Naked City, Wireless Solution

On 17 July 2005 a contemporary arts event based on the works of Spencer Tunick, an American landscape installation artist, was held in Newcastle & Gateshead, England.

Spencer’s controversial work involves the juxtaposition of landscape and the nude form with some of his early works resulting in his arrest and subsequent acquittal following a landmark Supreme Court case in the U.S. Since those early works Spencer has performed installations all over the world.

UK television’s BBC3 broadcast Spencer Tunick’s latest works of art in a special program ‘Naked City: Spencer Tunick in ‘Newcastle/Gateshead.’ A series of installations was completed, firstly on the north bank of the Tyne, a second on a Newcastle street, a third along side the Sage Gateshead Complex, and the fourth adjacent to the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art. The finale to the broadcast was when 550 naked participants assembled on the Gateshead Millennium Bridge under Spencer’s instruction, at dusk, live on BBC3. Both Newcastle and Gateshead local authorities and the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art played major roles in commissioning and supporting Spencer’s event.

Lighting designer Mike Le Fevre was commissioned to light the project. Lighting rental and crew supply was by AFM Lighting’s Broadcast & Events Division, based in London, and included five Martin Wireless DMX-512 and three Martin Wireless DMX-512 Pro Diversity devices.

“It was the first installation that Spencer ever conducted at night, so lighting was crucial,” Mike commented. “As site cable runs were extensive, in excess of 150-200 meters, my AFM crew boss Andy Siddal had elected to use a wireless DMX system and distributed dimming. With 12 way packs on the roof of the Mal Maison, Spencer’s location for the live Bridge installation, 48 ways of dimming for the Pitcher & Piano lighting rig, the main TV presentation area, and an additional 48-way rack to cover any local bridge dimming requirements, luckily Martin UK had provided AFM with a Wireless DMX system. This was a first for me and the results were impressive.

“We had a Martin Wireless DMX-512 transmitter/receiver unit on each DMX OP and a Martin Wireless DMX-512 receiver locally sited to each set of dimmers. After a quick re-rig of the Mal Maison receiver, all was well. The system performed faultlessly even in the harsh RF environment with the local metal security barriers, the OB truck’s radio TB systems, Radio Cameras and the outgoing satellite link all a matter of feet away from our equipment. Andy and Assistant LD and console operator Miec Heggett even ran a wireless link from one side of the generator/load carrier to the other, for local dimming. It seemed a bit excessive but worked well.”

The project proved to be very successful with the artist, TV producer and production team all satisfied. “I have an excellent crew, both lighting and on the OB vision crew,” Mike stated. “Their support was wonderful. It is a privilege to be in command of such an excellent team.”

Lighting Director / Designer: Mike Le Fevre
Assistant LD and Console Operator: Miec Heggett
AFM Gaffer / Crew Boss: Andy Siddal
AFM Moviestar Operator: Jim Driscoll
AFM Electrician / Load Carrier: Alison Barry
AFM Electrician: Ian “Woody” Woolard
AFM Generator Operator: Dave Harris
Film & TV Services Generator Operator: Tony Dunn
AFM Head of Broadcast & Events Division: Ed Pagett

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