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The Islamic Solidarity Games is an event which involves elite athletes from countries who are part of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference. Despite the names, non-Muslim citizens in the member countries are also allowed to compete. The first was held in Mecca, Saudi Arabia in 2005, with the most recent event taking place in Baku, Azerbaijan in May 2017.
PRG was selected as an official supplier for the opening and closing ceremonies, providing lighting for both large-scale events. The lighting design was created by Adam Bassett of Woodroffe Bassett Design, with associate designer, Terry Cook, who worked with PRG Account Director, Yvonne Donnelly Smith, and Head of Event Services, Richard Gorrod to specify the lighting requirements of the huge visual production.
The design in the Baku National Stadium made use of all levels of the stadium for lighting, as well as the stage built in the centre of the athletics track.
PRG used a combination of its own PRG Bad Boy, VariLite VL35kw, and SGM P5 15 fixtures around the roof trusses, of which there were 30 in total. At balcony-rail level high brightness Icon Edge and VL35k wash fixtures were added into the mix, creating maximum impact with beams reaching up into the sky and across the stadium.
Framing the colourful projections on the main shaped rear screen, brand new ultra-bright Icon Edge units were mounted on the edge of the screen on custom T bars. Icon Edge and Icon Beam units were also used to surround the stage floor. Philips iW Blast, and Color Blast TRX fixtures were used in the VIP Box as a quality front light, and coloured backlighting respectively. SGM P5s were used to backlight the audience on Levels 1 and 2.
Eight of PRG’s newest version of its revolutionary GroundControl™ Followspot System – the Long Throw - were used to as high level followspots mounted on separate trusses around the roof catwalk. These units are as bright as a 4k Gladiator followspot, and can be rigged on a truss, so improving safety and reducing weight by negating the need for operators in baskets. A combination of standard GroundControl Best Boy units, and M2 traditional followspots were used in the closer positions.
Two side light positions were populated with PRG Best Boy and Bad Boy units, and either side of the stage two architectural columns were lit up using a mixture of Floor Cans, 650kw Fresnels, and Birdies.
In total more than 1,100 lighting fixtures were used for both ceremonies. PRG Crew Chiefs Mark England and Luke Jackson led a team of highly expert technicians. Alex Passmore and Ben Hornshaw programmed the lighting on GrandMA consoles, and a WYSIWYG suite was used for pre-programming at PRG’s Longbridge location, and on-site during the build phase, and for pre-programming of the Closing Ceremony.
The control and networking was all managed using a S400 data distribution system with S400 fibre switches and a combination of Supernodes and Node+ units.
Richard Gorrod commented: “Our PRG Best Boys are still one of the best fixtures for a harsh stadium environment. The new Icon Edge performed brilliantly – it’s very reliable and a true work horse! The new GroundControl Long Throw followspots also performed well – they’re super bright and give you the advantage of hanging them in positions where you would not be able to site a conventional 4k followspot. The S400 system again performed brilliantly, as the glue for the whole system. Our crew were true stars – installing and maintaining the equipment on site under many different pressures.”
Adam Bassett commented: “Once again we were blessed with a great level of support, technical expertise and most importantly a brilliant crew. The PRG team in Baku, and behind the scenes back in the UK, were great and made a technically challenging production go very smoothly. The system lived up to every expectation and the ability to use the new GroundControl Long Throws massively changed how we were able to light the shows. By having the ability to place followspots in locations otherwise inaccessible with conventional spots, it enabled us to achieve the optimum angles and as a result protect the video projected surfaces which were so crucial.”
All photos: Natalia Tsoukala
Innovative Touring Frame and 4K Broadcast Camera System Elevate Operational Performance, Stage Design and Fan Experience
Production Resource Group LLC, (PRG), the world’s leading provider of entertainment and event technology solutions, announced today that a new product innovation along with the application of an industry-first technology solution – SPACEFRAMETM and a 4K Broadcast Camera System – have been integrated into the design, production and operations for the U2 The Joshua Tree Tour 2017. Both solutions demonstrate PRG’s dedication to innovating products that anticipate the needs of tour managers, designers and artists seeking to push boundaries and deliver a more immersive concert experience onsite or virtually.
“SPACEFRAME and the 4K Broadcast Camera System perfectly demonstrate how PRG excels at seeing an opportunity for innovation that will add operational, economic and creative value from a customer’s perspective, allowing artists to more freely tell their story,” said Steve Greenberg, PRG’s CEO of Global Music/TV/Film.
SPACEFRAME is a revolutionary touring frame design seamlessly integrating LED panels to provide industry-changing operational efficiencies and the opportunity for unlimited creative expression. The carbon fiber touring frame is ultra-lightweight, collapsible and fully wind braced creating an intensive built-in structural strength. This allows for a free-form approach to stage designs enabling artists and designers to think outside the conventional LED box. This latest patent-pending technology from PRG also dramatically reduces pre-tour engineering time, shipping footprint/weight, carbon emissions, load-in and load-out times, as well as labor required on tour and locally.
SPACEFRAME features and advantages:
- Carbon fiber fabrication and built-in wind bracing reduces overall weight increasing safety and savings
- 10 times stronger when compared to conventional fabrication
- 15 percent overall weight reduction
- 35 percent weight reduction including wind bracing
- Integrated wind bracing up to 72 kph
- Profile reduction and integrated wind bracing results in up-to 50 percent savings in shipping cost in some cases and a massive reduction in the tour’s carbon footprint
- Specifically for this U2 tour, truck loads are reduced from seven to three - or one less airplane - when compared to conventional LED frame load
- Compact, lightweight design offers up-to 30 percent reduction of installation/dismantle time and a 25 percent reduction in overall labor cost
“The quality and resolution of LED products have vastly improved over the last decade, but the frames have basically stayed the same. At PRG Projects, we saw an opportunity to innovate the way in which LED walls were assembled and transported, to rethink the construction of the frame and how it might impact the operational side of the business as well as the design experience,” stated Frederic Opsomer, PRG Projects' Managing Director and innovation leader.
Leveraging in-house talent and partnerships already in place, PRG was able to produce the carbon frames from prototype to final product in just 17 weeks, enabling U2 to be the first to take advantage of the innovation. SPACEFRAME has allowed U2’s designer to create a 200 foot wide screen¬, custom painted in silver and gold to mimic the original artwork of their 1987 album.
4K Broadcast Camera System
The U2 tour also marks the introduction of PRG’s 4K (UHD) Broadcast Camera System as a first for concert touring. The PRG broadcast system, developed and integrated over three months, is a combination of products that can operate in 4K (UHD) and 3G SMPTE Standards. This design philosophy allows concurrent production to operate at the highest level of broadcast standards. The system delivers 60 frames per second (fps) with a UHD resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels. The concert touring system interconnects cameras and LED wall processors on fiber because of the enormous amounts of data and length of signal distances. The entire broadcast touring system can be set up within an hour and is designed to be operated by one video engineer, eliminating the need for four-to-five onsite engineering positions.
“PRG has been a part of every U2 tour since 1992 and the band always challenges us with pushing technology to its limits,” said Wolfgang Schram, PRG’s director of video engineering. “We have to be creative and that is the fun part.”
Production Resource Group (PRG) will be the official service provider for the 62nd Eurovision Song Contest (ESC) 2017. This year’s edition of the ESC will take place in the Ukrainian Capital of Kiev from May 9th-13th. The International Exhibition Centre with its 11,000 seats will be the venue of the event. In cooperation with LITECOM, PRG will be providing video, lighting and rigging technology for the show.
Jerry Appelt is returning as Lighting Designer to work on his third ESC, after previously designing the show in 2011 and 2012: “I am very happy about PRG supplying this project because I need a well-practiced team, with experience of not only delivering shows of this size, but often doing so under challenging circumstances. When something unexpected happens, you need the right crew with the relevant experience and equipment resources. Using the PRG GroundControl System is an enormous advantage here: It saves time, space and weight.” Florian Wieder, who has worked on instantly recognisable projects such as MTV Europe Music Awards, The X Factor, and Britain’s Got Talent as well as three previous editions of Eurovision, is the stage designer, and worked closely with Jerry to define the overall look of the show.
PRG GroundControlTM Long Throw to celebrate its debut at ESC
PRG are excited to announce that the PRG GroundControlTM long throw followspot system will be used for the first time on a European show. The product has been specifically developed for long distances and is an addition to the already popular PRG GroundControL Followspot System. Just like its predecessors, the new product from the GroundControl family can be comfortably operated from the ground by remote control.
A total of eighteen GroundControl followspot systems will be used on Eurovision, four long throw and fourteen Bad Boy GroundControls, meaning that precious seating within the spectator areas will not be lost to place followspot, as the GroundControl will be suspended from truss. Furthermore, GLP JDC1 LED hybrid stroboscopes used by PRG will be used for the first time for a production of this scale.
71 Million Pixels of LED Video Screen
Other than lighting technology, PRG will also be supplying a 680 m2 12mm pitch LED rear wall by ROE as well as for the 160 m2 LED floor. In total, an area of 71 Million pixels will be covered for a mega production. Projection will be done by high-output Panasonic projectors.
About Production Resource Group — Production Resource Group, L.L.C., (PRG) is the world’s leading supplier of entertainment and event technology to a wide range of markets, including corporate and automotive events, concerts, special events, theatre, television and film, trade shows, and installations, such as theme parks, museums, retail stores and performing arts centres. PRG provides integrated services and equipment, including audio, video, lighting, rigging, staging, and scenery and automation systems, for these markets from more than 40 offices in North America, South America, Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia.
PRG are excited to be an official service supplier for the 62nd Eurovision Song Contest, being held in Kiev’s International Exhibition Centre from May 9th-13th, as Ukraine hosts Eurovision for the second time. PRG are working in partnership with Litecom to support Lighting Designer Jerry Appelt and Stage Designer Florian Wieder by supplying lighting, video and rigging technology for the show.
Kiev is Jerry’s third time working on Eurovision, having also designed the shows for Dusseldorf in 2011 and Baku in 2012, as well as numerous other high-profile productions, such as the Commonwealth Games ceremonies for Delhi in 2010. Jerry said: “I’m very happy to work with PRG on this project, because aside from the enormous quantity of lighting fixtures and complex parameters, it’s essential to work with a company who has the resources to deal with all kinds of unexpected eventualities, who can deliver on the biggest occasions, in the most challenging environments. There are few companies who can provide this level of service, anywhere in the world. I know that whichever challenge I set PRG, they will deliver.”
Production management guru, Ola Melzig, has taken the reigns as Head of Production for the Kiev show, his 13th Eurovision. Ola said: “I’m returning to Kiev for my 4th Eurovision event in the city since 2005, and I am blissfully happy to be back. It’s a city I love, with great people, a lot of parks and green areas, a huge river running through the city centre and tons of yummy restaurants!” Ola gave an overview of the technology behind the show: “Eurovision is always a production of monumental proportions, we started the load in on March 27th, since then, we’ve emptied 200 trucks into the halls. It took four and a half weeks to do all the rigging, hang the lights and audio and then build the stage. After that, we went into rehearsals, which will get more and more intense as we approach the broadcast shows. This venue’s fantastic, there are few spaces around the world which can accommodate 212 tons in the roof, and only be at 70% capacity. Full credit to our Head Rigger, John Van Look, and his team of riggers from PRG for overseeing a complex rigging design, and a smooth load in and fit-up.”
John spoke briefly about the practicalities of the rigging design for the show: “The Eurovision rig uses 735 rigging points, spread over the stage, green room and audience areas. This is a complex design and a very heavy rig, one of the heaviest I’ve ever worked on. We have more than 20 points over four tons, including one centre point which is 12 tons—because the roof cannot support such a heavy single point, we split it into two separate six ton points. Because we were dealing with incredibly high loads we were unable to use conventions steels, and bought in products normally used for shipping and heavy duty cranes. To maximise the load bearing capacity of our trusses, we used Prolyte D75T in places, this is capable of carrying exceptionally heavy loads and normally used for towers, rather than as a straight truss; also being only 75cm high, meant we didn’t lose as much trim height as we could have done using bigger truss. The roof is quite low here, so we need as much height as possible. The mother grid is made up of X4K 100, again due to it’s high load carrying capacity. This grid is monitored by over 100 Load Cells, so we can keep an eye on how the weight is being distributed; something which is very important, considering we have a lot of movement in the rig, utilising 112 Cyber Hoists to make that happen. The rigging load in took two weeks, with a team of 52 riggers working day and night shifts.”
Jerry leads a comprehensive team in the front of house area, which spans the full width of the back of the arena, including individual operators for the main show lighting, audience lighting, key lights, spot calls and video content. The lighting and video control network is one of the largest ever uses of GrandMA consoles, with five active full size GrandMA2, three GrandMA Light, and a selection of additional faders and playback wings. The whole network has reached the maximum number of active participants in a single session, 31, and are controlling 89,000 channels of DMX over 9865 programmed fixtures. This is driven through 20 GrandMA Network Processing Units (NPUs) and 28 nodes. There is, of course, substantial back-up, should anything not perform as it should. The total number of lighting fixtures is an incredible 1816. Amongst others, these include: 68 PRG Best Boy HP2, 56 PRG Best Boy Wash Blade, 55 PRG Bad Boy Wash, 130 Icon Edge, and the new JDC1 LED strobe from GLP.
Haze is provided by 6 MDG ATMe DMX hazers, positioned around the stage.
Followspotting for the Eurovision Song Contest 2017 is done exclusively with PRG GroundControl. The production in Kiev uses 14 PRG Bad Boy GroundControl Followspot systems and four of the new long throw version. Jerry commented: “GroundControl is a revolutionary product. It means we have all our operators on the floor, in two areas—with overall control taken by my spot caller on the GrandMA2. For this project it is perfect, because it saves time, space and weight.”
Ola Melzig added: “I first saw the GroundControl at LDI back in 2015, and I thought it was both really cool and incredibly practical. To have 18 of them on this show is amazing—and I’m very proud of it being the biggest deployment of GroundControls ever on a single show.”
In addition to the lighting technology supplied by PRG, we are also providing a comprehensive package of LED screens and projectors. The back screen is made up of ROE MC-12 and MC-18, with sections of MC-7 used at various other points around the rig. There are 56 high output projectors in use, which are used to map onto the stage surround, directly down onto the surface of the stage, onto two high transparency projection screens at the front of the stage, as well as various ‘standard’ screens in and around the arena.
On May 13th, the world will tune in and watch the Eurovision final, with an expected audience of over 200 million cheering on acts from the 26 countries who make it through to the final. After the winner has been announced and the party starts, the team of over 400, including around 100 technicians from PRG, will commence the load out. What took over a month to build will be pulled out of the venue in seven days, and planning for Eurovision 2018 will commence.
First impressions from Eurovision 2017
An insight into rigging at Eurovision Song Contest 2017
Tour of the Eurovision arena
PRG Gearhouse, the region’s provider of specialist event technologies today announced that it has expanded its extensive stock of video equipment with the addition of the award winning Barco E2 4K screen management system further increasing the company’s provision of 4K content and image management systems.
The fleet now includes the E2 full size, the S3-4K compact both supported by the EC-50 and EC200 controllers, and EX expansion unit. The addition of these units is a strategic expansion which brings the global inventory to over 50 full size units.
All systems are now available for immediate hire to support the increased demand for high-end screen control across multiple formats within our local events market.
Barco's presentation switchers are the most advanced video processing and presentation control systems on the planet providing source selection, advanced windowing features, seamless switching, video effects and integrated control for professional video presentations. The system supports native 4K input and output with up to 32 programmable layers available in HD and is the first and only screen management system on the market that can manage a 4K projector blend with refresh rates up to 60Hz. The system also offers eight mixable PGM outputs and four scaled Aux Outputs for full show control with a single box.
The system was put to use on the Sheikh Zayed Book Awards in support of HQ Worldwide Shows. ‘‘Given the prestige and high level attendance of this annual event we were keen to use a system that could seamlessly manage our requirements across our formats and the S3-4K compact did just that. It even allowed the video team the freedom to setup a hot button interface on an I-Pad creating a no-frills control surface which was pretty impressive’’, commented Andrew Stevens, Technical Director for HQ Worldwide Shows in Dubai
Bill Ainley, PRG’s Head of Video for the region added, ‘’ We are extremely excited about the arrival of these units as we are now the only provider in the Middle East that can provide a main and back-up solution across the full range of the Barco family’’. With significant investment across our global group in the first quarter of this year we are positioning ourselves to be a leading player across all our market segments from touring music and entertainment to corporate events.
Production Resource Group Supports Balich Worldwide Shows with Technology for United Arab Emirates National Day
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
For further information on Balich Worldwide Shows go to www.balichws.com.
Production Resource Group LLC (PRG) – the world’s largest supplier of technology and services for events and entertainment has announced the appointment of Simon Kayser as General Manager for its Sourcing & Projects Centre based in Shenzhen, China. Simon will report to Gary Boyd, Executive Vice President and COO, EMEA.
A Chinese-speaker, Simon already has extensive knowledge of the Chinese market from his role as Technical Director at PRG in China, where he has been the project manager for key inbound corporate and large automotive sector projects. His first PRG project in China was the Beijing New Year Lighting Show in 2000/1. In 2007 he returned to Shanghai for the World Summer Games, and in 2008 for the Beijing Games. In 2009 Simon moved to Shanghai for the World EXPO 2010 in Shanghai, and he has been based there since.
Putting his technical knowledge to use, Simon will now take charge of the Shenzhen operation, which is instrumental in sourcing video and lighting technology in China. Simon will work closely with Frederic Opsomer and the team at PRG Projects, who specialise in the development of custom LED for special events, touring projects and installations.
Simon’s appointment will enable PRG to expand its offshore sourcing projects, reinforcing its commitment to innovation and new technology.
“After spending the past eight years in Shanghai, I am looking forward to the new role and challenges. I leave behind a excellent team in Shanghai and look forward to the new team in Shenzhen. Developing, sourcing and especially customizing lighting and video gear for our customers and projects, is where I see great potential for PRG and our team in Shenzhen to deliver enhanced services to our customers”
“We are very pleased Simon has agreed to take on this new role in Shenzhen,” said Gary Boyd. “His technical expertise, coupled with his hands-on commercial experience of delivering projects in China, make him ideally placed to take on this new role, and further expand our ability to source and develop new products directly at the heart of China’s technology capital.”
Simon holds a Master of Engineering degree from University of Applied Science Hamburg (Dipl. Ing. (fh)), and he will relocate from his current role in Shanghai, settling in Shenzhen with his family.
New PRG Lighting Library features growing repository of content that will enhance the user experience
As a part of their shared commitment to empower today's entertainment designers, Vectorworks, Inc. and Production Resource Group (PRG) announce that they will collaboratively develop and implement new features for Vectorworks® Spotlight software. More specifically, PRG will work with Vectorworks' research and development team to develop new tools and object libraries for Spotlight, the standard for CAD software in entertainment design, as well as drive efficient workflows that are crucial to the industry.
"Our goal is to provide state-of-the-art technology and tools that enable designers to explore their ideas so they can ultimately develop, document and communicate designs that create memorable entertainment experiences," said Dr. Biplab Sarkar, CTO of Vectorworks. "We gravitate toward strategic industry partners such as PRG because they are uniquely qualified to provide the resources and services required for our customers."
Vectorworks is a global leader in developing 3D design technologies for the AEC, landscape and entertainment industries, including Spotlight software, which helps professionals in the lighting, scenery, set, event, theatre and exhibit design space balance the need for individual creativity with the requirement for synchronized, accurate design information.
Contributing more than 25 years of experience to the partnership, PRG is the world's leading supplier of entertainment and event technology solutions, providing integrated services and equipment, including audio, video, lighting, rigging, staging and scenery for clients all over the world. With more than 40 offices worldwide, the company has relied on Spotlight software for many years.
"In conjunction with the announcement of this partnership comes our initial efforts with creating a large catalog of PRG gear as library content for Spotlight users," said PRG's Special Operations Director Götz Bauer. "The increased content resources will be a tremendous efficiency gain, making the design development and documentation process even faster for lighting, production and scenic designers."
Initial content that will be shared through this partnership includes PRG’s own line of production equipment including lighting instruments, consoles, LED panels, trusses, motors and media servers. PRG is also adding other content from vendors that it represents and supplies, such as Prolyte Truss and Vari-Lite.
The growing content library is available initially as a first-access benefit for Vectorworks Service Select members and can be downloaded here. To learn more about the growing content library, Vectorworks Service Select members can visit this link