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White Light rolls out further lighting upgrades at the Royal Albert Hall

Picture: Richard Thomas

White Light recently supplied the Royal Albert Hall with a range of Martin MAC Encore fixtures, continuing the phased upgrade of the in-house lighting rig.

Located in South Kensington, the Royal Albert Hall is one of the world’s most iconic concert halls. Founded in 1871, it has played host to some of the biggest artists of all time and seats over 5,000 audience members.

As it hosts concerts on an almost nightly basis, the venue houses its own in-house kit which is used by incoming shows. The rig has to be extremely flexible in order to adapt to such a varied programme, as well as needing to be energy efficient and sympathetic to the needs and requirements of a wide range of different lighting designers and productions. The existing ETC Source Four Revolutions, while having served their time very well, were due for replacement in line with the Hall’s ongoing replacement programme. As a result, the venue approached White Light in order to invest in some LED alternatives for these new fixtures.

White Light’s business development manager Jonathan Haynes explained: “I met up with lighting design manager Richard Thomas who told me about their existing set-up and what he was looking for to replace the ageing Source Four Revolutions. The main priority was that the new fixtures were LED and provided a tungsten colour match that was at least as bright as the fixtures they were replacing. They also needed to be quiet, as well as have the ability to provide a high output in cool white to cut through the rest of the rig for aerial work.”

White Light put forward a range of options and held an on-site demonstration at the Royal Albert Hall for the lighting team to see each one in situ. Haynes commented: “It is so important to shoot out fixtures in the venue for which they are intended, to see how they react to the conditions, throw distance etc… After discussing suggestions with Richard and his team, it became obvious that the Martin MAC Encore Performance CLD was the best option.”

The Martin Mac Performance CLD integrates cutting-edge LED technology with a proprietary light engine carefully engineered to generate pristine, full spectrum light with ultra-high colour rendition. The feature-packed moving head offers unparalleled 6,000K crisp, neutral daylight. Its advanced colour mixing system delivers the full palette from smooth and subtle pastels to rich and vibrant saturated colours.

“Integrating the Encores into the rig has revolutionised the way we are able to light certain areas of the hall, as well as offering a whole new palette of gobos, colour potential and framing options that previously did not exist,” said Thomas. “Added to that the increase in reliability in the rig means less maintenance time required over a typically busy week. We have received many positive comments from a whole host of lighting designers in just a few week after their install.”

Haynes added: “The Encore is an extremely popular fixture, used right across the industry. It’s one we’ve invested in heavily for our rental stock to meet the demands of some of the UK’s biggest touring and West End shows that we continue to supply. The small form factor, combined with high output and whisper quiet performance meant it was a no brainer for this application. Ultimately, it was the right product for the right location.”

The Royal Albert Hall invested a total of 18 fixtures which have all been successfully delivered and are now in pretty much constant use. The investment reinforces the continued relationship between White Light and the concert hall, and adds to a large stock of Martin MAC Viper Wash DX fixtures that were purchased last year, along with ETC Lustr Series 2 LED profiles and Robe Mega Pointes. The venue also recently replaced its stock of Robert Juliat Cyrano followspots, again all purchased through White Light.

Haynes concluded: “We have a very close relationship with the Royal Albert Hall and it is great to be involved in yet another project for this iconic venue. As a company, we relish being able to work closely with the team and be able to offer them technical solutions that are bespoke to their exact needs; something we were able to do one again on this occasion.”