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ISR: Robe City Of David Lightshow

Robe Pointe and DL4S Profile moving lights have been installed as part of the spectacular City of David Lightshow – “Hallelujah” – in Jerusalem, a gripping and intense multimedia experience relating the history of the city which is projected onto the walls of the ancient citadel of King David, surrounded by the associated archaeological site and steeped in history dating back over 3000 years.

Lighting was designed by Micha Margalit and delivered by Danor Theatre and Studio Systems who won a tender issued by the Israel Government Tourist Corporation (IGTC). Furthermore, Danor was also asked by AVS Creative – who co-ordinated all the project’s multimedia aspects and the integration between light, sound and projection – to work on the actual physical lighting installation.

Challenges included dealing with the difficult topography and the specific positions where lights needed to be rigged, managing the cable runs with diligence and care and negotiating the environment which is both an active archaeological excavation and a popular heritage site and tourist destination.

All this entailed a very complex operation to integrate the lighting and maintain the integrity, history and significance of the site.

The team at Danor worked closely with Micha the lighting designer and proposed a Robe solution for the entertainment elements that support the 45 minute projected show.

Danor has also supplied hundreds of LED lights dotted around the two sites highlighting the architecture, excavations and the totally unique spaces.

The multimedia show is divided into two sections and takes place across two sites; the Givati Parking Lot and Area G – overlooked by the charismatic predominantly Palestinian hillside neighbourhood of Silwan – which are a short walk apart. It unravels some of the myths and mysteries of Jerusalem’s compelling and colourful history.

“Convincing the IGTC and others involved from the City of David site to use moving lights in these two shows was exacting, and especially sensitive due to the site’s proximity to Silwan village, so it was important that the houses there were not affected by any light pollution or spillage from the show,” Micha comments.

The 16 x Pointes and 6 x DL4S Profiles in Area G were chosen as the most flexible and reliable options for show lighting, and are installed in weather domes, all in extremely inaccessible positions.

The projections in this area are beamed onto a large uneven sloping surface, which adds to the detail of the content and its mapping, bringing a highly authentic 3D appearance to the show images which are reinforced with lighting.

One row of eight Pointes overlooks the top of the bumpy and angled projection ‘wall’, and they are used primarily for aerial and mid-air effects and for highlighting the crowd seated below, immersing them further in the action.

The second row of eight Pointes is right at the bottom of the steep hill which is 25 metres high and expands horizontally around 55 metres. They are concealed from immediate view as the audience seating is slightly higher up.

The six DL4S Profiles are ensconced in two purpose-built steel ‘technology towers’ located behind and to the sides of the audience, which also house the four 11K projectors feeding this section of the show.

“A versatile light with accurate shutters and a good zoom was required in this position. They are mostly used for highlighting special sections of the show canvass, and also to add a layer of lighting within some of the projection scenes with gobos, animation and lighting synched to the video content,” explained Micha.

In addition to the jagged and majestic stonework, the DL4S Profiles illuminate the trees and foliage around the slope, changing the colour and texture throughout the show and dramatically outlining the projections.
The lighting specification – in terms of fixture capability – was already stipulated in the tender document explained Danor’s Erez Hader, “We chose the Robe fixtures that would satisfy this and all the other creative lighting aspects that Micha wanted to use in augmenting the overall picture.”

Due to the highly challenging positioning of the lighting fixtures, on both parts of the site, it was important to choose tough, robust luminaires that would work reliably in a difficult environment and require very little maintenance. “Pointes and DL4S Profiles ticked all the boxes and more,” stated Erez.

Micha comments that he’s known Robe products for a long time during his long and successful career as an LD, “The brand has a great reputation for reliability and with this and the excellent support from Danor, I had the opportunity to achieve the best results possible from the lighting system”.

Danor provided lighting programmer Ronen Ben Harush to work with Micha on fine-tuning the lighting once the final video content was edited and completed working closely with the AVS creative team (CEO Malki Shem Tov) on each scene to evoke the right atmosphere and enhance the narrative.

Danor project manager Ronen Binschtock worked closely onsite with Guy Grosman, PM for AVS, dealing with the crew, scheduling and the practicalities of making the installation happen in a timely and efficient manner, while Erez co-ordinated the substantial administration, logistics and communications involved in a project of this stature.

The Compulite Vector lighting controller is linked to the overall show control system which is timecode triggered from the soundscape.

The show is currently running five days a week, with up to three shows an evening.

Photo credits to Louise Stickland.