Gearhouse South Africa supplied full technical production - sound, lighting, AV and video, staging, sets, rigging and power - and one of their massive new In2Structures SupaDome venues for Swedish cosmetics multinational Oriflame's 2010 Diamond Conference.
This was hosted at the Sarova Whitesands Hotel & Spa in Bamburi, near Mombasa on the Kenyan coast, and produced by Oriflame's in house production team.
The project, the site and the logistics were managed for Gearhouse by Bill Lawford and Eyal Yehezkely, working closely with account handler Gareth Hadden.
Forty four Gearhouse SA crew - designers, engineers and technicians - worked across all the disciplines, utilising 63 tonnes of production equipment that was air freighted out of SA via Nairobi in a 747 freighter. The SupaDome was transported to Mombasa in 7 x 40ft Hi-Cube sea freight containers.
The event comprised three main elements, two of which - a conference and a gala dinner for the 1280 delegates - took place inside the Dome.
Gearhouse was awarded the contract due to their ability to deliver a comprehensive, complete and cost-efficient package covering all the creative and production requirements - including provision of the venue!
It was also the first event for the just launched SupaDome - its generous 72 x 36 metre dimensions proving an ideal solution for the format and space needed to stage the Conference.
The SP Dome was built on the site of 4 tennis courts in the hotel grounds which required a serious amount of preparation work including levelling of the ground, removal of fencing, clearance of garbage and other detritus, tree pruning and the selected relocation of plants and foliage.
The crew kept to schedule, taking 6 days to complete the build with the help of a 50 tonne crane. The venue included a discreet and fully integrated AC system throughout, which dealt highly effectively with the intense heat and humidity.
Once constructed, the Gearhouse team installed the entire technical infrastructure needed to host the Conference and Gala Dinner, which included building a stage and set - based on three interlinking circles - at one end. The set was constructed entirely out of MILOS trussing incorporating main screens and stage entrances. The stretched fabric pieces and curved staircases were custom made by Sets, Drapes & Screens to complement the theme.
The set and lighting designs were both created by Hugh Turner.
Lights were hung throughout the venue - its impressive headroom allowing 2 folding trusses to be rigged at least 10 metres high across the width of the venue. The rig included 12 Robe ColorSpot 2500E ATs which proved to be the "Ultimate workhorses" on this event, supplemented by 24 High End Studio Spots and 62 High End Studio Colors lighting the onstage areas.
For the Gala dinner 22 High End Cyberlights fitted with both standard and custom gobos were used for internal 'house' lighting and to illuminate the exterior of the structure. Twelve PAR lamp bars were also used for the house lighting system, and these were completely re-gelled between the conference and gala dinner.
Twenty-Four Selecon Pacific profiles with special glass break-up gobos produced a soft dappled light for the Gala Dinner, their effects carefully juxtaposed with 112 PARs highlighting the Dome ribs in gold.
Turner ran all lighting from a grandMA full size console through 2 NSPs and using 7 DMX universes, which allowed the entire show to be backed up to a laptop.
Five projection screens were flown from the roof, three at the back of the stage and 2 for ‘delays' half way down the room, and these were fed by Christie DS+8K projectors with a combination of specially created content from Gearhouse Media's Marcel Wijnberger and material supplied by the client. This was stored on a Wings server and an MA Video server, and output to screen via a Barco Encore system run by Craig McGinn from Gearhouse AV. Three Sony DS50 cameras were provided for IMAG for both the conference session and the dinner, directed by Jimmy Kgodumo.
The rigging operation was co-ordinated by Kendall Dixon and Zee Hlongwane. The total flown equipment weight in the Dome was 8.5 tonnes, which was rigged on 54 points utilizing 40 motors.
Oriflame's top sales person had the additional thrill of experiencing the skills and talents of Gearhouse Rigging and Action Safety first hand, when she was flown in from 16 metres up in the roof, tracked upstage to downstage and gently lowered to the floor during the dinner to receive her award. Eighteen metres of A-type truss was supplied to Action Safety, whose Charles Standing rigged an aluminium tracking system underneath, complete with pulleys to control the motion.
Sound was delivered via an L-Acoustics Kudo system designed by Gearhouse Audio's Jako de Wit, who engineered the FOH mix on a Yamaha LS9/32 console. With its streamlined physical profile, crisp intelligibility and precise colouration, this was the perfect choice for the nature of both events, which included presentations and speeches, background music and backing tracks for dancers and other entertainment.
The Conference kicked off with an open air welcome dinner in nearby Haller Park, a former limestone quarry and cement factory, now reclaimed and transformed into an ecological paradise. Gearhouse supplied audio, lighting, generators and several small stages spread out around the area. They also shared the space with a diverse “assortment of African wildlife” comments Bill Lawford.
While installing all the production into the Dome was relatively straightforward, other more lateral challenges included arranging for the hotel to be fed from grid power during the Conference sessions and the Dinner with Kenya Power & Lighting. This was to reduce the risk of their backup generators, located near the Dome site, having to kick in and potentially drown out the speakers.
Gearhouse collaborated closely throughout the build period and the event with the Oriflame team and the Whitesands Hotel's site maintenance engineer.
Bill Lawford sums up, “This is the type of project that allows the Gearhouse Group to demonstrate its increasing capabilities to operate anywhere in the world, and deal with the unique logistical challenges faced in destinations where events on this scale are new. We would like to thank Oriflame for placing their faith in the Gearhouse SA Group and providing us with this opportunity.”