The title of the recent Wired article “How Rihanna Pioneered a New Kind of Super Bowl Performance” perfectly encapsulates our goal of doing what’s never been done while realizing the creative vision of Bruce Rodgers and Rihanna’s team including Willo Peron and Parris Goebel.
We custom-fabricated nine flying platforms — seven were used during the performance and two for rehearsals prior to the big game. Each platform was fitted with mirror fascia to add a prominent high-shine look for viewers at home and in the stadium. We then integrated LED lights, controlled by PixMob’s technology, into the bottom of the platforms. The position of the rigged platforms was also fed back to the lighting team who was able to track the platforms as they moved. In addition to safety harnesses for the performers, we rigged each platform at four locations to ensure extra stability while Rihanna and her dancers were moving around. The platforms hit the creative mark, saved time on the highly constrained set up, and protected the turf.
The rigging system for the platforms was intricate, incorporating around seven miles of Vectran rope fed through a series of diverter pulleys rigged on trusses connected to the stadium roof. From their field positions, the flying platforms were diverted to an array of TAIT 440 winches via an arbor system that routes the 56 lifting lines.
“From the start, the project criteria had an intimidation factor. We knew that we had the capability to deliver, and we thrive when challenged – but this scale had never been done before. We had to change our collective perspectives about what’s possible while maintaining the laws of physics. With a dedicated team and the most advanced live entertainment flying technology in the world, we met the challenge head on and were able to raise the bar for the live spectacular.”
– Paul Sapsis, Technical Lead
In addition to the floating platforms, the magic behind the image that People magazine captioned “THIS.SHOT.IS.BREATHTAKING.“ are two TAIT Navigator Camera Systems. This camera flying system is what was used to capture the most-talked about images from the live broadcast. One system travelled up and down the 50-yard line while a second system could travel above the platforms along the entire length of the field. With our proprietary software, we pre-programmed specific shots for the show and were able to maintain focus on a particular point while the camera rig was in motion. Our system and software was what enabled the stunning, visual opening shot of Rihanna and the closing shot with the camera flying away from her to capture the fireworks over the stadium.
The TAIT Navigator™ Automation Platform controlled all of the movements and cues for the awe-inspiring Halftime Show. Extensive timecode integration enabled the intricate choreography between shot selection, motion, and music, while 3D integration features enabled frame-accurate previsualization of both platform and camera moves. This gave the show designers the creative insights required to realize their vision for this amazing show. With the camera system and flying platforms all controlled by TAIT Navigator, we could provide seamless controls from one central system.
“With so much complicated rigging and controls in this show, the TAIT team worked tirelessly to pull off this performance on a tight schedule. The custom platforms were the highlight of the performance, and the fact that TAIT can design, fabricate, rig, and move them demonstrates that our clients can come to us to execute their creative visions from start to finish.” – Erick Fields, Project Manager
Special thanks and congrats to our partners Rihanna Tour Manager Jason Milner; Rihanna Production Manager Joseph Lloyd; Creative Director Willo Perron; Choreographer Parris Goebel; Lighting Designer Al Gurdon; Creative Director/Production Designer Bruce Rodgers; Executive Producers Jesse Collins, Jay Brown, and Roger Goodell; and Co-CEO, DPS Dave Meyers.
[Read about The Weeknd’s Super Bowl performance in 2021 here]