SGM lights up Doctor Who Experience

Lighting designer Bob Bryan has used almost 150 mission critical LED effects, as well as many conventional fixtures from the SGM catalogue, to help animate BBC Worldwide’s new Doctor Who Experience at London’s Olympia Two.


The Doctor Who Experience offers an exhilarating immersive walk-through adventure followed by a dynamic exhibition, featuring props dating back to the successful BBC TV first series in 1963. It includes authentic TARDIS (police box) sets, never-before-seen costumes and re-creations of iconic recent sets, including the Pandorica as well as monsters spanning the generations from Daleks and Cybermen to Silurians, an Ice Warrior and a Zygon.


Visitors are invited to step through a crack in time allowing them to join the Doctor, currently played by Matt Smith, on a journey through time and space, encountering some of the best-loved and scariest monsters from the hit international television series. Special scenes filmed with Matt Smith combine with amazing special effects, and visitors have the chance to enter a re-creation of the modern TARDIS.


The experience was conceived and constructed by leading international creative design and AV installation company, Sarner, and features powerful production sequences and spectacular set design brought to life by cutting-edge AV technology (including HD and 3D projection).


It was Sarner who introduced Bob Bryan to the project. As visitors are grouped together and walk through spectacular sets in the adventure, the suspense is enhanced by the vast catalogue of SGM LED and conventional moving heads, all cues triggered by two AVStumpfl DMX output units.


Passing the entrance and ‘batching room’ under a pair of SGM’s Idea Spot 150’s, visitors enter the Starship UK where a further 18 PAR 18 x Idea PAR LED Zoom RGB’s and a pair of Idea Spot 250’s maintain a constant colour change.


As they enter the TARDIS — the holy grail for Doctor Who lovers — the environment is brought to life by 50 further Idea Par LED Zoom RGB’s, with a number of Ribalta 3 low-profile LED’s providing groundrow effects and Idea LED Bar 100’s underlighting the opaque Perspex floor at the TARDIS control platform.


By the time they arrive in the Dalek Spaceship visitors have become prisoners, caged inside a cyclorama, washed from the outside by SGM’s popular Palco 3’s.


Throughout the excursion visitors are guided along the walkways by vertical battens housing many of the 80 Idea LED Bar 100 battens.


At The Pandorica and the Forest of the Weeping Angels the drama is enhanced by more Idea Spot 250 Wash lights, while LED Bar 100’s highlight the inside of the TARDIS during the exhibition phase that follows.


In summary Bob Bryan said: ‘The decision to take the LED route was led by power consumption issues. We then reviewed a number of brands and elected to go with SGM — and I am very pleased with the way the fixtures are performing.’


The LED Zooms in particular had really proven their worth. ‘This is a great unit and the zoom facility got us out of a lot of trouble, thanks to its versatility. We have used them extensively.


‘We have also used the LED Bar 100 RGB’s, particularly in the Dalek Spaceship and along the corridors, as well as the exhibition,’ he confirmed.


Bryan also had positive comments to make about SGM’s horizontal Ribalta 3’s, which were used in the TARDIS as groundrows, offering additional punch from 90 Luxeon RGB LED’s.


Added Sarner MD, Ross Magri: ‘Lighting plays an integral part of the Doctor Who Experience; therefore it was very important to select a company that not only had the full product range, but was able to support us in achieving both the creative vision and tight technical requirements to ensure that we fully met the visitors’ expectations.


‘SGM ticked all the boxes and provided Sarner with total support from our initial meetings through to completion.’


The exhibition will run at Olympia Two until November before moving to a permanent home in Cardiff.

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