Avolites in control at Queensferry opening

Wed, 06 Dec 2017 15:58

Two Avolites Quartz consoles running the latest Titan 10.1 software were used by Scottish lighting, sound and AV specialist, Black Light, to control the 'surprise' lighting spectacular at the ceremonial handover of the new 1.35 billion Queensferry Crossing, the UK's tallest bridge.

The ceremony took place one week before the bridge's official opening on 4 September. Scotland's first minister Nicola Sturgeon led the ceremony, thanking the workers for their dedication and skill in constructing the crossing. JMP Productions designed the event and contracted Edinburgh-based production specialists Black Light to provide the lighting fixtures, control network, pre-production support and on-site team.

"Black Light regularly works with Jon Pugh from JMP to fulfil many of their events," says Thomas Ramage, project manager at Black Light. "Our team created visualisations for the project, finalised the fixture choices and locations, and delivered the project on site. We faced a tight turnaround for installation, working alongside the construction contractors to enable us to access the site."

To control the ambitious lighting design, Black Light specified a pair of Avolites Quartz consoles on a dual redundancy fibre network, as the primary and backup control systems for the event. Ramage cites the Quartz, Avolites' most compact console, as the perfect tool for the job due to its small footprint, powerful processing capabilities and built-in visualisation - all features which, he says, made his control choice a 'no-brainer'.

"To keep the lighting a surprise at the event we were asked to have no more than ten fixtures open at any one time during the programming of the show," says Ramage. "The palettes and programs were recorded in batches along the bridge, while operator John Rodgers controlled via a wireless link from the adjacent Forth Road Bridge.

"The Quartz's onboard visualisers meant we could see the whole effect coming to light on the screen," says Ramage, "while unsuspecting members of the public didn't know what was coming."

Control was then moved back to the Queensferry Crossing site for the switch-on by Sturgeon who, along with the invited audience and crew who worked on the project, saw the 2.7km span of bridge illuminated for the first time.

Commenting on the Quartz, Ramage says, "The consoles have already been utilised in a wide variety of Black Light's events, from music, corporate, and outdoor illumination to theatre, education and touring. Coupled with a Titan Mobile wing, which we also stock, the Quartz is a fantastic choice for jobs where space is limited and powerful features are required."

Black Light holds a large stock of Avolites products for both hire and sale. "For Black Light, holding Avolites products in stock, whether it be dimming or control, is a sign of trust," concludes Ramage. "The name is a well-known, go-to choice, both for our projects and for our dry hire clients. The support when required from the Avolites team is impeccable, and the flexibility in the products is second to none."

The Queensferry crossing is a three-tower cable-stayed bridge built alongside the existing Forth Road Bridge and carries the M90 motorway across the Firth of Forth between Edinburgh at South Queensferry and Fife, at North Queensferry.

The November/December edition of Pro-Systems News Magazine, distributing soon, features a range of architectural lighting projects in South Africa and beyond. Kindly contact the editor at to receive your copy or make a contribution to the magazine.