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ACSP sponsors student lighting competition

Six teams of students competed at the UK's National Railway Museum in York, with the winners receiving not only a cash prize but also the chance to learn to drive a steam engine.

A.C. Special Projects (ACSP) was the headline sponsor for the 2012 National Railway Museum’s (NRM) annual student lighting competition, ‘Locos in a Different Light’ held in York, UK.

The competition, which is now in its fourth year, invites students who are studying lighting courses from institutions all over the UK to design, install and implement theatrical lighting schemes for the museum’s many historic locomotive displays in their prestigious ‘Great Hall’.

ACSP supplied a range of entertainment technology equipment, as well as providing first line technical support and product training for students participating in the competition.

2012’s event attracted six teams of students – 35 in total – from institutions including Rose Bruford College, York College, North Hertfordshire College and The University of Glamorgan.

After an initial briefing, the teams were given six and a half hours to plan their installations, learn their kit, and install and program their lighting designs.

As part of the briefing ACSP demonstrated a range of technologies from Jands Vista, Chroma-Q, GLP, Robe and Zero 88.

ACSP staff were on hand throughout the day to help students realise their designs and give any technical or product support as necessary.

“ACSP gave us an in-depth demonstration of the Vista before we got started, which helped us all get to grips with it,” said Sam Squires, a student from Rose Bruford. “We loved the logic behind Vista and found it incredibly easy to use. The support ACSP gave us throughout the day was great; from running through our initial design ideas, to helping us achieve the best results from the equipment we had.”

The competition itself lasts for only two hours. In that time, students must install their kit and present their designs to a panel of judges made up of museum staff and lighting design professionals.

Each design was graded on a series of criteria including object interpretation, storytelling, object conservation, health and safety and energy efficiency.

This year’s winning team were students from Rose Bruford’s Creative Lighting Programme. As part of the prize, each team member was awarded £50, as well as being invited back to the NRM to learn how to drive a steam locomotive in the museum’s south yard.

After the competition was completed, the NRM opened its doors to the public as part of the ‘Illuminating York Festival’, allowing visitors to enjoy the students’ designs – truly putting the locomotives ‘in a different light’.

The event was co-organised by Edward Fagan, Helen Ashby and Rose Lindsay-Smith. Students from York College’s Production Arts course crewed the event, while all generic lighting equipment was supplied by Amersham & Wycombe College. All heavy mains distribution, cabling and data was provided by Henley Theatre Services.