Santos GLNG City of Lights comes alive with Clay Paky

Posted on Tuesday, October 9th, 2012


For three weeks in September, thousands of people gathered on the banks of the Brisbane River every night to see Santos GLNG City of Lights illuminate the city with a brand new light, laser and special effects show presented by Events Queensland for Brisbane Festival 2012.

Santos GLNG City of Lights saw massive towering structures built on the river, with cascading water features, and lasers and searchlights from rooftops and river barges thrilling spectators with a dazzling choreographed dance of colour, music and light.

A total of 231 lights and lasers and 70 speakers were used, along with an 800 tonne barge the size of two tennis courts housing 30 metre towers and massive water pumps. Added to that were five spectacular green and gold lasers which were projected from five buildings. In addition, 48 searchlights and 174 special effects including 80 Clay Paky fixtures lit up the skies. 

Another four full-colour spectrum lasers were positioned on the city banks to project onto the water and nine fountains sprayed water up to 60 metres in the air – the equivalent of a 20-storey building.

This year’s Santos GLNG City of Lights and its accompanying soundtrack were developed by creative director Tony Assness with lighting designed by John Rayment.

“One of the greatest challenges was that the fountains sprayed salt water over the lighting equipment so everything had to be weatherproofed,” commented John. “Some product had special enclosures built for it but we also used the Pro Shop Air Domes.”

John chose to use forty Clay Paky Sharpy and forty Clay Paky Alpha Beam 700 fixtures, all positioned on the barge. With its unprecedented brightness usually achievable only with far greater wattages, the Sharpy is ideal for such large events as it produces a perfectly parallel, laser-like beam with an incredible output of 59,760 lx at 20m.

“The Sharpys are sensational especially when you consider they are a 189W light source,” said John. “They move very fast and have a terrific optic – they left me staggered! During the programming stage we inadvertently shone them right over the river onto an apartment block and I was astonished at how bright they remained. They’re a jolly little light that is quite robust even in these hostile situations. In fact they were fantastic for this application.”

The Sharpys are also lightweight and compact which made them ideal for the barge from where they could create an array of spectacular mid-air effects.

The Alpha Beam 700 is also small and lightweight, with a bright beam that can be coloured and shaped for amazing dynamic mid-air effects. This beam may be pointed at the audience or used as a dynamic colour changing “sky-tracker”. Well protected by coverings, the Alpha Beams drew clear shafts of light into the sky, showing off the extraordinary performance of this new generation of moving heads. John describes the Clay Paky Alpha Beams as having a more organic flavour than the Sharpys.

“They have slightly different optics and I was very happy with the combination of the two as their beams look so different,” he remarked. “The Alpha Beams have a different quality to them and it’s great to mix them up – they played well together in the sand pit!. They really are a great little light.”

Owing to its variety of effects, the Alpha Beam 700 is a very versatile Alpha 700 series model. The light generates a beam with splendid mid-air effects thanks to gobos and rotating prisms. At the same time, focusing and high quality optical components mean gobo projections are bright even at great distances. The Alpha Beam 700 may even be transformed into an efficient washlight using a linear frost system. The light beams may be pointed very quickly at the stage, at the audience or, in the case of open air events, up into the sky.

Also on the barge were 20 Martin MAC700 Profiles, 30 Martin Atomic Strobes, 30 SGM Palco 5 LED wash, 100 Pro Shop LED DMX Tubes and a couple of JEM Roadie Heavy Foggers. Control was by an MA Lighting grandMA with Chameleon Touring Systems supplying the gear.