Every year, the Winnetou Festival takes place in the south of Croatia in commemoration of Pierre Brice, the main actor of the Winnetou western movies. This year, on the anniversary of Brice’s death, German lighting company MBLightarts did a three hour multimedia show on the rock surface of Mount Tulove Grede, using 34 P-5 wash lights.
MBLightarts’ route into this project was curious one. A fan of the Winnetou Festival had spoken to the festival organisers about a vision they had to light up the rock surface. This fan was familiar with MBLightarts and presented the idea to them, after which they immediately started working on a concept including logistics, setup and lighting design. They contacted the organisers, presented their design and got the job!
The first challenge was to find appropriate lighting fixtures. To fulfil their visions, MBLightarts looked for fixtures offering outdoor stability, robustness, high output, variable beam angle as well as low weight, and narrowed it down to the P-5 wash light. Project Manager, Max Barkow said:
“After carefully scrutinizing and testing various state-of-the-art lighting products, we landed on the P-5, because it persuaded us in every discipline.”
Logistics was the next challenge for the MBLightarts team. The location could only be reached via a narrow mountain pass route where only small vehicles could transport the equipment to the basecamp. From the basecamp, a team of 12 people carried the 34 P-5 lights as well as the power engines and tonnes of wires and cables towards the rock. The team went on foot, carrying all the equipment on a 40% gradient hike path for about one kilometer. As if that wasn’t challenging enough, the team had to be careful not to stray off the path, as the area still holds mines from the Battle of Kosovo. However, with the help of maps and local rangers, the team managed to steer clear of any danger.
The entire setup was scheduled to take four days, but as the weather on day one was rainy and unsettled, the team fell behind schedule. During the night, when the team was positioning the P-5s, a final unforeseen challenge presented itself in a pack of wolves passing by.
Luckily, it all came together in time for the event. The 30,000 m2 rock surface worked as a canvas for the light show, which was accompanied by 11 familiar music tracks to which the audience was awed with colorful displays. The show was timecode-controlled from an 800-meter distance. The lighting was designed to enhance the ambience and to make the audience feel drawn to the music and the video content. Also, some special scenes were designed to highlight aspects of the Winnetou movies and the life of Pierre Brice. Barkow explained:
“For example, on the rock surface, we displayed the name given to Brice by the native American tribe, the Winnebago from Nebraska: ‘Rainbow Man’ – of course illuminated in the colors of the rainbow.”
Spectators were overwhelmed by the experience, which perfectly combined history, nature, music and technology in a fascinating and colorful light show. The Winnetou Festival organisers were also awestruck and very happy with the show.
Following the successful execution of this project, Barkow concluded:
“We were very happy to be given the opportunity to be part of a unique project like this and we will surely be looking to SGM for LED lights in the future.”
He also revealed that surprises will be in store for the visitors of the 2017 and 2018 Winnetou festivals.
Photography: Christian Holthausen