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DBN Lights the BBC Proms with Clay Paky
Lighting Designer
Nick Walton
DBN Lighting
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Manchester based lighting rental specialists DBN were once again asked to design and supply lighting equipment for the BBC’s Proms in the Park event in Salford.

The lightshow was designed by DBN’s Nick Walton. It’s the fourth year that the company has been involved with the north west region’s prom event, staged for the second year in Buile Hill Park. DBN was working for production company Ear To The Ground for end clients, Salford City Council.

The line up featured appearances by entertainer and musicals star John Barrowman, mezzo soprano Juliet Pochin and local opera sensation Jon Christos, alongside the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra.

Says Walton, “It’s always a big challenge to design and light a large orchestra appropriately without being too distracting, providing just enough razzmatazz to highlight the soloists, plenty of WOW factors for the audience and sufficient well balanced white light for the TV cameras. It’s also a show we really enjoy doing each year”.

The stage was installed by Star Events and measured approximately 20 metres wide by 16 deep, with about 10 metres of headroom, giving a decent 8 metres of trim height for lighting once DBN’s trusses were installed.

Four trusses were sub-hung below the roof superstructure, with a starcloth running right around the perimeter of the space including the wings. Other ‘soft’ elements included three pairs of white scrim legs either side of stage. These were positioned in front of the starcloth, so they could be lit and textured from the front, whilst allowing the twinkling stars to also be seen through them.

The white scrim legs also proved an ideal medium to subtly introduce Salford City Council’s fabulous bright pink branding.

For moving lights, it was an exclusively Clay Paky rig – with 42 of their Alpha units in total – a mix of Alpha Spot and Wash 300s, Alpha Wash 575s, Alpha Beam 700s and Alpha Spot 1200s.

“This gave me all the flexibility I needed and plenty of options,” comments Walton. With no set, and most of the stage being occupied by the orchestra, the mission was on for lighting to introduce depth and definition to the space.

The moving lights were also used extensively for lighting the audience, bringing spectacular, vibrant big beamy looks for the wide camera shots and sweeps with colour and gobo effects.

The lights were operated by Mark Jones using a Jands Vista T2 console. He and Walton worked with a crew of 6 for the get in and out, a combination of freelancers and DBN staff. It was another great popular success for the city and the community as well as another great event rounding off DBN’s busy summer schedule of outdoor events.