London, UK - Hailed as one of the most important movie releases of the 21st century, Black Panther is the record-breaking new superhero film produced by Marvel Studios. For the film's star-studded European première event at London's Hammersmith Apollo, lighting designer Luke Edwards selected Avolites Titan and Ai lighting and video integration to control his 'super' design.
Attending the event was Black Panther's cast, including Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan and Lupita Nyong'o, as well as music stars Stormzy and the Black Eyed Peas. To illuminate the stars, Edwards took inspiration from the film's poster branding, using its yellow, white and blue tones for the auditorium and red carpet lighting.
"There are a few aspects we had to look at in lighting this event," says Edwards. "Firstly, the auditorium needed to look good and immediately give people that 'wow' factor when they walked in. At the same time, the lighting needed to be functional, for people to be able to find their seats. As for the red-carpet lighting, it's about making sure the overall look reflects the film, that the cast are well-lit and that the photographers get the essence of the film through the surrounding lighting in a single photo."
Edwards used two Tiger Touch II consoles and one Quartz console to control the entire event's lighting. The consoles were networked together using Titan v10.1's Multi User Networking Connect feature, allowing Edwards and his team to control the event's lighting from the front-of-house position in the auditorium.
"We spec'ed the Avolites consoles because they are small and powerful," says Edwards. "This meant that we did not need to kill too many seats in the auditorium."
Edwards created a short light show to accompany the movie trailer and cast introductions before the film began. With only 15 minutes to make an impact, he cleverly arranged the fixtures in straight, regimented lines on stage and into the auditorium.
"The 'show' lighting is high energy from the word go," says Edwards. "I used Titan's Key Frame Shapes feature to create dramatic effects quickly." This software feature uses transition curves, phase and spatial direction, allowing Edwards to create his main lighting looks in good time.
Edwards worked with James Barnfather of Limited Edition Event Design, who provided full technical production services for the première. Impact Production Services (IPS) supplied the two Tiger Touch II consoles whilst Edwards' company Cue Design supplied the Quartz and Ai Anjuna licence.
Edwards ran video content from Ai across LED screens surrounding the event's DJ booth, situated in the middle of the auditorium. Networking his laptop and lighting consoles to Ai, Edwards ran one video output for the DJ's LED banner and LED screen backdrop.
"Ai easily mapped the content across the screens," says Edwards. "We have a close working relationship with Avolites and the integration between Ai and Titan is growing, so investing in Ai was the next logical step for us."
Black Panther has been nominated for 13 Saturn Awards including Best Director, Best Writing and Best Special Effects and can be seen in cinemas across the globe. The film's European premiere was held on 8 February 2018 at the Hammersmith Apollo, London.