White Light in the Picture for Canon Camera Launch

Canon recently held the launch of its new camera the EOS R at Shoreditch Electric Light Station, London. The camera giants invited journalists along to take part in an experiential experience in which they were transported to a utopian land 400 years in the future. The experience was produced by award-winning theatre company Les Enfants Terribles, known for their work on Alice’s Adventures Underground. Having provided the lighting on a range of immersive projects, White Light was called upon to supply the equipment for this particular launch.

The lighting designer for the event was Charlie Morgan Jones, who comments: “Canon wanted to launch their new camera yet do so in a way that was interactive and provided the journalists in attendance with an unforgettable experience. Les Enfants came up with the concept that a Canon ambassador was lost in the future and it was down to the invited journalists to ‘find her’. The set design team created a variety of spaces, including the Lab, Missing Persons Room, Museum of Curiosity, Worker’s Space and the Gym; each of which contained clues and potential pointers as to where the ambassador might be. The finale is that they find her in a space named Utopia and she does a beautiful aerial act which they photograph using the new Canon camera, thus allowing them to try out this latest model and all of its settings”.

Charlie’s own brief was to create a lighting design that not only helped tell the story and add to the immersive experience but was also allow the camera to take the best photos possible. Charlie comments: “I’ve never done an event like this before where the lighting had to be so precise in terms of hitting certain lighting levels whilst at the same time retain my own aesthetic for the live audience. The team from Canon actually came round with a light meter to ensure we were hitting the exact levels and we often had to adjust our lighting brightness accordingly”.

When Charlie first visited the site, it was a complete empty space. Using only the renderings and drawings he had, he approached the WL team and worked closely with Jonathan Haynes and Jim Dewhirst to obtain the exact fixtures he required. He explains: “This was a very unique project in the sense that it was very ‘theatrical’ yet wasn’t taking place in a theatre space as it were. After speaking with WL, I decided to draw on the ETC Source Four Minis which proved invaluable for the smaller spaces where we simply didn’t have the space for a large rig. A lot of the rooms required powerful lighting yet for this to be done discretely and I feel the Minis are the only fixture that are able to achieve this”.

The largest space used in the experience was the Utopia area. It was here where the entire launch would culminate, with an aerial performance from the ambassador. Charlie explains: “The biggest feature in Utopia was the sun, which was a monster to create. It comprised of 19 par cans, 32 pin spots and a lot of LED tape (although I suspect my Chief LX Paul Walmsley and his masterful electrics team secretly loved making it!). The space also utilised 8 x MAC III Performance, 3 x MAC TW1s and a range of Robert Juliat DALIS”. Over the main acting space, 14 x ETC Lustr 2s provided general coverage, acting as a ‘big light’ to ensure the cast could be seen clearly by the camera.

As with a lot of events taking place in bespoke environments, the set up time for the project was extremely tight. Charlie explains: “We had three days to set everything up and we were working alongside the construction team who were simultaneously building the set. Also, due to the fact that there was very little free space in the main areas, we actually had to position the lighting desk in another room, meaning all the programming was blind. That said, the Lighting Programmer, Shane Button, was fantastic and it often involved a lot of trial and error with me speaking down a radio to him, acting as his eyes. I was really lucky to be surrounded by a brilliant team, including my right hand man LX Paul Walmsley as well as Charlie Hayday, Gareth Clough, Clancy Flynn and Paul Salmon who were all equally fantastic!”.

The launch was a huge success, attracting journalists from across the globe. It also marks yet another example of WL working with Charlie. Charlie comments: “This was a fantastic project to work on and unlike anything I’ve ever lit before. I want to say a huge thanks to all the WL team for being so accommodating and for offering guidance from the initial planning stages, all the way through to final delivery”.

Photos courtesy of Charlie Morgan Jones and Canon Ambassadors

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