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Painting with Light creates dazzling light show for the esports WEGA Global Games

Belgian lighting and video design specialist Painting with Light designed a high-energy lighting scheme for the official opening ceremony of the first Qatar eSports WEGA Global Games. The event was staged in the Khalifa Stadium in Doha and attended by 14,000 virtual game fans.

The immersive spectacle included VR and AR technologies, live arena performances, entertainment and talks from game-based influencers and e-athletes. The unique multi-game competition features CSGO, DOTA2, Street Fighter V, and eFootball PES.

Show artistic director Steven Martin of ArchitectofEMOTION asked Painting with Light to create the lighting scheme for this project, commissioned by Doha-based event company The Planners. The team worked closely with Ludo Vanstreels of Trimex, as technical production manager of the Opening Ceremony and complementing the all-Belgian technical design and imagineering team.

Challenging light show

A quick turnaround was required to get from concept to delivery in just four weeks. Challenges for lighting design included the positioning of the stage in one section down the long end of the stadium, which meant that the whole lighting rig had to be ground supported. Elaborate projections were to be mapped onto the stage floor and holographic images beamed on a special 30-metre-wide by 12-metre-high scrim – currently a trending aesthetic in the world of esport tournaments. These had to be carefully lit around, combined with several flying and ground-based cast members and performers. Large amounts of video and LED screens to generally contend with were additional challenges for lighting.

And, of course, the 25-minute show had to look spectacular, with all visual entities combined to produce beautifully fluid and epic results. The light design was based around seven 16-metre-high towers, also served as useful lighting positions, three upstage and four downstage to provide a sense of depth and a basic structural framework around the 80-meter-wide oval-shaped performance space. Upstage was the impressive 1000 plus square metre, 12-metre-high back video wall.

The stage surface was mapped for projections and the holographic images were beamed onto massive special holo-scrims. These were distributed on different levels of all seven towers, as well as along the top edge of the video wall at the back and scattered on the stage deck, giving three distinctive layers of optical attack. This was needed to work with the combination of VR and cast, including the flying characters, dancers and holographic images all integrated in the exciting collage of hi-energy visuals.

Narrating the story of how Qatar came to host the WEGA Global Games included some striking visuals fully recreating the universes from key tournament games like Street Fighter, PES eFootball, Dota2 and Counter Strike: Global Offensive, representing all the competing teams … as no footage could be cleared through the licencing process in the short timeframe. Luc Peumans, CEO of Painting with Light, and his team created a series of special looks with the MegaPointes to compliment the holographic characters. “These offer multiple options for wild, crazy and off-beat effects that were perfect for this show,” he comments.

Talent, experience, vision and passion

Due to the short turnaround time, once the initial design proposals were accepted, the team WYSIWYG’d the stage and lighting in the Painting with Light studio in Genk, Belgium, a process that involved intense and constant communication with show & technical project leaders Steven Martin and Ludo Vanstreels.

Vanstreels commentsed: “Luc and I have worked together for over 25 years, and this synergy and understanding was a huge asset on this project due to the very short timeframe and distance between us. The Painting with Light team created their lighting design with the equipment available in the region at the time. Working in WYSIWYG gained considerable time in the production phase with two teams remotely working on one master file, whereby we added all technical equipment and they drew in the light design: a perfect match.

“Having all these resources to hand plus everyone’s talent, experience, vision and passion onboard helped enormously in pulling a complex and high profile show together under a lot of pressure.”