WEDAY TORONTO FLY GAG

WEDay Bike

The DangerBoy rigging team just finished up WEDay Toronto where we provided two unique flying effects for the concert event and the live TV broadcast.

The first flying effect was for the lead singer from the band Hedley and this one proved to be a very challenging indeed. The goal was to reenact a scene from Hedley’s recent music video Can’t Slow Down where the lead singer Jacob Hoggard is seen riding his track bike through various scenes and dance sequences.

For the WEDay Toronto live event we set up an automated 2D rig build around our VisualAct flying winch system. This 2D fly system enabled us to fly Jacob from one stage at the Air Canada Centre (ACC) to another about 15’ above the stage deck with millimeter precision. Next came the really tricky part… In order to make this effect work our team had to fabricate a custom, wireless rotate head so when the rider changed directions and came back across the stage in the other direction he was facing forward at all times. We also had to build a custom, fully adjustable spreader bar to suspend and balance the bicycle and the rider while suspended in the air. Phew…

For our second fly gag at WEDay Toronto we orchestrated a complex lowering effect where Jason Derulo appeared “from out of nowhere” and flew down onto the stage deck. Here again, we used our high speed, performer rated winch system but thistime in a simplier lowering configuration. The trick here was that for this act we had to load the performer onto our system from the catwalk 100’ above the stage and get him out into his start position on the high steel beams that support the roof of the ACC. Now, our team regularly traverses beams 100’ up and higher and for us this is easily done. A-list rock stars like Jason Derulo aren’t so accustomed to heights so for this stunt we had to design the rigging and the choreography with him in mind so that he was safe, comfortable and felt 100% confident in the stunt at all times. This gag was the opening to his song and dance number so he had to perform immediately after the lowering stunt so there could be no hickups or missed cues getting him to the stage.

Both our flying stunts at WEDay Toronto worked flawlessly and really impressed both the live and TV audience. The live nature of the event added extra stress but made it all more exciting as well. The show was a huge amount of work but our team rose to the task and pulled it off flawlessly. Thanks to everyone who was involved and helped out along the way, we are looking forward to doing it again next year!

SOUTH EAST ASIAN GAMES

The South East Asian Games are the Olympics of Asia, and in 2011 Palembang, Indonesia was the host city. The opening ceremonies for any large-scale games event is always a lavish and over the top production and this time was no exception.

The director of the opening ceremonies wanted to fly their countries first Olympic gold medal winning athlete, Susi Susanti from one end of the stadium to the other where she was to throw a flaming spear into an 80’ high cauldron and ignite the flame for the games. No tall order!

There were a few challenges to this director’s artistic vision, not the least of which was the fact that this event was taking place in a huge open air stadium. This meant that there was no overhead rigging to attach to of course. Danger Boy was called on to propose a solution for this massive fly gag so our technical director, Tom Comet, flew over to Indonesia to take a look at the stadium and see how we could solve this rigging dilema.

The solution we came up with was to park two huge crawler cranes outside the building at each end of the stadium and suspend a horizontal cable track over the entire length of the field.  When this cable track was tensioned it would provide the horizontal rigging that our trolley would run along. Two computer controlled high speed winches were placed at the end of this highline track. One to provide horizontal movement and the other the performer’s vertical lift.  A series of cues were written to take into account the sag in the overhead cable track so that when the performer flew from one end of the stadium to the other she flew flat horizontally straight as opposed to following the slight sag in the line.

After a week of hard rigging work and rehearsal in the 40C+ degree heat the system was in place and worked perfectly. Millions watched as Susi magically flew from one end of the stadium to the other and lit the flaming cauldron with her spear.

VIRGIN MOBILE STUNT WITH SIR RICHARD BRANSON

A few years ago the Danger Boy team had the fantastic opportunity to work with Sir Richard Branson and the Virgin Mobile Group to create a dynamic stunt for their “Escape Your Cell” live event.  We were asked to both stunt coordinate, rig and fabricate all the props for a live stunt to be performed by Branson himself.  The show was to be held at Yonge-Dundas Square in the heart of downtown Toronto.
Branson gave interviews all morning from a jail cell situated in the middle of the square.  His cell was a poke at other cell phone companies and how, at the time, they didn’t make it easy to change providers and keep your current number.  With the new number portability rules in Canada, Branson wanted to make certain that everyone knew that they now had the power to change providers and keep their old phone number.

The Virgin Mobile stunt that we implemented involved Branson himself shackled inside the steel jail cell hoisted fifty feet above the square suspended only from an industrial crane.  Suddenly there was a huge pyro explosion, the jail cell blew apart in mid air and Branson was free!  He then threw down an exceptionally long bed sheet (as you do when escaping from jail) and climbed down to safety.  The crowd went wild!

“I felt totally safe and secure.  The stunt went completely according to plan and was a huge success”
~Sir Richard Branson – Virgin GroupThis was a challenging, stressful and extremely fun project for us.  It brought together many of the components that Circus Orange does best – stunts, rigging, fabrication and pyrotechnics.  The tricky part here was that the stunt was not going to be implemented by one of our trained stunt professionals but rather by the A-list celebrity Sir Richard Branson.  The other exciting part was that Branson was scheduled to arrive the morning of the stunt and our lead stunt coordinator, Tom Comet, would have a mere 15 minutes to brief him on his role.  To say that this stunt had to be “turn-key” would be an understatement!

FLYING MARTIN SHORT

Yesterday our flying FX team had the fantastic opportunity to fly actor Martin Short during his opening song and dance number at the inaugural CSA Awards Show in Toronto Ontario. Martin Short has had a lot of experience with fly gags in live performance and really wanted to fly for this event but it was a last minute addition. Our fly rigging team had to move really fast in order to put this show together but it was worth it and the act turned out awesome. Martin short was so courteous and professional and everyone on the show had a great time making this flying effect happen.