Protec delivers for IDEX opening ceremony
Friday, 12 April 2019
The event featured multiple military displays
UAE - The International Defence Exhibition & Conference (IDEX) opening ceremony took place in a 60m x 350m custom stage set built over a car park overlooked by a grandstand in Abu Dhabi. Protec delivered everything from the initial creative concept and narrative to the original set design, graphics, build, complete show delivery and coordination completely transporting the audience to an active ‘war zone’ where the story takes place.
Engaged for the fourth consecutive time to create and produce this grand opening ceremony for IDEX, Protec pulled out all the stops to ensure that the 14th edition of IDEX was one to remember.
The show began with a mix of local heritage performances followed by local and international military parades to welcome the crowd before the main part of the show. The scene was set for a battle enactment of a fictitious scenario where an elite military group representing the Land Forces, Special Forces, Navy and Air Force were deployed in a coordinated and synchronized manner to deal with rebel militia.
Working closely with senior representatives of the Armed Forces, Protec introduced modern and advanced military techniques augmented by VR, AI, robotics and satcoms.
Tanks and armoured patrol vehicles repeatedly roared onto the stage from both sides carefully choreographed to create suspense. Apaches, Blackhawks and jets screamed overhead sending vibrations through the crowd while the battle was even taken underground into the mine tunnels taking the audience on a vicarious journey into the future of warfare.
Eddie Andradé, the show’s creative director explains, “This year, our main challenge was to introduce futuristic elements in a realistic way without going overboard. This meant I had to do some serious research before breaking away into the creative angle of the show.
Protec’s founder and CEO – Stephen Lakin, who was in charge of building the entire scenic set along with project manager Pieter Smuts said, “Under the temporary venue that Protec built, were the exhibition centre's utilities and drainage systems which had to be protected by the weight of the military vehicles, some which weighed in excess of 60 tons. Therefore it had to be built up to 1m above the existing surface, graded up with sand and road base.”
Protec also built a temporary 60m long x 30m wide x 1m high ‘water inlet’ which held 2m litres of water on which jet boats were run to get involved in the action.
Protec’s staging department built all the supporting features and props. A working replica of a ship that was seen on the video screens during the show as part of a VT was built and was used in the water feature as part of the action.
Head of video at Protec, Scott Walker reports, “Video content was run from Protec’s disguise (D3) media servers and through our Barco E2 to switch between graphics and live inputs from our cameras. Signal was run with a full redundancy of Neutrik 12 core fibers through our Lightware MX frame 32 x 32 matrix.”
The audio package provided by Protec included 40 x L-Acoustics K2 in blocks of four ground stacked with L-Acoustics SB28 subs positioned between each set of two K2 stacks. Protec’s head of audio, Ed Ross explained, “We ran a dual redundant fibre network using Digico racks running digital outs and Optocore SANE units running analogue outputs to the LA8 amplifiers, this complemented our use of the SD10 mixing desk with SD-RE redundant engine which meant we could lose kit or connections anywhere in the network and not lose audio or control at all.”
Ross continued, “For communications we used a Clearcom matrix and a selection of control panels, helix net belt backs and Motorola digital radios, these were integrated with Riedel RiFace units for seamless communication across platforms.”
(Jim Evans)

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