No imposing stage design without CAD draftsmen
‘We make creative wishes come true technically’.
Invisible. But absolutely indispensable. The colleagues from the CAD department. After all, their contribution is drawing for the hundreds of larger and smaller productions that Faber Audiovisuals realizes. Without them, all those impressive LED constructions, which transform numerous shows into visual spectacles, simply could not be built. Not safe, not functional and, above all, not as multiform. “We make the creative wishes of stage designers come true,” sums up Project Support Technician and CAD engineer Oliver D’Haene’s daily challenge.
Thanks to smart software
CAD is the acronym for Computer Aided Design. The specialty which provides for the digital production of technical and construction drawings, which thanks to smart software are worked out three-dimensionally. Sometimes these drawings form the basis for the manufacture of all kinds of new parts, at other times they are the visual guide when building and installing complex constructions. “We at Faber Audiovisuals deal with both,” Oliver explains. “In our case, it can be complete suspension systems with dozens of LED panels in all sorts of shapes that we have to draw, but also matching frames and even very simple mounting parts, because we find we can just come up with those more solidly, now, than the ex-factory versions.”
Driven by creativity
Oliver’s working day thus largely takes place behind monitors. It is a conscious choice, although his current assignments within Faber AV inspire him considerably more than those in the first years of his working life. “I used to work at Bombardier, the train manufacturer. There I was mainly concerned with simplifying work processes. But I also had to fit seats into the wagons we made.” At Faber he has to deal with stage designers, among other things. “These are of course guided primarily by their creativity. Once the idea has matured, it’s up to us to technically realize it as intended.” But those intentions are then far from easy to translate: “It also has to be able to be built. And, of course, safe. A nice curve in the LED decor is in itself not a problem; what matters is that all the construction parts are actually present or else can still be specially made for it.”
Always as functional as possible
Apart from the construction itself, of course, budget also plays a role. “If parts have to be specially made, that naturally has an impact. Our CAD drawings obviously play an important role in this. After all, calculations are made on the basis of these drawings about loadability, weight and strength, among other things, and these weigh into the decision whether or not to be able to carry out such a design. Not to mention the costs involved.” Component manufacturers, such as of steel structures, must also be able to work with the drawings. Everything must be correct down to the millimeter, to prevent a situation in which it does not fit on site later. “Or simply cannot be used by colleagues during construction,” Oliver adds immediately. “Constructions must therefore above all also be designed as functionally as possible; that prevents delays and errors with all their consequences.”
Oliver came over in 2017 from XL Video, which was incorporated by PRG. He works from home in Ostend, where, just a stone’s throw away, he can nicely also continue practicing his favorite sport, surfing. As for work, he very regularly is pleased with the productions to which he has contributed, often literally behind the scenes. Asked about his favorite projects, he mentions the recently premiered Netflix series “1899” and the annual MTV Awards. “The starting point for that show is always the same, but every year the designers still come up with something spectacularly different. I thought the visual result of this edition was very impressive.”
Known by name
Oliver calls his work an experiential profession. “In basic training, you learn how to handle the software. But you learn the intricacies on the job.” By the way, he is quite critical of that software: “It is remarkable that in the past 15 years or so, there has actually been hardly any evolution in the software. That’s pretty weird.” Then again, he argues, it is precisely then that experience and insight come into play. Oliver and his colleagues have plenty of that. All specialists, who talk with due pride about the fine productions to which they have contributed. “For me, working at Faber means a challenge every day. But it is also a pleasant employer. The fact that the boss addresses you by your first name, that was new to me. And working remotely? Nor a problem: “I have digital contact almost every day. Or we just call. That, in turn, is an advantage of working full-time behind monitors.”
Oliver D’Haene and Allard Klijnstra.
Text: Henny Beijer