The King Abdullah Sports City Stadium in Jeddah recently played host to the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2021 Dakar Rally. French creative lighting company Concept K was invited by Paris-based Leap Creative Studio and Blink Experience’s Dubai office to create a production lighting design for both ceremonies. The French team included 124 Robe moving lights on the lighting plot, comprising a mix of BMFL Blades, Spiiders and MegaPointes – which were supplied by the event’s lighting contractor, Media Pro.
In addition to the main lighting design, Concept K’s brief also included direction of lighting for the cameras and the integration of the set, scenic elements and video screens into a single visual canvas. The event was attended by a special VIP live audience as Covid restrictions has meant that general attendance was not possible.
The Robe luminaires were positioned across a large ground support system built around the stage to provide lighting positions and structural infrastructure for the set, which was designed by Leap Creative Studio and included LED screens as well as an impressive 3D scenic model of the Dakar “head” logo. Twenty-four BMFL Blades were rigged on the front and sides of the structure and used for key lighting, with 36 Spiiders deployed on the sides and rear for general washes. A mix of rich and delicate colouring palettes were created for different areas of the large stage, as needed.
A total of 64 MegaPointes were positioned at the back of the stadium, creating multiple on-camera effects. In addition to specifying these Robe fixtures for the evening parts of the broadcasts, key and fill lighting was also essential for getting the facial tones and presenters look perfect for on camera during the daylight sections. Furthermore, the Concept K team needed to ensure that the set pieces and the voids in between were correctly lit and sculpted with the right treatment to create a good sense of depth, especially for the wide shots, drone footage and crane camera sweeps. Concept K also managed all the timecoding and laser effects
The lighting was programmed by Concept K’s senior programmer, Theo Broche Cannone using a grandMA2. Lasers were programmed by Jerry John from Dubai on a Pangolin controller under the control of Concept K CEO and art director, Frédéric “Aldo“ Fayard, with timecode and soundtracks played through Logic Pro machine also managed by Concept K. The main challenge for Concept K came from dealing with travel arrangements and shifting regulations introduced by the quarantine. This meant that some vital final decisions regarding event production were only settled just 15 days before the Concept K team departed Paris for Saudi.
The 2021 Dakar Rally was the 43rd edition of the competition and took place over 14 days across Saudi Arabia, the second time the country had hosted the event. A total of 322 vehicles in six categories started the race with 206 finishing all 12 stages.