Martin Brinkerhoff Associates (MBA) retained Unlimited Visibility Lighting Design (UVLD) for a high-profile Mitsubishi press event at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit on January 8th, 2007. UVLD frequently provides lighting design for MBA, most recently on the Honda Canada National Dealer meeting in Vancouver and Mitsubishi’s national dealer meeting in Las Vegas.

For the press event at North American International Auto Show held in Cobo Hall, where Mitsubishi unveiled a production model of the 2008 Lancer and previewed the Concept X car, MBA charged UVLD with enhancing the media’s growing excitement. “Everyone wants to make a big impression on world media, and Mitsubishi in particular has developed a reputation for doing press events that are pretty spectacular and on a par with larger automakers,” notes MBA producer Dave Judy. “We’ve been doing these events for Mitsubishi since 2000, and we’ve worked with UVLD for several years now. Everyone at these events is always trying to outdo each other to be bigger, brighter, and more spectacular. It’s always a challenge due to compressed schedules, limited budgets and a tough working environment."

For this event MBA principal and creative director Martin Brinkerhoff created an immersive, experiential design environment for the walk-in, which was accompanied by a nine-minute video module. It transitioned to the opening video on the Mitsubishi Lancer’s proud heritage, which was displayed on three screens.

“Once the opening heritage video began to play we synched up 200 lighting cues with the time code via a grandMA lighting console,” explains Cameron Yeary, UVLD’s programmer/designer for the event. “Then the original 1973 Lancer racecar was revealed with a sheet pull.”

A series of speeches by Mitsubishi executives followed. MBA built ramps for the 2008 Lancer and Concept X car which were hidden in upstage positions behind a pair of 28-foot wide white fabric screens, stage left and stage right, that acted as projection surfaces and kabuki drops. An additional 16’ LED wall was at center. Each kabuki drop would fall on cue to reveal the vehicle as it drove down the ramp.

“We turned to UVLD to add excitement to the reveals,” says Judy. “They developed a very large wall of PAR cans of very bright, white light at the moment the kabuki dropped to direct focus to the new vehicles.”

“We locked up with time code to the video preceding the 2008 Lancer reveal and triggered cues with that,” Yeary explains. “The stage right kabuki uncovered a giant light wall with 750-watt Source 4 PARs with narrow lenses. The video was projected onto the curtains, which exploded to the accompaniment of 96 individually circuited PARs and ten Atomic 3K strobes. The new Lancer was driven up the ramp, spun around and was highlighted by the giant wall.

“MBA shows are very exciting, intense and high energy with lots of cues,” Yeary reports. “This event was no exception--it had a lot of action and flash. For this show, we did a lot of lighting environmental changes to reflect driving in harsh conditions--snow, with white and blue lights; mountains with green lights; the desert with bright pale yellows and ambers.”

“I really value my relationship with UVLD,” declares Judy. “They’re a very important resource to me as a producer; they always deliver and always have a great attitude. I’ve worked with UVLD lighting designer Gregory Cohen for many years and with Cameron Yeary in his role as a programmer. As always, they did a spectacular job with limited tools and budget.”

Mark Hannon served as technical director, and Sal Restuccia as production electrician, assisted by Steve Leif. The lighting gear was provided by 4Wall Entertainment Lighting.

For additional Live Design coverage of the recent Detroit Auto show please see:
PRG Uses Theatrical Technology At Detroit Auto Show