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Expo 2020 Dubai New Years Eve ball drop - how we did it!

Wednesday January 5, 2022 at 2:07pm

Early in December 2021 we were briefed on a project for the Expo 2020 Dubai New Years Eve Celebrations 2022.

The idea was to have a giant chrome sphere that would drop down from the top of the arena for a controlled 30 second countdown to the stroke of midnight, during Armin van Buuren's DJ Set. 

The sphere needed to fit within a central shaft under the stage which limited the sphere size to 7.2m in Diameter. The Sphere was made with an outer skin of highly reflective chrome PVC with anchor points applied to the top, with a black rope harness which could support the structure as it was raised and lowered by the winch cable. Anchor points and a base harness were also added to the base of the sphere so a line could be attached, so that a tension could be achieved by the operators below the stage to ensure the sphere did not swing out of line.

Rehearsals were delayed due to winds and can you believe "Rain"! - The first rain on this date in Dubai in 20 years!

On the day of the event the sphere was unfolded in its deflated state in the shaft under the stage, tether lines and winches connected, then inflated in preparation for the show.

The show was on - the sphere was slowly raised to from under the stage to huge cheers from the crowds as smoke bellowed out, and was then fully raised to the top of the Arena for the countdown drop, 30 seconds before midnight.

As Armin van Buuren cranked top the music, the atmosphere was buzzing in anticipation of what would happen at midnight... the countdown started and the drop started, the winch controlling the speed as operators below kept the tension on the base line. 

The sphere landed to another huge cheer, more smoke and colourful streamers... The job was done! 

See the attached links for videos of how we did it back stage and the sphere reveal 

Dubai EXPO New Years Eve - Backstage

Dubai EXPO New Years Eve - Reveal

» Categories: General, World Events Blog


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