Game on with BlackTrax



Protec uses BlackTrax to track robot, video and lighting at the NAS Sports opening ceremony 2016

The technical genius of Protec, working with its client and creative production agency HQ Creative, helped to kick off the fourth annual Nad Al Sheba Sports Tournament with a spectacular opening ceremony. For the very first time, the ceremony was hosted by NASO, a 40 cm high, walking and talking robot.

It entertained the crowd alongside a variety of exciting acts, such as acrobats on  hoverboards, a Futsal game in the dark and a special performance from the Lords of Lightning. Lords of Lightning performed magical acts with lightning thanks to the electrical wizardry of tesla coils, which produce high voltage, low-current and high-frequency alternating currents. The spectacle of two wizards battling each other atop two 2.2m high towers is one that thrilled audiences and warped their minds.

Protec deployed BlackTrax to track sixteen performers and a moving platform, where NASO performed his hosting duties. They were tracked using lighting effects and video. The stage was a virtually projected football court with the performers on hoverboards as well as globetrotter style basketball players and stunt footballers.  Each one was tracked and had a dedicated spot plus custom graphics projected over them. For the graphics, BlackTrax was integrated with media servers from d3 Technologies.

“We connected Blacktrax cameras with strategically placed BlackTrax beacons and hid them inside each of the performers’ costumes. During rehearsals we were able to adjust or add the beacon markers on the performers to ensure they could be tracked whatever sort of acrobatics or body angles were presented to the cameras.  We also used a BlackTrax beacon for the little robot presenter so BlackTrax could track the robot and keep all the cueing in time,” said Protec’s Lighting Designer Aaron Russ.

“By using BlackTrax, no one missed a cue. All stage elements were covered and thanks to BlackTrax everything was where it needed to be, on time, every time, without the possibility of human error. The stage was bright and vibrant and we were given very positive feedback from both the client and the viewers.”

An integral part of Ramadan is the development of mind and body, and these sporting pursuits develop discipline in a fun way. Nad Al Sheba hosts seven sporting events including paddle tennis, archery, volleyball, running, goalball and wheelchair basketball.

The tournament was held in the multi-purpose indoor arena at the Ned Al Sheba sports complex and opened by H.H. Sheikh Ahmed bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, President of the UAE Olympic Committee. Sheikh Ahmed and a number of sheikhs and officials attended a goalball match between Abu Dhabi Disabled Sports Club and Al Ain Disabled Sports Club after the opening ceremony.

The ceremony was dazzling and mind-blowing. BlackTrax continues to help companies like Protec deliver efficient and creative show solutions, whilst at the same time saving on production costs whilst exceeding its clients’ expectations.