In our ongoing exploration of the true transformative power of light, we found lighting designer, programmer and operator George Hill.
George first stepped into the industry at the age of just 17 years old, starting out where most of us did: fixing, packing and loading lights.
His career then took him into the realm of lighting design for live events and he spent the next decade touring the world with different artists including Sub Focus, Deadmau5, Jessie J and Rita Ora.
In recent times, George has found stable ground in the designing of lighting for corporate events, private parties & fashion shows. That’s when he was introduced to Renegade, a company that has designed some of the most incredible lighting installations for the past 25 years.
In more recent times, Renegade have designed the lighting scheme for the much anticipated After Dark event at Chiswick House & Garden which is opening this Winter. The event is an enchanting festival of light and celebration of architecture: read more
Q. How do you deliver the different visions of your clients’ events?
Every project we work on has to be completely bespoke.
We may follow certain lighting tactics for similar events, for example if we’re working on a live music event we’ll use layers of beam lighting, wash lighting, profile fixtures and smoke to achieve punchy effects, then for fashion shows the aim is very much about achieving a more refined look and feel for the cameras to get the best shots. We do this by generally opening the room up with crisp white light and choosing the right colour temperature and lumen output for the event.
But in general, we take on each project as its own unique show.
Q. What has been a stand out project?
It’s hard to pick just one that stands out. We’ve done everything from lighting a 10m teddy bear in Marble Arch to designing huge fashion shows around the world and to recently working with Kasabian for their South America tour
We’ve also worked with Anya Hindmarch for the past six seasons and that’s always a fantastic show with really interesting moving set elements. Her recent ‘house party’ themed show included a full size semi-detached house in the middle of the venue, where the roof lifted off to reveal a huge mirror ball.
For me personally, working with Sub Focus was a career highlight because it was my first venture into lighting operations. I’ve been working on the campaign for the drum and base DJ for the past ten years, starting out when it was just me, him and the driver touring the country in a transit van. Now it has grown to arctic trucks, 8 crew & and a fully bespoke video show.
Q. How important is the role of lighting in the scenes you create?
It’s a much debated topic because if we talk to an artist or sound technician at a concert, they will generally tell you that the sound is the most important element. But as long as the sound is working as it should, the audience will not generally take notice. What can make a big difference is the lighting.
If the lighting is lacklustre the audience will go away with the feeling that something was missing; that there was no wow-factor to the show.
If we integrate a spectacular lighting show into the event, it takes the concert to a whole new visual level.
This concept applies across both the live and corporate industry. For any brand or product launch there is usually a good soundscape, but it is the integration of big lighting effects and dynamic scene changes that set brands apart and make big statements in a room.
Light has an emotive power and is instrumental to many events, yet it is still very much an understated element. You may not know that light has affected you, but it will almost always will.
Q. Many events incorporate immersive lighting, how would you define this concept?
Immersive lighting is an ambiguous concept. It may refer to a scene we’ve created which allows the audience to be immersed in their environment or it may be at a corporate event where we use colours and textures that reflect the brand.
But for us, the true way to define immersive is creating a scene where the lighting is affected by human interaction.
Last year, we created a show for Dom Perignon where the audience walked into a scene set up to resemble a thunder storm. Lasers were used to create the lightning and a video screen was installed above to simulate clouds.
The magnitude of the storm would change depending on the level of the participants’ body movements. Erratic body movements would intensify the storm and smaller movements would create more subtle effects.
This type of project is what I believe is the true definition of immersive.
Q. Have you seen any changes in the industry?
For the past decade we’ve seen more and more LED products enter the market with new effects and applications. They’ve become smaller, more compact and brighter.
This obviously has a knock on effect with programming as they’re more intricate, so it takes a bit longer, but that’s not a detriment because you get great effects as an end result. Then we’ve also seen the resurgence of classic tungsten fixtures, which offer a soft glow and a warmer edge.
Lasers have also come into their own recently; in the past all you had to work with was simple green lasers but now they are available in all forms giving a range of shapes and colours, we’re using them more in our shows because of this.
Q. What does the future hold for Renegade?
We want to continue growing at the same pace we’re currently at, delivering projects to a high quality level.
A few years ago we were very much based in the fashion industry, but we’re gradually seeing a shift in this sector. Designers used to rely on fashion shows to launch new lines, but today we’re seeing a move towards other promotional avenues such as celebrity endorsements and reliance on social media.
This has opened us up to working with new types of clients, such as phone companies, sportswear brands and car companies, and this has given us a natural, new direction, which will help with our long term strategy.
You can view more on the projects completed by Renegade at: www.renegadedesign.co.uk