PRG’s New Concert Touring Products on U2’s eXPERIENCE + iNNOCENCE Tour
Pure10 and Rolling Video Floor Risers elevate the touring industry
LOS ANGELES – May 14, 2018 – Production Resource Group LLC, (PRG), the world’s leading provider of entertainment and event technology solutions, announces two product innovations - Pure10 and Rolling Video Floor Risers - which have been integrated into the design, production and operations for the U2 eXPERIENCE + iNNOCENCE Tour. Both solutions demonstrate PRG’s dedication to innovating products that respond to the needs of artists, tour designers and managers seeking to push boundaries and deliver a more immersive concert experience.
“PRG has supported every U2 tour since 1992, and they always challenge us to be innovative with available technology or to create something new,” said Jeroen Hallaert, director of PRG Projects North America.
U2 eXPERIENCE + iNNOCENCE Tour is a follow up to the 2015 Songs for Innocence Tour for which PRG provided the video cage on the moving catwalk between the video screens. However, for the 2018 tour, U2’s creative team required high-resolution, super transparent LED video screens and an independent automated kinetic catwalk between the video screens. The purpose of the transparent LED video screens is to allow band members to perform amidst the LED walls (as during the 2015 tour) without creating a visual divide in the arena. It also provided the ability to integrate Augmented Reality into the show.
Further, the design team wanted the catwalk to be accessible by a moving staircase, and therefore the catwalk should move independently from the video screens. This added automated catwalk required more motors and equipment, thus adding weight. This meant PRG Projects had to find a solution to make not only high-resolution, super transparent LED video screens but also make it super light-weight.
In response to U2’s challenge to create a transparent LED wall, PRG Projects revolutionized the way LED screens are built and created the patent-pending Pure10. Rather than mounting the printed circuit boards (PCB) holding the LED in standard clunky frames, PRG Projects sliced the PCB in strips and turned them 90 degrees with the LED mounted on the side. This resulted in 75 percent transparency.
The added specially curated Augmented Reality scene-setter - triggered by the LED screen – required a transparent, high-resolution screen. The way PRG Projects chose to build the screen allowed for a 10mm pixel pitch. A pitch far superior than what PRG Projects initially imagined.
“The creative team and the band were looking for a LED screen that allowed them to use AR in the way they envisioned. Pure10 works so well thanks to the magic combination of the pixel pitch, the high transparency and the brightness,” said Hallaert. “The band now calls the screens and catwalk the barricage.”
Additionally, rather than metal fabrication to house or frame the Pure10, PRG Projects used knowledge gained from developing the SPACEFRAME® and engineered a fast-building system in carbon fiber. This resulted in the weight savings that the tour’s production team was looking for. It also gave free reign to the designers and the band to further use the automated catwalk creatively.
As with the innovative transport design for the SPACEFRAME, PRG Projects has advanced the way concert touring is taken on the road with Pure10 by maximizing space and volume in trucks, airplanes and sea containers. The number of trucks needed is cut in half compared to the 2015 tour. Further, when the equipment is used during the show, empty transport dollies fold, stack and roll away in the tiniest spaces. This allows for other departments to move around the venue more freely and makes for ergonomic and superior logistics for load-ins and load-outs.
Rolling Video Floor Riser
The Rolling Video Floor Riser is a revolutionary system in how it’s built and disassembled. Initially revealed last year, PRG Projects updated and upgraded it for U2 to be used as the round stage. Each riser is fitted with 2 LED modules offering a high resolution 4mm pixel pitch during performances. Each riser has integrated magnets to enable a speedy assembly - an LED Floor of up to 1,076 square feet can be set up in less than 20 minutes.
“The Rolling Video Floor Risers were developed to meet the short set-up and change-over times of LED flooring which is perfect for the concert touring and festival segment,” said Mark O’Herlihy, vice president of PRG Global Entertainment.
Not only do the Rolling Video Floor Risers dramatically reduce the set-up time for an LED floor on stage, they also are transported in especially fitted dollies, which contain six risers each. The dollies are 1.6 m in height, allowing shipment via airfreight on the lower deck, which drastically reduces the shipping costs.
It is the most visited ice show in the world - Holiday on Ice! This year, the production celebrates its 75th anniversary. "Atlantis" is one of two shows currently touring Germany and France, exciting its audiences with spectacular costumes, great choreography and impressive scenography.
Once again this year, PRG will return to Holiday on Ice’s frozen world and support the show in terms of event technology. In addition to rigging and audio technology, PRG also provides lighting and video technology.
Adam Bassett of Woodroffe Bassett Design is the lighting designer of the show. Among other things, he and his team have worked on the lighting for the Rolling Stones, Lady Gaga and the Olympic Games. Adam Bassett explains what aspects played a role in the implementation of the current tour:
"Whenever we develop projects, it's the interplay between the design and what we have available in terms of budget, equipment and technology to meet the specific design challenges. It was very helpful to work closely together with PRG from the start, trying to find technical solutions to the complexities, within our budget."
One of the technical highlights of this year’s tour are the ten automated Roll-up screens in the middle of the ice rink. For this, PRG uses six Panasonic PT-DZ21K projectors. The Roll-ups are controlled via DMX by the GrandMA2 console. The GrandMa2 console also controls the WO media server to track the different positions during the show. A completely redundant WO system is used as an output.
As a backdrop of the ice rink, we installed a large video projection. Two Barco HD projectors W f 26K project in different depths so that with the help of the WO system, the data is mapped and a 3D effect is created.
The projections also emphasize the costumes of the figure skaters and thus create the magical atmosphere of the lost city of Atlantis.
Kjell Peersman, Technical Manager of Holiday on Ice, is delighted with the successful video-technical implementation of the show content:
"We had to find a tailor-made solution to deliver video content on the automated roll-ups. PRG developed a great solution for this, making all boards and media servers communicate with each other. The result is just great! "
In addition to video technology, the lighting has been carefully adapted to the scenario of the show. A total of 40 Icon Edges were used. This moving head is a fast beam, spot and wash luminaire; it contains a wide range of gobos and offers a lot of lighting effects, which benefits the tour.
Bob Walpot, Director of Operations and Asset Strategy PRG, is satisfied with the technical solutions the team has created for the show:
"The combination of these video and lighting elements in synergy with the sumptuous costumes creates a wonderful and immersive show."
Holiday on Ice's Anniversary Tour is also a great success! In total, over 90 shows are performed. Till the end of February, the ice skaters will still enchant the audiences before Atlantis sinks back into the sea.
The 9th edition of the Longines Masters of Paris, European leg of the Indoor Grand Slam of Showjumping took place from Nov 30th to Dec 3rd.
This renowned competition is one of the most prestigious equestrian events worldwide, which attracts more than 50 000 spectators and is broadcasted in more than 120 countries.
PRG Belgium provided all lighting, video and sound for this 5* Event and premiered with 130 of its’ new sports lighting fixtures the Ephesus Arena Pro 300 in Europe.
Bruno Sepulchre, Production Director EEM, explains: “PRG accompanies us on the Longines Masters since numerous years. Their team is aware of our needs in terms of technology, services and flexibility but also has the broad and fundamental knowledge of the venues. Affinities create themselves and the way of work is reinforced with every production we do together.
I have been wanting to find an LED sports lighting fixture, which offers a irreproachable even lighting and that can be relit instantly in case of a small power failure or technical problem without any cooling time in Europe for years — it was my absolute dream — and it is absolutely fabulous that PRG made it possible for us! For me it is a fantastic achievement!”
The Ephesus Pro 300 LED sports lighting fixture provides a high quality flood lighting which meets the lighting standards of every arena sport.
The field of play is lit uniformly without any glare, unwanted shadows or hot spots. It’s an up to 50% energy saving spot lighting solution with colour tuning technology, which offers the possibility to flood the field in any colour from 3500K to 6500K and can be implemented in the show lighting to enhance the spectators experience. It is fully HDTV compliant and is rated IP66!
Frank Lombaers, Show Producer, adds: “The Longines Masters is much more than a sport event. It’s about lifestyle, it’s about luxury, it’s about presenting brands and all of this makes the Longines Masters what it is and what it has become since it first started as the Audi Masters in Brussels in 2004. At every production, and believe me, I have a long history of productions with PRG, their teams bring us absolute added value to the events we produce. A load of know-how, a lot of professionalism and a structure with which it is very good and trustworthy to work with worldwide!”
In addition to the lighting technology supplied by PRG, of which the lighting kit was composed of 130 Ephesus Arena Pro 300 and 32 Icon Edges for the competition area and 164 SGMs for the VIP zone and the seating zone of the spectators, PRG also provided three ROE MC7 LED screens and a comprehensive kit of 100 KIVA Acoustics.
Stephan Paridaen, President & COO of PRG Group, stipulates: “PRG is very proud to be associated with the Longines Masters Series globally because a lot of the production synergy and values that EEM and Longines are bringing to this sport, which I happen to be passionate about, are very tied to our PRG values — attention to detail, attention to quality, going global and making sure that the entire production and the services are of top-notch quality! We can supply products, we can provide technology but PRG stands for Productions Resource Group and that is really the value we bring to our customer.”
PRG would like to thank Christophe Ameeuw, CEO of EEM, creator, owner and organizer of the Longines Masters, Matthieu Gheysen, Bruno Sepulchre and Frank Lombaers for the trust they place in our 360° services and thank our own team for their great dedication and their great team-spirit which was complimented by the client.
In February 2018, the Longines Masters Series will open its’ doors in Hong Kong before heading to New York in April 2018.
The French indie Rockers Group Phoenix started its’ world Tour, Ti Amo, in North America in May this year, before rocking the festival season here in Europe, then hitting the Asian continent and returning for their shows in London and Paris this month of September.
Once the whole of the creative design in place, Live Nation France, renowned organizer of prestigious concerts worldwide, approached PRG France with a very ambitious and challenging set design needing to dazzle spectators on a festival stage as well as an Arena stage, without changing the design.
The guideline resumed itself in ‘modularity and time saving touring concepts’ for this Phoenix World Tour, for which PRG France pulled in the PRG Projects team, who specializes in the integration and development of unique staging and visualisation items.
In very close collaboration with the client, PRG France and PRG Projects met this thrilling challenge by engineering, customizing and producing 126 Rolling LED Floor Risers with integrated magnets to enable an assembly in less than 30 minutes of an LED floor of up to 93sqm during the changeover time of a festival.
The custom video risers were equipped with two ROE LED Black Marble 7 tiles each and had to be interlockable like Lego blocks.
Second, but no less of a challenge was the request for an inclined floating mirror on stage, just above the band, which needed to be built simultaneously. PRG Projects designed two sets of 100sqm of mirrors, weighing 2,8 tons, which were suspended in a very strong aluminium frame from a separate grid with bumpers above the stage, to withstand any eventual windy passages.
Matthias Leullier, Deputy Managing Director Live Nation France, comments: “I was very happy to work with PRG on a global production level for this project, because they came up with lots of solutions and managed to realize every aspect of this set design! Without PRG’s expertise and knowledge the whole thing would not have been possible!”
Thierry Kra, General Manager PRG France adds: “I would like to thank Matthias Leullier, for the utmost confidence he placed in us for this challenging project! It was an absolute pleasure to realize this standout design and stage setup with him!
Furthermore, I would like to thank the whole of the PRG Projects team as well as my own here in Paris for their dedication and team spirit! It was simply phenomenal!”
ECA2 produced a spectacular opening ceremony on the Danube in front of the Budapest Castle and the Chain Bridge in association with the Cultural center MÜPA Budapest for the Opening Ceremony of the World Swimming Championships on July 14th.
PRG France, contracted as lighting, sound, video projection, scenic LED displays, and power distribution (Aggreko), supported this technical and artistic production by transforming the historic centre and the Danube into a full-fledged massive show, entirely run by time-code.
PRG installed just over 600 projectors, including 350 ROBE projectors (BMFLs, Spiider, Pointe), 70 new PRG Icon Edges, SGM P5s and GLP X4 Bars, everything controlled by five GrandMA2 lighting consoles.
The audio system consisted of a complete L Acoustics kit (K2/K1Sub/SB28/SB18/Kara2/Arcsll), with a DANTE broadcast network, two Yamaha CL1 & CL5 consoles and a Digital Performer station.
In terms of video technology, PRG installed around 300m2 of LED Absen X5 screens on the background display columns, 8 mapping zones on the stage by video projection with Panasonic PTDZ21k, a video projection on a water-screen (Barco’s HDQ-40K VPs) and 100 autonomous HEX Panels with built-in media servers for the artists performing the choreography. The control booth had 4x D3 4x5 and 2x D3 2.5 servers.
This vast technical production was a joint effort between ECA2 and the PRG subsidiaries in France, Belgium, and PRG Projects, with technicians from across the globe (Belgium, France, Qatar, Estonia, Italy, Spain, China, and England). 1,800 working days were needed for pre-production, installation, and operation during the ceremony by our 42 technicians, operators and on-site managers.
The highlights of the ceremony were PRG Projects’ Hex Panels, which in combination with the video mapping on the scene, the LED columns and the projection images on the water-screen and the illumination of the castle, the bridge and the quays, illuminated the city beautifully.
Magical laser effects and a magnificent firework also accompanied this spectacular ceremony.
Once again, ECA2 succeeded in producing an extraordinary show combining technologies, special effects, art and scenography.
We would like to extend our warmest thanks to our long-time customer ECA2 for the trust they have placed in our PRG teams for the last 18 years, resulting each time in high quality result and sublime performances, thanks to a flawless commercial, technical and logistical collaboration.
Everyone involved in this project demonstrated excellent teamwork to deliver a truly sublime show! Thank you!
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.”
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
Production Resource Group, L.L.C., (PRG) organized its annual summit for the members of its global partner network program – PRG Alliance – during the Prolight + Sound 2017 trade fair at Messe Frankfurt.
Currently in its third year, the PRG Alliance has 15 members in 28 countries delivering high quality technical production services worldwide.
The theme for this meeting was “Building on Success”, and celebrated numerous collaboration projects among the members, including some from Italy, Poland, and Portugal. During the summit they shared success case studies and discussed future initiatives to promote greater business and information exchange.
“The PRG Alliance is praised by our clients and the market in general. What started with a recognition of PRG partners three years ago, today is a substantial network of remarkable companies – and the largest resource pool of knowledge, qualified professionals and inventory in the world,” said Tom Van Hemelryck, Director of PRG Alliance and PRG’s CEO Central Europe.
“We invited the lighting and video designers from The Voice Portugal, Marco Silva and Ricardo Maia, who shared their experience of using PRG’s proprietary products, Bad Boy moving lights and MBox media server, for the TV show,” continues Van Hemelryck.
During the event, a variety of activities for PRG Alliance were presented and these included training in project management; PRG’s Global Sales Officer Jens Zimmerman hosted a session on global account initiatives; opportunities for participation in international exhibitions were discussion; and the latest PRG proprietary equipment purchase options were delivered. The event ended with a demo of the new PRG exclusive Icon EDGE lighting fixture, and a lively networking dinner which gave the members further opportunity for networking and to discuss collaboration.
Production Resource Group LLC (PRG), the world’s largest supplier of technology and services for events and entertainment has appointed Tom Van Hemelryck as CEO of PRG Central Europe, the umbrella name for PRG Belgium, the Netherlands, France and Spain.
Van Hemelryck brings more than 20 years of experience in the entertainment industry and has been part of PRG since 13 years, during which he engaged various international positions within the last ten years.
He will mainly focus on harmonizing and optimizing the internal collaboration within the PRG Group for PRG Central Europe to effectively make use of the strong operational processes and teams of the group.
In his new role, Van Hemelryck will report directly to Stephan Paridaen, President and Chief Operating Officer of the PRG Group.
“I’m delighted to have Tom in this crucial leading position,” explains Paridaen. “He has proven his skills to identify growth opportunities and is able to apply the right commercial strategy in order to achieve those goals. These qualities are certainly beneficial to further support the team in Central Europe”.
“It’s a great honor to support the teams with whom I have been working for the past 13 years in terms of their future development and the optimization of the Central European organization.” says Van Hemelryck. “I highly value the cooperation within the group and I am convinced that we can continuously improve and strengthen the services and efficiency we have offered to our clients for more than 20 years.”
“About 20 years ago, I did my first freelance job for EML Productions and ended up working for ETF and PROCON in an international role. Today, working with Central Europe’s highly talented and motivated team feels like coming home. The circle is now complete.”
Tom will lead and work together with PRG’s Central European Management Team, Jan Van Malder - General Manager Entertainment Belgium, Alex Van Vlierberghe - Financial Director, Walter D’Haese - Production Director Entertainment Belgium, Bob Walpot - Head of Assets, Thierry Kra - General Manager PRG France, Laurent Boillot - Production Director and Account Manager PRG France and Xavier Thys - General Manager PRG Spain.
Currently one of the world’s biggest music artists, Drake is selling-out arenas around the globe. Following a hugely successful tour of North America, the show was brought to Europe.
Tour Director and Designer, Steve Kidd, and Lighting Director and Designer, Guy Pavelo, have both worked with Drake for more than five years, providing the designs for multiple tours, and use PRG to supply lighting and video technology for the tour worldwide, working with Curry Grant in North America, and Yvonne Donnelly Smith and Stefaan Michels for Europe.
The design incorporates multiple elements of lighting and video technology including a kinetic LED lighting system; a curved video wall; an array of lighting fixtures from high brightness beams to remote followspots; and video projection.
Guy Pavelo explains their approach to the design for the tour: “This was our fourth master rendition of the design. It was a conglomeration of different elements Drake liked. We spent five months on the design from the first plan. We would show Drake different elements and he would pick and choose what he liked most.
“One of his team found a stop-motion video of an art installation in Japan which was similar to our ball and winch set-up, and had little baseball-sized things which moved in one pattern over the course of about six hours, but since it was stop motion it looked like it took 20 seconds. They wanted us to recreate that.
“In order to accomplish this, we determined that we needed to make a gridwork for the spheres and not spread them out across the whole venue otherwise it wouldn’t make sense to anyone except in the last row.
The design started with a curved video wall built from 9mm LED. Guy explains: “We started with the curved wall, and then we created the set with the lifts and all of that stuff that Drake liked, and added the overhead structure which encompassed some of the house rig. With the kinetic addition, that’s what finally tied all the last pieces together and created the system over the deck.”
Steve Kidd continues: “That’s kind of our relationship with Drake. We come to him with our ideas, what we believe would be great concepts, he then takes those ideas and bends them a little, as all great artists do, and then we create a reality, knowing what our vendors are capable of, but we also have to be realistic about how we can actually tour it.”
Steve and Guy’s main consideration is making a design which can be easily toured around the world, packed into trucks and into venues quickly and easily. Guy explains: “A good part of that is how we worked with SGPS to build some of the elements, from the curved framework for the LED wall to the fact that every piece of truss up there which isn’t a cable bridge is custom made. We moved from 24 to 32 to 48-inch double-bay truss with a shorter leg set and cast assembly so that almost every lighting fixture on the show stays in the truss.
“The truss stacks three high in Europe in the trucks and four high in the States. It’s a time saver, personnel saver, and truck space saver. Yes, it’s big and consumes a little more floor space, but there are 700-800 winches up there that never need to be touched again.
“If we went with anything thinner to save on truck space, we would have a cart with pipes and poles, and we’d have to hang everything each day, which encompasses the potential for more failure, so this saves that.”
Steve agrees: “When building a new production, we’re always up against time. Time and space are the two things which we consider – particularly how much time we have to build the show and what it’s going to take space-wise to actually put it inside the venue.”
When planning shows, smaller venues or those with weight restrictions have to be taken into consideration. Guy Pavelo elaborates: “We’re up to the limit of the venue capacity in terms of what we can actually rig, but the guys aren’t killing themselves to load it in. We’re fortunate that a little extra money was able to be spent on custom truss so we could save the guys a little.”
A notable part of the show is the kinetic moving spheres which wow the audience at multiple points during Drake’s set. Guy explains how the system was developed: “The kinetic spheres are a collaborative project. Glow Motion Technologies gave us all the pieces - it’s actually two different components; the sphere, the physical plastic ball, and the LED chip inside all developed by Glow Motion Technologies. The winch itself is from Stage Kinetik, the hard-powered winch, data, and control, but Glow Motion handled acquiring all the necessary stuff to put it together.”
Steve Kidd continues: “The winch from Stage Kinetik does all the work. Initially when Guy and I first started talking about this design it wasn’t a sphere, but by luck we got these spheres from a mutual friend of ours. They were used on an auto show in Germany, and were sitting in storage. The spheres are what they are, but without the winch it simply doesn’t work.”
Guy explains: “Without the winch, it’s similar to an art installation where the lights just go on and off, but after a few seconds, you’re done looking at it. With this people watch it, and then there’s another number and it looks different, and people don’t stop watching it.”
A major addition to the show design for the European leg was the projection globe. Drake was keen to give everyone in Europe a different show to the one which had been seen in North America.
The addition of a B-stage and the globe with projection meant some adjustments to the kinetic system. There had been a fly rail as Drake flew for one song, but with that removed, the winch system could be tightened up.
Guy explains the inspiration for the new projection globe: “That was from an art installation that happened in Toronto this past season. It was called Death of the Sun and it was a 45ft round sphere on top of a pedestal which was projection mapped. It was a 12-15 minute progression which had the different stages of the sun – from the birth of the star, through the nebula, until it finally burns out.
“The guys who created that had dealt with Drake in the past, so we were fortunate that with one phone call we were able to secure the ideas and the original and get the ball rolling. Two days later we had an object to start playing with here in Europe.
“We have eight Panasonic 30k laser projectors which are what’s driving the globe itself – four double-stacks in quadrant, and the guys are using d3 and Blacktrax to map and track the ball as its inflated during the show, so we can realign and hit it completely.”
The addition of the globe meant a quick change to the set up in Europe, for which PRG needed to add projectors and media servers to the setup. Guy explains the fast response to their request: “We called up Yvonne Donnelly Smith (Director of Music, PRG XL Video) and said, ‘we have a situation where we’re going to need a substantial amount of adjustment to the design’. They opened the shop back up at the weekend, and got personnel back in for loading the truck on a Sunday, which I know doesn’t usually happen, and we had the equipment on the Monday. It was a rush, but every single fixture worked and every one of them was clean, and they were sitting there Monday morning waiting for us to show up. It was fantastic. It was no problem, they said ‘just give us the list and we’ll figure out how to deliver it’.”
Another addition for Europe was the use of Barco projectors and their moving mirror system. Guy explains how they’re used: “They are a concept which High End came up with originally in lieu of lasers. They’re not laser projectors, but you can put content into them which makes them look like a regular laser. You can broadcast out over the audience with no regulations, or health and safety restrictions, and it gives a different look and colour. You don’t get the super-vivid green laser beam but, past that, you get its own type of effect which works really well towards the end of the show.”
The lighting for the tour was designed to complement the kinetic sphere system with many fixtures chosen for their compact size, energy consumption, and high brightness and impact.
Guy Pavelo explains the choice of the lighting fixtures: “We have a range of fixtures – PRG’s Best Boy Spot HP and Best Boy Washes, a small boat load of the Icon Beam; plus Clay Paky Sharpy and Stormy; SGM P5 and Q7 LED fixtures; a quantity of the new High End Solaspot 1500 and LED Solawash 37, with Martin Atomics and GLP XBar 20 fixtures.
“The spots and washes are used for overhead coverage – the trick being the size of the units. We had a very specific size range as we didn’t want to take the fixtures out of the truss every day, and if they were any bigger, they wouldn’t fit in order to stack it and fit in the truck. The overheads needed to fire through the winch and spheres to cover the deck.
“We went with the Icon Beam because the beam that comes out of it is a step forward. Drake wanted a different look and the beam is bigger than a Sharpy. Having the beam with some width, but coming out of a small compact head really worked out.
“For Europe we added the P5 and Q7 to give different mood coverage and house coverage elements as well. For followspots, the team chose the use of PRG’s GroundControl remote followspot system which situates the fixture on the truss, but with the control unit on the ground. They have two operators out at front of house and four backstage because the show is built in two halves – a forward U which includes the B-stage and then the main stage package.
Guy found several benefits in using GroundControl for this tour: “We have the GroundControl Bad Boy Followspot – six of those. We always usually have truss spots up top but with pyros and having people up there kicking their feet around, that’s a problem when mixed with the kinetic, so the GroundControl is a saving grace in that regard.
“When we made the shift to Europe and having the B stage all we had to do was take two of the lights down, move them over 10 feet, plug them back in and we were done. It didn’t turn into a six hour process to move two truss spots with trees and flight lifelines.
“We’re already rigging close to max capacity in most of the venues. The fact that we would have to have six more guys up there with an extra 5000-6000lb overhead for safety was saved.”
Steve and Guy have worked with PRG globally for a number of years to supply tours they design. For them service and support is the key. Steve elaborates: “We find that PRG has been an excellent provider of every aspect of all our designs. What I love about them is that the support is there, not only from the sales side so that Guy can achieve his dream of what he’s trying to deliver to the artist, but also where I have to come in on a budget number. We can say ‘what do you have that nobody else has used yet or that has just come out and looks amazing’, and we also get the crew support which comes along with such a great product.
Steve continues: “PRG has been great for us both domestically in North America, and worldwide. PRG has been a great supporter of Drake, and now with them purchasing video companies, that has escalated our relationship because we can now get lighting and video all in one. One of the hardest things in touring is getting different vendors to blend together. They have a cohesive team which all works together.
“It was important for us to work with people who wanted to be partners, and I know with both Curry Grant and Yvonne Donnelly Smith that the partnership worldwide means a lot to them, but it means a huge amount to us because we can count on them.
“Our client is one of the biggest in music right now – selling more albums and selling-out more venues than any other artist currently, so his expectation is high, and as the designers, our expectation of our vendors is also high.”
PRG XL Video’s Yvonne Donnelly Smith comments: “We have worked with Steve and Guy for a while now and their designs always push the boundaries of creativity. We’re proud to be able to support them on a global basis, working with our colleagues in North America, across Europe and beyond. The current tour looks amazing and audiences are giving it a fantastic reaction wherever it goes!”
PRG XL Video, the UK operation of Production Resource Group (PRG), has been awarded Favourite Video Rental Company at the TPi Awards in London.
This is the thirteenth time the company has been awarded the prize, which is nominated and voted for by production industry peers and clients.
At the ceremony held at Battersea Evolution in South London, the award, which was sponsored and presented by media server manufacturer d3, was collected by PRG XL Account Director, Steve Greetham.
Steve comments: “It was great to win this award for our video work, which covers concert touring and festivals, theatre, television and corporate events. We had a busy year with a variety of different applications including massive screens at Creamfields and Isle of Wight festivals, through to a custom curved screen for Big The Musical, and video projection for a Royal Charity Gala, and it’s great to see video being used in such diverse ways.”
“We’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone who voted for us. It’s a really an honour to be recognised by our industry colleagues!”
PRG XL Video was also shortlisted in the Favourite Rigging Company and Favourite Lighting Rental Company categories.
PRG XL Video was also a sponsor at this year’s awards. The Live Production of the Year category at the awards was won by Coldplay’s A Head Full of Dreams World Tour.
For the fourth year in a row, PRG brought its expertise to its prestigious customer Van Cleef & Arpels during the 27th International Fine Watchmaking Exhibition, which opened its doors from the 16th till 20th of January 2017 in Geneva.
PRG highlighted the felted and friendly space where their newest and older models were exhibited, representing the excellence of the Fine Watchmaking of the brand through lighting and audiovisual services realized in its magnificent showroom. The ensemble giving the place an atmosphere where "Each watch tells a moment of grace, luck or happiness, inscribed in Poetic Time™."
The whole of the space, the Showcases, the Historical Gallery, the Trade Zones, as well as the magnificent Rotunda were illuminated by PRG using 800m of LED ribbons (RGB, RGB White, Warm / cold white), 200 mini LED spotlights 3W Lunéo (Hallier Process) and 40 Q7 LED projectors (SGM).
The traditional press room was highlighted from the ceiling by a video mapping activated with 2 video projectors HD 20K (Barco) and piloted by a Watchout V6 (Dataton) system.
PRG France is proud to have once again been part of this prestigious project by offering its professionalism and technical skills to its client Van Cleef & Arpels.
For the opening ceremony of Marseille’s European sports capital, Red Bull transformed the city center into a giant ice skating track.
PRG was technical supplier for the lighting, the power distribution and energy (Aggreko), sound system (in collaboration with Match Event) and video for this spectacular speed skating race that overlooked the old harbor.
PRG installed more than 180 moving lights for the architectural lighting around the skating track, 30 Best Boys, 25 Bad Boys, 30 Icon Beams and 20 K20.
For the lighting of the track, which was of a length of 340m and 8m large, PRG used 320 LED flood strobe SGM Q7 to illuminate the competitors.
Watch the video!
In terms of video, PRG installed more that 300m2 of LED screens, of which 1 LED trailer of 100m2, 2 of 50m2, 2 LED trucks of 30m2 and one modular Roe MC-7H screen, in order to share all the highlights of the competition with nearly 30 000 spectators.
We would like to thank the entire Red Bull team for the confidence they have placed in us by entrusting us with the technical services for this final of the Red Bull Crashed Ice Championship.
While innovation is the hallmark of PRG's award-winning GroundControl™ Followspot System, GroundControl also offers multiple cost saving benefits to event budgets. In this animation, go on a visual tour of GroundControl in a show setting and see side-by-side comparisons of how GroundControl measures up to a traditional followspot setup. Designers will be interested to hear how savings accumulate thanks to GroundControl's reduction in space, weight, fuel needs, and overall load-in times. In addition, GroundControl also uses the same power distribution as automated lighting fixtures, doesn't require any special cable, reduces seat kills (increasing ticket revenue), and reduces rigging costs.
For questions and rental or sales inquiries, don't hesitate to contact us.
Hamburg, Germany, and Dubai, UAE: Production Resource Group LLC (PRG) was honoured to work with Balich Worldwide Shows (BWS) to supply a huge multi-surface video projection for the United Arab Emirates National Day celebration in Abu Dhabi.
The event, held at the request of the Crown Prince’s Court, celebrated 45 years since the unification of the United Arab Emirates, and took place in the presence of a selected crowd of dignitaries.
Tom van Hemelryck, VP Global Sports and Special Events was contacted by Balich Worldwide Shows to provide both the technical expertise and technology for this special commemorative show.
Tom brought together video and technology specialists, Yves Winand, from PRG in Belgium and his counterpart Bill Ainley from the group’s UAE operation to work with the design specification from Balich Worldwide Shows. Starting with the mapping of the surfaces, d3 was identified as the media server for this project. It was used to design, and previsualise the projection, and whilst on site used for line-up and playback of the content created by Charles Darby and the team at Clonwerk.
Yves Winand explains: “We needed a strong partner for this challenging project, and we worked closely with d3 to improve some processes on site in order to save time in the line-up. We had to share preparation nights with lighting programming and rehearsals, and waiting for the arrival of large moving elements, so time for the set-up was limited.”
The projection covered over 6500 m2 of floor, which was a particular challenge due to the flat angle and positioning of the projection towers. Either side of the stage, two wing screens of 600m2 were also covered with projection. Four sand dunes, each measuring 35 metres by 8 metres, which tracked across the stage, and a rising sun of 16 metres by 8 metres, which rose from behind the dunes were also projection mapped and covered perfectly as they moved into place during the show.
Panasonic PT-DZ21KE projectors were used for the floor and wing projections, and a combination of Barco HDF-W30 and HDF-W26 projectors covered the dunes and rising sun. In total 126 projectors were used across the event to create the spectacular effect.
Bill Ainley commented: “Whilst this event presented many challenges, we are proud of our team’s ability to seamlessly draw upon design, technical and logistical expertise from three PRG operations across three countries to ensure our approach at the design phase would achieve our client’s expectation on site. This, along with the team of expert technicians who worked very hard in a challenging environment, ensured we could deliver the project to an exceptionally high standard.”
Tom van Hemelryck concludes: “We are delighted to continue our working relationship with Balich Worldwide Shows, and honoured that they chose PRG as a partner in delivering this prestigious, high-profile show. Everyone involved in this show worked in great collaboration to deliver a show which looked truly spectacular.”
Photo Credits: Luca Parisse for Balich Worldwide Shows
Show Credits: Creative & Executive Production Balich Worldwide Shows
Continuing a long working relationship with Production Executive, Andy Derbyshire, Event Manager, Maggie Mouzakitis, Event Production Manager, Lisa Shenton, and Show Lighting Designer, Tom Kenny, PRG XL Video has supplied lighting for the 2016 MTV EMA.
This year’s event was held on November 6th, at the Rotterdam Ahoy, Netherlands, and was hosted by US artist Bebe Rexha.
The event opened with glamorous red carpet arrivals from the star presenters and performers, hosted by Laura Whitmore and Sway Calloway, and PRG XL also supplied lighting, rigging, and video technology for the red carpet event.
PRG XL’s Account Managers, Kelly Cornfield and Mat Ilott were initially contacted by Line Producer, Sophie Huda, and Red Carpet Event Manager, Sean McNally, to supply an outdoor video wall, high impact lighting, and supporting rigging for the red carpet area.
Working with Set Designer, Adam Neville, and Lighting Designer, Stuart Pring, PRG XL’s Head of Rigging Services, Q Willis specified the supporting structures for the video and lighting. Rigging crew chief, Chris ‘Karrit’ Harris delivered the show on-site.
Creating a glittering arrivals area for the stars, Adam and Stuart’s designs incorporated a video wall formed from Barco C5 outdoor LED. Content for the video wall was supplied via one of PRG XL’s own Mbox media servers, and included live feeds from the OB truck, social media feeds, and playback content.
Stuart Pring’s lighting design used a combination of fixtures, with Encapsulite LED stick lights built into the set, and PRG Icon Beams lighting the way for the VIPs as they made their way into the venue. PRG’s Sam Healey was Crew Chief for the red carpet lighting team.
Inside the iconic Rotterdam Ahoy, production designer Julio Himede created a vast set filling an entire side of the venue, curving around to create an immersive arena for the audience in the venue, and stunning visuals for the TV broadcast.
Acclaimed lighting designer Tom Kenny worked closely with Julio to create his lighting design for the show. Tom Kenny has designed the lighting for MTV VMA and EMA events for more than a decade, as part of highly creative and much-talked about show designs.
Tom explains his initial approach to his design: “Working with Julio, and with PRG’s Lighting Crew Chief, Rich Gorrod, we looked at the set design. This year, the huge wide set featured a massive wall of video, built from multiple elements. We wanted to cover the whole set and create a layered effect with plenty of back light and presence. With that in mind, and with one eye on the budget, we used a lot of strong beams, spread across the set, big wash lights at the back, lots of Icon Beams, PRG Bad Boys and Robe Robin 100s. We added Solaris Flares for extra strobe effects – they’re a real workhorse.”
Tom continues: “As part of the design, I look at the line-up of artists performing and try to tailor the fixtures to what I think they’ll need. In some cases artists will have specific requests, but often we’ll already have their needs covered in the main rig.”
Some artists do have special requests, based on their individual performance. Tom explains: “Martin Garrix wanted a particular fixture for his set, so we brought in a load of GLP X4 Bars to satisfy that need. For One Republic, who included rain in their performance, we needed to find some waterproof LED lamps for the pool, and Rich Gorrod sourced custom-built fixtures for that purpose.”
“For Green Day’s ‘Global Icon’ performance we needed to give them a really huge look, so we added a bunch of Par Cans.”
“Another fixture I was keen to use was the ACL 360 Matrix from Elation, which includes 25 4-in-1 RGBW LEDs. We arranged a demo of the unit, were suitably impressed, and that was used scenically to create colour and depth.”
With an array of star performers, followspots were also a key consideration, and Tom Kenny was keen to use PRG’s GroundControlTM Followspot System, which includes a remote followspot, flown from the lighting rig and the operator is located with control unit at ground level elsewhere within the venue. Tom has used the system on multiple shows: “I first used GroundControl on Desert Trip festival and was really impressed by it. It’s a very flexible system and allows you to place followspots in locations that wouldn’t usually work. I love it!”
Lighting console operators on the night were Alex Passmore and Jonathan Rouse, who Tom Kenny described as “two of the best programmers/operators I’ve worked with. Alex took care of the majority of the pre-programming, and on the night looked after the cueing on the main set, and Jonathan focussed on the keylighting for the bands, live elements, and audience lighting.”
PRG XL’s Lighting Crew Chief Richard Gorrod led a team of twelve lighting technicians and operators for the show. Tom Kenny comments: “The MTV EMA is a big beast of a show. There’s never enough time, but Rich and his brilliant PRG crew have high standards and work really hard to make it all happen. Rich is a total workhorse – he does the job of three people, and he has such a positive attitude. You couldn’t have a better person on an event of this type.”
Richard Gorrod summed up: “We’re happy to continue our long relationship with Maggie, Andy, Lisa, Tom, Julio and the whole MTV EMA team. The show always looks amazing and really pushes the boundaries for a live event show. It’s a huge production, and there are lots of suppliers all working side by side, harmoniously to make it happen. We’re proud to be a part of bringing it all together!”