Live@Work - 22_CW05 - Christmas outdoors

The current ongoing pandemic means that some things are still different than they were before the pandemic. In many parts of Germany, for example, only outdoor services were held at Christmas, including in the Stuttgart area. Even though the Christmas service at the Waldheim in Stuttgart-Vaihingen was already held annually before the pandemic, 2020 was the first with a more elaborate light installation (read more here: Live@Work - 21_KW03 - Christmas under special circumstances). This was very positively received, which is why there should be a similar scope for this Christmas. So, at Christmas again around a larger square various trees and walls shone in colorful light.

The technique

Based on the experiences from the previous year with the outdoor situation, which was still somewhat unusual for me, certain updates in the technology and a slightly different design of the Christmas story, but then a few adjustments were made to the lighting concept. On the one hand, I focused even more on flatly illuminated walls. For this purpose, the number of spotlights (Eurolite LED PS-4) on a wall framing the venue was increased to twelve. Since the illumination of a group of trees, formerly symbolized as a stable, by LED bars (Eurolite LED IP T-PIX 12 HCL) was omitted, I was able to illuminate the wall behind the stage with three of the four LED bars that became free as a result. In addition, this time a stone arch was included in the story and illuminated accordingly by the fourth LED bar. The remaining two LED bars were again placed behind the framing wall and from there illuminated the tops of several trees, as ambient light. Two of the four BeamZ BAC506 were again used as stage lighting on a rather high tripod. The other two, however, were used this time to illuminate the congregation to symbolize them as the shepherds. Since the BAC506s are not waterproof, rain covers were used again - and they were really necessary this time. But more about that later. Quite protected from the rain, I was able to place the moving heads again in a slightly elevated room at the edge of the event area. However, since I upgraded here last year and replaced my previous two Futurelight DMH-160 with four Futurelight DMH-160 MK2, it became noticeably tight together with the four Futurelight EYE-7 RGBW Zoom. But thanks to the wooden superstructures stored in the room, all moving heads could finally be arranged one behind the other at different heights to be able to shine through the windows to the outside (see picture). Controlled was again with DMXControl 3 and a total of now three Showtec Net-2.

Rain - a determining theme

Overall, the setup was more relaxed than last year. On the one hand, this was due to the fact, that this time we built up in pairs and some things were done in parallel or simply faster. In addition, the problem of the LED bars, which were located very far away, and to which one first had to bring power and the DMX signal, was eliminated. But something else caused difficulties: The rain. Already in the middle of the week it was announced that it should rain on Christmas. And so, it came. Fortunately, it did not rain continuously and so at least the breaks in the rain could be used to set up the spotlights, which were exposed to the weather. The LED bars were quite unproblematic, as they can stand in the rain without any problems thanks to their IP65 rating. In contrast, the setup of the BAC506 was much more complex in order to attach the rain covers over the spotlights so that they would not get wet due to collecting rain or wind and so that no condensation would form. Again, and again their assembly had to be interrupted, because it started to rain again. But the construction worked without any problems and was finished in the early afternoon.

But also, in the evening the rain was a determining topic. On the one hand, it started to rain heavily just at the beginning of the admission and some people were already thinking about leaving. Fortunately, the rain let up a bit and the actual service was rain-free. Thanks to this circumstance, the light and the colors came into their own. Especially the now much brighter DMH-160 MK2 made sure that even more trees around the square could be illuminated. Together with the lighting of the walls, this created an even more coherent ambience, and the service was again well received by the people. However, this did not mean that the rain was already over. No sooner did the congregation set off for home than heavy rain set in, making the dismantling an ordeal. Especially taking down the spotlights, which were not allowed to get wet, was only possible thanks to the diligent help of various volunteers. In the end, however, everything held out and could be successfully dried out again afterwards. So even if the assembly and disassembly was a bit more difficult, it was still a nice event and will certainly get people in the mood for Christmas at home again next year.

Your Jens-Peter