Astera AX3s in Cross Border Collaboration

An illuminated trail of 105 x Astera AX3 ‘beacons’ fitted with custom firmware from the manufacturer was set up along a 58-kilometre stretch of the Danish / German border as part of “Genforeningen 2020”, a series of events celebrating the centenary of the reunification of Southern Jutland with the kingdom of Denmark. This took place following a referendum in 1920.

The event was captured on film and camera by various drones, aircraft and ground-based photographers, videographers and members of the public along the way, whose images were hash-tagged and posted on social media raising awareness and excitement of the event.

Technical production and rental specialist All Stage ApS, based in Varde was approached by the Barbara Simonsen Theatre in Aarhus to assist in the realisation of this ambitious and fun lighting installation project. The border of beacons was designed by Line Lybek Witt from the Theatre and All Stage ApS’s Anders Kruse, and organised by Teater Seachange.

It was originally planned for 2020, but postponed due to the pandemic.

Anders Kruse was delighted to take up the challenge – the Barbara Simonsen Theatre team had found them from looking on Astera’s website – as they have a large stock of Astera products. Firstly, several tests were undertaken to established that the little AX3 LightDrops would be perfect for the job with their high brightness and wireless control!

The 105 x AX3s were placed along the route on 105 specially selected – and accessible – border stones out of the 280 that mark the boundary between Denmark and Germany.

When darkness fell on May 8th, the boundary was lit up and energized in a line of snaking lights extending from Skomagerhus in the east to the Wadden Sea in the west.

The biggest challenge was control. While the AX3s were the perfect light source, all 105 needed to switch on simultaneously at 21.30 exactly on the night … and the range of the Astera controller didn’t stretch to the full 58 kilometers length of the border!

Anders contacted Jonas Dam from Astera’s Danish distributor Light Partner who in turn contacted Simon Canins, one of Astera’s technical wizz’s and their Jesper Soerensen who also works at HQ in Munich, and together they soon came up with an ingenious fix!

With the addition of some custom firmware uploaded to each AX3, the lights all switched on at the correct time!

Anders explained that with only a couple of weeks to find a solution, the pressure was on. “Everyone was up for it, the collaboration was fantastic, and the Astera team worked super-fast on making it happen. We did an initial test and then updated all the AX3s … and it worked like clockwork on the night!

The Genforeningen 2020 event was a great success on social media and in the press, and there was even a ‘Making of’ style TV documentary produced about the idea and creation of this very special lighting installation.

In addition to all the Asteras in All Stage’s lighting department, Anders is a fan of the brand. “They are rock solid products which are reliable and versatile for a rental company working across multiple sectors,” he stated.

In addition to lighting, audio and video for events and television, All Stage ApS deals with staging, scenography, and custom integration in theatres, so there is a dynamic mix of disciplines covered.

Photo: © All Stage