In autumn 2006, Qatar hosted the biggest, richest and most celebrated Asian Games of all times. Since 1951, this event, held every four years, is the sporting and cultural reference for all Asian countries, a multi-faceted continent comprising a huge variety of ethnic groups.
Thanks to the importance of the athletes and competitions, the massive presence of satellite televisions and, last but not least, a colossal organizational structure which involved companies and operators from all over the world, this year the Asian Games were able to have a truly international connotation and significance.
The German company Procon, through a sub-contract of the Australian Bytecraft, designed, installed and supplied the lights inside the superb Khalifa Stadium of Doha, which was the venue for most of the sporting competitions, as well as the extraordinary Opening and Closing ceremonies of the Games.
Procon chose 110 Alpha Spot HPE 1200 moving body luminaires by Clay Paky, which together with many other lighting projectors, were excellently used by the Lighting Designers Andy Doig and Fabrice Kebaour for their shows. Alongside them, 120 specialized technicians, under the guidance of the Procon project manager Michael Casper, worked non-stop before, after and throughout the event (from 1st to 15th December 2006), using a total of 520 tons of material (which also included 5 Km of truss and 400 chain hoists).
The climatic conditions in Qatar certainly did not help the operations: the initial torrid temperatures, followed by a month of unexpected rain and hailstorms, very unusual for that region, severely put the organization and equipment to test. The “Alphas” confirmed their reliability, making an excellent contribution to the superb production of the show despite the adverse weather conditions.
The lights were installed mainly on three distinct elements of the arena: on scaffolding supporting the roof of the stand, on a truss hooked to the arch that crossed the length of the stadium and on the truss placed at the top of the largest of the LED videowalls, boasting an incredible base length of 150 metres (492’)!
On the light engineering level, one of the fundamental questions when operating in megastructures is that of being able to uniformly cover all the available surface. From as early as the design phase, the combined action of all the projectors has to be considered, bearing in mind that the beam of light from each projector will have to cover a maximum distance of up to one hundred metres.
This is one of the reasons for using Alpha Spot HPE 1200, high performance projectors for lighting effects, the most luminous and with the most effects on the market, and which are particularly suitable for covering the long distances imposed by the stage. Procon had already used HPEs in similar circumstances in Paris, for the epic Ben Hur staged at the Stade de France. The “HPE”s were perfect for the intensive use and to cover large distances. Moreover, the Alpha Spot HPEs allow very high quality dynamic graphic effects: thanks to them, it was possible to design many different settings on the ground of the arena of the Khalifa Stadium, which harmonized the various elements of the stage.
The shows for the Opening and Closing ceremonies, produced by David Atkins Enterprises, were characterized by their strong emotional impact: Doig and Fabrice Kebaour put on a show where colours and special effects blended perfectly with the actors on stage, like a Broadway musical produced in an arena. In addition, great importance was given to the public, lit up so that they also became a real element of the show.
Amongst the aspects that helped make these Asian Games memorable, there are also the many musical and cultural events that took place continuously in the capital and in the neighbouring areas throughout the event.
Clay Paky moving body luminaires and colour changers were used exclusively on the four stages located along the stadium of Doha. The installation and the lighting design were by Lumen Art, a large Lebanese rental company, and the lighting was managed by the LD and owner of Lumen Art Roger Bakhos.
Photo credit: “Ralph Larmann on behalf of PROCON”.