Flying FX Rigging at South Asian Games 2016 Opening Ceremony

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Zip-lining Our Way at the South Asian Games 2016

The South Asian Games is a big ticket item, first started in 1984 where eight Asian countries come together every alternate year to celebrate the spirit of sport. The 12th South Asian Games was held over a 12 day extravaganza, with 4500 participants including around 2600 athletes in 22 disciplines this February.

Encompass Events contacted Natura in November to be part of the spectacular opening act we knew that it would be challenging, but definitely a really cool event to associate with.
In the midst of all the dancing, singing and other performances we had to rig the longest ever zip line that Natura has EVER done. The zip line would have the “Mangalyan” which would travel 850feet from one end of the venue to the other. We had quite a lot of ground to be covered ….literally!

3a

We gathered all our troops from Bangalore, Mumbai and Delhi and with a fully loaded nine member team we wanted to make sure there would be no scope for error. We sent Avishkar MD Natura along with senior team member and Technical Site Manager Dilip for a recce to Guwahati. He came back with location maps, stage plans and many pictures.

Armed with information we started laying out our plans. We first wanted to get customized speed winches made for this project due to the sheer mammoth size of the zip line: did I mention 850 freakin feet! We made to order high-speed winches from a specialised international manufacturer. Parallely we imported load-cells from the US which keeps a check on the stress levels of the zip line and its anchor points. This was to make sure the prop weight along with the pre-tensioned lines never exceeded the “Safe Working Load” of our ropes and that we could consistently monitor through the entire 850ft length!

3b

A point to be noted here is that this was the first time Natura bought equipment worth the entire show cost and increased their own personal inventory. Why? It was one of the biggest projects for the team from a technical perspective and we did not want to leave a single stone unturned to achieve perfection.

Pre plans are all good only until showtime! And when we got to Guwahati with 1050kgs of Air cargo equipment (did I also mention it was the first time we did a show in Guwahati) there were tons of surprises waiting for us. The weather was different, early sunrise and sunsets made days shorter and impacted our set up time.

The location of the proposed zip lines changed multiple times, in order to ensure it would not disturb the projection mapping. We found this one real tough to work with and we had not anticipated it.

Hauling up all the equipment took us forever and we felt like superman once it was all done!

How exciting to find out that PM Modi would grace the show with his presence, but this led to a major security lock-down which in turn meant lesser set up time again!

3c

It took us THREE whole days to set up all our equipment in these conditions of weather and security. A 850ft zip line doesn’t come easy even to pros like us! So, we decided to send one of our really brave boys on a zip line cruise to check the stability (don’t worry we made sure he was safe through it all)

Now comes the fun part in-spite of all the many roadblocks we managed three very good rehearsals with the team. Armed with our new gizmos we felt invincible super cool, when the show happened we were all set for our two minutes of fame! The show was brilliant with dazzling lights, lovely performances and of course the “Mangalyam” floating in the air from one end of the venue to the other just like it had been destined to do.

Hats off to Encompass Events for planning and executing the show so meticulously! It was a real pleasure to work with them and we hope to do many more collaborations in the future. We received lots of appreciation from all our working partners and the herculean efforts totally paid off!!

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