WIcreations used its new WImotion system – motors, tracking and control – to automate five ski lift cable cars in spectacular style as part of a massive visual extravaganza for the 2-day Moose Bar XXL event at Antwerp’s Sportpaleis venue … Belgium’s only and ultimate après ski party!
The brainchild of organiser and legendary Belgium night scene inspirator Yves Smolders, Moose Bar XXL ran for two nights this year after 2019’s inaugural event, and featured an epic scenic production design and a slew of music and live entertainment that transported 20,000 party-people to the mountains over the two nights!
A total of five cable cars were involved – sourced from an original ski lift in Tignes in the French Alps, known for its lift systems as well as for being the highest skiable area in Europe with the longest ski season – reconditioned and re-branded as highly visible Moose Bar props.
Four cable car gondolas were positioned in each corner of the Sportpaleis and these were flown up and down 6.5 metres into the venue ceiling throughout the evening, filled with guests, offering the opportunity for exclusive panoramic views of the event over the crowds.
The fifth cable car was in the centre of the room and – in addition to moving up and down – it tracked up to 51 metres along the roof of the space, transporting performers between the multiple stages over 48m.
The trussing for the tracking gondola was supplied by the production. The WI team, project managed by Jasper Mattijs, rigged their tracks and trolleys (one active, one passive) plus two 500kg hosts … and then picked up and attached the gondola.
The construction of the cars made it extremely easy to do this safely and securely without the need for any additional flying brackets or custom items.
The other four gondolas were all rigged and flown in the same way – each suspended on two 500kg WI-hoists attached to trussing in the roof. The 24 metres-a-minute zero speed double-braked 500kg WI-Hoists are BGV-C1 certified and fully SIL 3 compliant for flying objects above people.
Two WIcreations MCA control systems were utilised.
The four corner gondolas were each controlled via a WI-Pad tablet running a pre-programmed sequence, with full e-Stop and Dead-Man’s-Handle capability.
The operation of the four audience cable cars was overseen by event stewards who received induction and training ahead of the show. They were able to set the lifts in motion holding the Dead-Man’s Handle and activating the relevant motion cues straight from the pre-programmed WI-Pad.
The WI-Pads were supplied with USB WImotion dongle keys preventing any other actions than those designated to make the gondolas move up and down. This Client-Server set-up is central to the WImotion concept, underlining the roles and responsibility features offered by the system. This entire setup process was supervised by two WI operators.
The tracking cable car was controlled via a WI-Desk programmed and operated by Lesly van Rompaey positioned at the side of the stage – for optimum viewing.
He worked in conjunction with three spotters to ensure everyone’s safety was always paramount as people boarded and alighted this gondola in different places throughout its journeys.
WI also designed a fast and straightforward consent procedure assisting the promoter’s safety management strategy and protecting members of the public wanting to engage in the cable car ride.
MCA, the control software at the heart of the WImotion system, is designed as a fully redundant solution through its smart client-server setup with the possibility of adding multiple networked operating desks, which is great for environments like this when the main operator may not have direct vision of every area related to the automation.
MCA can run on Windows, Mac and Linux computers and is integral to the WImotion system, the WI-Desk, WI-Desk-Lite and the WI-Pad.
The other production elements – lighting, video, audio and rigging – were supplied by L&L Stage Services. Special effects were from Dewico and the end client was the House of Entertainment.
Photos: Frank Lambrechts, picturesk