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Gearhouse South Africa is a Winner  at the KORA Awards

Gearhouse South Africa is a Winner at the KORA Awards


Gearhouse South Africa supplied full technical production - including lighting, sound, rigging, AV, stage, set - and crew for the high profile 2010 KORA All Africa Music Awards staged at the Palais de Sport in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, West Africa.

Kora Awards is the manifestation of an all-encompassing vision for Africa of the Executive Producer for the event, Mr.Ernest Adjovi and Mr Adjovi's dedication to overcoming the logistical demands of bringing a show of this scale to Burkina Faso.

It was the first time that the colourful KORA event had been staged outside South Africa. The show was directed for TV by Clive Morris and distributed via CFI (Canal France International) across Africa, France and parts of the US via 100 TV channels, as well as being enjoyed live by 3000 guests. David Bloch was stage director.

The Gearhouse team of 28 was project managed by Eyal Yehezkely and Bill Lawford. The two have worked on many other international pan African projects for the company, but this was the first one in Burkina Faso. They collaborated closely with Clive Morris and Jennifer Mostert from TV Production company, Clive Morris Productions (CMP) and Victoria Nkong from the KORA team, who produced the show, with local generator and forklift companies.

The 65 tonnes of production equipment was air-freighted out of South Africa in a Boeing 747-200 cargo plane. As the deal was a sales package to KORA, at the end of the show, it went into storage in Burkina Faso.

The 2010 KORA Awards show was presented by Anita Erskine from Ghana and Steve Facia and Alpha Ouedrougo from Burkina Faso. The overall creative brief was to produce a large, exciting televisual extravaganza environment that looked good on screen and live.

Lighting & Set

Lighting was designed by Gearhouse's Kurt du Preez.

The rig was hung on a series of trusses over the stage and audience that were constructed in various shapes and lengths so they could follow the contours of the venue's domed shape. This and the rigging requirements of all other departments were co-ordinated by head rigger, Johan Moolman.

Over 100 moving lights were used - a mix of High End StudioColor and StudioSpot 575s - and these were dotted all over the rig and on the deck of the set, complemented by a large PAR can rig. The PARs provided general stage and audience washes, whilst the moving fixtures were utilised for effects, beam-work, set texturing, specials and key lighting.

The back truss included some vertical drop-down sections for additional lighting positions that boosted the dynamics and depth of the rig. With functionality to the fore, the main overhead truss was positioned so the main set steps below could be easily lit.

Du Preez programmed and operated the show using a Martin Professional MAXXYs console, which was also running a Maxedia media server. This was loaded up with the nominee playback packages and show graphics created and supplied by CMP. These were relayed to two 16x12 side screens flanking the stage. Each of these screens was fed by 2 Panasonic 5700 projectors.

In addition to the VT elements, Du Preez chose various ambient video clips from the Maxedia's extensive onboard library that were integrated into different visual looks for specific sections of the show and presentations.

One of the technical challenges for the lighting team - which applied to all departments - was that the kit had to be extra-thoroughly prepped, as Burkina Faso is not readily accessible for the sending of replacements! As it was a sale, additional attention was also paid to supplying a good stock of spares for KORA.

The 39m wide x 18m deep set was designed by Dewet Meyer and built by Gearhouse's set company SDS, in a 4 day on site operation, overseen by Craig Pretorius.

A major feature of the set was a pair of 5.5 metre wide tracking doors upstage centre that were used for entrances and exits, flanked by 5m wide x 6m high flat walls, covered in PVC print. On either side of the stage were 7.5m high x 11.7m wide walls with convex and concave curves.

The doors were moved manually on 2 tracks with custom machined wheels. Although each door weighed about 650 Kgs, they were cleverly engineered to each be moved by one person.

With the time constraints on site, the set had to be built in such a way that it could be erected very quickly. SDS also had to keep in mind that the entire set had to fit into an aircraft and then go into storage containers for future use after the show. The entire set and stage was comprised of multiple curves and once again SDS's versatile CNC machine came to the rescue, reducing the build time significantly.

Once built, the entire set was clad in printed PVC fabric, amounting to over 1000 square metres.


Gearhouse supplied a flown Turbosound TMS 3 PA system for the event, quality vintage kit that has been lovingly maintained over the years, with the cabinets also newly refurbished before departure to Ouagadougou.

The main PA arrays were flown 4 wide and 5 deep with ground stacks of TMS 3s positioned to cover the first few rows of the audience, and 20 Turbosound TSW 124 subs. The 24” sub has a very distinct punch to it that is ideally suited to the current style of KORA Awards music - live performances included Kande Kande, Paul G, Extra Musica, Dikakapa, Fanny G and N' Gie and Bright Phase.

The PA was driven by a combination of Crown VZ5000 and Australian Monitor amps, and audio control was strictly analogue.

On front of house duties was a Soundcraft MH4 48 channel console, supplied complete with BSS gates and compressors, Yamaha SPX effects units and KT DN 360 EQ's. System processing was via Turbosound badged BSS omnidrive digital processors.

For monitors, Gearhouse Audio provided a Soundcraft MH3 32 channel desk, together with a Brit Row custom build and bi-radial dual 15” wedge monitors.

Microphones were a standard Shure package - consisting of SM58s, SM57s, Beta 52, SM 81s, SM 98s and MX 418 lectern mics, plus Shure UHF wireless hand-helds and beltpacks.

The principal sonic challenges lay in controlling the acoustics in the Palais de Sports. It was a completely untreated environment in this respect, so acoustical draping was installed to help the low-mid problem areas and absorb all resonant frequencies. Deadening the room created a friendlier and cleaner space for the heavily amplified programme.

Ezekiel Mashimbye engineered FOH with Frikkie Souls on monitors.

Gearhouse also supplied power sub-distribution from the local 800KVA generator set.

There was a great atmosphere on site as local and international companies and crews worked alongside each other to stage this very special event.

CMP supplied local broadcaster, RGB (Radiodiffusion et television du Burkina) with a live feed of the show and sourced ENG camera rigs, a giraffe crane and crew from them. The OB unit was supplied by South African based Dimension TV and CMP also joined forces with 25 local dancers and a choreographer, 6 local makeup artists and 6 local production assistants.

While Nigerian R 'n' B duo P Square celebrated being crowned African Artiste of the Year, along with 11 other KORA 2010 Award winners including Becca (Best African Prospect), Wadada (Best Reggae Artiste) and many more, Eyal Yehezkely and Bill Lawford congratulated all involved on helping towards the smooth running of the technical operation! "We had a good, devoted and skilled team, all of whom wanted nothing but the best".

“It's thanks to Mr. Adjovi and the tireless work of the KORA team led by Victoria Nkong we enjoyed the opportunity to be a part of this landmark event”, they concluded.

For more press information on Gearhouse South Africa, please call Louise Stickland on +44 (0)1865 202679/+44 (0)7831 329888/[email protected] To contact Gearhouse direct, call Robyn D'Alessandro on +27 (0) 11 482 8981/ +27 (0)83 607 3010 [email protected] or check

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