San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge recently celebrated its 75th birthday, paying tribute to one of the most recognizable landmarks in the world. Thanks to W-DMX, tens of thousands of spectators experienced a magnificent and creative light show orchestrated from locations not reachable with cable.
Event producer Don Richards of Foghorn Creative brought in San Francisco-based Lightswitch with lighting designer Norm Schwab to help organize the event. Working with Syncrolite for lighting the bridge, Schwab created a moving tribute with historical significance. The final effect was reminiscent of the Scintillator, a vintage lighting technique using a fan of searchlights that was introduced to the city at the Pan Pacific Exposition in 1915.
The show culminated in a blaze of 75 7K Syncrolite fixtures – the only lights used on the show – 50 of which rose majestically from a barge stationed in the bay and disappeared into the night sky, and another 25 XL 8K Syncrolites on the Bridge West Sidewalk, accompanied by a fantastic fireworks display by Pyro Spectaculars North. The show was programmed with two MA Lighting grandMA consoles. Most impressive was the scale, which spanned not only the bridge, but also an area three miles by two miles over the San Francisco Bay.
Jeffery Smith of Syncrolite was onsite Crew Chief for the project. “The W-DMX set up was very fast and efficient. The barges simply would not have happened if not for W-DMX. The DMX on the Barge was generated from the grandMA on the barge. It was synched to the show from wireless SEMPTE sent to the barge from show control over a radio system from BCT Entertainment. The signal never failed and the effect was spectacular.”
He continues, “Programming was done via two MA Lighting grandMA consoles, with a W-DMX wireless DMX system used with very high gain antennas to send the signal from the console to the fixtures on the bridge (five clusters of five units) placed over one mile apart. We used a 21dB dish antenna to get from show control to the bridge for zones 1 & 2 then to go from 2 to 3, 3 to 4, and 4 to 5. Zone 4 to 5 was the longest run and at zone 5 we had a 98% to 100% signal,” explains Smith. Syncrolite provided the Syncrolites and wireless DMX.
The show was considered a huge success, particularly to the thousands of spectators. “Everyone had one goal in mind,” concludes Schwab. “Everyone loves the Golden Gate Bridge, and this celebration made people feel proud about the bridge and reconnected to the Bay Area.”
Photos: Mike Perry