For the third year running, we supplied and installed a complex series of projection screens and drapes to transform the Royal Albert Hall ahead of The Fashion Awards in partnership with Swarovski, 5th December 2016.
Project manager Tom Lambert, who has worked on the event for the previous two years at London’s Coliseum, oversaw the smooth installation of the production rigging at the Royal Albert Hall utilising Liftket motors and associated rigging equipment to fly two large projection screens, an LED screen and .
Set back from the front of stage and offset to each side, two portrait projection screens each measuring 5m x 11.5m and weighing 500kgs each were flown with the LED screen set back in between them. A voile drape was installed hard up to the front of the LED to create a back drop for the projection across the three surfaces; this allowed the LED screen to punch images through the voile when required. The LED screen supplied by Creative Technology was the tallest Absen 3.9m they have built to date, and they even had to ground stack the bottom 1m due the screen weighing in at over 1100kgs. Following the line of the front of the stage, we installed five roller screens with 11m drop voile projection surfaces. This created a 3D projection illusion used in a similar vein to support Adele’s recent world tour, also designed by designer Es Devlin.
Black wool serge drapes were installed around the Albert Hall’s choir stalls to enhance the TV aesthetics of the show and to mask any lighting detracting from the on-stage entertainment. Blackout’s Pipe and Drape system was utilised for the quick installation of draping around the backstage area, helping to enclose parts of the venue.
Tom Lambert explains “In order to optimise the smooth running of the Fashion Awards in the Albert Hall, the Production had a week of technical rehearsals in LH2 Studios in Park Royal immediately prior to the load in at the Albert Hall. For this we had to replicate all the Albert Hall house trusses for lighting and sound and provide additional trusses for the projection position and LED screen. LH2 Studios was the ideal location for us to be based for this rehearsal as it was the only space that we could achieve the trim height we required in the Albert Hall. As we had multiple cues for the 5 roller screens we decided to operate them via dmx on their own independent lighting desk. This meant a one touch operation rather than trying to operate multiple buttons at the same time; we brought on board op Martin Seymour to program and operate the show. The screens worked a dream this way and moved to multiple positions on cue.”
Jim Lambert, Inca technical director adds “The Royal Albert Hall is always a challenging venue and this project in particular was going to require close co-operation between all suppliers in order to achieve a very tight load in schedule of 14 hours. Blackout was very much a link pin in this schedule as they facilitated everybody's needs from the very first moment the 18 trucks arrived onsite. Carpet, VIP tables and benches also had to be loaded in at the same time as rigging which further complicated the schedule.
The week we spent at LH2 not only enabled video programming but also the chance to pre-build the massive screens to iron out any problems which would have delayed our schedule on site. As usual Blackout was a pleasure to work with and all in all, and despite a very long day at the RAH, the event was a huge success.”
The Fashion Awards, hosted by comedian Jack Whitehall, saw Special Recognition go to ‘100 Years of British Vogue’, Alexander McQueen picking up ‘British Brand’, Gigi Hadid presented with ‘International Model’ and most notably Ralph Lauren honoured with an Outstanding Achievement Award to mark the impact he has on the fashion industry.