Peter Canning from Dublin-based lighting and visual design specialist High Res specified 24 x Astera Titan Tube wireless LED fixtures to provide highly atmospheric lighting for an eye-catching video featuring singer Hozier recorded at Croke Park stadium … one of many high points during a special RTÉ (Raidió Teilifís Éireann) Comic Relief telethon.
The event united the cream of Irish comedy and entertainment to raise a laugh and much-needed funds for the Irish charity sector on Friday 26th June.
In a tribute to all HSE (Ireland’s health service) staff and other key frontline workers, Hozier performed the Simon & Garfunkel classic, “Bridge Over Troubled Water”, a highly symbolic song that made significant impact in concluding the fundraiser, for which he was backed by a 16-piece orchestra.
Peter designs and lights numerous television and entertainment shows bringing his own distinctive style, and proposed lighting the video piece during the ‘blue hour’ – that magical window at dusk where the sun is falling while the moon is rising and there is still light in the sky – for maximum dramatic impact.
He suggested starkly illuminating the whole 85,000 capacity stadium to emphasise its vastness and emptiness juxtaposed against Hozier, dominating and dwarfing him and the musicians as they stood isolated and small in the middle of the pitch.
The house lights were turned on to highlight the seating stands and bleachers but to complete the contrast effect with the dipping natural light, Peter needed a soft ephemeral glow behind the band … that would also bring an architectural aspect to the picture.
Enter the Titan Tubes!
With many restrictions on what can go on the pitch or not, to preserve the grass and the ground, cables were out of the question. In addition to “wireless being the only way to go, it was essential to have a lightweight and easily manoeuvrable light source,” explained Peter, who created original mood boards and a camera look based on that elusive residual indirect blue shaded sunlight that is prevalent at twilight.
To achieve the precise lighting effect, the quality of the low-level light fill from the Titan Tubes – daylight white in this case – was paramount as well as the brightness. “Astera
ticked absolutely all the creative and logistical boxes,” states Peter who was delighted with the finished results.
As well as looking spectacular combined with the fading daylight in the sky evoking the haunting look that Peter wanted, the idea was to light with enough latitude for the footage – shot in S-Log3 – to be graded by Dublin post-house Piranha Bar.
Another challenge on site was the tight window of opportunity between 9 and 11 p.m. when the natural light was of the right intensity and texture to highlight the stadium elements and combine perfectly with the artificial light elements – both the house lights and the additional Asteras and follow spots – utilised for the video shoot.
They only had one opportunity to nail it, and luckily the notoriously erratic Irish weather was on everyone’s side, treating all to a fabulous Dublin summer sunset.
The 24 Asteras were supplied in four 8-way packs, complete with all the stands and rigging accessories, and the only other extra lighting on the shoot were three follow spots, all supplied by the Dublin branch of PSI Productions and project managed by Ciaran Tallon.
This very compact lighting package fitted neatly into a small van for convenient delivery to Croke Park.
Ciaran comments that the Astera Titan Tubes are one of the most popular and useful items in PSI’s rental stock and are out all the time on film, TV, video, and photography shoots.
The shoot involved three cameras and a drone was directed by Alan Byrne and the segment was produced by Páircéir for RTE. Peter’s team included gaffer Terry Mulcahy and chief LX Kate Bermingham.
Images: courtesy Páircéir & RTE