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Daddy Yankee Dazzles with Darmah, ROE

Kevin M. Mitchell • May 2020Visual Insights • May 6, 2020

The show started dramatically with a scale-sized plane descending.

12-Date “Residency” in Puerto Rico by International Reggaeton Star Pushes Boundaries

Let’s start off with a stunning 3D image of a real scale-sized golden plane descending and landing on the stage. Then let’s have the artist come out of it onto the wing with dancers and sing his earlier songs including “Jefe” and “Que Tire Pa’ ‘Lante.” Next, let’s have the stage moved via six lifts to elevate dancers and a giant gorilla lip-syncing the words to another hit, “Machucando.” Now that’s how you start a concert.

For those not in the know, go to YouTube and check Daddy Yankee out. The Puerto Rican singer is considered the pioneer and “Big Boss” of Reggaeton Music. In launching his first home shows in 12 years, he chose Puerto Rico’s biggest indoor arena. Three dates that sold out in hours turned into six, and then 12 — records were broken, and it was dubbed “Daddy Yankee’s Con Calma pa’l Choli Puerto Rico Residency.” Ramón Luis Ayala Rodríguez is DY (Daddy Yankee). He has sold over 20 million records worldwide, making him one of the best-selling Latin music artists.

The B Stage was flown out to the back of the stadium on a sea of lasers.

“Technology and design have always been part of our creative process,” says Rodrigo Proal, CEO of Darmah, a multifunctional studio that specializes in production design. The production designer/director has an industrial engineering background, so he comes from a unique perspective to bring key elements on how to “bring emotion to the audience.”

Bianca Moncada is the creative director whose background includes graphic design before becoming a visual designer and working in video. “Our goal is to unify all the elements on stage to create a balanced composition and a great picture. This includes the technical elements — screen visuals, props, scenic — to the more organic ones — talent, choreography, wardrobe. We strive to find the right balance between all of that, and then take advantage of the latest technology to create unforgettable moments,” she says.

A stunning moment made possible by ROE’s Vanish V8S

‡‡         Those Unforgettable Moments

For the song “Shaky Shaky,” we see DY’s face on the screen in profile, and then his face “comes off” and a bridge comes out, which soon holds dancers. Other artists “show up” as giant holograms. For his big hit, “Con Calma,” nine bobble heads dressed as his many looks represent each chapter of his career. Another stunning moment is reality-based: He performs in front of the three-story apartment complex of his childhood. “To end the show, we left the very best for last — the worldwide hit, ‘Gasolina,’” Moncada explains. “Part of the video screen lifted as if it was a garage gate, which cued pyrotechnics followed by dancers who came out on a Polaris sport cart.”

The video screen partner of choice was ROE Visual. “We strongly respect ROE, and for 15 years have considered them allies,” Proal says. “They are our number-one choice when it comes to adding any new product to our LED inventory.” He adds that the two companies have much in common. “They share our passion for creatively pushing state-of-the-art technology, and they always understand our needs when it comes to designing a product that would fit our inventory of gear.”

During Daddy Yankee’s big hit, Con Calma, bobbleheads representing his many looks appeared

Darmah has not been a passive vendor in all this and has worked with ROE to develop their own custom LED gear with great success. “We want to thank our friend Frank Montero and the entire ROE team for always trusting and willing to support us in any way.” The ROE tools used in this extravaganza included the Vanish V8S Transparent LED Screen with a 170-foot-wide canvas as the main stage, which “was the first time this has been ever been accomplished.”

As for media servers, Darmah has been working with disguise [formerly d3] since the company began. “It has become a design tool that is part of our workflow from planning to visualize and deliver,” he says. “We consider ourselves silent partners as we have trusted this system since day one. We are proud to say that Darmah was the first company to create a disguise studio worldwide.” Used on this show was disguise’s vx 4 and 4x4pro. Other video technologies included Notch VFX, which was used to integrate real-time graphics control, and special VFXs for the live camera work. The Visual #D was used to create the realistic environments.

Darmah specializes in live television events and concert tours. They’ve been part of the Latin Grammys, Billboard Latin Music Awards, iHeartRadio Music Awards and many others. They have also worked with BTS, Ricky Martin, John Legend and Usher, among others. The company has studios in Miami and Mexico City. The team has worked with DY in the past, mostly on his television performances.

“Right before this tour came up, we had just worked with him on the Late Late Show with James Corden” on CBS, Moncada says. “It was a big deal for the Latin community, as he was the first Latin artist to ever perform on the show, and we were grateful for the opportunity to be part of it.”

The creative team recreated Yankee Daddy’s childhood neighborhood known as Villa Kennedy with attention to detail.

‡‡         The Creative Process

The process began when the Darmah team flew to Puerto Rico for creative sessions with the artist. “We went through each song and discussed what the meaning was to him and how it related to that time in his career,” Proal says. “He wanted us to create not just a concert but an actual show for his audience to experience.” Moncada adds that, because most of his songs are upbeat with a great deal of energy, “we wanted it to feel like a roller coaster ride of emotions, one that would take you by surprise yet at the same time showcase the trajectory of his career.” Added to all that was the challenge of redesigning the look of the older hits in completely different ways for an entirely new impact. “That was very important to him.”

Then there was the deadline: Just one month of rehearsals was all they had to put it all together. The team visualized and pre-programmed most of the show in Miami before taking it to Puerto Rico. “Choreographing his movements and timings was key to showcase the entertainer he wanted to be for his fans,” Moncada says. “This is not commonly seen in other urban acts, but DY always likes to push the limits to mark a precedent for next generations.”

The team has many favorite moments that they are understandably proud of. “A key moment for me, and the most relevant for fans, is the B Stage moment, when a giant bridge that started at the top of the roof of the venue brings him down, and he descends to 12-feet over the audience,” Moncada says. “It then floats on a sea of lasers, with mirrors strategically placed to protect the audience — it was a daunting, seemingly impossible task.”

The pair go out of their way to point out that this was hardly done by just them. “Darmah is like a fraternity, and all projects we do, we speak about as ‘we,’” Proal says. “Most of our crew has been with us from the beginning, and nothing done here is by any one individual, but by our team.”

 

Daddy Yankee Con Calma pa’l Choli Residency

Coliseo de Puerto Rico, San Juan, Dec. 2019

Credits:

  • Show Director: Rodrigo Proal/Darmah
  • Production Designer: Rodrigo Proal/Darmah
  • Creative Directors and Producers: Bianca Moncada, Rodrigo Proal
  • Production Supervisor: Cesar Guillen
  • Technical Director: Erick Mothelet
  • Production Lead Coordinator: Gabriela Vilchez
  • Lighting Designer: John Daniels
  • Lighting Director: Felix Peralta
  • Lighting Programmers: Jose Chris DiLorenzo, Jose A. Rodriguez, Christopher Fernandez.
  • Head Rigger: Federico Figueroa
  • Screens Direction: Bianca Moncada
  • Disguise Programmers: Jose Antonio Garcia Reyes
  • GFX Designer Supervisors: Victor Martin , Javier Farias
  • Notch Designer: Edgar Zuñiga
  • Video Content Production: Darmah

 

More photos:

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