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A.C. Special Projects shed some light on Bodmin Jail’s dark past

UK – A.C. Special Projects (AC-SP) are proud to have supplied all the show lighting, as well as the power and data infrastructure for Bodmin Jail’s new immersive visitor attraction, designed and delivered by leading visitor attraction experts Sarner International.

Built in 1779 for King George III, Bodmin Jail has played an important role in Cornwall’s history and this bold redevelopment gives visitors the chance to delve into an intriguing hidden history. A massive investment in Cornwall’s tourism and visitor economy, this was the biggest attraction opening in 2020 with its state-of-the-art technology allowing for a more immersive experience.

The new attraction has used cutting-edge technology to create a fully immersive experience, bringing back to life the chilling stories of this medieval prison’s dark past. Each part of the experience tells its own gruelling tales – visitors can walk along the jail’s original Naval Wing, delve deeper in to the people who worked and lived at the jail, spend some time reflecting at the execution pit, and more. When creating an immersive experience of this size, selecting the right technology supplier was paramount to Sarner International. Having previously worked on a number of other immersive experiences, equipment and solutions provider, AC-SP tendered and won the project with high quality yet cost-effective solutions, providing products from a number of leading brands including PROLIGHTS, CLS, Chroma-Q®, Vista by Chroma-Q®, Rosco and Artistic Licence.

The project was handled by AC-SP’s Project Manager, Chris Little, who commended “It was a pleasure working alongside exhibition designers, Sarner on the exciting Bodmin Jail project. Having formerly worked in exhibitions myself, I was excited when the Bodmin jail project came up. AC-SP have previously supplied lighting installations to other high-profile tourist attractions, such as Legoland and Madame Tussauds…I always knew we could create the solution Bodmin Jail needed.”

A number of fresnels and profiles from the PROLIGHTS ECL range have been installed as high-level lighting to provide general coverage and colour wash throughout. The ECL profiles were also fitted with gobos to provide aerial effects.

Primarily CLS Martinas, along with a few CLS Jade Colourflow, were the fixtures of choice to be integrated within the sets and used to highlight specific detail.

Chroma-Q Color Force II™ was used to enhance the dramatic sea effect cyc – providing smooth even coverage with a floor to ceiling wash.

World renowned Lighting Designer, Durham Marenghi was appointed by Sarner International to oversee the lighting design for the entire project. He commented: “It was a pleasure to work with A.C. Special Projects on my lighting design for Bodmin Jail. AC-SP were very supportive and creative throughout the install and were also very flexible to cope with the inevitable changes and additions in these types of projects.”

All lighting was programmed on a Vista by Chroma-Q MV control desk. Durham Marenghi continues: “The lighting programmer was unable to travel to the UK from Spain due to the pandemic, so in lock down I taught myself to program the PC based Vista by Chroma-Q lighting control software. Having not programmed a desk since the advent of moving lights, this achievement is testament to the ease of use of this very intuitive software.”

In addition to the fixtures, AC-SP also supplied and installed Rosco X Effects for projection and animation throughout, including fire and water effects.

Around the attraction a number of practical fittings such as pendants, bulkhead fittings and miner lamps were used, each fitted with dimmable LED Lamps. These were incorporated in to sets or used as general exhibition lighting. For this, AC-SP supplied Artistic Lighting’s Sundial Quad Dimmer – the largest install in the UK of these dimmers.

AC-SP also provided all power and data for the exhibition lighting. A 3-circuit power and data track was installed to deliver power and data to all the high level fixtures and at low level custom facility panels.  An additional 48mm black aluminium bar from which the fixtures were mounted / suspended from was also supplied, providing flexibility to move and focus the fixtures as required.