Confederation Cup Closing Ceremony

October 12, 2009

Photos and story by Louise Stickland
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Before the kick off of the 2009 FIFA Confederation Cup Final at Ellis Park stadium in Johannesburg, South Africa, the 53,000 live audience plus several million Superchannel 1 and SABC viewers witnessed an exciting and highly visual Closing Ceremony.

This was produced by VWV/Till Dawn, with full technical production - including spherical projections, customised balloon control, lighting and audio design and equipment, rigging and power - supplied by Gearhouse South Africa (GHSA).

The visibility of sporting events' Opening and Closing ceremonies is constantly rising to new heights, demanding ever greater theatrical impact and inventive production techniques.

The GHSA Closing Ceremony crew of up to 150 including locals was project managed by Bonni Meyer. Mark Ransom of Johannesburg based QA Entertainment Technology was event technical production manager.

The pressure was on for the perfect execution of a 16 minute show designed to communicate quickly and directly to a pre-match audience, producing some serious WOW factor moments along the way.

Lighting designer Hugh Turner’s design brief followed initial discussions with Mark Ransom and Jack Morton’s Mik Auckland to establish the parameters of what was to be a short and spectacular closing ceremony.

The show utilized 150 moving lights and involved lighting a 60 meter area in the center of the field of play. With only 16 minutes to make an impact and just one full dress rehearsal in situ - it came down to the expertise and knowledge of Turner and lighting programmer/operator Tim Dunn.

A quantity of Martin Professional MAC 2000 Profile™ and MAC 2000 Wash™ moving lights were worked extensively, together with other moving and generic lighting fixtures.

Seventy-two MAC 2K Washes were rigged on custom brackets and trussing around the mid level balconies of the stadium on all 4 sides. These helped provide dynamic colors, effects and 'eye-candy' for both TV and live audiences.

As with any large scale show, the essence was about producing large pictures and statements whilst comprehensively bathing the performance area in light.

Around the perimeter of the pitch were 36 MAC 2K Profiles used for dramatic streaking of the field with rich colors and textures.
It was a compact sized rig for a stadium show, but Turner and Dunn worked it intelligently and thoughtfully to create a beautifully harmonious, multi-layered light show that was appropriate for the occasion.

Winning the 2010 World Cup tender is boosting South Africa's entertainment/leisure industry with the construction of 9 new stadiums and the first comprehensive public transit system in Johannesburg and Pretoria. Earlier this year, South Africa's fourth president, Jacob Zuma, was inaugurated in Pretoria - a show also designed and serviced by Gearhouse South Africa.

For more information contact Robyn D'Alessandro, robyn@gearhouse.co.za