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Faced with the magnitude of the global health crisis linked to the spread of COVID-19, Production Resource Group, LLC (PRG) is putting its skills to work to make a difference in the fight against the virus in Europe and The United States. Known for live event, entertainment and scenic production PRG is leveraging its know-how to help patients and health workers in Berlin and New York by crafting face shields and building a temporary hospital.
“We are responding to the rapidly changing needs of our customers during this emergency, and, with projects like these taking shape around the globe, we are actively at work in the fight against the coronavirus. PRG has resources with direct applicability to this important cause, and we take great pride in playing a role,” said Jere Harris, PRG’s Chairman and CEO.
New York Personal Protective Equipment Production
PRG Scenic Technologies in New Windsor, New York, alongside two other local sub-contracting companies, is working in partnership with NYU Langone Health to manufacture face shields for health workers on the frontlines of the COVID-19 crisis in New York City. The project aims to produce close to 300,000 pieces in just under two weeks.
“We’re proud to be a part of this initiative and hope to continue to help those who are aiding in this crisis,” said Mark Peterson, General Manager who is leading this effort. “By utilizing versatile production methods and intelligent design and in working with Local 311 stagehand labor, we’re going to be able to turn out these shields in record time.”
The team has reworked traditional production line assembly to adhere to guidelines for social distancing to ensure worker health.
Temporary Overflow Hospital in Berlin
PRG Germany has been assigned by the Senate Administration for Health, Nursing and Equality, to fully equip a temporary hospital in Hall 26 at the Berlin Expo Center. The ‘Corona - Jafféstraße Treatment Centre’ will serve as an overflow hospital receiving respiratory patients who can no longer find a place in Berlin’s clinics.
Construction started on March 30th and the hospital is targeted to become operational in approximately 20- 25 days and it will operate for as long as necessary. Furthermore PRG also delivers the IT infrastructure and approximately 25 tons of cabling for the basic supply of electricity to the different beds, including the medical equipment.
“PRG is taking its significant resources directly to the battle against COVID-19. We are proud to support this temporary hospital and hope to help bring the global pandemic to an end,” says Stephan Paridaen, President and COO.
For almost a decade EasyGroup's team of professionals (average age of 26 years old) have worked relentlessly to provide the best conceptual and technological event solutions in Central Africa.
Recently admitted among the leading network of Cameroonian Companies (GICAM), their expertise in BTL activations, Events, Print and audiovisual productions have been fully committed to ensuring excellence for numerous brands and events.
Following an independent audit of their procedures and expertise, the company's work has been recognized by the renowned FORBES AFRICA magazine. Jesse Carlton Happy Ndongo, General Manager of Easy Group, is featured in the business category of the magazine's "30 under 30" list, among the top entrepreneurs and innovators who are transforming the continent.
This recognition encourages the company to continue its commitment to excellence and determination to deliver the most amazing experience for the upcoming major events that will be hosted in Cameroon and Central Africa.
PRG Alliance would like to congratulate EasyGroup for this achievement.
Jesse Carlton Happy Ndongo, General Manager of Easy Group
The young team at Easy Group, PRG Alliance member in Cameroon
Click here to see the full list at Forbes Africa website.
This year it is in Tel Aviv that the Eurovision Song Contest 2019 will choose its’ winner. And – as in many previous years– PRG will be part of it again, delivering customized show solutions for rigging and video that will ensure an efficient roll-out of the show and offer the audience an unforgettable show.
"Florian Wieder, the set designer, created some unique elements for this year’s show", explains Ingo Rehnert (Head of Sales & Account Management Sport & Special Events PRG). On one hand there are the triangles in the ceiling of the main stage. On the other hand, we have the LED strips in the ceiling of the Green Room. The customized triangle structures, which were developed by our special construction department, integrate the VER Blades.
According to John van Look, Head Rigger Production PRG Germany, the weight distribution and static calculation, in function of the suspension capacities of the venue, was the biggest challenge, considering the amount of automation technology that needed to be integrated in the ceiling.
The main elements at the back of the stage are the rotating LED panels, which are composed of ROE CB5 and mounted on turntables with customized metal frames in which the LED panels are integrated.
Another great element for the show is the LED floor on the main stage, which consists of Black Marble 4 modules, which were integrated in the Domino developed by PRG for fast and time saving assembly.
Ola Melzig, Head of Production ESC 2019, resumes: "Our job is to highlight 41 songs and for them to be unique. There are not that many companies in the world that can deliver that amount of high-end products – and that is delivered by PRG!"
We would like to thank:
KAN – KAN Israeli Public Broadcasting Corporation
Meytal Cohen (TV Producer)
Shay Bonder (Head of Video & Technologies)
Avishay Giladie (Technical Director Show)
Tarmo Krimm (Senior Technical Director)
Johannes Schau – (Head Rigger EBU)
M&M Production Management AB
Ola Melzig (Head of Production)
Tobias Aberg (Head of Production)
Florian Wieder – Wieder Design (Set Designer)
We would also like to thank all the parties and people involved whom we had the opportunity to work with on this great production and our PRG Alliance partner Sincopa.
PRG Tech Facts
450m2 ROE CB5
100m2 ROE Black Marble 4 with PRG Projects Domino LED Frames (LED Floor)
16 x Panasonic PT DZ-21 Projectors
2.200 VER Blades - 90cm
4 x Disguise d3 VX4 Media Server
4 x GrandMa2
triangle aluminum frames (250x250x250cm) for VER Blades in the main stage ceiling
triangle Pod for VER Blades for main stage kinetic section ceiling
3.800 m truss
650 hoists BGV D8 / D8+
300 m horizontal live line system
340 tons of material in total
Production period: 21st March – 03rd June (almost 11 weeks)
Crew: 35 Riggers + 18 Technicians
Number of Trailers: 32 x 40" Containers
NEW YORK – April 30, 2019 - Production Resource Group LLC (PRG), the world’s leading provider of entertainment and event technology and solutions, announced today that it will integrate its global research and development efforts into a new operating group, PRG Innovation. PRG Innovation will encompass efforts in Belgium, China and the United States which include facilities in Dallas, New Windsor, New York and Los Angeles. By connecting its people, assets and innovation initiatives – including PRG Projects, PRG Research and Development, and VER product development initiatives – the company will maximize its technological impact on the industry.
PRG Innovation will be led by Chris Conti in his new role as the company’s Chief Innovation Officer. Conti has experience in concert tours, tradeshows, corporate events, TV shows and special events like the Olympics and Super Bowl Half-time shows. As Product Manager for PRG proprietary luminaires, he led the development of the highly successful Bad Boy® Spot and Best Boy® Spot fixtures, as well as PRG’s Emmy-award winning GroundControl™ Followspot System. Conti is listed as an inventor on 15 U.S. patents.
Additionally, Clay Powers will become Chief Operating Officer of Innovation, overseeing all financial and logistical aspects of both proprietary product development and custom show solutions. Gary Boyd, Chief Operating Officer of EMEA, will have ongoing responsibilities related to product-development operations in Europe and China. Frederic Opsomer will continue to lead the Belgian team in developing groundbreaking new technology in LED and video, and Simon Kayser will continue to lead operations in Shenzhen, China, which are instrumental in sourcing video and lighting technology. Anne Johnston, Vice President of Marketing and Product Strategy, will collaborate with PRG Innovation on all aspects of marketing, from product ideation to roll-out.
“PRG Innovation brings all of our talent focused on product development into a single, global team, allowing us to anticipate market trends, move with agility and align product development with our larger strategic objectives,” said Jere Harris, Chairman and CEO of PRG. “I believe that our investment and performance in market-driven innovation is one of the most powerful points of difference separating our brands from the competition. Now, that advantage will become even more significant.”
In every market PRG serves from music and theatre to television, film, broadcast and corporate events, it has defined itself as the innovator in technology, responding to a client request or an industry need. With more than 170 issued patents as well as 70 trademarks, the company’s legacy of proprietary technology has opened new creative possibilities, improved safety, created cost efficiencies and reduced environmental impact. Examples of PRG’s industry-changing technology include:
Ground Control™ Followspot System: A high output followspot that can be safely operated remotely from the ground from distances up to 2,000 feet. Gives designers creative freedom to put followspots in places that were either previously unusable or involved complex rigging.
PRG SpaceFrame®: A touring frame design that seamlessly integrates LED panels for operational efficiencies and creative possibility. The carbon fiber frame is lightweight, collapsible and fully wind braced, allowing for a free-form approach to stage designs.
Pure10: A revolutionary lightweight and highly transparent touring LED screen. Printed circuit boards (PCB) are sliced in strips and turned 90 degrees with the LED mounted on the side, resulting in 75 percent transparency and allowing artists to interact with video content in real time.
Mbox®: A family of media server products that are affordable and easy to use. Mbox software offers powerful and flexible control of video content by working seamlessly with media playback, composition, effects, and transitions. The user interface provides fast and intuitive setup for outputs and content positioning.
Front Row Cam: A robotic, periscope solution that provides a low camera shot of the sports playing field. At just 6 inches wide x 16 inches deep x 32 inches high, this custom designed system, developed with ESPN, is equipped with a telephoto lens for use in baseball or a wide version for use in tennis and other sports.
PRG Stage Command® System: An automated, cue-based motion control system that gives operators the ability to execute the most complex motion control cues with accuracy, repeatability and unparalleled attention to safety. Provides seamless transitions of scenery in full view of the audience.
Bullet: A family of focusable, compact LED luminaires available in White Light, Daylight and UV versions. Offering high output with precise beam control, the adjustable focus mechanism requires no lens change, no tools, and is lockable for permanent installations.
Production Resource Group, L.L.C. (PRG), the world’s leading supplier of entertainment and event technology headquartered in New York, is acquiring the Middle East division of Delta Sound, Delta Sound L.L.C. UAE, a specialist provider of live audio and event communications technology based in Dubai and operating across the Middle East. Peter McCann, CEO for PRG in the Middle East and Andy Jackson, the Managing Director of Delta Sound, jointly announced the acquisition today.
Delta Sound LLC, founded in 2006, is the leading specialist audio and communication company in the Gulf Region and will join forces with PRG’s operation in Dubai, forming a welcomed union between the two companies who have collaborated successfully for many years across a broad range of corporate, government and large-scale special events. Like PRG, Delta Sound provides technical design and technology support to both local and international production houses who benefit from the high standard of service and delivery offered.
For PRG’s worldwide clients, this acquisition means that they will have access to additional expertise and technology when working with PRG in the Middle East and beyond. They can continue to be confident in the quality of product, experience, and professionalism whilst enjoying the addition of world-class event communications through the provision of fully scalable wired and wireless solutions.
“By acquiring Delta Sound LLC, we have bolstered our existing offering for our many customers who produce events and shows internationally”, said PRG’s McCann. “I’m also delighted that this acquisition integrates comprehensive event communications into our product offering thus ensuring that we can present a truly turnkey solution to our customers and partners. With events such as Expo 2020 on the horizon these are certainly exciting opportunities for a company that can operate at scale and this acquisition demonstrates both a significant level of commitment to the region and a continued appetite for growth.”
“As Delta Sound LLC, we have worked on some of the region’s largest and highest profile productions,” commented Andy Jackson. “We have established a loyal client base that has become more appreciative of the standard of audio production and event communications being delivered today by Delta. Having worked closely with PRG for several years across many of these events, our partnership has naturally evolved into a trading relationship and today we solidify this to the benefit of both our clients and teams.” It will be business as usual and Delta Sound will retain its existing operational format and be officially titled ‘PRG deltasound” during the transition process.
Stephan Paridaen, PRG’s Global President and Chief Operating Officer, concluded, “PRG and Delta Sound are extremely well positioned to provide a multi-disciplined, integrated solution. Making the UAE Delta Sound team part of the global PRG family will be extremely valuable to our clients and this has been our top priority from the start.”
Paul Keating, MD of Delta Sound UK commented, “Myself, Mark & Andy go back 40 years together and Andy has been involved with Delta since our humble beginnings back in 1988. He has done an amazing job in building and managing the business over the past 12 years. We have always had a very good working relationship with PRG both here in the UK and in the Middle East and this is a great fit for Delta UAE becoming part of the extended PRG family. We very much look forward to continuing this relationship together in the future”
The two companies worked together to provide lighting for the Games Ceremonies in Jakarta, celebrating their first collaboration via the PRG Alliance network.
The 18th Asian Games was a pan-Asian multi-sport event held from August 18th till September 1st in the Indonesian cities of Jakarta and Palembang. The event hosted athletes from 45 nations and had the second-largest programme in history with 40 sports, including the launch of eSports.
PRG was commissioned by the local organizing committee as lighting provider for the opening and closing ceremonies and collaborated with the Indonesian company Energi9 Perkasa to deliver the services. This partnership combined the international know-how and large inventory of PRG with Enegy9’s understanding of the local scenario and support in technology, labor and logistic services.
The opening ceremony’s main eye-catcher was the 26 meter-high mountain with the waterfall in the background. The lighting kit included over 900 Moving Lights from PRG, Vari-Lites, Clay Pakys, Robes and GLPs, SGM Q7 LED floodlights and a GrandMA 2 system, as well as 14 fog and haze machines for special effects. The same equipment was used for the closing ceremony also.
Moments of the Opening Ceremony
“The Asian Games is a great event for Indonesia and one of its goals is to leave a heritage for the host country. The collaboration with PRG for the ceremonies gave our company the opportunity to invest in new equipment and employ more people, which contributes to the growth of our company and creates a technology legacy for future events”, said Benyamin Ellyas, CEO of Energi9 Perkasa.
The addition of this new member in Indonesia increases the reach of the PRG Alliance network even more, the premier global network of technical production services for entertainment and live events, which today is present in 28 countries.
Poland's first TV-station owned studio dedicated to gaming and eSports has opened its doors this week. Polsat, one of the country’s biggest and most watched TV stations, has welcomed the first guests at the grand opening in Warsaw, Poland.
The company Aram, PRG Alliance member in Poland, was responsible for the design of the studio, execution of the project and gearing the new venue up with state-of-the-art equipment, all in time to start the first programming and broadcast at the end of this month. With the delivery of a complex scenography, lightning and multimedia design for the studio, this project belongs to one of the biggest undertakings for the team.
You can see the final result on the video below:
Congratulations to the Aram, and also to Polsat & Frenzy team, who will be delivering many fantastic productions in the new venue.
PRG Projects was visiting some highly innovative companies in China only 1.5 years ago, when they met NEXNOVO – specializing in ultra-thin advertising solutions. Frederic Opsomer stipulated to have been especially impressed by the high level of focus of NEXNOVO”. Barton Lin, COO of NEXNOVO was immediately intrigued by the challenges: “Our product was initially designed for fixed installations, PRG Projects brought the professionalism and knowhow to use the advantages of the technology and adapt it for a concert-touring reality”.
From there, it all went very fast: the design phase started in November and was ready in January. The production started immediately in China, where the electronic components were built. Everything was shipped to Belgium mid March for the assembly and the mechanical part: a full carbon fibre structure.
Jake Berry, Production Director U2, states that without the PURE10, this setting for U2’s eXPERIENCE + iNNOCENCE Tour would not have been possible: “After the Joshua Tree Tour, we wanted to raise the bar even higher. We wanted a wider screen, in combination with a flying catwalk. At that moment, it simply seemed impossible. The weight limits of the tour’s stadiums would have been exceeded”.
The P10 was constructed especially to minimize weight, at an uttermost high resolution and transparency. Weighing only 10 kg/m2, the design dream became reality.
Frederic Opsomer adds “We think in solutions, for the PURE10, we pushed the technology to the limits of its abilities, doubled the regular width to limit the amount of pieces, and at the same time guaranteeing the highest possible transparency.”
It is fair to say that the PURE10, with its carbon fiber structure, reduced the suspension load of the screen by half in comparison to the technology that had been provided on the previous tour. This change of screen allowed to introduce more features on the catwalk, whilst even reducing the overall weight of the rigg.
Carbon Fiber had proven to be an excellent choice for the PRG SPACEFRAME™, and its strong, reliable and very light characteristics made it perfect for PURE10 as well.
In the future, the structural advantages of carbon fibre compared to aluminum or steel will further be explored. By investing and following up the continuous development, PRG will be able to create custom solutions in a much faster way.
The revolutionary low weight of PURE10, combined with the smart stacking in custom designed dollies, saves space. That leads to an optimization in transport and reduction of the green imprint.
“In every development we do, we try to solve a green issue. It is actually one of our top 3 questions, together with: ‘are we making a creative solution? ‘and ‘are we allowing designers to propose an innovation to their customers?” explains Opsomer.
Not only it has a positive impact on transport, but we’re also facing limited storage space in most venues.
Stuart Heaney, PRG Crew Chief, is particularly happy about the set-up of PURE10: “The time to set-up the screen, including the interdependencies with other teams involved is 8-9 hours. If we would be solely constructing the screen, everything would be built up even faster, in under 3 hours. Tearing down takes 2.5 hours, and that again is with all integrations being removed.”
Ric Lipson – partner at Stufish – has been in charge of design and architecture for multiple U2 shows. He reflects on the collaboration with PRG: “in this long-standing relationship with PRG, we love how they are always innovative. They come with weird and wonderful ideas and make them happen”.
The PRG SPACEFRAME™ allowed the enormous screens of last year’s tour Joshua Tree Tour to resist wind loads. For Beyoncé’s and Jay Z’s tour there was even a moving element added, allowing the screens to open and close, despite weather conditions. PRG SPACEFRAME™ is also used in this year’s design and PRG Projects is already looking at the future: With PRG SPACEFRAME™ we incorporated structural elements into the video screens. We are now experimenting to do the same with lighting, automation and other combinations. The PRG SPACEFRAME™ technology definitely has a lot of yet unveiled opportunities.
Live Design Magazine has named PRG Projects’ PURE10 as the best LED Screen for this year's 2018 Video and Projection Product awards!
It was chosen by a panel of prestigious video/projection designers and programmers, from amongst a field of our esteemed peers. PRG is so proud of the talented team that made this innovative technology a reality.
Jointly owned VER and PRG to be largest entertainment and equipment and services provider
NEW YORK – August 22, 2018 – PRG announced today that VER has emerged from Ch.11 bankruptcy as a reorganized company led by Jere Harris and controlled by The Jordan Company, GSO Capital Partners and PRG Management. VER will continue to exist and maintain its focus as a traditional business-to-business subrental platform, renting to AV staging companies and industry professionals. Full-service solutions will transition to become a part of PRG. PRG and VER will operate as two separate companies in North America, and by focusing on their respective areas of expertise, each will be equipped to meet evolving client needs and offer solutions, resources and expertise even better than before.
“For more than 20 years PRG has been diligent in offering its clients the best production service and equipment in the entertainment industry. Growth across disciplines, markets and geographies has always been a key part of our strategy,” said Jere Harris, PRG’s chairman and CEO. “Now, our ability to support all types of entertainment productions globally will take on new meaning, raising an already high bar to an unprecedented level.”
PRG is already well established in concert touring for its lighting, video, media servers and staging innovations. Combining that with VER’s tour audio gear and expertise, the company can now provide a complete suite of services for tours, festivals and events. Further, PRG can enhance its long history in television production and expand its work in the film industry as VER brings world-class expertise in the video camera market, lighting, display and a robust suite of cameras. VER customers will benefit from PRG’s scenic and automation expertise, vast lighting inventory and its position as the exclusive rental house for PRG’s patented proprietary lighting products.
VER and PRG will have approximately 70 locations across six continents. Clients will have improved access to an extraordinary array of equipment from all major manufacturers as well as specialized and proprietary equipment.
“We believe that this approach will bring about innovation, an exciting level of service, and even more transformative collaboration with our partners. It feels historic, not only for PRG and VER, but for entertainment industry,” said Harris.
The entities will be commonly controlled by The Jordan Company, GSO Capital Partners and PRG Management. Jere Harris will serve as chairman and CEO of the combined company, Stephan Paridaen will be president and COO of the combined company and Bob Krakauer will serve as CEO of VER.
Updated PRG SPACEFRAME™ and new Ingest product on Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s “On the Run II” Tour
LOS ANGELES – July 9, 2018 - Production Resource Group LLC, (PRG), the world’s leading provider of entertainment and event technology solutions, announces two product innovations – PRG Infinity SPACEFRAME™ and PRG Ingest – which are supporting Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s “On the Run II” Tour. The new Infinity SPACEFRAME which serves as a kinetic backdrop on stage and Ingest, a new technology that archives camera images created on tour, are industry firsts.
PRG’s SPACEFRAME™ is an innovative carbon fiber touring frame created by PRG Projects, a division of PRG which specializes in developing and integrating proprietary solutions to the rigors of the production and entertainment industry. It was launched on 2017’s U2’s “Joshua Tree” Tour and “On the Run II” is the second concert tour to feature the product. For this tour, Stufish (the designers of both “Joshua Tree” and “On the Run II” tours) wanted to have a clean look, visually eliminating all support structures and rigging. To do that, PRG Projects came up with a solution called “Infinity SPACEFRAME™” where the rigging and support structure are integrated on the back of the SPACEFRAME™, invisible from audience view. Video content on the screen is now edge-to-edge without visual barriers as a classic screen would have. It gives it a monumental look and creates a new type of immersive viewing experience. The Infinity SPACEFRAME™ makes the most of the PRG SPACEFRAME™ concept by utilizing the structural capabilities of the video screen as part of the automated tracking support. It ultimately saves truckloads of additional support structure.
“Designing custom LED and video solutions for live events is a core part of what PRG Projects does. Beyond what we develop for PRG, we work directly with designers to create unique staging solutions that allow them and performers to be as creative as possible,” said Frederic Opsomer, managing director, PRG Projects. “We are constantly thinking of what is next, how do we improve on what we’ve already done. The new Infinity SPACEFRAME™ allows for moveable LED screens in an operational effective set up which aids the dynamic energy Beyoncé, Jay-Z and other performers create during the show.”
The stage design for “On the Run II” Tour includes two LED screens with SPACEFRAME™. The secondary – or upstage – screen is 55 feet x 35.4 feet (16,8-meter-wide and 10,8-meter-high) with ROE’s CB8 LED. The bottom section of the upstage screen is automated with three SPACEFRAME™ panels that open like garage doors, enabling the musicians’ rolling risers to enter and exit the main stage. The upstage screen stands behind a four-tiered opera box style performer platform. The main - or downstage - screen is divided into 12 automated sections. This allows for different dramatic scenes and settings and provides Beyoncé and Jay-Z different entry and exit scenarios. The new Infinity SPACEFRAME™ screen, with GALAXIA’s WV9 air transparent LED, measures 173.2 feet x 43.3 feet (52,8-meter-wide and 13,2-meter-high) when closed and hangs on motorized carts that move left and right on a track. The carbon fiber fabrication and built-in wind bracing provides the stability that structural engineers demand in order to have a screen of this size move around on a track.
“There is currently no other framing system that can do this, it’s a perfect example of designers really pushing the product to the limits and having free reign for their ideas. A symbiosis rarely seen in our industry,” said Opsomer.
“On the Run II” Tour is also implementing PRG Ingest. Ingest is a new technology that allows the capture of concert footage in real time from up to 24 isolated camera feeds. Each camera feed - or channel – will be ingested in the server, processed, and via the network pushed to an external storage drive.
Traditionally, footage from a single camera is captured on a single recorder, then after a show, each file on the drive is copied over to a separate hard drive. This is an intensive process that can take many hours as the transfer can take up to one hour per camera.
“With the Ingest system, we can create a show record on an external drive of all channels in nearly real-time and still have a back-up copy on the server should anything go wrong,” said Wolfgang Schram, director of video engineering, PRG. “The servers also get time coded, so all recordings have real time and can be used in an edit right away.”
In order to handle the 6.2 TB of data that “On the Run II” Tour generates per night, PRG uses six media servers which simultaneously make copies of what is recorded, transcode it to a pro res 422 file and push it over a 10GigE network on an external NAS drive.
PRG Alliance member Visual Europe Group collaborated with FINA to deliver LED screens and lighting for the FINA Men's Water Polo World League Super Final 2018, which took place on 18-23 June 2018 at the Duna Arena in Budapest.
The audience in the arena could see every angle of the matches due the LED screen supplied by Visual Europe Group, who was also in charge of content creation and control. In total they delivered 370 square meters of LED panels for perimeter wall, screens and scoreboards.
On the first day of the event there was an opening ceremony with a special performance by acrobats in aerial silk and hops over the swimming pool – where the lighting technology provided for the event highlighted the show.
Universal Brand Development and Fast Live Productions, a joint venture between Epsilon Partners and Brand Events, have called upon the expertise of PRG and Panasonic to create ground-breaking projection mapping in order to push the boundaries of live event production.
PRG, the full-service technical production specialist, and Panasonic, the Japanese manufacturer of projection and AV systems, are currently touring the UK and Europe, delivering spectacular AV and projection on Fast and Furious Live – the action-packed live arena show celebrates the Fast and Furious film franchise and features fast cars, record-breaking LED, precision driving and 3D projection mapping.
Fast and Furious Live is the brainchild of Rowland French, creative director and executive producer of Fast and Furious Live, who drafted in the expertise of Simon Aldridge, production director, Tom Rees, project manager, Ala Lloyd, set designer and Bruno Poet, lighting designer, to produce the arena show.
Aldridge approached James Morden, project director LED at PRG XL Video, in early 2016 and began discussions on how best to deliver Fast Live Productions’ desired vision for the high octane and fast-paced touring production.
The arena show, which had its world premiere at The O2, features a 8k resolution screen that measures 26 metres wide and nine metres high and comes complete with five doors that raise to allow the stars of the show – 42 vehicles – to seamlessly enter and exit the show floor.
Morden, responsible for the tour’s video elements, worked with Aldridge to develop a spectacular production that would help place the audience in the show’s narrative. To achieve this end, it was, therefore, vital that PRG worked in close collaboration with Panasonic, BlackTrax and Brilliant Stages to create important elements for the technically advanced live event.
Fast and Furious Live’s end screen plays a pivotal role in the show, as do 48 Panasonic PT-DZ21K projectors, which provide incredible detail, clarity and colour perception.
The show’s content – developed by Kate Dawkins Studio and Dandelion and Burdock – was custom-made to fit Morden’s original pixel map that was created in March 2016: Almost two years before the show debuted to a packed audience of Fast and Furious fans.
To develop a spec, Morden, alongside PRG’s Stefaan Michels (director of music), Leroy Murray (projects director) and Chris Holz (project manager), assessed the show’s other elements – venue constraints, scenery, effects, lighting, audio and rigging – before deciding upon a basic projector arrangement.
Morden explained: “Once we had confirmed final technical delivery requirements, we increased our ownership of Panasonic PT-DZ21K projectors and fibre distribution equipment in order to deliver 48 blended projectors across the show floor and huge end wall.
“On the server side, we also increased ownership of Disguise 4x4pro servers [formerly d3), with SDI VFC cards and acquired further Notch licenses for real-time visual effect generation.”
He continued: “The big technological aspect of the job for PRG was BlackTrax technology – this is a real-time 3D environment object tracking system, which was pushed further than it has ever been before.
“BlackTrax allowed us to place markers onto objects such as cars, actors and scenic pieces and through an array of infrared cameras, we are able to locate them in real-time. This enabled the team to cut projected images. We knew that by using this tech we could safely project a floor image onto the floor and not on the roof of a moving vehicle,” Morden continued.
“Furthermore, myself and the team were able to take a live position feed from Brilliant Stages’ automation system in to our media servers so that we did not project content when the doors in the end wall were raised.”
Four projectionists, one media server programmer/operator and a BlackTrax engineer are currently touring the UK with Fast Live Productions, ensuring all video and projection elements on Fast and Furious Live run smoothly. Now that the show is touring, the crew begin loading in at 4am and within 36 hours (multiple shifts), the entire show is built and flown: Projectors are lined up, trimmed for colour and intensity and BlackTrax is calibrated.
Morden praised the incredible “team effort” that it has taken to deliver a show that will visit 24 cities in 15 countries, including Germany, Switzerland and Spain.
Morden said: “This project has required the amazing hard work and effort of an experienced team. From the very beginning, we have ensured that even small challenges have not impacted on what is a huge production.
“For example, we had some custom metalwork fabricated to better rig the projectors. This simplified the rigging process and speeded up load in and load out.
“While the sheer scale of this endeavour is daunting, and expectations on this project are extremely high, one of the biggest challenges on this project has been the packaging: In other words, how we present the equipment to go out on tour, to make the rig as simple to build as possible and as easy to manage and de-rig.
“Thankfully, we have an incredibly bright and efficient team that decided upon ‘projector doughnuts’; a relatively simple solution to keep projectors in pairs for travel, as well as rigging. This has reduced the number of projector boxes from 50 to 26. This means less trucking and packing and has made load in and load out easier and faster,” Morden concluded. “Or should that be more fast and furious!”