HSL supplied lighting, LED screens, rigging, staging, structures and power for the Sainsbury’s UK Schools Games Opening Ceremony at Gateshead International Stadium. The Blackburn based company was working for show production company Fast Track Events and also for Modular Projects who together delivered the show for end clients, the UK Youth Sport Trust. The ceremony was hosted by BBC Sports presenter Jill Douglas

HSL’s Mike Docksey co-ordinated a masterpiece of planning which ensured that everything ran like clockwork on site, with Howard Dean production managing HSL’s multi-skilled crew and liaising closely with show producer, Fast Track’s Bob Caple.

Says Docksey, “This was a real team effort from all angles, requiring a lot of transparent and lucid communications. It was a pleasure to work with Bob and Fast Track Events again, to be involved with and assist in capturing the vibe, enthusiasm and spirit of this occasion”.


With the majority of the production components of the event given over to HSL to co-ordinate, the various creative elements could focus on their contributions to the show.


The high energy 60 minute Opening Ceremony show was unlike anything ever seen before for a Schools Games. It kicked off with a pumping soundtrack accompanying the 1600 strong Athlete’s Parade, and ended with a 7 minute multimedia work designed by London-based United Visual Artists (UVA). Lighting for the show was designed by Tupac Martir.

HSL supplied Robe moving lights, A&O Falcon 7K searchlights, JTE PixelPAR 90s, ARRI 2Ks and PAR 64s, together with Studio Due CityColor 2.5Ks and Robe DigitalSpot 5000 DTs which were utilized to subtly highlight the seating stand opposite the main OC spectator grandstand.

HSL also supplied 72 panels of G-LEC Phantom 30 transparent LED screens, technicians and support equipment. The majority of the screen was rigged on to a 30 metre long central trussing structure at the rear of the stage in front of the main grandstand, with 5 additional smaller screens positioned in the outfield behind.

This trussing structure also masked the ‘production village’ which contained the Big TV mobile truck, complete with additional hi res LED screen, the 2 synced 350 KVA generators supplied by HSL for all the technical production power and dimmer city for all the fixtures in the outfield.

For front lighting of the main performance area, HSL flew a 60 metre truss from the superstructure of the main grandstand, which contained 10 bars of 6 PARs, ARRI 2Ks and Robe ColorSpot 700E ATs, all of which provided coverage for the track immediately in front of the grandstand and the stage.

On and around the stage were Robe ColorSpot 700E ATs, IP rated 6 lamp PAR bars and ARRI 2Ks, together with Selecon 2K follow spots either side of the camera platform. The stage was trimmed with Pulsar ChromaStrips.

In the outfield were 20 PixelPAR 90s in bespoke waterproof housings, Robe ColorSpot 1200E ATs and Robe ColorWash 1200E ATs and A&O Falcon Beam 7Ks, positioned on the opposite side of the track from the grandstand. This required some long cable runs, and also in HSL’s remit was provision of cable bridges to straddle the track and leave other access areas clear as required.

Martir programmed and controlled all the lighting on an Avolites Diamond 4 Elite console running the latest Titan v3 software.

The DigitalSpot 5000s had special new content uploaded to their heads including Union Jack flag images, and were operated in stand-alone mode to highlight the stand opposite for the duration of the ceremony.

The G-LEC screens were all fed with custom show loops produced by Gizmo Animations stored on one of UVA’s D3 media controllers, which was also used for playback of the final video segment to close the show.

Audio equipment was supplied by RG Jones, and Peter Key Sound Design compiled the Parade playback track, the pre recorded Parade voice-overs and music track for walk ups and guest appearances which included Olympians Darren Campbell, Jason Gardener, Gail Emms and Amy Williams.

The show was a resounding success, providing inspiration for the 4 days of competition and camaraderie that followed.

Date of issue : 11th September 2010

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