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Case study



Honours of Scotland

The Honours of Scotland exhibition at Edinburgh Castle highlights the history of the Scottish crown jewels. In conjunction with Kevin Shaw Lighting Design (KSLD), Black Light has retro-fitted this incredibly popular exhibition’s lighting and sound. The success of the project highlights our expertise at working on high-profile projects in some of the most historically important buildings in the country. 

Service Type: Installation 
Sector: Exhibition 
Completion: January 2014 
Location: Edinburgh Castle 
Client: Historic Scotland
Equipment list:
  • iDrive® Quads 
  • Custom Mike Stoane light fittings 
  • E:cue Traxon Butler XT2 
  • QSC Q-Sys Core 250i (with two touch screens) 
  • QSC ceiling mount speakers 
The project was part of an overall refurbishment of the Honours of Scotland exhibition at Edinburgh Castle (Scotland’s number one paid-for tourist attraction). It involved replacing the existing tungsten lighting system used to highlight text displays and dioramas. This old system was outmoded, failing, using too much energy and producing too much heat.
We were awarded this project through the public tender process. We were successful in this bid as the client was impressed by our experience and by the cost-effectiveness of our control solution. Indeed, our installation team completely changed the design of the system specified in the project brief to achieve a more cost-effective and technically-superior solution. 
The solution 
The lighting design specified in the original technical brief was based on an old-style 0-10V control, which would have required large cable runs. This brief also asked for a conventional modular AV control system running RS 232 commands, audio and lighting cues. This would have required multiple units to implement. 
Our solution used e:Que to control lighting via DMX and QSC’s Q-Sys to integrate control  of the entire system. We also used highly efficient LED drivers and custom-designed lighting fittings commissioned by KSLD and produced by Mike Stoane Lighting.

Key project steps  
  • Survey: Before work could start the existing displays had to be protected. To ensure this was done properly we carried out a dilapidation survey with the client to establish a base-line for the work. 
  • Preparation: Once the exhibition had closed for refurbishment, we stripped out all the existing lighting and sound fittings, made good the resulting holes in the exhibition ceiling.  As the opportunity was there, we were also able to attend to some of the dilapidation issues that our survey had highlighted. 
  • Installation: We then installed the new system, commissioned it and handed it over to the client. The installation involved a four-man team working over six weeks. In terms of the look of the lighting installation, we worked to a design provided by KSLD.
Key challenges 
The historic nature of Edinburgh Castle imposed a wide range of limitations on the installation both aesthetically and technically. For example, space to route and pull cables was severely restricted.  
The results 
In terms of appearance, the new system we installed is indistinguishable from the old. However it produces significantly less heat and uses significantly less energy. Our refurbishment work means that the exhibition now looks and operates as it was originally intended.

Client Feedback
"Throughout the project, they adhered to all of the conditions relating to the nature and complexity of the site supplying all the necessary documentation. We would happily work with the same team again."
Matt Johnson,
Interpretation Support Project Manager
Historic Scotland
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