British LD Durham Marenghi talks about planning the Queen's Golden Jubilee Light and Fireworks Show, London, England.


"One of the most satisfying things for me about lighting the Queen's Golden Jubilee Light and Fireworks show was that everyone knew there was to be a huge fireworks display at the end of the evening, but nobody was aware of the architectural lighting and searchlight display that we had planned. The subsequent floodlighting of the Palace facade and the fifty searchlights atop the roof attracted extraordinary coverage from the press and connected the Palace and the fireworks display for the 200 million people who enjoyed the event live on television in a most dramatic fashion.

The secret of our having 'hid our lights under a bushel' was the ability to pre-program the event out of the public eye and the glare of pre-show publicity. The tool we used was the new WYSIWYG Design. With this software we were able to create a virtual model of the Palace and a virtual lighting rig, which matched exactly the equipment we would use in reality. We were also able to create rendered images to show clearly what we planned so that it might be integrated into the display as a whole and so that the very limited programming time 'on-site' did not compromise the lighting design.

This software is a fantastic tool for lighting designers and I am convinced that the success of our event was due to our being empowered by WYSIWYG to practice our effects beforehand. The realization of live events of this nature are reliant on an astounding crew (and luck), but as a famous golfer was quoted as saying when he was told that his chosen sport was purely a matter of luck... "True, but it's funny you know, the more I practice the luckier I get!"

Durham Marenghi has created lighting for theater, opera, dance, trade, concert and television productions worldwide. He also specialises in the art of Virtual Lighting Design, creating rendered presentation images of lighting designs in a virtual world.