News

As the leading global production services solution provider PRG is continually working on some of the most creatively challenging projects; developing the next generation of technology and redefining the industry as well as our company. Keep track of it all in our news updates and case studies. We will also be posting articles and videos featuring some of our industry's compelling creative thinkers; designers and luminaries.

Linkin Park

Linkin Park The Hunting Party Tour

Linkin Park continues to break new ground, with a string of No.1s and platinum awards, and audiences are clamoring to see the band in action on The Hunting Party tour. The band’s tour is again in the expert hands of long-time production manager Jim Digby. Digby in turn was delighted to extend his relationship with video services vendor PRG Nocturne for the tour, along with video director Skip Twitchell and the band’s DJ and visual designer Joe Hahn. The tour specified PRG Nocturne’s V-Thru, PRG’s proprietary display product which offers a wide range of design possibilities due to its incredible 66% transparency.



“We saw V-Thru on Nine Inch Nails’ tour and were immediately bowled over,” says Digby. “The great thing about transparency in this form is that video content and lighting interact so seamlessly, that it’s a whole new ball game for show design.”

PRG Nocturne originally manufactured the screen at the request of Nine Inch Nails’ production designer LeRoy Bennett who was looking for a way of achieving his vision and wasn’t finding it with the existing ‘low-res’ transparent screens. Working with Ron Proesel, technical designer for PRG Nocturne, they designed and delivered the solution with V-Thru, and Linkin Park is the latest benefactor of the technology.

“It was Joe Hahn who initially saw the potential,” says Skip Twitchell, who pilots a Panasonic AV-HS400A switcher during the show, alongside video engineer Jason ‘Spikey’ Harvey. “Joe had seen some clips of it and was fascinated by the transparency, so we put together this cube design where we have both a back and front surface that surrounds Joe and the drum riser, plus another area in the middle.

Twitchell explains, “Being far enough in front of the tour, we set up a V-Thru demo at PRG’s LA facility and invited Ghost Town Media, Linkin Park’s regular content creators, to see exactly what it can do. They liked what they saw and were able to visualise what they’d achieve with one screen in front of another. Consequently, they were motivated to produce some 3D-looking content that took the best advantage of the product.”

The standard sizing of each V-Thru panel is 4.5 feet tall with a fixed six foot width. Its pixel pitch is 28mm, however, due to PRG Nocturne’s custom lensing method, the end result appears much ‘tighter’ than 28mm, according to Twitchell, who is also a fan of the product’s tourability. He comments: “Aside from the fact that the frames holding the pixels are 66% air, the reason that they can be so transparent is that the header above the screen contains everything – power supply and onboard transformer – needed to run a full column, with the cabling trunked down vertical support rails.” The tour’s video crew chief and LED technician is Jordan Goodfellow.

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Whatever USA
12/14/2014

Whatever, U.S.A.

When Anheuser-Busch’s marketing partner Mosaic asked PRG ‘Are You Up for Whatever?’ PRG answered with a resounding yes. For this unprecedented experiential marketing event the town of Crested Butte, CO was transformed into a completely immersive experience for 1,300 social media fans of Bud Light. Mosaic relied upon PRG to handle all the production and logistical solutions needed to realize their ambitious goals, including converting the local ice rink into an EDM event space with a complete lighting/audio and video rig plus a full venue surrounding 360˚ projection screen. Out on the main street, Elk Street, a full mainstage with rooftop patio at one end of the street was erected and at the other end of the street an entry arch, again with rooftop access was built. All totaled PRG worked on 15 separate locations setting up and supplying equipment, crew and coordination. For the entire scope of production elements—crew, lighting, video, audio, rigging, and camera packages as well as all of the logistics and coordination in multiple venues throughout the town PRG’s team brought solutions that realized this incredible concept and created an unforgettable one-of-a-kind experience.


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IIFAA

International Indian Film Academy Awards

The annual International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) Awards came to the U.S. for the first time in 2014. The massive awards show took place in Tampa’s Raymond James Stadium on Saturday, April 26. Production Resource Group, LLC. (PRG), the production partner with the award show’s producer Wizcraft, provided all of the production elements—lighting, video, audio, and scenic as well as furnishing complete production management and site-coordination services. The IIFA Awards, which aired on the Star World Network, honored artistic and technical excellence in Bollywood, India’s famed Hindi-language film industry that sells more than three billion tickets every year.

The IIFA Awards, also known as the Bollywood Oscars, has been held annually around the world in cities including London, Amsterdam, Johannesburg, and Toronto, to name a few. The 2014 extravaganza marked the show’s 15th year.

The IIFA Awards included a week filled with events based on Indian film, fashion, music, business, and culture, with the climax being the IIFA Award ceremony. The weekend is typically as big as Super Bowl weekend, drawing over 30,000 visitors, and the ceremony being broadcasted to 600 million viewers in 108 countries.

PRG coordinated all of the technical and logistical aspects for the massive production taking place at Raymond James Stadium as well as peripheral events at the Mid-Florida Amphitheatre in Tampa. PRG brought in Ola Melzig of M & M Production Management AB, Stockholm to be the technical director for the event. Melzig has technically managed many large events including Commonwealth Games and Eurovision Song Contests.

The production was a turnkey solution provided by PRG supplying production management, lighting, rigging, audio, video, stage, set, site coordination, green carpet, pyro, and the crew for it all.

The IIFA Awards show was produced by Wizcraft. Personnel from Wizcraft included Executive Producer Viraf Sarkari, Producer Prapti Malhotra, Operations Manager Manmeet Singh, and set designer Varsha Jain. All of the video content was produced by Wizcraft and operated by Screens Producer Laura Frank. The Lighting Designer was Eugene O’Connor with Aloysius Dsouza handling the lighting programming.

“The IIFA Awards are the Indian equivalent of the Oscars with 800 million viewers worldwide,” says lighting designer Eugene O’Connor. “Cinema is huge there, and the awards show lasted more than five hours. It had a very big open and included production numbers with 60-70 dancers.” O’Connor’s gear list included ___ PRG Bad Boy Spots that he used for front light from the top of the stadium as well as down the sides of the stadium; 85 Clay Paky Sharpy units; and 30 SGM XC-5 Color Strobe LED RGB. Control was via a MA Lighting grandMA2 console.
The massive stage at Raymond James Stadium measured 62’H x 132’W x 63’D stage (approx. 19 x 40 x 19 meters).

O’Connor had 85 Sharpys on the IIFA Awards; 16 on the floor across the front of the stage and 14 across the back. There were six vertical towers with three or four Sharpys on each, plus a number on the roof over the stage. O’Connor commented that “when you light for TV you tend to light for FOH, but I light for many different angles. I like a lot of heights, and I let light wrap around the stage so everything is very big, bright and colorful.”

Three grandMA2 full-size consoles and one grandMA2 light were deployed for the show. “Console one was for all the moving lights, console two was its back up, console three operated the PRG Mbox media servers and console four, the grandMA2 Light, was its back up,” explains Melzig. “With the schedule as tight as it was during load in and rehearsals on stage from 10 am to 4 pm daily, once the stage was ready grandMA 3D was crucial for the lighting team,” Melzig says.

O’Connor decided to do a lot of pre-programming, so programmer Dsouza deployed grandMA 3D on his Apple MacBook Pro, which was connected to a plasma screen for external display. “We only had three days for programming while the crew was rigging lights and getting all aspects of the show ready,” Dsouza says. “The show also had the challenge of being outdoors with sunset timings.”

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10/21/2014 About PRG

PRG expands into the Emirates

October 21, 2014 — Production Resource Group, L.L.C. (PRG), the world’s leading supplier of entertainment and event technology headquartered in New York, is acquiring Dubai-based Gearhouse, L.L.C., the largest provider of turnkey event production services across the Gulf Region. PRG Chairman & CEO Jeremiah J. Harris and Peter McCann, the Managing Director of Gearhouse, L.L.C jointly announced the acquisition today.

Founded in 1994, Gearhouse, L.L.C. has long been established as the market leader with a client portfolio that includes international touring artists The Rolling Stones, Muse, Rihanna, Eric Clapton, and The Prodigy, along with leading global production companies, government agencies and a growing list of key regional venue partners.

For PRG’s worldwide clients this acquisition means that they will now have access to a complete range of technical expertise and production resource solutions when working in the United Arab Emirates and Gulf Region. PRG can now ensure that their clients can be confident in the quality of product, production expertise, and professionalism when working in this important and quickly expanding event location.

“By acquiring Gearhouse, we will be able to significantly increase our local support for our many customers that produce events and shows in Dubai and the Gulf Region”, said PRG’s Harris. “Now we can offer them the same high level of customer service and innovative, reliable technical solutions as our clients expect, wherever they are producing an event.”

With immediate effect, Gearhouse, L.L.C. will be rebranded PRG Gearhouse as its Dubai headquarters joins PRG’s network of over 40 locations in key cities across the US, UK, Germany, France, Belgium, Spain, The Netherlands, Switzerland, China, Australia, Argentina, and Japan.

Tom Van Hemelryck, PRG’s Vice President, Global Special Events, comments: “Gearhouse is a tremendous addition to PRG’s global team. With their talent, knowledge, expertise and existing client base, Gearhouse will allow PRG to unlock significant potential in this fast growing market. I’m personally delighted to be playing a significant role in this new venture and look forward to the obvious advantages of having people and equipment on the ground when servicing our existing global clients who have become increasingly attracted to delivering events in this region.”

“We have a market here that is rapidly maturing and I regard the creation of PRG Gearhouse as a significant milestone in that process,” comments Peter McCann, co-founder and Managing Director of Gearhouse, L.L.C. “Over the last 20 years, we have established a client base that has become more sophisticated in their expectations of the standard of delivery and of what production really means. As PRG Gearhouse we will be able to exceed their expectations as we will undoubtedly attract the best levels of talent to our region because PRG’s reputation is second to none.”

McCann’s long-term vision for Gearhouse was to be part of a like-minded global organization. “Aside from organizational synergies, we felt PRG shared our highest level of customer service and operational best practices in how we deliver production solutions to our clients and our role in driving internationally recognised health & safety standards in this region. PRG shares my belief that there is a significant opportunity to extend Gearhouse from a regional leader to part of a global organization that will allow us to further differentiate ourselves from regional competition and strengthen our ability to service our customers.”

Leading a workforce of more than 100 full-time employees, McCann’s management team – Bruce MacLean, General Manager; Lee Price, Director of Planning; Dave Emery, Director of Operations; and Harriet Stewart, Area Sales Manager – share the excitement of merging the skills of their existing staff and technical inventory with those of PRG’s global assets.

One of the key benefits of the acquisition will be the way PRG Gearhouse will be able to interact with its European and UK colleagues to strategically utilize resources throughout the entire year. “Our summer normally equates to three and a half months of quiet business, and because of temperatures of around 50°C (112°F), it is impossible to stage outdoor events,” says McCann. “Meanwhile, we have an expansive inventory of premium LED stock, moving lights, rigging, automation, backline, and audio systems including L-Acoustics’ K2 line arrays sitting idle. That will no longer be the case because we’re delivering at a level that absolutely matches what PRG offers in Europe during the festival season. As a consequence, our own people are now able add to their career development by playing a valuable part in those European festivals at a different level than any other company in this market can offer. Conversely, the Dubai office will now have greater access to human and technical resources in our busy season between October and April.”

Short- and long-term exchanges of staff between PRG Gearhouse and other territories within the PRG group are expected in the future, providing what Peter McCann regards as an “idyllic opportunity” to cross-train, pool market intelligence, and broaden cultural experience.

“As an employer, the ability to present to the current staff the prospect of them working for the largest production services provider in the world is one of the most exciting moments in my career,” comments McCann. “Moreover, this market likes to do business with proven players and our clients are now working with the biggest of them all along with the level of technology and quality of execution that they have seen on the Olympic Games and other seriously high profile global events,” McCann says. “Our government clients are just as excited because they know this is a great brand builder for the region, so there is an enormous amount of confidence out here right now.”

“I look forward to working closely with Gearhouse, who know this region so well,” on the many opportunities to support both existing and new clients, Harris concludes. “PRG and Gearhouse are extremely well aligned as both companies provide a multi-discipline, integrated product to our clients. I am impressed with what Peter and his team have built at Gearhouse. The joining of our two companies, I am confident will be to the benefit of our clients, which is our top priority.”

Subject to customary closing conditions, the closing of the acquisition is expected to be effective on October 31, 2014

The PRG Gearhouse building:

Gearhouse productions (examples):

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Taste of Toronto

Taste of Toronto

For the inaugural Taste of Toronto Festival, PRG’s client IMG trusted us to provided the entire video, audio and lighting solutions. Included among the multiple venues supported by PRG where two cooking demonstration kitchens. PRG used an overhead video camera/playback solution to allow the guests to follow step by step the award-winning chefs as they prepared mouthwatering dishes. The Taste was held on the grounds of Toronto’s Fort York, requiring PRG to help coordinate the logistical details of loading in and operating on the sensitive historic site.

PRG Account Executive: Ben Renzella

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Lara Fabian

PRG supports Lara Fabian Tour

PRG EML Productions is delighted to accompany Belgian-Canadian singer Lara Fabian on an intimate tour that will take her through Germany, Czech Republic, Lithuania, Bulgaria, Romania, Moldova, Azerbaijan, Finland, Sweden, Estonia, Slovakia and the USA.

Pierre Sarazin, Lara Fabian’s Manager, has chosen work with PRG EML on this tour, stating:

“What defined my choice were the people I get to work with. The fixtures are mostly available everywhere on the market. There is always a lot of pressure in this business, a lot of things are to be done last minute and it’s important for me to work with people I share a certain loyalty and intellectual bond with. We must be able to keep the magic of the show, although there are hard patches from time to time, we always find solutions together. In the past months, I’ve installed a brand new team around Lara. My goal is to keep this team, grow together and give Lara a stable environment, both technically and humanly. I want everything to be perfect before each show so that Lara doesn’t have to care about anything [other] than the songs. Later, for Lara’s return to the bigger scenes, I know I will be able to count on PRG as a worldwide group. I can definitely use the PRG network and rely on the support of other subsidiaries in France, USA, Brazil and so on.“ 


Tour Manager : Pierre Sarazin
Production Manager : Tony Panico
Front of house : Patrick Duim Demoustier
Retour : Igor Dockx
Sound technician : Christophe Desodt
Lighting design : Jan Vuerstaek
Light operator : Joeri Diddens
Light technician : Jeroen Minten

See more pictures from PRG supporting Lara Fabian

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How To Train Your Dragon

Projection Reaches New Heights with High-Flying Dragons

The immersive environment of DreamWorks’ How To Train Your Dragon Live Spectacular pushes projection technology. Not wanting to rest on their laurels, Global Creatures, the masterminds behind the #1 grossing world tour of 2010—Walking with Dinosaurs, are once again amazing audiences and pushing the entertainment technology envelope. Having teamed up with DreamWorks Animation, they are now sending dragons soaring through arena skies and immersing audiences in the mythical Viking world of DreamWorks’ How To Train Your Dragon Live Spectacular. Based upon DreamWorks' Academy Award®-nominated film, How to Train Your Dragon, the production has the largest number of animatronics ever to tour the globe, including the beloved dragon Toothless, who weighs over 7,500 pounds and flies over 1.2 miles during a performance. That is equivalent to having a Range Rover soaring through the arena.

Four years in the making, the show maximizes every inch of performance space as dragons soar overhead and effects encompass the arena including large-scale cinematic projections. To engage the audience, Director Nigel Jamieson and the design team have carefully balanced the amazing creature technology with production values of equally impressive scope to let the dragons inhabit a believable world. Sonny Tilders, the Creative Director, and his team at the Creature Technology Company, the animatronics arm of Global Creatures, produced 23 dragons representing 12 different species, some with wingspans of up to 46-feet.

Because of the turning radius needed by the dragons, the entire arena floor is utilized, which has pushed all the technology in terms of quantity, placement, and coverage. In order to create a suitable stage environment for creatures of such scale the Production Designer Peter England; Projection and Costume Designer Dan Potra; Lighting Designer Philip Lethlean, and Sound Designer Peter Hylenski have designed richly integrated production elements on an unprecedented scope.

One scene that really exemplifies the beautiful integration of the various production values is when the dragons and actors dive underwater. “Everyone talks about the underwater scene,” notes Production Manager David Wright. “From the production end it is one of those scenes that is very satisfying in how the audience experiences it; it is the magic at work. Nigel [Jamieson] and the designers are talented illusionists; the way the lighting and the video work makes that magic happen. In the underwater scene there is fantastic lighting, amazing video and sound effects, and then we have eight bubble machines around the perimeter of the show floor. Bubbles filled with helium rise up to the ceiling. It is a wonderful moment in the show; an absolutely lovely scene.

Integration on Dragons really was literally a top-down endeavor explains Wright. “It is hard to take one department and look at their individual challenges; everyone had to really embrace the fact that it is an integrated show. When we trim A/V it has a cascade effect. Everyone has to trim with the tracks; all choices were determined by consideration of all the departments. That was an important part of the process in planning the show down in Sydney. It was definitely a big benefit to have one company, PRG, supplying all the production packages. As I said the integration factor for this show is key to its success. The fact that they had an overview of all the departments alleviated a lot of concern that the left hand didn't know what the right hand was doing. Everyone working together has made it so much easier, especially as changes or adjustments needed to be made; PRG can work as a single group to make those adjustments.

There are two rigging systems on Dragons, one is the first-ever touring flight track system, which weighs over 28-tons, for the animatronic dragons. The other rig is a static conventional truss system, for the production elements, that has a stage right and stage left truss that go the entire length of the show floor with a cross run of truss at mid-arena that runs between them. “The rigging required a lot of focus at the start,” comments Wright. “PRG's first task was the rigging and they delivered a system that has really worked for all the departments; it is the building block for the whole show. From there they then integrated all the lights, sound, video, and special effects packages from that. The integration on all of that through PRG has been great.

The primary challenge for the entire team—designers, puppeteers, and  technicians—was figuring out how to stay within the roof weight limits.  “That was something that all the departments really had to address and it  took a lot of work to get it down to weight and keep the integrity of the  show,” describes Wright. “When we originally put the show together in  Sydney we were at 98-tons (196,000 lbs), then we got down to 84-tons  (168,000 lbs), which was still too much for the arenas in North America  so we had to cut back again to make it fit. The guys back at PRG were constantly coming up with ideas of how to combine stuff so that we had less weight; in projection alone they cut three tons for us by changing the hanging method. Right now we are at 153,000 lbs and nothing was lost that affects the show.

Cutting down weight and fitting into the crowded rigging meant that the projection—a central aspect of the Dragons show—would need to be carefully laid out. Projection is the primary scenic element and is at the heart of both transforming the arena and transporting the audience to the Viking world. The projection spans more than 20,000 square feet throughout the entire arena with an upstage center projection wall; custom built out of a perforated sheet metal that is equivalent to nine movie screens combined. There are wings on either side of the center wall, which are built up over the seats. The production also covers the full arena floor with its own flooring and ground rows to create an enormous projection surface. PRG Nocturne provided the video playback system and the projection system. The show has 26 Barco FLM R22 20K projectors. Playback is handled on three PRG Mbox EXtreme media servers providing content—two main and one backup.

When you are projecting video over an entire arena floor plus the entire surface of the set and wings into the seats, it takes a lot time trying to find places that will work for the physicality of the image,” explains David Lemmink, PRG Nocturne General Manager & Director of Engineering. “There was a lot of math involved to figure out all of the projector distances. Adding to the challenge was finding the positions in the crowded rig; we are literally within inches of other devices. We had to have enough throw distance but not be obstructed by the rig or any of the objects that are flying through the area.” Both Wright and Lemmink noted that obviously there are times when the dragons do cross paths with the projection beam but quickly point out that if an actual dragon flew through the air it would make a shadow.

The final positioning has the projectors shooting down onto the arena floor actually mounted straight down. Damian Walsh, Operations Manager at PRG Nocturne, notes, “We worked with a lot of people at Barco to make sure that this was a feasible possibility and to clear the mounting method with them. We knew that lamp flicker would be imminent to some extent, so we started with brand new lamps for everything. They are now running the show going on a six-lamp rotation; we rotate six lamps ever 200 hours to keep the overall brightness of the show at a good level. Having the support of Barco, like we have, has been invaluable.

The bulk of the projectors are hung on the stage right and stage left trusses projecting onto the floor. There is another set of projectors that hang mid-arena, about where the scoreboard might be, that project onto the front of the set itself. The side wings are projected onto from the ends of the left and right trusses on either side. Lemmink points out, “Every position has at least two projectors. For some areas there are an overlap of up to four projectors. Everything is edge-blended so that it appears seamless between the quadrants on both the floor and on the set itself. Then there are two HD rasters—floor and set—that are played back by the Mboxes and are synchronized with the soundtrack and dialog. Obviously to do a raster of the size of an entire arena floor, the projection distance becomes extremely critical especially since we are projecting straight down so we are limited by the size of the image that we can create, which essentially required us to break the floor raster into six specific regions that each overlapped. Each one of those uses the extreme spec of the FLM 22K projector. In other words, we are about at worst-case as wide as you can go with those projectors.

Walsh describes the issues with selecting lens. “We have three double-stacked projectors shooting straight down for a total of six projector stacks; three on each side. It took a couple of weeks of finding the correct math to get these images stacked correctly. The projector trims at 13m – 17m (42.65-feet – 55.77-feet) to the edge of the lens; the trim changes depending on the venue. We are using a fixed lens, which is the worst thing possible to actually have to be using, but with the trim height that we are playing at we couldn’t go to the first zoom lens. Everything has to be digitally zoomed inside the machine, which of course can cause problems itself. But that’s why we have the genius of the amazing projectionists we have out there. We sent two of our best projectionists—Justin McLean and Drew Welker.

Walsh continues, “The higher trim works better for everybody, because 17m falls into what the native throw of the lens is. That’s why we used the 4:3 projectors instead of HD projectors because it’s more of a square surface than a rectangular surface; 4:3 just made more sense. Since the projectors for the floor are stacked we needed to get the image to lens as close enough together as we can, one is upside down and one’s right way up to get the lenses as close together as possible.

For the upstage center screen a standard shooting style is employed with four projectors, two each that are double stacked to hit the center screen. “This was redesigned because the projectionists weren’t happy with the brightness of the image that they were getting to work with every day,” comments Walsh. “When we used a fixed lens it was somewhat fish-eyed and it’s got the biggest, widest aperture in the whole suite of lensing. So we ended up going to the shortest zoom lens that Barco makes for the FLM projector; it’s like a 1.4.

Having addressed the challenges and stretched the boundaries of the Barco projectors, Walsh concludes. “We are all really proud here at PRG Nocturne to be part of this production. It was amazing to work with Global Creatures. They have a very clear vision of what they want to achieve and it’s exciting to have a client with a great dream but is also realistic about attaining it. They were extremely flexible, willing to compromise, yet knew how to never compromise the show. The whole group was just phenomenal and I can't say enough about David Wright; each different venue poses a whole new set of challenges and I know he is the right man to handle them.

After a hugely successful run in both Australia and New Zealand, How To Train Your Dragon Live Spectacular flew into the United States on the North American leg of the tour. The show's worldwide tour is produced by RZO Dragon Productions and exclusively promoted by S2BN Entertainment.

Creative Credits:
Nigel Jamieson: Stage Adaptation & Director
Sonny Tilders: Creative Director
Peter England: Production Designer
Gavin Robins: Movement Director & Associate Director
Dan Potra: Costume and Projection Designer
Philip Lethlean: Lighting Designer
Peter Hylenski: Sound Designer

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