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HSL Adds Technical Horsepower 

Liverpool International Horse Show

· Events,Sports
Liverpool International Horse Show

Leading UK lighting and visuals rental company HSL supplied lighting, video, automation and rigging equipment to one of the UK’s highest profile equestrian sporting events, the Liverpool International Horse Show, staged over four action-packed days at the Liverpool Echo Arena by Arena Sports Live.
The HSL team of 20 technicians and engineers including lighting designer Nick Jevons was led by the company’s MD Simon Stuart, who is himself a keen horseman, and project manager Ben Perrin. 
Ten trucks of kit left HSL’s Blackburn warehouse for the second year that they have been a technical supplier to the show, following the 2017 event, when HSL provided the lighting.


Simon states: “It was fantastic to be back working with show director Matt Bates and his team again and suppling a full creative visuals package to enhance some superlative equestrian showmanship. Being involved with an event like this - and a sport about which I am personally so passionate - was a real privilege!”

Liverpool Echo Arena Lighting

In addition to the standard lighting and video requirements, the project entailed the fabrication of five custom opening/closing gates which were clad with LED video panels to ensure a continuous 360-degree ring of LED around the circumference of the 60 metre by 40 metre arena.


The arena itself was lit with shadowless white light for the various show jumping, dressage, agility and other competitions, plus two stunning daily entertainment shows taking place in the arena.
This included a breath-taking display of daring by the Arena Cross motorcycle team and performances by Rick Parfitt Junior and the RPJ Band together with several equestrian spectacles, including world premiere of Gilles Fortier’s new acrobatic showcase ‘PHOENIX’ a bespoke choreographed piece with beautifully skilled horses, stunt action and pyrotechnics.

Pre Show - all set

Lighting
Four continuous 60-metre-long runs of JTE super moving light truss were installed in the roof of the Arena, each flown on eight points. Dotted all over these were over 200 x SGM Q7 LED floods which provided the crisp, seamless arena flood lighting.
The LED was a step up from last year’s event which was lit with halogen floods and using the Q7’s also dramatically reduced the fit-up time. 

The competition action was streamed by CMH (Clip My Horse) TV, the biggest online broadcaster for equestrian sports and breeding shows, so lighting was important for the multi camera shoot.
Rigged on the trusses were around 200 moving lights – a combination of Martin MAC 3 Profiles, Chauvet Maverick MK3 LED Washes, Vari*Lite VL4000 beam washes and VL6000 beams.
The band played on a stage at one end, lit with Robe LEDBeam 100s positioned around the edges and a wall of URC GoldPix 77s – a warm-white LED halogen look-alike 7×7 pixel-mappable panel – at the back. These two fixtures plus all the overheads created a great looking setting.
Four Robert Juliat Lancelot follow spots were positioned around the edges of the arena, and Nick used two Avolites Sapphire consoles for control, with an Avolites Arena serving as a technical desk.
Lighting crew chief Ian Stevens has worked on several other similar events for HSL and was part of an experienced crew who ensured that everything ran quickly and efficiently on site.
A six-way Kinesys automation system was used to raise and lower the winner’s podium from the roof. This featured a heart shaped pyro effect at the back which looked highly effective for photo opportunities during the winner’s presentations, and flying it was a good practical and space-saving solution.


Looking after HSL’s video department was Marcel Wijnberger, also screens director for the event.
At one end of the arena the HSL crew flew a 10-metre-wide by 6-metre-high Martin EC10 LED screen, which was flanked by two 1-metre-wide columns each side with the same drop, all made up from the same 10 mm LED product. 
Screen processing was via Martin P3s all running over HSL’s new Lightware Fibre Optical Extenders with Gigabit Ethernet for remote management, selected due to the long cabling runs.
The full inside perimeter of the arena fence was clad in matching 10mm LED, including the five gates allowing horses, performers, technicians, course builders and others working on the event to access the arena.


The video control system spec’d by Marcel was a Watchout 6, chosen to straightforwardly map all the perimeter LED which was fed with sponsors logos and advertisement content. Sponsor logos were also displayed on the banners flanking the screen, fed into the system from laptops running Playback Pro… and output to screen by Marcel using a Roland V800 mixer.
Creative playback video for the entertainment sections was programmed and replayed through the Watchout and fed to all the screen areas - the main screen, banners and perimeter ring. Marcel was also sent camera feeds and a TX from the CMH TV camera crew… and switched these to the screens as appropriate.
With six or seven different competition events each day, all with different sponsors and content to be shown, Marcel had to be very organised!

The big challenge was the load-in explained Ben… they had only one day to get all the technical kit in, rigged and ready before the arena was filled with the special floor material needed for the horses. “This entailed a lot of planning and lots of interdepartmental teamwork on site” stated Ben.
To ensure that the perimeter screens could be deployed as quickly as possible during this extremely time-pressured 24-hour period, HSL built custom frames to hold the video panels which were all pre-cabled and ready-to-go, loaded onto four curtain sider trucks.

On arrival at the Echo Arena, these drove in and around the space off-loading the video frames in the correct places so they could be secured in place around the ring.

Liverpool International Horse Show is the latest of several successful sporting events for HSL. Others have included the 2018 Horse of the Year Show at the NEC in Birmingham and Aintree Stars. They also provided lighting for the most recent Motorcycle Live expo at the NEC and the 2019 Arena Cross tour which has just finished.

Photos are courtesy  Arena Sports Live

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