Live Nation and DF Concerts were looking for a technical supplier that could provide audio, lighting, and video for all three of the UK Hot Wheels shows. Due to Adlib’s experience working on in the round events on an arena scale, and previous experience in live sports presentation work, they made the introduction to Ehab - the Tour Manager for the Hot Wheels shows.
The Hot Wheels show is all about monster trucks doing stunts. This is interspersed with live presentations, interviews with the drivers, audience interaction, prize giveaways, entrance VT’s, and other branding. The monster trucks and presenters use the entire arena’s floor area as well as interacting within the audience.
There were several challenges with the show that the production team needed to overcome not least that the load in schedule was extremely busy; audio, lighting, and video had to be up and out the way of the floor area so that the trucks could be loaded in and rehearse/drive around as soon as possible.
Adlib also had to work around the shipping of the large trucks and crushed cars into the venue. These cars took up a significant portion of the floor area and needed to be spray painted in the Hot Wheels colours each day.
Because of the unique layout of the show, the audio and video systems were redesigned for each venue. The arenas all have different layouts particularly relating to the floor and performance area. It was important to achieve a minimum clearance of 15m for any flown elements, or to define a clear area on plans demarking where vehicles doing stunts could get air over the obstacles or crushed cars.
A big part of overcoming the challenges was in the communication and information gained by the site visits and advance work. The production team spent considerable time with Adlib’s in-house design department to produce rigging plots, overlays and PA designs. This allowed detailed plots showing sightlines, trim heights, and safe areas for the trucks on the arena floor.
The advance of this detailed information to the technicians and operational crew was critical to the efficiency of the load ins and success of the events. Adlib allowed for significant time in prep to ensure that everything was as streamlined as possible for the load ins and on-site delivery.
For Manchester & Birmingham, Adlib deployed 50 x Coda Audio AiRAY boxes in 5 hangs of 10 cabinets in a central ‘in the round’ configuration to ensure that all areas of the arena were covered with no impact on sightlines. Along with the rest of the flown elements, these hangs were carefully plotted so as not to get in the way of any airborne motorcycle riders!
4 x Coda HOPS8’s on stands were supplied to the VIP area.
A central ‘amp world’ comprising Coda Linus 14 amplifiers fed the PA hangs via a 50ft cable bridge. It was here that Adlib’s main system control comprising Lake & Newton processing was located.
The production’s main control was up in the stands with Ehab. It was here that Adlib took a feed from his own small format analogue mixer via an analogue multicore into a DiGiCo SD11 which in turn fed the main system an AES signal.
4x Shure Axient handhelds with SM58 heads were used for the presenters which fed directly to Ehab’s console.
In Glasgow the system was adapted to a slightly more conventional LCR configuration due to the shape of the venue. Every seat was easily covered with a left & right hang of 10 x AiRAY and a central hang of 8 x AiRAY. larger shows – Dublin 3 Arena, Glasgow Barrowlands, and Manchester Apollo.
In Manchester and Birmingham the venues were able to provide enough dynamic use of the house lighting systems to allow for partial blackout over the floor area whilst keeping audience lights in place. They could then be turned back on without a hot restrike or time delay to light the floor area for cameras and good visibility for the drivers.
Adlib supplemented the house systems with 2 x Robert Juliat Meriln 2500W Followspots for presenter pick-up and 4 x ETC Source 4 Zooms with branded gobos.
This approach relied on the venues having enough control over their house systems to be able to dim from full sports coverage to a dynamic entrance stage. This wasn’t the case in Glasgow, so Adlib worked with Ehab to create an additional flown package of 46 Martin MAC Viper Washes that were able to offer the same effect as the venues with more dynamic house lighting options.
This also gave the opportunity to use the moving light package as a full effects package for entrances and audience interaction before then reverting to covering the floor area to increase the light level.
Adlib’s design department produced detailed lux maps for the Glasgow system. This allowed the team to design the lighting system in software and ensure that the proposed lighting system for the floor area would be even, and suitable for cameras.
For video the Adlib supplied two flown 7.5m x 4m Unilumin UPAIIIH05 5.9mm LED IMAG screens run from NovaStar controllers.
The camera system was controlled from a Ross Carbonite PPU with 2 cameras located in fixed positions for covering the action and presenters on the floor area, and 1 wireless camera with RF transmitter and battery pack used for work with presenters in the audience.
How it worked
In advance of the event Ehab kindly provided archive footage of previous events so that Adlib’s operators and team could familiarise themselves in advance with the show and expectations. Adlib’s team invested significant time into understanding the show flow and what Ehab expected of the operators.
During the show Adlib supplied the video director, playback operator, camera operators, as well as an audio operator and technicians on the floor to manage the wireless mic requirements for the presenters. This team took cues from Ehab who ran all content for VT’s from his laptop, with Adlib’s Resolume server handling graphics and lower thirds.
To enable this, Adlib set up a show comms ring so that Ehab could speak with all operators and call the cues. Whilst Ehab was concentrating on the show cues and playback of VT’s which came from his own media server, Adlib’s video director called cameras and Adlib’s graphics operator created content on the fly including lower thirds, logos and live scores.
With a base in Scotland as well as North England Adlib was able to cover all aspects of the technical production, attend site visits, and supply a consistent solution for all disciplines (audio, lighting, video) across all three events.