Bristol based lighting rental company Fineline collaborated closely with creative design agency Immersive to launch Christmas early at the Tesco’s Metro store in Wigan, which saw a quirky and spectacular visual extravaganza played out in its car park, culminating in the reveal … of the famous Tesco’s Christmas green hat crowning the ‘O’ in the signage.
The Fineline team, Project Managed by Rob Sangwell and co-ordinated onsite by Crew Chief Ruben Pinkney, used over 1.4 kilometers of rope lighting to wire up 80 Tesco’s shopping trolleys, lamp-posts, bollards and other street furniture plus around 60 individual LED festive decorations - Christmas trees, puddings, Santas, etc. ––so these could be integrated into the show.
The backdrop was a striking 80 metre wide by 7 meter high LED video screen for which Immersive produced custom content and animations, which together with the lighting effects, was all set to a specially compiled 2 minute soundtrack.
As well as treating the public to a great show, the supermarket giant also used the event to film two Christmas ads – one for viral promotion and one for television.
“We love projects like this,” declared Rob Sangwell, “This ticked all our boxes - a bit wacky, challenging and definitely different!”
The Fineline team rocked up in Wigan with all the rope lighting, over 140 ways of Avolites dimming, two Avolites Tiger Touch II controllers and five crew.
Their networking and DMX wizard Stu England programmed the show initially during four days of lighting pre-production at Fineline’s own visualization suite. Once onsite, England and Greg Haynes, Senior Software Developer from Avolites who provided additional technical support, worked together on the Tiger Touch running it in Multi-User mode so they could work quickly and efficiently.
The fully time-coded show – complete with over 1500 lighting cues executed in 2 minutes – pushed the system to its limits!
The other Fineline crew in Wigan included Riggers Ruben Pinkney and Steve Walsh, Rob Watson who oversaw the dimmers and techs Will Dale and Chris Drake. They had three days on site to rig and prep before the show and it took up all of that time to prepare the Christmas decorations, trolleys and other - essentially all bespoke - lighting features created for the occasion, a mix of imagination, ingenuity and lots of varied experience!
The feature light elements were strategically positioned in a center cluster in the middle of the ‘performance area’ in front of the screen.
To create a big Hollywood WOW effect behind the Tesco’s sign on the roof outside the front of the shop, five Robe Pointes were installed to its rear. These blasted out once the sign was illuminated and the green Christmas crown popped up right at the end of the show sequence.
They also took control of the Tesco’s sign via the Tiger Touch.
Fineline were also responsible for all rigging on site including structures to support the enormous video screens. Fineline liaised with the screen suppliers and specified the required structures which due to the size of the screens and site restrictions were to be a modular scaffold system. Fineline sub-contracted Serious to build the scaffolding elements,which included 65 tonnes of ballast and custom metalwork fabrication to support the Tesco sign.
Luckily the weather – notoriously erratic at this time of year – was relatively stable as the UK enjoyed one of the warmest October’s on record. The biggest challenge for the technical crews was that Tesco’s had to remain open normal hours, so specific stages of the set up could only happen at restricted times, rather than running as a more standard linear process.
The results thrilled massive crowds gathering on the Sunday night to see the final show … Dancing reindeers, boogieing holly and mistletoe, bouncing Santas, bells, whistles and numerous other Christmas paraphernalia erupted into life onscreen, joined by Christmas trees, trolleys, lampposts and other illuminated objects in a lively animated montage as Christmas was officially declared at Tesco Metro in Wigan!