Novatech takes their name of Creative Event Technology seriously and relish the challenge to use event technology in new ways. Opportunity knocked in January 2018 when TLA Worldwide approached Novatech on behalf of the AFL to solve a challenge for the inaugural AFLX series of tournaments around the country in February. To add to the colour & excitement of the new format of the game, the AFL wanted to illuminate the goal posts in bright and changing colours whenever a goal was kicked – something never accomplished before!
With a tight deadline and a series of technical challenges laying in the way, Novatech’s team set about methodically solving the myriad of issues facing the installation of live electrical lights on the playing field. The first challenge was the brightness required for daylight, twilight and night time playing conditions under broadcast stadium lighting. The brief required that the goal post lighting needed to be seen under all the above conditions however the lighting fixtures needed to not interfere with the size of the goal posts, impact the players or ball and be hard wearing to the elements and direct hits during the matches.
Traditional LED lighting fixtures were immediately ruled out due to their size, weight and impact on the goals and players. Novatech had previously used high powered LED strip tape before however not in the brightness, power and quantity that this required. After several tests were undertaken on mock up goal posts in daylight, it was quickly realised that the power consumption required and the brightness of the tape required, meant a custom solution would need to be designed and built from scratch. The decision to light both the front and back of each goal post would give the best impact both locally and on broadcast to celebrate scoring.
With nothing available in the local Australian market and Chinese factories on shutdown for the Chinese New Year, Novatech reached out to suppliers in the USA to supply the quantity required in the very limited time. Within the week, over 400 metres of 2.5m lengths of high powered LED tape was landing in Novatech’s Adelaide warehouse where the soldering and joining together began! Our talented crew custom made 10m lengths to affix to each post.
To power and control these lights, custom transformers and controller boxes were designed and made in house with which 24v power & control cables would be ran out to each goal post. These cables were buried into the pitch via conduits at each stadium. A Grand MA2 Command Wing then controlled each goal post individually allowing custom colours, chases, speed and flashes throughout the game as required. Each activation was show called by the AFL in conjunction with video screen stings, CO2 bursts and music stings – all adding up to an exciting emphasis throughout the matches.
This entire rig was freighted between Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney over the 3-consecutive day period. It was setup on each goal post prior to the matches, pulled down straight after and off to the next state. A multitude of challenges were overcome including safety, power consumption, brightness and design – however with Novatech’s team of technical experts at the helm, a creative solution with event technology was a clear winner for AFLX.