Galaxy Park, Tianjin
Previous articles about Galaxy Park have focused on the architectural lighting to Moon Tower; this tower sits in front of the newly built Tianjin museum. The lighting to the tower was conceived to be part of a light and sound show that integrated lasers provided by Laser Fantasy International and the LED lighting provided by TIR Systems.
The bitterly cold winters and hot dusty summers in this northern Chinese port town create a difficult environment for any hardware. Conventional colour changing fixtures with moving parts require routine maintenance, while IP rated fixtures will have an excellent seal when they leave the factory this rating is often only as good as the skills of the maintenance team. In this harsh environment if seals are not correctly fitted then they become prone to dust and water ingress.
Solid state fixtures with no moving or user serviceable parts have proved to be an excellent solution, whilst certainly not subscribing to the "fit and forget" sales pitch of many LED manufacturers, the fact remains that they do require less maintenance and that a less skilled operations team are able to maintain the installation in way that conceived by the team at the outset.
Of course the fitting selection itself is only one part of the jigsaw, the other piece being the control system.
As a provider of controls solutions it is important to work closely with the client and design teams in order to fully understand both the creative vision and operational resources. There is a growing realisation amongst the design community of the need to seek specialist advice when considering the control options, particularly in relation to LED arrays where channel counts have risen exponentially and traditional lighting consoles may not be the best solution.
In the case of Galaxy Park the client needed a system that would require minimal operational input, allow the automated interfacing with the laser show and was easy to update and reprogramme.
Specific shows were created for each night of the week, the Monday to Friday shows consisted of simple stand alone shows that were specific to each night of the week. On weekends and holidays the system had to integrate with the lasers to create a sound, light and laser show. The selection of the specific shows was to be fully automated.
At an early stage in the process it was decided to use Artistic Licence's Colour-Tramp. This software has a pedigree that extends back to the late 1980s when, under the guise of Lamp-Tramp, it was used to control the banks of Aero's built in arrays in the stage fascia for the Pink Floyd Division Bell tour. Colour-Tramp's roots in the entertainment sector has provided it with an extraordinary ability to accept external triggers. The ability to accept MIDI triggers and timecode allowed the lighting cues for specific Laser shows to be selected and replayed automatically.
Colour-Tramp's graphical approach to programming proved to be very intuitive to the extent that training sessions could be run in English, to a team that could only speak Mandarin and had never operated lighting consoles. Very quickly they had grasped the principles and were able to create their own shows.