Talking with lighting control operator Adam Power before the Manchester show of Bring Me the Horizon’s recent tour, their biggest to date, he described the show lighting as ‘intense’. With over 180 lighting fixtures hung on numerous trusses and built into a technology laden set, Adam’s description of Okulus duo James Scott and Louis Oliver’s design was an accurate one.
Adam added: “James and Louis created a wide vista which used the full width of the arenas, we even put five lights each side of the stage in unallocated seating to stretch the design even wider. The band were passionate about having an intense show with lots of strobing and really big looks, James and Louis did a great job of keeping it classy and refined with so much going on.”
James Scott explained the process of designing the production and why he and Louis selected the lighting fixtures used on the tour: “The initial brief given to us by the band was that they wanted a big rock show, something that made a huge statement and filled as much of the arena space as possible. One word which kept being thrown around was panoramic—we designed a narrow, ultra-widescreen format LED wall, but were careful to make sure it could fit into the different size venues BMTH were playing (sometimes with just millimetres to spare), being able to fold the screen in on itself was where the design for a wrap-around LED wall originated from. Although the playback surfaces were designed by myself and Louis, we worked with many different visual creatives to assemble the video content.”
The band’s music is high-octane and demanding, there was barely a moment of calm or respite for the audience to compose themselves as the Sheffield based metal act rattled through their explosive set list to the delight of the Manchester crowd. Adam said: “Because there is so much going on, all the lighting cues have been pre-programmed and run off of timecode on a track by track basis. Most songs have at least a dozen cues in them, which would be virtually impossible to do manually. I trigger the timecode at the start of every song, but have a couple of key lights I operate manually to follow members of the band around. The band had a huge amount of input as to how the show looks, they knew exactly what they wanted to see, and what they didn’t—as such, I’d often be tweaking certain elements of the show lighting between gigs.” Adam operated the show from a GrandMA 2console, which he loves: “The MA2 is perfect because it’s so intuitive, easy to operate and quick to program. Having additional screens was really useful when programming to timecode. The show ran on fifteen universes of DMX, controlling the video content and lasers from the MA2.”
Louis went on to explain how they achieved the brief: “Following on from the initial conversation, the band had several ideas and concepts which we took away and worked with, before presenting them with our interpretation and awaiting their feedback. Towards the final stages of pre-production, the guys really sunk their teeth into the ins and outs of everything—production rehearsals were very intense, with lots of changes, updates and additions, but we got there in the end.”
The lighting rig consisted of: Clay Paky Sharpy wash and Mythos moving lights; as well as Martin Mac Viper profile and performance intelligent lighting fixtures. James and Louis also included an array of Ayrton Magic dot LED lights and a large number of Martin Atomic 3000 LED strobes. James added: “Everyone loves the Atomic 3000, by selecting the LED version we got the best of both worlds and were able to choose between the LED and xenon operating modes; treating it as a traditional decay atomic or as a sharp and precise LED unit.”
Account Director, Yvonne Donnelly Smith leads the lighting division of PRG XL Video’s music team in the UK: “Working with James, Louis and Adam is always a pleasant experience. The Okulus boys are really creative designers with an excellent technical knowledge, and know exactly how to achieve what they want. Adam’s a highly skilled operator with an excellent work ethic.”
Photography by PRG XL Video/Matt Rakowski and Giles Smith
Centrepoint is the UK’s leading charity for homeless young people. It supports 9,000 16-25 year olds in to safe accommodation, education and employment and gives them help with any mental and physical health needs.
As part of their fundraising, Centrepoint recently held Centrepoint At The Palace - a gala charity fundraising event at Kensington Palace in the presence of HRH The Duke of Cambridge; the charity’s patron since 2005.
The gala dinner event was hosted by Centrepoint Ambassador, Jonathan Ross, and included performances from Ellie Goulding, Craig David, and Dirty Vegas, and presentation of the second annual Centrepoint awards.
Working with TFL Worldwide, and production manager Darren O’Connor, PRG XL Video’s Account Manager Gordon Torrington supported the organisers supplying lighting, rigging, and video for the star- studded event.
To prepare for the show, PRG XL’s visualisation specialist and lighting designer for this event, Alex Mead, created a full render of the lighting, rigging and video design for the team at Centrepoint. He explains: “I was able to use visualisation software in production meetings to explain design decisions to the entire team using PRG’s wireless screen technology. It also allowed me to work out the best way to light each table and guest from multiple angles, and then to pre-program most of the show from my home studio beforehand.”
Taking into account the height and weight-loading issues of working in a marquee, Mead designed a rig which included GLP Impression and SpotOne LED fixtures, VL5 washes, Clay Paky B-Eye K10s, PRG Icon Beams and Sunstrips. The onstage screens were formed from PRG XL’s ROE Visual MC-7 LED, and multiple plasma screens were arranged around the venue to give all the attendees a good view of proceedings.
Around the marquee in the Orangery and garden, PRG Bad Boy spot lights and SGM P5 LED wash lights were arranged to set the scene and lead guests in to the venue.
Alex comments: “Due to the technical challenges we faced, the lighting and stage design for this event evolved a great deal in the months prior. Luckily the Centrepoint event team, led by Richard Utting were a delight to work with and very receptive to our ideas. Crew Chiefs Dan Bunn and Dana Read, along with the rest of the team did a fantastic job on site and worked extremely hard to install the 300 lights I had specified.”
A package of graphics, logos, and information films was created for the awards and artist performances, all edited together by Jack Dickinson of Jack Rabbit Visual. These were all served to the screens via PRG XL’s media servers programmed and managed by Erica Frost. Video screens were built and managed by Gareth Manicom and Alex Mulrenan.
All the rigging was supplied by PRG XL Video, and the rigging crew chief was Felix Pascal. The team taking care of the lighting, led by Dan Bunn and Dana Read, included Adam La Femina, Henry Gillett, Roger Taillefer, Andy Murrell, Tess Larson, and Jamie Elford.
Gordon Torrington comments: “We were happy to support Centrepoint at the Palace by supplying them with equipment for this fund-raising event. Our crew did a great job realising Alex’s design and building the show in a relatively short timescale!”
PRG XL Video, the UK operation of Production Resource Group (PRG), has announced a major investment in ultra-high brightness Panasonic laser projectors. The new projectors continue the company’s policy of investing in innovative new technology.
The PT-RZ31K projectors offer a range of benefits over traditional projector technology. Traditional units average 1200 hours of use per lamp, whereas laser modules have a life of around 20,000 hours. The extended life, and subsequent reduction in maintenance make the units more efficient and cost effective to run.
The reduced heat output from the newer light source also means less cooling is required. Fan units in traditional projectors can be noisy, which is a major issue in theatres, galleries, and for corporate events, and so this efficiency makes the new laser models far quieter to operate than their counterparts.
Laser projectors also consume considerably less power than lamp-based units, and are more cost effective for venues and events to utilise. This reduction in power consumption also supports sustainability efforts, which are becoming more commonplace in the events industry.
Paul Weaver, PRG Head of Asset Management, EMEA comments: “Laser projectors are more efficient in terms of power and maintenance. These benefits were an important choice in selecting this technology, as they will make a difference for our rental clients.”
In addition to the efficiencies, the Panasonic PT-RZ31K units offer a contrast ratio of 20000:1, a marked improvement over previous UHM-lamp based models. This increase gives designers bolder, brighter graphics, and better colour reproduction, ensuring their shows will look fantastic and make the maximum impact for their clients.
A number of these 30,000 lumen projectors will be used for the brand new theatre production Bat Out Of Hell – The Musical, which opens in Manchester in early 2017. PRG XL Video’s Theatre Account Director Peter Marshall comments: “We’re looking forward to using Panasonic’s new laser projector on Bat Out Of Hell - The Musical. The bold, bright colours from this projector are perfect for this exciting new show, and will give audiences a real visual treat alongside the classic Meatloaf songs.”
For more information on the Panasonic PT-RZ31K laser projector, click here or contact your PRG XL Video Account Manager.
Based on the classic movie starring Tom Hanks, Michael Rose and Idili Theatricals Limited in association with the Bord Gais Energy Theatre Dublin, present a Theatre Royal Plymouth production of Big The Musical.
The show opened at the Theatre Royal Plymouth in November 2016 to excellent reviews, with shows at the Bord Gais Energy Theatre Dublin running across December and into New Year 2017.
The production, which stars Strictly Come Dancing champion Jay McGuinness as Josh Baskin, Diana Vickers as Susan Lawrence, and Gary Wilmot as George MacMillan, is directed and choreographed by Morgan Young.
Having worked with the team on a highly successful production of Elf The Musical in 2015, PRG XL Video’s Theatre Account Director, Peter Marshall was contacted by Michael Rose to provide lighting and video technology for the new production of Big The Musical.
Preparing for the new show, Production Manager, Hugh Borthwick visited PRG XL Video’s facility at Longbridge, Birmingham. He explains: “Simon Higlett had designed an amazing set with some great technical challenges, so it was great to work with PRG to realise his design.”
The design of the show included a wide, double-sided, curved video wall which was used as digital scenery. Mounted on to a revolve built by TR2, the video screen was a complex construction which required planning and preparation.
Hugh Borthwick continues, “We had a few demonstrations at Longbridge with the designers and director present. The Theatre Royal Plymouth’s TR2 expert practitioners Sebastian Soper and Jason Steen worked with Paul Craven, Sam Floyd, Ted Moore and Howard Eaton to create the set and ensure all the elements could work together. Total Solutions were a huge help in its assembly.
“The main challenges were how to construct the video wall with the LED panels working on both sides of the curve; how to make it travel on the middle revolve; plus, how to power it and send data to it. Once we had solutions for those questions, we also had to allow the scenic elements to fit on or around the revolve to complete the design.”
Video Designer, Ian William Galloway explains how the screen was designed: “The scenes in the show change very quickly without a lot of time to do a conventional scene change. Simon Higlett and I wanted to find a way in which we could quickly change scene, but also quickly block off large areas of the stage so it could be reset for scenes coming up. That led to the idea of a series of revolves and a revolving video wall in the middle of these.”
The screen was built in sections with each facet each containing 16 panels of ROE Visual MC-7 LED. Ian explains how these were used: “The screen wall is semi-circular, mounted on a ring revolve, with another ring revolve outside this, and a centre revolve inside. The set-up is the same on the inside and the outside of the semi-circle. This allows us to revolve downstage, and block off the centre revolve so that another scene can be built upstage while the action happens downstage.”
The use of moving panels on a revolving system meant that the video wall needed to be controlled wirelessly. Ian continues: “Since the revolves all need to be free to go in any direction, there are no cables run through the system. Instead the entire playback system is mounted within the double-sided video wall on a custom 1u-tall rack built by TRP, which hangs down the side of the wall. We control the system via wireless DMX.”
PRG XL Video’s Account Director Stefaan Michels, and Project Director LED, James Morden, worked closely with Ian William Galloway to find solutions and get the huge multi-section screen working as needed.
Ian comments: “PRG XL Video were instrumental in figuring out if and how this could be done. They set up numerous tests and demos for us to ascertain the maximum 'curve' we could apply to the wall, all of which directly influenced the size of the wall itself and all the stage technology on either side of it. They then liaised with the various engineering companies to make sure that the 'facets' (each an individual construction that tours with the LED panels built in) would fit correctly.”
Ian’s team at Mesmer worked on the content for the LED screens, which combined archive footage of New York in the 1980s, old photography, and stock footage. He comments, “We knew that one of the things to get correct was Josh and Billy’s New Jersey neighborhood, so we actually had an associate journey out to the neighborhoods used in the original film and shoot some footage of the environment. A lot of the content work involved going through and replacing things like cars and street signs with their 80s equivalents!”
As a seasoned theatre video designer, Ian uses both LED and projection across the various projects he works on. He explains how they differ and why LED works for Big The Musical: "I switch between LED and projection based on the production, but we’ve been using LED walls in shows where the video design is very scenic, or on all the time, and especially in musicals. With projected scenery you can achieve great results, but it usually has an effect on what the lighting designer can do, and they will have to ‘light around’ the projections. With LED this isn’t a problem, which means it’s a much more robust solution in a big musical, where the lighting design naturally tends to be bigger, brighter and flashier.”
The lighting design for Big The Musical was created by Olivier Award winner Tim Lutkin. He explains his approach to lighting the show: “The two main parts of the design were the lighting rig, which needed to big, bright and punchy. For a musical theatre show, I need the rig to be able to create lots of different looks, but in Big there are also play-style scenes which need a subtle approach so the sidelights are also important.”
“For Big I used a lot LED fixtures; Mac Vipers which were fantastic and we had two rows of Clay Paky Sharpy washes. The reason for the two wash sections was working around the revolving LED screen. There was a set used when the concave rear screen section was in use, and another for when the convex front screen section appeared.”
“Along with the video screen there was a big curved masking wall on one side for scene changes, and so we only had one ladder position for the side lighting. We used eight GLP Impression X4 fixtures for the side lights, used during the office and street scenes. All the other lighting was overhead.”
Aside from working around the moving video wall, Tim explained that another challenge was presented by the scene with the famous Big piano: “The piano, created by Howard Eaton, was a bit of a challenge, as we had to program it so it could be controlled through the GrandMA lighting desk.”
Tim’s original design also called for the whole auditorium to light up with a star effect. He explains: “We had VL2ks mounted on to the front of the balcony, aiming to create a starlight effect throughout the auditorium, but the fixtures weren’t right for what I had in mind. I spoke to Peter Marshall and he recommended we used the Vipers instead. They were perfect for the job.
“I work with Pete regularly on a variety of jobs, and he and his team are super-efficient at making the right suggestions which get us to the right place with the fixtures we need within the budget.”
Peter Marshall commented: “It’s great to continue our relationship with the team who created the hugely popular Christmas run of Elf The Musical last year, and Big The Musical has been a real pleasure to work on. The design of the show is technically challenging, and we’re very happy to play our part in bringing that to life on stage. Thanks to Michael Rose, Hugh Borthwick, Tim Lutkin, and Ian William Galloway for making us part of the team!”
Michael Rose sums up: “When we first talked through the design elements of Big with our set and costume designer, Simon Higlett, it became evident at a very early stage that we would be knocking on the door of PRG XL Video to ask Pete Marshall and Stefaan Michels for their expertise in realising Simon’s amazing design. Along with Tim Lutkin, lighting design and Ian William Galloway, video design, we had the task of making a hugely loved film become at the same time a very real and also very magical stage production.
“The difficulties of translating from screen to stage called for technical brilliance, and the team at PRG XL have not disappointed us. The double-sided curved video wall that sits on the second revolve of three soon became the ideal transition for us from location to location but enabling us to add a touch of fantasy to the images as well. Not only did it mean that we could have very fluid scene changes but it also made them more economical and much faster than we could otherwise have done.
“Our endless requirements regarding the lighting of the show, not only to make it look fantastic but also for it to fit into our budget were met with creativity and positivity – for which we are eternally grateful.”
British electronic duo Bondax have recently completed a tour which saw them visit venues around the United States before returning to the UK for shows culminating in a headline performance at London’s Oval Space.
To create a tourable design for these shows, Bondax turned to designer Owen Pritchard-Smith of London-based Spirit Design. Owen had created a design for previous Bondax shows using lightboxes with the individual letters spelling out their name. With this tour taking a step up in size and production values, Owen aimed to create a look for the band which incorporated both lighting and video, and offered flexibility for the range of different venues played.
He commented: “With the band growing in popularity, we wanted to take the design up a level for this tour. I wanted to retain the focus on the band’s name, but use video screens to add more visual elements and give greater versatility in looks and shapes.
“I knew we needed six screens – one for each letter in the name – and a further screen for the front of the DJ booth. I had the idea of using semi-transparent LED which would allow me to shoot strobes through, combining the lighting and video elements. I spoke with Cameron Bannister from PRG XL, who recommended their F30 30mm LED screen to me as it was available in both UK and the US, and he arranged a demo.”
With a small touring production, and the requirement that all the equipment must fit into a splitter bus or van, Owen set about packaging the video and lights.
He explains: “I wanted the package to look slick and tidy, so I based the totems on scaffold poles and tank traps. That enabled us to keep cables mostly hidden and create small compact units that would fit on stage, even in smaller venues.”
The totems held both the LED panels, and the lighting supplied by PRG XL Video. Owen explains his choice of lighting fixtures: “I wanted to be able to create lots of variation and different looks, but with a limited number of fixtures. We used SGM P5s on the floor, and for the totem I used Atomics, and GLP impression X4S units, recommended by Cameron, which can create the variety of looks I wanted, yet were sufficiently compact for installation on the totems. For the US dates, we substituted those with Mac Aura XB fixtures, which were the nearest available equivalent, and they all worked well.”
Using the combination of lighting fixtures and video screens Owen created a versatile and scaleable show which worked for both small and larger stages. In total four different rigs were created to cover the variety of venues – two for the UK, depending on the venue size, with the larger rig incorporating more lighting fixtures including Clay Paky Sharpys; one for the US tour, and a further festival set-up with rolling truss instead of the scaffold totems.
During the tour preparation he worked with PRG XL’s Dana Read to pre-program the content, using the company’s demo space for the initial build: “The content for the video screens was mostly made up of colours and shapes. I used the video screens almost as a light source, whilst maintaining the main look incorporating the band’s logo.”
Cameron Bannister comments: “I thoroughly enjoy working with Owen and the team at Spirit Design. His willingness to share his end goals and his flexibility with solutions enables me to support his designs and budgets in a very enjoyable and fulfilling way. The end result looked fantastic, and reminds me of why it’s so great to be a part of this industry!”
Owen Pritchard-Smith sums up: “Cameron and the PRG XL team always provide a professional, personable, and accommodating service. Their experience and motivation allows me to learn about new equipment and provide my clients with a fresh, exciting and organic design.”
Underground electronic music duo, Dusky are steadily building a cult following as they play sold out dates, taking in numerous venues in the UK, North America and continental Europe. Double Knight of Illumination winner, Will Potts designed the visual element of the show, with assistance from Lighting Director Adam Power. Will said: “Designing a rig which fits into numerous venues was the main consideration for this project. I chose to leave the physical design work flexible and in Adam’s hands for the shows. He knows what each fixture has to achieve, so it’s up to him to use the spaces and characteristics of each venue to the design’s advantage. Having such a flexible approach is the most economical way of scaling the show up and down.”
Will and Adam knew exactly what they wanted to achieve with the design, and were open to discussion on which products and processes they needed to make it happen. As well as being certain about the looks they had for the show, working within a tight budget was a key factor, without needing to compromise the design. With the bigger picture decided, PRG XL Video Project Manager Martin Bellamy filled in the details and made sure the show had everything it needed for the budget available.
Bradley Stokes, the lighting Crew Chief for the tour explained the lighting products used on Dusky and the logistics behind getting them in and out of each venue: “The different variations of the touring rig consist of truss towers fitted with GLP Spot One moving lights, GLP Impression X4 LED wash lights, Solaris Flare Junior LED strobes and PixelLine 1044 LED battens. To save time when loading in, all the truss towers were pre-built in Longbridge so we could just carry them into the venues. This did bring an extra set of challenges as access to most of the venues was either upstairs or through tight doorways, which the truss towers were too tall for. However, with the team we had on Dusky, we always found a way of working around these access complications without them becoming a problem.”
Adam said: “The Dusky show is really rewarding because each gig brings a fresh set of challenges. We’ve got three versions of the rig; which we use for the different size venues we’ve been playing. The biggest shows were the summer music festivals, but now the tour is stopping off at 1000-2000 capacity venues, we’ve got to be savvy in our approach to fit everything in and make the show look the same from one gig to the next. The show achieves a big look for the spaces we’re in, that’s made possible by clever positioning of the lights and tight programming rather than simply increasing the fixture count. For example, there is a flown truss and between two and four floor-mounted truss towers and floor fixtures behind the lads and on the riser. This fills the space with each element having its own job. Will has done a good job of accentuating this in the programming and hitting all the accents in the music, creating a tight show and giving each song an identity. Bradley’s been with us for most of the tour and is excellent; he’s got a great knowledge of the kit we’re using and has developed a real talent at shoe-horning it into spaces where it probably shouldn’t fit.”
Will added: “Working on Dusky was about the practicalities of the design as much as the overall look. Often with this size of act, breaking through comes at a cost to either the band or investors, so it’s about finding a balance in the economics of the design. With Dusky we achieved the big looks, bright punch and carefully choreographed moves the music calls for, whilst at the same time keeping it sustainable for everyone. It’s been a privilege to work with Adam on this project, we interact very well.”
Photography by PRG XL Video/Matt Rakowski and Luke Dyson.
Hamburg, Germany, and Dubai, UAE: Production Resource Group LLC (PRG) was honoured to work with Balich Worldwide Shows (BWS) to supply a huge multi-surface video projection for the United Arab Emirates National Day celebration in Abu Dhabi.
The event, held at the request of the Crown Prince’s Court, celebrated 45 years since the unification of the United Arab Emirates, and took place in the presence of a selected crowd of dignitaries.
Tom van Hemelryck, VP Global Sports and Special Events was contacted by Balich Worldwide Shows to provide both the technical expertise and technology for this special commemorative show.
Tom brought together video and technology specialists, Yves Winand, from PRG in Belgium and his counterpart Bill Ainley from the group’s UAE operation to work with the design specification from Balich Worldwide Shows. Starting with the mapping of the surfaces, d3 was identified as the media server for this project. It was used to design, and previsualise the projection, and whilst on site used for line-up and playback of the content created by Charles Darby and the team at Clonwerk.
Yves Winand explains: “We needed a strong partner for this challenging project, and we worked closely with d3 to improve some processes on site in order to save time in the line-up. We had to share preparation nights with lighting programming and rehearsals, and waiting for the arrival of large moving elements, so time for the set-up was limited.”
The projection covered over 6500 m2 of floor, which was a particular challenge due to the flat angle and positioning of the projection towers. Either side of the stage, two wing screens of 600m2 were also covered with projection. Four sand dunes, each measuring 35 metres by 8 metres, which tracked across the stage, and a rising sun of 16 metres by 8 metres, which rose from behind the dunes were also projection mapped and covered perfectly as they moved into place during the show.
Panasonic PT-DZ21KE projectors were used for the floor and wing projections, and a combination of Barco HDF-W30 and HDF-W26 projectors covered the dunes and rising sun. In total 126 projectors were used across the event to create the spectacular effect.
Bill Ainley commented: “Whilst this event presented many challenges, we are proud of our team’s ability to seamlessly draw upon design, technical and logistical expertise from three PRG operations across three countries to ensure our approach at the design phase would achieve our client’s expectation on site. This, along with the team of expert technicians who worked very hard in a challenging environment, ensured we could deliver the project to an exceptionally high standard.”
Tom van Hemelryck concludes: “We are delighted to continue our working relationship with Balich Worldwide Shows, and honoured that they chose PRG as a partner in delivering this prestigious, high-profile show. Everyone involved in this show worked in great collaboration to deliver a show which looked truly spectacular.”
Photo Credits: Luca Parisse for Balich Worldwide Shows
Show Credits: Creative & Executive Production Balich Worldwide Shows
Continuing a long working relationship with Production Executive, Andy Derbyshire, Event Manager, Maggie Mouzakitis, Event Production Manager, Lisa Shenton, and Show Lighting Designer, Tom Kenny, PRG XL Video has supplied lighting for the 2016 MTV EMA.
This year’s event was held on November 6th, at the Rotterdam Ahoy, Netherlands, and was hosted by US artist Bebe Rexha.
The event opened with glamorous red carpet arrivals from the star presenters and performers, hosted by Laura Whitmore and Sway Calloway, and PRG XL also supplied lighting, rigging, and video technology for the red carpet event.
PRG XL’s Account Managers, Kelly Cornfield and Mat Ilott were initially contacted by Line Producer, Sophie Huda, and Red Carpet Event Manager, Sean McNally, to supply an outdoor video wall, high impact lighting, and supporting rigging for the red carpet area.
Working with Set Designer, Adam Neville, and Lighting Designer, Stuart Pring, PRG XL’s Head of Rigging Services, Q Willis specified the supporting structures for the video and lighting. Rigging crew chief, Chris ‘Karrit’ Harris delivered the show on-site.
Creating a glittering arrivals area for the stars, Adam and Stuart’s designs incorporated a video wall formed from Barco C5 outdoor LED. Content for the video wall was supplied via one of PRG XL’s own Mbox media servers, and included live feeds from the OB truck, social media feeds, and playback content.
Stuart Pring’s lighting design used a combination of fixtures, with Encapsulite LED stick lights built into the set, and PRG Icon Beams lighting the way for the VIPs as they made their way into the venue. PRG’s Sam Healey was Crew Chief for the red carpet lighting team.
Inside the iconic Rotterdam Ahoy, production designer Julio Himede created a vast set filling an entire side of the venue, curving around to create an immersive arena for the audience in the venue, and stunning visuals for the TV broadcast.
Acclaimed lighting designer Tom Kenny worked closely with Julio to create his lighting design for the show. Tom Kenny has designed the lighting for MTV VMA and EMA events for more than a decade, as part of highly creative and much-talked about show designs.
Tom explains his initial approach to his design: “Working with Julio, and with PRG’s Lighting Crew Chief, Rich Gorrod, we looked at the set design. This year, the huge wide set featured a massive wall of video, built from multiple elements. We wanted to cover the whole set and create a layered effect with plenty of back light and presence. With that in mind, and with one eye on the budget, we used a lot of strong beams, spread across the set, big wash lights at the back, lots of Icon Beams, PRG Bad Boys and Robe Robin 100s. We added Solaris Flares for extra strobe effects – they’re a real workhorse.”
Tom continues: “As part of the design, I look at the line-up of artists performing and try to tailor the fixtures to what I think they’ll need. In some cases artists will have specific requests, but often we’ll already have their needs covered in the main rig.”
Some artists do have special requests, based on their individual performance. Tom explains: “Martin Garrix wanted a particular fixture for his set, so we brought in a load of GLP X4 Bars to satisfy that need. For One Republic, who included rain in their performance, we needed to find some waterproof LED lamps for the pool, and Rich Gorrod sourced custom-built fixtures for that purpose.”
“For Green Day’s ‘Global Icon’ performance we needed to give them a really huge look, so we added a bunch of Par Cans.”
“Another fixture I was keen to use was the ACL 360 Matrix from Elation, which includes 25 4-in-1 RGBW LEDs. We arranged a demo of the unit, were suitably impressed, and that was used scenically to create colour and depth.”
With an array of star performers, followspots were also a key consideration, and Tom Kenny was keen to use PRG’s GroundControlTM Followspot System, which includes a remote followspot, flown from the lighting rig and the operator is located with control unit at ground level elsewhere within the venue. Tom has used the system on multiple shows: “I first used GroundControl on Desert Trip festival and was really impressed by it. It’s a very flexible system and allows you to place followspots in locations that wouldn’t usually work. I love it!”
Lighting console operators on the night were Alex Passmore and Jonathan Rouse, who Tom Kenny described as “two of the best programmers/operators I’ve worked with. Alex took care of the majority of the pre-programming, and on the night looked after the cueing on the main set, and Jonathan focussed on the keylighting for the bands, live elements, and audience lighting.”
PRG XL’s Lighting Crew Chief Richard Gorrod led a team of twelve lighting technicians and operators for the show. Tom Kenny comments: “The MTV EMA is a big beast of a show. There’s never enough time, but Rich and his brilliant PRG crew have high standards and work really hard to make it all happen. Rich is a total workhorse – he does the job of three people, and he has such a positive attitude. You couldn’t have a better person on an event of this type.”
Richard Gorrod summed up: “We’re happy to continue our long relationship with Maggie, Andy, Lisa, Tom, Julio and the whole MTV EMA team. The show always looks amazing and really pushes the boundaries for a live event show. It’s a huge production, and there are lots of suppliers all working side by side, harmoniously to make it happen. We’re proud to be a part of bringing it all together!”
It’s fascinating to discover how the rental and used equipment channels of our business overlap and work together to benefit our customers. Steff Jones is a UK based Lighting Designer, who works predominantly in television, but does regular spin-off work which includes, one-off concerts, touring productions and theatre shows.
Over the past two years, Steff has not only worked with us on a lot of rental projects, but also become a very valued customer of PRG Proshop, our used equipment sales channel. Steff continued: “An expanding area of my business is permanent installations for TV studios, luxury nightclubs, theatres and music venues. Some of my clients only have a limited budget—so used equipment is always the best option. The used lighting equipment I’ve bought from PRG XL Video has been of the highest quality and worked perfectly. The nature of PRG XL’s rental work puts a very high demand on the kit, which means all their fixtures are fully serviced on a regular basis and able to perform in the harshest and most demanding environments. With other used equipment vendors, I’ve had to factor in budget to service the lights and bring them up to the required standard, as well as buying spares to leave with my client. With PRG Proshop, this is no longer necessary due to the exceptionally high quality of the kit.”
PRG Proshop Product Sales Manager, Rodney George supplies Steff’s used equipment needs in the UK, and said: “I first met Steff on one of our lighting and video jobs, he was very interested to learn about our used equipment sales. Soon after that I supplied him with a list of kit for one of his installation projects, and we’ve kept in touch ever since. Steff signed up to our monthly UES newsletter and we’ve developed a really close client-supplier relationship. We visited Steff at the London Palladium whilst lighting his recent job ‘Broadway in Concert’ to discuss upcoming opportunities and new products we’ll be bringing to the used equipment sales channel.”
Established in 1992 by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) and the British Association of Record Dealers, the Mercury Music Prize was created as an alternative to the BRIT Awards.
The 2016 event, now known as the Hyundai Mercury Prize, took place at London’s iconic Eventim Apollo Hammersmith and was won by Skepta, who beat new albums by a variety of artists including Radiohead, David Bowie, Anohni, and The 1975.
The awards event was produced by Lipfriend Rodd International. Producer, David Davies, and Technical Director, Robert Lipfriend contracted PRG XL Video to supply rigging, and lighting for the show which was filmed and broadcast by BBC Music. The lighting design for the show was created by award-winning designer, Nigel Catmur.
PRG XL Video’s Account Director, Chris Walker worked with a rigging brief which needed to accommodate both lighting and video elements, all of which moved during the show. Chris explains: “We worked with the design from Nigel Catmur, which included lighting, LED screens, and masking trusses.
“Our rigging team, led by Head Rigger, Chris ‘Karrit’ Harris, constructed four lighting trusses and one LED screen truss, and these were suspended on Kinesys Elevation 1+ enabled hoists, which enabled these elements to move multiple times throughout the show. The Kinesys Vector control system was operated by Bruce MacLeod and Toby Rouse.”
As the Eventim Apollo used a decked floor to create a flat surface for the tables at the awards, the stage height was raised. The increased stage height of 600mm incorporated a 10m diameter revolve, built by Stage One, and part of the challenge for Chris and the rigging team was to work around the build of the stage in a relatively short time frame.
PRG XL Account Manager, Mat Ilott explains: “For the lighting elements, we needed, and were given, an extra build day at the Apollo which ensured that we were able to get all the required cabling installed around the build of the extra height stage and flat floor surface. Once that was completed, our Crew Chief Marcus Robinson worked with the team to install an array of lighting fixures, as detailed in Nigel Catmur’s design.”
Nigel Catmur has worked with the Mercury Prize team for more than a decade, and in a variety of different venues. This year, Nigel’s design was shaped by both the venue and the number of performers.
He explains: “I worked within the constraints of the venue and stage size to produce a creative look for the lighting design. With up to 12 numbers to be performed in the same space, it was essential to be able to change the shape of the space to give it a different feel for each artist’s performance, whilst using the same rig.
“It isn’t possible to bring in different floor items for each act, because the Mercury Prize is all about the music, and the backline rules the floor, so in order to get the lighting in low and move it around, the only option was to use motors.”
To realise Nigel’s design for the show PRG XL Video supplied GLP Impression X4 and X4S LED moving heads, PRG’s own Icon Beam and Best Boy HP spots, as well as a bank of Solaris Flare Junior fixtures which were flown upstage, intermingled with the moving heads. With the fixtures mounted on to the moving truss system, this enabled Nigel to create different looks for each performance.
Nigel commented: “I needed as many lamps as I could, but with limited programming time, having lots of only a few types of lamp aids the programming process significantly. At the point of design, the actual number of people on the stage at any given time is still very variable. As a result, I wanted lamps that could multi-task as both people light and effects lights out front, and then strong beam lights to define the structure of the moving trusses. The GLP Impressions, Solaris Flares, Icon Beams and Best Boys fit the bill.”
Mat Ilott summed up: “It was great to work with David and Robert’s team, who seamlessly put together this high profile show. Nigel’s lighting design looked great both in the room and broadcast on TV, and it’s always a pleasure to work with him. Finally I’d like to thank Marcus Robinson for his work on the show – he guides the crew brilliantly and with a great sense of calm!”
The 2016 European event, entitled Europe On Stage, took place at BOZAR - centre for fine arts in Brussels, Belgium. Performers for this show included Yanis Marshall; vlogger, Louise Pentland; and Rockin’ 1000.
Creative agency Set Live was engaged to produce the event. Set Live’s team of Guy Tremlett, Creative Director and Harry Osborne, Creative, contacted PRG XL Video’s Guy Vellacott to supply video and lighting technology for the one-off show.
Guy Tremlett explains the thinking behind the design: “We wanted to recreate a traditional theatre in a contemporary way, so our idea was to replace the flats, proscenium and rear drape with LED. This allowed us to present a wide range of performers and presenters in a very modern, yet still theatrical style.”
To realise Set Live’s design for the video-focussed show a proscenium arch formed from high resolution 3.9mm LED was created. With the show being filmed for future YouTube viewing, it was key that the LED was bright, with rich colours, and high enough resolution to make the content easy to read, both on screen and in the auditorium.
Upstage of the proscenium, two LED side screens, and an LED backscreen, all formed from 6mm LED were used to display a combination of playback content, and live IMAG footage.
Guy Tremlett continues: “We tested the LED arch and screens in PRG XL’s warehouse, to check the distances, depths, sight lines, and, of course, the content, and PRG XL’s team, including Project Manager, Nathan Avery, attended site visits to advise on the rigging set-up required for the lighting and video elements.”
Mapping of all the video surfaces was handled using Pandora’s Box media servers. PRG XL’s Director Media/Creative, Patrick Verhey worked with Guy and the Set Live team to program the servers with the content, with the final preparation taking place in the edit suite at PRG XL’s Hemel location.
To complement the existing lighting at BOZAR, PRG’s team in Brussels, led by Account & Production Manager, Ahmed Al Manatawy, worked with lighting designer Paul Cook to supply additional fixtures in the main auditorium, VIP lounges, and post-show party event.
Paul Cook explains, “We needed additional lighting across various areas of the venue, integrating with their existing lighting system, and providing key lights for the main presentation.
“With a full LED proscenium arch, the key light needed to be controllable in terms of both brightness and colour temperature. For this we chose GLP X4 fixtures, which offer the flexibility we needed. I’d also included light beam effects into my design, and for this we used six high brightness Icon Beams from PRG.”
For the party areas PRG supplied a variety of fixtures including uplighters, which created the perfect subtle party mood.
Cook continues: “It was great to work with Didier Streel and Ahmed from PRG in Belgium. Their local knowledge and crew smoothed the processes, and worked well with the venue and in-house crew.”
PRG XL Video’s Guy Vellacott sums up: “We’re very happy to continue our relationship with the team from Set Live. Their creative designs for Google and YouTube events are always innovative, and we enjoy working with the team to bring them to life.”
On Sunday night, the Charing Cross Theatre hosted two performances of Seth Rudetsky’s musical ‘Disaster’. PRG XL Video supported producer Darren Murphy with video projection for the shows which were staged to raised money for the Make a Difference (MAD) Trust, a HIV/AIDS support charity who work on projects in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Darren explained: “Disaster is set on a cruise ship in the seventies, being a fan of disco music, I jumped at the opportunity to bring this wonderful musical over from Broadway to London. The original idea was to produce a semi-staged version, with actors reading from scripts, but I felt the audience deserved more. We assembled a great team to work on props, costumes, make-up, lighting and projection to help tell the story. We cast the show with some of the most amazing performers from the West End, and two of the original Broadway leads who flew over to reprise their roles. This was the first time a full-scale production has been staged on behalf of the trust, and riding on its success both critically and commercially, raising almost £19,000 for the charity, this will be the first of many such gala events.”
Account Director Peter Marshall, head of the theatre market in the UK for PRG XL Video attended the show and said: “It’s always a privilege to support such a great cause. The show was brilliant, very funny with the perfect Sunday evening feel-good factor. Congratulations to all those involved in bringing this highly professional performance to the stage.”
The award-winning company DynaMix Media is one of the leading audiovisual technical production agencies in India.
With ever increasing demands for events in India, the PRG Alliance is pleased to announce a new partner in the region.
The new addition to the membership of the PRG Alliance is passionate about great results and meticulous in execution. DynaMix Media is a company recognized in India for their remarkable contribution to events and entertainment, having introduced the 270 degrees projection format to corporate presentations, and the first 300’ wide projection to the local market. The company has a growing number of immersive projection and projection mapping jobs under their belt.
DynaMix Media was founded in 2005 and is led by Mr. Suresh Madan. The company brings to PRG Alliance its vast understanding of video playback and networking systems, and its one-stop rental shop and services across India – offering complete services in video, audio, lighting, trussing, project management and content design.
“Our position in the Indian market is not only that of a company capable of delivering complex audiovisual projects, but also one which is attentive to international standards in processes and safety. It is a constant effort for us to implement these aspects in projects in India, but slowly the clients are accepting this is the right path. We know that PRG Alliance has the same principles and tapping into this great resource and knowledge pool will be very beneficial for our company”, declares Suresh Madan, Founder & CTO of DynaMix Media.
This attitude has been recognized by the industry and DynaMix Media was awarded as the “Best Video Rental Company” by Palm Sound & Light Awards 2014.
“We believe DynaMix Media is the best partner for PRG Alliance,” said Tom van Hemelryck, PRG Alliance Director. “When our clients go to India they need a reliable supplier, and DynaMix Media’s credentials and reputation is impeccable.”
For more information about DynaMix Media and PRG Alliance visit the website www.prgalliance.com.
Projection Mapping Case: Fortis Memorial Research Institute Launch, New Delhi
Amid the saturation of UK festivals, it’s often difficult to identify what makes each one unique. With Rewind, whether it’s the three different versions of the event around the UK, short—hit driven setlists or the light-hearted, carefree atmosphere; there’s no shortage of individual characteristics that make their weekend festivals stand out from others you may be considering. Held between July and August in the picturesque locations of Capesthorne Hall in Cheshire, Scone Palace in Perthshire and Temple Island Meadows near Henley-on-Thames; Rewind does an excellent job of capturing the hearts and minds of an audience slightly more mature than you would find at other, more mainstream festivals. Song lyric tee shirts, silly hats and neon accessories are obligatory clothing requirements for the happy-go-lucky crowd—reaching back to their teenage years and revelling in every moment.
Production Manager Keith Morris explained how the current version of Rewind came into being: “We started off putting on one-night shows at various stately homes with a line-up of about ten eighties acts playing their hit songs, and it proved to be really popular. So from there we decided to make it into a weekend festival with camping. The first proper Rewind festival was held in 2009 on Temple Island Meadows, just down the road from our office in Henley. Following the success of the event, we added another festival at Scone Palace in Scotland, which also sold very well; so we organised a third, halfway between the other two, in Cheshire; which followed the trend of the others and is another incredibly popular weekend festival.”
Keith explained how a lot of the audience is made up from large groups of people. “Although our crowd are typically older people, they’re all very well connected on social media. People tend to use our festivals as either an annual get-together for old friends, hen-dos, birthday parties or other celebrations. There’s a community feel and diehard Rewinders may come to two or all three versions of the festival each year—the main acts for the three weekends are largely the same, but there can be a lot of variation in the bands performing during the daytime.”
Lighting Designer Martin Nicholas has designed all inceptions of the Rewind festivals, and worked regularly with Keith since the 1980s: “Rewind’s a festival for grown-up punters, who come back year after year. I keep the stage design the same for all three locations, but refresh the design every year, keeping a balance between the use of modern technology and vintage lighting fixtures. This year I used the SGM G Spot, a powerful and versatile light, as well as the Icon Beam, which is my beam light of choice—bright and punchy, with strong colours and a great selection of gobos which are all very usable. I make use of the 10kW Skypans most years because they look phenomenal and very retro next to the shiny new fixtures supplied by PRG XL Video. This year I had a row of ten on the floor at the back of the stage, but in previous years the Skypans have been hung in various different configurations. Down either side of the stage were an arrangement of 2kW and 5kW 1950s GEC fresnels and 1934 10Kw Arri fresnels, they look brilliant and fill in what would usually be a dark spot down the side of the stage.”
In addition to the 38 SGM G Spots, 32 Icon Beams and 20 Vari*Lite VL3500 wash lights, there were 40 2-light molfay blinders surrounding the edge of the stage—powered by Avolites Art2000 dimmers.
Miguel Riberio created the video content for Rewind and went into detail about how he brought the 14x5 metre ROE Visual MC-18H screen to life: “What looks at first sight like a very simple LED video wall, is actually a very sophisticated video setup. The preparations start over a month before the first festival goes live, I gather video content from previous shows and often revamp some very old recordings so we have a big collection of video clips which can be replayed at the press of a button. The video for the acts performing early in the day is very simple and all busked from the PRG V476 console which I use to run the two d3 media servers, configured as a master and slave. As the day goes on and the bands playing are more well known, the scale and complexity of the video content is scaled up to the point where we have fully customised content running on timecode sync.”
Regarding the environment of Rewind, Miguel could hardly be more complimentary: “Although there is a lot of work involved, the atmosphere is so festive and relaxed, it melts away any stress. It’s great fun to do the Rewind festivals every year. I can’t think of any other event which has so many number one songs and popular tunes to which everybody knows the words.”
Martin works very closely with Miguel to decide the overall look of the stage and how the lighting and video technology will interact with each other: “The screen is the major element of the show and by far the most noticeable bit of kit we have on stage. I design the format and layout of the screen—but the rest of it is down to Miguel, who always does a wonderful job of creating video content for the festival. When running the show, we stand next to each other and work as a team, the lighting colour palette will follow the look of the video content so they compliment one another.” Martin explained how he uses an Avolites Pearl Expert Touch console to run the lights at Rewind: “The Pearl’s an excellent busking console, when the line-up consists of ten minute sets and two minute changeovers, there’s no point in programming any of the show, so busking’s the way to go.”
Keith Morris paid tribute to the creative input from Martin and Miguel, commenting that both have thoroughly bought into the ethos of the show and are a pleasure to work with. Keith has decades of experience working within the music festival and concert touring market, he commented about how the technology has changed over recent years: “The most impressive change has to be the rise and rise of LED technology. I also run a power company and several years ago we would have been using so much more power than we are today. What’s really impressive about LED lighting is even though the power consumption has gone down, they’re even brighter. The other side of LED is for video, an LED video screen is pretty much essential for every stage now.”
Martin paid tribute to his team: Crew Chief Paul Makin, front end tech Simon Swift and ‘super-techs’ Richard Griffin, Mark Scrimshaw, Dave Lights and Mark Clough. “One of the reasons Rewind works so well from a crew perspective is that everybody knows exactly what they’re doing, as a result, we have very few problems and it’s a wonderful environment to work in.”
Account Director Andrew Strachan coordinated the supply from PRG XL Video and looks forward to the festivals every year: “It’s a pleasure to work with everybody involved. Keith has a great vision of how to grow and develop Rewind each year. The creativity of Martin and Miguel is second to none, even though a lot of the acts return year after year, they always come from a fresh perspective and bring a new look to the stage. Martin has an exceptional attention to details and always knows exactly what he wants to achieve and we all work together to make it happen. For those people who’ve never experienced the Rewind Festivals, I cannot recommend them highly enough.”