Behind the scenes at Antalya’s Expo 2016
Anna Mitchell heads to Antalya to explore Expo 2016 with Benart, a Turkish AV company that has had a huge and wide-ranging impact on the site’s visitor attractions, events and general operation.
Throughout much of 2016 the Turkish coastal city of Antalya is hosting the international horticultural exposition, Expo 2016. The event is the first international Expo Turkey has held and continues a series of horticultural focused Expos.
The Turkish government set aside a 112-hectare exhibit site in Aksu, just outside Antalya, for the Expo as well as constructing a dedicated tram line to link it to the city. It had ambitious plans for the exposition that included an observation tower, a conference and exhibition centre, two outdoor amphitheatres and Science and Technology Centres.
Expo 2016 carries the theme ‘Flowers and Children’ and each aspect of the park and its exhibits has been developed to attract and entertain children, as well as prompt discussion and thought about developing a greener world for future generations. With this in mind organisers set the opening of the Expo for April 23, 2016, which is National Sovereignty and Children's Day in Turkey.
Turkish integration firm Benart was brought on board by a construction firm at a very late stage in the project but, in a short time, made a huge impact to many aspects of the Expo including the opening ceremony, a number of exhibits, entertainment and even day-to-day running of the site.
One of its most striking contributions is an exhibit in the Science and Technology Centre called the Digital Bridge. With the unmovable deadline of April 23 in sight, Benart was tasked with the creation of an immersive exhibit that gave visitors the sounds and sights of a tropical rainforest under the theme ‘Magical Forest’. Giving an idea of just how tight its schedule was, the company was placing orders for equipment at ISE 2016 less than three months before the exhibition opening.
Interactive games, static exhibits and a planetarium are all housed in the Turkish Airlines sponsored Science and Technology Centre, with the Digital Bridge a small area of calm in a centre designed to promote activity, learning and play.
A platform extends out surrounded on three sides by projected waterfalls, trees and a river complete with swimming shoals of fish. The sounds of the jungle come from every corner of the immersive exhibit that includes fake trees and rocks.
Benart was responsible for the creation of the content, props and AV technology and deployed 60 Digital Projection Evision 6800 WUXGA projectors and Coolux Pandoras Box media servers, as well as Extron DTP DVI 4K 330 extenders to achieve the feat. Sixteen Coolux Quad players and two work stations were deployed for the attraction.
“Coming to the project at such a late stage meant we had to find some innovative solutions to install the technology we needed,” explains İhsan Çiftçi, deputy general manager at Benart. “We were able to use our props to conceal many of the projectors, installing them in boulders at the sides of the projected river. We had to be careful of overheating and installed vents in the props as well as ensuring each projector pair installed had enough space. In the areas where we had to install units in the ceiling space we had to dismantle some of the structure and rebuild it.”
Benart opted for a mixture of compact KRK loudspeakers secreted below the bridge by the river and ceiling mounted outdoor Sonance loudspeakers.
The system is programmed to power up and shut down automatically at morning and night and is managed by an onsite facilities management team. Benart also have a technical team onsite throughout the Expo.
“Time was of course a challenge for us,” says Çiftçi. “However, not being involved in the infrastructure phase was even more challenging. If we had been involved from the planning we would have done things slightly differently. For example we would have preferred to have installed the projectors below the ceiling but we didn’t have enough roof space.”
Another attraction Benart turned its attention to is an indoor space that houses high altitude plants in a climate controlled environment. The integrator installed ten 132-in Pro-Display rear projection screens powered by Digital Projection Evision 6800 WUXGA projectors. A further two projectors were used outside the exhibit, projecting on to the wall.
The displays are used to deliver an interactive game where visitors can stand on designated spots on the ground where they are picked up by cameras and IR sensors and displayed with flowers growing at their feet. Coolux compact players were installed to run the AR application.
Benart has also created a number of entertainment locations around the site including two open air cinemas that use Digital Projection Insight 4K Quad projectors firing on to AirScreen inflatable screens. The larger of the two is 16m x 8m, while the smaller is 12m x 6m.
It is also about to open a full dome environment. The permanent 30m diameter, 15m high dome was constructed by Benart with the support of the dome manufacturer. The integrator, who has also produced the content for the dome, is using LED screens around the perimeter and seven Barco HDX-W20 Flex projectors.
The show planned for the dome will start with a light show that uses an SGM lighting system and the LED screens before the dome projection starts. Visuals are supported by an Electro-Voice audio system and the entire show is managed by Coolux Pandoras Box.
The two-way powered ZLX-12P EV cabinets are mounted on stands and hidden behind the LED screens. A MADI card was added to the Pandoras Box media server to feed eight channels straight in to the active loudspeakers.
Benart also manages shows and staging at various areas around the Expo 2016 site including a main stage, an indoor stage and two amphitheatres. It has booked a number of artists including Elton John, Enrique Iglesias and Ricky Martin.
The integrator keeps two Digital Projection Insight 4K Quad projectors on site for use at the two largest stages. Most of the outdoor stages use rental sound systems with the main stage using JBL and the amphitheatres JBL and L-Acoustics.
All lighting, rigging and stage systems were handled by Benart, who also keeps a pool of LED from various manufacturers on site for the different events. In total the company has an inventory of about 1,000m² of LED. Benart also acquired 900m² of Showled Chameleon Led Netting with CS Lining for use on the Expo stages.
Events and shows are also held in the conference centre which houses a 5,000 seat auditorium. Benart, which began life as an installer of stage equipment, was also involved with lighting, staging and AV equipment. A huge JBL sound system and LED displays were installed alongside SGM lighting. The FOH position includes a Yamaha digital mixing console.
Fifty-two countries participated in Expo 2016 by creating gardens on the site. In order to attract visitors and increase footfall in these areas Benart delivered a number of small stages for a variety of performers. The performers are supported with JBL sound systems and Shure wireless microphones.
“The stages have attracted people to areas of the site they might have passed by,” notes Çiftçi. “When they stop they start to look around at the gardens they are surrounded by so it’s changed visitor behaviour and increased site penetration.”
In addition to the AVL systems installed on site Benart was responsible for staging a huge and dramatic opening ceremony where Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan spoke. Benart organised the performers, a huge light show, AV systems and special effects for the event.
The company has also supplied approximately 2,000 staff - mostly engaged in technical management for the stages and crowd control activities - for Expo 2016. It was responsible for interviewing and hiring the huge workforce which, in many cases, required special skills such as multilingual speakers or FOH engineers.
The exhibition will finish on October 30, 2016 at which point the future of the site is unclear. Current exhibitions may continue past this date but, whatever happens, one thing is certain. The city of Antalya has a fantastic new resource to attract visitors for both business and leisure, not to mention a new landmark in the form of the 100m high Expo Tower.
Electro-Voice ZLX-12P loudspeakers
KRK Rokit G3 Series loudspeakers
Shure wireless microphones
Sonance outdoor loudspeakers
Yamaha digital mixing consoles
AirScreen inflatable screens
Barco HDX-W20 projectors
Coolux Pandoras Box media servers, workstations and compact players
Digital Projection Insight 4K Quad and Evision 6800 WUXGA projectors
Extron DTP DVI 4K 330 extenders
Pro Display 132-in 16:9Ultra Black Rear Projection Screens