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Formula 1 Grand Prix Concerts Prepped with wysiwyg

PLSN Staff • International News • December 19, 2009

ABU DHABI, U.A.E – At the 2009 Formula 1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Flash Entertainment produced a four-night series of concerts for race weekend ticket holders with headliners including Beyoncé, Jamiroquai, Kings of Leon and Aerosmith. Luke Bonner of Production Technology LLC used Cast Software's wysiwyg to model the lighting rig, which included more than 750 fixtures. The entertainment program, dubbed "Yasalam," which is Arabic for "fantastic, amazing and astonishing," was held on Yas Island at Ferrari World, and although the concerts were only open to those holding tickets for the race weekend, each of the four shows still drew a sizable crowd.


The stage was designed to be large enough to accommodate the performances and the crowd, yet flexible enough to adapt to the needs of the different artists. The final design was very open and wide, with no roof and no front truss. That meant the back wall carried the bulk of the stage back lighting plus a large high-resolution video screen. The stage was also flanked with 150-foot-wide LED "wings" with additional effect lighting. Towers placed at the front corners of the stage contained front and side lights.


Bonner's rig included moving lights, Space Cannons, strobes, 8-lights, PixelLines and Par 64s, plus the large LED wings. Control came from two grandMA full size consoles at FOH, one grandMA full size behind stage with wysiwyg and two grandMA media servers. Bonner also programmed and operated the grandMAs and the MA video stations. Production Technology LLC delivered most of the lighting, rigging and staging. Techno Pro supplied the LED wings.


"I had spoken to Rick Wade (Production Technology LLC, project manager) and Steve Shipman (Festival LD) about the possibility of using wysiwyg on a production of this magnitude," Bonner said. "We all agreed, so I began building the 3D model in wysiwyg based on the design from Steve Shipman – which went through few changes during the design evolution and so the wysiwyg model allowed us to get a good feel of how the event would look prior to physical build. The primary use of wysiwyg would be to allow Steve and visiting lighting designers a facility to use anytime, day or night to pre-program for their particular show and not be required to compete for physical rig time. We set up a wysiwyg room backstage in a portable cabin at the event site with a large plasma screen.


"In my opinion, wysiwyg complemented the event by adding an invaluable facility. Using wysiwyg onsite during a festival in the UAE is virtually unheard of. Due to the success of wysiwyg, I believe that its use will become more obvious on future events as a cost and time saving tool that LDs could use as and when required. To add additional confidence for the region, the drawings of the show could then be emailed to visiting LDs prior to them landing in Dubai, therefore allowing them to pre-program in their native country."


"Having the wysiwyg system on site helped out big time," noted festival LD Steve Shipman. The lighting rig was big; I knew that it would take a lot of time just to set up a basic busking page. I spent a day in the wysiwyg room onsite while the real system was being built. When I transferred to the real rig a few days later it was just a matter of tidying up the show. The wysiwyg model had been very accurate.


"When Beyoncé's LD Pat Brannon arrived, he started programming around midnight, and when the sun came up at 6 a.m., he moved into the wysiwyg room and did a few more hours. Paul Dexter, LD for Aerosmith, arrived in the afternoon the day before his show. He was able to go straight into programming in wysiwyg while the real system was doing another show."

For the Aerosmith show, Dexter credited the wysiwyg Visualizer for enabling "Luke, Steve and me to program on a grandMA console long before the show started. It is a relief to know that in a one-off festival situation that, with advance programming time, a show can look like it's already been on tour for months. Steve Shipman designed a gloriously ambitious system and thankfully I was able to explore all that it was capable of – accurately. Once we downloaded the advance work from the wysiwyg visualizer system into the concert console at front of house, the scenes needed some touch up focus and lighting additions but the foundation was way ahead of where we would have been without it."


For Beyoncé's show, Brannon said "the system that I used at F1 was an irreplaceable tool. The logistics of the show was a textbook example of how important this concept is regarding touring productions. Beyoncé was the first act opening the event and with the growing pains of the new facility and load-in, and setbacks that come with such an elite venue, the wysiwyg application made my show. My hat is off with the fantastic design that Steve Shipmen put together and with all the right people in place made the Beyoncé event seamless. The wysiwyg system was a professional set up and the focuses were spot on."


He added, "I elected to give Luke Bonner full reign controlling the LED low res wings and with just a heads up on my song by song color pallets and music tempo, he did an amazing job. I was very happy as was my artist management of the show reproduced for this event. I hope to see more of the wysiwyg systems on future festival show calendars."


Project manager Wade noted that "for a show of this size, it's critical to have the right people and tools to not only deliver great results, but to make it look easy and be efficient. I'm really happy that Luke brought wysiwyg into this project."


Gear List:


2 grandMA full size at FOH

1 grandMA full size behind stage with wysiwyg

2 grandMA media server


44 Clay Paky Alpha Spot 1200

42 Clay Paky Alpha Wash 1200

24 PR Lighting XL Spot 1200

24 PR Lighting XL Wash 1200

20 Clay Paky Alpha Beam 300

20 7K Space Cannon

44 2.5K City Color

54 Diversatronics strobe

22 PixelLine 1044

40 Molefay 8 light (DWE)

38 4-lamp bars par 64 ACL

70 6-lamp bars par 64 CP61

LED wings:

200 Techno Pro LED panels (40 cm x 40 cm, 24 mm pitch)

166 Techno Pro LED battens (1 meter)


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