Team effort at the NAMAs
NAMIBIA: Walvis Bay was the host city for the 2017 Namibia Annual Music Awards (NAMAs), which was broadcast on NBC. Micky Lehr from EventPlus was the head of the technical production for the third consecutive year, but it was teamwork that saw the event come together.
‘Every year the NAMAs are staged in a different town in Namibia,’ explained Mr Lehr. ‘This year we were in Walvis Bay which added to the logistical and operational challenges. The venue is brand new and had never been utilised for an event prior to the NAMAs. The set up was done over five days, followed by four days rehearsal. On Friday we stage the much smaller industry awards in the same venue as the main awards on Saturday night. This schedule makes for long hours for the engineers and the crew.’
Mr Lehr came into this year’s ceremony with a clear idea of how he wanted it to look and brought in Joshua Cuts to create the lighting rig. ‘This year’s production design relied heavily on lighting as the set mostly consisted of scaffold structures,’ he recalled. ‘I believed that Joshua Cutts from Visual Frontier would be the right man for the job. He did an amazing job by providing a wonderful palette for operator Andre Siebrits. We then had to scrape together every single light fixture that we could find in Namibia.’
The majority of the lighting fixtures, as well as the trussing and rigging, were sourced from dB Audio Namibia. The lighting rig was built around 12 Robe Squares as a predominant feature. Robe BMFL Blades and Spots, Robin Pointes and miniPointes, Spikies, 600 LEDWashes and 300 LEDWashes, Robin LEDBeam 100s, Robin 1000s, Spiiders and 600E Spots were also used. In addition to the Robe luinaires, Philips Nitro 510C Strobes, Longman Battens, Led PARcans, single cell blinders, Chauvet Core 3x3 LED washes and 2kW Selecon Fresnels also featured. A pair of grandMA2 Light consoles provided control over the rig, along with two grandMA NPU and a grandMA VPU Light for pixel mapping. An MDG Atmosphere Atme was employed for haze effects.
‘Our main challenge was to use the black space around the scaff and to get beams to punch through,’ said Mr Cutts. ‘We wanted to make a feature out of the Robe Squares, which is not an approach we use often. The Robe Squares are dynamic and versatile to use, and looked fantastic on camera, creating all the effects we wanted.’
Meanwhile, Windhoek-based MikelJes was brought in to provide audio, A/V, staging and most of the crew for the event and had the opportunity to put two new pieces of kit to use. The rental company had recently added 3.9mm screens to its inventory, which were utilised as portrait screens to the left and right of the stage, as well as for the ‘info screen’ in the centre. Six ‘nomination screens’ were constructed from 12mm mesh. Also new to MikelJes’ roster is a JBL Vertec audio system that was set up for sound reinforcement.
While the production was kept largely Namibian, outside assistance in the form of specialised equipment, a head rigger and a crew boss from Johannesburg-based MGG Productions. ‘The suppliers really put their weight behind the project and dealt with the challenges on and off site,’ concluded Mr Lehr. ‘The NAMAs are a Namibian production and we therefore try to source whatever is possible in Namibia.’