In November, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan inaugurated Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, the world’s first Ferrari theme park. Hosted by Aldar Properties and Ferrari SpA, the event attracted 2,000 VIP guests, including senior government officials, Italy’s Foreign Minister Franco Frattini, Ferrari Chairman Luca di Montezemolo, and Ferrari Formula 1 team drivers Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa (who later took a ride on Formula Rosso, the world’s fastest rollercoaster).

Filmmaster Events produced the spectacle, titled Power Meets Elegance, a vision-like story seen through the eyes of a young boy, inspired by the history of Abu Dhabi and Ferrari, and featuring live action, acrobatics, projections, original music performed by a 40-piece orchestra, and an opera performance. The production team, led by Filmmaster Events CEO Piero Cozzi, included creative director Daniele Zambelli, music director Roberto Cacciapaglia, executive producer Jacqueline Dyson, aerial choreographer Gavin Robins, and director of photography Tom Irthum. Audio and lighting was from Milano Music Service, with video from Giochi di Luce. The show started with an aerial dance of the traditional UAE pearl divers, performed by Berlin-based Battle Royal Projects. Flying dancers and huge Ferrari engine pistons kept the excitement high, and the grand finale exploded with a pyro display by Groupe F of France, highlighting the FWAD building.

Zambelli, of the Simmetrico creative network, was responsible for creative and artistic management, dramatization of the eight-scene storyboard, and coordination of the creative and technical teams. This was his second major project for Filmmaster, having worked on the Saudi Arabian launch of KAUST international university in 2009. “Apart from the fact that the park was open to the public during production move-in and setup, the most difficult aspects were flying a lighting rig, the aerial performers’ apparatus at a height of almost 40 meters [131'], and mounting the three main screens for the ‘holographic’ projections on huge separate truss arches,” says Zambelli. Technical managers were Massimo Fogliati and Guido Zanca, also members of Simmetrico.

Giorgio Bodini of Giochi di Luce worked on the massive projections. “Stretch-tulle, a stretch mesh fabric developed by Showtex, was mounted on five truss structures: three 15x32m [49'x105'] arches curving toward the audience and two 22x18m [72'x59'] sails,” he says. Each piece acted as a holographic scrim, behind which actors performed, achieving the creative team’s vision of a 3D-type effect, the performers appearing as if they were actually in the projections. “For each arch, we used edge-blending on three Christie Digital Roadie HD+ 30K units, and the sails were covered by two stacked Barco FLM R20+ units,” Bodini continues. “At the end of the show, a sixth 16x9m [52'x30'] PolyStretch P6 projection screen from Showtex was used for the high-resolution I-Mag footage of the pyro show outside, appearing out of nowhere on the stretch screen thanks to a pair of Barco FLM HD20 projectors.”

Giochi di Luce’s eight-member crew on site installed the projectors on three towers, a flown truss bar, and two platforms in the wings. All the projectors were controlled from a single position, via Barco Projector Toolset and ChristieNET + Christie Twist, while the 12 HD-SDI signals supplied by VideoSoft and the Ethernet control network were distributed via fiber optics with relative converters.

Video content was produced by Bonsai Ninja, whose Fabio Legnani says, “We created computer-generated 3D graphics, shot real footage—dancers, a body-builder who raised the curtain, and a shower of rose petals—and there was also Ferrari archive material.”

Irthum used a lighting rig supplied by MMS. It included 50 Coemar Infinity Wash XL units, 36 Coemar iSpot 1200s, 30 Coemar StripLite LEDs, 50 Clay Paky Alpha Profile 1500 units, 40 Alpha Wash 575s, 24 Alpha Beam 1500s, 34 Alpha Wash 700s, and 18 Robe Spot 700ATs. Novalight High Ground searchlights and Coemar Testa 1200 followspots were used for additional lighting, while conventional fixtures included 60 ETC Source Four ellipsoidals and PARs, all run on an MA Lighting grandMA.

FOH engineer Domenico Carnuccio manned a Digidesign Profile console, and a Yamaha PM5D RH desk was helmed by monitor engineer Vincenzo Cinone. “The venue is huge—over 35 meters [115'] high—and as projections were right up front, our main left and right Electro-Voice XLC 127+ arrays were more than 60 meters [197'] apart, so we installed 12 floor-mounted EV XLDs for front fill,” says Carnuccio. “To make certain the bottom end of the audio reached the top rows of the tiered seating, we mounted two EV ELX 118 Subs atop each of the delay clusters, each with ten EV XLC 127+ units.” In addition to the d&b audiotechnik Max 15 wedge monitors, IEM, and headphone monitor setup, monitor engineer Cinone also had 20 Turbosound Impact 50 enclosures flown high above the stage to cover the rest area of the aerial performers. Amps were from EV, Crown, and Unitech, and additional subwoofers included EAW SB1000s.

Groupe F founding partner François Montel notes that the pyro setup had to take into account television coverage and the content shown indoors. “This meant installing everything on the roof, so our 35-man team included four riggers who were responsible for safety, while our 8,100 [30mm and 50mm caliber] effects were installed on 270 points,” he says. Now that’s a finale.