disguise powers PSL opening ceremony
Monday, 15 July 2019
psl-mainThe opening ceremony was staged in the Dubai International Cricket Stadium
UAE - The Pakistan Cricket Board - the body that organises the Pakistan national cricket team’s tours and matches - marked the start of the 2019 season with an awe-inspiring opening ceremony at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium.
Broadcast to over 50 million people worldwide, the 60-minute Pakistan Super League opening ceremony combined AR graphics with live performances from the likes of Boney M, Pakistan’s Junoon and solo stars Fawad Khan, Young Desi, Aima Baig and Shuja Haider.
Event management company ITW Trans Group collaborated with The Musketeers, specialists in large-scale opening ceremonies, concerts, and events. Having coordinated the creative vision behind the last three Pakistan Super League opening ceremonies, creative director Samer Feghali wanted to push the envelope of live entertainment boundaries.
“With an annual global audience of 50m people, our goal each year is to keep this an exciting and engaging component of the tournament, and to push the creative vision for both the television audience, and those in the stadium,” states Samer. “AR was something that we had wanted to try for this event, but it was always going to be a risk - this duration of real-time AR rendering had never been done before. We worked with ITW, explaining they would be the first hosts ever to orchestrate an opening ceremony of this kind, and once they gave the green light, it was all systems go.”
The opening ceremony featured eye-catching elements of AR throughout the live broadcast. Bringing the event to life and working in collaboration with Musketeer were content generating experts, Bild Studios and Studio One. David Bajt and Scott Millar from Bild Studios technically produced and supplied all the equipment for the show, with Urs Nyffenegger, from Studio One, providing the AR animation elements.
The teams used disguise gx 2 servers to render the AR content for the several artists performing, as well as the added spectacular elements. Creative Producer Urs Nyffenegger says: “The Notch and disguise combination was essential for the success of the PSL Opening Ceremony due to the adaptability, flexibility and unparalleled real-time workflow capabilities. Everything we were able to accomplish on this project was only possible because of disguise.”
A project as ambitious as this came with a host of its own challenges. Not only did the teams have a short turn-around time of just 45 days, but they had only 15 minutes to remove the stage from the Cricket pitch. “We have to take care of the pitch area and we have very limited time to take care of it,” says Samer. “Every time we ran a rehearsal, we could not pinpoint the stage exactly, so to calibrate with disguise and the stYpe Cameras during setup within an hour was amazing.”
To add to the already complex event, the main headliner for the opening ceremony pulled out the day before, leaving the team to reconfigure the content with just 24 hours’ notice. With such a short turnaround, Scott Millar from Bild Studios chose Notch and disguise because of the proven compatibility and solid combination, meaning it would be delivered on time. To overcome the artist issue, a virtual DJ was flown out for the opening ceremony. The user-friendly features of the disguise server meant the DJ content was immediately integrated with the compiled show.
“With disguise we were able to composite all six cameras feeds, with camera delay, with AR, and with the graphics on top to present that composited output to the vision mixer to the camera returns, and we were able to do that for two cameras per server. This is a huge benefit over other systems. In the world of live events, with disguise, you are really able to send ‘stuff’ everywhere,” says Scott.
The disguise servers made calibrating the cameras prior to the show simple and managed all the input from each camera. stYpe was the partner in camera tracking and provided custom tracking heads and third-party software to allow accurate tracking of the project for all six cameras involved. They were able to pull off all tracking on time, with an 80% increase in the clarity and quality.
“I cannot imagine being able to pull this show off, with any other system. I have used a lot of products on the market, and to do the change of adapting over 15 minutes of show content, 24 hours of the show, for a Virtual DJ (VJ) we flew in was remarkable. We were able to plug in the VJ’s content, without issue and integrate the AR, to a live camera,” concludes Samer.
(Jim Evans)

Latest Issue. . .

Tweets from our Friends