The new summer concert hall in Ureki resort by the Black Sea in Georgia was a joint project, accomplished by “Scenos techninis servisas” (STS) and “Televizijos ir ryšio sistemos” (TVC). The concert hall is by far the most grand and expensive show venue equipped by Lithuanians.
BLACK SEA ARENA is the largest open concert hall in Caucasus. Designed by German architects, the arena is a unique world-class architectural structure with ambitions to become a powerful center of attraction and lay the foundations for the development of infrastructure and tourism. The arena, which easily accomodates 10 thousand viewers, is a perfect venue for Georgian citizens and guests to enjoy world-class performers, festivals, TV projects and shows. An open roof additionally provides a breathtaking natural spectacle (the Caucasus mountains are visible from the arena), but in case the sun is too active, or it’s too windy or rainy, the roof fully covers the arena in just a few minutes.
STS designed and installed the systems and controls of sound, lighting, stage mechanization, drapery, coating, and special effects, and trained the arena staff.
TVC produced and integrated a television system, consisting of a portable TV station with 24 high-definition broadcast cameras, IPTV network, intercom system, and robotic cameras. The company also carried out the staff training and technical support for the first time broadcast.
Video system was installed in partnership with “Prezentacijų spektras”.
The concert hall has all the necessary equipment for world-class performers so they do not have to rent anything. The sound, lighting, video and TV systems control is fully centralized. Smart hoists help to lift the most complex and difficult structures and allow to move decorations and performers over the viewers’ heads. Audio, video and TV systems are very modern and versatile, and can perform any technical task.
The key challenge and the special feature of this project was the climatic conditions. BLACK SEA ARENA is situated in subtropical climate zone with erratic weather, excessive humidity and salinity. To ensure the smooth operation of all systems and durability of the equipment, the storage system and its exploatation had to be planned precisely. All facility controls are kept in a specially equipped room with extremely powerful autonomous microclimate system, which ensures the stable temperature and humidity.
Keeping in mind the needs of the concert arena managers, the character of performances and also the climatic conditions, STS professionals designed and installed a mobile and highly versatile large-scale lighting system.
The lighting system consists of various types of spotlights:
- Classical theatrical spotlights (plano convex, fresnel, convex) with incandescent lamps (70 pcs).
- Tracking spotlights with discharge lamps (followspot), which are very powerful, can change colour and adjust diameter of the beam (8 pcs).
- Multifunctional programmable stage lighting devices with discharge lamps (138 pcs), including BMFL, MMX and pointe.
- Multifunctional programmable stage lighting devices with LED light source (224 pcs).
- Powerful calibrated white light floodlights (96 pcs) to go with LED devices.
- Effect lights to supplement basic lighting devices: flashlights, wind turbines with LED backlight, blinders (42 pcs).
- The entire system is controlled by cutting edge software lighting control consoles (4 pcs), two main and two smaller ones. The consoles have been equipped with 16 touchscreens. The entire control system is designed with automatic backup function, so in case of emergency the back panel automatically takes over.
Lighting management system is fully integrated with the video system, so both systems can be operated simultaneosly.
The concert hall is equipped with an ultra modern and versatile French L-Acoustics sound system: speakers, monitors, amplifiers, stage sound equipment set (microphones, stands, etc.), and control panels.
The hall’s architecture is highly sound-sensitive thanks to lamella wall structures, movable roof and a huge audience area (80 m deep and 120 m wide). All these features influence the sound, therefore installation of the equipment requires extremely high precision. To have the cleanest and most powerful sound, the sound system must be installed with millimeter accuracy and directed to the target sides of the arena with decimal degree precision.
The sound system was configured in LEFT – CENTER – RIGHT pattern:
- Central array complete with 6 K2 loudspeakers.
- Left and right sides complete with KI-SB with 13 K2 loudspeakers.
- 2 ARCS II loudspeakers for sides of the audience (for viewers on the left and on the right).
- 24 SB28 loudspeakers: 16 suspended and 8 standing.
- 8 ARCS WIDE loudspeakers for viewers sitting close to the stage.
- To enhance loudspeakers volume we installed 32 LA8 amplifiers. 6 of them are mobile, so they can be used on stage. The others are stationary and kept in a room with constant temperature and humidity level.
- Front-of-house audio pannel AVID Venue Profile.
- Stage set: monitoring pannel AVID Venue Profile, 40 wireless and 387 wired microphones, wireless monitoring system. 6 SB18 and 12 KARA loudspeakers. Two types of floor monitors: 16 115XT HiQ passive monitors and 8 112P active monitors.
L-Acoustics sound control system is extremely easy and flexible to use. All devices (sound amplification system, wireless microphone receivers, wireless monitoring transmitters, audio consoles (mixers), processors) can be controlled remotely using a wireless computer network.
STS professionals not only installed the sound system, but also trained the arena staff, teaching them to prepare it for events and make the most of its capabilities. (see DEMO concert below)
INSTALLATION AND STAGE MECHANIZATION
With an impressive amount of equipment – the required equipment was brought to the Black Sea coast by 24 trucks – the assembly started in 2015 summer. Following the STS engineers’ project, first of all, the suspension and service points and cable channels were installed. 52900 meters of cable were laid, 105 electricity and various other connection boxes were assembled.
Bearing in mind the location (subtropical climate zone), the engineering of those boxes was really challenging: they had to be humidity-proof and airtight, yet available for a quick and easy connection of the systems. Equipment control cabinets were installed in a special room with extremely powerful autonomous microclimate system, which ensures stable temperature and humidity.
The stage area is equipped with 12 large cable collectors, each weighing 500 kg. The maingrid consists of 180 meters of extremely heavy trusses. It holds 36 permanently installed hoists with combined lifting power of 72 tons. The maingrid helps to do all the assembly works down on the ground, were it is much more convenient.
According to the needs, the trusses H30V, H40V, S36V or S52SV can be used to equip the stage. These trosses can hold up to 100 ProLyft Aetos lifts with 1000 or 2000 kg capacity. The trusses lifting system consists of 8 Aetos Pro controllers and ProLyft Aetos Piccolo touchscreen control panel. The control system allows to manage all devices simultaneously, e.g., to raise and lower all lifts at the same time.
The arena is also equipped with a crowd control system, which consists of separate Prolyte control barriers. The system is versatile and can be adjusted according to the needs.
STAGE FLOOR AND PLATFORMS
For the stage (the floor, platforms and other elements), we used 1×2 m Prolyte StageDex panels with Easy Frame C, which can change levels and height (1,4-2,1 m). The number of such panels is 452 pcs, they cover 932 square meters. The floor of the stage can be divided into stairs, remade into terraces, islands, audience exits and so on.
There is also a round mobile stage with 6 m diameter.
The enormous stage (36 x 24 m) was equipped with a specially designed curtain (drapery). The curtain meets all safety requirements and improves the acoustics of the stage. It was designed to adapt to various hall transformations: from classical theatre events to the most spectacular music shows.
The 20 m high and 40 m wide front curtain was equipped with Showtex automatic opening with variable speed. The design and installation of such a huge curtain was quite a challenge for STS engineers.
Arena has an integrated kabuki system, which helps to cover objects in the stage area (30 m). The system is fully automated and can be managed along with lighting, video, and special effects from the main control panel.
To improve and intensify the lighting, the system contains a complete set of special effects:
- Fog machines – 8 pcs. The fog helps to enhance the light rays.
- Smoke machines – 4 pcs. Designed to be used in large spaces, they are very powerful and have wheels to move around the stage. Pointed in the right direction, they can fill the entire space of the stage with dense smoke and help create an impressive lighting effect.
- Low smoke machines – 4 pcs. These machines allow to release the smoke along the floor. Can be used to mask the equipment.
- Confetti machines – 4 pcs. Extremely powerful.
- CO2 machines – 8 pcs. Often used in contemporary music events to create a spectacular effect.
- Fire machines – 8 pcs. Smart fire machines can direct the flow of the heat and adjust the diameter, height and colour of the flame.
All these special effects are managed from the main control panel together with lighting, video and other systems.
VIDEO SYSTEM: “Prezentacijų spektras”
The video system was installed in cooperation with Lithuanian company “Prezentacijų spektras”. It consists of an impressive amount of LED modules, which can be combined into screens of various sizes and shapes.
The essential feature and main task of this system was to integrate video with sound, lighting and TV systems. This required a lot of challenges and extreme professionalism.
LED cabinet specifications: 6.9 mm distance between the bulbs (pitch), 2 K resolution (pixels). High scanning frequency with a large number of colours. Extremely high-resolution of these devices help to transmit really sharp images. The dimensions of one such module is 0.5 x 1 m. All these (660) modules can be connected into 330 square meters display area.
The options how to connect the modules are endless. You can either broadcast pre-recorded visualizations or stream live video of what is happening on stage and in other areas of the arena. You can use separate screens to display different images, or split a single image across all the screens.
The powerful COOLUX servers help to display extremely real-time signals from the cameras, as well as pre-recorded visualizations.
TV SYSTEM: “Televizijos ir ryšio sistemos” (TVC)
Outside broadcasting station (OBS) and TV system for the arena were designed and built by the general contractor of the project, “Televizijos ir ryšio sistemos” (TVC). The company is an expert in design, manufacture and integration of stationary and mobile TV stations. This outside broadcasting station (OBS) is one of the most modern in Europe and was particularly highly rated in Amsterdam at IBC 2015 exhibition.
OBS consists of two trucks. During broadcasting, engineers, directors, audio and video operators work in the main truck, which is 14 meters long and weighs 28 tons. The truck is equipped with video/audio processing and recording equipment, which transmits live stream from different places, repeats memorable moments, displays subtitles. The OBS truck is equipped with two retractable side mechanisms. This way, as many as 21 operator can work inside during broadcasting.
The second truck is 12 meters long and weighs 24 tons. It is used to transport equipment and generate power (it’s fitted with a 70 kVA generator). Here you can also find the rest and service areas, and cargo compartment with a lift.
Both OBS trucks are suitable for Georgian climate: they are equipped with double air conditioning system, uninterruptible power supply, heating, hydraulic stabilization systems, motorized cable reels.
The TV system has been designed and equipped so as to be mobile and work off-season in other regions of Georgia. Before designing the TV system, three objectives were raised:
- to broadcast live program during the concert on the LED screens over the stage;
- to form live broadcast on other TV channels;
- to create and edit concert recordings, which will be broadcasted later.
OBS has the latest and most professional equipment: ultra high-definition video cameras Ikegami HDK-79GX, including robotic system Ross Video Furio, wireless steadicam, video camera on a winch and ultra high zoom x80 Canon lens. At the “heart” of OBS you will find a powerful Imagine Communications Matrix with 128 input and 256 output signals. Received video signals are edited real time and broadcasted in the OBS or MCR studio in the arena. The stream received from the cameras can be recorded on servers GV K2 Dyno.
The arena was also equipped with a stationary TV system (IPTV network) for broadcasting other programs.
The warehouse was equipped with logistics and warehouse control system between arena and the warehouse, which is located in a different building than arena; equipment preparation and processing areas; the means of storage and transportation of inventory.
Ureki regional climate is complicated, so the warehouse must have a specific microclimate with constant temperature and humidity level. All this was designed by our staff.
One of the project objectives was to train BLACK SEA ARENA personnel to purposefully use all the new equipment: not just correctly connect the cables, but use all its potential.
STS and TVC professionals trained the staff from the basics. Complex technology requires a lot of specialized knowledge and experience in order to properly master the use of the equipment.
The task was aggravated by the staff’s limited professional experience and language barrier. After the training the arena staff was examined and received training certificates.
THE FIRST DEMO SHOW demonstrates the maximum capability of the systems
The new arena opened on June 17, 2016, with a demo show and concert to demonstrate the full capability of the new equipment and co-ordinated systems which work together and compliment each other.
This precisely to fractions of a second synchronized video, lights and music show required a special stage geometry: 864 square meters of the stage area, stationary and mobile lighting constructions (total 743 meters) equipped with 400 special and 208 multifunctional floodlights, ultra precise sound equipment (64 broadband and low frequency loudspeakers), and 5 high-definition LED screens, covering an impressive 221 square meters at the back. The hidden idea behind the composition was a smile.
BLACK SEA ARENA was oficially opened on July 30 with Christina Aguilera concert. The technical rider (sound, lighting, stage and its mechanization) was fulfilled by STS professionals. This also was a part of arena’s staff training.
The video of the concert was arranged by TVC engineering staff.
Coming next: Vanessa Mae, The Scorpions, and the local treasure – Erisioni.