Manchester-based dbnAudile has served as event technology providers for The Warehouse Project ever since the series of popular club nights debuted in 2006. This year, seeking a new linear lighting effect that could do more while ensuring operation in wet conditions, the company turned to Elation’s versatile PROTEUS RAYZOR BLADE.
The Warehouse Project, which runs from September through New Year’s Eve, features acclaimed DJs and musicians as well as less established artists and is continually rated as one of the best dance/DJ club venues in Europe. dbnAudile handles audio, lighting, video and rigging for the project’s run, which has been held in the refurbished Mayfield Depot in Manchester since 2019.
Pete Robinson project manages the operation for dbnAudile and has served as lighting designer since The Warehouse Project’s inception. He explains that the 10,000-capacity former railway station is a significantly bigger venue than the previous location and therefore required upscaled production. “Each year we try to find an upgrade or change in design to keep the look fresh and interesting and this year we were looking for something more interesting than the LED bars we’ve been using the past few years,” he commented, acknowledging head of lighting Dale Wilson and main room desk operator Colm Whaley as important collaborators on the project. “The Rayzor Blades jumped out at us not only because they are brighter and punchier than the previous LED bars we were using, but with the strobe effect and sparkle feature we felt they were a more versatile fixture.”
Wash and effects bar with IP rating
Available with 6 or 12 independently controlled 60W LEDs, the Proteus Rayzor Blade is a linear wash and effect light that zooms to 6° for mid-air beams and out to 45° for washes. The fixture incorporates two high-intensity strobe lines and also include Elation’s proprietary SparkLED™ twinkle effect. Additionally, a 210° tilt rotation allows them to position dynamically.
Because the project runs during the damp months of autumn and winter, it was another feature of the Proteus Rayzor Blade that was key to their choice. Pete explains: “The first box we had to tick was the IP rating,” he said, explaining that the Mayfield Depot is an old railway freight storage warehouse with platforms above the ceiling that are very leaky. “At best it’s moist inside, at worst it feels like it rains in certain spots of the venue and we can’t always predict where that water will come through. It’s important for us to move to more IP-rated fixtures as they give us fewer problems through the season,” he added, noting that the leaky roof had already initiated an upgrade to IP-rated strobes, moving lights, and other equipment.
Design that stands on its own
dbnAudile’s first foray into Elation’s Proteus line, the Rayzor Blades are an important element in Pete’s 2023 lighting design. “We get lots of incoming LDs using the rig and lots of floor packages coming in,” he says, “so the design is based around it being versatile as a receiving house but it’s also a design that stands on its own and we feel this season that the Rayzors have pushed that further.” He comments that initially they expected acts to clone from the previous LED bars but that after seeing what the Rayzor Blades offered, most of the incoming LDs have enhanced their designs by using the strobe and sparkle effects to a significant extent.
Fifty-six Rayzor Blades are positioned in the room above the dancefloor with 16 additional units above the stage. LED bars have previously been positioned vertically on pillars that run down the venue either side of the stage, Pete explains, as well as horizontally above the dancefloor and stage areas. This year they’ve placed a Rayzor Blade S (half meter) on the inside top of each pillar and a Rayzor Blade L (one meter) on the outside top of each pillar. “We wanted to get more out of them by putting them at a 45-degree angle so we get coverage right down the dancefloor, and we’ve mimicked that on stage by hanging them at similar angles underneath our stage trusses.”
Because of the 45-degree angle onto the stage, the designer says that quite a few of the LDs have used them as a stage wash. “The quality of the light and the fact that they are getting the right skin tone colors out of them has been really nice. We’ve only used this type of fixture as an effect light in the past but using them as a stage wash, also for skin tones with warm white light, has worked out really well.”
Beams, strobe, sparkle
The Rayzor Blades produce striking linear moving beam effects throughout the space with its powerful strobe lines stepping up when the action calls for impactful bursts of light. It’s another attribute of the light however that Pete finds particularly distinctive. “It does beam effects very well and the same with the strobe but it is the sparkle effect (SparkLED) that I find most unique,” he said. “With everything else in the venue off and with the sparkles running across all the Rayzors, it’s a very special look and the entire space looks fantastic.”
dbnAudile’s Rayzor Blades will be adorning The Warehouse Project through the end of the year after which they will be employed on other projects. “We do a lot of festivals and I think they will feature heavily on those,” Pete concludes. “Especially now that we have something that can go on the front truss or as a footlight on front of stage, which is not something we’ve been able to do with similar fixtures.”
Photos: Connor Hill