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4Wall Provides Gear for the ‘Game of Thrones’ Activation Experience at SXSW

By Andrew Quinones on Apr 12, 2019
Posted in Press Releases

Austin, TX- To celebrate the upcoming eighth and final season of Game of Thrones, HBO and the American Red Cross partnered to ask fans and blood donors to 'Bleed for the Throne'. The campaign included an interactive and immersive blood drive experience at this year's SXSW in Austin, Texas. 4Wall Entertainment provided a lighting and video rental package to experiential design agency, Design & Manufacturing, who provided all scenic fabrication, projection system design, and lighting design for the activation experience.

Participants were given a chance to explore the world of Westeros constructed inside a 16,000 square-foot warehouse. Using an audio guide, attendees were invited to find their way through a maze of dramatic reenactments from the show's storyline of characters who have 'bled for the throne'. 

Lighting Designer Blake Manns and Associate Lighting Designer Paige Seber utilized lighting to help drive the narrative in each of the four scenes of a maze that led to the iconic Great Hall of the Red Keep in King's Landing.

"The goal of the lighting design was to dramatically and functionally light the space and scenery while staying closely aligned to the show's visual style," explained LD Manns. "The lighting in the show is entirely provided by natural light sources, as it is set in a time without electricity."

The lighting duo broke the rooms up into four categories based on the practical lighting motivation for each environment: interior with windows, interior with candelabras, exterior sunlight, and exterior moonlight. They then developed the specific details and color stories of each location from there.

"The placement of every lighting instrument and piece of equipment had to be carefully thought out to make sure it seamlessly blended in with the set design," said Associate LD Seber. "The massive size of the space and amount of scenery and areas that needed to be specifically lit and isolated called for a large number of fixtures."

4Wall provided over 150 ETC Source Four LED Series 2 Lustr fixtures which ended up being the workhorse of the event. With an extremely short load in period, the team knew they had no time to worry about running dimmer cables to every fixture plus lacked the space required for dimmer racks.

"The ability to powerCON chain all of the fixtures truly saved us a lot of time and effort and gave us the ability to add fixtures anywhere within the space and not have to worry about dimmer availability or power," said Manns. "Cutting down on the amount of power required and heat generated by instruments was also a major benefit. Lastly, the expansive color mixing abilities of the fixture using ETC x7 color system gave us the ability to mix very precise colors that other LED fixtures could not produce."

Seber added, "We also utilized many gobo patterns in the Source Four LEDs to support the wide variety of natural landscapes found in Westeros. The endless possible color and texture combinations allowed us to highlight the massive number of contrasting scenes within the dense ground plan of the event."

84 Chauvet Professional COLORado Solo 2 LED Pars were alongside the Source Fours to provide wash fills to every room. The homogenized beam proved to be a perfect companion alongside the other LEDs and the automated adjustable zoom gave the team the ability to dial in the washes precisely without having to waste time changing and rotating lenses. 

"The venue floor remained largely untreated throughout the experience," explained Seber. "The layering of the wash fill from the 2 Solos with the texture from the Source Fours LEDs gave us the ability to treat the floor with light - suggesting a snowy dirt path, a brick paved road, an open field, or a polished stone floor."

A single Robe BMFL Blade was needed to enhance the centerpiece of the experience, an Iron Throne and a custom designed Red Cross stained glass window behind it.

"We knew we needed a very powerful fixture behind the window to blast through the stained glass, backlight the throne, and cast down the steps and center aisle of the Great Hall," said the LD. "The BMFL Blade proved to be the perfect fixture with its 40,000-lumen output and zoom, focus, shuttering, and precise color mixing abilities."

4Wall also provided 7 Epson Pro L1405U laser projectors. The projectors were used in and around the maze. Equipped with the ELPLX01 ultra-short throw lens, the projectors provided a reliable and expected output with ease of adjustment and superior image quality.

"The ultra-short throw lens was perfect for this implementation where rear-projection was not possible, viewers were very close to the projection surface, and shadows were not desired," explained Manns. "These projectors gave us the dark blacks needed in low light areas and crisp high definition output."

The activation drew about 3,000 visitors over the course of three days in Austin. 

Manns spoke of the service 4Wall provided.

"As always, working with 4Wall is such a pleasure! The gear is very well maintained, and we never have to worry about the condition of the equipment," said the LD. "Tyler Bevel always ensures we are fully covered and no details are missed.  As a designer, it's wonderful to have this kind of collaboration and to know that 4Wall has our back."

To see more of Design & Manufacturing's work, visit their website here.

Photos by Richie Schalin