CPL adds glam to Tropic Rocks
Thursday, 4 April 2019
cpl-tropic-rocks-2019Tropic Rocks offered a hi-energy festival / rock theme to energise the 2500 delegates (photo: Ben Daure)
UK - Technical production specialist CPL provided a production design plus sound, lighting and video equipment to Pandora Events for Tropic’s massive spring 2019 ‘glambassadors’ event, staged in Hall 9 at the National Exhibition Centre (NEC) in Birmingham, UK.
Tropic Rocks offered a hi-energy festival / rock theme to energise the 2500 delegates, for which a look and feel to match was needed. This was delivered by CPL’s Mike Radford who led a crew of 40 for the get in / out and show sections of the one-day event, for which they had one rig day and a second for tech and rehearsals.
The event’s format encompassed a lengthy achievement recognition and awards section, new product launches and upcoming incentives, wrapping up with a lively evening party, so the design had to cater these various requirements and practical enough to transform from the conference elements into the evening party in just one hour.
An 18m wide by 8m deep festival style stage and canopy was built by CPL with a 28m long by 4m wide runway going out into the audience enabling presenters to move through the arena and get closer to the audience, and the numerous award winners to walk up to the stage, collect their award and then walk down the runway and back to their seats in the auditorium.
At the end of the runaway was an elevated triangular shaped B Stage – the catwalk split and passed this on two sides – on which the event band The Air Guitar Band played.
Pyro and CO2 effects were also used to accent moments in the production numbers, with 10 x Impact FX CO2 jets positioned on the front edge of the main stage and eight Sparkulars positioned around the central triangular stage. The climax of the final number featured a showstopper with 36 x confetti canons fired from the overhead trussing.
To ensure everyone had a great view of the stage, four large IMAG screens were installed, all made up from CPL’s Roe CB5 5mm surface. The screens measured 6 metres wide by 3.6 high and were positioned either side of the stage, with the two delay screens halfway down the hall.
Playback video was fed to all 10 x LED surfaces via a disguise one 4x4 media server via a Barco E2 Event Master / processor, disguise providing the background layer and E2 managing PIP’d screen outputs.
A four-camera system was also fed into the E2 which outputted a TX to the IMAG screens and there was also a selection of PowerPoint presentation elements which were displayed on the four IMAG surfaces and LED drops rear of stage.
The cameras were mixed by Derek Gruszeckyj utilising a Panasonic HS400 PPU, and the camera operators were Darryn Kibble-White, Matt Barlow and Phil White, Bernard Rees completed the camera team as racks engineer.
The Video Team comprised of Anthony Condon on E2 with Nick Diacre programming and operating the disguise server. CPL commissioned Paul Brierly to create all the event’s graphics, artwork and slides in After Effects, which were co-ordinated on site by Jordan Pitcairn, whilst the LED screens were tech’d by Jack Sykes and Phil Goldsmith.
The moving lights were a combination of Claypaky K10s with B-Eye lenses and Axcor 300 Spots, Robe Pointes and Spiider LED wash beams, all chosen for their dynamics.
These were joined by SGM P-5 LED strobe / washes, ETC Source Four ColorSource Spots COB PARs and other conventional wash lights, together with large quantities of 2-cell Moles and active Sunstrips dotted about, adding to the general festival vibes.
Sound designers Jamie Kendall and Dan Lewis chose to use an L-Acoustics Kara system with around 70 speakers in total over five main arrays which were positioned left and right of the stage, left and right of the thrust and one above the centre of the thrust.
Two Yamaha CL5 consoles were operated by Steve Bull (FOH) and Sam Cook (monitors) with the FOH moved from the centre of the auditorium to side stage between the daytime session and the evening party.
(Jim Evans)

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