During the national lockdown, we were delighted to get a call from a new client requesting some special effects for a televised snooker event.
The event would be a behind closed doors without any fans, so the customer was looking to enhance the player entry into the arena using Sparkular and Flame Jets.
The specification of the event was quite simple and something we have done many times before. However, this event was taking place during unprecedented times due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which meant that there were new government restrictions in place that needed to be adhered to.
We were informed that the arena would be segregated into different zones, with limited access into each area. The main competition area, which housed the snooker table and of course the players, was called the Red Zone and you could not gain access into this area without taking regular COVID tests, entering a 24-hour day bubble which also required you to stay overnight in an adjoining hotel.
It was not possible for us to enter the bubble, as the number of people included in this was being kept to a minimum and there were a number of incremental costs for the client if this were to be broken. We therefore needed to find a way in which we could complete the job without entering the Red Zone to position, fire and manage our equipment.
After working collaboratively with the client we developed the following plan:
- We would attend the arena in advance of the tournament starting so that we could rig our products in the Red Zone before the competition started and the Red Zone was activated.
- We identified an area just outside of the Red Zone from where we could fire the SFX, but we still had a visual line of sight for health and safety.
- We liaised with three crew members who had Red Zone access to assist us with our operation. Tasks included turning the power on and off, marshalling the safety zones and refilling consumables into the machines.
The Health and Safety Officer raised a few concerns that we would not be as close to the products as originally thought. Once we talked them through the different measures we had implemented, they were happy and the event fired without a hitch. The entrances looked fantastic on TV and we were soon signed up for another event!