The tiny Mediterranean island country of Malta had its coming out party of sorts when it hosted a massive “Welcome Europe” celebration in Valletta Harbor on April 30th. The carnival-like event included daytime fireworks, parades, and myriad musical performances to celebrate the country's culture. Malta was chosen to represent all the new countries joining the EU and had an estimated TV audience of 750 million.

Adding to the festivities was a series of large format projections that lit up landmarks and other significant structures, courtesy of UK-based designer Ross Ashton. The resulting imagery “paints” the surfaces with light, creating distinctive, colorful, and dramatic pictures and graphics. Ashton's work transformed the historic landmark of Malta's Fort St Angelo in Valetta Harbor into a dramatic canvass of color, movement, and visual interaction.

The projection project involved 11 E\T\C PIGI 6 KW projectors with double rotating DDRA scrollers and several technical firsts for E\T\C UK: projecting onto the water from the cliffs high above the Fort; radio data linking three of the projectors back to the control point 200m across the harbor; and overlaying the images projected from the eight machines beaming onto the Fort for maximum brightness.

Ashton was commissioned to produce the show by Ruben Caruana of Sign-It, who was also production coordinator for the event. Sign-It is one of the members of the Malta Welcome Europe Consortium, consisting of four different companies, each with representatives who joined forces to ensure that Malta's event was the most spectacular.

The projection show was followed by a light, pyro, and laser show created by German light artist Gert Hof, performed to elements of Roger Waters' opera Ça Ira, which used 90 7Kw Space Cannons, arranged in two levels around the Fort. The Fort walls were illuminated by 30 Griven Kolorado 2.5K architectural fixtures. Lighting operator Jens Probst used a WholeHog® II. Lighting equipment was supplied by Procon Rental & Projects GmbH from Germany.

Lasers were supplied by Laser Fabrik from Cologne, and consisted of four large-frame Spectra Physics 25W units and two custom built 40W YAGs with DSP Lasergraph control. The pyro was also supplied by a German company, Flash Art, overseen by Daniel Schwarts and Holger Behrens.

Welcome Europe Malta was a massive success and the Prime Minister, Dr. Lawrence Gonzi, commented that they were delighted to have internationally renowned artists like Ashton and Hof working with them on the event and that the idea all along was to “create a really historical event for Malta.”