Rolling out the red carpet

This year's Prolight+Sound Awards in review.
Abu Dhabi's Yas Marina Circuit was honoured at the P+S Sinus Awards.
Abu Dhabi's Yas Marina Circuit was honoured at the P+S Sinus Awards.

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Last month’s Prolight+Sound (P+S) Awards recognised two of the most innovative stage productions of 2010: U2’s ‘360° Tour’ and the ‘Król Roger’ opera production.

The joint winners of this year’s P+S Opus awards could have hardly been more different. Never­theless, they have one thing in common – the will to employ innovative concepts, technologies and approaches in the creation of stage productions.

The Opus Awards, which are sponsored by the Professional Lighting & Sound Association of Germany and have been staged each year during P+S since 2002, recognise technical excellence in the theatre, opera, classical music, rock and pop event production industries.

This year, a jury of experts including European industry identities, production industry associations, Messe Frankfurt and leading trade publications, selected outstanding productions in the categories ‘Technical Realisation’ and ‘Stage Design’.

The two award winning productions show clearly just how different stage productions can be. They also demonstrate that an interesting stage production is by no means a question of financial investment. On the contrary, the key is good ideas for creating something new using existing means, and to make the best possible use of technology and the setting for the production.

U2’s 360° Tour surpasses everything that has been done before in the field of live concert touring productions. For the technical aspects of the stage production – the most elaborate in history – designer Mark Fisher and his team received an Opus in the Technical Realisation category.

Judges deemed the main stage structure hugely imposing, while the use of moving LED screens also set new standards.

In the Stage Design category, Professor Raimund Bauer received an Opus for his design of the stage for the ‘Król Roger’ opera, a joint production of the Bregenz Festival and the GranLiceu Opera House in Barcelona.

Meanwhile, the P+S Sinus (systems integration) awards recognised the most innovative projects of 2009 and their creative use of media technologies.

The Sinus Awards Committee and jury was again composed of representatives of the Professional Lighting & Sound Association of Germany and the European Association of Event Centres (EVVC), as well as experts, representatives of the trade press and Messe Frankfurt.

This year’s award-winning projects were chosen from the fields of museums, education or ‘edutainment’, events and other forms of live entertainment.

In a nod to the local market, the developers of the PA system installed at Abu Dhabi’s Yas Island Formula 1 Grand Prix track was recognised with a Sinus Award for Best Venue Installation for their efforts.

Describing the “scope and complexity” of the project as “extraordinary”, judges granted the award to Romano Hammer of ITEC and Günther Hiss of PKE Electronics, the key systems integrators on the project.

As an indication of the increasing popularity of multimedia and interactive device installations in museums and exhibitions, Michael Staats of Amptown Systems Company received the Sinus Information Award for his work developing the networked interactive information system installed in the environmental sustainability-focused Klimahaus 8° Ost exhibition hall located in Bremerhaven, Germany.

Elsewhere, the Audi Forum venue located in Ingolstadt, Germany, took out a systems integration award for its ‘Children’s World’ project.

The Sinus Award recognised the efforts of Wolfgang Vogt, head of IT Planning, Multimedia, Audi AG, and architects Pirmin Anselmann and Achim Hannemann of Screen New Technologies.

U2’s videomania
Among the technical highlights of U2’s award-winning 360° world tour was an enormous transforming video screen that hung from an equally impressive claw structure located above the main stage.

Comprising 888 hexagonal panels that support 500,000 Barco LED pixels, the screen weighed 52-tonnes including its supporting trussing.

The mammoth size of the screen made production work difficult for Kinesys, which was tasked with implementing its automation and motion control systems.

“This was the heaviest, most complex and interconnected system we had undertaken to date, with 48 motors following unique motion profiles to allow the deployment of more than 52 tonnes of video screen,” commented  Kinesys’ Dave Weatherhead.

The entire structure had the ability to stretch from its seven-metre compressed height to more than 22m at full extension forming a conical shape as it expanded.

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