Friendly Skies

Emirates Durban launch showcases latest AV tech.
South African rock act The Parlotones.
South African rock act The Parlotones.


The gala launch of Emirates Airline’s latest non-stop service featured a raft of cutting-edge AV technologies.

Fresh off its role supplying kit for the FIFA Confederations Cup festivities in South Africa, AV technology supplier Gearhouse South Africa (GHSA) last month played a key role supporting the gala launch of Emirates Airline’s new non-stop service between Dubai and Durban.

The official launch was produced by Emirates in conjunction with The Event Production Company and staged at the award-winning Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre in Durban.

The event was project managed for GHSA by Durban branch operations manager Stuart Andrews.

“Emirates is a six-star client and extremely precise in its requirements,” he says.
Gearhouse supplied a host of rigging, stage sets, sound, lighting and AV technologies to the event, which was separated into three distinct areas, all requiring individual treatments.

The pre-launch event utilised a 6m x 4.8m stage with a custom backdrop and fascia created by Sets, Drapes and Screens (SDS), An L-Acoustics 115 PA system was installed for the band, and the stage was subtly lit with ETC Source Four PARs and i-Pix BB4 LED washlights.

Two plasma screen walls were utilised for moving wallpaper and for displaying Emirates video clips. From an official welcoming area, guests were ushered into the main auditorium, which was fitted with tiered seating, a flown lighting rig and a 15m x 4m projection screen.

Video content was stored on two AV Stumpfl Wings servers and run in double HD (3384 x 1080 pixels), with two synched picture-in-picture video windows left and right of the screen. The PiPs displayed a mix of playback video footage, live camera feeds and PowerPoint graphics.

A Barco Encore system was used to size and switch all sources to the screen which was fed by four double-stacked Christie 18K projectors (two running live and two as hot backup).

The PA was an L-Acoustics dv-DOSC system, complete with a Yamaha LS9 mixer. Lighting designer Jason Fritz was responsible for conceiving the lighting presentation.

The main stage featured a mix of Martin Professional MAC 2K Profile and Robe ColorWash 700E AT moving light fixtures, plus a selection of conventionals, programmed using an MA Lighting grandMA console.

During a performance by SA rock act The Parlotones, the stage was lit with Robe ColorWash and ColorSpot 700E ATs plus conventional lights controlled by an Avolites Pearl 2008. The band’s production crew utilised an L-Acoustics Kudo, with HiQ115s for stage monitors and a Yamaha M7 mixer.

According to Andrews, the crew had just 36 hours to prepare the auditorium prior to initial rehearsals. Despite this, he says the production ran to time and schedule.

“We enjoyed a great collaboration between the Gearhouse crew and the teams from Emirates and The Event Production Company,” he concludes.



  • 2 x AVOLITE 48 Way Dimmers
  • 3 x AVOLITE Pearl 2008 Lighting Consoles
  • 2 x GRAND MA consoles
  • 14 x ROBE ColorSpot 700Es
  • 14 x ROBE ColorWash 700Es
  • 40 x I-PIX Satellite LED Washlights
  • 18 x MARTIN Mac 2000e Profiles
  • 18 x MARTIN Mac 2000e Washlights
  • 30 x ETC SOURCE 4 Par 4 EAs
  • 30 x ETC SOURCE 4 Par Barn Doors
  • 8 x SELECON PACIFIC Zoom 14 - 35° Profiles
  • 36 x six-way Lamp Bars (empty)
  • 6 x Bar of 6 Par 64s (Black)
  • 3 x HIGHEND F100 Smoke Machines
  • 3 x Reel EFX DF 50 Hazer Smoke Machines


  • 2 x DB TECHNOLOGIES 160 Powered Loudspeakers
  • 1 x L-ACOUSTICS Kudo 12/8 System Complete
  • 8 x L-ACOUSTICS 115XT HiQ Active Loudspeakers
  • 1 x YAMAHA M7CL 48ch Mixing Console Complete
  • 12 x L-ACOUSTICS 48a Power Amplifiers
  • 2 x L-ACOUSTICS 115XT HiQ Amp Rack Complete
  • 4 x SHURE U2-MA Beta58 Handheld Transmitters
  • 4 x SHURE U4D-MA UHF Receivers Dual Channel
  • 16 x CLEAR-COM RS-601 1 Channel Comms Beltpacks
  • 11 x SHURE BETA Microphones
  • 3 x SHURE KSM-32 Microphones
  • 3 x SHURE PG-57 Microphone (Switched)
  • 18 x SHURE SM series Microphones
  • 7 x COUNTRYMAN E6 Headsets
  • 31 x BSS AR-133 Active DI Boxes


  • 79 x A-TYPE 8’ Trusses
  • 52 x MILOS Trio 2 Way Corner 90°
  • 34 x MILOS Trio Trusses 2m
  • 54 x MILOS Trio Trusses 3m
  • 4 x MILOS Trio Trusses 0.5m

Audio Visual:

  • 4 x CHRISTIE Roadster HD18K Projectors
  • 1 x STUMPFL 15m x 4.8m Screen Surface Front
  • 1 x BARCO Matrix Pro 8x8 HD-SDI
  • 4 x EXTRON 1:6 XGA Distribution Amplifiers
  • 2 x EXTRON DA6 RGBHV Video Distribution Amplifiers
  • 2 x EXTRON MDA 4V SDIs
  • 1 x FOLSOM MatrixPro 16x16 RGBH-V
  • 1 x LG RH399 DVD Recorder
  • 2 x GRASSVALLEY Turbo HDD Recorder/Playback Units
  • 2 x FOLSOM ImagePRO-HDs
  • 1 x SONY PVM 14 M2E 14” Preview Monitor
  • 2 x HP NX853w Laptops
  • 4 x CHRISTIE HD 1.4 - 1.8:1 Lenses


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