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Protec Provides HQ Creative with the Biggest Show yet for NAS Sports Tournament Opening Ceremony
UAE – The main multi-purpose indoor arena at the Nad Al Sheba Sports Complex was the venue once again for the Opening Ceremony of the annual NAS Sports Tournament. Held under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Sports Council, it was opened by H.H. Sheikh Ahmed bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, president of the UAE Olympic Committee.
For the fourth year running, it was Protec that supplied the lights, audio and AV equipment to create a vibrant and energetic setting for the ceremony that featured a variety of acrobatic performers on hover boards, playing Futsal and with a Tesla inspired show from The Lords of Lightning. Project manager, Simon Travis was faced with some tricky challenges. “We know this venue pretty well which is always beneficial when designing a rig for this type of event. The roof clearance was our first issue. We can only get 14m of height in here and that can create difficulties for floor projection and motion tracking which was a major part of the show. The nature of the performances from both the Lords of Lightning and the sports performers also meant we needed to maximise the height of the rig as much as possible. The lack of space meant that conventional followspots were not really an option so we used Clay Paky Mythos fixtures instead and they worked excellently. The combination of a sprung floor and height restriction also means that we had to think careful about isolating cameras and projection from ambient movement.
“The show was rigged with 73 hanging points (the maximum allowed) and we used over 350 metres of trussing so the overall weight had to be closely monitored. The lighting was all Clay Paky: Mythos, K20 and K10 B-Eyes, Sharpys and Super Sharpys plus a few VL3000s. Apart from their speed, brightness and great effect features, the Clay Paky fixtures are all low in weight which really helped with the gross loading of the rig.”
A major ingredient of the show was the use of BlackTrax motion tracking. HoD at Protec Lighting and BlackTrax engineer, Aaron Russ explains the details: “There were 16 performers that we needed to track with motion video and lighting. The performers had video content projected around them and the first eight performers were tracked with video and Clay Paky Mythos fixtures using UV filters to work on their ‘glow in the dark’. They needed to ‘pop out’ but we didn’t want to flood the room with UV too much so we used UV filters and the Mythos to track them – like a moving followspot. We used the Mythos as followspots for the hoverboard performers as well.
“Nine Blacktrax cameras were used to start off with and we used one beacon pack stitched into the performers’ costumes with two infra-red cameras for each,” continues Russ, “so one beacon with two stringers per performer was stitched into their costumes; the basketball players had it on their shoulders and the performers on the hover boards on the front and back. Those beacons allowed for lighting and video to track them. During rehearsals we were able to adjust or add the beacon markers on the performers to ensure they could be tracked whatever sort of acrobatics or body angles were presented to the cameras. We also used a beacon for the little robot presenter so BlackTrax could track the robot and keep all the cueing in time.”
Russ was acutely aware that the combination of moving sets and trusses alongside tracking cameras and projection is not a good mix and the crew went to great lengths to isolate the two by planning cable runs and truss layout very carefully. He used his experience of the room and previous shows to populate the lighting rig. “I knew it had to be a high impact show and in your face, lots of texture and brightness as well as having some old school theatre. Lots of different elements using different angles and heights – backlight, sidelight, floor light – making the room look bigger and filled up the space for the cameras for every angle so there was always depth to the stage no matter what angle they were at. We chose the fixtures based on what was required on previous ceremonies and knowing what the client was looking for, above and beyond what was on the original brief.
“The Mythos are super fast and perfect for the BlackTrax,” continues Russ, “whereas the VL3000 may be slower but work in a more theatrical way and work better for the more corporate, static part of the show. Loading some of them with custom gobos helps give the event a uniquely branded feel and look. The Clay Paky B-Eyes enabled us to create a futuristic look for the other part of the performance; the multiple patterns and effects offered in the K-10 and K-20 are perfect for that.”
Planning for the de-rig began before a single point was rigged as Travis concludes: “We knew the venue was needed for games as soon as this was over so we built in infrastructure to allow for speedy load-out. The kubuki system that we used for the drapes meant everything could be dropped into hampers immediately; everything on the floor was set on a rolling riser so it was simply a disconnect and go. Despite the issues with the roof height we were able to get enough clearance to lift the flown rig out of the way of the next event; we were out in less than 20 minutes!”
5th August 2016
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