You would expect an impressive and memorable show to accompany the launch of the newest and largest expo hall in the Middle East … and that was exactly the brief received by Lighting Designer Eran Klein of Tel Aviv based creative design practice Cochavi & Klein from show producers The Gallery.
Eran rose to the occasion, adding a generous helping of his visual magic to the occasion assisted by around 160 Robe moving lights – including 28 x BMFL Spots, 36 x MMX Spots, 24 x LEDWash 1200s, 54 x Pointes, 16 x MMX WashBeams and 16 x LEDBeam100s.
The gala opening show, directed by Amit Fisher, needed to deliver a breath-taking immersive experience for thousands of VIPs, celebrities and invited guests, and an event to establish Pavilion 2 – ‘Hall of the Universe’ - at the Tel Aviv Expo as THE BEST venue in which to stage any type of function.
Cochavi & Klein worked with a hugely talented creative team including the Israeli Ballet choreographed by Ido Tadmor, video arts collective Locomotion, video / LED system designers Shay Bonder and Yahav Tenne of The Merlin Group and set designer Maya Hanoch of Forma Studio.
The vast dimensions of Pavilion 2 – 100 metres long by 63 wide with 19 metres of headroom - posed a real challenge, as the space needed to be accentuated and showcased on one hand, but also be intimate and personal so guests felt comfortable and vibey on the other!
It was decided to divide the space into two areas – taking up approximately a third and two thirds of the hall respectively.
Light was an absolutely central component to making the entire concept work successfully. It was used in an architectural context breaking down and shaping the space, whilst also generating the overall ambience, and enhancing the drama of the evening for everyone’s enjoyment!
After the reception area in the foyer, guests entered the first part of the hall which featured a 30 x 10 metre projection screen and a live soundscape being produced live by DJ, music producer and multi-instrumentalist, Asaf Amdurski.
This was followed by some speeches and the entertainment program. The first act to take the stage was 30 members of the Israeli Ballet who danced in synch to giant video art from Locomotion which appeared on the screen. Then the screen started to rise to reveal the rest of the hall and the party area which was designed as a 360 degree stage by Forma Studio complete with a large roller coaster at the back.
Above the party stage a huge video cube was suspended which split into two, the lower half flying out (on a Cyberhoist system) to reveal the DJ, with more fantastic video art on that and four ‘antenna’ trusses clad with LED all run via Hippotizer media servers. Also performing were The Balkan Beat Box, techno-house legend DJ Sahar Z and a special collaboration between DJs Chan Yani and Gili Saar. Eli Nissan was the musical director.
With so much happening, Eran also factored distinctive and different sections of the show into his lighting, so he could flow with the mood and vibe of each moment as the action unfolded.
These structural requirements also informed his choice of fixtures – he knew he needed a highly versatile selection of tools at his disposal. “Each part of the evening needed its own atmosphere which could take the audience to a completely different place from the last one,” he explained.
The first element of the evening was based on precision lighting with the idea that people felt safe and familiar along with the electronic mood. Sixteen MMX WashBeams were chosen because of their framing shutters and positioned on an upstage and a downstage truss trimmed at 12 metres.
He also used these to light the ballet dancers and make them appear to be floating amidst the digital art.
The dancers were dressed only in skin tone body costumes, so the CTO and the pastels of the MMX WashBeams were ideal for picking these out subtly.
Twelve LEDWash 1200s on the floor were used to key-light the dancers and also for highlighting the low fog effect, all adding to the idea of weightlessness.
Behind Amdursky 12 x MMX Spots were used to shoot soft-edged gobos through the DJ and into the crowd, adding depth to the stage picture. Eran comments that he likes using fixtures from the same brand so the colours can be matched, a feature that Robe fixtures do particularly well.
Strategically positioned MMX spots were also used to transform the roller-coaster into a super-trippy psychedelic experience with their “Amazing” animation effects – getting the party really started much to the enjoyment of guests!
In the main hall, eight 18 metre trusses were positioned in a raked star shape above the stage, with the inner hoists at 15 metres and the outer ones at 18 metres, heightening the impact of the trussing architecture and enhancing the 360 degree concept.
Forty-eight Pointes were rigged on these star trusses. They were selected for their brightness - needed due to the serious throw distance, for the linear prism and numerous other effects that can be created with them. Eran reckons the Pointe is “The best beam / spot / wash unit currently available”. He likes the fact that the effects can go from being super-soft and delicate to raw, hard and uncompromising.
The 26 x BMFLs were positioned on a truss below the main LED cube, creating a crown of light and also on the four ‘antenna’ trusses in the four corners of the stage. This truss was flown at 9 metres, so the BMFL beams were highly effective in all directions.
Eran has used the BMFL on several projects in many locations already – in the desert, for a cabaret and on various stage shows ... so he was already familiar with Robe’s newest fixture and its capabilities, however he comments that using the BMFLs at the moment is still a learning curve! “Each time I use BMFLs I discover more new features and more inventive ways of using them” he states, comparing it to the multi-tasking talents of basketball legend Michael Jordan!
There were also a number of other fixtures on the rig, all controlled via a grandMA2 full size console programmed and run by Eran.
The Robe fixtures were supplied by a combination of Gil Teichman and Danor Rental. Sound was designed by Haim Fogel with the audio and projection equipment delivered by Simul. LED screens and Hippotizer media servers came from Screen Light and lasers from Saar Laser.
The opening show was an overwhelming success, and acclaimed for all the imagination and crafting that went into making it unique and helping to put the new venue on the map.
Photos: Sivan Farag