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BRDC has a ball with AC-ET

Ian McMurray 29 July 2011
BRDC has a ball with AC-ET

A.C. Entertainment Technologies Ltd (AC-ET) provided a spectacular architectural lighting system for the Clubhouse of the British Racing Drivers’ Club (BRDC) at Silverstone racing circuit, for its annual British Grand Prix Ball event.

The BRDC Ball is a legendary event. Held in a luxury marquee erected adjacent to the Members’ Clubhouse on the Saturday evening of the Formula 1 Santander British Grand Prix weekend, it has always attracted the crème of the membership, including leading GP drivers and motorsport stars past and present.

Personalities from the motor racing fraternity including BRDC president, Damon Hill OBE and Formula 1 Force India driver, Paul Di Resta appeared on stage to talk about their experiences to motor racing UK TV commentator, Louise Goodman.

AC-ET is a patron of the British Racing Drivers’ Club’s exclusive Rising Stars Programme, and worked closely with the BRDC events team to deliver the temporary lighting installation.

The overall brief was to transform the three-storey Clubhouse – which is situated in a prime viewing position beside the racetrack – into a dynamic, visually impressive space for the event, bringing a new dimension and ambience to its multiple levels.

AC-ET had limited site access time before and after the event on Saturday evening, as the Clubhouse needed to function normally throughout the practice and qualifying sessions on Friday and Saturday, and the race itself on Sunday. A variety of leading-edge LED lighting solutions were used to minimise the set up time required without compromising the actual lighting scheme.

To make a visual impact as guests arrived, AC-ET lit the BRDC entrance and front wall of the Clubhouse with several intense, dramatic, asymmetric streaks of white light using fifteen Chroma-Q Daylight Punch fixtures.

As guests walked inside the Clubhouse, attention was drawn to the welcome desk using five Chroma-Q Color Charge LED fixtures – a highly portable, battery-powered wireless DMX unit which is said to be perfect for situations where running visible cabling is difficult or impossible.

To add a ‘wow’ factor to a relaxation area featuring a small jazz band on the first floor, AC-ET utilised Chroma-Q Color Block 2 LED fixtures to provide strong shafts of coloured light shooting up the windows and across the room at low level.

To turn the Clubhouse into a beacon of light for the event, on the rooftop seven Martin MAC 3 moving heads were positioned around the arc of the viewing gallery, pointing away from the building in searchlight style effect. Utilising the Mac 3’s animation wheel to produce a series of graphical effects, these blasted out with beams criss-crossing on a dramatic horizontal plane.

The underside of the roof canopy itself was illuminated with six varying lengths of Chroma-Q Color Force 48 LED battens. These were ideal for the job, producing a rich and saturated wash up onto the white canopy, which was also clearly visible from afar. “They are fantastically bright and offer a fabulous range of colours,” enthused AC-ET’s Northern technical sales manager, James Bawn.

Three additional MAC 3s were stationed on the floor of the deck and used for gobo and other texturing effects, which were overlaid onto the blanket of colours washing the canopy.

A display of high performance cars in the Clubhouse courtyard was also lit with Color Force 12 battens. Underneath the cars, Chroma-Q Daylight Punch fixtures were used to create virtual podiums. AC-ET also took the opportunity to road test four of the new PixelRange QPar LED fixtures, which were reported to have produced stunning results wash-lighting the new McLaren MP4-12C supercar. The fixtures were also scattered around to generally highlight the outdoor spaces.

To the front of the building at ground level, the garden was lit with ten Robe CitySkape Xtreme LED fixtures.
All the lighting was controlled from a Jands Vista S1 console running the new v2 software. AC-ET patched and pre-programmed as much of the show as possible on a laptop ahead of the event day, which was then hooked into the Vista S1 on site with everything ready to run.

Photo Credit: Intalex Images.

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