Close to 200,000 flags on the National Mall in Washington D.C. were lit by lighting designer Chris Lisle during the recent Presidential Inauguration, many using LED luminaires from Elation Professional. Field of Flags, an art display representing the people who were unable to attend the event due to the coronavirus pandemic, made for a spectacular sight and powerful message of unity.
"It was an honor to be able to kick off this new administration by working on such a notable event," stated Lisle, who was contacted by Austin-based production company C3 Presents in early December about lighting the project. With Christmas on the doorstep though, he didn't have a lot of time to work with. "Sitting outside for 7-8 days, we needed something rain and snow friendly," he said, referring to fixture choice. "I knew I wanted to use the Elation Paladin™ and SixPar 100 IP™ as they're both weather-rated LED fixtures that I've used in the past. I've worked with Bandit Lites quite a bit over the years and knew they had them in inventory and fortunately in enough quantities to accomplish the project."
Lisle was responsible for lighting Field of Flags, as well as Pillars of Light, a column of 56 beams that shone up into the sky. The portion of the National Mall he was working with was quite large, about one mile long by 250 feet wide. Broken up into what the designer calls eight 'panels' of grass lined with parallel walkways, each panel was fitted with a different variation of flag - mostly US or state flags - a different theme for each panel.
For the main panels, Lisle used conventional PAR cans and 8-lites but for the walkways turned to ground-based Elation fixtures to uplight a series of US and state flags flown from 28-ft poles. SixPar 100 IP PAR fixtures lighted some 224 3' x 5' United States flags, 2 fixtures per flag, while some 112 Paladin hybrid LED fixtures lit 8' x 12' state flags that lined the pathways. Wanting to match the fixtures' color temperature as much as possible in order to keep the look uniform across the panels, Lisle left the PAR cans and 8-lites in their open 3600K color temperature and dialed up a color temperature on the Paladins and SixPars to match. In total, there were almost 1,500 lighting fixtures used on the National Mall between the Washington Monument and the US Capitol.
"I'm very thankful that Elation makes a high quality product that is not only weather resistant but super functional for this type of job. I was very happy with the output and durability of the fixtures and had very few problems. The Presidential Inauguration Committee had representatives working with us onsite and they were absolutely thrilled with the project overall," Lisle said.
The designer expresses his gratitude to all involved in helping make the project a huge success. "Thank you to the project managers and on-site crews from both lighting vendors, who knocked it out of the park. A huge thanks to Jonathan B. Houle for being my right hand man on this one and to local IATSE Local 22 for their hard work. I also want to send a huge thanks to the Texas Army National Guard Recruiting for keeping us safe during the event!"
Photos 1 + 2: Charles Reagan Photo 3: Chris Lisle