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Festive Lights Event in Cape Town Gets Support from Gearhouse

PLSN Staff • International News • December 19, 2009

CAPE TOWN, South Africa – Gearhouse South Africa's Cape Town branch supplied staging, lighting, audio, LED and technical crew to Out The Box Productions for the annual "Switching on of The Festive Lights" on and around Adderley Street. This year's event featured a soccer theme, referencing the 2010 FIFA World Cup. (The Final Draw for that event took place in Cape Town a few days later.)


Cape Town's executive mayor Dan Plato, accompanied by FIFA Secretary General, Jerome Valcke and Bafana Bafana star Matthew Booth, took part in the "switch-on" ceremony.


The event included a seven-hour concert on the main stage at Adderley Street's Fountain Circle in the center of town. Performers included Ringo Madlingozi, the Rockets, Emo Adams, Ready D and Jozi.


Out the Box Productions developed an expanded event footprint for the 40-year-old event. Along with the main stage events and a carnival parade with some 2,000 participants, the celebration included a fashion show for 800 people, produced in collaboration with Gavin Rajah, and an interactive soccer zone area.


Based on the current Public Viewing Area (PVA) templates, OTB and Gearhouse's Tim Dunn and Philip Beardwood designed a technical layout for the area, which spanned 2 kilometers in length. Although only about 30 percent of the 100,000 people attending had a direct sight line to the main stage, LED video was used to bring the staged events to the crowd.


The stage itself, which measured 16 by 14 meters, was designed and lit by Tim Dunn from Gearhouse SA's Johannesburg branch. Much of the action took place in daylight. A diamond-shaped LED screen was used as a backdrop to bring shape and depth to the performance space, coupled with LED panels along the front of stage, to avoid standard "black box" stage look.


The Lighthouse LED panels were fed with content and texturing from the MA media server, run from the grandMA lighting console that Dunn used to control the lighting.


The lighting rig included 20 Martin MAC 250 Washes, 12 MAC 250 Entours, 12 Robe 700 Color Washes, 12 Robe 2500E Washes, 12 Robe 2500E Spots, 24 i-Pix BB4s, HMI 1200 Spot Lights with generic 12 bars of six Par64s and eight 5K fresnels for soft front keylighting. The stage was covered with a Slick Dome roof .


Curved trusses measuring 7.3 meters long and 2.3 meters high were rigged over the downstage edge of the stage, scrimmed with custom Cape Town branding, and the top cord of these trusses was used for additional moving light positions.


A 40-square-meter Lighthouse screen was erected above the VIP area, suspended from a StageCo goal post structure to service the audience in stage area. The VIP area was equipped with six 65-inch and six 42-inch plasma screens.


Five remote delay screens were provided by Gearhouse, all fed by microwave links from the OB truck at FOH, relaying the action taking place throughout the day to the more than 100,000 crowd that thronged into the city for the occasion.


Three Barco B10 "pod" mobile truck screens were stationed around the immediate area, one at Pier Place by the Captonian Hotel, the next near the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) and the third in Darling Street. Two additional 6-by-6 panel Lighthouse screens were rigged on cantilevered Layher decking, one at the corner of Strand and Adderley Streets and the other in the construction area in front of the main train station – in the road half way down Adderley Street. All screens were supplied by LEDVision, also part of the Gearhouse Group.


Gearhouse also supplied audio, 120 meters of crowd barrier and a 6-by-4-meter wheelchair access ramp in the main stage area.


The Gearhouse technical crew totalled 38 and were headed by project manager Zane Carim. They commenced the site build on Wednesday for the Sunday kick off and were joined by approximately 35 staging crew, 40 locals and a 25 tonne crane from Cape Cranes, utilised to hoist the StageCo goalposts and audio towers into place.


The Soccer Zone was an entertainment area near the Heerengracht Circle, where Heart 104.9 radio broadcast live and visitors could engage in a number of interactive soccer games and meet some star players. It was also full of concession stands. Gearhouse supplied six 6-meter-high lighting towers rigged with a selection of 6-lamp PAR bars and Molefeys to illuminate the area as darkness fell. These towers were also used to light part of the procession area for the carnival parade.


"Our challenges included implementing proper health and safety while building in densely populated areas with traffic flowing during business hours," noted Zane Carim, project manager, who oversaw the four-day build of all structures and the two-day load-in for technical gear. "With the site being in the middle of the busy city, they also had to do late shifts to circumvent normal business activities. All gear was set up in time and the event was a great success."


Out The Box Productions, Christopher de Vries added, "OTB presented a new concept for this public space event. The partnership with Gearhouse ensured we realised our vision and created one of the best Festive Lights events ever as the kick off of the FIFA Final Draw series of events."


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