The Floating Christmas Tree in Geelong near Melbourne, Australia has become extremely popular with the community and this year the experience has been enhanced through the launch of personalised lighting shows.
Geelong-based Total Events began the installation at the start of November with the Christmas Tree operating from 11th November – 7th January. The lights run from 6:30pm – midnight, with six minute programmed light and audio shows from 8:30pm every fifteen minutes. The eight-week long installation is broken into three periods, with a different show running for each period. The second period also incorporated an interactive element, where the public could control the colour of different elements of the tree in between shows.
The Christmas Tree is 25m tall, 10m wide, covered in 12,000 shimmering discs, and is continually moored in Port Philip Bay. The size and scale of the project, along with the challenges of remote access, seawater, and extreme weather to account for over the two month period, meant that this was always going to be an interesting project to deliver.
Over fifty LED wash and moving head fixtures, and almost 100 LED tubes with individual pixel control light the tree, spread over twenty-four universes and all run over a custom Artnet wireless solution.
A Jands Vista 16384 channel dongle was utilized to achieve the twenty-four universes – 8500 channels.
In control was Jands Vista v2 running on a beefy PC with another running tracking backup ready to swap to, but it was never required.
The Jands Vista’s date/time events feature controlled everything including striking and dousing fixtures as well as playing back the various shows. Other Vista features key to the installation included audio playback from cues, and serial control to take commands from the interactive controller.
“Lighting designer Mark Hammer was impressed at how easy editing cues and adjusting playback timing was, as well as the simple yet powerful ‘Undo’ command,” commented Greg Edge from Total Events. “Jands also added a few features to the audio playback side of things to improve ease of editing.
The interactive element consisted of four touch pads on the nearby ‘Carousel’ building’s window which controlled the main colour of the tree, the LED tubes, the main star, and the smaller stars around the tree. The four touch pads were connected to a local controller, which sent commands to Vista over a separate custom wireless system.
“Jands Vista was up to the task, and performed flawlessly for the entire show run, firing off all 24 universes for every show as programmed,” remarked Greg. “The custom features allowed all of the elements to be incorporated into Vista without needing external software or servers. Total Events are proud both to have been involved in the project as well as with the final delivery and has increased its moving head and LED wash inventory again.”