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Simon Hayes and Kate Bonney of LightWorks used fibre optic components supplied and assembled by Starscape to create this stunning “Meadow of Light” at Blenheim Palace’s “Christmas at Blenheim” festival of light 2016. 

This version is nearly twice as large as a similar display which Simon created earlier in the autumn for the Enchanted Forest lighting festival at Pitlochry in Scotland, and has 6960 points of light, illuminated by 29 DMX light sources in custom enclosures. Around 26 kilometers of fibre were used.

If you click on the image above for a higher resolution version and look at the foreground, you can see that the sheathed fibres are attached to short black rods which have been inserted in the ground so as to create a floating carpet of star points. The glowing points may appear a little fuzzy – don’t put this down to camera shake. The sheathing which hides the light which would normally escape through the side of the fibre has been stripped off for the last centimetre or so on each fibre, and the fibre abraded or distressed to allow the light to escape.

Each light source illuminates 240 x 1mm optical fibres, and since these are DMX light sources there is the option of using them in a variety of ways. You can see three colours being displayed here, but it’s also possible to synchronise the units so that they’ll all show the same colour. Strobing and shimmering effects are also possible. With an appropriate DMX controller you can create and save complex programmes of colour change, dimming etc. so as to create very dynamic routines.

You can see that there are discrete patches of light, with the fibres at the bottom of the slope illuminated by light sources set to a blue colour. It would also be possible to mix the harnesses so that a specific area of the display had equal numbers of fibres from two or more light sources, making it possible to show different colours simultaneously in the same area. However, to do this you’d need to increase the average length of the fibres, adding somewhat to the cost – for a given area of display.

Both photos are courtesy of the Marketing Department at Blenheim Palace.