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.

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3/4/2019

Revisiting Drake’s 2018 Tour as Production Prepares for their European Run

Drake’s 2018 Aubrey & The Three Migos Tour wrapped in November, but the superstar and his production team have been busy preparing for their next outing in the United Kingdom and Europe. The Assassination Vacation Tour kicks off Sunday, March 10, 2019 in Manchester with support from fellow Canadian rapper, singer, and songwriter Tory Lanez on all dates. In anticipation for the upcoming run of Drake shows, we decided to take a look back at his North American tour – co-headlined by Migos - which featured a 360-degree LED stage the size of an NBA basketball court, a flying Ferrari, two hundred drones and 28 Barco UDX 4k32 Laser phosphor projectors double stacked in eight positions within the rig.

Steve Kidd has been working as Tour Director and Designer for Drake for the past seven years under his company with Guy Pavelo, GP-SK Design. The duo designed the critically-acclaimed 2017 Boy Meets World Tour and the Summer Sixteen Tour for Drake the year prior, and are currently in the process of designing the 2019 Fortnite World Cup. This time around, Kidd focused on tour direction while The Aubrey and the Three Migos tour design was creative directed by Willo Perron.


Seamless, transparent screens enclosed the stage at points in the show and projected close-up footage of Drake’s performance.

The creative team brought Drake’s dream of a flying LaFerrari, just like the singer’s own car, to life, while Kidd figured out how to get it into the arena every night without breaking it or taking out an audience member. The flying car was achieved by creating a model car filled with a giant helium balloon that was controlled by a fleet of drones. “Two guys from Madrid controlled those with a remote like you would use for toy cars,” explains Kidd. “We had to turn off the air conditioner in the arena when it was time for the car to come out because it was so sensitive to air and turbulence. One little gust and it would totally go off its path.”

The finnicky, floating luxury vehicle replica ended up being worth all the challenges. It was a big hit on social media last summer. “Drake really wanted it, and the fans liked it too,” Kidd said. “And I am pretty sure we are taking it to Europe.”


The flying LaFerrari replica was 110% the size of Drake’s own vehicle and was powered by a huge helium balloon and drones.

The LED stage, which will definitely be going to Europe, is one of the most impressive parts of the production. With 1,152 YesTech Magic Stage MG7 5.9mm tiles, a surround of 116 Roe CB8 LED tiles, four Flown LED Screens of Roe CB5 tiles, 3D content and motion tracking, there were so many things that could potentially go wrong. Drake wore a small motion detector that tracked his movements and fed them back to Blacktrax sensors installed on the stage. Two techs spent the duration of the show underneath the stage on mechanics chairs, ready to fix any issues with the panels immediately.

“We had a few people on the team who were always keeping an eye on the tiles. As Front of House Technician, I could see most of the stage so I would call out any issues I saw over the intercom system,” explains David Diamond, who worked as both FOH tech and the overall Systems Programmer for the tour. “It definitely takes a few people making sure you have eyes on everything. We had a few LED techs underneath the floor who would slide immediately over to that section in case of any problems. Drake is a stickler for making sure everything runs perfectly every single night.”


The LED stage floor includes 1,152 YesTech Magic Stage MG7 5.9mm tiles, motion tracking and displays 3D content.

Drake hired multiple independent content teams who had the challenge of developing 3D content for the stage and tailoring it to be enjoyed in a 360 environment. During “God’s Plan” a huge hand seemed to emerge from the stage. Typically, 3D content is only visible from one vantage point, but the content team made the image rotate to display the effect from four points of view, which gave a more democratic viewing experience to audience members. While its full depth wasn’t visible from every seat, the entire show was designed with the concept of “no bad seats” in mind.

“Drake’s inspiration for the stage was an NBA basketball court without any of the site line issues,” explained Kidd. “He wanted the entire audience to have good seats, and for them to feel close to him. He performs for two hours straight and it’s a long time for him to be up there alone, for the most part he’s just one guy on the stage, no band, just a brief moment with dancers and a few guest features, but his persona is so magnetic, and the design allows that warmth to shine through. Everyone feels it and stays engaged.”

It was rather fitting for the singer, whose lyrics often refer to sports and have drawn parallels between musicians and athletes, to perform alone on a basketball court. His more sensitive, introspective songs speak of the insecurities he faces within his own head and heart, meanwhile he has had one of the most successful, dominant years of any popstar, perhaps ever. When Drake’s fifth album “Scorpion” was released in June of last year, he broke single-day streaming records on both Spotify and Apple Music. He was the first artist to have an album pass 1 billion streams in its first week. With 12 Top 10 Billboard singles in 2018 alone, Drake surpassed the Beatles for the most in a year. The numbers don’t lie - Drake is at the top of his game, and only has himself to compete with. 



The setup for the tour demanded that the 136-person crew also be world-class, and according to Kidd, they brought their A-game to every stop in North America. The show build was a grueling 16 hours, so there was a pre-rig day when they could fit one into the schedule. If there wasn’t time for that, then the crew went in at 1 AM to start rigging and wouldn’t finish until 5 PM the day of the show. 

“With the amount of gear we had on the show, we started load in at 1 or 2 am for rigging,” Diamond explains. “Once we were able to get in around 7 am we would start getting all of our dimmers set up and putting video walls in the air. Lighting was tightly integrated with the video in that we were hanging lights off the bottom of the video tiles. We had to coordinate interdepartmentally to make sure that everyone was able to get their jobs done and that everything flowed smoothly.”

The early load ins ensured there would be time to do the projection mapping, get all the LED sources up and running, and make sure that all the Blacktrax systems for Drake were fully operational.

“We had a tireless crew and a great staff of people that ultimately made a show that was challenging production-wise feel seamless once we got it out on tour and figured out all the little bugs,” says Kidd.

Kidd pushed for as many of the PRG crew members as possible to return for the European and United Kingdom run.


Migos opened the 2018 tour and performed with Drake midway through his performance, along with various special guests including Travis Scott, Gucci Mane, Lil Baby, 21 Savage and others. 

“We had a very large video team and a reasonably-sized lighting team, all from PRG. The overall crew was probably one of the best crews we have ever had for a Drake tour,” says Kidd. “The combined effort from everyone was so impressive.”

Diamond says this was achieved by hiring crew that could be lighting or video people interchangeably.

“We all worked smoothly as one big team to embody PRG as a whole. Besides being techs, we are friends as well, so when we had an issue, we went the extra mile to help each other. It’s great when multiple disciplines are done by PRG,” says Diamond.

Kidd attributes the ongoing success between PRG and Drake’s team to the quality of the products, reliability, maintenance, and dedication. 

“The relationship I have with Curry Grant, Jennifer Christiansen and Randy Hutson and the smart budgeting they all do keep me coming back. The staffing is another strong point - we always get great crews, and as everyone in the industry knows, sometimes you have to make changes. Someone could be coming off a long tour and maybe it doesn’t work out, but it always gets handled right away,” Kidd says. “Everyone at PRG is committed to Drake and committed to us as a client. For me, that keeps us coming back.” 


Written by: Erin Bates
Photo Credit: TINY HOUSE PHOTO

 

PRG Crew List

Account Executive – Curry Grant
Jennifer Christiansen – Lighting Project Manager
Brian Bateman – Video Project Manager

Video Crew:
John Hayes – Director
Dustin King – Crew Chief
Lewis McMillan – Engineer
David Keipert – LED 1
Pia Eerikainen – LED 2
Mason Braislin – LED 2
Noel Galan – LED 2
Ryder Darcy – LED 2
Austin Colby – LED / Cam
Roger Rubey – Cam / LED
Victor Davis – Cam / LED
Jordan Wesolek – Utility
Matthew Ortiz – Utility
Mark Barrow – D3 / Utility
Lorenzo Loche – Projection
Rachael Hudson – Projection
David Bartlett – Projection
Daniel Chayra-Nieto – Projection

Lighting Crew:
Scott Amiro – Crew Chief Leg 1
Dave Diamond – FOH / Systems Programmer
James Keegan – Dimmer Technician
Scott Naef – Crew Chief Leg 2
KY Dobson – Lighting Technician
Dave Roman – Lighting Technician
Matt Shelz – Lighting Technician


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2/25/2019

Broadcast Industry Veteran, Andrea Berry Joins PRG

LOS ANGELES – Feb. 25, 2019 - Production Resource Group, L.L.C. (PRG), the world’s leading provider of entertainment and event technology solutions, is pleased to announce that broadcast media veteran, Andrea Berry has joined the company as Senior Vice President and General Manager, Broadcast and Television. In her role, Berry will oversee PRG’s live sporting and special events and scripted and unscripted television teams.

“Andrea is one of the most successful and respected executives in the broadcast space today and I could not be more thrilled that she has joined PRG. We are committed to growing our presence in broadcast and television, and Andrea is uniquely qualified to lead that effort,” said Jere Harris, Chairman and CEO of PRG.

Berry’s arrival continues PRG’s strategy of major investments in talent, technology and services focused on these markets. In August 2018, PRG acquired VER and, in January, VER’s camera and broadcast divisions were incorporated into PRG, resulting in a full-service offering for entertainment clients. Berry will report to Morten Carlsson, CEO of PRG Entertainment.

Berry joins PRG from The G.A.P. Media Consulting Group, Inc., of which she was founder and CEO. There, she developed and executed strategic initiatives for clients focused on live and non-live productions, supporting various categories, facilities and operational structures.

Before that, Berry spent 19 years with FOX Networks Group in Los Angeles. While there, she served as the Senior Vice President of Broadcast Media Services for FOX Networks’ Engineering and Operations (Fox NE&O) organization. She also held the job of Senior Vice President, Broadcast Operations, managing all broadcast operations and transmission that supported the broadcast network and all its cable entities. Prior to that, Berry spent eight years at Fox Sports and Fox Sports Net in the roles of Senior Vice President, Field Operations and Vice President, Field Operations Fox Sports Net. Berry began her television career as a studio technician in Chicago at NBC and, later, in New York, as a field technical manager at CBS.

“I am pleased to join PRG in this new and exciting role and to work closely with such a talented team,” said Andrea Berry. “With technology, the industry and consumer behavior evolving so rapidly, PRG’s depth of expertise and commitment to innovation are more valuable than ever to broadcast and television customers.”

Berry is an inductee in the Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame and is a four-time Technical Emmy Award winner. She also is the recipient of the “Women with Solutions Award for STEM Leadership in the Media” (Alliance for Women in Media); the “Technology Leadership Award” (Broadcast and Cable Magazine); and the “Women in Technology Leadership Award” (TV News Check).
Berry serves on the Board of the NAB Educational Foundation (NABEF), is a member of Women in Sports and Events (WISE) and sits on the Executive Committee of the Sports Video Group.

Berry holds a bachelor’s degree from the Illinois Institute of Technology in Computer Science with a minor in Electrical Engineering; an Executive Certificate in “Management and Leadership” from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Sloan School of Business; and an Executive Certificate in New Media Management from the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business. She is also a graduate of the Los Angeles African American Board Leadership Institute and the Los Angeles African American Women’s Public Policy Institute.

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1/28/2019

PRG and VER Move Forward with New Corporate Structure

New structure leverages expertise, people and technology for global entertainment and event production

NEW YORK – Jan. 28, 2019 -Following its acquisition of VER in August, Production Resource Group, L.L.C. (PRG) is moving forward with a new organizational structure - one enterprise doing business under two brand names. PRG will continue to be service-driven, providing production solutions in entertainment while VER is gear-driven, returning to its roots as the leading rental supplier of production equipment.

“This is the blueprint that provides the best alignment of our capabilities with our customers’ needs,” said Jere Harris, PRG’s chairman and CEO. “It also offers us the potential to strengthen our position in every one of our business units and better respond to the industry as it evolves.”

PRG
In entertainment, VER Camera, VER Tour Sound, VER Tour Lighting, VER Tour Video, and VER Broadcast, as well as PRG’s Paskal Lighting division will be incorporated into a single comprehensive resource serving the music, film, scripted TV, unscripted TV, sports, special events and live broadcast markets. As a result, customers can engage PRG as a 360° resource or for a specialized technological solution in a single discipline. In corporate events, PRG’s offering expands with the largest selection of production equipment and award-winning technology to support any kind of event anywhere in the world.

VER
VER is refocused on its legacy business of providing the largest and most comprehensive inventory of rental equipment for production professionals in the hotel, staging and production industries.

VER began as a company focused solely on the rental of equipment to production professionals who, in turn, used it to create their own solutions for their clients. Over time, it evolved into other directions. We believe the path to success is to recommit to this legacy mission,” said Harris.

VER enters this chapter with the financial backing of new equity partners GSO Capital Partners, a division of the leading investment firm The Blackstone Group, allowing it to operate and thrive in a capital-intensive business.

VER is also the proprietary rental provider of PRG’s cutting edge technology. VER and PRG have approximately 70 locations across five continents offering clients access to an extraordinary array of equipment from all major manufacturers as well as specialized and proprietary equipment.

"PRG and VER are distinct brands serving very different needs within the production community. What they have in common is the best talent and technology available and a commitment to the success of every project they undertake,” said Harris.

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1/14/2019

Catching Up With Nine Inch Nails Lighting Designer Paul Guthrie

Nine Inch Nails closed out their Cold and Black and Infinite North American Tour - and 2018 - with six consecutive shows at the Hollywood Palladium in Los Angeles. The 3,700-person capacity venue held the right kind of space for the wildly popular band - both intimate and grand enough to maintain their polished yet industrial aesthetic.

Being at a Nine Inch Nails show feels exactly like listening to an album sounds, with meticulous production that still bites hard and feels raw, it somehow strikes a seemingly unattainable balance of elements and influences. PAR Cans cast ghostly shadows against a stark fabric backdrop. Lasers danced along the walls and a haze of smoke filled the space between band members and instruments. Used cables that were taken from PRG backstock acted as scenic elements, hanging haphazardly along the circular feature of the theater ceiling.

Trent Reznor, founder, primary musician and songwriter of Nine Inch Nails, is regarded as a genius, perfectionist and an artist who oversees every element of his production and performance. Paul Guthrie is who he trusts with his band’s lighting design.

Guthrie, who is also known as Arlo, is one of those people who you immediately feel acquainted with - warm, sharp and full of snark. He went out to help the band when they were in a pinch back in 2013 and has been involved with their productions ever since. Guthrie describes working with Reznor as “intimidating but rewarding - when you don’t screw up.”

Guthrie’s favorite lighting fixtures are “a beat up, old, stubby PAR Can,” or “a GLP JDC-1 in Aggressive Mode.”

You would have seen both fixtures on the Cold and Black and Infinite tour. Aggressive Mode pairs well with Reznor’s driving electronic breaks.



“Trent and Atticus (Ross) wanted PAR Cans, smoke and something that didn’t rely on video screens, gadgets and technology,” Guthrie explains. “Their main inspiration was let’s do the opposite of everyone else. They wanted this entire run to be very adaptable both physically and, in its execution, so we could travel all over the world doing any scale show and turn up and smash everyone’s face.”

In order to accomplish this, he designed moving carts with the fixtures.

“They wanted to feel the heat off the PAR Cans so in some songs we have the carts right up against them on stage,” says Guthrie. “They wanted to be able to do any song, including the 70 in current rotation, at any time without constraints.”

Guthrie did not use timecode, choosing instead to control all the lights live. This, along with the carts, allowed him the freedom to adapt to the ever-changing setlists and the nuance of live performance.

“I love tours like this where I can get in there and really be a part of building the show every night,” he says.

PRG supplied lighting for the Cold and Black and Infinite tour, and has a long-standing relationship providing gear and production services for Nine Inch Nails by the way of Music Group Vice President Curry Grant.

Grant and Guthrie have been working together for more than 30 years and have developed a close friendship in that time.

“We met back when Curry was an account manager for Crowded House,” says Guthrie. “When I got hired to work for Sheryl Crow I became his client. Then when I did my first Fleetwood Mac tour in 2003 he was very much involved. He knew all the necessities for that band, which have always been really complex, so he was a great help to me.”

Grant was Fleetwood Mac’s lighting designer from 1975 to 2002 and continues to manage their touring lighting needs, including the current North American run. Ask him about his successor Guthrie, and he’ll tell you he’s hilarious and incredibly intelligent.

With decades of experience under his belt, Guthrie easily recounts the moment of inspiration that led him on the path to becoming a lighting designer.

“I recently saw Bohemian Rhapsody in theaters and in that shot from behind Freddie Mercury where all of Wembley Stadium is clapping – there was a second there where I was watching and was like, ‘Oh God I’m going to cry.’ I remember being 16 and staying up all night in Melbourne to watch that show because of the time difference. I remember that shot and I remember every hair on the back of my neck standing up. I’d been to a lot of shows, but I hadn’t been to one where someone had that much control or was that staggeringly amazing,” Guthrie recalls. “Then Queen came to Australia the next year and I had the chance to go see the show and look at the ridiculous racks of PAR Cans they had, and I was kind of hypnotized by it.”

Guthrie shares this love of Mercury with Reznor, who has referred to the late icon as one of his greatest influences in multiple interviews.

“I’m a musician myself and when I started doing gigs, I did live music,” Guthrie continues. “I loved the idea that I could do something that had an effect on the music without being a performer. That’s what drew me in.”

Now that the Nine Inch Nails tour has wrapped, Guthrie is already busy working on something totally different - the Red Bull Crashed Ice sporting event in Boston that will take place on February 8th and 9th.

“I always enjoy getting a job that no other gig I’ve done has prepared me for. It’s fun to do something different,” he says.

Looking out to the future of his field, Guthrie is most interested in self-programming consoles.

“I will be excited when the computers are helping us and not getting in our way. GDTF is a great idea that I hope gets implemented and adopted.”

General Device Type Format (GDTF) is an open data format to help streamline the process of linking a fixture profile from CAD through previsualization and onto a console. It was developed to change the way lighting designers and programmers work and makes lighting fixtures, visualizers and consoles work together in a more seamless way by utilizing a standard format.

“When I explain to any of my younger friends in IT that we still have 512 channels per universe they ask if the lights are made of stone. Or if our network settings are on loan from the Smithsonian.”

Written By: Erin Bates
Photo Credit: Brian Friedman

 

 


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1/9/2019

PRG Case Study: Chipotle All Managers Conference

When Unbridled Solutions set out to produce an unforgettable attendee experience for the Chipotle All Managers Conference at the Venetian Las Vegas, PRG was the go-to production services partner to support in the delivery of the general session. PRG’s expertise and creativity came into play as the technical engine supporting the immersive show environment for over 3,000 attendees. As the production partner, PRG’s involvement included integrated Audio, Video and Lighting systems, custom fabricated scenic, as well as the technical management and crew for the successful delivery of the show. In addition to the dynamic use of some off the shelf technology, PRG used its proprietary Best Boy® Lumineers and a custom fabricated 198 ft wide x 18 ft high projection screen to help deliver the desired live experience. In the end, it was PRG’s understanding of the experience goals and its sophisticated understanding of the technical solutions needed, that helped make a truly unforgettable experience.

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11/27/2018

PRG & VER Together Support Shepherd's Hope "Night of Broadway"

Shepherd’s Hope is a faith-based organization of volunteers providing access to health care for the uninsured. Since 1997, they have provided over 237,000 free medical visits and patient services.

For the past three years, PRG and VER have come together to sponsor the lighting, audio and video solutions for their annual Masquerade Ball. PRG also provided pre-event support to the Shepherd's Hope Planning Committee and designed solutions to support the venues rigging capabilities as well as the audio and lighting needs for various performance locations.

Shepherd’s Hope relies on strong partnerships such as PRG and VER to raise money to benefit their mission of providing free and compassionate healthcare to the uninsured and to ensure its services reach those most in need.

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11/26/2018

PRG Production Tips #6

Types of Fiber Optics
By Chris Conti

Let’s talk about Fiber Optic cables, their standard uses and the quick and hopefully not dirty pros and cons. For PRG, there are a few main standard usages of Fiber Optics including; the transmission of ethernet, lighting, and control data over distances longer than 100’, eliminating the risk of electromagnetic interference from high voltage power runs, and the ability to reach bandwidths of 40GbE. Neutrik® opticalCON Fiber is PRG’s choice for many Lighting and Video applications. Watch the video below for a quick rundown on the benefits of Single Mode vs Multimode and the proper applications for both!

 


 

Stay tuned for more Production Tips with PRG Creatives and Innovators! 


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11/20/2018

PRG Ingest - Archiving Made Easy

PRG’s innovations are industry-changing and the recently debuted PRG Ingest system – which captures concert footage in real time – is revolutionizing the concert touring industry. PRG Ingest is a scalable, live ingest system for video and audio signals, allowing the recording of a concert in less time and with less man power.

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 PRG Ingest, the capture is done simultaneously. With a minimum of four channels – or camera feeds – and up to as many as you want, you can ingest live, transcode and push the converted signal via a 10GigE network to an external hard drive. Each server can handle either 1x 4K at 60P as quad link square division, 2SI or four separate 3G single link channels. Audios embedding and Matrix routing for SDI signals is part of the package, time code distribution comes with the system. Further. the PRG Ingest system can transcode to all common codecs in film and television.

PRG Ingest was used on Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s “On the Run II” Tour. In order to handle the 6.2 TB of data that “On the Run II” Tour generated per night, PRG used six media servers which made copies of what is recorded, transcoded it to a pro res 422 file and pushed it over a 10GigE network on an external NAS drive.
“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.”

PRG Ingest was on the road with U2 for the “eXPERIENCE + iNNOCENCE” tour. U2’s head Video Engineer, Jim Toten stated, “PRG’s Ingest is extremely accurate and high quality with full resolution and frame rate. PRG are innovators when it comes to technology, video, LED, anything to do with concerts.”
“Part of what we do at PRG is making the impossible, possible,” said Schram.



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11/19/2018

PRG and VER supported the record breaking 2018 Latin American Music Awards

The Latin American Music Awards gives millions of fans a voice and a platform to vote within 21 categories including Artist of the Year. On October 25th, popular Latin artists flooded the Dolby Theatre throwing down their absolute best performances. These artists left it all on the stage and left the audience wanting more.

PRG/VER recognizes that each show is carried out under certain constraints, including; budget, time and scope. We were able to provide the Latin AMAs with a variety of high demand gear completely catered to the needs of the production. This one-night event, and the incredible designers and technicians, utilized a rental package of just over 600 products to cover lighting, control and effects. Check out the full crew and gear list below! 

Lighting Team:
Lighting Designer: John Daniels
Set Designer: Rodrigo Proal (Darmah)
LED & Video Vendor: Darmah
Lighting Director / Programmer: Felix Peralta & Kirk Miller
Gaffer: Alex Flores
Lighting Account Executive: Anthony “Looch” Ciampa
Lighting Project Manager: Andrew Sanchez

Latin AMAs Gear List:

Lighting
108 Chroma Q Color Force II 12”
4 Chroma Q Color Force II 72”
26 Vari-Lite VL5
88 GLP X4 Bar 20
12 GLP X4 Bar 10
77 TMB Solaris Flare
16 TMB Solaris Mozart
55 Robe BMFL Blade
2 Robe BMFL Spot
2 Follow-Me Systems
38 Robe Mega Pointe
8 Portman P2 Hexaline
14 Ayrton Magic Dot
4 Ayrton A.Leda B-Eye K20
16 Ayrton Intellipix R
30 Ayrton Magic Blade R
30 Vari-Lite VL3500 Spot
9 Clay Paky Mythos
24 GLP X4
78 GLP X4s Small
58 Chroma Q Color Block 2 Plus
54 Martin Mac Aura
10 Lycian M2 2.5k Spot Light

Control
2 MA Light GrandMA 2 Full Size Console
1 MA Light GrandMA 2 Lite Console
12 MA Light NPU
7 MA Light 8-port Node
10 ProPlex GBS 8port w/ opticalCON Tac4 OM3

Effects
4 ReelFX DF-50 Hazer
2 Martin Jem ZR44 Foger
6 ReelFX Turbo Fan

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11/13/2018

Catching Up With AGT’s Award Winning Lighting Designer, Noah Mitz

Since its creation in 2006, many different skills have been showcased on NBC’s “America’s Got Talent.” While the majority of winners have been singers and musicians - acrobats, ventriloquists, mentalists, magicians, choirs, comedians, dancers, and countless other acts have also graced the AGT stage which has called Hollywood’s iconic Dolby Theatre home for the last three seasons, each supported by a specialized creative team. The variety of acts sets AGT apart from many other televised talent competitions, while also presenting rigorous production challenges.

Theatrical lighting plays a pivotal role in telling the story of each act and keeping the excitement high on AGT. Lighting designer Noah Mitz, member of the Full Flood creative team, is responsible for this task. With a background in theater design and a degree from Carnegie Mellon University, he found his way into the TV world as an intern for Bob Dickinson, one of the industry’s most celebrated lighting designers. “I found the work in TV to be attractive because it is so fast-paced and has technical challenges that can be rewarding to solve,” says Mitz. “And almost everything we do by reputation is still theatrical.”



Mitz’ resume includes lighting design credits for many award shows including the Golden Globes, MTV Movie Awards, BET Awards, and the Grammy Awards. He also worked as the lighting designer for CONAN from 2010 to 2014 and has been with AGT for four seasons.

The production value of this summer’s most popular television show is astounding. “Once we get into the live shows, it’s like producing an award show every week for six weeks,” explains Mitz. “We have six weeks of builds, fixture adds, ordering things, and we do a lot of custom LED tape projects, lots of little parts.”

All that attention to detail hasn’t gone unnoticed - on October 21, Mitz was awarded the inaugural “Knights of Illumination USA” award for AGT Season 12 in the Live for Broadcast, unscripted category. KOI is a showcase of entertainment lighting and video design, judged by three panels of industry experts in conjunction with the ALD and STLD organizations.

Just under 13 million people watched the final two episodes of the 13th season of the NBC competition, where former concert pianist turned magician Shin Lim took the top prize. Lim performed his stunning close-up magic tricks that demonstrate an absolute mastery and reimagining of sleight of hand techniques on a dark forest set, where he walked amongst a foggy floor bathed in blue light.

During that same episode, nine other acts competed, each with a completely unique lighting and set design. “There’s a creative production department that comes up with ideas for screens content, special effects, wardrobe, vocal performance and song choice,” says Mitz. “That team consults with the acts and then comes to us to present the overall concept and work on a lighting approach for each performance.”

This season, the final 10 included 14-year-old rock n’ roll singer Courtney Hadwin, electric violinist Brian King Joseph, comedians Vicki Barbolak and Samuel J. Comroe, aerial dance group Zurcaroh, trapeze act Duo Transcend, winning magician Shin Lim and singers Glennis Grace, Daniel Emmet, and Michael Ketterer.

Mitz and his team enjoy the challenge and the excitement of working with so many different types of acts and lighting looks. “This season we had a 160-person choir, a 30-person dance troupe, acrobats, singers, everything. The variety is nice for us because somewhere in there we will get a stand-up comedian and maybe get to take a breather.”

In an interview for Carnegie Mellon University’s website, AGT Executive Producers Jason Raff and Sam Donnelly explained to reporters that Mitz’ lighting design work is essential to the overall visual success of their show.

"Week after week Noah and his team make an instrumental creative contribution to the show - combining their artistic vision with their technical knowhow," Raff said.

"It's about communicating the proper mood and feeling to the viewer,” Donnelly added. “Our phenomenal lighting team grasps more than just the basic lighting tricks, illusions or techniques; they have an artist's eye for color, shadow, light, depth and have sincerely mastered the practices for replicating such artistry."

Watching the performers on their journey is one of the most rewarding aspects of working on the show for Mitz. “We start working with them in March during their first auditions for the judges, and really get to see them develop through the various phases of the show,” he says. “Part of the challenge is that you don’t know who is going forward because America is voting during the live rounds.”

This means Mitz and his crew sometimes have as few as five days between results shows and the following live show to get everything together during those intense weeks. “We will call Travis Snyder at PRG and tell him we think we need one set of fixtures for an upcoming performance, but then when the voting comes in, a different act will move forward,” explains Mitz.

Mitz says that these kinds of surprises happen all the time and in combination with guest performances on the live Results Shows, this means lots of last-minute change orders and a need for 24/7 support. “Travis and Tony Ward are in daily communication with us even on the weekends. We are constantly changing things and it’s always handled really well. Travis will find gear across the country for us, and if we need it, do last minute custom orders,” explains Mitz. “The show is very well supported.”

PRG has supported AGT since its first season in 2006. Season 13 concluded on September 19, 2018.


Photo Credit: David Holmes

Crew List

Full Flood Team
Noah Mitz – Lighting Designer
Michael Berger – Lighting Director
Will Gossett – Lighting Director
Ryan Tanker – Lighting Director / Programmer
Andrew Webberley – Conventional Board Op
Matt Benson – Gaffer
Mason Bell – Best Boy
Scott Beck – Best Boy
James Beaghan –Lead System Tech
Hannah Kerman – Lighting Intern
Nikki Baltzer – Lighting Intern

PRG Team
Patrick Brazil – PRG Chief Tech
Flavio Kim – PRG Lead Tech
Travis Snyder – PRG Production Coordinator
Tony Ward – PRG Account Manager

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11/12/2018

The Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles - Veterans in Art

“The most important factor that contributes to successful transition to civilian life is a Veteran’s ability to secure a good job.” Ben Donenberg, Founder & Artistic Director – The Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles

This summer, the Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles presented “Henry IV,” a new version of Shakespeare’s “Henry IV Parts One and Two” by Tony Award® winning director Daniel Sullivan. The play featured a first-rate cast on stage: Anthony Mark Barrow, Raffi Barsoumian, Josh Clark, Harry Groener, Tom Hanks, Hamish Linklater, Joe Morton, Chris Myers, Rondi Reed, Emily Swallow, Geoffrey Wade and Time Winters.

The crew, however, was comprised of a group of veterans participating in Veterans in Art, a Shakespeare Center program which helps veterans learn new skills. From load in, through the run of the show and load out, the veterans learned about the inner-workings of a production and can take that knowledge and skills into their job search. As to be expected for a Shakespeare production (presented in The Japanese Garden at the West Los Angeles VA Campus), the staging and lighting was exceptional. PRG donated gear for the production, as it has done for the last seven years. This year, PRG provided them with the largest rig to date; including a complete rig for the production as well as lighting for the garden. 


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11/8/2018

Exploring New Options: An Open Letter to CEMA Members

I have a confession to make. I am a “Keynote Speaker Groupie.” For me, it starts with hearing a speaker at an event (i.e., the power of face to face events). I then look for any content they have published such as books, e-newsletters, blogs, podcasts, TED Talks, etc. and I engage and indulge myself in their stories and intellectual banter.

So no surprise that I did this following this year’s Summit with Rohit Bhargava. There are many pieces of great information I uncovered by reading his books, newsletters and watching his videos since we left Terranea. However, there is one thought that I wanted to focus on and share.

Rohit makes a great observation about generations that we as event professionals can undoubtedly apply to our event design, how we interact with each other, and how we can shape the industry.

“A major problem today is that while demographics were never intended to describe how people think, marketers mistakenly make use of demographics to attempt to do so,” Rohit said. “When you target the 18 to 34-year-old demographic, you make an assumption about how everyone in that group thinks and behaves solely on that person’s age. As most of us know, people’s behavior and motivations don’t fit neatly into those well-defined boxes.”

When tech entrepreneur Gina Pell wrote about this problem, she suggested an end to the days of targeting people by their age or generational descriptors like Boomer, Millennial, or Gen Z. She stated, “Perennials get involved, stay curious, mentor others, are passionate, compassionate, creative, confident, collaborative, global-minded, risk takers who continue to push up against our growing edge and know how to hustle. We comprise an inclusive, enduring mindset, not a divisive demographic. Perennials are also vectors who have a wide appeal and spread ideas and commerce faster than any single generation.”

When reading this, it is hard not to think that this concept could easily have been written to describe the CEMA membership. We all have the common desire to share and learn as described above to make our industry and profession better.

P.S. As Rohit lives in the DC area, I took the whole groupie thing a little further I am having dinner with him at the end of the month…stalker or perennial?

###

Jim Kelley
VP Marketing & Industry Relations Corporate Events, PRG
CEMA Board Member


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11/1/2018

PRG Case Study: MGMA 2018

People & Possibility was the theme at MGMA18 The Annual Conference. PRG was proud to help them execute the theme by working with the MGMA staff to utilize audiovisual technology and solutions to create engagement and collaboration among the attendees. PRG helped MGMA attain these goals by providing a comprehensive 360˚ solution.

PRG provided audio, video, lighting, scenic and a suite of digital engagement solutions including presentation management and digital signage. In addition, PRG worked alongside MGMA’s meeting professionals to build creative content for their keynote general sessions. By working closely with MGMA on everything from the general sessions and creative content to exhibit floor and breakout rooms, PRG was able to deliver an on-budget experience for MGMA’s attendees that was immersive and cohesive.

 


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10/18/2018

The "Wow" Factor That Drives ICBA Event Engagement

In the years prior to 2011, The Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) convention and meetings department worked with a small company to help them create and manage its event production. But like most growing national associations, the ICBA realized the need to enhance its events and make them more engaging. They needed to find a way to combine personal storytelling with technology and to enhance what their members experienced during their convention’s general sessions.

In 2011, Jan Meyer, the Executive Vice President of Operations, Conventions and Meetings met Jim Kelley, Vice President Marketing and Industry Relations. The rest, as they say, is history.

PRG had an opportunity to talk with Jan Meyer and Jim Mastey, Senior Vice President Conventions and Meetings of the ICBA, about its Convention and Meetings business, and their seven-year working relationship with PRG.

PRG: What is The Independent Community Bankers of America?

MEYER: We’re a non-profit association, founded in 1930, that represents nearly 5,700 Independent Community Banks across the US.

PRG: What does ICBA do?

MEYER: ICBA creates and promotes an environment where community banks flourish. We provide information to, and education for our members. Whether it’s offering certification on a new banking regulation, or helping our members stay ahead of the curve on the newest payments or fintech products, we provide information to, and education for our members. We also work with congressional leaders on matters that affect community banks and advocate on their behalf. And, we help to develop the future leaders of our industry.

PRG: In 2011, you started working with Jim Kelley and his team at PRG. Can you tell us why you decided to work with PRG?

MEYER: We were looking to add more wow-factor to our conventions and meetings. While the independent banking industry is sustained by personal relationships, it is also dependent upon existing and emerging technologies. So, we wanted to find a way to integrate both aspects into our meetings, to make them more engaging, to provide our members with valuable information in a manner that would be inspiring. When we met with Jim and the PRG team about our needs, we could see they had a proven track record for infusing energy and excitement into a show. Their insights, their creativity, their unique technologies, and most importantly, their understanding of our business, was unparalleled. They were so much more than a production company, or an equipment or staging company, they truly were, and continue to be, a valued business partner.

MASTEY: In addition to understanding our business, PRG showed us how to spotlight and celebrate it in all-new ways. They helped us create a video for our incoming chairman and completely raised the bar, exceeding our expectations. It was dynamic! It had movement and music, and overall, helped us tell our story.

PRG: Was there one thing in particular that PRG brought to the table that gave you the wow-factor you were looking for.

MEYER: Insight is a major thing PRG brings to the table. Jim Kelley is deeply engrained in the global meeting industry. He tells us what is happening in the industry, the trends, the technologies. He sees the work being done by PRG around the world from all of its divisions and recommends an approach that help us achieve f our production goals. Jim and Micah, who is our day-to-day contact at PRG, are truly engaged in all aspects of the production planning.

MASTEY: PRG helps us to inform, educate and inspire our members. Most of all, they help us motivate our members to use what they’ve learned at our events and put it to use back at their banks and in their communities. .

PRG: If you had to describe your working relations with PRG in one word, what would it be?

MEYER:
Collaboration.

PRG: Any final thoughts about working with PRG?

MASTEY: They have truly been fantastic partners, making the production process seamless so we can focus on our members’ experience.

MEYER: The Wow factor they brought to our show beginning in 2011 continues today, and whether it’s through industry-leading technology or other insights they bring to the table, we can’t wait to see what’s next!

Photo Credit: Preston Mack Photography


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PRG Logo
10/16/2018

PRG Introduces SuperRay™ Luminaire and WonderWall

New multi-functional luminaires on display at LDI 2018

LAS VEGAS – OCT. 15, 2018 – Production Resource Group LLC, (PRG), the world’s leading provider of entertainment and event technology solutions, announces two new innovations, SuperRay™ Luminaire and WonderWall. The SuperRay is a compact, hybrid luminaire with extensive features and effects that seamlessly transitions between performing as a Spot, Profile, Wash, Beam or PRG GroundControl™ Luminaire. WonderWall is a scenic modular product; an exciting multi-function, multi-use luminaire descended from the renowned and patent-pending PRG SPACEFRAME™.

SuperRay
With a 19.3-inch fixture body, SuperRay is significantly smaller than previous PRG Luminaires yet has an impressive output of 20,000 lumens. It allows designers to make the most of their limited rig space and do so with a feature-packed, bright, multi-functional fixture that can instantly double as a remote-controlled automated followspot with the combination of PRG’s GroundControl™ Followspot System. Further, SuperRay’s color features includes a CMY mixing system featuring three cross-fading color wheels, a variable CTO wheel with a range of 5600k to 3200k, and one designer color wheel (user-changeable) with six strong color choices selected to meet the needs of a wide variety of applications across production genres.

“The SuperRay is a multi-tool luminaire, combining a huge feature set with a powerful light source and functionality not before seen in a single fixture,” said Chris Conti product manager, PRG. “Unlike many other hybrids, SuperRay has access to all its features regardless of fixture mode, making it the ultimate designer’s tool.”

Key Product Features
• High-resolution optical system with a stunning 20:1 zoom from a very narrow beam of 3° to wide flood of 60° (with precise focus control throughout)
• Four-blade framing system on four planes enabling full field shutter cuts
• Mechanical iris providing continuous beam size control for both rapid and smooth beam size changes
• Fully variable diffusers for multiple wash effects
• Three distinct multiplying prisms for beam effects:
 one 4-facet prism
 one linear 4-facet prism
 one 8-facet prism
• Three independent gobo wheels:
 one rotating gobo wheel (with six rotating, indexing, user replaceable gobos)
 one designer gobo wheel (with seven replaceable gobos)
 one fixed beam gobo wheel with three fixed patterns and a fixed pixel animation range
• Lightning fast strobe with built-in random, pulse, and fan effect macros

The SuperRay’s full range of motion consists of a 540° pan and a 270° tilt and utilizes built-in LCD display with touchscreen menu system. It also integrates with the PRG GroundControl Followspot System.

WonderWall
The creative triangular design of WonderWall offers unique possibilities such as integrating high-resolution LED, lighting fixtures and scenic elements. Integrated in the revolutionary touring frame design of PRG SPACEFRAME™, WonderWall seamlessly incorporates LED panels and scenic elements to provide industry-changing operational efficiencies and the opportunity for unlimited creative expression.

“PRG SPACEFRAME™ can take more than LED, and this is the first step in evolving it from a stand-alone product to developing it into a platform for video, scenic automation and eventually staging,” said Jeroen Hallaert, director of PRG Projects North America. “It can also be integrated as part of a normal video screen, creating a surprise effect to the audience.”

WonderWall is a three-sided hybrid luminaire with ROE CB8 LED on one side, 2 x 4 array of 60W RGBW OSRAM LED on the other and a high-reflective mirror on the third side. Capable of 540° rotation on the tilt axes, the WonderWall can alternate between displaying high-definition video images and 3D volumetric lighting effects or reflect other light sources and laser of the mirrored panels. The 8 mm pitch of the video side offers the perfect balance of 1) definition required to display video media on stage, 2) screen size for enabling full HD, and 3) overall system brightness. It has a revolutionary optical zoom system with a range of 10° to 38°. The front face of WonderWall can be integrated into a modified ROE CB8 panel which offers exciting new possibilities for creating graphical effects.

PRG will be demonstrating these new technologies at the LDI Show in Las Vegas, Oct. 19-21 at VER’s booth #2715 and PRG demo room N252.

Products on display at the VER booth #2715:
• SuperRay Luminaire
• GroundControl family of products, featuring the 4-way Switch, Multi-Fixture
• Award Winning Transparent LED Screen - Pure10
• RH+A Bullet Series 2.0

Products in the PRG demo room N252:
• WonderWall
• PRG GroundControl
• Immersive 30’ PRG SPACEFRAME™ structure
• Mbox
• RH+A: featuring ReNEW-DMX, ReNEW-LD, Bullet Series 2.0 and ReNEW-UV

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10/5/2018

PRG’s GroundControl Followspot System Wins Engineering Emmy Award

PRG Honored for Development in Broadcast Technology

LOS ANGELES – OCT. 4, 2018 – Production Resource Group LLC, (PRG), the world’s leading provider of entertainment and event technology solutions, announces it won a 2018 Engineering Emmy Award for its PRG GroundControl™ Followspot System. The award is presented to an individual, company or organization for engineering developments that considerably improve existing methods or innovations that materially affect the transmission, recording and reception of television. PRG is one of five award winners of the 70th Engineering Emmy Awards.

“We are extremely excited and proud that our innovative GroundControl Followspot System has been recognized by the Academy,” said Jere Harris, Chairman and CEO of PRG. “In a category that has seen little change in 30 years, this product is revolutionizing how designers light shows and it is also life changing for spot operators.”

PRG’s GroundControl Followspot System allows a followspot operator to remotely operate a high output automated luminaire as a followspot from up to 2,000 feet away. Designers have total creative freedom to put followspots in previously unusable places or avoid complex rigging. With the GroundControl Followspot System, the operator is on the ground, so the physical footprint of the luminaire is significantly smaller than a conventional followspot. Because of this small footprint and low weight, followspots can be placed in a wide variety of positions. The GroundControl Followspot System consists of specially customized PRG luminaires which include a built-in camera and can be flown or mounted in locations around a venue which would not normally accommodate a followspot. In addition to the safety benefits, the GroundControl Followspot System reduces trucking space, saves operator time, allows for a single operator to control multiple follow spots and minimizes “seat kills” – the need to remove seats to create traditional followspot positions.

“It’s always been in PRG’s DNA to develop products that are creative solutions to unique production challenges,” said Chris Conti, Product Manager for PRG.

Introduced in 2016, the GroundControl Followspot System was quickly recognized with industry awards and was integrated into TV, live music and corporate productions. The technology has been used on a variety of TV productions including live shows such as “Primetime Emmy Awards,” “Grammy Awards,” “Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert,” and other productions including “The Voice,” “Dancing with the Stars”, “So You Think You Can Dance,” “Spin the Wheel,” and many more. It has also been used for concert tours by artists including Beyoncé, Bruno Mars, Drake and U2.

For more information on the award-winning and patented PRG GroundControl Followspot System please visit:

https://www.prg.com/technology/products/luminaires/groundcontrol-followspot-system


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10/4/2018

PURE10 makes its debut during U2’s ‘eXPERIENCE + iNNOCENCE tour’

10 times lighter than a regular screen and with an unprecedented 70% transparency, the PURE10 is the eye catcher on U2’s stage.

Other tech innovations are the PRG SPACEFRAME™ and Domino for the round video floor.

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.

Carbon fiber 

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.

Green

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.

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8/28/2018

A PRG Chat with ODESZA's Creative Team

Rock n’ Roll history is sewn together with stories of authentic creative partnerships that blossomed into successful careers – people who struggled and came up together and the art that arose from those shared experiences. Today, we still have plenty of those romantic tales, but they can be easy to forget among the industry plants and reality shows. As a genre, electronic music has been especially subject to criticism due to rapid growth and heavy commercialization. This narrative can shift when acts like ODESZA have the chance to tell their story.

Under the name ODESZA, Harrison Mills and Clayton Knight released their first album, Summer’s Gone, to underground electronic acclaim in 2012. They then dove into a long period of touring that would heavily inform their 2014 album, In Return, their foray into the more vocally-driven style they are now known for. Singles “Say My Name” and “Sun Models” accelerated their rise to fame. In 2016, when “Say My Name (RAC Remix)” received a GRAMMY nomination, they had their first sign that their music was reaching industry taste-makers. Their music features prominent, soulful vocals over a plethora of organic percussive samples, expertly layered to create an equalized, full sound. Acapella vocal shots perfectly punctuate their uplifting tracks. The overall effect is dreamy, emotional and transporting – and it’s gained them quite a following.

Mills and Knight were college friends at Western Washington University with different educational interests. Knight studied physics and mathematics while Mills was studying graphic design. The two didn’t begin collaborating until their senior year of college; but the roots of ODESZA, now based in Seattle, go back further when you start examining the entirety of their creative team.

Creative Director at Foreign Family Collective, Sean Kusanagi has known Knight since high school. “He was the class jock and I was the nerdy kid eating lunch in the library alone. We somehow ended up being friends,” says Kusanagi. In college, he met Harrison for the first time and introduced what would become the future duo. During this time, they also met Luke Tanaka, Live Creative Director at Foreign Family Collective, who sculpts the impressive animations for their shows. “They immediately started making music in our basement with a couple of laptops and I just remember thinking ‘it would be fun for this to be our job someday.’ We all sort of laughed about it.” Six years later, it’s a dream job for all of them.

“We are like family. It all stems down from the attitude and way that Harrison and Clay treat the people that work for them,” Tanaka says. “They’re so selfless and have no ego. Everything trickles down from there.”

Mills and Knight are involved in the creative through every step of the process while also acting as a source of inspiration and encouragement. “They built their team around feeling important, loved and being appreciated,” says Tanaka. “From the beginning that’s been their emphasis. When you welcome people with open arms you bring out the best in them.”

“The best part of the job is seeing people’s faces when they’re having the time of their lives and knowing that you played a part in making that happen,” says Bryan Aiello, Tour Manager at Foreign Family Collective. “It’s very fulfilling and why I still do it after being on the road for 15 years.”

In October 2017, the team began to gear up for the launch of their A Moment Apart Tour, which included multiple dates at some of America’s most famous arenas, including the STAPLES Center in Los Angeles and the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Aiello realized they needed to bring on added production support to scale up. He found it in Motion Music’s JB Blot and Shane Crowl, who have been with the team ever since.

“This last fall tour we had primarily been doing 2,000 to 3,000 cap rooms. So, when we were told ‘Hey you guys need to design something for Barclays and STAPLES Center for 12,000 people - that’s a huge jump. How do you design a show for an arena tour and then also have it fit in clubs in Providence, Rhode Island for 2000 people; and then the next day at Barclays?,” Kusanagi muses. “Our crew loves being at different venues but it’s important to make it adaptable for different places.”

And adapt they did. They built their story archs higher, gave the entire show a more cinematic feel and grew their lighting rigs to help accommodate the larger venues. What could have been a very difficult transition was accomplished smoothly. “The entire team comes from a place of humility with collective goals in mind,” says Crowl. “Everyone is willing to learn from one another without egos getting in the way.”

Kyle Keegan with Voyage Productions has been doing the lighting design for ODESZA for about a year but says it feels like it’s been much longer due to the closeness of the group. “Lighting design doesn't just stop at lighting,” Keegan explains. “The video elements, scenic design, choreography, special effects and overall creative now play such an integral part together. From the smallest to the largest technical shows, you can never stop learning new ways to put all these pieces together.”

Fresh off their impressive main stage Coachella 2018 performance that utilized a drone show, 3D animations sculpted in Oculus, and live instrumentation including a 12-person drum line, the entire team agrees that they couldn’t have imagined this level of success and access. “It’s crazy. I’ve seen this go from tiny projectors and lights at small venues to second from closing at Coachella,” says Tanaka.

The ODESZA team has gained a reputation for experimenting with technology in ways that awe audiences. “We’ve checked out AR, VR, 3D LED tiles, laser products.” Tanaka says. “There’s so many things to play with, but in the end, it’s back to the fundamentals. What story are you trying to tell? What moments are you trying to make?”

“We aim to provide an experience for people to lose themselves,” explains Kusanagi. “I guess it’s broad, but what we’ve realized is that in order to have a great show, like a great movie or great book, you have to go through the lows to get to the highs. All of those experiences are special in their own right. How do we help make the low moments of the set be just as impactful as the high moments?”

While he appreciates the accessibility to high-end technology, Kusanagi acknowledges the need to be discerning. “We’re very conscious of not using something just because its new or innovative. It has to match the music and the story we’re trying to tell. You can’t throw money at something and expect it to be creative or work with the band. You have to think about what concept or technology fits this show, in the correct way. How does it enhance the moment and the journey we’re taking the audience on?”

“We are so fortunate to have these tools at our disposal, especially as these projects keep building,” says Tanaka. “Most people in the industry are so supportive and they take the time to show us these things, PRG included. We just want to keep learning and keep playing and just feeling out new ideas for the next one – it’s a pretty exciting time.”

One of the biggest technical challenges for their current tour came along when the team decided to construct the biggest blow-through LED wall Red Rocks had ever seen. Because ODESZA is known for their amazing visuals, showcasing them at the iconic venue was a priority. The challenge laid in the fact that the LED tiles had to be lightweight while also letting enough physical light through to feel the full impact of the upstage lighting rig. “It’s the mixture of the visuals on the screen and the hidden upstage lighting rig that deliver some of the best moments in the show,” explains JB Blot, the Production Director with Motion Music. “We worked with industry veterans Nick Jackson and Russell “Rusty” Wingfield to find this solution, and thanks to this collaboration with PRG, we were able to deliver.”

“I watched The Moody Blues at Red Rocks on VHS when I was 3. They were my inspiration,” Kusanagi gushes, his excitement contagious. “Being there and performing to two sold out crowds was full circle for me. Obviously, it’s so much fun to play with the friends you grew up with.”

While they manifest their greatest dreams, their hope is that the show provides a form of escapism for the audience. “Our main goal is to bring people on this wave of emotion and feeling,” Kusanagi says. “Hopefully most people forget the stress in their life and walk away feeling like they got transported to a different world, if only for a moment.”

ODESZA’s Creative Team:

Harrison Mills, ODESZA

Clayton Knight, ODESZA

Sean Kusanagi, Creative Director – Foreign Family Collective

Luke Tanaka, Visual Artist & Creative Director – Foreign Family Collective

Bryan Aiello, Tour Manager – Foreign Family Collective

JB Blot, Production Director – Motion Music

Shane Crowl, Production Manager – Motion Music

Kyle Kegan, Lighting Designer – Voyage Productions

All photos by Julian Bajsel

PRG proudly provided LED and video solutions for ODESZA’s A Moment Apart Tour and Coachella performances including the center stage flown icosahedron video element.

 

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8/22/2018

VER Emerges from Bankruptcy as a Newly Reorganized Company

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.




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8/7/2018

PRG Supported Goldenvoice as they Lit Up the NYC Skyline at Panorama Music Festival

The 2018 Panorama Music Festival, presented by Goldenvoice, lit up Randall’s Island and the NYC skyline, July 27th – 29th, showcasing a total of 53 different groups and performers. PRG is proud to have supported Panorama by providing lighting and rigging for the Panorama Stage (Main Stage) featuring 14 different acts including Janet Jackson, The Killers and The XX. 

Gear included 5 Active PRG GroundControl™ LongThrow Luminaires that braved the weather alongside the thousands of attendees. 58 VL3500 Wash FX, 28 Best Boy Spot HP and 36 GLP JDC provided the foundation of the Panorama Main Stage. Check out the full gear list below! 



Lighting Team

Bobby Allen - Vice President Global Accounts
Brooke Hershey - PRG Production Coordinator
Gary Connelly - Account Executive

PRG Main Stage Rigging

Ken Flagg - PRG Main Stage Head Rigger
Paul Armellino - PRG Main Stage Second Rigger

PRG Main Stage Lighting (Panorama Stage)

Stephen “Dak” Harris - PRG Main Stage Lighting Crew Chief
Kevin Hartrum - Lighting Tech
Russel Keitel - Lighting Tech
Ceovanny Carvajal - Main Stage FOH Tech

Lighting Gear List 

6 GRAND MA NPU NETWORK PROCESSING UNIT
2 GRAND MA2 FULL CONSOLE 8192CH
132 2-LITE PAR 36 HORIZ BLK PROCAN 1-CIR 64
28 BEST BOY SPOT HP
59 VL3500 WASH FX
2 NODE PRG VIRTUOSO NODE PLUS
36 STROBE GLP JDC1 LED RGB
3 PD S400 POWER/DATA RACK NA
5 S400 MODULE 120V 15A X 12
17 S400 MODULE 208V 15A X 12
10 S400 B/O BOX 120V 15A X6 EDISON
35 S400 B/O BOX 208V 15A X6 L6-20
4 PD S400 B/O BOX FOH NA
5 GROUNDCONTROL CONTROLLER
6 GCFS LONGTHROW
14 FOG DF-50 DIFFUSION


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