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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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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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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7/23/2018

PRG Corporate and Events Expands Offerings via Best in Class Solutions Providers

ATLANTA – July 23, 2018 - Production Resource Group LLC, (PRG), the world’s leading provider of entertainment and event technology solutions, announces it has formed partnerships with innovative services and solutions providers – Brightline Interactive, CNTV, Evenium, FISH Technologies, INXPO and TOTALLY MOD  – to offer a unique value proposition for clients in the corporate and events industry.

By aligning with these companies, PRG’s clients will easily be able to leverage the best in immersive and audience engagement technologies, video marketing, measurable attendee data, as well as gamification. These services and solutions can be booked as stand-alone entities or bundled with the core audio, video, lighting, scenic, digital and production services provided by PRG.

“PRG is known for its event innovations that help companies and brands tell a story,” said Jim Kelley, vice president of marketing and industry relations for PRG. “By aligning with these niche service providers, we are able to provide cutting-edge solutions that complement what PRG offers to corporate and event clients. These services extend ways corporate messages are conveyed as well as maximize the event experience for all.”

Brightline Interactive

Brightline Interactive is ranked among the top creative technology companies in the country, specializing in virtual and augmented reality experiences for entertainment and gaming and simulation and training.  Beyond VR and AR, Brightline creates world-class interactive consumer/fan experiences using technologies like object tracking, facial detection, gesture, sensor integration, 3D modeling, animation, touchscreen, and more. 

CNTV

Before, during and after an event, CNTV helps business event professionals create TV-style videos while generating new revenue and enhancing the on-site experience. From attendee and exhibitor acquisition videos to same-day news recaps, general session impact videos and educational content, CNTV brings event content to all screens---and we make the process simple for you.

Evenium

Evenium provides software solutions covering the event management value chain, with a strong focus on streamlined setup and attendee engagement. Using unique second-screen technology and Visual Collaboration, the ConnexMe app allows planners and speakers to design highly interactive presentations where attendees easily contribute, have meaningful collaboration, and benefit from enhanced networking. Organizations around the world use Evenium's integrated solutions in leadership meetings, sales kickoffs, partner events, workshops, and conferences.

FISH Technologies

Via FISH Technologies’ Integrated Fan Experience Platform, pioneering event organizers can register fans, enhance fan experiences, and provide frictionless sponsor engagement. It is all backed by an unmatched depth and breadth of fan insights. Fan acquisition, fan engagement, and fan experiences — all in one place.

INXPO

INXPO is the leading enterprise video streaming platform built upon a secure, reliable and scalable foundation that has powered thousands of events and touched millions of users. From fully branded webcasts or online events, to enterprise video portals, its versatile products empower clients to authentically reach their audiences.

TOTALLY MOD, Event Furniture, Scenic & Décor Rentals

TOTALLY MOD, a Quest Events company, designs, manufactures and rents modular modern furniture, décor, and scenic nationwide. The company created a new category in event furnishings with the introduction of First Class Session Seating, seating designed specifically for learning environments and general sessions. TOTALLY MOD is well known in the events and A/V industries for its Style Tyles, a modular scenic and décor product featuring patent pending fast-assembly magnetic system.

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7/19/2018

PRG Teams Up with the ESPY Awards to Recognize Athletic Achievements and Beyond

On July 18th, Danica Patrick hosted the 26th Annual ESPY Awards. The ESPY Awards aim to recognize individual and team achievements- athletic and beyond. PRG is proud to have provided a standout rig to help recognize these standout people. Lighting Designer Bob Barnhart, of 22˚ Degrees, created an eye-catching spectacle; transforming the Los Angeles Microsoft Theatre into the ultimate award show experience.

PRG provided a total of 698 lighting fixtures including; 269 assorted Vari-Lite fixtures, over 100 Sharpys and more than 60 Solaris Flares. Check out the full gear list below!

Lighting Team

22˚ Degrees
Lighting Designer: Bob Barnhart
Lighting Director: Dave Thibodeau
Lighting Director: Madigan Stehly
Green Room Lighting Director: Frank Olivas
Intern: Jessica Koch
Project Coordinator: Marie Turner
Gaffer: Alen Sisul
Best Boy: Dennis Sisul
Lighting Director / Board Operator: Andrew Webberley
Media Operator: Mink Zinman
Media Tech: Jeff Shood

PRG Lighting
Lighting Director / PRG-Programmer: Andy O’Reilly
Chief Tech: James Beaghan
Lead Tech: Danny Villa
Tech: Andrew Gonzales
Production Manager: Travis Snyder
Account Manager: Tony Ward

Lighting Gear List
1 PRG GroundControl™
76 VL5
73 VL5ARC
51 VL3000 Spot
20 VL3500 Spot
49 VL3500 Wash
133 Clay Paky Sharpy Beam
68 Solaris Flare
12 Kino Flo 4’ 4Bank
6 Kino Flo ParaBeam 400
36 GLP Impression x4 Atom 30w RGBW
4 Arri Fresnel 650w
11 Arri Fresnel 300w
182 ETC Source 4 LEKO
8 ETC Source 4 PAR
9 PAR 64/6 Lite Bar
4 3k Strong Gladiator III Spot

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7/5/2018

PRG Announces New Concert Touring Innovations

Updated PRG SPACEFRAME™ and new Ingest product on Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s “On the Run II” Tour

LOS ANGELES – July 9, 2018 - Production Resource Group LLC, (PRG), the world’s leading provider of entertainment and event technology solutions, announces two product innovations – PRG Infinity SPACEFRAME™ and PRG Ingest – which are supporting Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s “On the Run II” Tour. The new Infinity SPACEFRAME which serves as a kinetic backdrop on stage and Ingest, a new technology that archives camera images created on tour, are industry firsts.

PRG SPACEFRAME

PRG’s SPACEFRAME is an innovative carbon fiber touring frame created by PRG Projects, a division of PRG which specializes in developing and integrating proprietary solutions to the rigors of the production and entertainment industry. It was launched on 2017’s U2’s “Joshua Tree” Tour and “On the Run II” is the second concert tour to feature the product. For this tour, Stufish (the designers of both “Joshua Tree” and “On the Run II” tours) wanted to have a clean look, visually eliminating all support structures and rigging. To do that, PRG Projects came up with a solution called “Infinity SPACEFRAME” where the rigging and support structure are integrated on the back of the SPACEFRAME, invisible from audience view. Video content on the screen is now edge-to-edge without visual barriers as a classic screen would have. It gives it a monumental look and creates a new type of immersive viewing experience. The Infinity SPACEFRAME makes the most of the PRG SPACEFRAME concept by utilizing the structural capabilities of the video screen as part of the automated tracking support. It ultimately saves truckloads of additional support structure.
“Designing custom LED and video solutions for live events is a core part of what PRG Projects does. Beyond what we develop for PRG, we work directly with designers to create unique staging solutions that allow them and performers to be as creative as possible,” said Frederic Opsomer, managing director, PRG Projects. “We are constantly thinking of what is next, how do we improve on what we’ve already done. The new Infinity SPACEFRAME allows for moveable LED screens in an operational effective set up which aids the dynamic energy Beyoncé, Jay-Z and other performers create during the show.”

The stage design for “On the Run II” Tour includes two LED screens with SPACEFRAME. The secondary – or upstage – screen is 55 feet x 35.4 feet (16,8-meter-wide and 10,8-meter-high) with ROE’s CB8 LED. The bottom section of the upstage screen is automated with three SPACEFRAME panels that open like garage doors, enabling the musicians’ rolling risers to enter and exit the main stage. The upstage screen stands behind a four-tiered opera box style performer platform. The main - or downstage - screen is divided into 12 automated sections. This allows for different dramatic scenes and settings and provides Beyoncé and Jay-Z different entry and exit scenarios. The new Infinity SPACEFRAME screen, with GALAXIA’s WV9 air transparent LED, measures 173.2 feet x 43.3 feet (52,8-meter-wide and 13,2-meter-high) when closed and hangs on motorized carts that move left and right on a track. The carbon fiber fabrication and built-in wind bracing provides the stability that structural engineers demand in order to have a screen of this size move around on a track.
“There is currently no other framing system that can do this, it’s a perfect example of designers really pushing the product to the limits and having free reign for their ideas. A symbiosis rarely seen in our industry,” said Opsomer.

PRG INGEST
“On the Run II” Tour is also implementing PRG Ingest. Ingest is a new technology that allows the capture of concert footage in real time from up to 24 isolated camera feeds. Each camera feed - or channel – will be ingested in the server, processed, and via the network pushed to an external storage drive.

Traditionally, footage from a single camera is captured on a single recorder, then after a show, each file on the drive is copied over to a separate hard drive. This is an intensive process that can take many hours as the transfer can take up to one hour per camera.

“With the Ingest system, we can create a show record on an external drive of all channels in nearly real-time and still have a back-up copy on the server should anything go wrong,” said Wolfgang Schram, director of video engineering, PRG. “The servers also get time coded, so all recordings have real time and can be used in an edit right away.”

In order to handle the 6.2 TB of data that “On the Run II” Tour generates per night, PRG uses six media servers which simultaneously make copies of what is recorded, transcode it to a pro res 422 file and push it over a 10GigE network on an external NAS drive.

 

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6/29/2018

PRG Helps Radio Disney Music Awards Takeover the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles

Last Friday, Lighting Designer Madigan Stehly of 22˚ Degrees teamed up with PRG to light up the Dolby Theatre. Radio Disney distributed a variety of awards and featured some of today’s biggest popstars.

PRG was proud to provide over 400 pieces of gear including Best Boy GroundControl, 179 assorted Philips Vari-Lite fixtures and 74 Icon Edge Fixtures. PRG provided additional gear (everything from Solaris Flares to Festoons) for Meghan Trainor, Kelly Clarkson, Maddie Pope and Marshmello. Check out our full gear list below!

 


Lighting Team

22˚ Degrees
Lighting Designer: Madigan Stehly
Lighting Director/Programmer: Harrison Lippman
Lighting Director/Programmer: Erin Anderson
Lighting Director: Casey Rhodes
Gaffer: Matt Benson
Best Boy: Mason Bell

PRG Lighting
PRG- Chief Tech: Robb Minnotte
PRG- Lead Tech: Danny Villa
PRG- Production Manager: Travis Snyder
PRG- Account Manager: Tony Ward

Lighting Gear List
88 Varilite VL5 Tungsten
34 Varilite VL6C
12 Varilite VL2500 WASH
45 Varilite VL3500 SPOT
10 Clay Paky Sharpy Wash
16 GLP Impression X4
28 GLP Impression X4S
74 PRG Icon Edge
1 PRG Best Boy Ground Control
20 Martin Rush PAR 2
48 Chroma Q Color Block 2
6 ETC Source 4 14˚
6 ETC Source 4 19˚
6 ETC Source 4 26˚
6 ETC Source 4 36˚
6 ETC Source 4 50˚
6 ETC Source 4 PAR WFL
12 ARRI 650W Fresnel
6 ARRI 300W Fresnel
38 TMB Solaris Flare
4 Strong 2K Supertrouper (L)
2 Strong 2K Supertrouper (S)
4 Reel EFX DF-50  

 


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6/8/2018

PRG invests in AOTO Mini LED technology with 2nd generation of CLD P1.5mm product

Production Resource Group LLC, (PRG), invests in a new, ultra high resolution rental LED screen. The first 1.5mm COB Mini LED on the rental market!

As the technology pioneer of the LED industry, AOTO has always has been a high quality manufacturer with extremely good processing features and very much focused on image quality.
PRG has followed their product developments closely and amongst which the development of the AOTO Mini LED screen, on which AOTO has been working for the past 5 years. Now the product is finally ready and has convinced PRG by its’ unique LED packaging technique to be ready for the rental market.



The patented Mini LED technology with 2nd generation of CLD P1.5mm product characterizes itself by an extremely high contrast ratio, super robust and its 180-degree viewing angle, which will impress and seduce the automotive sector and the high-end corporate market.
With the AOTO COB Mini LED 1.5 screen, customers can take advantage of these following benefits:

- Pixel pitch of 1.5mm
- 20 Bit processing depth
- 3840Hz refresh rate
- HDR Support
- Rental cabinet
- 4K Processors
- 3G & 8G support
- Support 3D

This product will be available for rental in our PRG equipment pool as from August 2018 with its’ full processing system and the stacking/suspension.



Steven Shen, General Manager AOTO states: ‘We are very excited about this product and having PRG first to market We are convinced that this will be the highest resolution rental LED screen in the world and that it will attract great attention to itself!"

Gary Boyd, Executive Vice President & COO EMEA of PRG adds: ‘AOTO has developed technology and products at highest level for the past 25 years. With the new Mini LED we are convinced that this is the right product for the rental market. It will perfectly serve our customers needs and wishes in terms of high resolution indoor LED screens.’

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6/5/2018

A PRG Chat with Jim Hutchison, PRG Product Specialist

“Knowing design, production and how systems work helps, but more importantly, if you can just reach people on a personal level to find out what motivates and drives them, then you’ve found your ‘in.’”

Jim Hutchison is a lighting industry heavyweight who works out of the PRG Dallas office. Jim helps facilitate understanding and harmony between PRG’s engineering and product management teams. He describes his role as “acting as the bridge between what the customer wants, what the designer wants and what the people who built the industry want.” In addition to running his lighting news blog, JimOnLight.com, he is also a writer and lighting designer. We had the chance to chat with Jim about his passion for lights, inspiration, and some of the technological advancements he anticipates coming to the industry in the near future.



PRG: Tell me about yourself and how you got into the entertainment industry.

HUTCHISON: I started out in this business as an actor in undergraduate school. I ended up going to one light hang and I got hooked. My dad is an engineer, so it kind of runs in the family. I went to school, changed my major to lighting design, went to grad school, did some touring and it’s been kind of crazy since then.

I started out as a lighting designer, but my passion kind of turned into the development side of things. I worked for Cast Software for a while developing the WYSIWYG and Vivien Event Designer Suites with a team of amazing brains. Those kinds of things will hook you. You do shows for so many years, go out there, beat the pavement, run cable, hang trusses and stuff. You gain the secondary skill set, which really becomes the primary skill set of knowing what it is that people want and what kinds of technology you can create to make people’s jobs easier in this business. You know, we all have hard gigs. If you’ve been on a show site, you’ve seen people work hard. Things are technologically challenging and heavy in our industry.

I worked as the Customer Engagement Manager at Chauvet Professional as the bridge between their engineering division and the marketing department. I helped those branches talk to each other, and initiating those conversations is one of the things I’ve enjoyed the most over my lifetime. People in the engineering side and creative side often have boundaries, and I love to help bridge those gaps.

PRG: What do you think makes you successful at that? Speaking both languages?

HUTCHISON: Yes, I think knowing design, production and how systems work helps, but more importantly, if you can just reach people on a personal level to find out what motivates and drives them, then you’ve found your “in.” I’ve found that people who are extremely intelligent sometimes have difficulties on the social side, and people who are very social often are that way due to a lack of understanding of the details of the work we do. Having a combination of the skills helps bridge those gaps in understanding.

PRG: Can you tell me more about the first time you hung a light? What attracted you to that experience?

HUTCHISON: As an undergrad, I went to that one light hang for a show. I put a light on a pipe and tightened that sucker down, and the idea of this system that I just put in the air, that I am going to feed power to this system. It’s not just a lightbulb, it’s a piece of science. There’s a reflector and a high intensity spot of light stuck directly in the middle of some trigonometry that then goes through optical glass and goes out through the front of the fixture and can then be tuned and shuttered and you can put a gobo in it and adjust the aperture! Really the whole system of the light itself drew me to doing this work for so long.

Some of the technology we use in this business is taken from the military and is created to solve a problem. I went to a school where our training was banging out shows. I easily did at least 30 in the span of my undergraduate education. That really got me hooked into doing this. You get better at it, you find out what things frustrate you and what things you like. You’re able to take a mix of those things, which is human interaction and behavioral principle. Our lights are little systems, and that idea is what really drives me. There’s a lot that goes on inside a light!

I am currently writing a piece for my nerd blog, JimOnLight.com, where I try to use lighting and gear to explain scientific principles, like entropy. How many things are meant to go wrong in a light, like a fixture which is a chamber for an explosion happening over and over again. How to dissipate that heat, make sure the internal components don’t fail each other or melt, while still needing to be fragile. There’s so much there that drives me to find the next new thing, to innovate not only for designers, but for the science of our industry as a whole.

PRG: Is there anything from your personal life that inspires your lighting design?

HUTCHISON: My dad is one of my closest friends and he was a Navy guy. The stuff that he experienced as a Navy engineer in the 70’s were the things I grew up learning about. Pressure, steam, fluid mechanics: the things you run into on a Navy Vessel. My father really instilled in me the art of knowing how to solve a problem without panicking about it. This comes from knowing the system and how it works: this is supposed to happen, this is what’s happening, why is it happening and how can we get it back to its original intended state? If you can think calmly, you realize that a light is meant to work in a certain way and it becomes easy to diagnose. My dad has been a motivator and has had such a big impact on my life.

PRG: How did you find PRG?

HUTCHISON: Chris Conti is a longtime friend of mine. He flew me up to Secaucus to see a Bad Boy to write about it. In all of those times, I got to see how a Cadillac fixture like Bad Boy and Best Boy with all these internal components that are meant to be swapped out can operate while still being a really high-quality, well-built machine. The feature set included this one-button procedure where you can open the lenses in a certain configuration to allow for easy cleaning. That was a big deal then; the innovation made an impact on me and it still does now, the idea of making tools directly for the people doing the work.

The engineering team, the project management team from PRG, these guys are my heroes. People like John Covington, Tom Walsh, Dale Polansky, Andrew Spilberg, Clay Powers, they’ve been there since there was no established industry. Every day when I come into work I get to work with my heroes, which is pretty freaking awesome. PRG has been on the forefront of not only technology, but also the business of entertainment production. Chris made it clear when he said to me one time: “We are a production company. We make lighting fixtures and technology so we can make better productions.” Now I am on the end of that where I get to help make the fixtures and technology.

I just got off the rehearsals for the opener of the U2 tour where the GroundControl system is being used. Just that system alone is one of the most amazing pieces of entertainment technology because not only does it put a robot in the hands of an operator in a remote location, but it also takes people out of a really potentially dangerous situation. You have truss spot operators who can still do their jobs, but now safely from the ground. There’s a lot of stuff that’s happened in the industry with major accidents and people dying for entertainment over the years, and I find that PRG’s technology and the way we’ve been going at it is geared at making our people safer while making shows better.

PRG: To that point, where do you see the industry going in the next 5-10 years? Are there any advances you’re really excited about?

HUTCHISON: Data communication is a big one. PRG has a series 400 system which is power and data being managed in one system, and it’s outstanding. We also use fiber optic communication all over in our systems. As that grows, we are still sending the same standard DMX512 since they became standard. DMX hasn’t changed much, and all the lights and controllers use the same stuff. What’s cool about fiber technology is that we are able to send a regular DMX over long distance with signal that is solid. You’re able to send a lot of information over these glass fiber optic cables. As we as an industry figure that out more, we may come up with a protocol that is more efficient than DMX512. I think as we grow, things like talking via light will become more commonplace. For example: we are already experimenting with LIFI against WIFI where light is being used to communicate data in the commercial market. We are doing that with DMX in a little bit of a different format, using light to communicate back and forth between GroundControl and the Bad Boys, Best Boys and Followspots. As that grows, I think we are going to see things like RDM (Remote Device Management) get better, see a standard attached to it, and with universal development. That’s where I see the future going right now.

PRG: What is your proudest professional moment?

HUTCHISON: One of my proudest moments is when I joined the Cast Software Company. We got a lot of feedback from users who were really digging the new feature sets we were designing for them. When you’re making a product for a specific subset of people, it’s awesome to know that what you did really improved what they were doing. Being able to provide solutions to those lighting designers was so gratifying, and I continue to strive to replicate that result throughout my career.

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A PRG Chat with Foo Fighters LD
5/30/2018

A PRG Chat With Foo Fighter’s LD, Dan Hadley

Designing for a wildly successful band like the Foo Fighters, who are all about the music, means supporting the intimate relationship between the audience and the band members, often at very long distances. "That's one of the great things about music. You can sing a song to 85,000 people and they'll sing it back for 85,000 different reasons,” frontman Dave Grohl told the Guardian back in 2013. Lighting designer Dan Hadley is the man tasked with maintaining that kind of magic in both stadium and arena settings.



PRG: What inspired the stage/lighting/video/set design/vision for this tours design?

HADLEY: The FF logo for this album was a real easy place to jump off from, I knew immediately that it was going to play really well with beams and we’d be able to work in lots of combinations of 45º and 90º angles. The flying screen, of course, comes directly from there.



PRG: What was the overarching goal for the client/artist to achieve with this design?

HADLEY: Our goal is always the same- to make sure that the energy from the stage is translated to the audience and a connection is cultivated. I’m not typically very video heavy in my designs, but with this band I need to get their faces to the back of a large crowd so that everyone can see the interaction between the band members and hopefully feel as part of the experience as all the people who are closer to the stage. The other half of that equation is making sure that the band can see the whole crowd. The only thing that Dave says more than ‘motherf#@%*&’ is ‘Dan, light 'em up’ because he needs to see ALL the people, it’s this reason that we carry a triple layer of fixtures that will never throw light on the stage- it all goes to the crowd.



PRG: How many years have you work with the Foo Fighters? Describe your relationship.

HADLEY: I started sporadically filling in as LD for one-offs around 2001 and took over full-time when the position opened in 2011. During those years I was around the camp a lot because I was working for their friends- Weezer, Queens Of The Stone Age, Tenacious D, etc. In 2009 I designed and directed the tour for Them Crooked Vultures which featured Dave behind the drum kit instead of DSC. We never discussed Foo Fighters during that whole tour, we were all just having fun with this crazy project and doing a bunch of exciting shows. When I took over full designer duties I already knew everyone, which made it pretty easy. They don’t often talk much about design and I try to keep the conversations short and to the point and glean as much information that I can from those little bits.



PRG: Describe the process for identifying the design needs and design process for this project.

HADLEY: First it starts with trying to get any specific ideas and desires out of the band. Then I look at the routing to see what sorts of shows we’re doing- how many stadiums, arenas, festivals, etc. so I know if there’s a place to concentrate the bulk of the efforts- but we’re always going to do every type of venue so I have to make something that is flexible enough to work in all of them. That’s not to say that it fits in all the spaces, if it does then it must not be big enough. Hopefully, I have some artwork to incorporate- then I go to work in my shop and start cutting, tearing and taping bits of paper in my little .5” scale stage and a maquette starts to take shape. I like the analog approach because I enjoy being able to manipulate things with my hands and see everything from multiple angles without using a mouse. I know that I’m going to be spending far too many hours on screens in the coming months, so it’s nice to just mess around for a while and let the tactile world inspire some of the design. I started with flats of the FF logo and worked for a long time trying to get them to change or disappear, but finally left them together as the video wall, so when lowered just above the band it could also be used as a light source.



PRG: What was your favorite aspect of this tours design?

HADLEY: The flying screen definitely provides a good changeup in the spatial arrangement of the stage, and I really like the way that it plays against the upstage LED wall. That wall is a lower resolution, which looks fine but makes the diamond look great by comparison. The flying ladders are also a lot of fun, getting to change the shape of the rig makes a 3 hour show a little more interesting. We made those with the lights attached to rolling rungs, so that the lights always maintain a vertical position, allowing me the freedom to more easily combine different ladder configurations with different lighting looks than we may have rehearsed. The band is not very interested in sticking to a set list so we have to be ready to roll with the punches when they’re thrown our way



PRG: Tell me about the flown Foo Fighters automated video diamond?

HADLEY: It’s a 20’x20’ 9mm WinVision Air screen with a border of 24 GLP Impression X4 Bar 20’s. The lifting mechanism that SGPS made for it has four winch lines with four belt-driven redirects to carry the lift points Upstage/Downstage.



PRG: Tell me about your crew. Who were the key players to pull of this production?

HADLEY: John Wiseman has been leading the charge for us since the start, our relationship carried over after PRG’s acquisition of Chaos Video, who was our video vendor for previous tours. Eamonn McCullagh looks after us from a gear perspective and whether we need some extras sent to SGPS for testing a new gag, or it’s just broken and needs replaced, he’s very quick to respond.

PRG: How did you work with the PRG team to bring this vision to life? Describe the partnership/collaboration.

HADLEY: When we first started the tour in the summer of 2017, we were doing a short-ish festival run and wanted to keep the package small and flexible and save our big guns for the fall when the album came out- but we had some big slots, such as headlining the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury. For this scenario I wanted to make sure whatever fixtures we were bringing were going to pull their weight so I was very specific about them. John helped us get the required Magic Panel FX’s and the Solaris Flare Q+ LR units. I liked them both a lot for that run and the choice was easy to carry them over into the big show, especially with the square face of the panels and the square FF logo. I was also particularly keen on using the GroundControl Followspots, in order to keep the ambient light levels down and to maintain a consistent angle from the house spots. Dave isn’t fond of the spots in his eyes and it’s so incredibly nice to be able to control the intensity from the console, without the delay of having to communicate with an operator. We have six Best Boy GCs on the stage and two Longthrow GCs in the house and I never want to go back. Since John was so helpful in arranging for all those shiny new fixtures I was happy to fill in the blanks with PRG products like the Best Boy, Bad Boy, and Icon Edge.

Photo Credit: Andy Babin

Lighting Design by: Dan Hadley

Production Manager: Bret Chin-Quan

Screens Director: Andy Babin

PRG has supported the Foo Fighters Concrete and Gold Tour with lighting and video solutions. The tour began June 16, 2017 in Reykjavík, Iceland and is set to conclude October 18, 2018 in St. Paul, Minnesota.

PRG Senior Vice President, Global Entertainment: John Wiseman

PRG Project Manager, Lighting: Eamonn McCullagh

PRG Project Manager, Video: Jeff Gainer


Lighting Crew:

Jason Winfree: Crew Chief
Doug Eder: Dimmer Tech
Jason Fugitt: Dimmer Tech
Jennifer Dymond: Moving Light Tech
Tom Dubas: Moving Light Tech
Ryan Dunn: Climber


Video Crew:

Sean Harper: Crew Chief
Josh Adams: Director
Dave Vega: Engineer
Steven Lemahieu: LED Tech
Colton Carroll: LED TECH / Cam Op
Timothy L. Clohessy: Cam Utility
Thomas Mathews: LED TECH / Cam Op
Chris Campbell: LED Tech / Cam Utility Op
Kyle Binkman: LED Tech


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5/14/2018

PRG’s New Concert Touring Products on U2’s eXPERIENCE + iNNOCENCE Tour

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.



PURE10

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 PRG 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 PRG 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.

Credits Pictures © Steve Jennings

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5/7/2018

A PRG Chat With Former Lighting Intern Allison Newhard

“It sounds really cliché, but I’ve been studying this on the academic level for 7 years and the internship still exposed me to a part of the industry that is otherwise inaccessible.”

If you’re interested in a career in the entertainment industry, consider applying for an internship with PRG. Combined with the opportunity to gain real-world skills and experience, our internships enable you to explore the diverse aspects of our lighting, audio, video, scenic and sales and integration operation, as well as our finance, business management and corporate operations.

We had the chance to sit down and chat with Allison Newhard, who was a PRG lighting intern with our product specialist department last year. She’s got big dreams – so look out for this one!

PRG: Hi Allison! I heard that you were a standout intern with us in 2017. Could you tell me where that has taken you, a year later?

NEWHARD: I am at Purdue University and I have 19 days left to finish my master’s program. It’s been a great three years here. My schooling has mainly focused on lighting design for theater, but my internship with Chris Conti and PRG really exposed me to the rest of the industry.

PRG: How did you decide to apply for the internship at PRG?

NEWHARD: I went to USITT last year and stopped by the booth and found out they had internships. I needed an internship for my master’s program. It’s very challenging to find an internship that gives college credit and also pays you.

PRG: How was the experience?

NEWHARD: It was amazing. It sounds really cliché, but I’ve been studying this on the academic level for 7 years and the internship still exposed me to a part of the industry that is otherwise inaccessible. He took me out on site surveys, had me drafting system drawings for huge concerts, had me helping with gobo designs, and then would just sit down and have lunch with me and ask me about my goals. He really motivated me to take my passion of education and merge it with the industry and try to facilitate conversations with all the right people. I gained a lot of knowledge. Fortunately, I stayed in contact with him really closely and gained a mentor as well.

PRG: Sounds like it’s the dream internship scenario!

NEWHARD: All jokes aside, it was the best three months of summer work I’ve ever done.

PRG: Any favorite moments during the internship?

NEWHARD: PRG set up troubleshooting workshops for me. They would have me go pull a bunch of gear, set things up to make it work, and then someone would alter the equipment in a way that would make it not work. I’d have to go back and figure out how to fix it and make it work again. This helped identify my strengths and weaknesses and built up my education in addition to the regular work I would do. I wasn’t just a paper-pusher, this was totally geared toward my skills.

PRG: Now looking toward the future, has this experience shaped any of your future goals?

My long-term goals are to team up with PRG or a similar production company and start an education outreach program to get better equipment for loans or rentals into schools because technology expands so quickly, and schools don’t have enough money to keep up with it. They usually get lump sums rather than per-year money. So, I want to try to build a better relationship between the industry and schools in an effort to produce better employees.

I think my goals were more subconscious before I had this internship.  I didn’t realize that there was a place for them or that I could personally accomplish them before working with Chris Conti and PRG.

 

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