Getting technical for nature-based tourism


MOZAMBIQUE: The 2018 International Conference on Nature-Based Tourism in Conservation Areas in Maputo had the requirements for a dark, climate controlled event space that could accommodate 500 people as well as high resolution LED screens. Invent Audio Visuals was the local supplier and it sought the assistance of South Africa’s Gearhouse Group with some of the technical elements.

The two companies had worked together on a previous conference for the Italian National Gas Company on which Gearhouse provided the video mapping elements. For this event, the South African group’s Gearhouse In2Structures supplied the portable Dome structures while its LEDVision operation delivered the 3mm screen. ‘We got to know Invent on that event and were impressed by their sound and lighting capabilities,’ said Gearhouse operations manager, Stuart Andrews, who project managed the event from a Gearhouse perspective. ‘Since then there has been a good reciprocal work relationship, so once we had confirmed the dome venue, we were asked to provide A/V control, rigging and lighting as well as set which was contracted through Johannesburg-based, Dream Sets.’

The conference took place in the gardens of the Serena Polana Hotel. Gearhouse In2structures provided a 45m long x 24m wide Maxi Lite 4-bay dome. LEDVision provided a 12m wide x 3.5m high LED Black Pearl 3mm screen which ran off Dataton’s Watchout using a Christie Vista Spyder as the switcher. The whole technical setup was hung off 22 points in the roof of the dome and wherever possible, the lighting team chose LED fixtures to minimise power consumption. A rig of Phillips LED Nitros served as house lighting and Martin Professional Mac Quantum Washes, Mac Viper profiles as well as fixtures from SGM were used to light the stage and dome exterior.

‘We used tried and tested multipurpose fixtures with significant light output and great colour mixing for ease of use and everything was run off an MA 2 full size console,’ furthered Mr Andrews. ‘The organisers had a very clear vision of what the look and feel should be and we needed to realise that vision technically. Of course, if your audience is sitting for 3 days at a conference, in the same venue, your setup has to look really good to keep your audience engaged. The A/V and LED screen and content really made the event. The entire conference revolved around the screen and the content. The Soico Group, of which Invent is a subsidiary, created all the content in-house, so it was really great. Everything was formatted correctly, made the screen look amazing and worked fantastically.’

It was the location of the structure within the hotel’s grounds that provided the main challenge for the Gearhouse In2structures team. ‘It was an unusual and beautiful space for the conference, but posed some technical challenges as the area was set away from the main access which meant that some elements had to be craned into position over a wall and some trees,’ explained the company’s Otto Wijnberger. ‘We had great support from the Invent team however, the generators all arrived on time and the get-in was really very smooth.’

‘Cross-border work often comes with its own pitfalls, so we were prepared with contingency plans,’ reflected Mr Andrews. ‘But this one was a particularly smooth set up, all things considered. From the date of confirmation to the installation of the dome was just one week and thanks to our on-the-ball trucking and clearing agents the three Interlinks for the dome structures and three pantechs for set, lighting, LED and A/V arrived a full day ahead of schedule.

‘In my line of work I attend many conferences but this one stood out for me as a genuinely heart-warming event,’ concluded Mr Andrews. ‘What a fantastic thing to see a whole nation and government caring about their environment. This was a noble conference which was really quite unique and inspirational.’

Story - Robyn D’Alessandro

Photo - Stuart Andrews

Aug 23, 2018

The Gearhouse Group of Companies