Robots and rock ‘n roll: Protec’s 2015 round-up

Protec has rounded up the eclectic events and projects it has been involved with in Summer 2015, including branching out into robot technology and creating shows for the likes of Pharrell Williams.

The first half of 2015 was a busy one for the Middle East equipment rental company; another sign that the region’s enriched events industry is as prominent and dynamic as ever.

The year kicked off with #DBXNYE, Dubai’s biggest New Year’s Eve party that featured Pharrell Williams, Dmitri Vegas, Like Mike, Busta Rhymes, Paul Oakenfold, Seb Fontaine, Sky Blu, hosted by E!’s Giuliana and Bill Ranci for which Protec supplied the audio using the L-Acoustics K2 system with a Digico SD5 desk.

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Lighting, which included many Clay Paky & Varilite fixtures ran on a Grand MA2 Full desk, video which was displayed on about 150sqm of our Mambo 9mm LED screen, staging, rigging and our EHD Mark 2 concert roof system.

After #DXBNYE Protec filled its first half of the season with festivals, conferences, product launches, road shows, galas, opening ceremonies, exhibitions and everything in between.

Protec was then involved with another spectacular event – the opening ceremony for IDEX 2015 which won the 2015 Middle East Event Award for Best Temporary Venue or Structure. It was a daytime show, repeated over five days, that involved military jet sorties, helicopters stunts, ships, jet boats, tanks, stunt vehicles, soldiers, stuntmen, full movie grade special effects and more.

Protec built a show performance area on a car park over an area of 1,256 sqm. The ‘stage’ which was built to resemble a port, included buildings, warehouses, bridges, a canal that held 2,534 million litres of water for boats to get into the action, 8720 tonnes of tarmac, road base and sand to build the staging surface, where 500 performers from across the world performed at this exciting event that included parades, heritage performances, aerial displays and a thrilling battle enactment.

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(Above pics) A look at some of Protec’s DXB NYE which took place before a bumper summer of events

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(Above pic) ‘Before’. The car park at ADNEC, Abu Dhabi where Protec would build the stage area

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(Above pic) ‘After’. IDEX 2015 Opening Ceremony – Completed stage area

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(Above pic) IDEX 2015 Opening Ceremony battle enactment

 While IDEX was in full swing, Protec was busy lighting another successful Red Fest 2015, the region’s biggest music festival held at Dubai Media City Amphitheatre. It included artistes like The Script, Iggy Azalea, Bastille, Kiesza, Jeremih, Rixton, Ella Eyre and a whole host of pop stars. The Grand MA 2 desk ran about 200 Clay Paky, Varilite and Martin fixtures.

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(Above pic) Protec Lighting at Red Fest 2015 in Dubai

Protec was also at the heart of another award winning event. The Du Annual Staff gathering which saw our client Cheil Worldwide win the Wow Asia Award for the Best Event / Experience of the year 2015.

Conceptualised by Protec’s design department, the show content’s 3d projection mapping was tested on a scaled 3d printed model of the set before Protec’s audio, video, lighting, rigging, automation, backline, staging & design departments took over to finish off the experience.

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(Above pic) Du Annual Staff gathering for Cheil Worldwide used Protec’s Audio, video, staging, design, lighting and BlackTrax (The Design)

Corporate events, meanwhile, continued until the heat of the summer eventually put the brakes on the season, but even that couldn’t stop the company from extending its already vast amount of equipment housed in its facility that contains 13 warehouses, with plans underway to shift to a larger facility by the end of October.

As the new facility is being built, Protec Video added 90 new Barco projectors at 20k & 30k lumens and 16 Christie 45k projectors, an additional d3 Pro 4×4 media server to add to the 3 already in use enabling us to control upto 96 independent video channels as well as two brand new d3 2x2plus media servers to take its d3 stock to six media servers and an additional 150sqm of 4mm Mambo LED twist panels.

Protec Lighting has also added additional MA2 full size consoles, 2 MA Video Processors, 96 Clay Paky Mythos, 36 Clay Paky Stormy and 48 LED Show Batten, but ask the company’s CEO & founder Stephen Lakin and he’ll tell you that the company’s latest investment in robotics is what excites him the most, especially after the interest it generated when Protec launched its new division Special Projects which will look after robotics, motion tracking and innovations.

The company’s facility in Dubai buzzing with another delivery of six Kuka robots in addition to the existing Baxter robots already in stock, with 24mts of track that was bought for tracking the Kuka robots on.

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(Above pic) Peter Jones from Protec Special Projects, tests Protec’s first Kuka robot

Elsewhere, Protec supplied HQ Creative with lighting, video and rigging for the opening ceremony of the Nad Al Sheba Sports Tournament 2015, held at NAS Sports Complex on 21 June.

Protec used the BlackTrax real time motion tracking solution to track extreme stunt performers, spot lighting them and stage sets. The opening ceremony used a riot of colour and light to depict the central theme of urging youth towards core sporting principles of determination, perseverance, stamina and the will to achieve, explained through a narrative and skit that was interwoven in a film that which depicted the history and culture of the UAE.

The event was created using two d3 4X4 Pro servers which created the mask, blend and warp for the custom made screens as well as integrating the use of primarily Clay Paky lighting fixtures which included 24 X Clay Paky Mythos and 14 x Clay Paky K10 B-eye, working together alongside 8 X Sharpy, 7 X Sharpy Wash 330 and 8 X Super Sharpy.

The venue had to function as a sports arena post show, so the design had to take this into account, staying out of the way of overhead house lighting as not to form shadows for the TV sports broadcast and not interfere with the games being played below.

The rig needed to be light weight but still pack a punch for such a dynamic and fast paced show.  It also needed to be traditionally theatrical in parts which is always a fine balance between bright and beamy and slow and moody.

The stage had to be lit for TV as well as a live audience.  A balance was needed between what looked good on TV but more importantly, the theatrics for both the live audience and His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Crown Prince of Dubai.

More recently, Protec defied Dubai’s summer temperatures to deliver another event at Games15 Middle East. Protec was supported its client – SNAP, with lighting, video and rigging for the event held at Dubai International Marine Club from the 10–12 September 2015.

Games15 Middle East, the premier gaming event in the region hosted by ESL,  saw more than 20,000 eager gaming fans brave soaring temperatures to watch global teams from ESL go head to head over three days, competing for the US$250,000 prize. Visitors were able to preview and experience some of the games scheduled to be launched in the coming months.

The Main Arena was rigged using Protec’s EHD (extra heavy duty) ground support structure which held 3 LED screens rigged off the 18in sub truss. The stage was considerably smaller than the arena shows that ESL regularly produces, so Protec took the challenge of making the stage look like an arena show for TV without the space of an arena. Protec’s project manager Simon Travis explained, “The main issue was the width of the Main Arena rig. We had to make it smaller than we would have liked due to the width of the venue and access routes.”

The event was primarily for live broadcast and had a live audience. In this situation, broadcast took priority on the lighting design.  24 Clay Paky K20 B-Eye and eight Mythos fixtures along with Molefays were used for the main stage. LED pixel smart fixtures added some ambient lighting in the main audience area. The large cinematic set, built out of shipping containers was subtly lit to add to the scenic surround feature.”

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Protec’s Baxter Robots

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Protec’s latest delivery of Kuka Robots