Claypaky Fixtures Create Magic for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Opening Ceremony

December 27, 2022

World Cup control room with Durham Marenghi. Photo: Courtesy of BWS

UK-based lighting designer Durham Marenghi is no stranger to high-profile events with numerous Winter and Summer Olympics Opening and Closing ceremonies, Queen Elizabeth II's Golden and Diamond Jubilee events, many citywide New Year's in London celebrations and more to his credit. He recently lit the Opening Ceremony for FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, which featured large complements of Claypaky Sharpy X Frame, Tambora Linear 100, Xtylos and Sharpy fixtures throughout the Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, Qatar.

"The ceremony had many symbolic indications that expressed welcome, generosity and hospitality in Arab culture, as well as contemporary musical, cultural and visual performances that were used for the first time in the tournament," Marenghi explains. Since the Opening Ceremony took place in a projected world devised by creative director Anghela Alo and the content artists at Luke Halls Studio, Marenghi and his team were challenged to light the performers for broadcast without damaging the "screen" environment in which they lived.

"We were operating at a light intensity of around 400 Lux and sports lighting for the games was around 2000 lux, so a very careful approach was required to create the magic to entertain billions of fans around the globe," says Marenghi.

He selected an array of Claypaky fixtures for their light weight, brightness, superior optics, and low power consumption.

"For this event the key factor was weight on the roof and very high truss heights of more than 50m to keep the equipment above the technical and camera systems required by the soccer authorities," Marenghi points out. "Every source deployed had to have a very high light output and very tight beam angle. We usually have lights all around the field of play, but this was not possible with the first game of the competition scheduled only one hour after the opening ceremony."

He mounted 60 Sharpy X Frames, 40 Xtylos and 80 Sharpys on 20 roof trusses; 16 more Sharpy X Frames on goal posts across two west projection positions; and 18 Tambora Linear 100s plus Neutral Density filters on the side stages and nine more on the center stage. An additional 52 Sharpys were also deployed.

"Sharpy X Frame was by far our favorite fixture on the rig, a true hybrid," Marenghi declares. Sharpy X Frame is the most versatile compact hybrid fixture on the market addressing the needs for a bright spot, aerial effects unit, framing fixture and everything in between in an affordable, compact package.

"The Xtylos laser-sourced fixture is a grown up Sharpy, if you will, but with the benefit of additive colors so RGB and CMY are far brighter," he reports. "It is a very safe fixture, and its IP66 version, the Xtylos Aqua, is perfect for long-throw exterior applications."

In addition, "the Tambora Linear is a great and flexible batten with three distinct layers: a conventional solid color wash, which can be overlaid as a mappable pixellated array, and finally the white strobe layer that runs through the center of it. The fixture is bright so we used the ND filter provided on units facing our broadcast cameras."

Marenghi says, "We were also pleased with the great support and instant response we received from Claypaky in Bergamo, Italy when required."

Balich Wonder Studio was the Production Company.