Tiziano Ferro’s live shows are well-known for their visual flamboyance and style and the recent Italian stadium tour was no exception. Belgian engineering and automation specialist WIcreations was commissioned to find solutions for two primary motion-control ‘brain-teasers’.
The show was creatively directed by Claudio Santucci working in close collaboration with video designer Romain Sabella from Clonwerk and Lighting Designer Giovanni Pinna.
The two automation challenges were to provide a fluid and smooth movement system for a large video ceiling weighing 11 tonnes, which moved in all directions and to track two massive upstage LED screens into different configurations throughout a very dynamic set.
In addition to these, also required to move were two lighting trusses either side of the video ceiling, a water screen in front of the video ceiling rigged on two moving hoists and a pyro effect circle upstage of the video ceiling that also shifted position.
WIcreations’ Hans Willems project managed from their end, after the company’s extensive skills and knowledge in the field of automation technology was sought by main lighting and video contractors, PRG Belgium.
The video ceiling was a show-stopping moment in a production full of wow factors. At one stage, it tilted downwards with water content pouring off the end of the LED, while an actual water feature was simultaneously flown into place to meet the downstage edge of the screen with real water tumbling down onto stage in a spectacular fountain.
The 7.2M wide by 19.2M long video ceiling was made up of Pixled F12 LED product and weighed 11 tonnes. It was moved by 18 EVO motors specified by WIcreations and tipped, tilted and pitched in all directions.
WIcreations devised a custom hydraulic load censoring and control system which integrated the hysteresis from each individual motor and applied some clever maths and triggering calculations so all the chain hoists could be made to act as if they were one enormous motor. This virtually eliminated any vibrations and latency, ensuring exceptionally smooth motion so the creative team could programme very elegant ‘liquid’ moves. It also ensured – as they were all moving at exactly the same moments with no delays – that none of the motors were ever overloaded, dramatically reducing danger of any one of them triggering its E-Stop – which in this scenario would shift the load disproportionately onto the others.
The upstage tracking video screens measured 3.6M-wide by 13.2M-high, weighed around 3 tonnes and moved along a 21M stretch of track, for which WI utilised its proven Touring Tracking system which also assisted with fast load ins / outs.
WI also supplied 13 EVO half tonne and two EVO 800Kg hoists to fly and move the two 18M-long lighting trusses at the sides of the video ceiling, the water curtain truss and the FX circle at the back.
All these elements – the 18 motors on the video ceiling and the 15 moving the other elements were controlled using customised WI 3D software, operated by Joey Poortman.
Santucci and Sabella spent some time ahead of the tour at WI’s office at Heist-op-den-Berg discussing the show programming and integration of the automation and video cues so they worked harmoniously with Willems and his team.
“It was a pleasure to work with this artist again and assist Claudio and Romain in realising their ambitious visions. As usual, they pushed the envelope of creativity and technology and these are the challenges that we love!” Willems concluded.