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Celebrating tradition

MA Lighting ships shape for “Royal Australian Navy International Fleet Review”

The “Royal Australian Navy International Fleet Review” symbolised 100 years since Australia welcomed their first Naval Fleet into Sydney Harbour. It was Imagination Australia’s job to celebrate that milestone in a way the entire city and the world would take notice of. The spectacular was created in seven acts, from introducing the original fleet, through 100 years of service to Australia, current capabilities, a moment of reflection for the fallen and a finale to rival Sydney New Year’s Eve. Imagination conceived, wrote, designed and produced every element of the show. For the first time ever, fireworks were launched from seven warships, combining with a light show from 28 land and ship locations, a 30 minute projection show, live action on-board ships plus aerial flyovers from the Navy and Air Force. This was all choreographed to a soundtrack taking the viewer on a 100 year journey of the Royal Australian Navy.

Lighting design was by Mark Hammer with Matthew Tunchon as his assistant and Chameleon Touring Systems supplying crew and lighting gear. A total of thirteen MA Lighting grandMA consoles (7 x grandMA full-size “series 1” and 6 x grandMA2 full-size) were positioned around the harbour and on the ships, all updated with the latest show files. MA-Net2 for the grandMA2’s was shooting across the harbour controlling between two and four other lighting positions although there were consoles there as back up. Timecode triggered the cues, wirelessly fed across the harbour to trigger cues on the ships too.
The show was pre-programmed at Show Technology’s fully equipped design studio located in their Sydney headquarters with Jason Fripp in charge of programming. “Pre-programming the show at Show Technology proved to be an absolute savior,” commented Mark. “It meant that by the time we went live, we were just tweaking focuses and tidying up a few movement pans and such.”

Hammer’s main brief was to light the seven ships from the shore whilst also delivering a light show upon each vessel, however he didn’t actually see any of the ships until a day or two before the event. “It meant we might only have an hour to do our focusing and programming,” he explained. “At the same time we had to deal with logistics such as location and power. On the shore we had thirteen lighting locations scattered around the harbour and on the harbour bridge.”

The ships had to be located where they could drop anchor and some had to have special boosters to help them hold their position. Despite that, they could still move up to 100 metres as they battled the current and that made Hammer’s job even more difficult.

Hammer combined the lighting from the shore and the actual lighting on the ships to successfully create texture and colour despite the gun metal grey surface of the ships. Hammer’s design was primarily based around 132 x Clay Paky Sharpy Beam and 108 x Clay Paky Sharpy Wash 330 as well as a multitude of follow spots and search lights.

Show Technology is the Australian distributor for MA Lighting. Technical Director Vince Haddad was on hand 24/7 and was instrumental in ensuring the event ran smoothly.

Used equipment:

6 x grandMA2 full-size
7 x grandMA full-size

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