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The Untold Kinesys Story

PLSN Staff • International News • November 18, 2021

Cluj-Napoca, Romania – A Kinesys Apex automation system with the new Kinesys Vector control console was used to create kinetic effects above the audience at the 2021 Untold Festival in the BT Arena at Cluj-Napoca, Romania. The system controlled six 7-meter diameter motion-controlled trussing circles, each rigged with 10 moving lights, above the audience of the Galaxy Stage.

More information from Kinesys (

Denmark-based automation specialist Motor Stage Automation supplied the Kinesys system and services to ABT Motion Rigs. The system design and specification was developed by Adrian Visenoiu, rigging manager for six of the seven stages at this years’ event, and Motor Stage Automation’s Blake McNally.

The Galaxy Stage presented a line-up of techno talent – Charlotte de Witte, Paul Kalkbrenner, Nina Kravitz, Amelie Lens, Tale of Us, Seth Troxler, and more over the three days – and in the true spirit of techno, high production values and visual effects topped the agenda with organizers determined to deliver the best guest experience for fans and music lovers.

The initial Galaxy stage design with a big centerpiece came from Mindscape Studios, and the moving circles were an idea from Andrei Predut of Apart Productions, lead lighting designer for all of Untold’s periphery (non- Main) stages. Visenoiu was tasked with making everything move and ensuring that lighting didn’t interfere with projections and other visual elements that were key to the aesthetic of the space.

Visenoiu already had plenty of ideas about how the circles should look, move, and bring a true additional dimensionality to the visuals, and for flying objects above the audience. It was essential to have only the safest kit, so he was happy to go with the Kinesys Apex system as this meets all requirements for “live” flying of objects over people and audiences.

Four 500kg Kinesys Apex hoists were used to fly each circle, all of which were rigged with 10 moving beam lights. Having the four motors meant the circles could be raised, lowered and tilted in all directions. The overall production design was minimalistic, but the truss circles brought great dynamics, filling the large roof void with color, movement, excitement and effects.

“I really wanted to achieve some extreme movements with the circles, to the point at which the full load sometimes needed to be taken by one or two hoists,” said Visenoiu, adding that he also wanted the motion to be “smooth, fast and elegant, all the things that get audience reactions and that converge to create the 3-D effects I had in mind.”

The movement cues started during the peak times and headline slots between midnight and 7 a.m. starting off with relatively straightforward shapes and effects, building to a crescendo getting more interesting, inventive, and extreme.

Working for Motor Stage Automation on installing, programming and operating the Kinesys system were Jimmy Johnson and Simon Howdy, who enjoyed using one of the new Vector consoles. Johnson, who has used Kinesys for several years on different projects and frequently specs it, commented, “The integrated safety management of the kit that Kinesys design offers peace of mind when flying above people and audiences.”

For Johnson and any operator, having confidence in the design and both the suppliers and the manufacturer of the kit is paramount in ensuring that everything stays safe. “Motor Stage Automation has been set up as a specialist in this fast-developing area, and one reason why they invested in Kinesys’ Apex system focusing on safety design from the project’s conception to delivery.”

He thinks that Kinesys has built a reputation for delivering great products, and for listening to the wish-lists of visual designers who are becoming ever more demanding as they push creative and technical boundaries of what can be achieved using automation for live shows.

Johnson worked with an experienced automation crew on site to ensure that safety regulations were rigorously followed. Visenoiu gave him and Simon a brief of how he wanted the movement to look and work as a creative production design and show element for the Galaxy Stage, and then left them space to add their own imaginative input. As they used the system and became familiar with what it could do, new cues were programmed each afternoon and added to that evening’s show, realizing new and different dynamics for each artist.

Kinesys CEO Dave Weatherhead said, “It is fantastic seeing the Kinesys Apex system out doing precisely what it was designed to do. Firstly, giving safety and peace of mind to programmers and operators in what they can achieve, and secondly, providing a fantastic toolkit for designers to use to realize their creative visions.  I am very excited to see the application potential for Kinesys Apex drives and hoists in the coming months and years.”

Photos courtesy of the Untold Festival

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