SLS supplies AIBA Awards
UAE: SLS Production supplied the full audio, video and lighting setup for the recent AIBA Awards held at the Meydan Hotel in Dubai. The event was the first Arab Indo Bollywood Awards and was launched to recognise, honour and celebrate the achievements of the Indian film industry in the Arab world.
‘SLS has a long and successful history with Bollywood events and hence was the first company contacted to pitch for the event,’ said Neville Lobo, SLS Productions’ senior manager - operations. ‘We also have strong relationships with the Indian and local organisers so the trust factor was there from the beginning.’
For the audio side of the event SLS opted to use its JBL Vertec system. The solution included 28 VT-4889 cabinets, 18 VT-4888 enclosures and 32 VT-4880A subwoofers. Added to this were 12 L-Acoustics dV-Dosc used as fills and six Martin Audio LE2100 stage monitors. The system was powered by Crown amplifiers and controlled by Dolby Lake processors. The microphone package called on 14 Shure UR4D handheld and lapel mics plus a further six DPA headsets. The awards show was mixed using a Yamaha PMD5.
‘As the event was being recorded for broadcast but also had a large live audience, we had to design our systems to be suitable for both situations,’ explained SLS’ production manager, Suhail Kanagat. ‘For Sound, we had to ensure delivery of a high quality and reliable feed to the OB Van above all else. For the audience, we had to ensure intelligibility of all the dialogue and speeches while also having enough kick for all the dance performances. The JBL Vertec System helped us achieve this with ease.’
Away from the audio side, the lighting rig was mainly made up from Clay Paky and Martin Professional with control from a Grand MA2 lighting desk. ‘We had plotted everything ahead of time but had to make a lot of additions and changes to the lighting plot after the majority of the set was in place as it was only then that the lighting designer and director of photography could properly visualise everything,’ recalled Mr Lobo.
The video solution required 480 sq-m of screens with varying pixel densities and called upon a Dataton Watchout system and a Barco Folsom Encore switcher. ‘We had to use a lot of high pixel density screens for all panels showing up in close shots. So we used 3.84mm panels for the central sections and 6mm panels for the sides,’ noted Mr Kanagat. ‘Only the scroller at the top of the set was 8.9mm as that would only appear in full shots and not in close-ups. Controlling all the content flowing across all these screens of different sizes, shapes and pixel densities seemed like a challenge initially but the Dataton Watchout system made it fairly simple.’
The broadcast nature of the AIBA Awards led to the largest challenges for the production company. ‘As this was being shot for broadcast, the client had certain requirements when it came to aesthetics. They wanted a very wide stage and did not want any front truss to be seen. That meant we couldn’t use our Total Solutions Roof Grid to create a structure around the stage. So we had to use a combination of scaffolding and two high capacity cranes to rig everything,’ explained Mr Lobo. ‘Getting this implemented in the short time given to us was our biggest challenge. Another major challenge was working conditions. As this was outdoor and the temperature was climbing daily, we had to restrict all work to the evenings and nights.’
Mr Lobo declares himself as happy with the ‘spectacular’ end result. ‘Even though we faced our fair share of challenges we can sincerely say that our hard work, determination and patience paid off, as the show was truly spectacular. The biggest asset we had was the team that worked on all of this. Everyone worked well together and were all instrumental in delivering the best quality for this event. The grandiose of Bollywood was captured and carried out perfectly throughout the event.’