Williams F1 FW44 Launch
Virtual Event Set and Lighting
Williams Racing HQ, Oxford
Williams F1 FW44 Launch
Virtual Event Set and Lighting
In a special one-off virtual event, Williams Racing launched their all-new F1 race car, the FW44, which marks a new chapter in the brand’s Formula One heritage.
Ahead of the car’s international debut, the event was filmed at Williams’ headquarters in Oxford, where TPP created a dynamic and on-brand set, complete with creative and broadcast lighting for this momentous occasion.
The virtual event was hosted by TV and radio presenter, George Lamb, who interviewed CEO of Williams F1, Jost Capito and drivers, Nicholas Lutifi and Alex Albon.
During the event, the panel deliberated the new identity of the FW44 Williams race car, and how Formula One’s latest regulations regarding closer racing have impacted on the all-new look. The new racing machine boasts fresh aerodynamic styling, improved sustainability, and better safety features. Furthermore, the car is finished with corporate hues of British blue, and accents of red and white, ensuring the Williams brand remains wholly identifiable on the track.
As well as reviewing the new FW44, the team discussed how they are preparing for pre-season testing. You can see the full interview, complete with the set and lighting design by TPP here.
This was prestigious virtual event to mark a ground-breaking moment in British motor racing history. The overall production needed to be slick, empowering and dynamic, providing the ultimate cinematic experience.
For us, as the set and lighting designers, it was vital that the focus remained on setting the scene for the big reveal.
We had to consider:
- Building anticipation ahead of the unveiling
- Presenting the vehicle’s new identity in its best light
- Filming the panel during the interview
Here’s how we did it…
Set Design and Build
The event was held in the Williams conference centre at the company’s HQ in Oxford. As you would expect, the conference centre has a large stage and seating, which needed to be transformed into a film studio.
In readiness for the virtual launch event, we built a Blackbox studio within the venue’s main floor area. This provided a blank canvas for the lighting and the vehicle itself.
To create the Blackbox studio we installed:
- 26m (w) x 3.6m (h) of seamless set walling
- 10m x 10m x 4.5m high ground support truss, comprising six legs, including two to support the back wall feature lighting
- Black flooring with gloss finish
With the Blackbox set built, we moved on to the lighting.
Lighting Design, Kit and Installation
There were two fundamental requirements for the TW44 launch event lighting:
- Light the subjects for broadcast, ensuring the panel’s skin tones, vehicle colours and set lighting rendered accurately on camera.
- Light the set and stage using the brand colours – blue, red and white – and create a dynamic scene.
Starting with the broadcast lighting, we rigged nine ARRI SkyPanel S60-C soft lights with SnapGrids for added directional control. This is an extremely versatile soft light that is ideal for cinematic effects. It offers excellent control, with tuneable colour temperature between 2,800K and 10,000K, vivid colour and saturation. All of which, ensure that when filming a subject the colours and skin tones are accurate and refined.
Dynamic Set Lighting
Now let’s turn our attention to the dynamic lighting design. It was important that the set lighting provided just the right measure of anticipation, branding and energy without detracting from the main subject.
Upon watching the 15-minute virtual launch event, you’ll notice that the lighting helps to dramatise the reveal, drawing all focus onto the car itself.
From the beginning the overhead moving lights smoothly encircle the covered vehicle and project shapes onto the floor. This overhead effect is created using six Robe Robin MMX Spots, which features a dual-rotating graphics and a strong beam effect.
To define the beam on camera we used a DF50 Haze Machine and DMX Windy Fan to keep the mist moving, instead of building up causing a fog.
LED Battens and Tubes
At the back and either side of the set, you’ll see rows of LED battens, which gradually move up and down and are programmed to travel from side to side. These battens can also be seen under the vehicle ahead of the much-anticipated reveal changing from red to blue.
To create this effect, we used GLP Impression X4 Bar20 LEDs. These are a high performance RGBW LED batten with a motorsized tilt action that help to add dynamic effects. We used 22 of these battens on the Williams’ set, which were installed in rows of four and synchronised to smoothly transition from one light to another.
Positioned either side of the stage are 12 vertical light tubes, which bring in accents of the brand’s red hue to the set. These are Astera Hyperion Tubes.
In previous Formula One events, we’ve implemented the Astera Titan Tube, which is not dissimilar in function, as they both offer an extremely high intensity colour render and are great for filming. However, this is a new product to the Astera range, and is double the length of its Titan sibling. As a result, it stands alone at 2021mm/79.96 inches tall.
Lighting Controls and Auxiliary Kit
The lighting design for the Williams Racing set was programmed using an Avolites Tiger Touch console, supported by: 10 ArtNet DMX universes; one ProPlex IQ One ethernet; DMX Node; two 63A 3ph; three Socapex RubberBox Distros.
We use the best professionals the industry offers for broadcast and stage lighting to ensure all our productions have the desired results. A professional technical crew is essential to any production – be it virtual or live. For this event, our crew built the set days before the event, programmed the lighting, operated the lights during filming and then derigged immediately after the event.
This was an incredible virtual event and we were delighted to be able to support such a landmark moment for Williams Racing. The event went as planned and was a complete success. If you haven’t yet watched it, tune in by clicking the button below.