TPiMEA #043 - Aug/Sep 2023

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Kuwait
10 years of Ginger Owl Productions The UK-based events company making waves in the Middle East Identity Middle East General Manager Ryan Perkins discusses the company’s ambitious regional growth plans President’s Cup Final Cutting-edge tech and creative production for the biggest match on the UAE’s football calendar Champions League Kick-Off Show An epic event at Istanbul’s Atatürk Olympic Stadium
National Day
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Welcome to TPiMEA

Indian summer

There’s long been a debate in our office about which magazine should cover India. While some would argue that it’s not strictly the Middle East, my view is that the country is very much a part of the region’s live events landscape, with tours increasingly passing through India en route to the likes of the UAE and Saudi Arabia – not to mention the fact that many of the Middle East’s top rental houses and agencies are owned and operated by Indians. Suffice to say, this argument proved compelling enough to convince the rest of the team, and from now on you’re going to see more India-related content within the pages of TPiMEA.

We’ve already started along that path, with Justin and Fran paying a visit to PALM Expo in Mumbai a few months ago and our last issue covering Lollapalooza India, and this issue continues in the same vein, featuring an interview with the Events Equipment Services Association’s Felix Remedios, who talks about India’s first ever internationally certified rigging course (page 62), as well as coverage of the annual Indore Gaurav Diwas celebrations from Madhya Pradesh (page 17), and the International Indian Film Awards (page 22) – admittedly the awards took place in Abu Dhabi, but surely that adds credence to my argument of why India is indeed intertwined with the Middle East.

We’ve cast our net far and wide in pursuit of the content for this issue, which features stories from the likes of Kuwait, Turkey, Egypt, and South Africa, as well as the UAE and Saudi Arabia. Our cover story comes from Kuwait, as we profile the catalogue of impressive shows that took place in celebration of the country’s National Day. With two separate profiles focusing first on LSE’s visual spectacular (page 36) before turning our attention to AO Multimedia and Drones’ inventive Green Island drone show (page 42), I’d like to think we’ve got Kuwait National Day well and truly covered.

Elsewhere in the issue, we delve into the tricky world of pre-match entertainment, bringing you in-depth profiles of two different examples – the UEFA Champions League Final in Turkey (page 26) and the UAEFA President’s Cup Final in the UAE (page 46). With strict stadium protocols to overcome, both productions show what can be achieved with hard work, innovation, and a little ingenuity.

We also have an in-depth interview with Identity Middle East’s Ryan Perkins (page 8), who shares the company’s ambitious plans for the region, we catch up with the founders of Ginger Owl Productions after 10 years in business (page 56), and lots more.

Enjoy the issue.

INTRODUCTION
Middle East 05
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First Look

08 Ryan Perkins

Identity Middle East’s General Manager discusses the company’s recent expansion into the region.

Event Focus

14 Black Coffee

High Scream provides striking visuals for the South African DJ’s New Cairo City debut.

16 Ramadan in Dubai Reflection

Dubai’s Khawaneej Mosque gets a projection mapping makeover for the Holy Month.

17 Indore Gaurav Diwas

A night of culture in Madhya Pradesh.

18 AFC Asian Cup Final Draw

Doha prepares for more international football tournament hosting duties

21 Mohamed El-Mougy tribute

A tribute to the Godfather of Modern Arab Music.

22 IIFA 2023

The 23rd International Indian Film Academy Awards heads to Abu Dhabi.

Production Profile

26 UE FA Champions League Final Kick-Off Show

An electric opening show at Istanbul’s Atatürk Olympic Stadium.

36 Kuwait National Day

Kuwait celebrates its national pride in style.

46 President’s Cup Final

A grand show for the UAE’s biggest football match. In Profile

56 Ginger Owl Productions

The UK-based production company making a major splash in the Middle East.

60 Emmitiv

Sensory design specialists aiming to enhance the built environment. Feedback

61 A load off your mind

iRIG and Eilon Engineering discuss the benefits of load cell distribution.

62 Redefining rigging

India’s first internationally certified rigging course.

64 Shaping our future

Gear Heads

66 HOF MLT THREE

The company’s latest pre rig trussing solution.

68 Sennheiser EW-DX

Editorial Director

Peter Iantorno

Tel: +44 (0)161 476 8360

Mobile: +44 (0)7763 233637

e-mail: p.iantorno@mondiale.co.uk

Contributing Editor

Stew Hume

Mobile: +44 (0)7702 054344

e-mail: s.hume@mondiale.co.uk

Contributing Assistant Editor

Jacob Waite

Mobile: +44 (0)7592 679612

e-mail: j.waite@mondiale.co.uk

Commercial Director

Fran Begaj Mobile: +44 (0)7852 336728

e-mail: f.begaj@mondiale.co.uk

Account Manager

Matilda Matthews

Mobile: +44 (0)7413 555978

e-mail: m.matthews@mondiale.co.uk

Account Manager

Philip Tucker

Mobile: +44 (0)7522 130473

e-mail: p.tucker@mondiale.co.uk

Digital Content Manager

James Robertson Mobile: +44 (0)7725 475819

e-mail: j.robertson@mondiale.co.uk

Marketing And Event Manager

Alice Clarke Mobile: +44 (0)7752 392465

e-mail: a.clarke@mondiale.co.uk

Chief Executive

Justin Gawne Mobile: +44 (0)7768 850767

e-mail: j.gawne@mondiale.co.uk

Mondiale Group Chairman

Damian Walsh

Graphic Design & Production

Dan Seaton: d.seaton@mondiale.co.uk

Mel Capper: m.capper@mondiale.co.uk

Accounts

Lynette Levi / Sarah Miller: ar@mondiale.co.uk Cover

GES on the importance of sustainability in events.
An overview of the Evolution Wireless Digital family. 69 Regional Round-up The latest news from the Middle East and Africa.
Photography
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Ryan Perkins, General Manager, Identity Middle East

With a string of high-profile projects in the pipeline that are sure to make a major splash in the region’s live events industry, the new Middle East operation of full-service live events agency Identity is set to become a major player in the UAE and beyond.

A full-service live events agency with over 20 years of experience in delivering high-end events around the world, from COP26 to the G7 and NATO Summits, Identity is a bona fide big player on the global live events market. With the UK-headquartered firm widely regarded as a market leader, when the company announced its muchanticipated formal expansion into the Middle East with the opening of offices in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, it was no surprise to see the wave of optimism that spread throughout the UAE.

Heading up the Middle East operation is General Manager Ryan Perkins, who brings more than 20 years of experience – including 16 based in the Middle East – utilising his extensive operational and commercial expertise in both corporate and government sectors on iconic major international events all over the world.

Sp eaking to TPiMEA during a quick trip to the UK, Perkins discussed the reasons for the company’s decision to invest in the Middle East, shared his take on the competitive landscape in the region, and detailed the company’s aims for the future.

Why did Identity decide to open in the Middle East?

Identity has expanded from humble beginnings and has had tremendous growth over the past five or six years. We’re uniquely placed in that we had massive growth even during the COVID-19 period, due to the way that the business was able to strategically adapt, becoming a leading agency in the government sector and strengthening our hybrid and digital offerings ahead of the curve.

We had already delivered services and had clients in the Middle East, but we had never invested to formally set-up in the region. That changed around 12 months ago because

of large contract opportunities in the UAE in 2023, that we were uniquely placed to secure. Beyond this year, there is a significant growth projection in the region over the next five to 10 years, so it was a natural expansion for Identity. The region is a long-term, sustainable business model for us.

What kind of events will Identity Middle East be producing?

Identity has traditionally been very strong in the government sector, and we are seeing that transition into the Middle East business. We’ve already had success in the UAE this year in working with government and semi-government organisations to create brand-new event concepts for them.

We a re already working on some incredible projects where we’re shaping and creating the events from the ground up. That’s exciting because it enables us to position ourselves as a unique full-service operator. This means we lead the branding, conceptualisation, creative development, marketing, digital, sponsorship and partnership elements, and of course the full-service production.

We’re also very focused on the corporate sector in the Middle East and working with quality brands to create human experience-led events. Our corporate clients will be a natural expansion for us in the region.

Can you tell us about your offices in the UAE?

We opened our head office in Abu Dhabi last year and that is the main entity of the Middle East business. We opened our Dubai office in January this year, and that has grown quickly; so quickly in fact that we decided to open two more production offices in Dubai – including one inside Expo City specifically to work with a key client on a mega event happening later this year. So, we have four UAE offices in all, which is a direct result of the massive growth we’ve had in

FIRST LOOK
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Middle East 09

such a short space of time. We’ve experienced an incredibly fast-paced start to operations in the region.

What kind of team are you building in the region?

It’s a real mix. Our philosophy is to hire locally. That said, we’re lucky to have an extremely successful operation in the UK with a lot of expertise and experience, which we’d be foolish not to leverage and draw upon for the Middle East. It’s very much a two-way street, with efficiencies taken from both business units.

Du ring the COVID-19 pandemic, a lot of the talent either left the Middle East or became freelancers in the region. One thing we’ve found this year is that a lot of this talent is now interested in returning to full-time agency work, and we’ve seen an extraordinary demand among some of the industry’s best people to come and join us.

Se curing the best people is the most important factor in getting the business right, and we’ve had great success in that area. Our recruitment has been non-stop for the past six months and we’ve still got a lot more to do this year.

Diversity, equality, and inclusion is incredibly important to us, and I’m happy to say that we’ve got a very high level of diversity in the team, and we are building a culture that makes us a very attractive employer.

We a re now the fastest growing event agency in the Middle East, and while we’re proud of the incredible international experience within the team, the importance

of hiring local experience cannot be overstated. It is undesirable for clients to see people flying in and out of a country to deliver services. In addition, a lot of our work in the UAE is on annual recurring events, so it’s very important to build a team that provides continuity and a focus on longterm relationships with clients. That becomes even more pertinent when you’re working with government agencies, who share our vision to see continual improvement, and the fostering of opportunities in our local industry.

How do you view the competitive landscape within the Middle East?

Without question, we’re in a saturated market where competition is fierce. However, one of the points of difference about Identity is that we don’t take the attitude to see competition as a threat. One of our strongest traits as a company is our amiable nature – we’re a friendly company to do business with, whether it’s colleagues, clients, suppliers or competitors.

We all believe strongly in the opportunities that the region presents, and we believe that there’s always space for good companies that offer quality services to be successful. We also believe and belong in that sense of community. This is a wonderful industry to be associated with, full of passionate, creative, inspirational people. It’s an industry where we try to work in harmony with everybody. I am often catching up and having lunch or coffee with

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VISUAL SPECTACLES AND THE SMART TECH BEHIND
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industry professionals who are often competitors, and there’s a genuine knowledge sharing that takes place. The more we can help each other, the more the industry grows and the better it is for everyone.

What do you consider when selecting suppliers?

We’ve got an established and credible supply chain that has existed in the business for many years and is global. Locally, there’s a lot of work happening now and there’s been a significant procurement push in developing a local supply chain and delivery framework to facilitate that work.

Th ere are long-term relationships with key suppliers, but we are very much open in the market to talking to anybody who can improve our offering. Our door is always open, and we certainly don’t wed ourselves with any exclusive relationships. We like to be loyal, but we’re always open to discussions and development. What’s more, we’re growing at such a rate that our supply chain needs to grow with us.

What is Identity Middle East’s sustainability policy?

At Identity, we are committed to inspiring positive change and reducing our impact on the environment. As a global full-service live events agency, we are driven to create

memorable and sustainability-conscious experiences for our clients.

In light of the recent Earth Day, we were proud to partner with Emirates Environmental Group (EEG), which shares our commitment to driving environmental protection and sustainability. We were honoured to participate in a special edition of the Clean UAE Campaign, which saw the participation of over 6,000 volunteers, and covered 25 sq km across the UAE. Our contribution reinforced the significance of the Year of Sustainability in the UAE – especially as the nation prepares to host the highly anticipated COP28 UAE.

We are also extremely passionate about social value initiatives, and how we as a team can sacrifice some of our time to better serve the community and help those who are less fortunate than us. But talk is cheap, and we must walk the walk.

Are you going to be active in Saudi Arabia, and would you consider opening a branch there in the future?

Of course. We all know the opportunity in Saudi Arabia and the significant growth that is taking place in the country. We have an exciting but demanding year in the UAE coming up,

FIRST LOOK
Middle East 12

and our short-term focus is very much on delivering that to the high standard that we are known for worldwide.

However, we have already initiated our incorporation into Saudi Arabia and we will deliver some work in KSA over the next 12 months with a view to expanding our operational footprint by the end of 2024.

Th e demand for quality agencies far exceeds the supply on the market, so we believe that with the right strategic approach, our service offering will thrive in KSA over the next decade and beyond.

What are the biggest challenges you anticipate you’ll face as a company?

I think about this a lot – every day in fact! Our biggest challenge is about growing too quickly, which presents several risks. There’s the obvious commercial risk and the governance that needs to be put into place to manage expansion, but just as pressing is the risk of our quality being compromised. Identity is famous for its relentless pursuit of quality, so we must be very careful to manage our growth and ensure that our service offering is not affected at all. That means sometimes we might have to say no to clients we really want to service.

We’re lucky in that we have great mentorship from our UK office, which went through a similar period of exponential growth from 2019 to 2022. As a relatively new

incorporated company in the Middle East, we’re growing rapidly, and while that is amazing and a great problem to have, our focus must remain on ensuring that the quality of our service is maintained.

Another challenge everyone should consider is the global economic outlook. We’re extremely bullish about the outlook for the event industry in the GCC, but there’s a potential global recession that could come imminently, and we must be aware of how that could affect the region. We all witnessed the effects of the 2008 financial crisis, and while being bullish is the right attitude to take, preparing for the worst, having contingencies in place, and having the ability to adapt the business if needed is also very important.

Does that mean your plans for the region are flexible? We’re flexible to an extent, but we’re fully committed to the Middle East. In the short term, we’re focusing on maintaining the quality of our delivery while the company grows in the UAE. In the medium term, we’ll look to expand into Saudi Arabia and other markets. And in the long term, we aim to solidify our position as the leading event agency in the Middle East. We don’t profess to be in that position today, but we believe that is where we’re headed, and we don’t shy away from that.

Photos: Identity Middle East www.ae.identityglobal.com

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Black Coffee: New Cairo City

The South African DJ, producer and songwriter makes his New Cairo City debut, playing to a capacity crowd at the New Administrative Capital.

Electronic music brand Venture Lifestyle recently collaborated with the Administrative Capital For Urban Development (ACUD) to bring Grammy Award-winning DJ Black Coffee to New Cairo City for the very first time. Playing to the scenic backdrop of the New Administrative Capital’s Green River and supported by Lebanese star Solarquest as well as local favourites Adham Dou and Abou Samra, the South African treated his Egyptian fans to a set packed with his inimitable blend of Afro rhythms, techno, and deep house.

Th e show was produced by London-based creative design studio and long-time Black

Coffee collaborators, High Scream. Catching up with TPiMEA while in the midst of a busy season in Ibiza, High Scream’s Romain Pissenem cast his mind back to talk about the artistic intent behind the production.

“B lack Coffee’s shows are getting bigger and bigger, but we want to keep a cool, intimate vibe,” he explained. “These two factors are at odds with each other because large open venues with thousands of people don’t lend themselves to having a cool underground party vibe. So, finding the right balance is always a challenge.”

High Scream met the challenge by using an in-the-round design featuring a 40m by 8m

wraparound LED screen to “create an immersive effect that would envelope the crowd”, as well as 16 1m by 6m back wall screens and eight towers, each accommodating three 2m by 3m screens.

As well as helping to create the desired intimate atmosphere, the massive main screen was also the perfect vehicle for Video Operator Gabriel Serrano Borao to display Black Coffee’s latest visual content – which was also produced by High Scream.

“I really love the new content,” Pissenem reflected, recounting the tale of how the content came to be. “Around a year ago, I saw a very beautiful photo of Black Coffee taken

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FOCUS
EVENT

by a very talented South African artist called Trevor Stuurman. We asked if he would like to collaborate and organised a shoot with him as Art Director to see how we could translate his style of photography into Black Coffee’s video content. It’s not an easy thing to do, but in this case it worked beautifully.”

Lighting Operator Cruz Valero Moreno used an MA Lighting grandMA2 to control a rig including 64 Light Sky F450IIs, 57 Vello Light BSW-400s, as well as a variety of strobes, blinders, and LED battens.

John Castrillon was Technical Consultant for the production. Also playing an important role was Alex Douglas, who was brought onboard by Lighting Designer Julien Yammine to ensure the technical production was ready for the incoming High Scream team to program.

“My role involved ensuring that spacing between lighting fixtures were equal and that all the lighting and video was in good working order,” he told TPiMEA. “I was also there to program and operate the lighting on the grandMA2 and the video on Resolume for the three supporting DJs. The opportunity to be a part of this extraordinary experience was genuinely inspiring.”

Photos: High Scream www.high-scream.com

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Ramadan in Dubai Reflection: Khawaneej Mosque

Artabesk deploys Digital Projection laser projectors to transform Dubai’s Khawaneej Mosque after nightfall.

While live music takes a backseat during Ramadan, every evening after sunset throughout the Holy Month, Ramadan in Dubai Reflection saw the emirate’s landmarks transformed with projection mapping shows and its streets lit with thousands of lanterns.

Organised by Dubai Tourism, the programme included a majestic video mapping projection loop on the Khawaneej Mosque every night from 8pm to 2am from 27 March to 10 April.

The immersive experience was produced by Artabesk, which brought Khawaneej Mosque to life using Digital Projection’s TITAN and M-Vision laser projectors. Overcoming the challenges posed by Dubai’s light pollution, the installation required high brightness levels alongside highresolution capabilities without compromising colour accuracy.

Ar tabesk used three TITAN Laser 37000 WU projectors with an output of up to 31,000 lumens each, alongside seven M-Vision 23000 WU laser projectors, which boast a 23,000-lumen output.

“One of the most crucial parts for us was to ensure the mapping was perfectly aligned, and the brightness was high enough,” stated Mounir Harbaoui, architectural projection designer and founder of Artabesk. “In order to create a stunning visual experience for the audience, the projectors needed to boast impressive brightness levels. This is the reason we chose these specific models from Digital Projection.”

Th e Khawaneej Mosque mapping installation featured a strategic placement of seven projectors positioned all around the building. Artabesk placed two projectors in a portrait position to project to the minaret, with the remaining projectors set in landscape mode.

To deliver content for images under 20m wide, the M Vision 23000 WU projectors, boasting a 10,000:1 contrast ratio, were deployed. The TITAN Laser 37000 WU projectors were used for larger images over 20m wide.

Th e projected content, which was created by Artabesk, was a blend of vibrant colours,

geometric patterns and outlines of architectural details, all carefully choreographed with precision. “The key was in the intricate elements, which is why we needed to have high-resolution visuals,” Harbaoui emphasised.

Ar tabesk mapped the Khawaneej Mosque using very small layers of images, resulting in intricate and captivating animations of various colours and patterns. A Dataton WATCHOUT media server, capable of handling high-resolution media files, enabled each projected image to cover an area of approximately 20m by 13m. Given the sanctity of Ramadan and the mosque, Artabesk decided against accompanying music, focusing only on the imagery.

“We are really proud of the result and the positive feedback we got from the spectators,” concluded Harbaoui. “The stunning projection and colourful, animated patterns truly brought the Khawaneej Mosque to life.”

Photos: Artabesk

www.digitalprojection.com/emea

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Indore Gaurav Diwas

Phoenix Networks provides sound, lighting, trussing and SFX reinforcement for a culture-filled evening at Indore’s Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.

The second edition of the Indore Gaurav Diwas saw the central Indian State’s iconic Jawaharlal Nehru stadium host a spectacular evening featuring cultural displays, addresses from respected local leaders, and a live performance by Sunidhi Chauhan. Held on 31 May in recognition of the birthday of former Queen of the Malwa Kingdom Devi Ahilya Bai Holkar, the show also aimed to highlight Madhya Pradesh’s rich cultural heritage.

Having been entrusted with the first edition of the event in 2022, Phoenix Networks reprised its role for this year’s show. “We at Phoenix Networks have been fortunate to share a long-term working relationship with the state government of Madhya Pradesh,” said Animesh Mishra, Director of Phoenix Networks. “We are extremely grateful for the honour and opportunity of being part of this awe-inspiring event experience.”

The mammoth performance stage measured 100ft by 80ft, with an overhead trussing structure made up of six pillars to

complement the expansive stage. The lighting deployment featured fixtures from an assortment of manufacturers, including 16 Molefay blinders, 60 sharpys, 48 LED moving head washes, 80 RGB LED Pars, 24 warm white LED Pars, 10 profile spots, six high-performance laser lights, and two units of follow spots.

Phoenix Networks also provided an elaborate SFX solution including multiple fog machines and CO2 jets, in addition to 40 different fire effect systems, over 2,000 units of single-use cold pyro systems, and 10,000 units of aerial firework shots that were perfectly synchronised to the music.

Au dio duties were fulfilled by an Adamson Systems PA comprising a stereo hang of nine E15s and three E12s on each side, aligned with 10 S10 line array modules that acted as centre fills and six E12 line array modules on either side of the stage that served as outfills. A total of 40 E119 subwoofers provided low-end, while 16 S10s were split between two delay towers.

Di GiCo SD10 consoles with Optocore interface handled FOH and monitoring duties,

while performers benefitted from Sennheiser IEMs and Shure Axient Digital wireless microphone systems.

“We only had two days to plan, design and execute this event in a seamless manner; and every aspect of the planning and designing process had to account for the huge expanse of the stadium, and of course, the dearth of the time,” Mishra commented, recalling the main challenges of the project.

“It was imperative that we approached each aspect of the technical requirement with the utmost level of precision, while ensuring that we maintained the highest level of safety and quality every step of the way.”

He c oncluded: “I must commend our team of highly skilled and experienced professionals who worked tirelessly as a cohesive unit in tackling the mountain of challenges with sheer grit and determination. This has been a wonderful experience for our entire team.”

Photos: Phoenix Networks www.phoenixnetworks.in

EVENT FOCUS
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AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023 Final Draw

Qatar prepares to host another high-profile football tournament, welcoming teams, officials, and fans to Doha’s Katara Opera House ahead of the AFC Asian Cup 2023.

Hot on the heels of successfully hosting the FIFA World Cup, Qatar is already warming up for its next hosting duties as the country is set to host the AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023. Ahead of the tournament, all eyes were on Doha’s Katara Opera House as the draw to determine the group stage fixtures for the competition took place.

QV ision Productions played a key role in the event, conceptualising, designing, and executing a production that lived up to the high standards set by the Asian Football Federation.

“The event showcased men’s football at its highest level, highlighting the stunning stadiums and promoting Qatar as the host country with its values,” stated QVision’s Sharif Hashisho, who was the Creative Concept Designer and Executive Producer on the project.

With the event witnessed by a diverse range of high-profile VIP guests as well as a large broadcast audience, an impressive design was required to make the stage stand out. “The stage

design drew inspiration from the wings of a falcon – a symbol of Qatar – featuring sweeping formations, organic lines, and a contemporary look,” Hashisho recalled. “The design was enhanced by 3D projection mapping and laser animations, adding to the overall visual impact of the event.” The event also saw the reveal of the official AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023 logo, which also drew inspiration from the wings of a falcon, this time resting on an Asian lotus flower petal.

“O ur team developed an innovative and creative design for the venue, tailored specifically to the dimensions and available space of the Katara Opera House,” Hashisho revealed, sharing more details of the delivery. “The scope of our services encompassed a comprehensive range of tasks, from 3D design simulation to the production and installation of various elements. This included the layout of the draw hall, stage construction, provision of technical equipment, broadcast studios, media and press areas, VIP lounges, temporary infrastructure, hospitality

services, and decorative elements such as furniture, carpets, and flowers.”

Creating a design that “reflected and celebrated the rich Qatari culture, traditions, and history, while also maintaining international appeal” was a priority for the QVision team. “Attention to detail and the use of high-quality materials and decorations were paramount,” Hashisho explained. “We also developed a comprehensive branding and signage concept, covering both indoor and outdoor areas, and customised welcome desks at airports and hotels as part of our services.”

Th e proscenium stage featured a large, highresolution LED video wall spanning 300 sq m, displaying animated graphics and broadcasting the live feed.

Lighting Designer Syam Gopinath illuminated the set with an array of 284 moving and static light fixtures, including Claypaky K-EYE K20 HCRs, K-EYE K10 HCRs, Sharpy Plus Aquas, and Scenius Unicos, as well as ADB LEXPERT Profiles

Middle East 18 EVENT
FOCUS

and TAMBORA Battens. Robert Juliat Cyrano 2500s were used for follow spots, with MA Lighting grandMA3 was the control solution.

“An additional 100 static lights were placed strategically in other halls and washed the internal reception area, while a meticulously designed welcome reception area provided guests with a grand and immersive experience, reflecting the prestige of attending an event hosted by the country’s president,” Hashisho described.

Four Christie Digital 40,000-lumen digital projectors and 10 RGB 10W lasers added to the visual spectacular. The audio deployment meanwhile featured a Meyer Sound PA with a DiGiCo Quantum 338 console used for control.

A de dicated Mixed Media Zone was also established, serving as an accredited space for broadcasters and press to conduct interviews with athletes and delegates.

QV ision managed the Mixed Zone, ensuring equal access for broadcasters and press while prioritising the host broadcasters. The event

involved a team of 350 dedicated personnel, including production, operation, technical staff, and crew members.

“Their collective efforts and coordination ensured the smooth running of the event and the satisfaction of all stakeholders involved,” Hashisho commented, praising his team.

“The event was executed seamlessly, with meticulous planning and attention to detail. The provision of technical equipment, including audio, lighting, rigging, staging, and communication systems, ensured smooth operations and flawless production quality.”

He c oncluded: “Overall, the AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023 Final Draw demonstrated its effectiveness through its engaging experience, smooth execution, strong branding, media facilities, positive international perception, and effective teamwork, setting the stage for a successful and highly anticipated tournament.”

Photos: QVision Productions www.qatarvision.com

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Mohamed El-Mougy tribute

Resources Stage Technologies selects Claypaky fixtures for a moving tribute to the Godfather of Modern Arab Music in Riyadh.

Known as the Godfather of Modern Arab Music, Egyptian composer Mohamed El-Mougy, who died in 1995, would have been 100 years old this year. In celebration of the legendary composer’s centenary, a catalogue of popular singers from across the Arab world performed at a star-studded special event held at Riyadh’s Abu Bakr Salem Stage.

Dubai-based events solutions company Resources Stage Technologies (RST) was called upon to supply an extensive lighting rig, which featured an array of Claypaky fixtures including HY B-EYE K25 washes, Mini-B LED moving lights, Xtylos Aqua, Sharpy X Frame hybrid fixtures and Sharpy Plus Aqua moving heads.

RST’s Robin Thomas reflected on the challenges of illuminating such a large stage.

“It was a classical, traditional setting, but with a 20m-high stage that spanned 40m, with more than 100 musicians. It takes something special to colour that setup,” he commented.

Thomas selected 40 HY B-EYE K25s as “the strongest wash lights available” for the task. He deployed 60 Xtylos Aqua for their laser sources’ ability “to maintain colour intensity, which comes in very handy in outdoor installations of that size,” he noted.

A total of 60 Sharpy X Frames were used to target the band on stage. “This is by far the best fixture I have ever worked with, considering its size and price,” Thomas stated.

A fu rther 60 Sharpy Plus Aquas were picked for their zoom capabilities, widening the spot to match the event’s classical theme, while 40

compact Mini-Bs focused on the chandeliers on stage for light-on-light effects.

“Claypaky fixtures never disappoint and never fail to impress,” Thomas praised. “They are adaptable and can be used for any kind of event. Currently, they make up the biggest part of our lighting inventory.”

Thomas also gave kudos to the Claypaky team. “They have always been supportive, and we greatly appreciate our professional and personal relationship,” he commented, extending his thanks to everyone else involved in the event.

“It takes a whole team to create something so beautiful,” he concluded.

Photos: Resources Stage Technologies

www.claypaky.com

www.rstfzllc.com

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International Indian Film Academy Awards 2023

Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Arena hosts a star-studded Indian film extravaganza as the 23rd edition of IIFA comes to town.

alongside Anuj Naik, Senior PM; Praveen Jayakumar, HoD Lighting; Edgar Pulido, HoD Video; Kevin Shyamprasad, HoD Rigging; and Ryan D’Costa, Senior Audio Engineer.

“We had a unique design, which was achieved with ceiling LED screens and lighting fixtures between each screen,” recalled Waghchhipawalla, summarising his experience on the project. “The most challenging part was the tight schedule – that emphasised the need to have everything as prepared as possible.”

With an 18,000-capacity crowd inside Etihad Arena, SLS’ audio team fine-tuned the L-Acoustics K2 and Kara II system to achieve even levels across the audience area and minimal spill back onto the stage. Audio control came courtesy of DiGiCo SD5 and SD10s, as well as Avid S6L-32D and 24D consoles.

As well as D’Costa, the SLS audio team comprised: Crew Chief, Joswin Aranha; Monitor and RF Engineer, Niket Shinde; Audio Stage Head, Alish Ali; System Tech, Febin; and Comms Operator, Emmanuel Salvious.

Honouring the best in the Indian film industry, the 23rd International Indian Film Academy Awards saw some of Bollywood’s biggest stars descend on Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Arena for a weekend of glitz and glamour, featuring unforgettable performances from the likes of Salman Khan, Varun Dhawan, Kriti Sanon, Nora Fatehi, and Rakul Preet Singh.

With the COVID-19 pandemic forcing the previous two years of the awards to be cancelled, this year the organisers were determined to deliver an audio-visual treat to the live and broadcast audience. Aiming to deliver on this brief was SLS Production, which was tasked with providing video, audio, lighting,

automation, and rigging solutions for this highly anticipated award night. “We are pleased to be associated with this year’s IIFA Awards, which was a momentous turning point in the region’s dynamic entertainment calendar,” said Edwin Cheeran, Managing Director, SLS Production. “This spectacular event created an unforgettable gathering of Bollywood stars. As a leading event production company in the region, the association reinforces our company’s visibility and inspires us to deliver the utmost quality of services. The whole team behind the production and their sheer dedication are second to none.”

Head of Project Management, Paurasp

J Waghchhipawalla led the project for SLS,

Video played a vital role in the stage design, with a total of 189 sq m of Absen PL Lite 3.9mm and 650 sq m of INFiLED GXMK2 4.6mm deployed, as well as a further 20 sq m of Absen PL Lite and 240 panels of flexible module 2.5mm used in steps. This was controlled by 12 4K outputs from Dataton WATCHOUT V6 systems running in redundant pairs and Resolume Arena 7, which captured stunning graphics.

Pu lido’s video team was made up of: Crew Chief, Renald Blance; Senior Video Technicians, Joni Mercado, Angelo Ong and Shafeeq Bin Shareef; and Video Technicians, Velmu, Tayyab, Erick, Prince, and Majid. The video team were ahead of the curve, as they pre-programmed in the warehouse studio and had the content and screens all mapped and formatted in advance.

Crew Chief, Renald Blance expanded on the setup. “A total of 750 sq m of LED screen with a combination of Absen PL Lite 3.9mm and INFiLED GXMK2 4.6mm was used to create an LED screen canvas covering the whole stage backdrop,” he described. “WATCHOUT was

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used to playback customised graphics for each portion of the show. We had redundancy switching with Analog Way AQUILON RS4, and in the back end were NovaStar H Series processors and CVT4Ks with full redundancy in mind. We also supplied a multi-input teleprompter system used by the presenters on stage, which we used Analog Way Pulse 350 for.”

Lighting complemented the extensive video supply, with HoD Praveen Jayakumar and Crew Chief Amal Hariharan overseeing the deployment. With a total of 718 moving head fixtures utilised, the rig was designed to emphasise and accent the rectilinear nature of the LED screen. “The entire lighting set up was pre-programmed and no timecode used for any segment or performance in this project,” commented Jayakumar.

Th e lighting inventory included: 140 Robe MegaPointe, 80 Spiider, 48 Martin MAC Viper Profile, 50 Cyclops Sparkly 33B, 56 Sparkly 400SBW, 100 Cyclops wash moving head, 165 Krypton Y1640 Moving Linear Bar, 72 Krypton W1940 Moving Head wash, 100 360 Pro Wash moving head, 160 Peaktech LED par, 114 Peaktech LED Battens, 80 LED 4 Lite Molefays, 350 Scenographic Bars, and 72 Peaktech 60x10 Static Wash fixtures.

Two Robert Juliat Follow Spot 4Ks and Four Robe RoboSpots with RoboSpot BaseStations

provided follow spots, while control came courtesy of two MA Lighting grandMA2 light consoles with eight MA NPUs and a Jands Vista lighting controller for the special effects rig.

‘Three times what we would expect for a normal show’

As house riggers at the Etihad Arena, Unusual Rigging & Engineering (URE) is used to handling large-scale productions at the venue. However, the IIFA presented URE with its biggest project at the venue to date.

“I IFA is a massive event – the Bollywood equivalent to the Oscars,” explained URE’s Richard Hoare. “This year we were asked to supply our venue rigging services for the event. This involved more than 316 points to suspend more than 105 tonnes of production equipment. This was three times what we would expect for a normal show.”

On e of the big challenges this year was time. The venue was booked back-to-back with events, allowing only a limited build time for production. URE was engaged to come up with a solution to reduce the load-in for production rigging. “With the support of the venue, a pre-rig window was made available two weeks prior to event, but with two shows in before IIFA, this meant the only option was to utilise our stock of rigging equipment for the house rigging as the

venue equipment would be tied up with the other events,” Hoare revealed.

Pre-rigging a show of this magnitude for a one-night-only event two weeks before the load-in came with its own set of challenges. “On this occasion, we had just completed the 300plus point top steel installation, when there was a last-minute design change by the client which required us to re-rig 115 points to new locations,” Hoare recalled.

With only one more dark day available before the venue was occupied, URE’s project co-ordinators and design team sprang into action, working late into that night, securing and arranging a new team of riggers for the next day and also creating all the required drawings, mark outs and calculation checks in preparation for the team’s 6am start.

“After the last-minute changes were completed, the installation two weeks later went smoothly with the URE team bringing in a small team of riggers to pull the chains and be on standby by for any final tweaks required,” Hoare concluded. “The event was a huge success. The client was happy and, all in all, it was a very satisfactory outcome.”

Photos: SLS Production, Unusual Rigging & Engineering www.slspro.net

www.unusualrigging.com

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IN ALL

OUR RELIABILI

ALL WEATHERS

UEFA Champions League Final 2023 Kick-Off Show presented by Pepsi

Resourceful creative and production teams navigate strict stadium protocols to put on an electric opening show at Istanbul’s Atatürk Olympic Stadium.

Pre-match shows in football are a notoriously difficult nut to crack. With an extremely limited time slot, heavily restricted access to the pitch and an audience both in the stadium and watching the live broadcast that is focused firmly on the football, there’s no doubt that it is one of the more challenging gigs in the world of live events.

Th e UEFA Champions League Final 2023 Kick Off Show presented by Pepsi faced all these challenges, yet through close collaboration and negotiation with multiple stakeholders, a resourceful event team pulled out all the stops to ensure a spectacular production in fitting with its showpiece fixture. “This was a very special one for us,” said Flavia Muratori, Ceremonies Manager at UEFA, reminiscing about the ground-breaking show, which took place at Istanbul’s Atatürk Olympic Stadium.

For the first time ever, this year’s show had three co-headliners in Nigerian artist Burna Boy, Brazilian superstar Anitta, and Swedish DJ Alesso. Black Skull Creative was brought in to produce an overarching creative concept, as well as content

creation, show direction and choreography, while Balich Wonder Studio was engaged to produce the show. “The creative concept is usually provided by the main artist team, but the fact that we had three co-headliners meant that we could bring in Black Skull to come up with a concept that would work for all of the artists and the event as a whole,” Muratori commented.

Sp eaking to TPiMEA after the show, Black Skull’s Dan Shipton, Jay Revell and Ross Nicholson reflected on the project. “We wanted to showcase the immense power of football to unite diverse fans and cultures. Istanbul, a symbol of global cultures, serves as the perfect backdrop for this unforgettable TV spectacle,” Revell stated. “This show is a testament to the unifying force that brings powerful, distinct talents together, all while fostering a collective experience that we hope will resonate with fans worldwide.”

Shipton expanded on Black Skull’s creative process, explaining how the team addressed the open-ended brief to come up with a concept that brought together three different artists with diverse backgrounds, performing different

genres of music, into one cohesive show. “We were inspired by ‘frequency’ – how it spreads through culture, through people, through sound, through football, and how it carries a vibration on a molecular level,” Shipton commented. “This was the inspiration for our starburst stage, which formed the epicentre of that frequency that emits out to the world.”

Hexagons were a key shape in the show design, appearing on several elements including the main stage and the LED panels, which were held aloft by the mass cast dancers to create a brick wall during Anitta’s set and to denote frequency and sound waves during Alesso’s performance, with visuals supplied by Black Skull Studio. “Hexagons make up the panels of a football; they are also molecular and live within nature,” Shipton explained, delving further into the design inspirations.

“It was all about the energy exploding from that central point out onto the pitch and permeating throughout the stadium,” Nicholson added.

Pyro shots were used to signify the transfer of energy between artists. “We wanted to work in a

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360° environment, starting with Burna Boy on the starburst stage, before revealing Anitta on her own stage opposite with the camera shooting in reverse, then leading us back to the starburst stage for Alesso’s finale,” Shipton described.

France-based Grand Final provided the pyrotechnics, along with a spectacular firework show. “They were a huge asset to the ceremony,” Revell praised. “They took the brief, took the vibe that we wanted to create and helped us extend our stage space with the pyro plot. Plus, having the show in darkness meant the pyro could really echo, reverberate, and stand out.”

With the match being broadcast to an estimated 450 million people worldwide, the TV audience was considered in every step, right from the early concept stages. “We went into a lot of detail looking at the storytelling, cultural references and how they would translate for broadcast,” Nicholson recalled. “We paid a lot of attention to camera blocking. Tim van Someren is the UCLF Kick-Off Show TV Director, and he played a huge part in helping us translate that vision on the screen.”

While broadcast was always a major consideration, it was also imperative that the in-person audience inside the stadium wasn’t neglected. “One of the original parts of the brief was to find a way to ensure that the in-person audience was engaged,” Shipton revealed. “It’s

understood that the primary reason that most fans are there is to watch the football, but the show needed to add to their experience and elevate it from what they might see at a normal football match. There was a genuine appetite from the client to do something bigger and better than ever before, and we certainly feel that this goal was achieved.”

‘A hugely ambitious undertaking’ Balich Wonder Studio (BWS) was once again brought in to deliver the event, and the company brought together a team of trusted suppliers to handle the technical, including PRG (for lighting and video), Bulgaria-based Joker Media (also for lighting), and Italian staging specialist, BOTW.

“We had 19 different nationalities working on the team,” commented BWS Executive Producer, Jane Fraser, who has worked on every Champions League Final since 2019. “This is the fifth year that BWS has produced the event; we try to up the stakes every year, but to have three artists plus a pianist playing the UCL anthem for the entrance of the players, as well as all the added production that came with putting on a show in the dark, made it a hugely ambitious undertaking,” she stated.

With the production subject to strict timing and logistics restrictions, there was no room for error. “We have very little time to set and strike

the show,” Fraser commented. “It’s also vital to consider movement on the pitch, weight of kit, the number of people, their movements, and how long the pitch is being covered for; anything that could have even the slightest adverse effect on the playing surface is strictly prohibited.”

Black Skull’s Shipton expanded on the realities of designing a show that can be set in less than four minutes and struck in half the duration, with all the restrictions of coming through a tight voms space and up a steep ramp onto the pitch.

“While the on-camera time is just six minutes, the entire process is a good 15 minutes,” he commented. “It’s a precise operation that starts from the moment the players leave the pitch after warm-up and continues for five or six minutes after the performance ends to kick-off, and the only way to ensure that it runs smoothly is through rigorous rehearsals.”

While the strict timing and pitch protocols meant that the show producers had to work hard and come up with creative solutions to overcome the various technical challenges involved, UEFA’s Muratori provided some context on why these restrictions were required.

“From a UEFA perspective, there are many activities happening inside the stadium, with different departments all with different priorities needing to share the pitch. So, while the show team will be focused on their objective, which

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is to deliver the Kick-Off Show, the reality is that their job fits into a wider picture, which is made up of compromises between all the various departments, including groundsmen, broadcasters and other media, signage, accreditation, and, of course, the football operations team, which manages relationships with the teams,” she revealed. “It’s all about finding the right balance between each department that allows everyone to do their job.”

Mu ratori was pleased to report that the various teams were able to strike a balance that worked for all parties. “It was an extremely close collaboration,” she reflected. “We managed to do something very large with the groundsman fully onboard, which didn’t leave a single mark on the pitch yet was extremely successful from a show perspective. They say that you should go big or go home, and we very much decided to go big!”

With to-the-second precision required in all facets of the production, extensive rehearsal was critical to the success of the production. “The only way possible was offsite,” Muratori said, explaining that an adjacent training pitch was the perfect space for this purpose.

Fraser added her two cents on the importance of rehearsals: “You have to rehearse with the same people in the same positions every

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time,” she said, adding that the success of the show was down to teamwork.

“We wanted to do something that wowed the crowd and looked fabulous on TV, and the show certainly achieved that,” she commented. “I know how much energy and love has been put into the show and all the expertise involved. Behind that, there’s a huge engine fed by a fantastic team of people who have committed so much time and energy into this project.”

‘Part of the bigger picture’

Another first for this year’s show was the fact that it took place at night. “We have never had the luxury of darkness before and, looking at the upcoming UEFA Champions League Finals, we won’t have darkness again in the near future,” Muratori explained.

“We wanted to make the most of the opportunity to play with light, so we invested in lights and an incredible world-renowned lighting designer,” she added, highlighting the decision to bring in Al Gurdon. “It was something that

was completely new to us, but it added another impressive dimension to the show.”

For Gurdon and his team, previsualisation was essential to the success of the project. “You don’t get too much of a look at the site in controlled conditions,” he explained. “The sport is of so much more consequence, importance and priority than what we’re doing, so we have to find work slots based on availability, which means that the ability to previsualise the design becomes incredibly important.”

A major development for this show was the fact that Lighting Programmer, Alex Mildenhall was able to take TV Director, Tim van Someren’s detailed shot-by-shot previsualisation from SketchUp and incorporate it into Syncronorm Depence R3. “That gave us a level of previsualisation that we don’t normally have,” Mildenhall reflected. “It meant we could tailor the lighting design for each individual shot – and it made a massive difference.”

Gu rdon described Depence R3 as “an invaluable tool for us to collaborate before we’ve

even had an opportunity to use the rig”, while Mildenhall furthered: “The camera settings are fantastic – you can delve right into exposure, gamma and put in different filters. It’s much faster than the previous version and getting more and more realistic.”

Th e camera-first philosophy is something that makes perfect sense to Gurdon. “In my opinion, camera and broadcast is the first priority,” he stated. “We always make sure that it’s an engaging show for everyone in person, but for every person watching in the stadium, there are thousands more watching on TV. For a lot of shows, even people who are seeing it in the stadium end up watching through screens, so it’s always a major consideration.”

Wh en asked about the creative intentions behind the lighting design, Gurdon had a philosophical answer. “Lighting doesn’t exist as an independent art form there for the entertainment of the audience – it’s there as a part of a whole thing that involves so many more elements. The success of lighting is in

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recognising that it is only a part of the bigger picture,” he proffered.

“Where lighting can fall is by going off in its own direction, ignoring those other elements. I always like to respond and support the rest of the creative. It doesn’t matter if we’ve had an amazing original idea; if we decided to do that independently, it might not fit in with the overall show and we’d end up with a weaker production as a result.”

Th e LD was pragmatic in his approach to this project. “It’s not just about the creative, it’s also about the nuts and bolts of where you need lighting and what type of lights you need,” he commented. “In that respect, it’s about knowing what you need to fill a stadium for impact and also the kind of conditions you’re likely to encounter. In this case, we knew that we wouldn’t be able to rely on smoke and beams, so we went with lots of strobes that were not necessarily being used as strobes, but more providing dynamics and colour, and giving a visible accentuation for the music.”

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“I know how much energy and love has been put into the show and all the expertise involved. Behind that, there’s a huge engine fed by a fantastic team of people who have committed so much time and energy into this project.”
Jane Fraser, BWS Executive Producer

‘From render to reality’

The starburst stage was adorned with 148 SGM VPL 1220 and 12 VPL 610 linear fixtures, which were pixel mapped to create the striking starburst effect. The front of the stage was lined with 12 Elation Professional Proteus Rayzor Blade L 1m fixtures to accentuate the hexagonal shape, while 16 GLP JDC1 fixtures were hung at the back of the stage to “add width and focus”, and a row of 16 Robe MegaPointes and 30 Spikies were positioned behind the stage.

The inner field accommodated 16 Robe BMFL Wash Beams and 21 Ayrton Cobras, while 120 SGM P-6 fixtures were positioned in the outer field and around the top of the stadium bowl on the 180.

A fu rther 37 Robe MegaPointes along with 66 Spiiders, 35 BMFL Spots, and 24 BMFL Wash Beams were deployed on trusses throughout the stadium. Follow spots came in the form of three

PRG GroundControl Bad Boy Long Throws on trusses and four Robert Juliat Lancelots at FOH.

An early adopter of grandMA3, Mildenhall once again utilised MA Lighting’s latest software to program the show on a grandMA3 light. “Once everything was put together inside Depence, it was a case of going into the stadium in the evenings and refocusing in the physical space,” he revealed. “I use a reference point location, pointing everything into the centre of the field in Depence, then recreating that in the stadium using MA3’s built-in reference. Often, you’d use Depence up to a point, then forget about it once you can see the real rig, but because we were so limited with access to the stadium, it was important to keep it as accurate as possible for as long as possible.”

PR G managed the inventory, sourcing some key equipment from its UK and Belgium offices, while Bulgaria-based supplier Joker Media

supplied the bulk of the lighting fixtures. PRG Projects also provided the 60 custom-built hexagon panels that were arranged in various formations and moved around by the mass cast dancers throughout the show.

Having worked extensively with Gurdon over the past 30 years, PRG’s Rich Gorrod was the natural choice to run point on the project. For Gorrod, the performance of the PRG GroundControl Bad Boy Long Throws was particularly pleasing. “The throws were 120m, so we needed something that was super-bright, and the best light for the job,” he stated.

Gorrod reflected on the project: “We had a team of four out there looking after the show, and everyone contributed to every part of it. We came as part of a package, and that was exactly what was needed to achieve the desired results.”

While the darkness undoubtedly played into the hands of Gurdon and his lighting team, the

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LD believes that it’s possible to create something just as compelling in the light – something that will have to be considered for the 2024 and 2025 UEFA Champions League Finals, which take place in London and Munich, respectively.

“B eing in the light raises some interesting questions,” he said. “If we did the show in daylight, the set and lighting would need to be designed differently, using colours that are naturally bright. It’s certainly possible though – Rihanna’s Super

Bowl performance was a great example, using a bright orange set that had a presence of its own even without the benefit of full darkness.”

For Black Skull’s Shipton, the most pleasing aspect of the project was how accurate the preshow renders proved to be. “We often talk about ‘from render to reality’, but when we think about what we set out to design and what our original drawings looked like, the reality was almost identical,” he concluded. “That’s testament to the

entire team from a creative and technical point of view. Everyone understood the vision and was able to translate it into reality.”

Photos: Frédéric LEPLA

www.uefa.com

www.blackskullcreative.com

www.balichwonderstudio.com

www.incadescentdesign.com

www.prg.com

www.jokermedia-rental.net

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PROFILE

Kuwait National Day 2023

Projection, lights, lasers, drones and fireworks combine to create a visual spectacular in Kuwait City.

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National days are big business in the Middle East, with GCC countries especially pulling out all the stops to celebrate their history and convey their national pride. Of course, with any major celebration, a large-scale production tends to follow – a fact that has seen the likes of the UAE and Saudi Arabia hosting some of the most eye-catching and innovative shows taking place anywhere in the world. Another country that is not afraid to push the envelope when it comes to its National Day celebrations is Kuwait, and with its 2023 event being the first full-scale celebration since the COVID-19 pandemic, the country was determined to mark the occasion in style.

Returning to produce Kuwait National Day for the third time after doing the show in 2011 and 2016, Laser System Europe (LSE) presented a hugely ambitious production that required 15 containers worth of light fixtures, lasers and video projectors, light and laser drones, water screens and a massive arsenal of pyro and fireworks.

Catching up with TPiMEA after the show, LSE’s Founder and CEO, Patrick Awouters explained why the company loves working in

Kuwait so much. “It’s about ambition,” he stated. “It’s about wanting to do something that hasn’t been done before – something interesting and beautiful that will give happiness to the people.”

As is the case for many projects in the region, the story of Kuwait National Day 2023 begins with a short notice turnaround. “I remember landing in Paris on 20 January after we produced the show in Brescia, Italy, in celebration of it being named Italy’s Capital of Culture,” Awouters recalled. “I saw five missed calls from my client in Kuwait, so I called back, and they asked if it would be possible to do the show there on 28 February.”

Af ter some speedy internal planning and a few calls to suppliers, Awouters got the green light and immediately set wheels in motion.

“W ith such a tight timeframe, we needed help from the Kuwaiti government to make it happen,” he commented, describing how LSE was provided with two cargo planes to transport some of the masses of equipment required for the show. “At the same time, we had a private vessel and three trucks to transport some of the equipment from our Dubai warehouse,” he recalled. Installation began on 10 February and

lasted until a week before show day, when the rehearsal process began.

With the show taking place in the area between Kuwait Towers and Green Island – one of the most popular areas for the residents of Kuwait City during the evening – a lot of programming was done virtually, and rehearsals were heavily restricted to the early hours of the morning between 2am and 5am when the area was quiet. “It was essential to keep the areas completely free of the audience while we rehearsed,” Awouters recalled. “We only had around two or three hours per night, which meant that we had to rehearse each element of the show individually.”

‘The ambition to create something beautiful’

The iconic Kuwait Towers served as the main storytelling canvas for the show, with 23 30K video projectors and eight 22K video projectors transforming both buildings into creative content displays, showing dynamic video content that demonstrated the beauty of the country and celebrated its leadership. The video content didn’t end there, with five 20m by 60m water

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screens positioned on floating barges in the nearby bay between the Kuwait Towers and Green Island and covered by 10 35K video laser projectors. “These screens acted as IMAGs, displaying similar content to the towers for those in the audience who were too far away to get a clear view,” Awouters recalled. “We installed all the equipment including electrical engines, video projectors, lasers and water screens on the land, then floated the platform and moved it into the correct position,” he added.

Th e lighting inventory leaned heavily on PR Lighting’s range of IP-rated fixtures, with AQUA 580 Beam, AQUA 480 Beam, and AQUA 380 BWS fixtures rigged onto the towers and dotted along the coastline. The supply also included FOS Technologies F-7 strobe/wash lights.

“The AQUA series from PR Lighting is one of the best and most reliable products we’ve ever worked with,” Awouters praised. “The 580 is one of the most powerful fixtures available on the market. It’s the same fixture we’ve installed on the Burj Khalifa and in harsh conditions of extreme heat, sand and rain it’s exposed to, we’ve only had to replace one fixture over the past two

years. I’m not sure there are many other fixtures that would achieve those sorts of results.”

A range of lasers added to the spectacle, including ICUBE 30W and ICUBE 120W laser projectors with built in Pangolin FB4 control system, as well as LaserAnimation Sollinger Phaenon XD 30W and four 25W laser projectors.

A new development for the show was LSE’s ground-breaking laser drones. Detailing the inspiration behind the new technology, Awouters highlighted a 2003 show in Vietnam for the SEA Games. “That was the first time we used a flying laser, which we installed on a motorised paraglider,” he recalled. “Since then, I’ve always thought that one day we could take this idea further, and with the development of drone technology, I thought it could be the perfect application to create a fleet of laser drones.”

With the COVID-19 pandemic providing a natural quiet period for live events projects, the LSE team used the downtime to research the feasibility of the idea.

“I n partnership with Groupe F, we purchased drones that could support 5kg of weight and developed with our friends at LaserAnimation

Sollinger a laser that would be light enough to be carried by the drone,” he revealed.

Af ter testing throughout 2020, while the product was looking promising, Awouters still wasn’t fully convinced. “It was good but not good enough,” he commented. “I wanted a full anti-collision system where each drone knows where the others are; typically, these drones only have a payload of 2.5kg, so we went back to LaserAnimation and asked if they could halve the weight of the laser but keep the same brightness and technology.”

Th e final product boasts a 7.5W laser, can communicate over a distance of 2.5km, and can be programmed to be synchronised perfectly with the show choreography. “We now have a fleet of 12 laser drones, and there is more development coming as we look to increase the power of the laser up to 12W and increase the fleet to up to 36 units,” Awouters explained.

Alongside the 10 laser drones, a full fleet of 1,500 light drones created a gigantic display over a 500m area along the promenade.

A total of 60 ISOPAR flames provided the lowlevel pyro, while Groupe F provided a massive

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firework display to create a spectacular finale. “We have worked with Groupe F on many shows since 2006 – in Kuwait, Qatar, the UAE and throughout Europe,” Awouters revealed. “They are experts in what they do and always provide an amazing show.

While the broadcast element of the production was considered carefully throughout the conceptualisation and planning phase, with a massive audience of roughly 1 million people in attendance, the in-person audience was always the top priority. “The total population of Kuwait is less than 5 million, so 20% of the country was there to see this show,” Awouters explained. “Our top priority was to make them happy and put smiles on their faces.”

Reflecting on the project, the LSE Founder and CEO reiterated his passion and desire for working in Kuwait and the wider Middle East. “We’ve already done many large shows in Kuwait, including the launches of the Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Cultural Centre and the Science and Natural History Museum, as well as National Day, so we know a lot of people there, we have a good reputation and we enjoy working there,” he said.

“The aim of our show is to bring joy to the people, and the leadership understands that some investment is required to do that,” he added. “If you have the ambition to create something beautiful, there’s always a solution to make it happen.”

Photos: LSE www.lse.eu

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PRODUCTION PROFILE
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Kuwait National Day Green Island drone shows

Kuwait warmed up for its National Day and Liberation Day celebrations with a series of drone shows taking place over eight evenings in the lead up to the big night. Zain Kuwait and the Touristic Enterprises Company invited AO Multimedia & Drones to provide the shows, which featured a fleet of 2,000 LED drones swarming above Green Island.

“We have been a leading partner for innovative event technology all over the Middle East for many years. Our multimedia shows –including the world-famous FALCON searchlights – have made major impacts in illuminating many capitals since 2000,” commented AO Multimedia & Drones’ CEO and Executive Producer, Marco Niedermeier. “Kuwait is a proud country with an impressive cultural and economic development in just a few generations,” he added.

“The country is focused on entertaining its people and celebrating its national identity, which allowed our team to utilise the storytelling power of the drone show to translate the message of Kuwait’s past, present and future into an entertaining story-based show for all ages.”

Th e show began with a striking depiction of the Kuwaiti flag, followed by a series of formations alluding to the history of Kuwait, including the traditional practice of pearl diving that was so prevalent in the country in years gone by, as well as a representation of the traditional Bedouin lifestyle that the country’s forefathers led.

Th e show also featured some of Kuwait’s most recognisable modern landmarks, including Seif Palace, the Grand Mosque, and the iconic Kuwait Towers, as well as a finale of incredibly detailed 3D portraits of the country’s leadership.

Describing them as “a special challenge”, Niedermeier explained the process behind the portrait effects. “It is a very challenging process to realise the portraits in such a way that the

pictured people – here, the Emir and the Deputy – agree with them,” he commented.

“B esides the fact that it requires a very precise and reliable drone system to avoid black holes (for example, in a smile with white teeth), you also must consider the possible resolution in terms of viewing angles and distance to the audience,” he explained. “A 3D drone sculpture is designed in layers and looks totally different from any angle. Our 3D drone animation team must work with a completely different mindset than any creator

working on screen content to achieve these amazing results.”

In terms of challenges, besides the constant monitoring of weather conditions and perfectly organised maintenance of thousands of independent drones, Niedermeier highlighted the need to adjust the design to the venue.

“A p erfect show flight has to be created that allows visitors from all related positions to get the best experience,” Niedermeier commented. “This requires a lot of preparation and research

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A fleet of 2,000 LED drones swarm into a series of fantastic formations to portray a visual story-telling representation of Kuwait’s past, present, and future…

in advance regarding the venue and technical details like GPS connections, backlighting, and suitable altitudes.”

AO deployed an extremely powerful drone system on this project to “guarantee stable and absolutely precise pictures with realistic colours”. Niedermeier added: “We can offer a flight time of up to 33 minutes – including take-off and landing – and a flight speed of up to 5mps, even in more difficult weather and wind conditions. To maintain maximum control, we fly a maximum distance of 500m from our pilot’s position, and the picture size can be up to 160,000 sq m, depending on local regulations.”

Lo oking back on the project, the CEO and Executive Producer was particularly proud of the 3D portraits and architectural scenes. “They are always very impressive,” he reflected. “For example, the living underwater scene morphing in the wide sky to a pearl, coming out of a giant seashell or a Kuwaiti walking through the desert with his camel.”

However, where the show really came into its own was in the transitions between scenes. “To create a story and an exciting show flight, the transitions from scene to scene are the most exciting feature of a drone show,” Niedermeier concluded. “Creating a flow that can be connected with music and voiceover makes the show a real story.”

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Photos: AO Multimedia & Drones www.ao-technology.com

UAEFA President’s Cup Final 2023

A creative production team deploys cutting-edge technology to achieve a spectacular show in celebration of the biggest match on the UAE’s football calendar.

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Taking place at Abu Dhabi’s Mohamed bin Zayed Stadium on 28 April, the President’s Cup Final saw holders Sharjah retain their title, winning a dramatic penalty shootout after a 1-1 draw with Al Ain. Preceding the match, an innovative opening ceremony set the scene, with projection mapping covering the entire field of play, an eye-catching and innovative light show, and an uplifted PA system helping to get the crowd pumped up for the biggest match on the UAE football calendar.

Heavily involved from the outset, People was charged with producing the opening ceremony, sports presentation, full stadium branding and merchandising, and trophy celebration. Sitting down with TPiMEA after the show, People CEO, Tim Elliott, and Head of Major Projects, William Jensen, reminisced about how they delivered this project.

“As the first President’s Cup Final with the new UAE President, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, in place, the focus on this year’s opening ceremony was elevated,” Elliott commented. “Aligned to that, the story that needed to be

told was different from previous years in that it focused on the President’s values, mission, and beliefs. We set out to tell that story in the short amount of time we had before kick-off.”

Pe ople’s process began with “understanding and benchmarking previous shows and presenting to our client the overarching story that should be told at an event like this,” Elliott explained. “As a result of our understanding of those needs, we were then asked to deliver the production based on the creative we’d outlined.”

With a broad remit, including everything from production design for the opening ceremony right down to the sports presentation and trophy stage, it was vital that People had a team ready to spring into action as soon as they were awarded the project.

“We were already planning for the delivery team between our full-time team, permalancers, freelancers and suppliers,” Elliott stated. “We already knew in advance who we wanted to have alongside us.”

Among that team was Show Director Gavin Robins, Show Caller Gareth Hulance, Production

Stage Manager Guido Foa, Technical Director Sam Newson, Lighting Designer Stephen Page of dbnAudile, Composer Dom Jones of Dare Music, Broadcast Director Dick Carruthers, and Designer Martin Sutherland.

Th e suppliers meanwhile included Antitled (content creation), Creative Technology Middle East (lighting and video), Clair Global Middle East (audio and comms), FLOW Solutions (power), Wicked (tents), Pitchblack (production rigging and BOH draping), VK Solutions (scenic), Al Laith (scaffolding), GCC (crewing), as well as Brand in Style and Advertec (branding installation).

Eagle-eyed readers will note that the vast majority of suppliers are based in the UAE – a fact that is a great source of pride for People.

“O ur objective is to go more and more local –especially on the bigger jobs,” Elliott commented. “We’re doing out bit to drive forward the local supply chain. If you look at our data of not only local supply but also workforce, it’s consistently increasing as a percentage year on year.

“We’ve got a strong relationship that has grown with all our suppliers over the years, which

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has helped develop that trust and loyalty that goes back decades.”

“It’s sustainability not just in an environmental sense but also in a social and economic sense,” Jensen added. “It’s the right thing to do, and it proves that you can deliver these huge spectacles here using local talent and kit.”

Je nsen furthered that while they were proud that the UAE’s live events industry is in such a strong position, the future is for UAE-based companies such as People to start providing its services to other countries both in the Middle East and further afield – something that People is already involved with, recently producing the opening ceremony of the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 in Australia and New Zealand.

‘Blur the lines between stage management and production’

The creative for the opening ceremony started with what Elliott described as “a simple story”. He explained: “Our journey starts with two young boys who had a dream of becoming footballers. Through the eight-minute show, we link their dream of becoming footballers with the important values of the UAE – diversity, sportsmanship, and fair play.”

To b ring these two stories together, a highlights package of the President’s Cup over the past year was projected onto the stadium’s big screens before moving into a creative representation of a bedsheet in a child’s bedroom. “The idea was that the children played with shadows on the bedsheet,” Elliott recalled. “It transformed from them watching the film into replicating that into shadows, then the shadow production technique is triggered and played throughout the rest of the show.”

The content was driven around the concept of light and shadow. “Everything was created with the belief that you can cast light and create shadows, and through that all the black and white content was created,” Elliott commented.

Je nsen had his say on the content, noting how innovative, unusual, and bold the predominantly black and white look was. “It was a contemporary and strong look – the likes of which is not often attempted and even less often signed off,” he said. “It was a real win to get that over the line creatively and artistically – and it was received very well by the client.”

Stephen Page of dbnAudile designed a light show to complement the monochrome content, which was projected onto the field of play using 48 Panasonic 31k laser projectors. “One of the challenges with the lighting was that we couldn’t light the pitch from a high angle because we didn’t want to create a double shadow on the cast, which you would typically get using a traditional follow spot,” Elliott explained.

“I nstead, we lit the show in more of a theatrical, dance style – almost entirely side lit from the floor up, meaning that the projection was never interrupted. There were also moments when the cast moved in and out of light, which allowed us to play with the shadow.”

Pe ople worked with Italian content creation company Antitled, which played an instrumental role in several key elements of the show, including the integration of Astera Hyperion LED

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battens with the projection mapping content on the pitch. The company was also involved in creating subtle digital projection marks on the field to ensure cast members were in the right place at the right time.

“I nstead of marking the pitch cloth, we produced the marks digitally, so they appeared in another layer in the software,” Elliott commented. “The marks were projected when needed and unable to be noticed by the audience.”

Another interesting point of difference from most pre-match ceremonies was the fact that the pitch cloth strike was incorporated into the choreography. “We decided to blur the lines between stage management and production by peeling back the pitch cloth live as part of the show,” Jensen recalled. “We calculated that we needed 140 crew to manage the pitch cloth reveal; the guys from GCC were outstanding –they pulled it off to perfection.”

Elliott added: “It was nice to have people who are so often back of house suddenly in front of

20,000 people and playing a huge role in the show.” With a complex choreography and very little time in the stadium available for rehearsals, the production took rehearsals off site to ADNEC. “We booked three halls, which gave us a half-size ratio,” Elliott recalled. “Two halls were used for pitch cloth rehearsals and the other was for the dancers, performers, and children. After five days inside ADNEC, we moved into the stadium for the final three nights in the evening.”

‘The integration of video and lighting’ Tasked with providing lighting and video, Creative Technology Middle East’s objective was to deliver a seamless and immersive experience for the audience, which combined cutting-edge technology, stunning visuals, and dynamic lighting to enhance the ceremonies and create a captivating atmosphere.

Sam Connolly, Head of Lighting, talked TPiMEA through the lighting setup, which included 56 Elation Professional Proteus

Excaliburs, 24 Proteus Maximus, 38 Ayrton Perseo Profiles, 24 Diablos, 16 Robe Fortes, 32 LEDBeam 350s, 18 Luxibel Blinders, and 12 SGM P-10s. “The Excaliburs were placed in clusters of six starting from the top tier of the stadium and going down each level until it reached the pitchside, where we had them running around the perimeter,” Connolly described. “It’s the newest light on the market and we’re the only ones in the region who have them,” he added of the fixture. “It’s great for big beamy looks.”

IP rating was an important feature when it came to fixture choices. “You never knew when the sprinklers were going to switch on, and we couldn’t stop programming every time they did, so we made sure that everything was IP rated,” Connolly said, adding that weather resistance plays an important role in his purchasing decisions. “It just gives us so much more flexibility,” he stated.

Th e Elation Proteus Maximus and Robe Forte fixtures were used as profiles positioned on posts

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at the top of the stadium, while the Ayrton Perseo Profiles were moved out around the perimeter of the screen for the show before being hidden from view behind the screen all within a limited time slot of just three minutes.

A Robe RoboSpot follow spot system comprising four Forte fixtures (one in each corner of the stadium) tracked on-pitch performers, enhancing their movements and adding to the visual impact. “These were controlled from the parking lot using more than 1km of fibre,” Connolly recalled.

Atmospherics were provided by 12 Look Solutions Unique 2.1 hazers, each partnered by a Martin Jem AF-2 fan. An MA Lighting grandMA3 Full Size console as well as two grandMA3 light consoles, a grandMA3 compact XT and three grandMA3 NPUs were provided for control, with six Luminex GigaCore 10 switches, 32 LuminSplit 2.10 splitters, and 12 LumiNode 12 converters.

In a ddition to the main light show, pixelmapped wireless Astera Hyperion LED tubes interacted with the video content and were controlled with LumenRadio CRMX offering wireless DMX and RDM across the entire pitch.

“These were my favourite part of the show,” Connolly reflected on the feat. “We ran all the

content for the tubes with disguse; it’s not something that’s done very often in the region, but it was very effective having the video content doing all the work.”

CT H ead of Video for the project, Carlos Aguilar was also a big fan of the use of the Astera Hyperion tubes. “The lights matched the video content at every beat,” he commented, recalling how the dancers utilised the tubes as a key part of their choreography. “It made sense to programme the tubes with disguise so we could match them with the content,” he added. “I’ve certainly noticed a trend towards the integration of video and lighting.”

Th e field of play projection mapping was covered by 48 Panasonic PT-RZ31K laser projectors, producing a canvas brightness of 300lux. CT conducted an initial projection study and pitch fabric testing to ensure optimal visual impact. Alongside testing and designing, the video team carried out consultations with content producers and the creative director to develop content workflow documentation, templates, and masks for seamless integration.

“We projected from both sides of the stadium to provide full field of play coverage,” Aguilar recalled, expanding on the choice

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of the Panasonic PT-RZ31K projectors. “We needed laser projectors to achieve the required brightness, and it also needed to be light enough that it could be carried up the stairs of the stadium by hand, because there was no lift or easy access available. Every projector took six people to carry manually.”

With this latest project being the sixth football projection mapping show that CT has delivered in the past six months, it’s fair to say that Aguilar’s team is well accustomed to the requirements. However, he stressed that it’s far from a copyand-paste mentality.

“Each stadium and each creative is different, with different viewing angles and distances, so it’s important to make a detailed study and analyse how best to set up,” he stated.

CT set up a disguise media server suite utilising two vx2 servers for the director and director understudy, plus four vx4 servers for actors with lighting playback integration to ensure a smooth operation. Reflecting on the

project, Aguilar was particularly pleased with the “absolutely remarkable” integration between video and lighting.

“B oth departments came from CT, and we worked very well together,” he commented. “It was a pleasure to work with People again – they placed a lot of trust in us, and it was great to show once again that we can deliver these highquality jobs with a local team and equipment.

‘Timelines, neatness, and safety’

Audio and comms were provided by Clair Global Middle East. Clair’s Dana Beaudin talked through the audio brief, which involved reinforcing the in-house system to uplift for the pre-match and half-time shows as well as the trophylifting ceremony. “We deployed four carts of L-Acoustics Kara, each with six Kara and one SB18, which we put on rolling dollies and brought in and out as needed,” he described.

“We also had a VIP system of four SYVAs over SYVA low on level three, as well as a VVIP system

of five XTs placed across the window ledge on level two.” A DiGiCo SD7 Quantum was used for control, with Lake LM26 and LM44 processing units distributing Dante, while a redundant QLab system was used for playback.

“I n addition to the show audio, we were tying into the house system, sending broadcast feeds and programme feeds to show callers in various locations,” he recalled.

As most of the seating, including all the VIP areas, was on one side of the stadium, the audio team ensured that the main stand was well covered. “We drew up that side of the seating in L-Acoustics Soundvision to account for the bleachers where the teams were sitting and made sure that the dollies were positioned so they didn’t impact on people moving around that area,” Beaudin added.

“The coverage was excellent, and it sounded great. Being able to reinforce the house system that was not tailored for musical content into a well-rounded system was extremely pleasing.”

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Also speaking to TPiMEA after the show, Clair’s Head of Communications, Rob Turner was happy with his team’s delivery, which included show comms and sitewide radio coverage.

“We had Riedel 1024 frames in the control room, a Netgear M4250 network that ran both the comms and Dante audio path, as well as 1232 and 2318 panels and a Bolero Wireless system,” he described. “It’s a solid product,” he added on Riedel’s wireless offering. “We’ve never had any issues with it and the coverage is ideal for a stadium job with a large coverage area.”

An Artist 64 frame was deployed within the stadium running the analogue links to the Motorola SLR 8000 repeaters, which offered audio interfacing over four channels. “We keep everything in the digital realm as much as we can without losing quality,” Turner explained.

Tu rner recalled how his team had to come up with some inventive solutions to ensure full coverage of the whole site. “We spent a lot of time checking rooms and sticking antennas

out of windows to cover every little area,” he laughed, going on to reflect on how the positive relationship with People helped the project run smoothly. “It is always great to work with them,” he commented. “They are very receptive, and it feels more like a partnership than a clientsupplier relationship.”

Power was handled by FLOW Solutions, which delivered the power scope for the pitchside technical, broadcast, and BOH production.

Aaron Lewis, Senior Account Manager for FLOW, discussed the delivery. “We supplied 675kw to the technical areas and the BOH was supported by 650kw,” he detailed.

“We had three generator farms across the site supported by 60 DBs and panels and over 17,000km of cable. This was all delivered and commissioned within 10 days with a team led by Project Manager, Terry Dignam.”

With some incredibly long cable runs, careful engineering and calculations were considered to ensure end users wouldn’t experience any

volt drop. “These cable runs were routed up and through the main grandstands of the stadium. So, lots more safety factors like containment and cable protection were considered,” Lewis recalled. “The overall delivery was executed with so much consideration towards timeliness, neatness, and safety. We had fantastic feedback from our client on all these factors, which gives us the most satisfaction on any job.”

Giving his final thoughts on the project, People’s Elliott reflected on the achievement. “Being given the creative freedom to devise the story and produce it in an innovative way was incredibly satisfying,” he concluded. “We’re especially proud of the integration of what is so often seen as backstage or behind-the-scenes into the show.”

Photos: People

www.people-creative.com

www.ct-group.com

www.clairglobal.com

www.flowsolutions.me

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Ginger Owl Productions

As UK-based full-service live events production company Ginger Owl Productions celebrates its 10th birthday, TPiMEA catches up with Founders Julie Chennells and Nancy Skipper to hear about the company’s move into technology and its exciting outlook on the Middle East.

“We’ve seen a steady growth throughout the history of the company, and we’ve retained a lot of our clients – even from when we were freelancing,” Chennells reported. “What we’ve found is that there has been a huge number of events since COVID-19, and that has coincided with Saudi Arabia and the rest of the Middle East being a massively growing market over the past few years.”

Skip per described the business as having “a mind of its own”. She explained: “We’ve found over the years that we start off doing one thing, then demand from the market dictates that we end up doing something else. That’s one of the things we love about this business – it throws up different opportunities and the companies that do well are those that can adapt and make the most of those opportunities.”

Th e most recent pivot for Ginger Owl comes with the integration of technology into its services. “The advancement in technology platforms has become an incredibly important aspect of what we do,” Skipper commented. “The technology side of the business has grown massively in the past two years.”

While the summer usually provides some much-needed respite and an opportunity for most people working in the Middle East’s live events industry to take a holiday, for Ginger Owl Productions’ Founders Julie Chennells and Nancy Skipper, that couldn’t be further from the truth. When TPiMEA caught up with the duo in July, the company was coming off the back of one of its busiest ever weekends, supplying its services to some of the UK’s biggest shows and festivals. “It seems like every park in London has had a show this weekend!” Chennells quipped. “Our previous record was seven events in a single weekend, and this year we managed a weekend with 11,” Skipper added.

Ginger Owl is best known in the Middle East for its extensive work with MDLBEAST,

providing accreditation management, artist liaison, and logistics services for the Saudi Arabian company’s biggest events, including Soundstorm, Balad Beast, Azimuth, Gamers8, and the Jeddah Formula 1. However, while Ginger Owl is still relatively new to the region, having done its first Saudi project in 2019, Chennells and Skipper have the best part of 60 years of industry experience between them.

Th e pair met in 1998 while working for the legendary Harvey Goldsmith CBE on shows such as Cirque du Soleil, Picnic in the Park and countless rock, pop and classical tours. In 2013, they joined forces to create a production company with the aim of delivering events on time, on budget, and with outstanding results.

A de cade on from the launch of the company, Ginger Owl is going from strength to strength.

A p rime example of the company’s technological advancement being deployed in the Middle East is when it was tasked with building a bespoke system for MDLBEAST to use across all its events to manage accreditation and logistics. “The system has been a massive project for us,” Skipper reflected. “It’s a project that started in 2021 when MDLBEAST wanted a bespoke solution to disseminate information to crew such as shuttle bus times, site plans, stage renders, and general information about living and working Saudi Arabia. We built on an existing platform we had and customised it to MDLBEAST’s spec. Last year, we expanded that into an accreditation and logistics platform that helped us deal with everything from flights and visas to accommodation and ground transport.”

While the technology provides a benefit for the festival organiser, it’s also helpful for the end user, with a handy Crew Hub app allowing all relevant information and documents such as travel arrangements, visas and working schedules to be carried in one place – a fact that

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Ginger Owl Productions’ Founders Julie Chennells and Nancy Skipper.

TPiMEA can attest to, having used the app for media accreditation at last year’s Soundstorm festival. “We had 16,000 active users and 7,000 downloads of the app, so it proved very successful with the international crew,” Chennells stated proudly.

Ru nning parallel to development of the bespoke platform for MDLBEAST, Ginger Owl also began working on another piece of technology called GO Advance, which focuses more on the accreditation, guestlist and artist advancing requirements for its clients in the UK and other territories.

“That platform is very flexible, modular, and you can add and take away whatever features you need depending on the event,” Chennells described. “We’ve used GO Advance across our AEG and Live Nation shows this summer and we’re pitching for further projects all the time.”

A new addition to the platform is a scanning solution, which offers RFID and QR code scanning – something that was deployed at this year’s BST Hyde Park. “The inclusion of scanning capabilities along with the rest of the features on the platform and the staffing means that we can now offer a true 360° solution,” Chennells added.

Of c ourse, Ginger Owl isn’t the only company offering technology-based solutions to the live events market, but where Chennells believes the company stands out from the crowd is in its experience and understanding of the industry. “While some companies might have great technology, without that background in events, they can struggle to address the specific needs of the client,” she explained.

“We’ve been working in this area for so long and we understand our clients so well from a staffing side that we’ve been able to build the technology to cater to exactly what is needed on any given project. Both platforms have been massive successes for us and are being used across many events. It’s a very exciting area for

us to move into and it’s an area that I can only see growing in the future.”

While artist advancing has remained relatively similar over the years, according to Chennells, accreditation has changed massively over the past decade. “It used to be a bit of an afterthought, but it’s now so important to our clients that it’s become a massive part of our offering,” she explained. “Even on smaller events, clients are seeing the benefit of having an experienced accreditation team who can provide them with any information they need, from sustainability and carbon footprint measuring to health and safety statistics. The information and data-gathering side of the business has become incredibly important.”

With weekends often consisting of multiple event deliveries in several territories, having the right teams in place is vital if standards are to be upheld. “It’s about getting the right personnel in place and making sure we have the right fit for each event,” Chennells stated. “We have processes that we follow; we have our trusted teams who have been working with us for a long time and know exactly what is required, so we let them get on with it.”

Tu rning attention back to the Middle East, the duo shared their excitement at the prospect of ongoing work in a region that they can only see growing in the future.

“S ome of the things we see in the Middle East are completely unheard of in the UK,” Skipper said. “They want innovation, creativity, bigger, better, louder, faster, and that breeds an interesting working environment. You could have the most ambitious idea ever and it would be seen as a challenge to find a way to make it happen. It feels like anything is possible, and I can’t see anything slowing down in the region any time soon.”

Photos: Ginger Owl Productions, MDLBEAST www.gingerowl.co.uk

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Emittiv

A new Dubai-based company aiming to enhance the built environment with sensory design principles.

With the UAE being home to some of the world’s most beautiful modern buildings, the country is a breeding ground for innovation when it comes to architecture, interior design and, more recently, sensory design. Specialising in this rapidly evolving discipline is Emittiv – a new company formed by Martin Robert and Andrew Hawkes that aims to “design systems that support each other and create dynamic and vibrant spaces, complementing and enhancing the built environment using intangible design elements”.

While the company is new, the people behind it bring huge industry experience – with Robert’s career spanning many facets of lighting and video, from global tours with A-list artists to permanent installations on iconic buildings and consulting for global events, and Hawkes having been involved in professional audio design and operations for over 25 years, spending several running live events before branching out into technical and project management.

“O ur aim is to bring an almost theatre-like production to the built environment, bringing lighting, video, sound, scent, atmospherics

and control together under one umbrella,” Robert explained, expanding on the goals of the company. “We’re bringing all these disciplines under one roof, coordinating them and making sure that the overall design of a space has harmony, balance and cohesion.”

Robert explained that Emittiv sits “very much on the client side of the table”, with a completely product-agnostic, flexible approach to design. “The fact that we don’t sell or supply any equipment means that we’ve got the freedom to specify the best systems to fulfil the client’s needs,” he noted.

While budgetary control is always a priority, according to Robert, if the money is spent wisely, it can prove to be a better long-term investment for clients.

“A massive part of what we do is future proofing, working on shared networks and dedicated fibre runs that might add a bit of extra cost in the short term, but will mean that the systems are more resilient, easier to maintain and can be upgraded in the future without the need to make any wholesale changes,” he explained, adding that the company always specifies

modular systems wherever possible, further adding to the flexibility and sustainability factor.

Emittiv’s USP is its emphasis on getting “the intangibles of a project” right. “It’s a 360° approach, taking in everything from vision and sound to smell and even air flow in a space,” said Robert, recalling how he took inspiration from his previous work with Cirque du Soleil. “They would manipulate the air conditioning during shows, cranking it up before snowy scenes and turning it off to stop ripples on projection surfaces. It’s little details like these that create the kind of polished experience we aim to deliver.”

Lo oking to the future, Robert would like to see sensory design become even more prevalent throughout the UAE and beyond. “We want to take on projects that show end users how much sensory design contributes to the built environment,” he commented. “It’s about bringing a little bit of showbiz magic into people’s everyday lives, taking it out of the theatres and creating those little moments of wonder in the general environment.”

Photo: Emittiv www.emittiv.com

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A load off your mind

As Dubai-based iRIG is appointed as exclusive Middle East Distributor for Eilon Engineering, TPiMEA sits down with Ryan D’Cunha and Noga Eilon to discuss the benefits of load cell distribution.

Investment in equipment for live events tends to fall into one of two camps: equipment that provides a visual – or audible – uplift that improves the show for the audience; or equipment that is not immediately discernible to the audience but plays an important role behind the scenes. Load cell monitoring falls squarely into the latter category.

Designed to assist rigging professionals and increase safety by providing an accurate picture of what is happening in the rig at all times, the technology is becoming increasingly popular in the industry and is used in some of the world’s biggest shows and most iconic venues. After noticing the benefits of load cell monitoring while working on a production of Phantom of the Opera at Dubai Opera that was utilising a system from Eilon Engineering, iRIG’s Ryan D’Cunha was sold on the technology.

“It’s a simple concept and we all know what it does, but being able to see that the load in the rig matches your calculations to within a couple of grams is something that is incredibly useful to a production,” he commented. Impressed by the solution, D’Cunha reached out to Eilon Engineering to make a purchase for an upcoming project, striking up a conversation with Noga Eilon – the company’s VP of Business Development, and daughter of the company’s Founder, Eitan.

“N oga proposed the idea of us becoming the exclusive Middle East distributor for Eilon Engineering’s Ron StageMaster load monitoring systems,” D’Cunha explained. “We’d already had such fantastic after-sales service and interaction with Noga and the team, and the product is so outstanding that it was a no-brainer for us.”

Th e partnership came into effect from 1 June, marking a significant milestone for both companies in expanding their presence and being able to offer Eilon Engineering’s state-of-the-art load monitoring solutions to the Middle East market for both sale and rental.

Ta king TPiMEA through the history of the company, Noga Eilon explained how the company’s background in serving the industrial aerospace industry stands it in good

stead for the live entertainment market. “We started 47 years ago in industrial aerospace and other applications, working with the likes of NASA and Boeing,” she revealed. “We have faced some extremely challenging conditions during this work, and we have harnessed our experience in these sectors to help us in the entertainment market.”

Eilon explained some of the benefits of the system. “Our system offers 0.1% margin for error, while the other leading systems offer accuracy to between 1% and 2%,” she stated.

“The more accurate the monitors, the faster overloads can be detected.”

Sh e also highlighted the 5,000-hour battery life, which helps in offering continuous monitoring. “We believe strongly that the system should monitor continuously, because sometimes things change, accessories fail, conditions change, and suddenly the rig could be overloaded,” she commented.

“Another advantage is that in our system you can see up to 200 load cells on one screen, while transmission range is up to 1km and cross buildings if needed.”

With Eilon Engineering systems being used on some of the biggest tours including Metallica, AC/DC, Rammstein, and Aerosmith, it seems that the benefits are not lost on some of the world’s top riggers. “We’ve seen a strong demand already, and demand is only going to grow,” D’Cunha reported.

“I b elieve in time that load cell monitoring will become the norm,” he added. “They add certainty to rigging – there are no more ‘what ifs’ if you’re using load cells. Of course, they add an extra cost to begin with, but why wouldn’t it be a good thing to add more safety to shows if we can? Safety is always the top priority, but if you’ve got a high-profile show with A-list artists or high-level dignitaries present, that would certainly be the time to spend the money and make absolutely sure that it is 100% safe.”

Photo: iRIG www.irigevent.com www.eilon-engineering.com

FEEDBACK
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FEEDBACK

Redefining rigging regulations in India

As the Event Equipment Services Association commissions India’s first-ever internationally recognised rigging certification masterclass, TPiMEA catches up with President of the organisation, Felix Remedios, who explains the significance of the progress being made.

line-up of educational endeavours aiming to raise the safety standards across the disciplines of rigging and trussing in the country.

Th e starting point was the organisation of India’s first ever internationally recognised rigging certification masterclass, aiming to equip participants with in-depth knowledge and skills necessary to rig stages and equipment safely and efficiently for events of all scales and applications. The initiative was conceptualised by EESA members Anil Balakrishna from Graflex Inc, Mankaran Singh from Men-At-Work-Stagecraft, and Avishkar Tendle of Natura Outdoor Education & Training Solutions.

“I ndia does not have any proper school or academy for rigging training – something that is a basic and primary requirement for all companies that are working with equipment at a height, be it in in lighting, trussing, flying speakers or LED screens,” EESA President Felix Remedios told TPiMEA. “There have been numerous incidents caused by simple lack of knowledge – not only in India, but worldwide – and by conducting these training programmes, EESA is helping to raise the level of education and knowledge in this very important field.”

Cu rated and presented by globally respected industry veteran Harold Waldack, Managing Director of ICRCsarl France, ICRS Middle East, and Asiarig Thailand, the multi-city masterclass was spread over the course of five days each in Mumbai and Bangalore. Catering exclusively to registered members of EESA, the course covered crucial topics such as Risk Assessment, Rigging Basics, Calculations, PPE, Hoist Technology, and Controllers.

India’s Event Equipment Services Association (EESA) has always promoted initiatives that empower its members with knowledge and resources to raise the standards of not just individual businesses, but the entire events industry. Recognising the alarming increase in accidents at events due to negligence and a disregard for safety standards and protocols, the organisation decided to take action, planning and commissioning a comprehensive

“The feedback has been amazing; every single individual who attended the training has remarked how this has completely elevated their knowledge levels in the field of rigging,” reported Remedios. He also made a point that all of the participants learned about international standards in safety protocols and best practices while constructing ground structures, not to mention working at height and around heavy equipment.

Th e intensive training schedule culminated in an exam, with participants who achieved a passing grade earning a certificate of completion authenticated by Waldack,

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granting them the distinction of being one of India’s first internationally recognised certified rigging professionals.

Th e event was supported by Global Truss and Broadweigh, which acted as Lead Sponsor and Premium Sponsor respectively. “Their commitment to enhancing rigging standards and fostering professional development is truly commendable,” Remedios shared.

“The support of our partners is extremely important. Bringing in a trained and experienced teacher like Harold is not cheap; there are lots of logistical costs including accommodation, travel and hospitality – both for the venues and the teacher – so, every bit of sponsorship went a long way to help cover our costs.”

Th e President was keen to express his gratitude to Waldack for taking the time and effort to share his invaluable knowledge and expertise with EESA members, as well as each participant who attended the masterclass – “each of them is now at the helm of leading a positive revolution within the live event fraternity in India when it comes to safety and professionalism,” he added.

Hot on the heels of India’s first-ever internationally recognised rigging certification masterclass, EESA also worked with ChainMaster to offer a comprehensive educational seminar on the topic of ‘Chain Safety in Electric Chain Hoists’.

Cu rated and presented by Adam Beaumont, Product Manager at ChainMaster, the session was conducted online and saw an impressive turnout of over 48 different event equipment service providers from across India. During the session, Beaumont explained some of the various nuances of chain safety, the importance of regular inspection of chains, and other intricate aspects concerning the overall maintenance of chains.

“EESA remains committed to promoting excellence and safety in event services, and the fact that we followed up the industry re-defining first ever rigging certification masterclass with such a high-quality education session on chain safety represents a significant step towards achieving that goal,” Remedios stated. “We are grateful to our EESA Platinum Partners ChainMaster and to Adam Beaumont for taking the time and effort to put together such a wonderfully

informative curriculum, which I’m sure has benefitted all the companies who attended the session.”

With the first course limited to just 20 people per city, Remedios hopes that some of the more experienced professionals in the EESA will now pass on their learnings. “If they can train not only the other members who could not make it, but also members from other associations like EEMA [Event and Entertainment Management Association], this will go a long way to increase the level of knowledge in the industry,” he concluded.

“The EESA hopes to conduct at least one or two inperson training programmes by experienced and trained professionals every year from now on. The feedback has been extremely positive, and we hope that it will help to improve the level of technical understanding in our day-today operations.”

Photos: EESA www.eesa.in

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FEEDBACK

Shaping our future

With the UAE declaring 2023 as the Year of Sustainability, Tom Champion, Client Relations Director for GES EMEA, discusses the importance of reducing the environmental impact of the Middle East’s events and exhibitions.

“Sustainability across the Middle East events and exhibitions industry is fast gaining attention and importance. Increasingly, businesses in the region are recognising the need to adopt more sustainable practices to reduce environmental impact, promote social responsibility, and ensure long-term economic viability.

“This is especially prescient with the UAE declaring 2023 as the Year of Sustainability, alongside being the host country for COP28. Now the events industry, often seen as unavoidably wasteful and excessive, needs to show the world that it can lead the way in sustainable design, waste disposal, sourcing, and recycling. It also has an incredible story to tell of an industry innovating to produce products and services that not just reduce environmental impact but look towards a net zero future; 2023 represents a landmark year to continue this transformation.

“For more than 90 years, GES has served the exhibition and events industry globally, managing more than 4,000 live experiences and supporting over 150,000 exhibitors

each year. At this scale, when the business makes a change, it makes a big difference. It’s a responsibility that GES takes seriously, and proactively through a range of initiatives.

“When it comes to event materials, the business promotes the use of recyclable graphics, flooring, and reusable fixtures. By utilising environmentally friendly materials, GES EMEA ensures that the resources consumed during an event have a minimal long-term impact on the planet, and maximum usage for every material it does consume. Furthermore, clients are encouraged to embrace LED lighting solutions, which are energy-efficient and have a longer lifespan than traditional lighting options. By switching to LED lighting, clients can significantly reduce energy consumption and lower their carbon footprint.

“The key to this innovation, and its subsequent results is, predictably, data. GES EMEA is a creative specialist, but it builds its ideas on quality intelligence, through its Visit brand, supported by Event Intelligence. By tapping into thousands of events around the world, by analysing delegate

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movements and travel, by understanding the wants and needs of every exhibitor, events can be curated to maximise every resource and minimise every piece of waste. Again, as with many other innovations, scale helps – the more GES EMEA knows, the bigger the positive impact it has on the sustainability of events.

“I ntegrating Event Intelligence and building events utilising our sustainable products, from recyclable carpet to sustainable fabric stands, allows us to showcase our dedication to creating impactful and sustainable experiences, leaving a lasting impression on show exhibitors and visitors.

“C ombining these sustainable practices, GES EMEA helps clients create memorable events that align with their environmental values, and for these values and efforts to be put on show in front of audiences to reassure them that the events they go to care about the environment.

“From trade shows and exhibitions to corporate conferences, GES EMEA as a business recognises the importance of incorporating sustainability into every aspect of planning and execution. With their expertise and commitment to eco-conscious practices, GES EMEA enables clients to make a positive impact on the environment while still delivering exceptional experiences for attendees.”

Photos: GES www.ges.com

Middle East 65 TOGETHER. When you're in the hot seat to deliver your sustainable event, you need a trusted team to back you up. Work with us to futureproof your show floor. Talk to our team today - because together we're better. FLOORING +971 4 8855448 infouae@ges.com www.ges.com

HOF MLT THREE Pre Rig Truss

HOF co-CEO, Dennis Klostermann details the evolution of the company’s latest pre rig trussing solution.

What market needs does MLT THREE meet?

The MLT THREE Pre Rig Truss offers a very efficient pre rig solution for touring, festivals and for concerts. It can be prepared in the warehouse with lighting technology or video modules and can be transported ‘ready for use’ to the location.

As a result, setup and dismantling times are reduced drastically, as the moving lights or video modules remain in the MLT THREE Pre Rig Truss during transportation.

Only one person is needed to connect the truss to the dolly, while up to 10 dollies can be stacked on top of each other without a truss, thus saving space. The only limiting factor here is the height of the user.

What are the main features of MLT THREE, and their potential benefits to end users?

The MLT THREE Pre Rig Truss has no closed head frame and is open at the bottom. This makes it easier to mount moving lights or video modules in the truss. A double rail system is

optionally available, which makes mounting the units in the truss even easier. The system allows units to be hung on two different levels with no lowering device, lighting equipment can be hung at the transitions between two trusses, and seamless transitions between video modules in the trusses can be created.

The dolly of the MLT THREE Pre Rig Truss has extended telescopic legs that allow the user to mount complete video modules, including the hanging frame, in the truss and leave them in the truss during transportation.

Like the MLT TWO, MLT THREE comes with an extensive range of accessories, including: a Lowering T-Bar, which allows smaller devices to be mounted; a protection cover, which offers the sensitive lighting technology protection from sun and rain during setup and dismantling and, if required, during the show; and a forklift adapter, which can be mounted on the MLT THREE dollies and is made steel, protecting the truss, cables and other equipment during transportation with a forklift.

What are the main differences between MLT THREE and MLT TWO?

The MLT series consists of the MLT THREE, MLT TWO, MLT ONE, MLT ZERO and MLT FRAME, and the MLT THREE, TWO and ONE Pre Rig Trusses are fully compatible.

Whe n loaded vertically, the load capacity of the MLT THREE Pre Rig Truss is the same as that of the MLT TWO Pre Rig Truss. When using both systems in a track, the static calculation of the MLT THREE must be applied.

Thanks to the open bottom of its head frame, the MLT THREE Pre Rig Truss can easily carry moving lights or video modules. When the optional rail system is used, lighting technology can be placed at the transitions between two trusses.

Like the MLT TWO, the MLT THREE has proven rotatable forks, which enables the user to create vertical or horizontal circles, potentially creating truly new stage layouts.

Photos: HOF www.h-of.de

GEAR HEADS
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CH EVENTS. CELEBRATIONS. FESTIVALS. OPENING CEREMONY. CLO

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ATIONS. BRAND EXPERIENCES. CONFERENCES. ROAD SHOWS. AWA CH EVENTS. CELEBRATIONS. FESTIVALS. OPENING CEREMONY. CLO EREMONY. SPORTING EVENTS. DRONE SHOWS. CONTENT CREATION

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RTIST BOOKING. SET DESIGN. ACTIVATIONS. BRAND EXPERIENCES FERENCES. ROAD SHOWS. AWARDS. LAUNCH EVENTS. CELEBRATIO IVALS. OPENING CEREMONY. CLOSING CEREMONY. SPORTING EVE SHOWS. CONTENT CREATION. CREATIVE STRATEGY. ENTERTAINM CONCERTS. VENUE MANAGEMENT. ARTIST BOOKING. SET DESIGN. ATIONS. BRAND EXPERIENCES. CONFERENCES. ROAD SHOWS. AWA CH EVENTS. CELEBRATIONS. FESTIVALS. OPENING CEREMONY. CLO EREMONY. SPORTING EVENTS. DRONE SHOWS. CONTENT CREATION

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#LetsEventify

Sennheiser Evolution Wireless Digital EW-DX

Where does EW-DX sit among Sennheiser’s wireless offerings?

The goal for Evolution Wireless Digital is to cover all application scenarios and use cases that our analogue evolution wireless G3 and G4 series caters to, being our most successful wireless series to date. Looking at the systems from a user perspective, EW-D has been designed for musicians and performers who need to be their own sound engineers, EW-DP for filmmakers and videographers, and EW-DX is targeted at pro users, no matter whether they are working in the music and event industry or in education and corporate settings. From a portfolio perspective, EW-DX sits between the flagship Digital 6000 series and EW-D.

How is EW-DX equipped to deal with issues facing tours heading out on the road?

EW-DX is a digital system and has been designed to emit as little intermodulation products as possible. The switching bandwidth is up to 88 MHz, enabling the transmission of up to 146 channels and up to 293 channels in Link

Density mode in an equidistant frequency grid. Operators can be certain that they are making the most efficient use of the available spectrum. It is also reassuring to know that the Link Density mode slightly reduces the range, which can be compensated for by the antenna system, but does not compromise the excellent audio quality of EW-DX.

What hardware options are currently available on the market?

A two-channel EW-DX receiver, a handheld transmitter, either with or without mute switch, and a bodypack/instrument transmitter with either a three-pin or a 3.5mm jack connector. The next addition to the family will be the charging module for the L 6000 rackmount charging unit. Launching later this year are two-channel and four-channel Dante-enabled receivers.

Which additional features will those operating in touring sector benefit from?

Even in critical RF environments, EW-DX ensures stable transmission. Audio quality is another

important point for engineers. They have described the audio as being transparent, welldefined, and clear. EW-DX uses the purposedesigned Sennheiser Performance Audio Codec (SePac), ensuring excellent audio transparency from the capsule to the system output. Latency, which is always a factor in digital systems, is a mere 1.9 milliseconds, which is imperceptible in practical application.

Engineers are pleased with the operating time of the handhelds and bodypacks with the BA 70 packs, it amounts to approximately 12 hours. They also like that they can rely on the display for the remaining battery life in hours and minutes. We have also received very positive comments about the Bluetooth sync, which is much more convenient for them.

You do not longer need to crouch in front of your rack when you want to establish the RF link. EW-DX is currently being used on tour with Culcha Candela, A Girl Named Tom, and Anthonia Edwards, among many others.

Photo:
GEAR HEADS
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Dr Oliver Schmitz, Head of Music Industry Portfolio at Sennheiser, overviews the company’s Evolution Wireless Digital family and the EW-DX microphone system.

NMK Electronics to distribute LG in Saudi Arabia

The collaboration enables NMK to distribute the manufacturer’s information display solutions in the Kingdom.

NMK Electronics has entered into a new partnership with LG to distribute its entire portfolio of information display solutions in Saudi Arabia.

The LG product line-up available to NMK includes an extensive range of indoor and outdoor LED displays, signage screens, interactive digital boards, hospitality screens. Not to mention its advanced software solutions like Super Sign and Procentric.

Lim Heetaik, Product Director at LG, commented on the collaboration: “Our new partnership with NMK is an opportunity to increase business opportunities and break into new markets through the integration of our unique visual solutions. We believe this partnership offers

FIBERFOX briDge

robust support for our business.”

Dino Drimakis, Commercial Director at NMK Electronics, added: “We are excited to add yet another leading video brand into our portfolio. This alignment with LG further cements our vision of making NMK the leading audio and video provider in the GCC region.”

The partnership represents a strategic alignment for both NMK and LG, particularly for large-scale projects underway in the Saudi region. LG joins NMK’s extensive portfolio, which already includes the likes of Shure, Q-SYS, Avid, Televic, and BrightSign.

Photo: NMK Electronics www.nmkelectronics.com www.lg.com

The

No splicer, no expertise required for installation.

Suitable for Lighting, Network, PA, Video, Broadcast, Defense & Government, Railway and Petrochemical.

Easy patching with common patch cords. Very compact design-fits in every D-hole just like OpticalCON. IP68 Waterproof even without a protective cap.

Email:

REGIONAL ROUND-UP Middle East 69
info@nmkelectronics.com | T: +971 4 266 5244
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four channel FIBERFOX 4CH briDge and FIBERFOX 2CH briDge are the first ever chassis connectors which converts a standardized LC Patch cable into an expanded beam solution. It acts as a “feed – through” and fits into standard D -size shell.

Stage Audio Works illuminates Unite 180 Church

Stage Plus lighting installed at new 2,500-seat Pretoria worship space.

Stage Audio Works recently completed a successful installation of a new house lighting system at Unite 180 Church’s new 2,500-seat capacity space in Pretoria. The project, which commenced in April 2023, aimed to provide the space with a controllable RGBW house lighting solution that would enhance the ambience and overall experience of the congregation.

Th e decision to specify Stage Audio Works’ Stage Plus house lighting solution was driven by the client’s desire to achieve superior control, zoning capabilities, and a wide range of colour options to create dynamic lighting effects within their budget.

“We are thrilled to have partnered with Unite 180 Church to deliver a cutting-edge house lighting system for their new venue,” commented Lee Thomson, Sales Manager at Stage Audio Works. “Our team has been working closely

with Unite 180 on numerous projects over the past two years and we were pleased to be able to recommend the Stage Plus house lighting solution for this latest project.”

Stage Audio Works specified and deployed a bespoke system to enhance events and services at Unite 180. At the heart of the system are 75 Stage Plus house lighting fixtures. This system emits powerful and vibrant beams of light and is intelligently controlled using Sonoff Relays and 10-zone control, allowing for precise management of different areas within the church.

To facilitate user-friendly operation, custom Windows touch panel PCs have been installed, providing an intuitive easy-to-use interface. Ensuring seamless integration and overall management, the QSC Q-Sys platform serves as the central control hub. Additionally, a Miktotek router enables IP control and remote support

for the lighting system. Finally, a Visual Systems B-station acts as a dedicated lighting control station, allowing the Unite 180 production team to effortlessly orchestrate the entire lighting setup.

“The house lighting solution from Stage Plus stands out due to its RGBW capabilities, DMX controllability, and exceptional costeffectiveness,” explained Thomson. “It provides Unite 180 Church with the flexibility to create captivating lighting scenes and adapt the atmosphere accordingly.”

He concluded: “Providing a valueengineered, controllable house lighting solution for Unite 180 Church has been an extremely important undertaking for us. We’re pleased to have contributed to the enhancement of their worship experience.”

REGIONAL ROUND-UP Africa 70
Photo: Stage Audio Works www.stageaudioworks.com

The upgraded space showcases brands including FBT, beamZ, and Alustage.

South African AV distributor StageOne has recently transformed its Demo Room to offer customers a hands-on experience with a diverse range of high-quality products. Located in Midrand, Johannesburg, the revamped space showcases brands such as FBT, beamZ, Alustage, and more.

“This is a significant move for our company,” stated Peter Berry, owner of StageOne. “We are dedicated to meeting and exceeding our customers’ needs, and this upgrade allows us to do just that. Our updated Demo Room gives our customers the opportunity to interact directly with our range of high-quality products. This hands-on approach will help our customers make informed decisions that align with their needs.” The new space offers an immersive

space to explore the high-calibre beamZ lighting product range, with a wide variety of offerings on display, from moving heads and par cans to smoke machines and laser systems.

The Demo Room’s auditory section meanwhile features a variety of FBT professional audio solutions, from powerful line arrays and stage monitors to subwoofers, column speakers, weatherproof speakers, and column arrays.

The facility also includes an area where visitors can get an up-close look at Alustage’s professional staging and trussing systems, offering a clearer perspective of their potential application in concerts, theatre productions, or corporate events.

Photo: StageOne www.stage-one.co.za

StageOne unveils new Demo Room Allen & Heath ME system shines on location in South Africa

Contestants on German reality TV talent

show Sing meinen Song take control of their own IEM mixes.

Musicians on German reality TV talent show Sing meinen Song are now performing their own in-ear monitoring independently thanks to the Allen & Heath ME Personal Mixing System.

For Sascha Kohl, the show’s sound engineer, this has made a huge difference in the hectic daily production routine – particularly as he controls both the FOH mix and the monitoring simultaneously and singlehandedly via an Allen & Heath dLive mixing surface.

During the show, an 11-piece band featuring various stars of the German music scene plays together in a living room setting in South Africa. The line-up of the band remains the same, with well-known singers taking turns.

With a production of this size, the time frame is tight, as two shows are recorded each day, so the idea was floated that musicians could take

care of their own IEM, thus saving time both during rehearsals and performances themselves.

The challenge was that flexible monitoring was needed both during rehearsals in Mannheim and on location in South Africa. All signals, including the FOH mix, the band’s monitoring and the singers’ in-ear monitoring, had to be controlled from one console. The monitoring system also had to be easy to set up and quickly deliver the desired result.

The Allen & Heath ME Personal Mixing System was chosen to meet the challenge, with a total of 11 ME-1s and two ME hubs used. The cabling was laid out in a star configuration to feed all devices with Power-over-Ethernet (PoE). The system was integrated via a dLive S7000 console in conjunction with a DM64 MixRack and an Allen & Heath DX32 Expander. Since the introduction of

the dLive system, it has been the preferred choice for the production of Sing meinen Song

The integration of the ME Personal Mixing System into dLive went without a hitch and no complications arose during setup. The experience of setting up and using the ME system was also thoroughly positive. The system was easy to use for the musicians and proved stable.

“By allowing the musicians to control their own monitoring, the ME system took a lot of pressure off me,” explained Kohl. “We saved a lot of time during rehearsals, and I could concentrate on the FOH mix. The musicians also like being able to adjust their own monitoring. This way, everyone can put together their own personal mix, which inspires the musical performance.”

Africa 71
Photo: Allen & Heath www.allen-heath.com

Robe Appoints new Egyptian Distributor

The manufacturer is aiming to maximise its potential and brand presence in Egypt.

Robe has appointed Egypt Impact Solutions as its new Egyptian distributor. Headed by prolific Lighting Designer Jean William, the Cairo-based company is one of the oldest and best respected entertainment technology enterprises in the country.

William founded Impact Egypt 33 years ago initially as a rental and a sales business. Sales were then halted for a while as the company focussed on installation projects and rentals, but recently sales have restarted to capitalise on a strong and developing market with a demand for quality equipment.

Im pact Egypt Solutions also engages in a wide selection of lighting, visual and multimedia projects, taking on multiple aspects including show design, installation, and operation, keeping its 40 or so full-time staff busy.

William has always been a fan of Robe products and has wanted to work with the brand

for a while – a scenario that is now possible due to a restructuring of the distribution setup. “The products are excellent,” he commented. “They are well designed and robustly built, affordable and offer a great ROI across numerous sectors.”

Robe’s Middle East Regional Sales Manager, Elie Battah, met up with William at ISE in Barcelona earlier this year and discussed Robe’s repositioning in the region. “I was looking for someone with a great reputation and who was enthusiastic and invested in the brand,” Battah noted. “I’ve known Jean for some time, and the time is now right for us to collaborate. I believe the company will really maximise our potential and brand presence in Egypt.”

Th e rental side of Impact Egypt Solutions is involved in numerous large and creatively staged conferences and business events, and William is often hired as a consultant to advise on using the most appropriate and effective technology.

The company will continue working in the rental market and William will continue to design and manage projects.

William sees massive potential for Robe’s new iSeries of IP rated fixtures and the iFORTE for large ballrooms and conference centres. “FORTE is definitely a machine for those power applications,” he confirmed.

On the rental side, Impact Egypt Solutions made a purchase of over 200 fixtures. This stock is set to increase, with the company’s UAE branch, Impact Dubai, also carrying a Robe system in rental stock.

Battah concluded: “Egypt is a unique market, so it is great to have a distributor familiar with using the products in real situations every day, which assists communications and keeps in touch with our markets on multiple levels.”

REGIONAL ROUND-UP Africa 72
Photo: Louise Stickland www.robe.cz

Sound investsStylists in DiGiCo Quantum 225

The rental house reacts to the strong industry demand with its latest mixing console investment.

South African rental company Sound Stylists has invested in a DiGiCo Quantum 225, purchasing the mixing console from DiGiCo distributor, DWR Distribution.

Af ter noticing strong demand for the company’s latest audio control solutions, Sound Stylists owner Kevin Glover decided the time was right to take the plunge. “With the live industry worldwide experiencing a shortage in the supply of gear, it made sense to make the investment,” he commented.

Glover is a big believer in investing in the latest equipment to stay ahead of the game. “We had many SD consoles, but I noticed that everyone was going the Quantum route,” he explained. “We were fortunate to sell our former consoles to new owners who will get good use out of them, which allowed us to upgrade to the Quantum series.” While he’s excited about the new purchase, the top priority for Glover will

always be to continue to meet his clients’ needs. “We try to look after our clients, do the best we can for them and keep them happy,” he noted.

“It’s not that we don’t appreciate and get hyped up when we get new gear. If I get to work on the Quantum 225 it will be fun, but we must be practical, and its primary role will be to get the job done well. The beauty from our young operators’ point of view will be that they get to work on the latest and greatest, so, hopefully, it’s a win-win both ways.”

Th e DMI-Dante card is the feature on the Quantum 225 which aligned with Glover’s future business plan. “The way we are moving forward with our audio control line of products is focused around Dante,” he noted. “This is the reason for purchasing additional Dante DMI cards, allowing us to tie into a Dante network with other products we own, while still offering the normal DiGiCo racks and MADI solutions.” Technical Manager

at Sound Stylists, Carel du Plessis has been with the company for the past six years and is comfortable with switching over to the new DiGiCo Quantum 225 digital mixer.

“The thought process is the same on all the DiGiCo consoles, so it’s just a matter of prepping and making the gig happen,” he stated.

Kyle Robson from DWR worked at Sound Stylists many years ago and has fond memories. “When Kevin got the DiGiCo D5 Live back in 2007, we were the first in the country to use DiGiCo consoles; it’s incredibly special to see the brand still grow in Sound Stylists,” he concluded. “Sound Stylists has invested in every DiGiCo series from D, SD, S and now the Quantum Series. Thank you to Kevin for his ongoing support.”

www.digico.biz

www.dwrdistribution.co.za

www.soundstylists.co.za

Photo: DWR Distribution
Africa 73
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