The Heartbeat Of Melbourne, the brainchild of Resolution X’s Jamie Russell, lit up the banks of the Yarra at Birrarung Marr over the Labour Day long weekend as part of the City of Melbourne’s reimagined Moomba offerings. The brief was to create an installation that reflected Melbourne’s heart restarting after a challenging year and was designed to mirror the theme of this years Moomba festival of ‘Love Melbourne, Love Moomba’ – all on a 20-degree grassy slope on the banks of the Yarra in central Melbourne. The stunning display incorporated a 16-metre wide heart made up of LED fixtures, programmed to beat along with a custom written ‘truly Melbourne’ soundtrack and absolutely wowed the entertainment-starved Victorian public.
The rig consisted of 110 x ShowPRO LED FusionBAR Q XV which provided the outline of the heart as well as the arteries that speared through the design. These were complemented by an additional layer of ShowPRO LED PAR Quad18 and ShowPRO Neptune 400 Hybrids to extenuate the heart shape and add additional beam looks into the air, as well as gobo and movements to the exterior of the heart. Filling the heart was 120 x ShowPRO EX and HEX 36 Flood and 20 x ShowPRO FusionPAR Q XII set in a series of 30 smaller pods, providing the colour base with the eye of each pod containing a ShowPRO Collider FC LED Strobe.
“The ShowPRO range is incredibly familiar to us at Resolution X, and is the gear we turn to time and time again for high profile projects that are out for long periods of time in the weather – it was the natural fit on this occasion” comments Jamie Russell. “The Colliders really proved their versatility on this project, as we were able to do some really subtle moments with the unit throughout the show as well as the big traditional strobe moments. They became the hero of the rig and were really impressive”.
With the team at Resolution X needing to move the early concept to full delivery on site in just 8 days, they had to approach the project a little differently. “The tight timeline meant that we couldn’t tackle the project in a traditional linear fashion, and needed to effectively start physically prepping the job before the creative process had even been completed” continues Jamie. “To have 12 people from our team all pulling in the same direction simultaneously, and that quickly, meant the project was a significant success and is really a reflection of the adaptable and talented team we have right through the organization”.
Failure of the on-site control was simply not an option for the resX team and for this they looked no further than the grandMA2 for lighting with video playback via a pixel map coming from the Coolux Pandoras Box system. “We had to ensure we identified all the weaker points in the system and develop multiple active and passive backup systems to ensure the show had no downtime in playback from show control, audio, lighting or media server playback. Anything short of a landslide or major earthquake I think we had covered” says Chris Lewis – Resolution X’s Technology Manager. “In the end our primary system never missed a beat, and the show played through all of Melbourne’s weather right through the long weekend. A true testament to the fixtures and the rock solid MA platform I think”.
The installation required a custom soundtrack to accompany it, with the piece using over 200 individual heart beats to form the backbone of the track as well as multiple ‘signature’ Melbourne sounds such as cafés, trams, pedestrian crossings and even the MCG. Jamie Russell partnered with David Bartholomeusz from Alpha Audio to write the piece with the two of them completing the track within only 8 hours, conveniently between childcare drop off and pickup. “Jamie and I have worked with each other so often that it was a pretty organic process” comments David, “It’s incredibly rare to write a composition with the lighting programming idea’s already being developed in your co-writers head. It means the track goes off in a few directions that are a bit out of the ordinary, but it all clicked into place when the lighting was completed. It was a lot of fun to record!” With Alpha Audio also providing the audio system on site, David was able to make changes to the track right up to the opening performance to ensure the shows visuals matched perfectly to the audio.
The task of programming the heart was Chad Spencer of Lite Sauce Designs, a decision made easy due to Resolution X’s long working relationship with Chad. The data from the media server was merged within the grandMA, allowing Chad to have full control of the fixtures, even when some aspects of the fixture were being driven from another source. With limited time, Chad needed to program the Heart using a combination of MA3D and referencing a small portion of the Heart built in the Resolution X warehouse in Noble Park – effectively having the programming ‘show-ready’ prior to the Heart being installed at Birrarung Marr. “It’s a high profile location and the public had full access on the installation night, so it needed to be show-ready really quickly” states Jamie. “Chad’s a brilliant programmer and was able to extract the most from the fixtures, he took the broad essence of what I wanted and turned it into something really special”.
While being a hugely successful project, and a great reflection of Melbourne’s heart starting again, Resolution X see this project as quite symbolic. “The real joy here for us, is that it injected life and purpose back into our industry after 12 months of difficulty, I’d like to think that this event is a good kick start to a better 2021 for all of us, the heartbeat of not only Melbourne has been restarted, but the events and entertainment industries right across the country as well”.
Resolution X are leaders in the Australian market for outdoor entertainment solutions and bespoke concepts, and can provide full production design and management right down to all your dry hire needs for any event. To discuss this project, or your idea’s further please don’t hesitate to contact their team via www.resolutionx.com.au