Gearhouse switches on the lights in Cape Town

Tuesday, 15 December 2009
Gearhouse switches on the lights in Cape TownGearhouse SA once again switches on Cape Town's festive lights
South Africa - Gearhouse South Africa's Cape Town branch supplied all technical elements - staging, lighting, audio, LED and technical crew to Out The Box Productions for the annual Switching on of The Festive Lights in Adderley Street, Cape Town.

This year, the event featured a distinctive soccer theme, highlighting the upcoming 2010 FIFA World Cup and the imminence of the Final Draw, that took place in Cape Town a few days later.

The switch on was conducted by Cape Town's Executive Mayor Dan Plato, accompanied by FIFA Secretary General, Jerome Valcke and Bafana Bafana star, Matthew Booth. A seven-hour concert on the main stage at Adderley Street's Fountain Circle in the centre of town saw a star studded line up of acts representing the vibrant cultural diversity of the city, including Ringo Madlingozi, the Rockets, Emo Adams, Ready D and Jozi.

Out the Box Productions developed a new expanded event footprint for this 40-year old event. Over and above the main stage and 2000 strong carnival parade, they introduced new elements including a Fashion Show for 800 people which was produced in collaboration with Gavin Rajah, and a focussed Interactive Soccer Zone.

Based on the current Public Viewing Area (PVA) templates, OTB and Gearhouse's Tim Dunn and Philip Beardwood designed a technical layout enhancing the audience experience for an event site which was 2km long.

The 16m wide by 14m stage and lighting was designed by Tim Dunn from Gearhouse SA's Johannesburg branch. With the majority of the action taking 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 ensure that the environment was eye-catching and exciting in both light and dark, avoiding the 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 majority of the lighting rig was made up of moving lights, including 20 MAC250 Washes, 12 MAC250 Entours, 12 Robe 700 Colour Washes, 12 Robe 2500E Washes, 12 Robe 2500E Spots, 24 i-Pix BB4s LED Fixtures, HMI 1200 Spot Lights with generic 12 bars of six Par64s and 8x 5K fresnels for soft front key lighting. The stage was covered with a Slick Dome roof that added to its attractive appearance.

Curved trusses - 7.3m long by 2.3m 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 to provide further moving light positions.

The PA stacks either side of the stage were hung on StageCo towers. The audio system was a Turbosound Floodlight, with 12 cabinets a side over eight Turbo 718 subs per side. This was mixed by Gearhouse's Johan Griesel using a Yamaha M7 digital console.

(Jim Evans)

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