AUGUST / SEPTEMBER • ISSUE 031
CONQUEST OF ISTANBUL A DAZZLING PRODUCTION TO CELEBRATE THE RISE OF THE OTTOMAN EMPIRE
JEDDAH SUPER DOME • COCA-COLA ARENA • ARHT MEDIA HOLOPRESENCE • SEVEN PRODUCTION
GULF CREWING COMPANY The Middle East’s premier local crew supplier
Established in 2008 and based in the UAE, GCC Events LLC exists to provide a comprehensive, high quality, English-speaking crew service to the live event and exhibition industries of the U.A.E. and Gulf region.
GCC Events LLC Oﬃce 1103 Mezz Floor Al Habtoor Building Al Quoz 1 Sheikh Zayed Road P.O. Box 27349 Dubai UAE Telephone: +971 4 339 5009 Email: oﬃce@gulfcrewing.com
GCC Events LLC - Branch of Abu Dhabi Oﬃce # 220 Second Floor Global Heritage Property Business Centre Omeir Bin Youssef & Sons Building Hamdan Street (Old UAE Exchange Building) P.O. Box 36198 Abu Dhabi, UAE Telephone: +971 4 339 5009 Email: oﬃce@gulfcrewing.com
GCC Middle East LLC Room 111 Ground Floor Um Al Umam Commercial Centre 8714 Salah Ad Din Alayyubi Road Ad Dubbat 12623-4399 Riyadh Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Telephone: +966 11 291 0891 Email: oﬃce@gulfcrewing.com
WELCOME... TO TPMEA
Time to talk Turkey I’m the first to admit that during my two years as Editor of TPMEA, I’ve been guilty of focusing most of my attention on the traditional powerhouse countries within Middle East such as the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Qatar and perhaps neglecting some of the region’s other nations that are not part of the GCC. It’s a problem that I’ve been keen to address for a while but until now have been unable to. However, I’m pleased to say that this is the first ever issue of TPMEA to have a show from Turkey on the cover. The show in question is the Conquest of Istanbul (page 20). For those not au fait with the event – like me until putting this magazine together – every year on 29 May, the city of Istanbul celebrates the fall of Constantinople with a large-scale production that retells the story of the historic 1453 siege on the city. This year, Istanbul-based Imagina Productions took the celebrations to the next level, providing a dazzling multidiscipline show combining drones, lighting, and projection. After watching the video highlights of the show and speaking at length with the team behind the production, aside from being seriously impressed, the one thing that stuck with me is that there is clearly a hell of a lot of talent that lies outside the GCC – and it’s down to us to find it. So, if you’re reading this from Azerbaijan, Lebanon, Jordan or anywhere else that doesn’t get the coverage it deserves, please get in touch. Of course, my desire to branch out to unchartered territories is no slight on the likes of the UAE and Saudi Arabia, which have been so kind to us over the years. As always, we have a range of features in this issue covering projects and companies in both countries. From the first event to be held inside the state-of-the-art Jeddah Super Dome (page 30) and an interview with Coca-Cola Arena’s new General Manager (page 6), to a profile of Dubai-based event safety specialist JAM Event Services (page 40) and a catch up with the Seven Production team (page 44), there’s plenty to get your teeth into. Enjoy the issue. Peter Iantorno Editor
www.tpmeamagazine.com | www.tpimagazine.com | www.tpmeaawards.com
CONTENTS MIDDLE EAST 06 – FIRST LOOK: MARK JAN KAR
Coca-Cola Arena’s GM on his aims for the future.
10 – REGIONAL ROUND-UP
The latest news from the Middle East, including a new L-Acoustics system in the Etihad Arena.
20 – CONQUEST OF ISTANBUL
A dazzling multidiscipline show to celebrate the most important date on Istanbul’s calendar.
30 – MAKKAH REGION DIGITAL PROJECTS EXHIBITION
The first event to take place inside the state-ofthe-art Jeddah Super Dome.
38 – THE ZOO XYZ
The Zoo XYZ Founder, Nadu Placca on tackling racial disparity in the live events industry.
40 – JAM EVENT SERVICES
James Mistry reveals his ambitious growth plans.
42 – ARHT MEDIA HOLOPRESENCE
The hologram tech set for Middle East expansion.
44 – SEVEN PRODUCTION
We profile one of the region’s leading innovators in film and broadcasting.
AFRICA 48 – REGIONAL ROUND-UP
The latest from Africa, including a PRISM Award for #LightSARed.
EDITOR Peter Iantorno Tel: +44 (0)161 476 8360 Mobile: +44 (0)7763 233637 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
CONTRIBUTING EDITOR Stew Hume Tel: +44 (0)161 476 8360 Mobile: +44 (0)7702 054344 e-mail: email@example.com
CONTRIBUTING ASSISTANT EDITOR Jacob Waite Tel: +44 (0)161 476 8352 Mobile:+44 (0)7592 679612 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
COMMERCIAL DIRECTOR Hannah Eakins Tel: +44 (0)161 476 8360 Mobile: +44 (0)7760 485230 e-mail: email@example.com
CHIEF EXECUTIVE Justin Gawne Tel: +44 (0)161 476 8360 Mobile: +44 (0)7768 850767 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
ACCOUNT MANAGER Fran Begaj Tel: +44 (0)161 476 8360 Mobile: +44 (0)7852 336728 e-mail: email@example.com
DIGITAL CONTENT MANAGER James Robertson Tel: +44 (0)161 476 8360 Mobile: +44 (0)7725 475819 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
GRAPHIC DESIGN & PRODUCTION Dan Seaton: email@example.com Mel Capper: firstname.lastname@example.org
ACCOUNTS Lynette Levi / Sarah Miller: email@example.com
COVER PHOTOGRAPHY Conquest of Istanbul by Emre Dorter
PRINTED BY Buxton Press • www.buxpress.co.uk
MONDIALE GROUP CHAIRMAN Damian Walsh
FIRST LOOK MIDDLE EAST
MARK JAN KAR, GENERAL MANAGER, COCA-COLA ARENA COCA-COLA ARENA’S NEW GENERAL MANAGER SETS OUT HIS PLAN TO BRING LARGE-SCALE LIVE EVENTS BACK TO DUBAI’S LARGEST INDOOR VENUE.
As the world recovers from the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, companies and organisations up and down the live events supply chain are aiming to recover, rebuild and, ultimately, return to normal operation. Like all venues, Dubai’s Coca-Cola Arena has been hit hard by the pandemic, however, as restrictions in the UAE begin to ease, it seems there may be some light at the end of the tunnel. Following a restructure, the man who is now tasked with guiding the arena towards a return to live events is General Manager, Mark Jan Kar. Taking the reins from departing CEO, Guy Ngata, Kar – who worked closely with Ngata in his previous role as the arena’s Director, Commercial and Live – is looking to build on his predecessor’s legacy. Here, the new General Manager explains the reasoning behind the restructure, speculates on what his biggest challenges will be, and provides an update on how Coca-Cola Arena will be working with promoters and suppliers to aid a much-needed recovery of the industry. Can you explain the circumstances around the restructuring at Coca-Cola Arena? I have worked closely with Guy Ngata and the executive team since I joined the arena as Head of Commercial in October 2018. In that time, we worked together to open the building, with the main remit being securing naming rights within the building – which we did with Coca-Cola. Guy did a fantastic job in the pre-opening phase of the building, as well as the first nine months of operation until COVID-19 hit. From then, we’ve all been on a long road to recovery. It’s been an incredibly tough 18 months or so for everyone, and Guy recently got the opportunity to return to New Zealand to be with his family – something that we all know the importance of after the difficult period we’ve faced. Having worked very closely with Guy and been part of the arena’s senior leadership team, I was given the chance to explore the new role of General Manager, and with the blessing of ASM Global and the full support of our owner, Dubai Holdings, here we are.
FIRST LOOK MIDDLE EAST
“We need to understand how as an industry, we can bring life back to live events – and that includes everyone from promoters to suppliers, to attendees to artists. ” Coca-Cola Arena General Manager, Mark Jan Kar.
What kind of a legacy has Guy left? Guy has been a sensational leader. I come from a sporting background, so, the fact that he identified the similarities between sport and entertainment and gave me that opportunity showed great vision. It was very much Guy’s management style to allow me to grow and prosper. He wasn’t a micromanager. He was there as a support network, but he always had full belief in me as I grew from a commercial space into the commercial and live space. He was the one who consistently pushed me to develop. When Guy mentioned that he would like me to put my name forward for the General Manager role, that was a real milestone moment for me – the man you’ve been working for, mentored by, and followed to the tee is now passing on that torch, so to speak. His are giant shoes to fill and it’s impossible to truly fill them. However, we are in a different period now and as we look to return to full-scale live events, it’s a great opportunity to
take all the learnings and leadership that Guy had and put my stamp and style on to it. What kind of a style will that be? Everyone has their own style. I’m very lucky that the core executive team that has been with us since the opening has remained and we’ve been able to retain their services throughout the pandemic. I’m walking into the role with the full confidence and support of my colleagues. First and foremost, we need to understand how as an industry, we can bring life back to live events – and that includes everyone from promoters to suppliers, to attendees to artists. It’s a case of going back to basics. We are the biggest and brightest venue in town, but we are here to work with everyone to ensure that we can bring this industry back. It’s about applying humility and focusing on relationships. ASM Global operates 321 facilities around the world, and we are the only ASM facility in Dubai. I also aim to
educate our suppliers and promoters more about the ASM brand and encourage more integration as the market begins to rebound. How are you working with promoters and suppliers to aid the recovery of the industry? We as a venue need to concentrate on pricing; we need to be a much more competitive option. In a reduced-capacity landscape, the promoter has a much greater choice of facilities. In the current climate, we are competing with an exhibition hall, an opera house, a theatre in a shopping mall… Firstly, we need to understand and accept what space we are operating in, and once we’ve done that, we need to engage promoters and suppliers and explain why an arena would be advantageous to their show – if that is the case, of course. At the same time, we need to be honest. Based on certain budgets and capacity restrictions, as much as we want to welcome
FIRST LOOK MIDDLE EAST
every show to Coca-Cola Arena, if you take all these restrictions into account then in some cases other venues would suit certain shows better. If that is the case, we have a duty to advise that fact – that way, at least the promoter can regain customer confidence and build some traction, ultimately planning for future bigger shows here at the arena. The plan is all about reconnecting with everyone and explaining what we as a facility are doing to be more competitive and less rigid than in the past. What will being less rigid involve? We need to understand and work with everyone, from artists to suppliers to promoters, to find a way of making events work for all parties in the current conditions. The solution must come from all sides. If we as a venue are going to operate from an almost cash neutral perspective to help bring the industry back, then we expect others to do the same. We appreciate that it is a promoter’s business to sell tickets and generate revenue, but that can’t ever come at the expense of fans. We don’t dictate to the promoter what ticket prices should be, but we have a large influence to make sure that fair pricing is maintained. At the same time, we’re working with the government and stakeholders to push for higher capacities when it’s safe to do so, which will enhance our ability to host all kinds of live events. We understand that you can’t suddenly
open with 100% or even 70% – it’s going to be a gradual build up to that. We plan on delivering a couple of great shows at the current 1,500 capacity, then taking it from there. It sounds like quite a challenge… As challenging as the scenario is, the UAE and in particular Dubai, thanks to its phenomenal leadership, has positioned itself throughout this pandemic as the place to be. We’re very fortunate that Dubai Expo 2020 is set to take place in October, and the city is on a full-on drive to succeed in every way possible. Expo will be a big boost to the entire city. Of course, the masterplan has changed somewhat due to COVID-19, but we see silver linings in that. For example, while certain pavilions were previously planning to deliver all their content inside the Expo 2020 site, there’s now the possibility of more citywide activations. We’re very excited to explore that possibility further. What are your short-term goals? I recently had a meeting with the executive team where I said, ‘irrespective of what we do, we will be judged on our results in the next 100 days.’ What are our key objectives and deliverables? What are the threats that could stop us from delivering those objectives? Our mission is to reconnect with the industry, return with some live shows, communicate the importance of health and safety to our number
one clientele, which is ticketholders and fans, and bring back that desire for live experiences. We see live experience taking place on a smaller scale already in cafes, bars, and hotels, but how do we elevate that to an arena-level show? Ultimately, everything is judged by the content. We have all the best facilities at our disposal, but if we don’t have the right content, the building will remain empty. What are your long-term plans? We want to really engage with our commercial partners further – especially Coca-Cola. We have some phenomenal ideas about how we can bring the arena to life not just as a home of live entertainment, but also as an experience on none-show days. We have a prime location in Downtown Dubai and the question we need to ask is, how do we bring more life to the community? It could be anything from community sports to market fairs and graduation ceremonies. We want to effectively ingrain this building into the community as close to 365 days a year as possible. It’s going to be a long road ahead and there will be trials and tribulations along the way but, building on the fantastic foundations that Guy has laid, with my unbelievable executive team and the full support of ASM Global, I look forward to the challenge. Photos: Coca-Cola Arena www.coca-cola-arena.com
KLT Managing Director, Stuart Taylor with the KLT team; CT’s Carlos Aguilar and Tom Warneke; Gallowglass Health & Safety Middle East’s Jillian Park, Alicja Bilogan and Rimsha Roberts; Levels Audio Visual’s Daniel Ball and Hassan Alwan.
INDUSTRY APPOINTMENTS THE LATEST MOVERS AND SHAKERS ACROSS THE REGION. Creative Technology (CT) Middle East has added Carlos Aguilar to its live events video engineering division. With over 11 years working in the live events and broadcast industries, Aguilar brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the team. “Carlos is a highly qualified professional with a bachelor’s degree in TV and Video Production, a certified Barco switcher operator and a disguise specialist with expert knowledge in projection mapping, creative programming and server workflows,” the company stated. The company has also appointed Tom Warneke as a Senior Project Manager for its live events division. “I’m really excited to be joining such a world-class team as CT and work on some of the most exciting projects across the region, particularly as we expand into offering that same level of service and quality in a full-service way for not just video but complete technical delivery,” he commented. Gallowglass Health & Safety Middle East has appointed Alicja Bilogan as Operations Manager, as well as Jillian Park and Rimsha Roberts as Health & Safety Advisors. “Alicja’s vast experience in project
and operations management planning expertise meant securing her employment was a nobrainer,” said Gallowglass Branch Manager, Declan Meenan. “With their H&S experience, desire and team-based approach, Jillian and Rimsha will be a perfect fit for Gallowglass moving forward.” INFiLED has opened a new office and showroom in Dubai. “The office is not only a working space for our fast-growing team but also an opportunity to be closer to the market,” said INFiLED Middle East Business Development Manager, Samer Otaibi. “We are proud and delighted to have a local office to invite customers and show them our latest products for fixed and rental installations.” The new facility is located on Al Bourouj Street in Knowledge Village – Office Park Building, Block C, Office 307. Kraftwerk Living Technologies (KLT) has opened its first Middle East office, with Stuart Taylor taking on the role of Managing Director for the region. Located in Concord Tower, Dubai Media City, the new premises are the company’s fifth global office worldwide. The company has also opened a warehouse for operations in the
Saeed Al Maktoum Complex at the Jebel Ali Industrial Area First. “We believe in the Middle East’s growing entertainment and culture markets and opening an office in Dubai is an important step to strengthen our operations worldwide,” stated KLT CEO and Founder, Manfred Meier. Dubai-based Levels Audio Visual has become the latest company to join the L-Acoustics Certified Provider install (CPi) network. “Becoming an L-Acoustics CPi is an acknowledgment of our high standards, putting Levels in a rare group of professional organisations, each at the top of their game,” commented Managing Partner, Hassan Alwan. “We are very excited to have Levels AV onboard to join the L-Acoustics family as an integration partner in the region,” added Chris Mead, L-Acoustics Sales Manager, Middle East, India, East Africa. “It’s important that these premium systems are supplied to the end users by an integrator like Levels, who hold a similar appetite for perfection as we do.” www.tpmeamagazine.com
SHURE DEBUTS ADX5D IN DUBAI THE BRAND-NEW PORTABLE RECEIVER DEBUTS AT A PRIVATE EVENT ATTENDED BY VIPS, CUSTOMERS AND PARTNERS AT DUBAI’S RENAISSANCE DOWNTOWN HOTEL. Shure has unveiled its brand-new portable receiver, the Axient Digital ADX5D. The new technology was showcased to VIPs, customers, and partners at a private event held at Dubai’s Renaissance Downtown Hotel, with international viewers tuning in over Zoom. “We designed the ADX5D Portable Receiver to incorporate the same innovative wireless technology that Axient Digital is known for, all in a portable form factor for professionals in the field or on-the-go,” said Shure Senior Wireless Category Director, Nick Wood. “This new addition to the Axient Digital family exceeds the rigours of everyday use and lives up to Shure’s reputation for quality that we’ve earned over the past 96 years.” The ADX5D includes
Shure’s ShowLink technology, which is unique to Axient Digital and allows real-time control of all transmitter parameters, interference detection, and avoidance. It is also compatible with Wireless Workbench, which supports efficient control and configuration, optimal spectrum management, and frequency coordination. Said to “innovate in a way that would take Axient Digital beyond the stage, stadiums, and studio broadcast environments” the ADX5D is also designed to operate within the sports/ events broadcasting, electronic news gathering, film/episodic television, and electronic field production sectors. Photo: Shure www.shure.com
VITEC TAKES JOCKEY CLUB OF SAUDI ARABIA GLOBAL ZEST TECHNOLOGIES SUPPLIES AN MGW DIAMOND QUAD CHANNEL ENCODER TO MEET THE JOCKEY CLUB’S LIVESTREAM REQUIREMENTS. A Vitec MGW Diamond quad channel encoder is helping to bring the Jockey Club of Saudi Arabia to a worldwide audience. The Riyadh-based club was seeking to expand its weekly horse racing coverage – which take place on Fridays and Saturdays during its season – beyond its domestic reach and into new markets via internet streaming channels. The solution uses the MGW Diamond encoder, sending the stream to NEP Connect and onto Sports Information Services (SIS) via public internet. From SIS, it is distributed to customers and partners worldwide via its retail and online services, including its 24/7 live betting channels. “Traditionally, we would’ve looked to have put a satellite truck on site for a project like this,” commented Proimage Solutions Limited Broadcast Technical Consultant, James Bonnar. “However, with about 14 hours of total coverage over the two days, and the need for a satellite truck, it would have been cost prohibitive to use this broadcast workflow. Working with the Jockey Club, we looked at what internet speeds
we could get and what bandwidth could be dedicated to a possible stream. I ran some successful streaming tests to the UK and spoke to Lorna Garrett, Zest Technologies Managing Director, about purchasing an SRT encoder. I’ve worked with Lorna for a long time, and over the years we have looked at various streaming systems and remote contribution systems using the public internet, now that it is improving.” MGW Diamond is a small, power-efficient quad-channel HD or single-channel 4K HEVC video encoder designed for field-based applications. It features a powerful encoding engine with the ability to output up to eight streams simultaneously. The system in Saudi Arabia takes the mixed output from a broadcast flypack – also installed by Proimage Solutions Limited – which is then distributed. It makes use of several SRT streams: one going to SIS, and another going to Proimage Solutions Limited for remote monitoring purposes. Whilst the stream is not currently 4K, the MGW Diamond encoder is powerful enough to deliver the resolution,
providing future proofing and expansion flexibility without significant additional costs. “The solution has been very robust, and the support has been fantastic,” added Bonnar. “VITEC was always there to jump in and provide support; they helped ourselves and SIS get the setup working in no time at all. The quality from this encoder has been amazing using SRT. We’re pushing out an eight Mb/s HEVC stream, and it is fantastic. When you look at it on a grade one broadcast monitor it is very impressive. It has also delivered on cost effectiveness over alternatives, which made it a viable project to do – without that, it simply wouldn’t have happened.” Following a successful season of streaming in Riyadh, the encoder system is being moved to another racetrack in Saudi Arabia, where it will be used to stream action from Ta’if in the southwest of the country for 10 weeks. The MGW Diamond encoder was supplied by Zest Technologies (originally through Garland). Photo: VITEC www.vitec.com
3DB DELIVERS VOLVO TRUCKS LAUNCH EVENTS THE COMPANY FACILITATES BACK-TO-BACK EVENTS IN DUBAI’S COCA-COLA ARENA AND ABU DHABI’S ETIHAD ARENA TO LAUNCH VOLVO’S NEW RANGE OF TRUCKS IN THE MIDDLE EAST.
The UAE’s leading heavy vehicle and machinery importer, FAMCO (Al-Futtaim Auto & Machinery Company) celebrated the release of its new Volvo Trucks range in the Middle East by hosting two back-to-back launch events in the UAE. Taking place at the Coca-Cola Arena and Etihad Arena, the events saw the newgeneration models revealed to an invited guestlist of key decision makers in the region. Tasked with creating an innovative concept was Dubai-based event production company, 3DB. “The brief was to come up with a creative concept and delivery plan for the launch events,” began 3DB Director of Marketing and Events, Adam Griffiths. “It had to be something that really made a statement and was memorable for all the invited guests.” Both events were focused on the big reveal, where guests would be able to set their eyes on the new models for the first time. “The reveal concept was all about celebrating the environments in which the trucks excel in
their day-to-day life, whether that is long-haul, construction or mountain terrain,” Griffiths recalled. “We created content to showcase this.” As well as coming up with the concept, 3DB also supplied the technical equipment, including audio, video, lighting, rigging and staging. While some kit was required for the pre-function and gala dinner elements of the event, the majority of equipment was utilised for the big reveal. A d&b audiotechnik line array system comprising 14 Q1s, six B2 subs and seven D12 digital amplifiers was hung using a Q Series Flying Frame, while a DiGiCo SD11 was used for control. On-stage presenters used a Sennheiser G3 eightway radio microphone kit. Video was projected onto a custom-built set comprising two 12.4m by 7m projection surfaces, with a central 5m by 7m moving wall and a 26.85m by 17.5m floor. The projector of choice was Panasonic’s PTRZ-31K, with seven used to display the content, which was distributed through two disguise gx 2 media servers.
In lighting world, two MA Lighting grandMA2 consoles were used to control the rig, which included a total of 20 Vari-Lite VL2600 Profiles, 24 Robe BMFLs and 12 Claypaky Mythos. The look was completed with a selection of LED blinders as well as moving heads, washes and beams, with two Le Maitre MVS hazers and two Viper 2.6 foggers adding to the atmosphere. The first business event to take place inside Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Arena, Griffiths noted that the tighter COVID-19 restrictions in the emirate added an extra layer of complexity. “We had to follow tight guidelines, but with proper planning, this was a pretty seamless project,” he commented. With both events going off without a hitch, the most important thing for Griffiths was that the client was left happy. “The feedback we were given was really positive,” he shared. “It was nice to be back working in the UAE’s two major arenas. Hopefully there’ll be a lot more to come.” Photo: 3DB www.3db-dxb.com
BYRNE LAUNCHES ON-SITE RENTAL DEPOT THE COMPANY PARTNERS WITH MEDIAPRO, FRUITION AND SHOWFORCE TO OFFER A TURNKEY EVENTS SOLUTION ON THE SITE OF A MAJOR DUBAI CONSTRUCTION PROJECT. Byrne Equipment is offering a new turnkey events solution on the site of ‘a major construction project’ in Dubai. While Byrne partnered initially with a specialist small tools company to support a constant stream of construction projects on-site, this year the company has teamed up with MediaPro, Fruition and Showforce to cater to the events industry in anticipation of the many events that will take place on the site between October this year and March 2022. “Initially, we were an integral part of the build-up phase of many of the pavilions that make up this major construction project,” began Byrne Regional General Manager of UAE, Oman & Group Head Specialist Divisions, Steve Caygill. “This year, with our extensive range of equipment as well as partnerships with event suppliers MediaPro, Fruition and Showforce, we are looking forward to expanding our offering to cater to the events sector, with many agreements to do so already in place.” The on-site rental depot has been built using Byrne’s temporary buildings and aims to “provide all contractors, stakeholders and the wider array
of people and organisations working on projects on-site, immediate access to a vast range of equipment and consumables in one convenient location,” Caygill explained. “In doing so, users of this facility can expect equipment ready for hire, fit for purpose and tested in accordance with stringent health and safety regulations.” According to Caygill, the fact that the facility is situated inside the security parameter of the site brings a range of benefits, including: “reduced traffic to and from the site, resulting in lower CO2 emissions, as well as rapid response to any and all requirements and requests onsite, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.” The depot includes a large office and meeting space, as well as a large warehouse and yard space. “Our kit is inclusive of temporary buildings/cabins, sanitation facilities, power generation, AC units, powered access, mobile lighting and sound equipment, staging, fencing and manpower,” outlined Caygill. In addition, MediaPro is providing audio, video, lighting and staging equipment; Fruition is offering overlay products for a broad range of events inclusive of scaffolding towers,
archways and walls, platforms and staging, water technology, barriers and fencing; while Showforce brings a vastly experienced professional logistics crew. While the COVID-19 pandemic had an inevitable effect over the past year, demand for the facility has been increasing steadily this year. “We are always listening to our customers and adapting our product offering to meet their requirements, and this facility has been no different,” concluded Caygill. “We have diversified our on-site fleet and secured strategic partnerships with Showforce, MediaPro and Fruition to bolster our one-stop shop offering. We expect demand to grow in the post COVID period in the wake of many upcoming events this year and beyond. We are looking forward to a busy year supporting this prestigious construction project, the events and what is to come.” Photo: Byrne Equipment Rental www.byrnerental.com www.mediapro-av.com www.fruitionevents.ae www.showforce.com
HARLEQUIN SETS THE STAGE AT EXPO 2020 THE COMPANY IS PROVIDING A RANGE OF HIGH-END SPRUNG AND VINYL PERFORMANCE SURFACES FOR THE MUCH-ANTICIPATED MEGA-EVENT. Dubai Expo 2020 has engaged performance floor design, manufacture and installation specialist, Harlequin Floors to provide a range of sprung and vinyl performance surfaces for the main entertainment stages at the event. The supply comprises key areas of the Expo 2020 site, including: Jubilee Park, a covered stage with casual outdoor seating for up to 7,500 people with a performance area of 280 sq m; Dubai Millennium Amphitheatre, an intimate outdoor venue located at Al Forsan Park with capacity for up to 1,937 seats (mainly along wooden benches) and the total performance area of 144 sq m; as well as Al Wasl Plaza and several rehearsal areas. Over 300 sq m of Harlequin Liberty HD sprung floor panels will be used across the two main stages. This world-renowned sprung
floor panel system is made from FSC-certified premium birch plywood, coated with a textured polymer resin for extra grip, durability and weather resistance. The panels feature dualdensity elastomer pads giving consistent shock dampening. They lock together using Harlequin’s proprietary ‘latch and lock’ system. The company is also supplying 1,200 sq m of its flagship performance vinyl floor, Harlequin Cascade, with BioCote antimicrobial protection. Described as “the ultimate heavy-duty vinyl dance floor with mineral fibre reinforcement for stability and durability”, the product has a smooth embossed surface with high levels of grip. It also comes with BioCote antimicrobial protection, helping to keep the surface of the floor hygienically clean by reducing the presence of microbes on the surface and therefore
reducing the risk of cross contamination. Harlequin is also providing ramps and trims for the stages, eight Liberty panel carts and four vinyl roll carts. Photo: Harlequin Floors www.harlequinfloors.com
A ROBUST AND EASY LED DISPLAY SOLUTION FOR OUTDOOR RENTAL APPLICATION
QVISION SELECTS CLAYPAKY FOR FIFA ARAB CUP QATAR 2021 DRAW CLAYPAKY SCENIUS UNICO, SHARPY PLUS, HEPIKOS AND A.LEDA B-EYE K20 CC MOVING HEADS ARE AMONG THE FIXTURES ON THE FIFA ARAB CUP QATAR 2021 DRAW LIGHTING RIG.
Tasked with staging the live broadcast of the FIFA Arab Cup Qatar 2021 Draw at Katara Opera House in Doha, Qatar Vision Company (Qvision) deployed a large complement of Claypaky lighting fixtures to illuminate the venue. Claypaky Scenius Unico, Sharpy Plus, Hepikos and A.leda B-EYE K20 CC moving heads were used for the draw, which determined the matches for the 2021 Arab Cup to be held in December. Seen as an important opportunity to test operations and facilities prior to the FIFA World Cup in Qatar in 2022, the event was held under strict COVID-19 protocols, including a completely closed production bubble. Qvision was responsible for the stage set, rigging, lighting, audio, video, and visual and motion graphics content at the opera house. The
company also supplied the complete technical, operations and logistics manpower required to deliver the event. The draw concept and creative design were by Qvision Managing Director, Sharif Hashisho and his team, who devised an impressive show for both the attending guests and delegates at the Katara Opera House as well as the worldwide broadcast TV audience. The proscenium stage was outfitted with a 117 sq m, 2.9mm high-resolution LED video wall backdrop, with an additional 70 sq m of 2.9mm LEDs left and right to display animated motion graphics and broadcast the live feed. An array of Claypaky fixtures lit the set. Lighting Designers, Mohammad Assaf and Mark Anton chose 20 Scenius Unicos to illuminate the draw pots as well as the conductor and
speech lecterns, citing the need for the fixtures’ precise framing system. Meanwhile, a total of 40 A.leda B-EYE K20 CC moving heads washed the entire stage to meet the show’s broadcast requirements. In addition, 40 Sharpy Plus and 20 Hepikos moving heads created dramatic beams and patterns throughout the show. “Claypaky has a wealth of products that are suitable for any kind of lighting show, whether it’s a large-scale stadium show or ceremony, corporate event or launch, small event or wedding,” Hashisho concluded. “Claypaky fixtures are very reliable. Working with products that will not fail during a show was an important factor in our selection.” Photo: Claypaky www.claypaky.it
CT INSTALLS L-ACOUSTICS SYSTEM AT ETIHAD ARENA THE TOURING SYSTEM BOASTS MULTIPLE CONFIGURATIONS TO SUIT EVERYTHING FROM INDOOR CONCERTS TO SPORTING EVENTS.
Creative Technology Middle East (CTME) has recently delivered a complete L-Acoustics touring system at Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi. An Approved Calibration Centre (ACC) and Certified Partner Integrations (CPI) for L-Acoustics, CTME worked closely with L-Acoustics during the modelling of the system based on CAD drawings supplied by the Etihad Arena. As the venue will be hosting a wide range of events, the design had to consider multiple configurations to suit various productions from indoor concerts to sporting events and more. “CT delivered the L-Acoustics system on behalf of the arena, and verified, tested, installed
and calibrated the equipment, making sure the system was responding as per the design,” explained CT Systems Integration Project Manager, Craig Harvey. As part of the L-Acoustics system, CT also installed a delay system comprising five hangs of six KARAs, which was designed to work alongside any configuration. The complete system consisted of 36 K2s and 30 KARA loudspeakers, 12 K1-SBs and 16 KS28 subs, 11 LA-RAK IIs complete with 43 LA12X amplified controllers. The signal transportation was handled over an Optocore system, and all networking was taken care of with Luminex switches. “The
networking gave us the capability of being able to transport analogue, AES or ABV signals to all the amplifiers,” Harvey added. “CT offers a complete service, from design and equipment procurement to installing and configuring, providing our clients with highquality equipment accompanied by professional engineers who understand how to use it and maximise the system potential,” he concluded. “Our ability to simulate these system designs before installation allows our clients to visualise the final result before making a purchase.” Photo: CT Middle East www.ctme.co
PIXEL ARTWORKS CHOOSES TIMAX FOR DUBAI AIRPORT A NEW HIGH-PROFILE AUDIOVISUAL EXPERIENCE GREETS VISITORS AT DUBAI INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT. Pixel Artworks recently specified a TiMax SoundHub spatial audio server for a new highprofile audiovisual experience greeting visitors arriving into Dubai International airport. The immersive installation captures the spirit and ethos of the rescheduled Expo 2020 event, now running from autumn 2021 to spring 2022. Raven AV’s Dan Roncoroni handled the sophisticated audio aspects of the installation, following an earlier preparatory site visit by Out Board’s Robin Whittaker. Due to its late addition to the project, TiMax had to be retrofitted into an existing system design within tight timescales. Aside from the airport’s highly reflective environment and characteristically high level of background noise, the requirement for loudspeakers to be neither surface mounted nor visible added to these challenges. Additionally, significant negotiation with the airport had been necessary to ease some restrictive decibel limits, and because intended electrical cabling ran contrary to the airport’s infrastructure schedule,
only data cables could be run across the airport. “The project called for a spatial audio setup outside the envelope of most spatial audio processors,” recalled Roncoroni. The solution hinged around a 32-channel TiMax SoundHub delivering a nuanced, multilinear soundscape via Dante to 16 EM Acoustics EMS-51s, which were secured to haloes of flexible LED display panels fixed around four marble pillars. The loudspeaker spec, Roncoroni explained, was based on the EMS51 being “…the best loudspeaker to fit the audio requirements, the size requirements and the budget.” Four loudspeakers per pillar were positioned to give coverage across a 120-degree angle per pillar. The set up is testament to the superior audio control TiMax bestows because as Roncoroni said, “I don’t know another processor that could so easily have dealt with groups of four loudspeakers pointing at each other from 20m apart at the widest gap.” Exploiting the bandwidth and full breadth of the groups of
ultra-compact EMS51s, driven by Powersoft’s new Mezzo half-rack power amplifiers, produced enough low end to compensate for the subwoofers that could not be accommodated. Roncoroni confidently asserted, “I couldn’t have done that with larger loudspeakers running stereo content and the only way that worked really was with a TiMax.” Audio playback from TiMax was triggered by the Seventh Sense Media server. TiMax also handled all the audio mixing and equalisation. Roncoroni concluded: “TiMax allowed us to create an incredible and cohesive soundscape that is impressive to all who pass through the installation. With the excellent localisation achieved by TiMax, the airport’s reflective environment stopped being a worry, the loudspeakers effectively became acoustically invisible and there was just a soundfield of incredible quality.” Photo: Out Board www.outboard.co.uk
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CONQUEST OF ISTANBUL DRONES, LIGHTING AND PROJECTION COMBINE IN A DAZZLING MULTIDISCIPLINE SHOW TO CELEBRATE THE MOST IMPORTANT DATE ON ISTANBUL’S CALENDAR.
Every year on 29 May, the city of Istanbul celebrates the fall of Constantinople. Known locally as the Conquest of Istanbul, the holiday is marked with annual celebrations, with largescale public events that retell the tale of the historic 1453 siege, which saw Sultan Mehmed II’s army overwhelm the Byzantine troops to claim the city we now know as Istanbul for the Ottoman Empire. Ahead of the 2021 celebrations on the banks of the Golden Horn, Istanbul Municipality Communication Coordination Office was looking for a fresh take on the centuries-old celebration, so they got in touch with Istanbul-based Imagina Productions to see if they could come up with an innovative solution. “This is an event that happens every year, but this time the municipality wanted to do something bigger and more fundamental,” began Executive Producer, Isil Evgin. “Before this year, the show was always more of a documentarytype production, stating the facts of how the Conquest of Istanbul happened. It’s a story that
has been put out there many times over years. This year more than any, the world has changed, and we felt that the show needed to change to reflect that.” Working closely with fellow Imagina Co-Founder, Sedat Gündüz, who took care of Production Design and Management on the project, as well as Creative Director, Denis Astakhov, the trio began brainstorming ideas, coming up with a concept and creating a storyboard to present to the municipality. “Even though our idea was very different to what had come before, the municipality was very open to our viewpoint, so it was an easy client to work with,” reported Evgin. The only member of the team who was not in Istanbul, London/Moscow-based Astakhov recalled the “strange” experience of being a Creative Director for a show that he wasn’t able to see in the flesh. “I have done quite a few livestream events such as online conferences and esports tournaments remotely, but this is the first one where the action was happening on stage
in front of a live audience, but I wasn’t able to be there in person,” he reflected. However, as soon as he got the call from Gündüz, he jumped at the chance to get involved. “While Sedat is officially my client for this project, I have to say that he is also my friend,” he revealed. “As soon as he explained the nature of the project to me, that it was going to be one of the first live events to take place since the pandemic and it was going to be big, I said ‘yes’ straight away.” While Astakhov is technically minded, starting his career in 00s as a Projection Engineer and then working as an Executive Producer before launching his own creative agency, Avocado Toast, in 2018, the Creative Director did not need to get particularly involved in the technical aspects of the project. “I would usually have a big input – especially when it comes to projection – but I really trust Sedat, as he knows the AV discipline completely,” he shared. Gündüz added: “Some Creative Directors only focus on one element such as the video, but Denis is different – he thinks about all the
elements of the show and makes sure that they tie in together. He knows what is possible from a technical perspective, yet he always wants to push the limits, which is why we like working with him so much.” The main concept of the production revolved around ‘time’. “The Conquest of Istanbul was the end of one era and the start of a new one – it was a landmark moment in history,” Evgin explained. “We used that concept of ‘time’ and built everything in the overall show design around that.” Astakhov added: “I took a lot of inspiration from the arch-shaped backdrop of the stage that Sedat designed. It can be visualised as half a clock, an hourglass or a Byzantine sundial, so there are many ways it links back to the theme of ‘time’.” With the concept in place, the Imagina team contacted renowned Turkish composer, İskender Paydas to develop a piece of music especially for
the show. “We wanted him to incorporate the Ottoman Martial Orchestra in the score, because that was what gave the military the energy to fight,” Evgin explained. “All Turkish people are familiar with it, but we wanted him to modernise it and combine it with a full symphonic orchestra to give the show a surprise element.” The final audio track was around nine minutes long, with a pre-recorded voiceover element written by Ozlem Yılmaz and read by Cahit Saher added over the top of the live performance to aid the narrative. In all, 76 musicians played live on stage. “We had a lot of elements to think about in the entire production, so, of course, a playback show would have been the easiest thing to do,” supposed Gündüz, noting that the original brief from the client didn’t call for a symphonic orchestra at all. “They didn’t want the audio to be too classical, but with the addition of the Turkish drummers
from the Martial Orchestra, we made sure that it was something innovative. Having so many musicians playing live on stage was such a powerful element of the production and an opportunity too good to miss.” Audio was delivered by an L-Acoustics PA system comprising KARA and SB218s, supplied by Istanbul-based Pia Sahne Teknolojileri. FOH Engineer, Tayfun Oksuz operated a Soundcraft Vi6, while Monitor Engineer, Memed Arif as well as Broadcast Engineer, Erim Arkman were on Yamaha CL5s. Overall broadcast was handled by Case Productions, and Alican Okan took care of audio special effects. ‘EXCITING AND ENGAGING’ With Gündüz keen that the show would be truly multidiscipline, a range of visual elements were incorporated into the show, each adding a layer of complexity. “We wanted to incorporate
“Having so many musicians playing live on stage was such a powerful element of the production and an opportunity too good to miss.” Imagina Productions’ Sedat Gündüz.
lighting, projection mapping, drones and pyro into the show, along with the music,” he commented. “It needed to all come together to tell the story in a way that was exciting and engaging for the audience.” The Imagina team used Syncronorm Depence2 extensively in the pre-production phase, with Depence2 Designer, İbrahim Kandemir building the show in its entirety within the software in order to provide an accurate visualisation for the client. “The municipality is very open-minded and willing to take onboard
new ideas – especially when they can see exactly how they will look,” noted Evgin. “Depence2 was extremely useful for this. We basically created the whole show so the municipality could watch it before it was put together for real, which saved lots of time and allowed us to demonstrate the vision easily.” The primary visual storytelling device of the show was through video content, which came in the form of a nine-minute video created by Milkyway Creative and projected onto the arch using 12 20K Barco HDX-W18 projectors,
along with Dataton WATCHOUT servers and an Analogue Way Ascender screen management system. The video package also included two 7m by 4m 4.9mm LED screens used as IMAGs, as well as an 11m by 5m 3.9mm LED screen used as the backdrop for the symphonic orchestra, all supplied by Solid Technical. Recalling the extensive groundwork that went into creating the video content, Astakhov looked back on his role. “I had to do a lot of research on the concept,” he recalled. “On one hand it was quite easy because there are a lot
of facts that you can research on how the event has happened in the past. However, because the municipality wanted to do something different this year, the big challenge was to take the same historical facts and come up with a new way of presenting them. In the end, it came down to keeping the focus on ‘time’, and not messing up the dates!” The Creative Director used an iPad and the Procreate app to produce basic storyboards and get his vision across to the team. “I’m not a fine artist, but I was able to do a few doodles to help others understand what was in my mind,” he laughed. “I was also able to make notes on
renders, which helped in terms of giving quick and specific feedback while working remotely.” Complementing the video content was a simple yet effective lighting rig. Lighting supplier, Ego Technical Production provided a range of fixtures as specified by Gündüz. Lighting Operators, Cetin Türkmenli and Burhan Sezer utilised Claypaky Mythos as the main workhorse, with 54 of the fixtures placed around the upper edge of the arch, providing mainly big beam looks and “creating volume in the air,” Gündüz described. The arch was also lined on its inner and outer edges with 104 ADJ HEX LED Bars, which added definition to the arch shape,
providing a defined canvas for the projection mapping to take place on. “We needed to add another light source to the canvas to make it really punchy for the audience,” he added. The rest of the lighting rig comprised 35 Martin by Harman MAC Viper Profiles, 16 MAC Viper Performances, 16 Atomic 3000s and 60 Robe Robin 800 LED Washes, all of which were used to illuminate the symphonic orchestra and traditional Turkish drummers. Control meanwhile came from two MA Lighting grandMA2s, with three grandma NPUs. “We have some grandMA3s in the country and they are used, but due to the pandemic, not many lighting operators
have a lot of experience with grandMA3 yet, so they prefer to use grandMA2 for the moment,” Gündüz explained. “I’m sure that will change and grandMA3 will become the industry standard here soon.” ‘THE APPROACH IS VERY ALGORITHMIC’ A spectacular drone show added a final flourish to the visual spectacle. Supplied by Geoscan – a Russian company that may be familiar to TPMEA readers through its recent work at the Dubai World Cup [TPMEA30] – the show comprised some 350 Salute drones and 20 Salute Pro pyro drones. “Drones are used in Turkey, but it’s still quite a new technology for us,” admitted Gündüz. “In the most part, other shows that have included drones have been based almost solely on them, but that’s not what we wanted for this show.” Instead, the drones played something of a supporting role, keeping time with the audio, video and lighting, swarming into several eyecatching formations that reinforced the story of the city’s conquest, including a ship, a sword, a cannon with a fireball, a portrait of Sultan Mehmed II, and Istanbul’s iconic coat of arms. “We couldn’t tell the full story with drones alone, but they were certainly a great way of bringing
together different elements in a budget-limited show such as this,” Gündüz added. The show was Astakhov’s first experience working with drones. “I was very happy to gain that experience, because there were a lot of specifics that none of the audience would even know about but that professionals have to be on top of, such as lift-off and landing times, battery capacity, speed and how weather conditions can affect all that,” he explained. The drone formations were synced with all the other elements of the show using timecode, which meant that any slight changes to the running order or timings would throw everything out of kilter. The timecode started about 30 seconds before the audience saw the start of the show to allow the drones time to lift off and reach their first position. “Since all the images portrayed by the drones were tied to the story, we couldn’t have the drone show running ahead of or behind time,” Astakhov recalled. “I communicated directly with the Geoscan team to ensure that everything ran smoothly.” Describing the Geoscan team as “superprofessional”, Astakhov was full of praise for the Russian company’s way of working. “Their approach is very algorithmic,” he commented.
“You don’t have to hope or pray that things will happen. Everything is programmed and previsualised so you know exactly what will happen beforehand. It is very impressive.” Yet despite all the planning in the world, there was one factor that was out of everyone’s control. “The weather!” Gündüz exclaimed. “Drones were very important for the final look of the show, but they are limited by the weather – if it’s too windy then they simply cannot fly.” Worryingly, there were high winds and heavy rain in the area just prior to the show. However, thankfully the wind dropped just enough for the drones to take flight. “It’s not like there was an option to postpone either,” added Evgin. “It’s a bit like New Years – the day is the day!” Aside from the weather, Geoscan’s Andrei Golenev described “finding the correct position of the drones relative to the stage and audience” as his biggest challenge of the project. “We could only see the exact position of the stage when we arrived on site,” he recalled, adding that Geoscan was also carrying out two other projects in Istanbul around the same time, meaning resources were stretched. “We also encountered communications jammers due to the presence of several high-ranking officials,” he stated.
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“Even when the client has approved a project, we still try to make it even better. We are bored of the ordinary and we want to push the limits to do something different.” Imagina Productions’ Isil Evgin.
“However, we coped with all the challenges thrown our way.” According to Golenev, while this was his first time working with the Imagina team, it was an experience he would very much like to replicate in the future. “The great feedback from Sedat and Isil, as well as the other Imagina employees, was incredibly helpful,” he reflected. “We also loved the celebration after the successful completion of the project. Imagina took us very soulfully.” With the drones operating at heights of more than 120m, the entire production had to be large enough to stand up to the scale. “The stage and arch ended up being huge so it would not be dwarfed by the drones,” Astakhov said. Scaffolding and staging were handled by Giga Solutions, while Ugur Jenerator provided
the energy infrastructure, which included two 300kVA synchronised generators for audio and video, as well as three 400kVA synchronised generators for lighting. Pyro meanwhile was supplied by Efektif Production. Çagdas Oger and Caner Kutuk were Stage Managers on the production, with Busra Tatar and Aysenur Tatar handling Backstage Management. ‘WE WANT TO PUSH THE LIMITS’ Explaining the choice of separate suppliers for audio, video and lighting, Gündüz noted that any one of the chosen companies would have been capable of supplying the entire project on its own, but the decision to split the disciplines meant that each company could devote all their attention to a single element of the show. “We
worked with some of the best rental houses in the country on this project,” he stated. “We had very specific requirements in some of the equipment that we wanted, and each was able to deliver exactly as we specified. This show was based on the fine details – everything we used was there for a reason, so it was vital that our suppliers could deliver exactly what we required.” Perhaps unusually for a project of this scale, the entire production was completed 10 days before show day. “This meant that we had lots of time to fine tune it and make small changes,” Gündüz noted. Evgin added: “Even when the client has approved a project, we still try to make it even better. We are bored of the ordinary and we want to push the limits to do something different.
‘Good enough’ is never enough for us.” With a limited number of VIPs able to attend the show in-person due to COVID-19 restrictions, the vast majority of viewers watched either on TV or YouTube. “This was a huge show, and we needed the Istanbul public to tune in,” Evgin reflected. The action was captured via 14 cameras, with two additional drone cameras courtesy of Flycam. While the show was broadcast on national television, Evgin said that the fact that the city’s mayor streamed it on his social channels meant that the audience was even larger than first anticipated. “He is incredibly popular and has millions of followers,” she explained. Looking back on the project, Astakhov recalled an unusual personal challenge due to him “not being smart enough” with his own
personal schedule. “I confirmed the project and then remembered that I had already booked a holiday to the Seychelles during the peak time for the production!” he laughed. “A lot of my work was done using an iPad while on a boat in the middle of the Indian Ocean. I had to throw up a couple of times from the seasickness, but thankfully, the cellular connection was strong enough for me to get the job done.” Gündüz was proud of the multidisciplinary nature of the project. “I was pleased to use multiple disciplines at the same time to create a very impressive overall picture,” he reflected. “What we dreamed was there in real life – not more, not less, but exactly as we promised.” Evgin agreed: “We proved how the show could be different to how it has been in previous
years, using one concept and not needing to go into every detail in a documentary style. We created that emotion and gave the message that if you can find the right concept and build the right storyline, this style of show works just as much, if not more.” While his company, Avocado Toast, was “impacted big time” by the COVID-19 pandemic, Astakhov is positive about the future, with another collaboration with Imagina already in the pipeline. “We’re working with the same team on a much bigger project, which is going to have a lot more physical elements on stage such as automation, kinetics, performers and dancers,” he revealed. “Watch this space!” Photos: Emre Dorter www.imagina.com.tr
MAKKAH REGION DIGITAL PROJECTS EXHIBITION MAESTRO GROUP PROVIDES A TURNKEY SOLUTION FOR THE FIRST EVENT TO TAKE PLACE INSIDE THE STATE-OF-THE-ART JEDDAH SUPER DOME.
Standing at 46m tall with a diameter of 210m, Jeddah Super Dome is an event space of epic proportions. Claiming two Guinness World Records for the world’s largest geodesic dome and largest dome with continuous roof, the newly built arena is set to become a mainstay of the Jeddah Season events programme, hosting some of the standout concerts, sporting events and exhibitions in the Kingdom. The honour of being the first event to take place inside the world’s largest freestanding dome went to the Makkah Region Digital Projects Exhibition – a week-long showcase of the development happening in Western region of Saudi Arabia, focusing on everything from infrastructure, real estate, and heritage site renovation, to entertainment, technology, and planned future projects. Makkah Province Principality engaged Maestro Group to provide a full turnkey solution for the exhibition, with the company tasked with designing the concept, content, and user experience elements of the project, as well as supplying and operating all technical equipment.
With the Super Dome boasting a mammoth 34,636 sq m of covered area, Technical Director, Ed Jarman was under no illusions as to the task involved in filling it. “The first thing you think when you walk into the Super Dome is ‘wow’ – then your mind starts racing at the prospect of having to fill such a gigantic space,” he began. “I’ve been privileged enough to work in some of the world’s biggest and best indoor arenas over the years and this more than stacks up to them.” Maestro got involved in the project back in November 2020, however, with COVID-19 casting uncertainty on the exact date that the exhibition would be able to happen, the timeline was fluid by necessity. “There were many restrictions in place, but we put all of our efforts into proposing something unique and challenging to deliver,” explained Event Manager, Ahmad Mufti. “We always believed this event would be one of the biggest to happen in Saudi Arabia and would reinforce Maestro Group’s position as one of the leading companies in the market.” Mufti explained how the team dealt with the uncertainty surrounding the date and conditions
of the event. “Our process had ups and downs during the long preparation phase, with no firm timeline to work to. However, we prepared many scenarios – each with its own budget, risk register and timeline,” he commented. By April, the final show date of 9 June had been settled upon and the work could move from hypothetical to physical. “We had to be ready to move our equipment and start work in Jeddah within 20 days from the date being confirmed,” he revealed. “There were many challenges around this, as we needed to ship equipment while restrictions remained in place, but dedication and an extremely supportive client helped us deliver perfectly.” The Event Manager was keen to praise the work of Jarman who, according to Mufti, was “on top of everything” during the execution phase. “He made sure that everyone on site was where they needed to be, doing their part at the right time,” he said of the Technical Director. “Of course, we had a few surprises on the ground since we were the first company working in the Super Dome, but the excellent
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communication between the team meant that the job went smoothly.” ‘A VISUAL SPECTACULAR’ With such a huge arena to fill, the Maestro team had to pull out all the stops to ensure that the content wouldn’t get lost within the dome’s cavernous interior. “We incorporated a huge amount of projection, lighting and LED into the design,” said Jarman. “It was a visual spectacular.” The extensive lighting supply was made up mainly of Vari-Lite fixtures, with 100 VL10 Beamwashes, 70 VL2 Spots, 20 VL2 Washes, 40 VL4000 Spots, 50 VL800 Beamlines, 26 VL3500 Washes, and 42 VL6000 Beams. A further 27 Claypaky K10s, 28 Philips SL Hydrus 350s and 150 SGM P-5s were deployed, with control coming
from MA Lighting grandMA3 and grandMA2 full size desks, as well as a grandMA3 light. The Technical Director explained how due to the size of the space and intricacies of each area within it, the team split the venue into zones, treating each as a mini project within the overall delivery. “The first thing the guests saw was the arrival area outside the dome, where we had two LED screens,” he described, taking TPMEA on a virtual walkthrough of the exhibition. “Then came the VIP lobby, where we had more high-definition indoor LEDs as well as a pianist playing.” Once guests passed through the VIP lobby, they moved into a secondary lobby area. “This was the first time that the guests were inside the dome structure,” he revealed. “In here, we had an immersive projection with an LED floor
bridge, which was raised by around 1.5m.” The walls and floor on either side of the bridge were surrounded almost entirely by projection, with content showing a visualisation of Jeddah cityscape being displayed. “We produced the content, which showed Jeddah as it was a few years ago before the development, then the buildings rising and the city becoming the modern metropolis it is today.” Across the bridge, guests passed through an LED arch, which led them into the main exhibition area. “There was an LED tunnel that had outer space-themed content playing inside it to connect between these areas,” Jarman recalled. Inside the main exhibition area, the visual spectacle ramped up another gear, with illuminated planets hung from the ceiling orbiting
“We incorporated a huge amount of projection, lighting and LED into the design. It was a visual spectacular.” Maestro Group Technical Director, Ed Jarman.
around the circular dome and atmospheric video content projected onto every visible surface. “A great deal of thought and planning went into the placement of the projectors, with all the various surfaces inside the dome covered in projection,” Jarman commented. In all, 70 projectors (26 Barco UDX W40s and 44 Digital Projection Titan Laser 37000s) were utilised around the venue to create the immersive effect. These were joined by more than 1,200 sq m of LED, including 600 sq m of Absen 2.9mm and 300 sq m of Glowshine 4.8mm. Content meanwhile was managed via 24 Dataton WATCHPAX 60 media servers. As well as the immersive projection, every 20m or so, a video relating to an aspect of the city’s development was playing picture in picture.
“Each of these videos had their own soundtrack and voiceover, so it was a huge challenge to get the audio to a level where it could be heard clearly but did not spill over and be audible where the other videos were being watched from,” Jarman revealed. “It is always difficult to regulate sound in a dome.” Taking on the tricky audio challenge was a full d&b audiotechnik system, with the main hall supply comprising left and right hangs of eight GSL8s per side and a centre fill of eight V8s; the exhibition hall featuring 32 T10s; and the lobby benefitting from six V8s. A total of 28 D80 amplifiers were deployed across the site, while control came from DiGiCo SD7 and SD12 consoles. Another layer of complexity was added to the project by the fact that there was a concert
due to take place in the venue a matter of days after the conclusion of the exhibition. “This meant that even before we’d finished the setup, we were already thinking about the derig and how we’d be able to make way in time to accommodate the incoming concert,” Jarman recalled. ‘IT’S A MONSTER’ While Maestro took care of the vast majority of the project in-house, there were a couple of areas where the company opted to bring in some specialist help in order to ensure that the highest standards were maintained. One such area was rigging and, according to Jarman, there was only one company for the job. “The venue lends itself to a specialist rigging company, which is why we hired iRIG for the
project,” he stated. “Their experience and expertise were absolutely vital to the success of putting on this event safely.” iRIG Managing Director, Ryan D’Cunha talked TPMEA through his company’s supply for the event. “It was nice to be back working on a fullscale production again,” he began. “The venue is on a massive scale; it’s an absolute monster. We put in more than 120 one-tonne motors and none of them were straightforward dead hangs – they were all bridle points.” As ever, COVID-19 brought its own challenges, with travel restrictions meaning that a site visit prior to the event was not possible. “We had all the drawings we needed, but nothing beats a site visit to have a proper look at the venue before you get onto site to start the job,” D’Cunha reflected. And sure enough, once the team arrived on-site, they encountered their fair share of unexpected challenges – not least the Super Dome’s powerful cooling system. “The venue is so well air conditioned that when we got the projectors hung and focused, the trusses were swinging in the breeze, meaning that the projections were moving around and distorted,” D’Cunha recalled. “We worked with the video and projection teams to make sure the
placement was right before bracing them off so the fixtures would hold steady.” Scheduling was also a challenge, as the set builders had already started the build before the iRIG team had arrived. “We had to come to an agreement to stay out of each other’s way,” he revealed. “We worked at the north end, they worked at the south, and when we met in the middle, we alternated night shifts.” However, despite the challenges, D’Cunha praised his team’s work ethic. “When you’ve got the right people with the right mindset, you can overcome any challenge,” he said. “Everyone was on their first big job for a year, so it was an incredibly positive atmosphere.” The install took two weeks, which included a full maintenance inspection of the equipment. “We didn’t have time to bring our own kit,” D’Cunha confirmed. “We always do a full inspection and maintenance when we’re working with other people’s equipment.” For D’Cunha, the fact that the exhibition was attended by Makkah Governor, Prince Khaled Al-Faisal and his deputy, Prince Badr bin Sultan, made it even more special. “It was an honour to be involved in the first event held at the Jeddah Super Dome,” he stated. “It was fantastic to have
a royal visit – I’m sure they don’t accept every invitation that they receive,” he laughed. Clearly happy to be back living up to his company’s ethos of ‘rigging the big stuff’ D’Cunha reflected on a job well done. “It’s brilliant to be back involved in large bespoke projects again,” he concluded. “The Maestro team was a pleasure to work with, and we’ll definitely be working with them again soon.” ‘A HISTORIC EVENT’ Primary and secondary power was supplied by Aggreko. Project Manager, John Devine talked TPMEA through the setup. “Primary power consisted of five synchronised 350kva generators and a mains 3,200a DB panel,” he began. “Secondary power included everything that the technical teams used for lighting, video and audio.” This comprised eight 400a DBs, six 125a DBs and four 63a DBs. “We also provided over 4km of cable in various lengths and sizes,” he added. Prior to the project, the Aggreko team received a brief showing power drop locations, cable routes as well as cable lengths that would need to be installed. That was followed up with multiple site visits. “We do this to get a better feel
and understanding of the site and event,” explained Devine. “We were then able to finalise our kit list, crewing and plant for the event.” The kit was deployed from the company’s local Jeddah depot, with some additional equipment coming in from the Riyadh depot. “The kit arrived on 40ft trailers before being offloaded and loaded into the venue using a 25t crane, hiabs and forklifts,” he described. As is to be expected on an event of this scale, the project was a challenge by its very nature, with the power and distribution requirements constantly evolving to meet the needs of the client. “The team coped well with the added pressure of last-minute changes,” Devine recalled. “Everyone was on the same page and wanted this to be an amazing and historic event.” For Devine, the most satisfying part of the project was the way that all the various teams collaborated. “Multiple suppliers came together to make history, producing the first event in such a wonderful venue,” he said. “It was great to be a part of this event and experience this incredible brand-new venue. I hope to do many more events here in the future.” Devine’s appreciation for the venue was echoed by Jarman, who concluded by giving his final thoughts on the new jewel in Jeddah’s crown. “It’s an extremely impressive venue that could host any type of event,” he stated. “It’s got so much scope for so many different conceptualisations – it could host anything from an exhibition like this, to a huge concert or a massive world title fight.” Photos: Maestro Group www.maestrogroup.com www.irigevent.com www.aggreko.com
SATELLITE MODULAR LASER SYSTEM
SATELLITE MODULAR LASER SYSTEM
Every once in a while, something comes along that tears up the rulebook and revolutionises an industry. This is one of those moments: the Satellite Modular Laser System from the Visionaries of the display industry – Digital Projection.
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The Visionaries’ Choice www.digitalprojection.com TPI Magazine March 2020.indd 1
Opposite: Nadu Placca, Founder of The Zoo XYZ.
THE ZOO XYZ: BLACK IN THE BOARDROOM FOLLOWING THE COMPANY’S LATEST REPORT ON THE RACIAL DISPARITY WITHIN UK EVENT TRADE BODIES AND ASSOCIATIONS, NADU PLACCA SHARES HER FINDINGS AND HER PLANS TO LAUNCH A NEW ORGANISATION WHICH REPRESENTS BLACK EVENTS PROFESSIONALS.
“You posted a Black square, now what?” stated Nadu Placca, Founder of The Zoo XYZ and now author of a new report that highlights the lack of diversity within UK event trade bodies and associations. She spoke on the eve of the release of a new report that aims to bring the conversation of diversity within the live events industry to the forefront and begin a dialogue that will lead to change that goes further than a post on social media. Among The Zoo XYZ’s findings, which looked into 16 UK event trade associations, the research found that 0% of board members that sit on UK event trade bodies and associations are Black. The report included associations such as the PSA, Music Venues Trust, Association of Independent Promoters and The Concert Promoters Association. All data was taken from websites and verified, where available, on Companies House. In the report, The Zoo XYZ classified Black as those
of Black African and Caribbean ancestry living and working in the UK. “The last thing we wanted this report to do is to make the industry feel like a deer in the headlights,” explained Placca, who drew parallels with this report and Women In CTRL Founder, Nadia Khan’s report titled: Seat At The Table, which highlighted the lack of female representation in leadership positions within the music industry. “Within the entertainment market, you often find a huge number of Black artists and athletes are at the forefront, but this is simply not reflected backstage.” According to Placca, a key step in this mission is greater diversity and representation in the trade bodies that represent the industry. “Trade bodies and associations are voluntary industry watchdogs, set up to regulate and monitor industry standards,” the report states. “They create industry opportunities, unite for causes
and lobby the government. The importance of trade bodies and associations can be seen across various industries, and they are an integral part of business. It is essential that trade bodies and associations are inclusive as they are influential to the longevity of the industries they serve.” Placca has worked within the live industry for over 14 years officially, although she jokes how she was born wanting to organise events. “I’ve only ever had one real job working at NatWest, which did not last long,” she chuckled, explaining how the traditional nine-to-five just didn’t cut it when there was a world of live events calling. After getting a degree in Events Management and Music & Media Management, Placca freelanced for a company within the sector before breaking out on her own. Having established a number of businesses over the years, in 2019, she formed The Zoo XYZ. This Black-owned, female-led experiential event management agency puts training at
“When we started on this journey, we were asking these organisations for a seat at the table. But due to the sheer numbers we attracted and the interest we’ve garnered, we realised we can create our own table.” The Zoo XYZ Founder, Nadu Placca.
the forefront of its business model. “I have 12 amazing women working with me at The Zoo XYZ, all of whom have been on one of our courses such as 10 Steps To A Successful Event,” commented Placca. Like the rest of the industry, The Zoo XYZ had to put the brakes on much of its activity in March 2020. “It was a big shock to the system, but in some ways it was a necessary pause to reflect,” she explained. “Then came George Floyd’s murder, and we found people wanted to do something, from posting a Black square to giving money to some sort of organisation.” This wish to do something, Placca reflected, left many people feeling frustrated, as they did not know how to act or respond to the current climate. “In many ways, this report was all about holding people to account and starting a conversation to force some progression and offer some solutions,” she stated. Despite the report’s results, Placca is more than aware of the
hard situation in which those heading up many of these trade bodies find themselves in. “We put a call out for Black events professionals, and 165 individuals got in touch. As a result, we’ve built a great community,” she reported. “That said, I’ve been in the industry for 14 years and I didn’t know many of these people. So, I can only imagine what it’s like for a white person trying to go through the same process. However, I and the wider team at The Zoo XYZ want to make it easier for more Black people to get recognised in this industry and for more trade bodies and associations to find these Black people to support them.” In fact, the report and the overall campaign has yielded another success, namely deciding to take the steps to create their own association, Nadu Placca alongside Aaron Raybe, Eunice Obianagha and Nicole Wallace-White; the Association of Black Event Professionals (ABEP). “When we started on this journey, we were
asking these organisations for a seat at the table. But due to the sheer numbers we attracted and the interest we’ve garnered, we realised we can create our own table,” stated Placca, proudly. She is currently in the long process of getting the organisation officially recognised and will head this up as a completely separate venture to The Zoo XYZ. With the report now being made public, Placca explained her hopes for the industry moving forward. “We don’t want people to have their backs up with the results of the report. As long as people are willing to lean into this conversation, there is only room for growth. We are not asking for anything crazy or unattainable. It’s just about having an open conversation.” The entire report, as well as further information about the organisation, can be read on The Zoo XYZ website. Photos: The ZOO XYZ www.thezoo.xyz
COMPANY PROFILE: JAM EVENT SERVICES JAM EVENT SERVICES’ JAMES MISTRY TELLS TPMEA HOW THE COMPANY NAVIGATED ITS WAY THROUGH THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC AND IS NOW SET UP TO THRIVE AS THE LIVE EVENTS INDUSTRY BOUNCES BACK.
‘Upskilling’ is a term we’ve all heard a lot of over the past 18 months, with much of the industry taking the enforced hiatus from events as a time to boost staff qualifications and broaden skillsets. While some companies see this as making the best of the terrible hand that the COVID-19 pandemic has dealt the industry, for Dubai-based JAM Event Services, upskilling is – and always has been – the name of the game. “Constant learning is key for us,” commented Founder and Managing Director, James Mistry. “All of the team at JAM are continually sharpening their skills. Our receptionist recently passed her NEBOSH IGC.” After moving from London to Dubai in 2017, Mistry and JAM haven’t looked back since,
working with government authorities, production houses and creative agencies to deliver qualified and experienced event safety consultants and advisors as well as event staffing. Now with a full-time team of 15 across the Middle East, the company also draws from an extensive network of tried-and-tested freelancers in order to provide a more diverse offering. “The team has grown, and our clients appreciate the diversity of our offering,” said Mistry. In the years since opening in Dubai, JAM has delivered on a range of projects. “There’s never a dull moment,” Mistry reflected, referencing a few highlights, including Special Olympics, Abu Dhabi, Diriyah Oasis, KSA, 100 Year Police Celebrations, Bahrain, and KISS 2020 Goodbye, Dubai to name
just a few. While the pandemic has been a blow to the entire industry, thankfully for JAM, the company was able continue to provide muchneeded guidance in the industry’s hour of need. “During lockdown, we delivered a nine-month project for a GCC government agency, writing their Event Safety Guide for the country, which will be released in the coming months,” Mistry revealed. “To have the opportunity to forge the safety landscape of a country is very special.” JAM was also appointed as H&S Consultants and Advisors for three Emirates Temporary COVID-19 Hospital builds across the UAE during the height of the pandemic. “This is where the real COVID-19 learning took place, with live outbreaks onsite during the build,” Mistry
recalled. “This laid the foundation for the COVID-19 Management Plan we still use today – a constantly updated document depending on what area of the Middle East we are working in and based on the most recent guidance. As is now very clear, COVID-19 is not going anywhere any time soon. It’s the safe management of the associated risks that we need to look at, in order to continue helping our clients deliver outstanding events.” Throughout the pandemic, JAM has been at the forefront of several ground-breaking events – one of which was the unveiling of the new world’s largest fountain on the Palm in October 2020. “JAM was tasked with delivering the event safety, crowd management and COVID-19 safety,” said Mistry. “It was the first UAE event in COVID times where 6,000 ticketed guests had been invited to an event with the possibility of thousands more turning up.” Just two weeks after the successful delivery on the Palm, JAM followed up the achievement with another even larger event – this time with some 20,000 people in attendance for the Dubai Ride with LINK VIVA and DTCM. “There were no other events of that size anywhere in the world at the time,” Mistry recalled. “The learnings from
the previous 10 months were put into action to deliver the event safely.” According to Mistry, Saudi Arabia is an increasingly important market – so much so that the company is now opening its own base in the Kingdom. “We’ve been delivering services in Al’Ula, Riyadh, Diriyah, Dammam and Jeddah for over three years, with 50% of our business coming from the Kingdom,” he commented. “The volume of work to be delivered in the coming five to 10 years is monumental. The demand for knowledge and education is also huge from locally based KSA companies, so education will form part of our core offering to upskill the young population.” With the Riyadh operation already up and running, the company is now looking to grow the Saudi-based team. “We are going through a recruitment drive for permanent staff at the moment,” commented Mistry. “With the recent recruitment of some senior H&S figures in the Middle East market, it puts us in a strong place for large-scale delivery.” JAM also recently implemented safety management systems for companies in the UAE and KSA – one of which was for one of the top agencies in Riyadh – something Mistry described as “an ongoing piece of work”. He added: “It takes
time to change people’s perceptions, to build new ways of working and understand the reasons behind it. It starts with senior management – once you have their buy in, change will happen.” The rest of 2020 and the start of 2021 are looking “exciting and busy” for JAM. “We have operational and HSE management of several pavilions at Expo 2020, new projects with KSA government agencies and we are in talks to deliver HSE venue services at new permanent venues in the Middle East,” Mistry revealed. “On the event staffing side, we now have a huge selection of local and international vetted resources, so we are ideally suited to service the return of events across the Middle East.” In the longer term, Mistry is aiming to continue to provide top-quality services to the company’s clients, staying customer centric and investing in people and company infrastructure. “It’s an exciting time for the entire event industry in the Middle East, after the slower 18 months we’ve been through. JAM Event Services is ready to continue being the support system for our clients, to help them do what they do best.” Photos: JAM Events Services www.jameventservices.com email: firstname.lastname@example.org
IN THE FIELD
IN THE FIELD: ARHT MEDIA HOLOPRESENCE FRESH FROM SIGNING A UAE AND QATAR DISTRIBUTION DEAL WITH NMK ELECTRONICS, HOLOGRAMBASED TECHNOLOGY PROVIDER ARHT MEDIA IS PLANNING A MAJOR MIDDLE EAST EXPANSION. TPMEA CATCHES UP WITH CEO, LARRY O’REILLY TO DISCUSS THE FUTURE OF THIS EXCITING TECH. Nobody could argue with the fact that video conferencing tools have been invaluable over the past 18 months. However, as many are tiring of Teams and experiencing a chronic case of Zoom fatigue, increasingly individuals and organisations are looking to alternative ways of keeping in touch while international travel remains difficult. Offering a futuristic solution to this universal issue is ARHT Media, whose HoloPresence technology allows presenters or artists to appear as a hyper-realistic, life-sized hologram, with the ability to interact with a live audience with no noticeable latency. “We’re in the business of beaming people around the world,” began ARHT Media CEO, Larry O’Reilly. “We have studios all over the world – from Toronto, New York, LA and London to Hong Kong, Singapore, Tel Aviv and soon Dubai and Qatar. We are the only company with a global footprint that is doing this.” O’Reilly was speaking to TPMEA during a trip to Dubai following the
company’s recent deal with NMK Electronics, which saw NMK become the exclusive ARHT Media distributor for the UAE and Qatar. “The Gulf Region is embracing technology to overcome time and geography possibly quicker than any other place on earth right now,” said O’Reilly, discussing the partnership. “With NMK’s proven track record of working with government, enterprise and education in the region, we couldn’t have found a better partner.” The CEO was in town to join NMK in hosting a two-day event at Dubai World Trade Centre, which showed off ARHT Media’s technology to more than 80 guests, ranging from consultants and creative agencies to system integrators and end users. “As a value-added distributor, it’s our duty to always integrate new technologies in the market in areas where we can see a potential growth in demand,” stated NMK’s Business Development Director, Dino Drimakis. “We’ve already had a lot of interest and this event will
help educate potential clients even further about a technology that we believe will be the future in a range of different sectors.” While the agreement with NMK represents a major step forward in ARHT’s operations in the Middle East, the company is no stranger to the region, having worked on several high-profile activations – the most notable of which saw the Crown Prince of Dubai, Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, turned into a hologram for his speech at the World Government Summit in 2019. “The mandate that we were given was that when Sheikh Hamdan was giving his speech, nobody in the audience should know that it’s a hologram – they had to believe that it was him standing on stage,” O’Reilly recalled. “The rationale behind that was that his speech was on the seven trends of future cities – with one of the trends being hologram technology lessening the need for travel. We then did a big reveal, turning
IN THE FIELD
him blue like a character from Star Wars, before he eventually walked out on stage in person at the end of his speech.” While a typical HoloPresence setup uses largely off-the-shelf equipment, including a traditional green screen, 4K camera, lighting, microphone, and projection, the real ‘secret sauce’ comes in the form of the software, as well as a proprietary highly reflective painted screen. “There’s also our staging expertise and ability to advise on how to capture a person in an ideal way to be presented in a hologram,” he added. The company recently expanded its offering to include a plug-and-play option designed specifically for university lecture halls, corporate training facilities, government training centres or larger meeting or board rooms – the HoloPod. “This comprises the same basic display technology, but it’s inside a cabinet that’s on wheels,” O’Reilly outlined. “Everything is already calibrated, so it’s just a case of connecting it to power and the internet and it’s ready to go.” Reporting “strong interest already” in the HoloPod, the CEO believes that the solution will be a big hit in the Middle East. “The beauty of this region is that there’s a genuine appetite here for having the newest and most exciting new technology available. With Expo 2020 and the World Cup in Qatar just around the corner, these are incredibly exciting times and the potential for growth in every sector is simply massive.” O’Reilly also highlighted the company’s online platform, Virtual Global Stage. “Where that becomes really powerful is when you have speakers in different locations around the world;
you can put them on stage together and they can interact with each other with no noticeable latency,” he explained. “The other important factor is that people are presented head to toe, so you get all the body language, which is more than 50% of communication. When you see a person’s whole body, you can pick up on signals that they are ready to talk, so it becomes a much more natural, free-flowing conversation, which means less fatigue for the audience.” Up until a couple of years ago, the company was marketing its product as ‘the next best thing to being there in person’. However, in recent years, the message has changed somewhat. “What we’ve found now is that we were underselling ourselves,” O’Reilly revealed. “Audience feedback has shown that when an event is a mixture of hologram and in-person presenters, the audience is more engaged, and the presentation is more memorable.” He added: “When you present somebody on stage who is life-size and lifelike – high resolution and appears to be 3D – and there’s no latency noticeable in the audio, then as an audience member, your brain is telling you that the person is there. That is called ‘creating presence’, and that’s what we specialise in.” With a range of potential applications, from the pharmaceutical industry to universities, government, corporate and, of course, live events, according to Drimakis, ARHT’s technology is the perfect addition to NMK’s rapidly expanding portfolio. “Given the fact that we’re in multiple industries across multiple sectors, this not only adds to that dynamic, but it allows us
to engage with a number of partners that we’re already working with for them to be able to offer this solution to both events and fixed installs,” he commented. “NMK has always been about steering the latest and greatest technologies into the market. We do a lot of due diligence when we add new vendors into our portfolio, and we are always striving to work with the best in class. There’s a huge potential and it’s up to us to deliver now.” While ARHT’s business has gone from 100% live events to now less than half of work coming from the live space, with much more focus on the corporate and educational markets in recent years, O’Reilly explained that the company would never move away from its live events roots completely. “We will stay in the events business for two main reasons,” he revealed. “Firstly, it remains profitable; and secondly, it’s a great source of marketing – often the first time that people will experience our technology will be at an event, and you can guarantee that people will talk about it after they see it.” However, with the company recently signing a 100-location deal with flexible workspace provider, WeWork, the long-term future of ARHT Media seems to lie mainly away from the stage. “Our long-term vision is to humanise digital communication,” O’Reilly concluded. “We want to provide tools that people can use every day to reduce their travel and improve their online communication.” Photos: NMK Electronics www.arhtmedia.com www.nmkelectronics.com
COMPANY PROFILE: SEVEN PRODUCTION WITH A STRING OF STUDIOS, A FLEET OF CUTTING-EDGE OB TRUCKS AND A REPUTATION FOR INNOVATION WITHIN FILM AND BROADCASTING FOR TV, SPORTS AND LIVE EVENTS, SEVEN PRODUCTION HAS ITS SIGHTS SET ON CONTINUED EXPANSION THROUGHOUT THE MENA REGION AND BEYOND.
Established in Dubai in 2007, Seven Production has garnered a well-earned reputation over the years as one of the region’s leading innovators in film and broadcasting for TV and sports, as well as corporate and live events. With regional offices in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Riyadh, Jeddah and Lebanon, as well as the UK and Finland, the company’s trademark blend of 4K and HD broadcast solutions as well as live event technical support is now seen on broadcast and events projects throughout the MENA region and beyond. “Our promise to our client is to go above and beyond expectations through the delivery
of customised solutions and outstanding results time and time again,” began Regional Director, Lara Ghanem. “We are sensitive to cultural differences and comply with all national regulations, and the ability to customise our offering based on client requirements ensures we deliver precisely what is demanded.” The company’s offering is split into three main areas: TV production and studio facilities, sports production, and live events and corporate production. “Seven Production has been involved in the filming and technical production of numerous TV shows taking place in the MENA region,” Ghanem revealed, noting the likes of
MBC Group, The UAE Camel Club, Dubai Media Incorporated (DMI), The Falcon Club, IMAGIC, MediaPro, Saudi General Sports Authority (GSA) as just a few of the company’s regular clients. Seven Production currently has over 10 studios located in Dubai, Riyadh and Beirut, with spaces ranging from 300 sq m to 5,000 sq m. “These can be customised to meet any production need,” Ghanem said. Having been used for the likes of Masterchef Arabia, Top Chef Arabia, Arab Idol and The Cube, the soundproofed studios are offered on a dry hire basis, with additional services on demand including the hire of OB trucks, technical
equipment, specialist camera facilities and technical personnel. “Seven studios are also available to hire for commercials, photoshoots, personal or corporate events,” she added. The sports production arm of the business is based on the company’s fleet of OB trucks, which Seven uses to cater to a range of sporting events. With long-term clients including IMG UK, PROTV, Creative Edge and The UAE Camel Club to name just a few, Seven has built a reputation for its customisation and integration of technology and ability to adapt to the requirements of each different live event. “Our sports production and in-house broadcasting package typically includes the complete technical production and live coverage using a range of specialist equipment and 4K or HD camera facilities, as well as the technical personnel required to film and broadcast the event,” Ghanem commented. The company’s OB trucks are also integral to the live events and corporate production sector,
providing the ability to film anything from a small intimate event up to a major international conference or festival. “For a larger-scale event such as the Arab-Islamic American Summit, which took place in Saudi Arabia, the OB trucks involved needed to support and switch between 45-plus cameras, mix a large number of microphones, add graphics and replays, and generally package a complete programme for delivery to live broadcast,” Ghanem recalled. In fact, the company recently upgraded to an end-to-end Grass Valley workflow for its latest 4K UHD OB truck. The first of its kind in the region, the new 12G 4K UHD OB unit is packed with Grass Valley’s end-to-end native 4K UHD workflow elements – including cameras, production switcher, routing and monitoring. “Sports fans in the Middle East want access to stunning images and rich content that bring them closer to the live action, and we are committed to giving our clients the power and capability they
need to meet the demands of their audiences,” commented Ghanem. “By bringing the first 4K OB unit to the region, we can stay ahead of the market curve with the ability to serve our clients requirements today and tomorrow.” Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Seven announced a landmark deal with MBC Group to cover the FIA Formula One World Championship worldwide – a first for a production house in the Arab world. “This project is testimony to our capabilities and the skill we are able to bring to the table,” stated Ghanem. “What we do helps put the region on the map in terms of production. Now we have proved that we, as a regional production house, can compete with international players, and this attracts more projects to the region.” Of course, the pandemic has had a massive effect on the entire industry and Seven has been quick to adapt its offering with a range of virtual and hybrid solutions. “It was something
“We specialise in large-scale sports and entertainment events, and I can’t imagine an online event achieving the same level of excitement than physically being there.” Seven Production Regional Director, Lara Ghanem.
we never offered prior to the pandemic, unless a client specifically demanded to go hybrid,” reflected Ghanem. “During the pandemic and now for the future, we recognise the need to acknowledge this direction and move forward in it. We have already been incorporating it, as part of our growth strategy. It has been a very exciting experience, because we are a business that takes challenges like these head-on and invests in the right equipment to make things happen.” A notable example of this direction was the company’s work on Incognito – a new game show that was filmed from eight different locations simultaneously. “The challenge at hand was to deliver zero latency in order to ensure seamless coverage and enhanced viewer experience,” Ghanem recalled. The feat was achieved using advanced satellite transmission and a satellite
downlink in each individual location. “Everyone could see and listen to everybody involved in the show,” she added. “The Seven Production OB van located at our base in Dubai was the main hub for the event, sending and receiving signals from all locations. With the seamless integration of advanced technologies, powered by a team of experienced professionals, Seven managed to secure the excitement, nail-biting adventure and thrill associated with a gaming event of this nature.” As online and hybrid events continue to thrive in the region, Ghanem maintains that there will always be a place for live in this postpandemic world. “The advantages of online is that people can be globally connected – anyone, anywhere can watch an event, there is no time difference, nor distance issues. It has made
the world a smaller place,” she commented. “However, you lose out on that physical human aspect of being at a live event; using all of your senses to experience an event is a whole different high. We specialise in large-scale sports and entertainment events, and I can’t imagine an online event achieving the same level of excitement than physically being there.” Looking to the future, Seven Production is expanding rapidly in Africa and the MENA region, with upcoming projects in Madagascar, Libya and Tunisia among others. Aside from being called upon to film and broadcast live events, the company is also in the process of setting up future studios in these countries to film their national TV shows. Photos: Seven Production www.7production.net
Seven Production provides specialist filming as well as 4K Media Solutions customized for any LIVE event. Since 2007, Seven prides itself on being the broadcasting partner of some of the biggest Royal, Government and Corporate events that have taken place in the region. Seven’s fleet of Outside Broadcast trucks can be used to film and broadcast a range of small to extremely large event sizes including; Victorious, MasterChef Arabia and Arab Idol and we are the team behind major live events such as Dubai Rugby Sevens, Dubai Music Week, Chanel Fashion Show and most recently broadcasting the Formula 1 Grand Prix worldwide. SPORTS COVERAGE | TV PRODUCTION | STUDIO SHOWS | LIVE EVENTS | ENTERTAINMENT | CORPORATE
For more info please email email@example.com or call 8007773 or visit WWW.7PRODUCTION.NET
DWR’s Duncan Riley, Johnny Scholtz and Dylan Jones with Christian Hertel, Sales Manager at MADRIX.
MADRIX APPOINTS DWR AS ITS SOUTH AFRICA DISTRIBUTOR THE GERMAN LIGHTING CONTROL SPECIALIST JOINS FORCES WITH DWR DISTRIBUTION TO FACILITATE THE SOUTH AFRICA MARKET.
German lighting control specialist MADRIX has named DWR Distribution as its distributor for South Africa. “DWR has shown a strong commitment to MADRIX for a long time. Even during this difficult time, their team was able to acquire new customers and support current customers,” said MADRIX Sales Manager, Christian Hertel. “With deep roots in the entertainment industry and a ‘people buy from people’ approach, DWR is a perfect match. We are happy to officially add DWR as distributor and welcome them to the MADRIX family. I’m very excited and confident about the synergy created by our two businesses.” DWR’s Johnny Scholtz, who specialises in architectural projects, added: “Manufactured
in Germany, MADRIX is rock-solid. It is currently the leading pixel-control system on the market. It meets the needs for specific installations like large-scale building facades, or for controlling LED-lighting features in a club or venue.” DWR Distribution’s Dylan Jones recently used MADRIX for a pixel wall located in a high-end retail store, and the system was as simple as plug-and-play and worked extremely well. “I believe there is huge potential for the MADRIX software and hardware products in South Africa to create more complex pixel-mapping solutions for our clients,” Jones stated. “Products like the MADRIX AURA all the way through to the MADRIX LUNA Art-Net controllers provide everything you need to control any LED lighting. This is a
great opportunity for our new projects as well as supporting the current MADRIX client base.” There’s great hope for the future of South Africa. “While the live events industry is in a lull, we know that as soon as the vaccination programme rolls out, the sector will take off again,” said DWR’s Duncan Riley. “We look forward to helping our clients with innovative ideas and solutions that incorporate LED technology in a range of spaces, from buildings to interiors, studios, and wherever the imagination may lead. The people behind MADRIX are hands-on and passionate; it’s an honour to represent the brand.” Photo: DWR Distribution www.madrix.com www.dwrdistribution.co.za
EVENTS EVOLUTION SELECTS CHAUVET PROFESSIONAL FIXTURES FOR BENJAMIN DUBE LIVESTREAM CHAUVET PROFESSIONAL MAVERICK MK2 SPOTS, ROGUE R2 SPOTS AND ROGUE R2 WASHES CREATE ORIGINAL LOOKS DURING AN EPIC EIGHT-HOUR SHOW. Coming up with new looks for a 90-minute concert is tough enough but keeping a show fresh for eight hours straight is a different ballgame altogether. However, this is exactly the challenge that faced Blessing Bero, Tatenda Gaylord Rushwaya, and the rest of the Events Evolution when they worked a mammoth eighthour pay-per-view livestream show by platinum Epic Records star, Benjamin Dube. The Events Evolution team deployed a flexible lighting rig including 11 CHAUVET Professional Maverick MK2 Spots, four Rogue R2 Spots, four Rogue R2 Washes, plus a Net-X node. “We created a wide range of backgrounds with our videos and the rainbow of colours we were able to get from our lighting fixtures matched them all,” said Rushwaya, who
programmed the show and ran the video content, while Bero handled the lighting design. “Colour was key to keeping things visually fresh and interesting throughout the entire show. The design we went with called for a great many bold colour mixes.” Relying on the wide beam angles of their fixtures, which were hung on three rows of overhead truss, as well as on stage left and stage right structures, the Events Evolution team frequently changed the coverage area of their colourful displays. They also didn’t hesitate to overlap shafts of light in different bold colour combinations, going with red, green and yellow one moment, they moving to purples and blues for another song. Another way that the designers kept things
interesting was by working split white beams and rotating gobos from their Maverick MK2 Spot fixtures with compelling video images and ample amounts of haze. Setting these beams and gobo patterns against the rich purples from their washes, the team created sleek elegant looks on stage. This contrasted with some of the intensely powerful impressions that resulted from the bold colour combinations; but in the end both worked toward the same goal. “We wanted to create scenes that were very different, but all supported the same message,” Rushwaya concluded. Photos: Events Evolution www.eventsevo.co.za www.chauvetprofessional.com
Projeni Pather (AAXO), Kevan Jones (SACIA), Duncan Riley (DWR Distribution) and Sharif Baker (TPSA).
#LIGHTSARED SCOOPS SILVER AT PRISM AWARDS THE CAMPAIGN IS RECOGNISED FOR ITS TIRELESS WORK IN RAISING AWARENESS FOR THE PLIGHT OF THE LIVE EVENTS INDUSTRY THROUGHOUT THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC. #LightSAred took the Silver Award in the category of Arts and Entertainment at this year’s PRISM Awards – this after the campaign lit 505 buildings, theatres, and landmarks red across South Africa in aid of the live events industry, who at that point had not worked for five months. Despite the win, the sad reality is that 15 months after the COVID-19 lockdown was first implemented in South Africa, many companies have been forced to close their doors permanently, retrenchments have seen thousands lose their jobs and for freelancers it has been an extremely hard blow. “It is a bittersweet victory for the industry – we have received recognition, but the wheels on the bus
are not moving forward,” commented Duncan Riley of DWR Distribution. The #LightSAred campaign was held in August of 2020 with the aim of bringing attention to the desperate state of the live events industry, and to obtain a seat with the government to discuss ways of keeping the industry on its legs and safely opening the industry under strict COVID-19 guidelines and protocols. The incentive was born when Riley saw similar initiatives held across the globe after the live events industry was unable to work due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and he joined hands with Sharif Baker of the TPSA, and SACIA. The campaign was made possible thanks to the participants in the industry from technical
supply companies to actors, theatres, and event companies. So many more people besides crew were affected, from cleaners to ticket sales, décor suppliers, caterers, and other industries. “It was special to see everyone stand together on the night and a special world of thanks to creative director and designer Shaun Sebastian,” Riley concluded. “I would also like to thank a charity we support, #FeedourCrew who are still helping freelancers with food vouchers. This time has been so difficult for everyone so please give it all you have as we hang in there for a bit longer.” Photo: DWR Distribution www.lightsared.org.za www.dwrdistribution.co.za
PERSEO BEAM emotion player Start the game… Ayrton’s new creation is a “pure player” that allows you to express yourself without limit in a unique style... your style. PERSEO BEAM is the first compact, waterproof multifunction beam effect LED luminaire. This extraordinary fixture will truly amaze you... and make you feel incredible emotion! Superimpose and combine... and create excitement! Well-suited for indoor as well as outdoor use, this luminaire will concentrate everyone’s attention with its ultra-intensive 2-degree beam... opening up new horizons with an impressive 21-times zoom.
5 Series - Source
450 W - 6800 K
2° to 42°
9S 7S 3S
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