Adlib was incredibly proud to supply full technical production to the 2019 Vitality Netball World Cup staged at the 11,000 capacity M&S Bank Arena in Liverpool.
Adlib’s rental departments implemented a fully integrated video, lighting and audio package linking in with broadcast elements for BBC and Sky. The spectacle took place over 10 glorious days of top sporting action which delivered world class netball to an international TV audience and many thousands packing into the court-side seats which were sold out for the duration.
This quadrennial event featured two distinctive criteria. Firstly, a spectacular Opening Ceremony which wowed the crowds and got everyone in the mood for the great sports to follow.
Adlib’s technical team worked closely with curators of the ceremony ‘Culture Liverpool’ and ‘Iluminos’. Adlib provided six Panasonic RZ21K 20,000 lumen laser projectors mounted vertically to project the visuals created by Iluminos onto the courts below. Lighting and video effects combined to produce the spectacle enjoyed by the live audience and TV viewers alike.
On-court drama followed, produced by Sport Presentation specialists Red Sky at Night Events Ltd, this saw 16 nations compete for the coveted Vitality Netball World Cup 2019 trophy.
Adlib worked with both clients closely, providing one point of contact so they could enjoy Adlib’s famous gold standard service in providing an efficient and imaginative technical solution that served both ceremonial and sport presentation demands.
Adlib’s overall project manager was Dave Eldridge. He worked with a highly talented and experienced crew onsite, and closely with host broadcasters Televideo and several other contractors to ensure seamlessly delivery of a world class sporting event to a hugely enthusiastic audience worldwide.
Lighting & Visuals
An additional logistical detail was that the sports presentation started off as a two court set up as the first round matches took place and teams were whittled down to the final 8, culminating in the exhilarating Australia vs New Zealand final.
Adlib’s technical design had this change of court layout at its heart; greatly influencing the choice of intelligent moving lights over standard generic fixtures. The change of layout happened overnight with a complete moving of courts and branding for which Adlib supplied courtside LED screens from their own LED screen hire stock.
Working with Red Sky at Night Events, the on-site team implemented a complex video playback system, controlling a large ‘gondola’ style LED cube, plus a court side LED branding system and many break-out areas around the arena.
Red Sky at Night events’ team designed a schedule that kept crowds in the arena and constantly engaged, featuring MCs, live response games and interviews alongside many commercial, sponsorship and inspirational messages.
When it came to lighting, the initial brief was to create a lighting design to cover the audience and produce the required on-court Lux levels.
This became a balancing act of providing the correct levels of light for the players without any glare or lights in distracting places, also delivering good levels for the broadcast team’s camera systems. In addition to that, the design highlighted important branding around the room and could create dynamic effects for the sports presentation sequences.
Adlib’s crew worked closely with the house riggers from UK Rigging on this and all the other aspects of the event which required flying, roof access and working at height.
Around 200 Martin MAC Viper Wash DX and Viper Profile intelligent moving lights were used to cover the Opening Ceremony and the dual court configuration, later morphing into the one court setup.
To assist with the diversity of demands of the overall event lighting, with a particular focus on the sporting action, Adlib worked alongside Dominic Main to create a production lighting design.
As an expert in lighting sporting events like this, his knowledge and experience was invaluable, and gained over many years working on other major and high profile sporting events such as ATP Tennis. In addition to lighting the matches, he programmed a numerous other lighting sequences used for entrances, exits, team presentations and other key ‘moments’ related to the competitions.
Adlib supplied a full trussing and rigging package to help create all the lighting positions in exactly the right places.
All the data and power distribution was positioned in the Arena roof and fed down from the gantries and catwalks onto the trusses. This kept the overall look of the event very ‘clean’ allowing full focus on the sports without technology ever distracting from the action.
Adlib supplied a pair of ChamSys MQ500 consoles for complete and redundant lighting show control.
A custom specified Luminex network backbone ensured all the lighting technology on show didn’t miss a beat. Adam Nicholls – LD for the Opening Ceremony – programmed from the same console, really highlighting its ability to handle a wide range of show environments.
Adam had access to the entire house rig to light the Opening Ceremony and added a few well positioned specials – in the form of eight MAC Viper Performances in pairs – on the deck in the four corners of the Arena. Their shutting capabilities were used to pick out the artists and performers from these low corner positions which looked dramatic and bold, working well with the overheads and the Arena floor projections.
The eye-popping hi-energy choreographed 45-minute Opening Ceremony directed by the Culture LIVERPOOL team was a pacey collage of music, dance, aerialists, projections mapped on the arena floor, complete with a parade by the 16 competing nation teams.
Adlib worked with Illuminos who produced the large format projection content. They supplied the six Panasonic RZ21K laser projectors which projected onto both courts plus a fibre data control system which hooked them into Iluminos’ media servers programmed with all the content.
A main video element was the central flown video ‘cube’ in the middle of the arena which displayed IMAG footage from parts of the match relay and beamed information all around the arena. The flown position of the four screens started off being in the middle of the two courts, which then it became the overall centre of the arena when in one court mode.
The four sides each measured 7 x 4 metres and were made up of Adlib’s 3.9 mm pitch Unilumin product. They were flown in a diamond orientation – at 45 degrees to centre – to provide the best arena-wide viewing angles. As with lighting and audio, Adlib also supplied all the necessary screen rigging for this and collaborated closely with the house riggers.
Around the sides of the courts at ground level five x 5 metre strips of 6 mm LED were deployed down each side of the two courts, a layout that transformed to having the 5 metre LED banners around three sides of the single court. The positions were calculated carefully so the LED was always in camera shot, therefore ideal for sponsor logos, branding, messaging and for relaying entertainment content.
Adlib’s video crew dealt with all the screen management and the playback materials being sent to the various sports presentation screens within the arena.
The complex setup enabled control of individual screens in the gondola and courtside LED elements. The system allowed for multiple keyed overlays of timers, scores, graphics, information and systems all to be called up at a moment’s notice from the data fed graphical replay system.
Additionally, they managed the incoming broadcast feeds from Televideo and all the playback content streams simultaneously via a RossVideo Carbonite 2ME switcher operated by Tom Wearing, working in conjunction with John Haggart who was co-ordinating all the screen information.
Adlib also had two playback operators – Dan Brown and James Williams – running QLab video and audio playback systems, plus one RF camera operator covering the crowd interaction and sports presentation sections. They took inputs from these sources, plus a clean (broadcast) feed from the Televideo truck and also a dirty feed (what everyone was seeing onscreen in the arena) and distributed these around the venue.
Televideo also gave Adlib’s arena visual mix team a ’beauty’ camera shot for the wides angles to output to screen and bring a sense of scale, which could also be used as a ‘safety’ shot when required.
In addition to the six strong video crew, Adlib installed a full wired and wireless Riedel comms package that tied all technical departments in with the broadcast crews on one master talkback loop.
Adlib co-ordinated and designed the audio system for this event which included multiple flown speaker arrays, together with a control package to cater for various audio sources during the event along with Opening and Closing Ceremonies.
A CODA Audio system – ViRAY and AiRAY – was chosen to fill the arena with crisp, clear high-clarity sound.
The small physical size of these speakers made it easy to keep sightlines clear to the central video screens whilst keeping the audio coverage consistent throughout the area. The system was designed to cover all seating areas around the arena bowl including a temporary stand at the standard “stage end” of the hall.
There were seven main hangs.
Two hangs of 8 x AiRAY were at the ‘D’ end of the arena along with one more 6 x AiRAY hang at the ‘stage’ end. Four further hangs of ViRAY covered the long sides of the arena, with two hangs of 9 speakers each side.
This system was then zoned so that audio could be played in either half of the arena if needed (to coincide with the 2-court setup), and then both halves when the configuration moved to one court
Four CODA SCV-F subs made up each of the two sub hangs flown centrally in the arena.
All the amp racks and distro were installed into the Arena roof, to allow maximum ground space for the sports action, so this was another plus in using CODA.
The smaller ViRAY speaker for example is a passive box and only needs a single channel of amplification, reducing the amount of amps needing to be set up in the roof, saving on rig time. Especially useful as the final part of the journey from the lift into the appropriate roof areas is via stairs, so every little helped.
As with lighting and video, the sound design was multifunctional and dynamic to deal with the demands of the sporting action and the OC.
FOH control was a DiGiCo SD11 located at the back of one of the long end seating areas, and the show was run from there. The backup audio console – for full redundancy – was set up in video world backstage, along with the I/O racks and RF distribution
Most of the audio feeds were taken directly from the video. This consisted of stings, music tracks, and recorded announcements. Added to that were Shure Axient handheld mics to look after the live announcements between games
For the Opening Ceremony, audio was generated from the video content so it was sync’d up with the rest of the choreographed visual elements. As part of this show there was a solo singer and choir which made use of additional Shure RF handheld microphones and Sennheiser IEM systems for their monitoring.
Kenny Perrin and David Grimes looked after the audio for the 11 day event run, joined by Fabrizio Colucci for the Opening Ceremony, with Max Taylor assisting on the two day load-in and set up.
Dave Eldridge commented, “It was great to be supplier to such a high-profile sports event locally, in home territory for us. It was really exciting to break new ground as a full tech service provider for World Cup level sporting events. It’s been a busy summer with festivals, tours and events and this was a great unique challenge in which we were proud to be involved.”