Years of planning and hard work bore fruit in early December as Doha, Qatar hosted the 15th annual Asian Games with an opening and closing ceremony befitting the world’s top international sporting events. Never before had a Middle Eastern country staged anything on this scale.

In a celebration of Qatar, the city of Doha, and Arabic culture, Khalifa Stadium was transformed into a spectacle of color and costume that placed Doha firmly on the sporting world’s map. The ceremonies were produced by David Atkins Enterprises for DAGOC (Doha Asian Games Organizing Committee).

Although the Qatari capital uncharacteristically suffered more rain than locals could remember in years, including a downpour just 45 minutes before the opening, it neither dampened the spirit of the Games nor affected the nearly 400 MAC 2000 Washes used on the production.

Distributed through Martin’s Australian representative, Show Technology , the MAC 2000 Wash fixtures, along with Atomic 3000 strobes and Stage Cyclos, were supplied for the quadrennial spectacular by local partners Bytecraft Entertainment . Fixtures were also brought in from PROCON of Germany and others.

Bytecraft’s project manager for the event was Paul Rigby. He remarks, “The Asian Games opening and closing was one of the most difficult projects I have worked on. The climatic conditions in Qatar ranging from 113º heat for the first month, followed by a month of moderate temperatures but lots of dust, then freak rain and hail on show night, and then the last month of rain put the whole lighting system and crew to the test.”

“Indeed, we experienced some weather conditions but at the end of the day, it was a successful production,” notes Fabrice Kebour, who along with Andrew Doig and associate designer Steve Shipman handled lighting design duties for the event.

Fabrice and Andrew’s lighting design was more theatre than pageantry. Fabrice explains, “The concept was to put the accent on imagery and poetic emotion rather than effects. The show was extremely theatrical—it was like designing a massive musical rather than a stadium extravaganza.

“The MAC 2000 Wash was a major part of the lighting design from the very start,” Fabrice continues. “After looking at various equipment options and conducting a light test in the venue, the MAC 2000 Wash proved to be the ideal choice in terms of light output, beam quality, and reliability in a hostile environment. In addition, by mounting the PC lens on the fixture, the MAC 2000 provided an extremely precise, powerful, and clean beam in spite of the throw distance. Martin was very supportive of the project and provided a high standard of service, allowing Bytecraft to maintain the system at an almost fault-free level throughout the production.”

Paul Rigby adds, “The MAC 2000s were the workhorses of the system and their reliability combined with the support from Martin’s Mark Ravenhill, Claus Jensen, and Søren Storm allowed us to keep the system running in such good shape that the designers were almost unaware of the hard work going on behind the scenes. It takes many people to put on a great show and I am pleased to say that all the people at Martin are behind us all the way.”

The 2000 Washes were located at several points in the stadium with most placed across the top of a large semi-circular video screen and on a towering arch that spanned the length of the stadium. “Unlike most stadium shows, this production was designed as a three-quarter as opposed to an in-the-round standard stadium vision in terms of scenic design, staging, and television,” Fabrice says. “This approach was particularly helpful to achieve the theatrical images that were required and the rig reflected this concept.

“The MAC 2000 Wash formed more than 50% of the rig. A large number were installed as an arch of light on the top edge of the 492’-long LED video screen positioned behind the seating area and proved to be an impressive backlight position. Clusters of washes were placed at both the left and right ends of the stadium to create a cross-light position. They proved to be particularly efficient to light the flying segments of the show. Finally, a massive architectural arch flying across the stadium was used to hang truss at over 164’ up in the air. This position provided a unique down light position for a stadium show.

“The audience was treated to color throughout the show to provide background for television and extend the size of the performance onto the public and thus make it much bigger,” Fabrice continues. This was achieved with another set of MAC 2000 Washes scattered throughout all the positions. “In all of these aspects, the MAC 2000 Wash proved to be the best choice to provide a dense, clear, and powerful beam of light—a precise pool to shape a scene or a consistent and even color wash.”

To animate the 50 background ‘fagpods’ consisting of a nine-light blinder whose center three lamps were replaced by Martin Atomic strobes with Atomic Colors scrollers placed around the stadium. Fabrice comments, “The dynamic of the Atomic strobes gave the right accent to the more up-tempo numbers or acted as a strong flash for some more dramatic moments.”

The Martin Stage Cyclo was incorporated into a three-level Perspex stage for the closing ceremony. “This stage acted as a giant light box and the Stage Cyclo were used to provide a large choice of color,” Fabrice concludes. “Color changing was smooth and the units proved to be very powerful even in this unconventional use.”

Lighting Crew
Lighting Designers:
Andrew Doig, Fabrice Kebour

Associate Lighting Designer:
Steve Shipman

Network Manager (lighting):
Paul Collison

Production Manager (lighting):
Jamie Henson

Lighting Programmers:
Jim Beagley, Romain Labat, Roger Ray, Maran Persoons

Project Manager (Bytecraft):
Paul Rigby

Crew Supervisor (Bytecraft):
Mat Burden

Crew Chief (Bytecraft):
Gary Senior

Crew Chief (Bytecraft):
Andreas Knaak

Data Network Design (Bytecraft):
Murray Taylor

Senior Production Electrician:
Philby Lewis

Production Electricians:
Chris Nicholls, Stu Cochrane, Nigel Holbrough, Nicholas Reeves, Craig Maroun

Scenic Lighting Supervisors:
David Brown, Stephen O’Keeffe

Scenic Electricians:
John Dutton, Craig Knight, Suzanne Brooks, David Lee, Mark Wotton

Field of Play Electricians:
Nic Coulson, Bill Paton, Jonathan Young

Senior Lighting Desk Op:
Jim Beagley

Lighting Desk Ops:
Romain Labat, Maran Persoons, Roger Rey

Followspot Caller:
Prem Scholte Albers