When Belfast based lighting rental company Production Services Ireland (PSI) started planning their annual staff Festive Party, they soon realised the potential of evolving it into a unique event to showcase their products, services and passion for the industry, all wrapped up in a convivial social environment, complete with outstanding hospitality!
So, in true Irish style, it grew into a bit of an extravaganza, staged in the Ballycultra Town, part of the Northern Ireland Folk & Transport Museum, an attraction covering a 170 acre site, complete with the reconstituted 19th century town, which has a church, bank, police station, school, houses, etc.
PSI invited their key clients and suppliers. They received an overwhelming response with a turnout of 150 people ... in its wake creating such a buzz in the locale that those unable to make it are already clamouring for an invite to next year!
PSI's Sean Pagel says, "Once we'd decided that this was the route we would take, we were determined to go all out to ensure that everyone had a good time, enjoyed our hospitality and also had the chance to see what could be achieved with some well applied lighting and visual ideas".
The experience began with guests ushered into a traditional style Irish pub - which has changed very little over the years! - where they received generous portions of mulled wine and were issued with a party laminate ..... before starting a tour of the town.
This concluded at the church, which looked resplendent with PIGI projection onto its exterior, and 2 x Space Flowers strategically positioned behind to give the building extra drama and WOW factor. It was also internally lit, producing a warm inviting ecclesiastical glow of colour.
The cobbled streets leading to and from the pub were lit with window gobos in lightsources concealed in the houses, focussed to project out onto the street which proved highly effective. The school house was illuminated with profiles and breakup gobos to add atmosphere.
The old Northern Bank buildings were architecturally lit, and the Coal Merchant's yard and hay loft had depth and a new dimension added to it with a back wall of high resolution ColorWeb LED cloth, fed with content from a Hippotizer digital media server. The Coal Merchant's scene lent itself ideally for some pure theatre in terms of lighting effects, and the impact was completed with flames created from the animation wheels in 2 Robe ColorSpot 700 moving lights plus copious amounts of smoke.
To make the Old Picture House rock with a real performance, PSI presented local singer/songwriter John Gribbon onstage, complete with appropriate lighting, a scenario illustrating what could be done cost-effectively for a smaller club/music venue set up.
The Ballycultra Photo Studio featured an installation of TV lighting fixtures, and the Tea Room - where everyone ended up at the end of the tour to avail themselves of a free bar - was illuminated with dB4 ColorBlock. In addition to the bar, PSI laid on a massive buffet and hog roast .... and this is where the party really kicked off, with everyone now thoroughly in the mood for lots of interaction and fun into the small hours of the night.
PSI's Brian Reilly says, “We were delighted to host this event in such a prestigious location and it was great to see so many people there. I would also like to thank Donal from Pains Fireworks for such a great display!”
The results were so positive, that PSI has decided to make this an annual event, although possibly at a different time of year when the company's work schedule is slightly quieter! Not that anyone is complaining - PSI finishes the year with a flourish of business in the last quarter, and is already looking forward to a busy January 2010.