© Thomas Haywood, Andrew Kemp, and Ian Potter
Neill Fleming, 21CC Group
Set within the spectacular estate of Scotland’s magnificent Hopetoun House in South Queensferry, Woodyfest, produced by Wondrous Woods, with creative design and technical production from 21CC Group, ran for the second successful year within the magnificent woods and grounds surrounding the house.
The popular and celebrated annual lighting event took audiences on a meandering journey along winding pathways, each of which led to exciting and dynamic installations, fairy grottos, and waterwall projections. The 3 km woodland walk then culminated at the rear façade of Hopetoun House where its walls were beautifully lit by VL2600 PROFILE fixtures to deliver vibrant color and break up projections. These effects were augmented by far reaching aerial lighting effects, created by the Vari-Lite VL10 BEAMWASH, which reportedly attracted the local community’s attention from a distance away, and even caused some individuals to speculate that the aliens were coming.
Lighting designer Neill Fleming of 21CC Group, the creative producer and technical solutions providers for Wondrous Woods, discusses: “We chose the Vari-Lite VL10 BEAMWASH and the VL2600 PROFILE luminaires because we knew they would be exactly right for this project. Protected from the Scottish winter elements in waterproof housing, they gave plenty of light output for a relatively low power consumption. Both the VL10s and the VL2600s performed without issues, and we found them to be reliable and simple to set up and program.”
Fleming says he chose the VL2600 PROFILE for its low power LED light engine, its creative versatility, speed, and accuracy. “All the power for the event came from generators, so we have to balance desired output and impact with the lowest possible power consumption, the VL2600 PROFILE performs very favorably under such criteria,” says Fleming. “We used the VL2600s to create break up and shuttering effects across the back of the house. This was quite often layered with powerful moving projections and yet impressively, the VL2600s punched right through to give us the rich, multifaceted effects we were looking for.”
Fleming also wanted a light that had shuttering so that they could sharply frame the house, but at other times create seamless washes. “The frost and wide beam angle meant we could use the VL2600 PROFILE fixtures to achieve both effects without compromise, and without much loss of light output. This meant we only needed to hire the profile version of the fixture, which, given our power limits, suited us very well.”
In addition, Fleming says he was keen to achieve even more dramatic aerial beam effects than the previous year because that effect had been a real selling point in 2020. “The VL10 BEAMWASH is a phenomenal piece of kit. We positioned them each side of the house, on the ground, and at the center, on the roof. People could see the beams from miles away and would try to find out where they were coming from. As soon as they knew, they would book to see the show,” explains a delighted Fleming. “However, some people did report them on social media as visiting aliens!”
21CC Group worked with several suppliers, including Enlightened Lighting, to supply additional lighting and control equipment. “Dave Thorpe of Enlightened is well informed and very helpful, and he recommended that we use their stock of Vari-Lite VL2600s and the VL10 BEAMWASH fixtures for this event,” adds Fleming.
Geoff Crow, director of 21CC Group, said: “We put a lot of thought into this year’s trail because we wanted to produce something that is fun and exciting, but that also pays tribute to the many events and festivals that were cancelled this year and last year, which is what led us to the celebratory theme of Woodyfest.”
Lord Hopetoun said: “2020’s lighting trail was innovative and magical for all of us at Hopetoun and we were delighted to welcome back the Wondrous Woods event. It not only shines a light on our home and the beautiful grounds, but is a real boost for the team after a particularly challenging period. It has been fascinating to see what such an ambitious project can achieve and show such a unique visitor attraction.”