A Tech & Production Lowdown on IPL ’16 Opening Ceremony

Industry Watch | April 15, 2016 | Feature

Ferriswheel Entertainment Shubhra Bhardwaj Modern Stage Services IPL

It’s been almost a week and we still can’t seem to forget how amazing the IPL ‘16 opening ceremony was. With performances from top Bollywood celebrities and multiple WOW moments up its sleeve, this event executed by Ferriswheel Entertainment was a perfect example of how wonders can be created if you have a great team and amazing technical partners to back you up.

Also Read: Ferriswheel Wins The Pitch for IPL 2016 Opening Ceremony

To understand more on the intricacies and challenges involved in the production and execution of the IPL opening ceremony, we at EVENTFAQS reached out to the technical and production partners of the event in an exclusive conversation, where each of them talked of about their secret ingredients that made IPL Opening Ceremony ’16 a smashing Hit!

Bharat Zala, Head Production, Ferriswheel Entertainment begins sharing his experience by highlighting the technical challenges he faced at the event. He says, “The main technical challenge we faced during the execution of this event was merging the 4 technical mediums used in the show. These included the 4000 Pixel Tablets installed at the seating areas, the 360 degree LED Wall of size 610ft x 12ft that was placed at the perimeter, the LED floor of size 40ft x 40ft that was placed on stage and the Floor Projection which included 36 Christie Projectors. Each of the 4000 pixel tablets at the seating areas were affixed with 16 individually addressable pixels which was programmed to run graphic content specific to each of the acts of the ceremony. Intrestingly this technology has been introduced for the first time in India by Ferriswheel.”

                                Bharat Zala, Head Production, Ferriswheel Entertainment

He further adds, “In addition, to support the projection work that was to be shown, 12 rigs were flown in from top with a massive trussing structure which also included lights and projectors. And Of course, we cannot overlook the challenge faced while coordinating the movements, rehearsals and positioning of the 300+ cast and dancers. The variety of props that were being rigged from the ceiling of the venue could only go up after the technical rigging was done. With an already limited time frame, the team was working on an even shorter timeline because of this. So that was another major difficulty we had to overcome.

Conceptualizing an event is a creatively enriching process but bringing the same concept to reality at ground zero is a daunting challenge. When asked, if the event had been executed in the same manner as it was conceptualized? Bharat said, “Yes, absolutely. From day one we knew that this event had to be larger than life. Our Founder & Creative Director Shubhra Bhardwaj gave us a clear vision of what we needed to achieve. I ensured that my team at Ferriswheel along with our technical partners were motivated and mobilized in a way that we could meet our timelines and deliver the show. Despite facing herculean challenges, we had a spectacular show as seen by the audience present at the stadium, as well as the viewers at home.”

                                           The Design Proposed At The Pitch Phase

                                       The Same Design Brought To Life At the Event

The Design Proposed At The Pitch Phase

                                                          On-Ground Execution

Warren D’souza of SOUND.COM whose company managed the sound production at the ceremony spoke about his experience of working with Ferriswheel Entertainment and said, “The entire experience was a memorable one. Because of our track record Ferriswheel had an implicit faith in us and when that faith is there in a team, half the battle is already won.”

                                            Warren D’souza of SOUND.COM

Modern Stage Services managed the stage production for the event. Its Director, Davinder Wadhwa had the following to say, “IPL was a totally different show and the idea by Ferriswheel was very creative. The entire event was a great example of teamwork. Interestingly, there was no foreigner involved in such a grand production. The event was a true testament of a ‘Make in India’ show as all the technicians and helpers involved in the show were Indians which makes it even grander.”

                                 Davinder Wadhwa, Director, Modern Stage Services

An important highlight of the IPL opening ceremony this year was the incredible use and amalgamation of video graphics into the overall ceremony. Sharing his side of the story Vibhore Khandelwal of Creative Factory who created the video graphics for the event said, “We at Creative Factory have always believed that visual content is more than just an element of the show. When we started planning for IPL, our team jumped out of their seats because this is what we were waiting for but the challenges were beyond imagination. We had 4 display mediums (centre LED, Floor Projection, side LED & the pixel tablets) and the visual content had to be created in such a way that it was in sync to compliment the theme of the act.”

Vibhore Khandelwal, Creative Factory

He adds, “To achieve depth and vibrant colours we decided that we will manually paint multiple looks for each act. Right from the opening Mumbai act where we did a fusion of Indian and Hip Hop by creating Paintings, Rangoli’s etc. and abstract artworks to Ranveer's act where we created almost 78 handmade illustrations in just 9 days. Additionally, we synced the graphics with music (beat by beat) for Katrina & YO YO Honey Singh's act too.”

Vibhore also shares the hard work done by his team to make the event a grand success. He says, “25 Artists worked on this project with 12 illustrators, 7 3D animators & 6 Motion Graphics artists. They all worked in sync because we knew we could not afford any mistake due to the shortage of time. We used various software’s to achieve the style and depth and used almost 75 render farms to render the files.  Our production pipeline was created in such a way that within 9 days we manged to conceptualize, create & render the content. I have to say that none of this would we achieved without the hard work of my team members who didn't event go home on the last 3 days before the show.”

                                         Vijay Sablok, Event Resource

Projection mapping was another highlight of the event this year. Vijay Sablok of Event Resource who managed the Video Projection shared his experience about the event. He said, “I will never attempt to create something in 3 days that otherwise would have taken us at least 7 days to do. To rig, test, and align 36 projectors in so little time killed us. Also we had to work alongside all other tech aspects like lights and audio. Also dancers were rehearsing at the same time. So yes the challenges were immense but we all supported each other, weather it was Atul in charge of lights or SOUND.COM in audio or Davinder of Modern Stage Services who himself along with his son Pratik stood there all the days and ensured that we kept our spirits up and going. Team Ferriswheel especially Shubhra and Bharat Zala were very supportive. So yes challenges were there but solution was there too.”

                                         Bhvavesh Thakkar of Jess Ideas

Bhvavesh Thakkar of Jess Ideas who created the hospitality look and feel at the event too was all praises for team Ferriswheel and said, “Yes working in a restricted timeframe was very challenging but thanks to Shubhra Bharadwaj who was very clear on the concept of the entire event we were able to pull off some amazing work within time.”


                                             Team Ferriswheel after executing the event

Also Read: A Stunner In All Aspects: Ferriswheel & Partners Put Up A Resplendent IPL Opening Ceremony

Lighting, Audio, Trussing, SFX... Click here for the full list of categories in ​Experiential Management at WOW Awards Asia 2016.

Technical and Production Partners of the IPL '16 speak on the challenges they faced and how they overcame it to deliver a spectacular show.

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