The world was watching London on New Year’s Eve as the city’s biggest firework display welcomed in the New Year. Renowned lighting designer Durham Marenghi used 36 Claypaky Mythos 2 to provide energetic aerial effects, light the audience and to cut through the bright display.
The annual event is hosted by the Mayor of London on the banks of the River Thames, where the fireworks are launched from the London Eye big wheel and from barges in front of the landmark. The event is broadcast live by the BBC on TV and online.
Selected for their versatility, Marenghi made the most of the Mythos 2’s electronic zoom, which ranges from 4-50˚. He says: “Twenty fixtures were placed on the pontoon and the pyro barge below, to create moving beams to punch through the fireworks’ smoke, to reflect onto the river as well as projecting across to the north bank of the Thames to light the audience for TV.”
Watched by millions, it was critical the fixtures used would reproduce colours accurately for the cameras. The Mythos 2 features an advanced CMY colour system on three gradually fading colour wheels, 15 colour filters on three wheels, two CTO filters and one CTB filter.
“The colours and beams were carefully co-ordinated with the dynamics of the music and the fireworks,” says Marenghi.
An additional two-hour light show before the fireworks were part of the festivities. During this, Marenghi made the most of the two inbuilt gobo wheels. “We used sixteen further Mythos 2 fixtures to project gobo effects onto the Shell building [by the river] for the pre-fireworks light show. We used custom gobos for the Beatles’ ‘Love’ sequence and falling snow flakes for Auld Lang Syne,” he explains.
For 15 years, London’s New Year’s Eve firework displays have been produced by Jack Morton Worldwide under the leadership of Director of Production Jim Donald, with fireworks designed since 2010 by Darryl Fleming for Titanium. The lighting was operated by Paul Cook, working from Marenghi’s cue list on a ChamSys under the creative direction of Show Producer Cat Fortune. The Claypaky fixtures were supplied to the creative team by Bristol based Stage Electrics.