White Light Makes the Grade for Immersive University of Cambridge Event

Last week, Banqueting House played host to the University of Cambridge who held a celebration event to engage key stakeholders with its latest campaign. The 250 guests, who were a mixture of alumni, stakeholders and senior representatives from the University, enjoyed a drinks reception, dinner, speeches from academic and student speakers, including Stephen Fry, along with an immersive video experience. As one of the cross-palace approved suppliers to Historic Royal Palaces, White Light was called upon to provide the complete technical solutions on this important occasion.

The event was overseen by WL’s Creative Producer Richard Stirzaker. He comments: “The University of Cambridge first approached us back in October last year telling us that they were hosting a high-profile event and wanted to make the most out of the fantastic space at Banqueting House. They also knew they wanted to draw heavily on video projection to make the occasion as immersive as possible”.

The University of Cambridge team made a site visit to Banqueting House where WL conducted a projection test. Richard adds: “We worked closely with the event’s Production Manager Vaughan Roberts along with Rachel Mortimer Holdsworth, University of Cambridge’s Events Manager, and creative agency johnson banks to create an ideal solution. Along with creating an immersive feel, the client also wanted to make full use of the incredible architecture within Banqueting House”.

To achieve this, WL used d3 technology to create a 3D model of the main space within Banqueting House. WL’s Video Engineering Manager Darren Terry used this to further demonstrate to the University of Cambridge team the various options they could achieve.

Richard adds: “Following a lot of creative collaboration, it was decided that we would use the windows within the space as the main focal point of projection. This meant that throughout the evening, in particular during the live speeches, we could literally bring that space to life”.

WL achieved this through animation by johnson banks, who are responsible for Cambridge’s ‘Dear World…Yours, Cambridge’ branding and who created footage related specifically to each speech. Richard states: “We achieved the projection using a Christie 5K Projector, with the footage run via a d3 server. The end result was a truly immersive experience and unlike anything we’ve ever seen before within that space”.

The evening consisted of a drinks reception in the Undercroft followed by dinner in the main room which featured key speeches made by affiliates of the University of Cambridge including Stephen Fry. Alongside the projection, WL supplied the lighting, PA system, power distribution and even staging.

WL had one day to set up for the event which meant a 7am load in. Following the intricate set-up of the equipment, WL had the afternoon to begin rehearsals and ensure that everything was in place prior to the guests arriving at 6:30pm.

Rachel comments: “This was an incredible evening for the University of Cambridge in such magnificent surroundings. We are extremely grateful to WL for helping us achieve our vision and for being so supportive throughout”.

Jennifer Lockham, Head of Banqueting House, adds: “It was fantastic to see our beautiful venue once again transformed by the very latest technology thanks to WL. It further emphasised the potential of this historic building and how boundaries can continually be pushed when it comes to hosting events”.

Banqueting House,

Photos courtesy of James Mackenzie Photography.

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