UK: Quantum Special Effects designed two new products for Adele’s sell out world tour – a bespoke tourable rain system and storm blasters that can deliver up to a minute of non-stop confetti across an entire arena.
Working closely with ‘Adele Live 2016’ show designer Es Devlin and production manager Richard Young, Quantum is supplying over 100 shows across 44 arenas.
Quantum’s team of in-house designers and engineers had just eight weeks to design, develop and build the new Q: Rain Graphix and just a fortnight for the Q: Storm Blasters.
Providing a genuine indoor downpour for Adele’s performance of ‘Set Fire to the Rain’ is Quantum’s new digital rain system the Q: Rain Graphix. The system creates a four-walled curtain of rain around the singer whilst she remains safe and dry within.
Mike Badley, engineer at Quantum, built and designed the system. He said: “The use of water effects on tour is currently very restrictive and expensive, often involving pumping water large distances, with complex and time-consuming installations. Then there are the functional issues such as leaking and dripping to think about. Our brief for Adele was to create a transportable system that would counter these challenges.”
The Q: Rain Graphix achieves just that. Built with affordability in mind, the system is self-contained and remotely activated. Suspended above the B stage, the unit holds all the water needed for the duration of the performance in just eight compact tanks.
With no large visible hoses feeding from the ground, the system is discreet and takes just two hours to rig and fly (including filling the tanks). Wastage is eliminated by the water being collected under the stage in custom tanks and recycled after every performance. In-built sound insulation ensures it remains studio quiet.
The system is comprised of almost 800 separate valves, individually controlled by Quantum’s Q: Control System. The pattern of the rainfall is fully customisable from neat lines to staggered intervals – or in Adele’s case – a steady wall of water.
The average confetti hit lasts around 20 – 40 seconds, but Adele’s team wanted a product that would last a whole minute – and reach the highest tiers of each arena.
In response, Shaun Barnett designed the concept for the new units and project manager Phil Mundy engineered the Q: Storm Blasters, a bespoke system of 12 transportable confetti blowers able to deliver arena-wide coverage with a hit duration twice as long as standard. The new product achieves this without compromising on the compact and transportable nature of the unit.
Remotely activated using Galaxis wireless, each unit is suspended around the arena where they are able to shower crowds with 128 kilos of personalised confetti per show.
The confetti is printed with 10 different handwritten notes from the singer herself, including ‘Thanks for coming,’ ‘All my love, Adele,’ and a selection of song lyrics.
Released during the finale song ‘Rolling in the Deep,’ the effect is the perfect personal touch to close the performance, with many fans taking home their own collection of confetti mementos.
The team had just eight weeks to develop the rain system and two for the blasters. But, for Quantum’s MD Shaun Barnett and his team of in-house designers and engineers, it’s nothing they aren’t used to and they leapt to the challenge.
Shaun explained: “Nothing on the market could meet Adele’s brief to cover every seat in the O2 Arena with confetti for a whole minute, or for a rain system which wasn’t overly complex to install and transport. We took a step back and started from scratch and are excited to reveal these two new products to the market. Big thanks to our team, suppliers and Adele’s team for making it happen.”