West London based Entec Sound & Light continued its supply of ingenious lighting solutions in site specific venues for some of the most exciting shows of London Fashion Week.
Working in the former Eurostar Terminal at London's busy Waterloo Station, threw up many challenges but proved a satisfying experience for lighting designer Simon Tutchener.
The trains to Paris and Brussels had long left the station, but the perfect fashion runway remained in place along the concourse of Platform 4, complete with all the charisma and transitional charm of a neo-industrial setting. Tutchener and the Entec team's biggest challenges were working the light levels in the ever changing daylight conditions inside the glass roofed building, and installing lighting kit into very limited spaces. Some of this was over the old train tracks, which still contain live DC volt rails that are part of Waterloo's signalling network.
Entec's crew, chiefed by Simon Honnor, also had to contend with sharing a power supply with the theatrical production of "The Railway Children" being staged at the far end of the disused platforms in a specially constructed black box arena, and a third of a mile push to get the equipment from the load in door to the performance area with no vehicular access. There is also very strict health and safety regulations that govern working in a railway station - even when it's not in active service.
Another hurldle to overcome was the Entec crew could not work on rigging the Topshop fashion show during a live performance of ‘Railway Children’. This entailed some nifty logistics, juggling and shift scheduling by account manager Adam Stevenson, to allow enough time for the build and programming.
It was the first time Tutchener had lit a show in a railway station, and while he's worked in many other idiosyncratic venues in his time, this one was particularly special. The lighting had to work for both daytime and dusk shows.
The only practical way to get positions from which to light along the 44 metre runway area was with ground supports, so Tutchener asked Steeldeck - who were also involved in the Railway Children - to install 10 x 8 x 8 foot platforms over the tracks on Platforms 3 and 4. Onto these, Entec rigged 10 Superlifts, five a side, which were cranked up to their maximum trim height, and rigged with a total of 30 Vari*Lite 2000 wash fixtures, carefully focused to cover the catwalk and blend with the constantly shifting daylight.
The colour temperature issues were intense due to being at the mercy of whatever natural light was filtering or blasting though the elegantly curved glass roof of the terminal. Tutchener lit it to 5600°K daylight, but when the sun came out this rose to about 10,000 degrees, so a rigorous colour temperature check was undertaken just ahead of each to ensure the light levels were balanced for the cameras.
It's also the first time he has lit a London Fashion Week show exclusively with moving lights and no MSR sources, a gamble that paid off with spectacular results
Entec supplied another 20 Martin Professional MAC 300s which were rigged on stands and used to light the cafe and hospitality area straddling the next two platforms over - moving away from the glass roof. For the shows, these fixtures were focussed on the 'escape route' running down the back of the seating stands and behind the main runway.