Bandit Lites UK has once again supplied lighting and rigging systems to the British Fashion Council (BFC) main venue at London’s recent Fashion Week.
Pitched in the grounds of the Natural History Museum, South Kensington, the BFC tent hosted over 20 shows–many of them back-to-back–from a crop of major international designers.
Lighting designer, Simon Tutchener, has lit London Fashion Week (LFW) for the past ten years. This year marks Bandit’s fourth season on the runway, working for production company S2 Events. The production was managed by Bandit’s business development manager, Lester Cobrin, who is an eight year veteran of the event. The production manager was Tom Brunsdon and S2 Events MD, Wolter Dammers, provided technical coordination.
For the 2006 autumn show, the British Fashion Council wanted the option of having a straight or U-shaped catwalk in the tent. To achieve the desired result, Tutchener added an additional two 30m Slick Litebeam trusses–complete with 80 ETC Source Four 36 degree profile fixtures–increasing the total number of units supplied by Bandit to over 250.
Not every show utilized the U-shaped option. It involved several highly organized lighting changeovers and re-focussing sessions during the average 70-minute timeslot to swap between the two configurations. The final show day featured four changeovers. A center ‘spine’ consisting of 50 Source Four PARs gave Tutchener the option of a tighter focus over the center catwalk. Additionally, Tutchener’s front light array was increased, giving him the ability to light three catwalks at any time.
The main lighting objective was to illuminate the catwalk evenly by smoothing out the gaps and ensuring the same levels were constantly maintained all the way along for photographers and broadcast cameras.
Tutchener comments that the gear provided by Bandit is consistently in perfect condition, making the task a lot easier and more predictable, “This is a great advantage to us, because the pace and pressure on site is so intense as soon as the load in starts.” The fact that he and Lester Cobrin have worked together on the show for several years also made the process exceptionally slick. “As always Lester and Bandit have done a superb job and I’m really well looked after,” he explains.
Tutchener worked with his handpicked team, led by crew chief, Mike Humeniuk, Matt Jensen on dimmers, technician Mick Freer and riggers Bryan ‘Bad Dog’ Wilson, and John ‘Hotpants’ Ashton.
In addition to the main runway lighting rig, Bandit also supplied a substantial amount of equipment for each show’s specific lighting requirements and for the foyer/reception area. This ranged from Martin and High End Systems moving lights, to 200ft tab track systems, and a stack of color correction filters.
Commenting on the keys to success of such an elaborate event, Cobrin explains, “There are two fundamental things needed to make this event run like clockwork. Firstly, Simon and I met up approximately six weeks before the event and discussed the logistics regarding the main system, show schedules, crew numbers and responsibilities, and of course, health and safety. This meeting proved invaluable and paved the way for a very smooth operation. Secondly, the crew is a vital element of this show. Getting the right crew balance is paramount, and once again for this event, the crew went above and beyond the call of duty.”
Also integral to the LFW production’s success was the presence of S2’s production assistant, Nicola Hopwell, and RH Electrics’ Dicky Hinds, who transformed the mains installation and electrical distribution for the entire site.