It’s been called the ‘largest outdoor multimedia display in history’ and ‘the biggest and most expensive party ever’.
For the second time in two years China has hosted a global gathering of unprecedented scale. The Shanghai World Expo, a $4bn, six-month, celebration of international culture, opened with one of the most ambitious live events ever undertaken – a spectacular display of lights, lasers, fountains, boats, music and fireworks along a 3.4km stretch of the Huangpu River in central Shanghai.
The event was designed to cement Shanghai’s status as one of the world’s great cities, by showcasing the latest technology in outdoor spectacular events. Clay Paky formed a core part of the event, with over 300 powerful Alpha 1500 spotlights supplied through its Chinese partner ACE Professional Sound and Lighting.
Production was by David Atkins Enterprises; outdoor lighting was designed by Bob Dickinson and Ted Wells. Paul Collison was project lighting manager and Sha Xiao Lan was lighting designer for the indoor show.
The outdoor performance spanned both sides of the immense 300m-wide Huangpu River, extending along a 2.7km stretch of the river. The enormous scale of the event – this was the largest Expo ever, covering an area of almost 1,000 football fields – required some uniquely powerful washlights. Clay Paky won the approval of both the design team and the Shanghai Expo Large Scale Performance Management Group – becoming the only non-Chinese brand of lighting to be represented at the Expo opening ceremonies.
Director of ACE, Bingo Tso said: “It was a collective and unanimous decision. The Alpha Wash 1500 Long Throw proved to be the only tool that could project a wash from one side of the river to the other.”
Lining the river on both sides at 12m intervals were 4k and 7k searchlights. Clay Paky Alphas were used to enhance the performance area in front of the VIP areas.
Preceding the outdoor component of the show was a lavish indoor event designed by LD Sha Xiao Lan, who previously designed the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2008 Beijing Olympics. The indoor show was led by an impressive array of Alpha Profile 1500 and Alpha Beam 1500 fixtures that lit the cultural and protocol segments for the broadcast. The guests included 20 different heads of state, amongst them China’s President Hu Jintao.