Royal Television Society award-winning lighting director Bernie Davis was the special guest at Thames Valley’s late July event.
Davis, who has more than three decades’ experience in television lighting, discussed some of the major royal events he has covered in his talk, “Four weddings and a funeral”.
He began with the 1999 wedding of Prince Edward and Sophie Rhys-Jones at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle. The lighting director spoke about the challenges of trying to match the bright light flooding through the stain glass windows against the unforgiving light-soaking dark wood lining the aisle.
Moving forward to 2005 for the wedding of Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles at Windsor Guildhall, Davis discussed the lighting needed to balance the low canopy of Sir Christopher Wren’s open ground floor against daylight hotspots and changing colour temperatures.
Westminster Abbey was home to the 2011 wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton, where a combination of swaying flags, chandeliers and high towers conspired against him. Davis produced a series of photos demonstrating how difficult it was to install covert lamps and maintain a shadow-free aspect.
Over five centuries after his death, Richard III was finally put to rest in 2015 in a televised memorial service at Leicester Cathedral. The king’s remains had been discovered three years earlier at the site of the former Greyfriars Friary Church, Leicester. Davis provided some interesting anecdotes about dealing with health and safety officials not familiar with the might of a full television outside broadcast unit descending on a small cathedral.
He concluded his talk with the 2018 wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle at George’s Chapel. Building on almost 20 years of experience of lighting royal events, the veteran lighting director shared some valued secrets with the attentive audience. High dynamic range UHD cameras were used at the wedding, making the need to deliver precise lighting even more critical.
Following a lengthy questions and answer session with Davis, the RTS centre held its summer barbeque.