against a dropping number of cases per day,” remarked Simon Garrett, lighting designer for the project.

Pak sussed a great stage location, set up on five 20ft maintenance containers being used by the Super Yacht refit crews. Projection towers and camera platforms were in locations they assumed would be clear to access on setup day.

The main lighting challenge was linking the talent, projection and location. “We wanted to use 360-degree drone shots showing the site with the CBD to the east, harbour to the north and marina and harbour bridge to the west,” explained Simon. “And we got a beautiful if cold clear night for it. This is the lowest lighting level I have ever delivered to broadcast – the cameras are wide open with 3db of gain.”

Levels needed to be low, Simon figured projection needed to be around 100-120 lux or they would lose the city at night, noting the surfaces are curved and varied weathered concrete and the stills are ripped from the news and are pretty dark.

“The projection boys did such a good job on ripping and creating this content and, in my opinion, they had the biggest job,” added Simon. “I talked to the director, NEP tech crew and cameras and said “we would be going low” and blimey they all went there!

“Stan is lit at 9 fC from two small panel lights set at 70% @ 5600. We cut two. His backlight and the BVs front and backlight are RGBAW LED 40deg Pars set at between 12 -15%. I just lit the Silo and interior with the same Pars to make it an easy match. I used the HOG4 LEE colour picker for speed and consistency – 201,119,116 from memory.”

“We used 20 projectors in total, with a combined light output of 360,000 lumens,” commented Geof Walsh, Spyglass’ Production Manager. “With a surface area of over 2600sqm we double stacked for brightness giving us approximately 100 lux light levels allowing for blends and overshoot whilst dealing with a large amount of ambient light. Six multi-level scaffold towers that had their own media server and projector control all linked via a fibre backbone were built. A cast of 12 hauled the 20 projectors into the six towers and ran system cabling in 4.5 hours, then the crew dropped down to four for the first line night. The second night of line up was needed to test content and tweak projectors. Meanwhile, the studio onsite was creating the content.


Check out the video of the final product below.