The mesh screens were also chosen to ensure the safety of the crowds walking beneath them. Another challenge that the SLS team faced was presented by the climate in the UAE during the installation.
‘It was a gruelling three weeks of heat, humidity and sandstorms,’ said Mr Van Zyl. ‘The humidity affected the gear being outdoors for such a long time, as it got very moist in the evenings, as well as being on the beach and the sand blowing in and on all the equipment, but our team was ready for all of this. I was proud of the team and they all knew what was required. It was a very big production team, starting from the end client to the cleaners and everybody stuck together and pulled off an amazing event. Luckily, we had an onsite health and safety representative who checked the weather forecasts the day before and on the day of the event and sent updates to everyone in production, so we all could be well prepared for what was to come.’
As for the lighting setup, HQWS supplied a lighting design to meet the needs of the event’s live television broadcast. This saw SLS provide 364 PAR cans, 38 Claypaky Alpha Spot 1200s, 38 Alpha Wash 1200s, 22 Mythos and 44 GTD Beams. These fixtures were located on eleven 12m high scaffold towers to provide general lighting as well as to create visual effects. In addition, each obstacle along the course was equipped with its own lighting setup, including Claypaky Alpha Beam 300s, 150 Q-Shine 18W LEDs, CityColor fixtures and even a range of underwater LEDs set up at the obstacles featuring pools. Additional luminaires, such as 36 Mythos, 21 Halos, eight K10s and other special effects and lasers were brought in for the grand finale.
The lighting was controlled from a control booth via a grandMA2 Full Size, a grandMA2 onPC command wing, three MA NPUs and four MA NSPs. The grandMA2 Full Size was also used to trigger effects when contestants cleared obstacles automatically. CO2 was fired amid an array of lighting effects via MIDI as competitors hit a big, red button upon clearing an obstacle. A signal was then sent to the content creator, Eventagrate’s, system, which in turn would send the MIDI commands for the specific obstacle to the grandMA2 to launch a specific cue.
‘For lighting, working on a large site in thick sea sand had many challenges,’ said Darion Garisch, SLS Productions’ head of lighting. ‘Not being able to push flightcases around on wheels meant we were keeping a team of manotours very busy throughout the set up process to place all the kit all around the site. We also had a constant challenge of boom lifts getting stuck in the sand. Not to mention the bodily strain on the crew having to walk and work in the sand in 40°C plus heat and the occasional blinding sandstorm that swept through the site. The constant digging of trenches was another challenge on this event. With lighting kit being dispersed all over the site, all cabling had to be strategically planned and dug into trenches. But my team did great, and the event would not have happened without their commitment and sweat.’
Aside from the environmental conditions, the SLS team face no major challenges in regards to setting up or programming the equipment. ‘I am very pleased,’ concluded Mr Van Zyl. ‘Being out in the extreme heat, humidity and sandstorms, our gear did very well with hardly any repercussions. I don’t think there is anything that we could do differently. Nobody can be fully prepared for what mother nature throws at us. For both video and lighting, we didn’t really have any challenges. Our main challenge for everything, was being on a beach, in the heat, and getting our gear from point a to point b.’