PDF Production puts safety first by using Ron StageMaster load cells for production of “Game Maker” at untested Spike Hall in Budapest
In December 2014, a unique theatre production took place in Budapest, Hungary, that proved special for several reasons. First, the production, “Game Maker,” a modern-day action tale for children and adults about fairytale characters fed up with the popularity of video games, was wildly popular with more than 42,000 spectators attending 12 shows over the course of only a few days. A cast that included famous Hungarian celebrities, as well as a professional top-class production, ensured its success.
Secondly, although the performance took place in a 21-year-old arena, Spike Hall, the venue had never staged a production show before. Normally used as a sports and recreation center, the venue was a bit of a question mark when it came to the technical specification, including all-important load limits.
Weight monitoring a must
Handling most of the technical side of the production, including the sound and lighting systems, as well as stage construction, was PDF Production Kft. of Budapest. “Spike Hall has an unusual history,” states PDF Production’s Dorottya Imre. “Although it’s been around since 1993 and is a perfect venue for such huge shows, it had never been used for a production before until ‘Game Maker’ took place.”
That uncertainty was a big worry, especially when the production required tons of lighting and sound equipment to be hung high over both stage and audience. “Because of the huge interest in the show we were under huge pressure to deliver 100 percent perfection,” Dorottya states. “We had to be as precise as possible because the hall had never been used for a production before. So when we did the rigging procedure it was obvious that we needed to use high-quality load cells to monitor the weight of the lighting equipment and the trusses.”
The stage and rigging set up for “Game Maker” was big with more than 100 workers needed during build up of the 600-square-meter stage. A large 32 chain hoist rig included 200 automated luminaires situated in a 400-meter-long bridge structure, along with a line array audio system. Some 8 km of wire and 6000 meters of rope were used with the technical production, which consumed as much electricity as a small village.
Extra layer of safety
Such a large amount of technical gear needed to be handled professionally and PDF Production knew they were taking on a huge responsibility when they agreed to hang tons of equipment in the venue. Because the load needed to be continuously monitored for overload and in order to increase the safety factor, PDF Production used 24 x Eilon Engineering Ron StageMaster (RSM) 6000 G4 load cells. The stage safety device for load control and overload prevention can monitor hundreds of hanging points while providing a detailed report for statistical analysis.
Used to monitor the rig for any unexpected shifts in weight from setup to tear down, the RSM 6000 G4 load cells provided a level of comfort for everyone involved in the show; PDF Production, the riggers, the venue and the performers. By using the safety device, they both reduced exposure and minimized liability.
RSM 6000 G4
The Ron StageMaster (RSM) 6000 G4 is an advanced wireless (or wired) load cell system that is ideal for applications where headroom is extremely limited while its wireless capability makes for a quick installation. Made of aerospace quality, high-strength alloy steel, the RSM 6000 G4, like all Eilon Engineering load cells, is fatigue rated to withstand unlimited load cycles without the risk of failure or damage to the steel. The RSM system can continuously monitor a rig up to 5000 hours (10,000 hour battery life option), and contains absolutely no standby or sleep modes, which are risky and unacceptable from a safety perspective. The RSM system monitors the load 24/7/365, very important from a safety point of view, and has a transmission distance of up to 1 km.
“The RSM load cells solved our problem perfectly,” stated Dorottya after the shows. “They were so precise and helped us in so many ways during the rigging procedure. They were an important piece of a comprehensive system that made things safer and gave everybody involved peace of mind.”
The RSM system communicates wirelessly to a laptop via a receiver with up to 200 load cells per receiver possible. A practically unlimited number of receivers per project can be used. The system allows for simultaneous real-time monitoring on one screen of up to hundreds of individual hanging points, groups or the entire structure. The RSM software also allows for overlay of the load map right onto the plot on screen, enabling the rigger to immediately identify the location of an overload and take swift preventative action. Web server based, the system provides a record at the end of the show and is compatible with smart phones and tablets and can even send SMS alerts.
“We chose to use the Ron StageMaster load cells because they have really good references and feedback, and naturally because of the support. Everybody at Eilon was so helpful and we are 100% satisfied. We would gladly recommend the RSM 6000 G4 to anybody who wants to work with a trustworthy product for load monitoring,” Dorottya concludes.
Used the world over
Based on proven technologies in use since 1976, Ron StageMaster systems are used by top companies worldwide such as NASA, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Rolls Royce and more. In the world of entertainment, RSM systems are the preferred choice for load monitoring in the largest venues and theatres like the AT&T Performing Arts Center, Sydney Opera, Hong Kong Cultural Center, Royal Shakespeare UK, Olympic Park Munich, Swiss TV and Esplanade Theatres Singapore. RSM systems are used by top rigging and rental companies such as Kish Rigging, Tait, and PRG and are utilized on tours the world over such as Rammstein, AC/DC and many others.