A Kinesys Apex automation system with new Kinesys Vector control console was used to create amazing and super-cool kinetic effects created with six 7 metre diameter motion-controlled trussing circles each rigged with 10 moving lights above the audience of the Galaxy Stage at the 2021 Untold Festival staged in the BT Arena venue at Cluj-Napoca, Romania.
The Kinesys system and services were supplied by Denmark-based automation specialist Motor Stage Automation to ABT Motion Rigs, with the system design and specification developed by Adrian Visenoiu, rigging manager for six of the seven stages at this years’ event, and Motor Stage Automation’s Blake McNally.
The Galaxy Stage presented a superlative line-up of techno talent – Charlotte de Witte, Paul Kalkbrenner, Nina Kravitz, Amelie Lens, Tale of Us, Seth Troxler, and many, many more over the three days – and in the true spirit of techno, high production values and awesome visual effects topped the agenda with organisers determined to deliver the best guest experience for fans and music lovers.
The initial Galaxy stage design with a big centrepiece came from Mindscape Studios, and the moving circles were an idea from Andrei Predut of Apart Productions, lead lighting designer for all of Untold’s periphery (non Main) stages. Adrian was tasked with making everything move and ensuring that lighting didn’t interfere with projections and other visual elements that were key to the aesthetic of the space.
Adrian already had plenty of ideas about how the circles should look, move, and bring a true additional dimensionality to the visuals, and flying objects above the audience, it was essential to have only the safest kit, so he was happy to go with the Kinesys Apex system as this meets all requirements for ‘live’ flying of objects over people and audiences.
Four 500kg Kinesys Apex hoists were used to fly each circle, all of which were rigged with 10 moving beam lights. Having the four motors meant the circles could be raised, lowered and tilted in all directions.
The overall production design was minimalistic, but the truss circles brought great dynamics, filling the large roof void with colour, movement, excitement and effects.
“I really wanted to achieve some extreme movements with the circles, to the point at which the full load sometimes needed to be taken by one or two hoists,” explained Adrian, adding that he also wanted the motion to be “smooth, fast and elegant, all the things that get audience reactions and that converge to create the 3D effects I had in mind”.
The movement cues started during the peak times and headline slots between midnight and 7 a.m. starting off with relatively straightforward shapes and effects, building to a crescendo getting more interesting, inventive, and extreme!
Working for Motor Stage Automation on installing, programming and operating the Kinesys system were Jimmy Johnson and Simon Howdy who enjoyed using one of the new Vector consoles.
Jimmy, who has used Kinesys for several years on different projects and frequently specs it, commented, “The integrated safety management of the kit that Kinesys design offers peace of mind when flying above people and audiences.”
For Jimmy and any operator, having confidence in the design and both the suppliers and the manufacturer of the kit is paramount in ensuring that everything stays safe. “Motor Stage Automation has been set up as a specialist in this fast-developing area, and one reason why they invested in Kinesys’ Apex system focusing on safety design from the project’s conception to delivery.”
He thinks that Kinesys has built a reputation for delivering great products, and for listening to the wish-lists of visual designers who are becoming ever more demanding as they push creative and technical boundaries of what can be achieved using automation for live shows.
Jimmy worked with an experienced automation crew on site to ensure that safety regulations were rigorously followed.
Adrian gave him and Simon a brief of how he wanted the movement to look and work as a creative production design and show element for the Galaxy Stage, and then left them space to add their own imaginative input. As they used the system and became familiar with what it could do, new cues were programmed each afternoon and added to that evening’s show, realising new and different dynamics for each artist.
Kinesys CEO Dave Weatherhead concluded, “It is fantastic seeing the Kinesys Apex system out doing precisely what it was designed to do. Firstly, giving safety and peace of mind to programmers and operators in what they can achieve, and secondly, providing a fantastic toolkit for designers to use to realise their creative visions. I am very excited to see the application potential for Kinesys Apex drives and hoists in the coming months and years”.
Photo: © courtesy The Untold Festival