G-LEC Solaris stuns Dortmund ravers
2 June 2009
Germany - Mayday celebrations started early in the German city of Dortmund this year. The cavernous Arena in the Westfalenhalle opened its doors to 25,000 partygoers on the 30 April, with most leaving, bleary-eyed, at 9am the following morning.
The event was a massive techno rave party with a stark, utilitarian feel. Gleaming lit truss corners loomed out of the dark void above, search beams probed the mass of revellers below and sharp, jagged and unsettling laser beams completed the picture.
The most dominant and breathtaking feature in this huge space was defined by the 10m x 10m x 7m three dimensional array of G-LEC Solaris, 'balls on a rope'. The Solaris rope cluster was arranged above the audience in the void directly facing the VJ booth.
Berlin-based lighting designer Martin Kuhn knows how to achieve a big impact, having worked with large corporate events, rock concerts and architectural spaces and has designed the open air 'sister' of the Mayday Rave since 1997. This year's Mayday event was his second since 2006.
Kuhn explains why he chose the G-LEC Solaris system: "It opens up a whole new set of creative possibilities. The concept of transparency is taken to the next level with this by being able to space and scale it in 3D as you wish.
"When I saw Solaris at PLASA in 2008 I knew this was the product I was looking for. It was customisable, versatile, affordable and the cabling was unobtrusive, so I had all I needed." He continues: "The idea was to not to use it as a simple LED curtain but to go the next step and do it in 3D. Fortunately I had some help from my production team in writing a special software using vvvv (a toolkit for real time video synthesis) to map and move 2D content up and down the Solaris, using DMX controllable frame delay, mirroring and similar effects.
"On top, we rendered special 3D content to be played on the cube. And the result blew everyone away. You could see people standing under it, looking up, their mouths wide open, until they had a stiff neck! I am looking forward to using it again as soon as possible."
The 224 G-LEC Solaris ropes, totalling 2.4km and with 1792 balls, were supplied to the production company, satis&fy, by A&O, best known for specialist high power search lights.
Kuhn concludes: "It was no small feat to make it all happen, but with great support from everyone involved and the very dedicated technicians who mounted and cabled this up, we pulled it off. And it was worth it."
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