Tech systems all set for Australia Day celebrations

Lights, sounds, fireworks to light up Sydney's Darling Harbour

Over 120 technical staff and stage managers are gearing up to present a cacophony of sound, lights and fireworks over Sydney's Darling Harbour to celebrate Australia Day.

Over 120 technical staff and stage managers are gearing up to present a cacophony of sound, lights and fireworks over Sydney's Darling Harbour to celebrate Australia Day.

Over 120 technical staff and stage managers are gearing up to present a cacophony of sound, lights and fireworks over Sydney's Darling Harbour to celebrate Australia Day.

The Harbour will be lit up on Tuesday by some of the world’s best lighting and sound systems, and accompanied by a fleet of 18 yachts and a large sailing ship illuminated by candescent LED bulbs.

Three giant R16 Barco screens hoisted up 14 meter towers will float around the harbour, boosted by a prodigious fusillade of sound.

The estimated audience of 15,000 at the Australia Day Spectacular will receive a monumental audio-visual dessert of fireworks run by the same group responsible for Sydney’s New Year’s Eve celebrations and the Sydney Olympic Games.

Banks Events project coordinator Adam Huie, who has co-run Australia Day celebrations since 2006, said the event has taken four months to plan and will be spectacle of theatre that takes a complex IT system to pull off.

“Look out for a fleet of 18 yachts, a large sailing ship and a whole bunch of towers that will be lit up in a beautiful, deep, rich lighting,” Huie said.

“On the top of the towers will be some great moving halogen wash lights… and a huge array of subwoofers projecting the equivalent of four major concert rigs hanging in the air.”

“It’s not just a light show, or sound, or fireworks – it’s a mixture of all three mixed into a single theatrical element.”

Huie and pyrotechnics company FotiFireworks, which will operate fireworks on the day, have run previous Darling Harbour entertainment events including New Year’s Eve shows and international music acts like Anastasia.

The famous floating stage, the Aquashell, will be pushed out along with its two tonnes of lighting and 600 watts of sound.

Technical crews will coordinate all light, sound and communications from a control room with a bird’s eye view over the harbour, including the fireworks display which will be run in time with a symphony piece.

A series of cutting edge radio-controlled lights including PALCO 5 LEDs and Comar Infinity ACLs will be remotely controlled by technical crews on a scale attempted before. Many of the lighting used are now more energy efficient, including some LED lights that have slashed power consumption from 500Amps to 300Amps per phase.

Some 15 simplex and duplex radio and wireless data networks run through a matrix will keep communications open and managers informed, with a separate channel and computer for operation of the fireworks. Two vision mixers will control live television feeds and the video feeds to audience.

A full program for Australia Day activities around Australia is available on the Sydney Foreshore Authority website.

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