ADJ IP65-Rated Fixtures Illuminate Mayflower 400 Celebrations

Photo: One Plymouth / Alex Darling

A large number of ADJ Hydro Beam X2 and 32 HEX Panel IP fixtures were used to create an incredible outdoor lightshow to launch the international Mayflower 400 commemoration year. As part of the Illuminate festival of light in Plymouth, England – the port from which The Mayflower set sail on its legendary journey, the display filled the maritime city’s historic waterfront with vibrant colours and piercing beams that could be seen from miles around.

2020 marks the 400th anniversary of the sailing of the Mayflower from Plymouth in the UK to what is now Plymouth, Massachusetts. Mayflower 400 is a year-long initiate that will champion the values of freedom, faith and personal liberty that informed that original journey. At the same time, the commemoration will recognize the impact of the Mayflower’s journey on Native American communities and address themes of colonialism and migration, providing an accurate, inclusive account of the Mayflower’s legacy.

Illuminate 2019 was a spectacular light-based festival that connected all of the Mayflower 400 destinations across the UK and internationally. A breathtaking series of events involving light-based art installations and projections took place at locations across the UK, Holland and the US in November 2019. The flagship event in Plymouth, England – which ran across four days from November, 28 to December, 1 – was organized by RIO (Real Ideas Organisation), who brought in local lighting specialists Essential Supplies to install and program lighting fixtures throughout the Royal William Yard on Plymouth’s waterfront.

“Illuminate light festival 2019 welcomed 50,000 visitors over four nights and marked the beginning of the Mayflower 400 commemoration year and programme of cultural events, which has a local, national and international reach,” explained RIO’s Claire Honey, Project Manager for the festival. “Essential Supplies worked with our creative team to produce a light-based ‘starter moment’ which launched the programme and was shared across the globe.”

To create the wow-factor that the RIO was looking for, the Essential Supplies team deployed 24 of ADJ’s Hydro Beam X2 IP65-rated moving head fixtures all around the historic Royal William Yard. Harnessing the power of an Osram Sirius HRI 370W LL discharge lamp, the Hydro Beam X2 is a potent fixture with a razor-sharp 3-degree beam angle. It is ideal for creating mid-air effects, either outdoors or in large inside spaces. Packed with features, it offers both 8-facet linear and circular prisms, as well as motorized linear focus, a frost filter, rotating and replaceable GOBOs, ADJ’s WiFLY wireless DMX connectivity, and a 14-position colour wheel that includes a four-way split filter.

“The Hydro Beam X2 is a great fixture,” commented Essential Supplies’ Alex Darling, who served as the Lighting Programmer for the show. “The beam is nice and sharp, and the colors and GOBO patterns worked really well for creating midair effects. For a large fixture, it is also very nippy, and I found the DMX profiles easy to work with. As the X2 is a relatively new model for ADJ, I thought this was a great environment to test the fixture out. It was very cold and windy on site, and for two of the setup days it absolutely poured down with rain, but not one unit had a single problem for the whole two weeks they were out there, which boasts a really good build quality.”

In addition to the moving heads, the Essential Supplies team also utilized 26 of ADJ’s 32 HEX Panel IP multi-function wash / blinder / strobe fixtures. Each of these compact units feature 32 12-Watt HEX (RGBWA+UV) LEDs, grouped into eight individually-controllable sections to allow the creation of single-coloured washes as well as multi-coloured ‘eye candy’ effects. With an all-metal, black housing and IP65 outdoor rating, the versatile fixture includes a magnetic removable frame that can be easily used to enlarge the native beam angle of 24-degrees by adding a diffusion filter.

“The 32 HEX Panel IP is a great little unit that really enhanced the show,” enthused Darling. “The brightness is phenomenal and they really did smash colour about the place very well. They also have some good eye candy effects on them, nice and fast, which makes them a flexible choice. The throw is also very impressive. We used them to light up a tug sat out in the harbor, a good 80’ from shore, that was in complete darkness until we turned on the panels and then it could be seen quite clearly.”

In total, 50 of ADJ’s IP65-rated fixtures were deployed for the event, positioned around Royal William Yard’s large horseshoe-shaped marina. The Hydro Beam X2 units were used to project GOBO patterns on the surrounding buildings as well as to create mid-air beam effects shooting up into the night sky. Meanwhile, the 32 HEX Panel IP fixtures were used to fill the whole area with vibrant colour washes.

The fixtures provided ambient lighting throughout the four-day event and then served as an integral part of the Thursday evening presentation that kicked off the whole year-long Mayflower 400 celebration. It started with the lighting being used to grab the audience’s attention before the beams were used to draw their gaze, first to a laser projection on a tower which stands beside the marina and then to a water projection screen out in the harbor. This was used to display a short video clip that told the story of The Mayflower and ended with the ship sailing off the screen. At this point the ADJ lighting fixtures were used to create an epic finale lightshow, choreographed to music, which involved energetic rainbow-colored beams filling the sky to provide an elaborate finish.

Throughout the rest of the Illuminate event, Darling re-configured the lighting element of the presentation into a standalone light show. This ran each evening, every 30 minutes, from dusk until the close of the event. It proved to be a popular attraction alongside the many other light-based installations, artworks and interactive exhibits that made up the city-wide festival.

Providing a suitably grand start to a whole year of Mayflower 400 celebrations on both sides of the Atlantic, the Plymouth Illuminate 2019 lightshow was a resounding success. As Honey concluded: “The project included conceptual design through to the production, programming and delivery of an amazing light show on the harbour, which could be seen for miles! It was an absolute pleasure to work with Essential Supplies and ADJ who delivered a phenomenal show and we look forward to working with the team again in the future; thank you.”