The first South African rental company to invest in Kinesys automation is MGG, based in Linbropark, Johannesburg. MGG was founded by Mark Gaylard in early 1998, and has grown into one of the leading production solutions facilities in the country.
MGG has always been a proactive investor in innovative premium brands and technologies, a strategy that’s kept them at the forefront of the busy South African entertainment production industry, and that was also a driver in the Kinesys purchase, which comprises 16 x LibraCELL load monitoring shackles and a fully specified D8+ 8-way DigiHoist controller, supplied via Electrosonic, the exclusive Kinesys re-seller in South Africa.
Herman Mentz, head of rigging & structures at MGG explained that Kinesys motion control is a new concept for the South African market and something they had been considering for a while … to ensure that the best safety standards can be applied and maintained for shows utilising automation.
They met Kinesys’ founder and MD Dave Weatherhead on a visit to SA, and shortly after this, the order was placed for the first 8 x LibraCELL load measuring shackles and the DigiHoist controller. These went straight out on a corporate event at the Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg.
The MGG Team was immediately impressed with the system, its stability and ease of use, plus the ability and insight it gave into exactly what was going on in the roof with the trussing, motors and weight distribution.
At the end of 2015, the system was in action again for the high profile Afrikaans Is Groot event, a 7-day music festival staged in Moreleta Church, Pretoria, and this is where they really started seeing and appreciating all the benefits.
Movement was an integral part of the exciting lighting and visual design created by Josh Cutts and Chris Bolton. Four moving trusses were flown on eight 1 tonne ProLyft motors - all monitored by LibraCELLs - on a 6-legged ground support structure that also had two flown points.
“In a scenario like this, using LibraCELL enabled the scenes to be changed quickly, easily and safely,” said Herman, who operated for the shows. “It’s a real advantage to know exactly where the weight is and see how the dynamic loads are shifting. You can build your cues accordingly knowing that they are always going to be safe”.
He likes the logicality of Kinesys’ renowned Vector software which is integral to the DigiHoist package. “I can tell each motor exactly which position to go to just when I want it to … and you can get them returning to precisely the same positions time and again” he comments, which was crucial on a show like ‘Afrikaans is Groot’ where a DVD was being filmed over the 14 shows, making continuity essential!
“Seeing the real time load information and other data live on the screen is excellent, and if a problem starts to emerge, you can spot it immediately and take action”.
The LibraCELLs were such a big success for MGG that they purchased another eight with a LibraBASIC system and LibraVIEW software which allows data from (up to 25) LibraCELLs to be viewed and logged on a laptop.
This gives them two Kinesys based load monitoring systems which are needed for the busy periods.
“I can see the standards being set by Kinesys becoming more popular and necessary in the South African market” comments Electrosonic’s Renier Smit, “as lighting and visual designers become increasingly imaginative with automation on their rigs, so we see a huge potential for this and other Kinesys products”.
He adds that the support from Kinesys in the UK has been “Absolutely top! You can call any time and an expert will be there to answer the phone ... and any queries”.
Photo of MGG's Herman Mentz testing Kinesys system by Louise Stickland