Feature: Gearing up for kick-off
Feature: Gearing up for kick-off
With the Qatar World Cup fast approaching, Qvision makes its next step in becoming one of FIFA preferred Qatari suppliers
Following its recent success at the Amir Cup in 2020 and FIFA Club World Cup Qatar 2021, Qatar Vision Production Company (Qvision) is quickly positioning itself as a preferred partner when it comes to hosting important sporting ceremonies in Qatar. This is by no means an accident.
When the World Cup rolls into Doha in next year, Qvision has its sights set on becoming one of the tournaments largest technical supplies. It recently made its first steps towards realising this ambition by securing the bid from FIFA for the development, production and management of the Arab Cup Qatar 2021 Draw.
The draw for the newly introduced FIFA Arab Cup 2021 was held at Doha’s Katara Opera House and would see the 23 Arab nations set to be involved in the tournament divided up into groups for the last 16 stage of the tournament.
The Arab Cup matches will be played at six of the World Cup 2022 venues, thereby providing the perfect opportunity to test facilities and operations one year before the flagship global football event takes place in the Middle East for the first time. Both tournaments will run in a similar timeslot – the FIFA Arab Cup will kick off towards the end of this year with the finals of each scheduled to take place exactly one year apart on 18 December, Qatar’s National Day.
With the draw taking place in late April amid strict health and safety protocols, both the delegate accommodation and the event venue were turned into a restricted bubble, and limited to approximately 50% capacity. “Our technical, production, logistics and operation crew, as well as FIFA team and the event delegates and guests were all requested to show a negative COVID-19 test prior to being allowed access to either the accommodation hotel or the draw venue,” explains Sharif Hashisho, the artistic director and executive producer of the FIFA Arab Cup Qatar 2021 Draw, and Qvision managing director. “The entire production and delivery of the project was conducted inside a completely closed bubble as per the instructions received from the Ministry of Public Health in Qatar.”
As part of its bid, Qvision was responsible for providing all of the technical items required to host the draw ceremony, such as the stage set and decoration, rigging, audio, lighting, video and motion graphics. It was also responsible for the creation of all other guest-related holding areas, hospitality services, media zone and television production areas, the overlay of FIFA office spaces at the venue, and also the official gala dinner accompanying the draw.
Based on the concept and creative designs made by Hashisho and the QVision design team, the company fulfilled its technical requirements through the deployment of a vast range of audio, visual, lighting and communications equipment.
Catering to the visual requirements, Qvision called on 117m2 of 2.9mm pixel pitch high-resolution LED screen as a backdrop for the stage set, while 70m2 of 2.9mm LED panels were positioned to the left and right of the stage and used predominantly for running animated motion graphics and the broadcast live feed.
A further 117m2 of 2.9mm LED panels were deployed at the non-Covid-bubbled area inside the theatre to showcase the draw for isolated guests. Video and graphics for the ceremony were driven by DT VideoLabs Playback Pro, Blackmagic ATEM 4 M/E Broadcast Studio 4K vision mixers, a Simplylive ViBox live production system and an AE Live sports broadcast graphics solution. Qvision’s Kareem Saif, Gaspar Orana and Javi Santos were responsible for the video design.
For lighting and rigging inside the theatre, more than 100 Claypaky lighting fixtures were deployed, including 20 Scenius Unico moving heads used to illuminate both the “Draw Pots” and the conductor and speech lecterns. These were selected for this role due to their precise framing capabilities. Forty Sharpy Plus and 20 Hepikos moving heads were used to create beams and patterns throughout the show, and 40 A.leda B-EYE K20 CC wash lights were used to bathe the entire stage in light according to the broadcast requirements.
Additionally, 20 ADB LEXPERT 280W Profile and 40 LEXPERT 150W Fresnel fixtures were used as spotlights for the stage performers and presenters, together with a pair of Robert Juliat CYRANO Follow Spots dedicated solely to the show presenters.
Away from the main ceremony setup, Qvision deployed 30 ARRI True Blue Series lights in the Media Mix Zone area for post event interviews and a further 300 LED PAR lights to provide external architectural decorative lighting for the façade of the opera house.
All of the lighting equipment was rigged using Prolyte S52 Series truss and ProLyft Aetos hoists, while control for all of the lighting infrastructure was handled by two grandMA3 consoles connected through an MA network switch. Mohammad Assaf and Mark Anton handled the creative lighting design on behalf of Qvision.
To handle sound reinforcement inside the opera house, Qvision made use of Katara’s existing installed audio system, but augmented the system with several clusters of Meyer Sound cabinets to improve intelligibility inside the VIP seating area, the upper balconies and the back of house areas. To cater for this, 16 Meyer Sound M2D compact curvilinear arrays, 30 UPM-1P ultra-compact wide coverage loudspeakers, 20 UPJ-1P Compact VariO and 10 M2D Sub Compact Curvilinear Array Loudspeakers were called upon in total.
Shure ULX-D digital wireless microphone systems were used for all stage performers and presenters. The ULX-D system was chosen for this task as it offered high-quality 24-bit/48kHz digital audio as well as an “efficient use of the RF spectrum in the locality, advanced Lithium-ion rechargeable battery technology, and also the required AES-256 encryption” capabilities, notes the Qvision managing director. The entire audio system was controlled by dual DiGiCo SD 8 consoles operated by Qvision’s Abel Lamboson and Dennis Dulfo.
To complete the AV spec, Qvision deployed a Clear-Com HelixNet Digital Network Partyline intercom system to link all of the technical, stage and broadcast crew together.
The draw commenced on 27 April with a formal welcoming speech from FIFA president Gianni Infantino, before being presented by beIN Sports presenter and FIFA Qatar 2022 World Cup ambassador Mohamed Sadoun Al Kuwari, with appearances from a variety of celebrity footballers throughout. Following the ceremony, the nine highest-ranked teams, including host country Qatar, will now join the seven winners from the qualifying stage in the final tournament.
While the COVID situation around in-person events continues to steadily improve, the ability to adhere to safe practises was paramount for Qvision. “Any decision to hold an event during the pandemic, no matter how large or small, should rely on a risk-based approach,” explains Hashisho. “Qvision and the FIFA 2022 Local Organising Committee succeeded in making this event an absolutely safe one for everyone involved in the delivery of the project, as well as the delegates and guests attending the draw. A massive risk assessment approach was designed to cover all the risk areas and issues that might arise and have truly succeeded in delivering this exceptional event in these harsh conditions.”
Having successfully supported the Amir Cup Final, Club World Cup Qatar 2021 and the Arab Cup Draw on behalf of FIFA – three high-profile pandemic-inflicted events held back-to-back with vastly differing requirements – Qvision has undoubtedly cemented its capabilities for when football’s most important sporting events kicks off in little more than a year.