All photos courtesy of Storm Lighting.
ELP PAR and Aura XIP stock boost for long-term hire to Legoland and outdoor theatre.
Long-standing event lighting hire company, Storm Lighting, has substantially grown its inventory of Martin fixtures over the past year—particularly with its IP-rated products.
According to rental manager James Price, since April they have boosted their fleet by almost 100 pieces—comprising of Martin’s ELP PAR powerful wash lights and the new IP65-rated version (ELP PAR IP), as well as the MAC Aura XIP (IP54), with the aura filament effect and full pixel control. These have been supplied and supported by Martin’s UK distributors, Sound Technology Ltd.
The MAC Aura XIP is the first fixture in its class to feature innovative smart outdoor-proofing technology, Martin’s ‘XIP Smart Weather Protection’ feature helping it win the PLASA Innovation Award. As for the ELP PAR IP, this is also ideal for fast installation, due to its quick-focus system and bright angle of projection indicators.
Set up by directors Dave Knapp and Pete Kramer in 1996, Storm Lighting has progressively turned to Martin solutions as its go-to brand over the last three decades. “Over the years, we have stocked the MAC 300, MAC 250, MAC 550, MAC 600 and then the MAC 700s.”
The latest investment was partly driven by the need to increase and upgrade rental stock and partly compelled by Martin’s latest offerings. “We have been really impressed by the products they have introduced this year, and they have fitted nicely into the projects we do every year.”
The growing need for cutting edge solutions is also the result of Storm Lighting’s diversification from its original base in theatres and tours into the corporate world. “We are now accredited and approved suppliers for a number of London venues such as The Design Museum, Kew Gardens, Tate and that side of the business has been growing exponentially. In addition to that we also look after plenty of film and TV work,” states Price.
The company is kept fully apprised of upcoming Martin releases from Sound Technology. “Josh [Wakley, Head of Sales, Sound Technology Lighting Division] and Chris [Walker, Senior Product Specialist, Sound Technology Lighting Division] make sure we know what’s coming out, and sort out private demos which has been really helpful in our decision making. At Frankfurt Prolight+Sound we had a proper look at ELP PARs which kick started that path.”
On that occasion they were looking to update their stock of LED PARs “as we were coming up against a lot of requests for a zoomable LED PAR,” he admits. “We had looked at [Martin’s] RUSH PAR 2 previously but then saw that the new version now named ELP PAR was coming out and featured the same colour calibration as the MAC range. We knew this would make slotting those in with Aura XB and XIP really easy because customers would get a reliable colour match—and that’s vital, especially in theatre. We looked at what else was available but couldn’t find anything with the same punch and build quality. I think it’s a testament to Martin’s build quality that our MAC 300s are still going 20 years later.”
Having initially purchased the standard ELP PAR in a single tranche, the acquisition of the IP version came in two batches, topping up their stock further to 46 when a couple of projects suddenly landed “for which we knew they would be perfect.” In fact James Price expects these numbers to grow further in the coming months.
The Aura XIP acquisition also came about for two lengthy projects. One was for a partly outdoor three-month long theatre series under an open canvas tent at Kilworth House Theatre in Leicestershire. The second project, where the Aura XIP and ELP PAR IP joined forces was in Legoland, initially for their ‘Brick or Treat’ Halloween Events that run from end of September until end of October with Monster Jam show on at the Harbour; then in November that turns round into their Christmas show, that this year takes the form of a lightshow, which will take the long-term rental through until January.
In terms of deployment the Aura XIPs are set round their harbour area where they are buffeted by water cannons and have to protect against chlorine ingress. But it’s the unique features of the fixture that really stand out, says Price. “The filament effect looks really impressive,” he says. “You could easily slot XIPs and XBs next to each other and you get a really nice effect between the two units. And with the XIP you can run video content over the filament effects which is also a brilliant … so you can easily create some very unique looks very quickly.”
Come the Christmas lightshow Storm Lighting will provide full show control. “It’s set up using ETC EOS via MIDI, triggered from one master QLab system, so the show (excluding the live pyrotechnics) runs itself. There will be plenty of opportunity to show off the filament effects and everything else the Aura XIPs can do.” Storm themselves install, programme and co-design the show with Legoland’s tech team. As for the ELP PAR IPs, these are situated in the ‘Monster Street’ forest area, where the main ‘Brick or Treat’ event is.
“All of which shows that these new fixtures are already proving themselves as workhorses,” concludes Storm Lighting’s rental manager. “They are proving they can do exactly what we need them to do.”
For further information please call Martin UK distributor Sound Technology Ltd on 01462 480000.