If you’ve been to an event, large performance space or festival over the past year, then chances are you’ve seen the logo of one of London’s largest and most successful production specialists on a flight case or two. Marketing themselves as the complete production specialists, White Light have nearly 45 years’ worth of experience in the business, and have a vast wealth of knowledge and resources in a range of markets, such as events, theatre, concert touring , festivals, broadcast and themed attractions.
Formed in 1971, the company has grown exponentially, and along the way forged a reputation of supplying solutions for projects of all sizes across the UK, Europe and Worldwide. As a result,many of the world’s leading manufacturers have been attracted to choosing White Light as their exclusive distributor, such as CORE Lighting, Look Solutions and Wireless Solution. The company recently expanded beyond all things lighting, and into the neighbouring world of audio. Since the launch of their audio department, the company has also been appointed dealer for a multitude of audio brands, including products from EM Acoustics, Full Fat Audio, Shure, Sennheiser and Yamaha Commercial Audio.
The company offers hires, sales, event support, installation and technical service. Alongside this they also offer technical training. After all, a great installation full of fantastic products is no good to anyone if the recipients are not taught how to operate and make the absolute most out of their new equipment. With this and with all of White Light’s projects, they pride themselves on their industry knowledge, personal service and high technical standards, all of which have earned them the complete trust that they receive from industry professionals across the world.
It is this trust that has meant that the company has been able to establish itself as the production supplier for some of the most notable venues and event spaces within the UK. These include the National Gallery and National Portrait Gallery, Science Museum, St Paul’s Cathedral, Tate Modern, Museum of London and The Imperial War Museum. Another company that White Light have had the privilege of being chosen as production supplier for is Historic Royal Palaces, an independent charity that manages some of the United Kingdom’s unoccupied royal palaces. These include The Tower of London, Hampton Court Palace and Kensington Palace. ZioGiorgio was recently lucky enough to be invited to a showcase at the Tower of London, at which White Light, alongside other preferred suppliers for the HRPs, displayed their talents for transforming unique spaces. Providing lighting as well as projection and audio, White Light demonstrated what they do best. For sound, they utilised K-Array KR202 speakers, along with Shure SM57 and SM58 wired microphones, all controlled by a Yamaha QL1 mixer. For lighting, a variety of CORElighting fixtures were deployed, providing vibrant uplighting solutions without the necessity for unsightly cabling and rigging.
Other recent and notable projects from the company include their work on EXHIBITIONISM, the Rolling Stones exhibition at London’s Saatchi Gallery. Here, White Light deployed an array of fixtures from German Light Products, who were nominated as the exclusive automated lighting partner for the exhibition. White Light is no stranger to high-profile projects like this, having recently also completed work on London Fashion Week, The British Fashion Awards, The NME Awards, Curtain Up at V & A, Lumiere London, the Launch of Women’s Equality Party, Christmas at Kew, Selfridges’ Astrolounge, UN Day Celebrations, London Evening Standard Progress 1000 Event and the Queen Charlotte’s Ball.
ZioGiorgio spoke with Richard Wilson, Director for White Light, to gain a deeper understanding of the story behind White Light’s success.
ZioGiorgio: What do you think sets White Light apart from other similar companies in the industry?
Richard Wilson: At White Light, we are the complete production solution specialists. What this means is that any client can come to us with an event or project and we will be able to provide them with a technical solution. Often we have worked on projects that have never been attempted before, such as the London Evening Standard Progress 1000 Launch which featured 1000 custom-made LED spheres which had to be installed in the yet-to-be-opened London Crossrail Station. As a company, we are fortunate enough to have expert teams in the fields of lighting, audio and video, as well as a dedicated Production team to oversee the events we work on. Each event is assigned its own personal Project Manager, ensuring that the customer has a genuine, face-to-face relationship with WL. This is alongside the fact that we are constantly investing in the very latest technology, and are the exclusive distributor for leading manufacturers such as CORE Lighting, Look Solutions and Wireless Solution, meaning that we have an unparalleled inventory which can be drawn on for any occasion.
ZioGiorgio: What are your key philosophies as a company?
Richard Wilson: Our key philosophies as a company are the same now as they always have been: creative excellence and technical solutions through great service. It’s obviously important that we have the expertise and equipment to hand but what is just as important is that we listen to our clients and work alongside them to achieve their vision. We’ve built a strong reputation for being an approachable, friendly company, which is why so many of our clients frequently return to us after 45 years of service. We, of course, always want to provide production support that makes any event as impressive as it can possibly be yet we always strive to do so in a way where the client feels 100% part of the process.
ZioGiorgio: Can you tell us about some of the projects and clients that you have been the most proud to work alongside?
Richard Wilson: Over the past twelve months, there are a few projects where we have provided the complete production solutions. The Rugby World Cup drew on virtually all of our services; something that was showcased to a global television reach of over four billion. Not only did we provide the technical production for the building of the sets used for the live ITV Sport broadcasts, but we also supplied on-site audio support at the largest hospitality suite at Twickenham Stadium, along with transforming the South Stand tunnel into an immersive match-day experience.
We were also responsible for the lighting installation of the Rolling Stones EXHIBITIONISM at the Saatchi Gallery, which is an exhibition charting the band’s fifty year history, containing over 500 artefacts across 1700m2. Similarly, it was great for us to provide the production support at the Tower of London showcase as this allowed us to show how one of the world’s most recognised and iconic landmarks could be completely transformed through the use of technology. We have a strong, working relationship with Historic Royal Places and were delighted to be the only external production company to receive renewed cross-palace supplier status earlier this year.
ZioGiorgio: When suggesting fixtures to clients, do you have brands of preference or is every event spec’d on their unique requirements?
Richard Wilson: Every event is unique and, until you have that initial site visit and speak to the client about what they require, then you cannot suggest anything! Fortunately, at WL, we have such a large inventory of lighting, audio and video equipment (a large majority of which are exclusive brands) that we are able to draw on all of these and offer a solution that is perfectly suited to that particular event. There is no agenda in terms of which manufacturers we use and it is constantly about achieving that technical solution with whatever is the most suitable.
ZioGiorgio: How have you found that the development of your Audio Services has improved your position in the market?
Richard Wilson: What our audio services have allowed us to do is offer more to our clients. We live in an age where clients expect more from production companies: it’s not enough to simply offer one type of discipline now. It also makes things much more streamlined, as well as financially beneficial, if they can approach one company for their technical requirements. Therefore adding audio (and ultimately video) seemed like a natural step. That said, we had such a strong reputation in lighting that we wanted this to be reflected in all of the services which we offered. Therefore, when we expanded into audio, we appointed an expert team lead by our Head of Audio Lee Dennison to ensure that we offered the best audio support possible. Now we are able to offer a full range of services to our clients, which is obviously a huge advantage and makes their experience of any project much more streamlined. We are finding too that clients who normally used us solely for lighting have heard about our other offerings and contacting us to provide them with all of their production needs.
ZioGiorgio: What do you see as the future for White Light? Any plans for expansion into any other areas of the industry?
Richard Wilson: At the moment, our main focus is to continue working with our current clients as well as build relationships with new ones so that as many companies as possible get to experience our high standard of service. Following a very successful first year as Production Service Partner at Central Hall Westminster, we are keen to pursue more in-house venue work, as we are now in a position to provide the very best technical support to venues; particularly as many spaces are realising their potential to host live events. Whatever happens, we will maintain our focus on providing all of our clients with the very best support and service possible.
In an ever growing and competitive market, White Light have managed to succeed where many others have not, in creating a brand that is recognised amongst the events industry as not just efficient and trustworthy, but also revered. Their resources and expansive knowledge base is attractive not just to their customers, but also to those who want to work and thrive in such an exciting, yet unpredictable industry. Not only does this attraction create a sustained flow of business and opportunity for the company, but also a guaranteed source of talent and expertise within employees who take pride in their work, their company, and their colleagues.