Live Design Blog Archive

Gearhouse South Africa Lights IPL Closing Ceremony

Gearhouse South Africa supplied lighting and power for the spectacular Closing Ceremony of the 2009 DLF Indian Premier League Cricket series at Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg. The show kicked off immediately after a knife-edge finish to the Series kept the 35,000 audience enthralled right down to the last ball, before the Deccan Chargers beat the Royal Challengers Bangalore by 6 runs.

Gearhouse's Tim Dunn designed the light-show for the event, - a lively fusion of Indian, African, Bollywood, Caribbean and American entertainment with special guest appearances by American rapper Akon, reggae legend Eddie Grant and Bollywood superstar Katrina Kaif. The high energy show also included drummers, fire dancers, traditional dancers and a Miss Bollywood IPL South Africa model parade culminating in a massive pyro and fireworks show.

Four production companies were involved with the event - Cineyug and DNA Networks from India, together with Mushroom Productions and Big Concerts from South Africa in a truly cross continental, show-stopping presentation. Gearhouse's project manager for the IPL Closing Ceremony was Bill Lawford, and the show was simultaneously telecast live on Superchannel 2 in South Africa and Zoom TV in India.

IN 2 Structures (also a Gearhouse company) built a special rolling stage designed by Dunn and Otto Wijnberger featuring an Indian sun on the face offering great camera-candy for the aerial shots on TV. It was wheeled on to the pitch for the start of the show in a blackout, while the audience were distracted by speeches by - among others - Jacob Zuma, the newly elected president of South Africa.

The stage measured 17 by 10 metres and was constructed in 6 sections, each weighing 1.5 tonnes. Each section had 10 pairs of wheels custom built for the IPL. Each one was pushed into place by a team of 47 crew and 5 co-ordinators. Space outside the perimeter of the stadium is extremely tight, so the stage sections had to be stored vertically near the entrance to the playing field. The IN 2 Structures team built a trussing bridge above one of the pitch entrances, complete with chain motors allowing each component to be winched into vertical and horizontal positions.

Dunn operated the lightshow using a grandMA full size console, and was assisted in programming by Hugh Turner, who called the 10 follow spots on the night.

A total of 120 Martin Professional MAC 2K Wash and Profiles moving lights were rigged on two of the stadium's balconies along with 12 Robe ColorWash 2500E ATs, fanning out 120 degrees from the main grandstand in front of the main control position, with all principal stage action taking place on that half of the pitch.

At pitch floor level, the same area was covered by 24 Robe ColorSpot 700E AT moving light fixtures and 12 Robe ColorWash 2500E ATs, left and right at the 'quarter slot' positions, also on the floor were 22 Atomic strobes.

For infilling of the back void at the rear of the pitch, 40 bars of ACLs were positioned on the lower balcony of the opposite grandstand, focused in huge sweeping fans to warm up the rear half of the field. On the floor in front of that same back grandstand were 4 banks of 5 Cyberlights, used for back fill illumination.

Two 32 ft long customised trussing dollies on pneumatic wheels were positioned left and right mid-field, behind the stage, loaded with a total of 16 Robe ColorSpot and ColorWash 700E ATs - 8 of each type - plus 7 8-cell Moles per dolly.

It was an expediently sized rig for a stadium show, and careful, well-thought out lighting was key to ensure that all the performers were lit sufficiently for the cameras covering the various telecasts.

Dunn was also keen to utilise ambient visuals linked into the Wanderers' 4 LED screens and the LED advertising strips surrounding the stadium at pitch level to enhance the show. He came up with a solution to do this using another grandMA full size console and two MA video servers running the new MA2 video software. This element of the show was operated by Marcel Wijnberger from Gearhouse Media, with video output to screen via a Vista Spyder multi-screen controller operated by Kevin Larson. Two Grass Valley Turbo hard disk machines were used for running in VT playbacks.

Data was fed to the lighting fixtures at the back of the field via wireless DMX, with the front sections on a wired system. The 12 universes of DMX were controlled via 4 MA NSPs, 16 opto isolators and 5 DMX remotes.

Gearhouse Power supplied two pairs of synched 300 KVA generators for the main stand lighting, 1 pair of 300s on each of the left and right sides of the stand, splitting the feed, with each genny providing 650 Amps via 2 800A distro units and a double 50 metre mains run. Lighting at the opposite grandstand was fed by two 250 KVA synched sets on a 400A breaker, with a double 100 metre mains run.

On the previous night, Gearhouse SA also supplied full technical production and equipment - including lighting, audio, LED screens and media to the Miss Bollywood IPL South Africa beauty pageant, staged at the Montecasino Theatre, also in Johannesburg.

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