UAE’s 45th National Day Celebration

UAE’s 45th National Day Celebration in Abu Dhabi Stages Massive Video Projection with Support from disguise.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) celebrated 45 years of unification with a National Day that featured a huge multi-surface video projection in Abu Dhabi. The event, staged at the request of the Crown Prince’s court, was held for an invited crowd of dignitaries. Balich Worldwide Shows contacted Tom van Hemelryk, VP Global Sports and Special Events at PRG, to provide both the technical expertise and technology for this mammoth video mapping production, which was fed by eight 4×4pro media servers. Tom brought together, Yves Winand, PRG Belgium and Bill Ainley from the company’s UAE operation to work with the design specification from Balich Worldwide Shows.

The complex show included hundreds of performers and musicians, set against a sweeping backdrop, created by Charles Darby and the team at Clonwerk, with vessels sailing on the sea in the foreground and the desert stretching into the distance.

The production’s floor projection surface, measured 189 × 35 meters, and was covered by 80 Panasonic 21K Series projectors, plus four 35-meter scenic sand dunes, which were tracked across the stage and covered by 16 Barco projectors. Two 40-meter side projection screens were covered by 28 Panasonic 21K Series projectors, whilst a 16-meter, semi-circular, rising sun surface was covered by two Barco projectors.

One 4×4pro mixed master and five output machines, drove 71 double-stacked projectors; two understudies provided redundancy. The show had 76 individual disguise outputs to calibrate and blend. In addition, the 16 projectors dedicated to the moving sand dunes had to be 3D grid calibrated for set automation tracking.

“disguise was chosen on the first approach of the project to design, previsualize, line up and play out the show,” says Yves Winand, Senior Video Project Manager and Technical Advisor at PRG Belgium. “A strong partner was needed for this challenging project, and we worked closely with disguise to improve some tools onsite to save time for the lineup, where we had to share nights with lighting programming, rehearsals and the late arrival of the big moving elements.”

Chris Simcock, disguise Server Technician from Sensel Studio, notes that, “disguise offered a range of features that integrated well together: Stage enabled the technical team to simulate projector positions, rotations and lenses; Footprints highlighted projection zones; and DynamicBlend automated projection balancing. But the key advantage was its unique ability to simulate and drive a show in real-time.”

“The workflow was designed with disguise in mind” says Nils Porrmann from dandelion + burdock, Event Screens Production Manager, responsible for managing the creative and media server workflow. “The content team was briefed about delivery specs and all the projector coverage analysis was done within the disguise software. Its flexibility with large output numbers, dynamic edge blending and projector calibration features was essential to the production.”

“disguise was very proactive in the lead up and during the r14 [software] updating process with ongoing remote involvement throughout,” says Bill Ainley, Head of Video and Project Manager at PRG Gearhouse Dubai.

“The system proved solid and reliable throughout the three weeks of commissioning, rehearsals and show,” Ainley reports. “We were able to redesign and reconfigure with minimal lead time, enabling us to quickly respond to creative and logistical updates.



Find out more


Senior Video Project Manager and Technical Advisor

Yves Winand - PRG Belgium

Head of Video and Project Manager

Bill Ainley - PRG Gearhouse, Dubai

Event Screens Production Manager

Nils Porrmann - dandelion + burdock 

disguise Server Technician

Chris Simcock, Sensel Studio

System Engineer

Nicholas Di Fonzo - PRG Belgium

disguise Server Technician

Thomas Kother, flow7k

disguise Modeler

Miguel Ribeiro

Photo Credits

Luca Parisse for Balich Worldwide Shows

Show Credits

Creative & Executive Production Balich WorldWide Shows