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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8/15/2020

Premios Juventud: PRG Delivers LED on America’s First Live Award Show in the COVID Era

For the past six months, the United States has been navigating the COVID-19 pandemic and with no clear end in sight, the entertainment industry continues to grapple with how live events fit into this new reality. Award shows pose a specific challenge with their myriad of nominees, presenters and performers. While the Tonys and Oscars have been postponed, BET’s annual awards show was performed and recorded remotely in June with a virtual studio platform from PRG.

Univision chose to go live for the 17th annual Premios Juventud, its international, Hispanic entertainment “Youth Awards” on Thursday, August 13th, at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Florida.

This year’s Premios Juventud featured onstage performances from a star-studded lineup that included J Balvin, Pitbull and many others with PRG providing crew and LED for the event. The show producers and vendors were up against the challenge of Florida’s position as a COVID-19 hotspot in the United States.

Premios Juventud / Univision: Danna Paola, Natti Natasha, Ally Brooke & Greeicy

 

To keep the crew and performers safe, a number of guidelines and precautions were enforced.

I was tested five times for this event, with four of the tests on site in Miami,” explains Luke Lewis, PRG Project Manager. “We did this with an extremely limited number of stagehands. Safety compliance officers were there to enforce mask wearing and social distancing and there was constant sanitizing.”

The entire staff, including Miami locals, were housed in suites complete with a private kitchen to eliminate the need for them to go anywhere other than the venue and hotel.



Univision producers also eliminated the usual red carpet and live audience portions of the event to comply with social distancing guidelines. Performers wore PPE for rehearsals in scheduled shifts with smaller dance troupes and production teams on site. Between rehearsals, air sanitization machines were used to spray a fine mist of disinfectant across the stage.

Univision’s Jorge Dominguez designed the set with lighting design by John Daniels. The overall look offered pre-quarantine levels of production value and glamour that both audiences and crews have been yearning for. PRG’s LED gear order included ROE Carbon 5, Galaxia WinVision 9 Air, ROE Black Marble 4 LED Floor, and a recent additional the rental inventory - FantaLED Pixel Drops. 

Processing was a combination of Galaxia, Brompton and Revolution. All screens were running on fiber connections back to processing. A Barco E2 was used to handle the Media Server inputs, with more than 20 live Zoom calls for the audience and multiple camera/program shots from the truck.



It was as always, great to work with Jorge and Univision, and to see their show bring back some sense of normalcy to an industry that is one of the hardest struck by this pandemic,” says PRG Account Executive Anthony Ciampa. “The best thing for me was seeing production freelancers getting a little bit of work during these trying times. We need to bring our industry back to life.”

PRG Crew
Anthony Ciampa – Account Executive
Luke Lewis – Project Manager
Paul Douglas – LED Lead
Colton Carrol – LED Lead Technician
Jeronimo Terife – E2 Operator
Michael Hudson – LED Tech
Stephan Carano – LED Tech

 

View Pitbull's performance of "I Believe That We Will Win" here:

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8/11/2020

PRG’s Annual Equipment Auction to be Held Online

Great American Global Partners and Hilco Industrial to sell select equipment from the worlds leading provider of entertainment and event technology solutions

LAS VEGAS - August 11, 2020 – Production Resource Group LLC (PRG), the world’s leading provider of entertainment and event technology solutions, announces that its annual auction of production equipment will be held on August 26 and 27. The auction, which is being managed by Great American Global Partners and Hilco Industrial LLC, will be held solely online. PRG maintains the worlds largest and most diverse inventory of production equipment and this highly anticipated auction provides the public the rare opportunity to get select inventory at better prices than normally available via PRG’s ProShop auction.

Items for sale include PRG’s and VER’s gear that has been maintained by its highly trained staff to meet the utmost standards. Equipment available via the auction include conventional and LED lighting, moving lights, power distribution units, audio consoles, speakers and subwoofers, video equipment and projectors, and trusses from major brands such as Midas, Avid, Ayrton, Vari-Lite, Clay Paky, Meyer Speakers, JBL, D&B Audiotechnik, Barco, Christie, and more.

 

“Through major sale events and auctions of equipment, PRG can refresh its inventory with the latest technology to support its expanding global customer base. Making this equipment broadly available provides a valuable service to production professionals and venues active in the premium used-equipment market,” said Aaron Shefsky, PRGs Director of Equipment Sales, North America.

 

The two-day live webcast auction will begin on August 26, starting at 10:00 a.m. PDT with an auction of moving lights, conventional and LED lights, and staging equipment. Audio and video gear will be auctioned the following day, August 27, at 10:00 a.m. PDT. Physical inspections will be held on August 25, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. PDT by appointment only at 6050 S. Valley View Blvd. Las Vegas, Nev. 89118.  Face coverings must be worn at all times during inspections and pick-ups. Interested parties can pre-register and view auction details at www.gaauction.com and www.hilcoind.com.

 

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Production Resource Group, LLC

PRG is the world's leading provider of entertainment and event technology solutions and has the largest inventory of rental production equipment. PRG provides comprehensive and discreet services to an array of clients in the live music, TV/Film, Broadway, sports, gaming, corporate experiential and live events markets. Clients and partners depend on PRGs innovation, experience and depth of experience in audio, video, lighting, rigging, staging, and scenery and automation systems to bring their stories to life. With 70 offices across North America, South America, Europe, Middle East, Asia, and Australia, PRG has capabilities to provide services worldwide. PRG is owned by The Jordan Company and GSO Capital Partners and PRG Management. For more information, please visit

 

Media Contact:

Lori O’Briant

lori@obriantpr.com

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7/20/2020

U.S. Senator Gillibrand Tours PRG Scenic Technologies

U.S. Senator for New York, Kirsten Gillibrand visited PRG New Windsor on July 15 to see firsthand how PRG has redirected the capabilities of its Broadway scenic shop to develop essential technology for the reopening of business. PRG Scenic Technologies recently introduced the SmartXcan thermal scanner kiosk with the purpose of helping to reopen entertainment and meeting venues, offices, and schools. The Senator was joined by Orange County Executive Steve Neuhaus, and Council of Industry President Harold King.

The Senator toured PRG’s facility and held a press conference from the shop floor discussing the need to help workers quickly gain and refine essential skills to re-enter the workforce. She also announced her legislation for additional funding to invest in workforce training infrastructure and to keep manufacturing jobs in the U.S.

“PRG’s team of designers, fabricators and technicians who typically build world-class scenery for Broadway put all their expertise to work to try and address the COVID challenge. Retooling to make thermal scanners is going to make a difference to reopening,” said Senator Gillibrand. “PRG’s willingness to set up in a time of crisis it truly inspiring. Their adaptability, commitment to innovation, and dedication to the community showcase what New Yorkers do best.”

Additionally, PRG’s chairman and CEO, Jere Harris met with the Senator and her team on the impact the pandemic has had on the live event industry and the need for legislation to protect its workers and support its businesses.

Harris said, “I am grateful both for Senator Gillibrand’s interest in our innovation and her appreciation of the needs of the live events industry.”

Video of Senator Gillibrand visiting PRG and her remarks during her press conference below.


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6/17/2020

PRG’s SmartXcan Thermal Scanner Helping Entertainment Industry and Businesses Reopen

NEW YORK – JUNE 17, 2020 - Production Resource Group LLC (PRG), the world’s leading provider of entertainment and event technology solutions, is putting its innovation and manufacturing capabilities to use in the effort to reopen public venues of all kinds by designing a temperature scanner that can easily be installed in entertainment venues, convention centers and workplaces. PRG’s SmartXcan (read “smart scan”) is a portable thermal scanner that provides instantaneous feedback on up to 700 people per hour.

“Being an innovator for entertainment industry, we quickly realized the versatility of SmartXcan for various scenarios including sports arenas, meeting venues, schools, office buildings and even in transit hubs,” said Mark Peterson of PRG Scenic Technologies. “The SmartXcan is much more accurate and faster than other devices that are being modified to meet current needs. We use a diagnostic tool that measures temperature in the sinus cavity and behind the eyes in 0.6 seconds.”

The SmartXcan leverages advanced fever scanning technology developed by Kentix, a German company that develops smart building security. The SmartXcan meets the FDA requirements for the safety and performance for human temperature screening (IEC 80601-2-59:2017) and HIPAA standards. Additionally, SmartXcan’s temperature data is anonymized and not connected to identifying technology, meeting DSGVO privacy laws.

“We wanted to ensure that people feel comfortable using the SmartXcan, so it does not have facial recognition capabilities,” said Peterson. “Who you are is not important to us, we are just trying to assist in reopening as safely as possible.”

PRG offers various designs of the SmartXcan that can be used anywhere. Portable options include wheeled pedestal, kiosk, countertop, or with built-in turnstiles for automated entry control. Power is provided via standard 120VAC or the on-board battery that provides up to 24 hours of continuous use. Permanently installed versions can be floor, wall or countertop mounted and can be integrated with many existing access control systems. Further, the SmartXcan comes in an ADA compliant-design and is easily used by children. Each design of scanner offers hands free scanning that quickly notifies individuals via a green or red light that they are okay to proceed.

PRG Chairman and CEO Jere Harris said, “With our businesses in concerts and festivals, Broadway, sports events and corporate events, we’ve gained a unique understanding of the places where people gather. With SmartXcan, we are applying that knowledge to help businesses, schools and government facilities reopen in a way that inspires confidence and trust.”

PRG’s SmartXcan can be purchased or rented. For more information visit www.prg.com/our-services/adaptive-services/smartxcan and video is here.


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5/27/2020

PRG and Global Theatre Community Mourn Loss of Darren P. DeVerna

PRG is mourning the loss of Darren P. DeVerna, CEO of Global Theatre for PRG, who died Thursday, May 21st, following a battle with cancer. DeVerna oversaw PRG’s theatre division, consisting of a full spectrum of production solutions including scenic technologies, rigging, video and projection, lighting and sound for Broadway, the West End and touring productions. DeVerna was also a prolific producer with numerous shows to his credit.

DeVerna grew up listening to stories of the Great White Way from his father, grandfather and uncles who worked in theatre. He followed in their footsteps and became a fourth generation DeVerna to enter the business, becoming a Broadway stagehand in 1977 and a member of IATSE Local 1. DeVerna spent his early career at Four Star Lighting, which he was instrumental in growing into one of the major lighting companies serving the Broadway market. He was president of Four Star when the company merged with PRG in 2001.

During his nearly 20-year tenure, he led PRG to its dominant position in the market for theatrical production services and helped the company introduce transformative innovations in technology. Jere Harris, Chairman and CEO, said, “Darren was a unique individual in that he was both a great thinker and a doer. He would spend countless hours thinking things through, then go and execute. Nothing motivated him more than being told ‘this can’t be done.’ He always did get it done.”

Additionally, DeVerna was a partner in Grove Entertainment, a production company dedicated to developing, producing, presenting and investing in new work for stage and screen. His producing credits were numerous and include Jagged Little Pill, Dear Evan Hansen, Escape to Margaritaville, The Prom, King Kong, The Band’s Visit, Les Liaisons Dangereuses, SpongeBob the Musical, and Tuck Everlasting. He was also involved with London productions of Rock of Ages and An American In Paris and was an investor in London’s Charing Cross Theatre, as well as several Broadway shows.

DeVerna trail-blazed a 40-year career that impacted an industry beyond measure. In a 2018 interview, he said, “To be successful, to make your mark, you have to become part of the community. Eat, sleep and breathe it.” That is surely what he did and, coupled with his deep and long held friendships, is why his loss is felt so broadly within the theatre industry.

Harris said, “Darren and I started working together at summer jobs over 40 years ago. Much later, we spoke everyday many times a day. He was an integral part of my daily life the last 20 years. Losing Darren is not fathomable to me right now.”

DeVerna donated his time to numerous groups including being a board member of the New York Musical Theatre Festival. He was a former Chairman of Mount Vernon Hospital, the former Vice-Chairman of Sound Shore Medical Center, and cofounder of the Laurie Beechman Memorial Golf Outing.

DeVerna is survived by his wife Karen, as well as his children Tara, Kyle and Bridget, PRG colleagues and a Broadway family who deeply respected and admired him.

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5/22/2020

Extended Reality Makes Television History with Katy Perry’s “Daisies” Performance on “American Idol”

Shot at PRG Studios Los Angeles, groundbreaking performance pushes boundaries for Extended Reality

LOS ANGELES – MAY 22, 2020 – Katy Perry and XR Studios, a Los Angeles based production company dedicated to producing XR content in live entertainment, engaged Production Resource Group, LLC (PRG), known for its technological innovations in the entertainment industry, to support the virtual 3D interactive environment for Katy Perry’s “Daisies” performance during Sunday’s American Idol finale on ABC. The performance made history as the most comprehensive use to-date of Extended Reality (XR) for television. XR Studios in partnership with Silent Partners Studios of Los Angeles and Montreal, created an environment with comic-book style graphic elements that changed throughout her performance, including a house, chair and, of course, daisies that enveloped Katy and to which she interacted and reacted.

XR is an umbrella term for all immersive technologies that enable the layering of 3D on top of the real world. The technologies available today - augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and mixed reality (MR) - extend what we experience by either blending the virtual and real worlds or by creating a fully immersive experience. PRG has been developing its XR capabilities and the ability to meld the worlds of virtual and real using LED screens - since early 2018 and first used the technology during the 2019 Super Bowl Halftime Show broadcast.

With this workflow, graphics presented in a performance are completely run in real time, and scenes instantly react to the movements of tracked cameras, people, and objects. Using this approach, digital graphics can be rendered and displayed on physical LED screens, which are seen on the broadcast feed only and/or composited together. The result is 3D content that appears both in front of and behind the performer. Using real time visuals allows talent to visually interact with their environment (the digital one combined with real props) adding a new layer of engagement that lends realism to the performance.

“PRG's investment in pioneering technology is the only way we were able to pull off this groundbreaking production for XR Studios. We continue to explore ways to apply Extended Reality to a wide range of projects,” said Jeroen Hallaert, Production Services for PRG. “The film and TV business has always been advanced by new technology that changes the way we produce and consume content.”

PRG Studios in Los Angeles, one of the largest XR stages ever built, provided a safe environment that supported the production within COVID-19 guidelines. The XR stage provided an alternative for high-level, real time in-camera shoots where green screen and VFX workflows would normally be used.

“The XR Stage completely fills in the gap where today’s cinematographers are struggling to have full control over both the lighting and the filmed scenes in a real-time recording environment,” said Hallaert.

“PRG was a great resource with top-notch equipment to shoot this groundbreaking Katy Perry performance in a safe and secure environment during these unprecedented times,” said Baz Halpin, Director for Katy Perry. “Filming at PRG was a great experience thanks to their deep expertise and advanced technology.”

The performance was directed by Baz Halpin of Silent House Productions and JT Rooney of Silent Partners Studios. The performance was produced by XR Studios of Los Angeles.

 

PRG Crew:

Jeroen Hallaert, Production Services

Anthony Vasquez, Technical Production Manager – Media

Evan Cervantes, Technical Production Manager – LED

Francesca Benevento, Account Manager / Site Production Manager

David Moreno, COVID officer

Gene McAuliffe / Lewis McMillan, Video Engineer

Michael Murante, Audio

Pat Daly, Comms

Jon Morrell, Lighting Project Manager

Nicole Plaza, Technical Design

Oliver Chen, Technical Design

Scott Millar, Technical Lead for PRG

Charles Dabezies, Video Programming for PRG

Stefaan ‘Smasher’ Desmedt, Creative Consulting


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5/13/2020

Long-Awaited East Coast Hub Opens

After years of planning we’re excited to announce the opening of our new Nashville facility!

Double the size of our old location this new 155k sf space will serve as the largest event hub for our East Coast clients. “We’re excited to safely begin work in the new space. While working through social distancing guidelines, our team is moving into the new facility and looking forward to great productions ahead,” said Chance Stahlhut, SVP Audio. All under one roof, the new site features 26,000 sq ft of prep space which gives room for expanded lighting and LED QC; 18 dock positions, making it a true cross dock facility allowing for carwash QC process for all disciplines; and storage space to bring more assets to support the Nashville B2B market. 

And as always, it’s the home to our amazing PRG Audio team!

PRG Nashville
533 New Paul Road, Suite 100
LaVergne, TN
(615) 280-2255

Until you can check it out in person, here’s a little preview of the space:

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4/9/2020

Eight Shows to Watch on Quibi

Quibi stands for quick bites, and it’s the new short-form, mobile-focused streaming platform that’s got everyone talking. It just launched this week with curated content from a star-studded lineup. There’s a lot to see, so we’ve curated a list of shows, below. Was our gear on these shows? Yes. Are they objectively awesome? Absolutely! 

 

May we recommend, in no particular order…

 

  1. Fierce Queens - Reese Witherspoon narrates a nature show about female animals à la David Attenborough that’s both woke and informative.
  2. Reno 911! - Eleven years after the original run ended, we finally have a reboot of the hilarious cop comedy.
  3. Shape of Pasta - Los Angeles based pasta chef Evan Funke treks all over Italy to learn pasta-making from old Italian women - something that feels both unattainable and aspirational in this current moment.
  4. Gone Mental with Lior - Mentalist Lior Suchard reads minds and gets celebrity guests to participate in illusion-based tasks and challenges.
  5. Murder House Flip - A homicide to home decor series, for those who love true crime and a home makeover.
  6. Thanks A Million - Jennifer Lopez’s series follows A-listers gifting regular people $100k with the stipulation that they give half of it away to someone else - it’s a charitable chain-reaction!
  7. Punk’d - MTV’s hit prank show in short form, hosted by Chance the Rapper. Spoiler: he’s having a ball.
  8. Chrissy’s Court - Model, Twitter comedian, and wife of John Legend: Chrissy Tiegen adds a surprising new role to her resume. She’s giving us Judge Judy, but charming and sassy as ever in this courtroom drama.

 

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4/2/2020

PRG Takes Action to Fight COVID-19

Faced with the magnitude of the global health crisis linked to the spread of COVID-19, Production Resource Group, LLC (PRG) is putting its skills to work to make a difference in the fight against the virus in Europe and The United States. Known for live event, entertainment and scenic production PRG is leveraging its know-how to help patients and health workers in Berlin and New York by crafting face shields and building a temporary hospital.

We are responding to the rapidly changing needs of our customers during this emergency, and, with projects like these taking shape around the globe, we are actively at work in the fight against the coronavirus. PRG has resources with direct applicability to this important cause, and we take great pride in playing a role,” said Jere Harris, PRG’s Chairman and CEO.

New York Personal Protective Equipment Production

PRG Scenic Technologies in New Windsor, New York, alongside two other local sub-contracting companies, is working in partnership with NYU Langone Health to manufacture face shields for health workers on the frontlines of the COVID-19 crisis in New York City. The project aims to produce close to 300,000 pieces in just under two weeks. 

“We’re proud to be a part of this initiative and hope to continue to help those who are aiding in this crisis,” said Mark Peterson, General Manager who is leading this effort. “By utilizing versatile production methods and intelligent design and in working with Local 311 stagehand labor, we’re going to be able to turn out these shields in record time.” 

The team has reworked traditional production line assembly to adhere to guidelines for social distancing to ensure worker health.

Temporary Overflow Hospital in Berlin

PRG Germany has been assigned by the Senate Administration for Health, Nursing and Equality, to fully equip a temporary hospital in Hall 26 at the Berlin Expo Center. The ‘Corona - Jafféstraße Treatment Centre’ will serve as an overflow hospital receiving respiratory patients who can no longer find a place in Berlin’s clinics.

Construction started on March 30th and the hospital is targeted to become operational in approximately 20- 25 days and it will operate for as long as necessary. Furthermore PRG also delivers the IT infrastructure and approximately 25 tons of cabling for the basic supply of electricity to the different beds, including the medical equipment. 

“PRG is taking its significant resources directly to the battle against COVID-19. We are proud to support this temporary hospital and hope to help bring the global pandemic to an end,” says Stephan Paridaen, President and COO.

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3/25/2020

Yungblud Livestreams His Show in Wake of Cancelled Tour

In the wake of a cancelled tour due to the coronavirus pandemic, British artist Yungblud offered joy and escapism to his fans while also creating some meaningful jobs for freelancers in the touring industry. He safely brought his genre-blending music and party rocker antics to an audience by hosting a digital concert and variety show, live streamed to his YouTube channel.

 

The singer called up Vinnie Ferra, owner of Los Angeles touring company and rehearsal facility The Beehive, to put together what he described as a “Rock n’ Roll version of The Jimmy Kimmel Show.” Ferra had about 72 hours to turn his rehearsal space into a broadcast studio and says that he jumped on the idea after seeing so many friends in the industry struggling due to tour cancellations and layoffs.

 

“I wanted to figure out how I could fill everyone’s schedules,” Ferra said. “People worry about the artists, and it’s awful because they have invested a lot of money into their shows, but for every tour cancelled there is an entire crew of people who have mortgages and families to feed with no income all of the sudden.”

 

  

 

The livestream gave him the opportunity to make sure that a handful of crew members had at least one gig that week. With a very tight turnaround from conception to execution, Ferra assembled a small crew he could trust.

 

“Francesca Benevento from PRG was the first vendor I called because I felt an energy from her, I knew that she would jump on this and make it happen. She had everything sorted out and confirmed within hours,” Ferra said.

 

PRG provided an audio package and brought in a team of specialists to make sure everything ran smoothly from the broadcast side. This included camera operators, technical project manager Dave Hyslop, engineers Bruno Brenelle and Wolfgang Schram, and video director Gene McAuliffe.

 

 

The crew took special precautions from properly sanitizing the gear, to wearing face masks and gloves while also avoiding any unnecessary contact with each other. Elbow bumps replaced hugs and hand sanitizer flowed freely.

 

PRG has everything technically required to make a livestream happen. From broadcast FLYPACKS to the camera, audio, lighting, intercoms, crew and production management, these resources can create new ways of connecting or be leveraged to preserve the significant investment in programming, content and marketing that have already been made for cancelled events, allowing them to take place in virtual form.

 

 

The concert went live Monday, March 16 at 7 a.m. PST and featured guest appearances from Machine Gun Kelly, Bella Thorne, and Oliver Tree. According to the artist’s team, his viewership on the platform hit an all-time high. Yungblud was number one trending on Twitter for an hour and roughly 40,000 watched on YouTube during the show. At the time of this article release, that number has jumped to more than 300,000 views. The artist’s cancelled tour was comprised of mostly 1,000 capacity venues.

 

For Ferra, this was a proof of concept that the Beehive could be used for a streaming performance. 

 

“The idea is to keep bringing music safely to everyone and to keep crews working,” said Ferra. “We really did that today.”

 

 

 

Photos by Alexander Federic

Written by Erin Bates 

 

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3/8/2020

International Women's Day

 

In honor of International Women's Day we're taking the time to celebrate some amazing women from around the company. From Account Executives to VP's -- we are proud to have so many passionate women in diverse roles. 

Scroll to meet some amazing women from PRG and VER.

Susan Eisner, Senior VP, Business and Legal Affairs
Armonk, NY – PRG 

How did you get your start in the industry? PRG was my first job in this industry! As far as my legal career, my prior experience was as an assistant district attorney in Queens, NY. In that job, I was not only prosecuting criminals, I was also allowed to give people who made a mistake a second chance. I loved having an impact on the world and have worked at also trying to make a difference in my job at PRG. I was fortunate to have so many people from all corners of the company who helped me learn our business.

What advice do you have for women beginning their careers? Listen to the stories from the old timers, observe how people act, never compromise who you are and speak up when you have something to say. Keep learning. Don’t be afraid – go for the money, the title, the whole package.

What has your greatest achievement been to date? I have raised two very different, but equally amazing children who are now awesome adults.

What is the biggest obstacle you’ve overcome in your professional or personal life? I look at my history as a series of roadblocks and smooth paths. I left a great career to raise children, then got divorced had to figure out how to be a mom to two young kids and restart a career. Divorce was the roadblock, getting a job at PRG was my good fortune. Then I got breast cancer, then breast cancer again. A bit of a roadblock, but again, PRG was my great fortune.

How are you creating positive changes or opportunities in the workplace? I say good morning and good night. I am here to listen, to give advice, to teach. I hope all those that know me know this and use my experience as a springboard to further their success. I try to be a champion of others.

Do you have a role model? Not quite the on-point answer, but I will say that my parents are the original #girldad and #supermom. They set me and my two sisters up with a solid foundation of confidence, integrity and respect for others. They encourage us to have our own voices, with no limits on us at all. It never occurred to me, or to them, that I couldn’t do whatever I wanted.

What still needs to change, in terms of progress for gender equality? Women need to stop feeling like they are imposters. We need to believe that our successes are deserved because we are smart and good at what we do. Women need to find their own our voices and speak up. In the end, what is the worst thing that could happen if you speak up?

 

Alexis La Broi, Director of Sales
Washington, DC – VER


How did you get your start in the industry? I worked in the AV department for my work- study job at the student union building at Northwestern University. It paid more than working anywhere else, and I couldn’t believe I could get paid doing this type of work. After college, I started working at PSAV at the Renaissance Hotel in Chicago as a technician.


What advice do you have for women beginning their careers?
Take a serious look at every opportunity that comes your way and don’t be afraid to try something new.

How are you creating positive changes or opportunities in the workplace? The only way to develop a workforce that attracts women, young people, and/ or people of color is to make sure that they know about our industry. I talk with them about opportunities in technology because I believe representation matters. If they “see me” then they can “be me.”

Do you have a role model? My parents, Alan and Jackie Bryant, are my role models. They both sold electronics for Montgomery Ward and brought home all the latest tech gadgets of the time. My favorite was my Commodore VIC-20 computer with the cassette tape “hard drive” circa 1982. LOL

 

Andrea Vestrand, TV/Film/Broadcast Account Executive 
Albuquerque, NM – PRG

How did you get your start in the industry? I started out as a set PA and camera assistant many moons ago, earned a bachelor’s degree in cinematography and then worked my way up into coordinating, production managing, and producing. After several years as a loyal client, I was offered an opportunity to join the PRG team, moving out of production and into the vendor side of things by building our newest location in New Mexico. 


What advice do you have for women beginning their careers? Be willing to state clearly what you want and what your goals are. Never shy away from a tenacious persistence and a desire to learn and grow. A solid work ethic will get your foot in the door but the ability to maintain a sense of calm in the midst of a storm will set you apart and allow for a lengthy and fulfilling career.

How are you creating positive changes or opportunities in the workplace? I make it a point to have those working with me feel like they are in a safe space to learn anything about the industry. I encourage exploration of thought. I facilitate leadership by allowing everyone to have a voice, an opinion and the ability to own their work and their positions. This makes the entire team stronger.

What is the most defining moment or trend in gender equality that you’ve witnessed during your career? When women started owning their differences rather than hiding them. We now regularly see women DPs or women directors out there on set, working as hard as everyone else, fully pregnant and proud of it, posting pictures on their social media and beyond. The women's movement is about equality in the workplace and never about hiding what makes us women. To see this change in such a male-centric field warms my heart and gives me hope that women really can do it all.

What still needs to change, in terms of progress for gender equality? The Oscars and the perception that women's artistic endeavors aren't as valuable or are judged more harshly. I look forward to a day when we can stop fighting to get more women recognized on the highest award platforms, and instead, can honor and appreciate the stories we all have to tell in a way where gender really doesn't matter.

 

Issy Stadler, Automation Technician
New Windsor, NY – PRG


How did you get your start in the industry? I hold a diploma of Costume for Performance as well as a bachelor’s degree in Dramatic Art-Production (from the National Institute of Dramatic Art) and both of these qualifications gave me access to industry professionals. While at Uni I worked as a stagehand in many of Sydney’s theatre and this eventually gave way to my first job on a main stage musical/ touring show. In 2014 I was hired as a third carpenter on the Australian Tour of “Dirty Dancing” which was brilliant to me being pretty much straight out of Uni and in a male dominated department.

What advice do you have for women beginning their careers? Don’t quit. Be kind. Work hard. Be open. Ask questions. Learn. Drink Wine. Run. Get an Accountant. Learn to Kickbox. Give people the benefit of the doubt because the language directed at you isn’t always sexist, sometimes it is, sometimes people are just monkeys in fancy shoes. But if you focus on this bias it will follow you around like a rain cloud, don’t let it negatively influence everything you do. You have the power to choose how to respond and move forward. If you’re having a tough time, reach out, we’ll catch you. You’re never alone.


How are you creating positive changes or opportunities in the workplace? I do my best to support every new member of our team and create opportunities for them to learn and succeed. Change can also be achieved on a one to one basis. Gradually changing people’s perception; earning your peer’s respect by demonstrating an excellent work ethic and doing our jobs to the best of our abilities.


Lauren O’Keefe Hendricks, SVP Business Development
Brooklyn, NY – PRG


What advice do you have for women beginning their careers? Find a mentor who can help you navigate the professional level you are currently at while also helping you get to the next level. Learn how to negotiate for yourself. I am passionate about helping other women with things I have had to learn the hard way, but I am a quick study and have applied new tactics with each step I’ve taken in my career.

What has your greatest achievement been to date? Having my two little girls, Frankie & Drew. I am so in awe of them and feel so proud to be their mom!

What is the biggest obstacle you’ve overcome in your professional or personal life? 
Learning that it’s okay to be who you are, it’s okay to be a working mom. The feminine traits that you bring to the table are valuable to any organization. 

 

Bari Provost, Regional Vice President of Sales
Dallas, TX – VER


What has your greatest achievement been to date? I was promoted to Director of Sales at a small hotel that hadn’t performed very well historically. The hotel had a reputation for being in a “bad location” because it wasn’t in close proximity to the International Airport or any convention venues. My sales team and I got creative with our business development efforts and eventually our hard work paid off and a few years we received the highest sales award given by our company. Then I overhead someone comment that our success was due to the fact that our hotel was “in a great location.” So, I guess my greatest achievement to date is that I was able to make a hotel change location! Success doesn’t happen by accident. The best location, the best sales tools, or even the best product, don’t guarantee success. Hard work, dedication and consistency trump all.

What is the most defining moment or trend in gender equality that you’ve witnessed during your career? This is really going to reveal my age, but it is true: when I first started in hotels back in the early 90’s women were not allowed to wear pant suits and pantyhose were required.

What still needs to change, in terms of progress for gender equality? Equal pay. Also, equal is equal and should not be limited to just gender equality.

Sara Ohlson, Project Coordinator
Phoenix, AZ – VER


What has your greatest achievement been to date? The birth of my two daughters is my greatest personal achievement. They have both grown to be kind, caring and beautiful human beings and have carved their own niche in the world. I am very proud. In terms of my career, I am so glad that I took a leap of faith and answered that vague “help wanted” ad so many years ago, which led me to the A/V industry. Truly it has been an amazing career for me, both the ups and the downs.

What is the most defining moment or trend in gender equality that you’ve witnessed during your career? Well apart from being on this planet to witness same-sex marriage legalized in the U.S., the most defining trend I’ve seen is the number of women that are now working in the A/V industry. When I first started out, most had clerical roles. Now women are realizing that careers can be made in this industry. They are running audio, lighting, cameras, setting stages, and truss. It’s created a strong, diverse workforce for us. That has been a good thing to witness over the past 25 years.

Norah Blumberg, Director of Sales Operations
Los Angeles, CA – PRG


How did you get your start in the industry? My career in this industry started as a creative! I was in a band in my younger years called ‘Jazmin’. Our band had spent some time in India studying music with Ravi Shankar, and he named our band after one of his albums released in 1980 called “Jazzmine” where he explored the intersection between East and West, Jazz and Indian Classical.

As I got a bit older, I realized I really resonated much more deeply with the ‘production’ side of the business and I was wired for the business part of the experience. Both myself and the same group of musicians started a non-profit foundation and began producing a multi-cultural concert series called The Eclectic Collective. Soon after that, I got my opportunity at PRG and have been with the company ever since.

What advice do you have for women beginning their careers? I have two major pieces of advice for women beginning their careers:
One, have a vision - if you can clearly dictate what you want it will be easier for your leadership to create a path for you to achieve your goals. If you don’t feel like your aspirations are being taken seriously, leave your company and find one who does. But if you don’t self-advocate, you may find yourself a bit stuck. Don’t be afraid to clearly communicate what you want for yourself. Don’t be afraid of upsetting the leadership. Two, work like you want it. Hard work doesn’t go unnoticed. Go the extra mile, do the extra thing, take on the extra project, be that person. Some people say ‘dress for the job you want’ I say work for the job you want.

How are you creating positive changes or opportunities in the workplace? My number one focus is people. When you have happy people working with you, you have productivity. You have growth. You have movement. We try and foster a family environment here at PRG. People to need to be heard and feel like they matter. In the Los Angeles facility alone, we have some of the most passionate, well versed and motivated production people on planet Earth. My goal is to tap into that vast expense of knowledge to create positive workflows and make business decisions that serve both the company, and the people alike. Marrying logic, old school production and institutional knowledge.

What still needs to change, in terms of progress for gender equality? A lot of gender inequality starts in the media. Advertisement and celebrity can be extremely fundamental in perpetuating a subconscious narrative amongst a population. I can’t say this enough – REPRESENTATION. We have to SEE ourselves in the media depicted as successful, motivated leaders. The more women are valued according to their physical attributes in the media as opposed to their accomplishments, the more it shapes the culture for our young girls. Women have to continuously rage against the propaganda of female worthiness. 


Kathaleen Hervey, Senior National Account Executive
Dallas, TX – VER


What advice do you have for women beginning their careers? Find something you love. Know that you can have a family and be successful in a man’s environment. Be true to yourself, because your voice is just as important as anyone else’s. Set good examples for the woman that follow you, and make sure you have a hobby - work shouldn’t be everything!

What is the biggest obstacle you’ve overcome in your professional or personal life? I have taken criticism for being a woman in a man’s field and wasn’t always given the same opportunities as my male counterparts. Despite this, I love my career and have stayed in the business for 35 years!

 

Erica Bell, TV/Film/Broadcast Account Executive
Los Angeles, CA – PRG


How did you get your start in the industry? I started in Television Production in 1995, working as a producer and production manager on several series, and then moved over to equipment rentals in 2006.

What has your greatest achievement been to date? Keeping the same clients and repeat business while working at multiple vendors. I’ve had some of the same clients for 14 years now.

What is the biggest obstacle you’ve overcome in your professional or personal life? The decision to get off the road and leave my production career for a new career in equipment rentals was the biggest obstacle I have overcome. Learning to shift from the typical short-term, freelance nature of production to a staff position was daunting. It took about two years to adjust and learn new ways of working and communicating. Staying positive, working hard and learning from my colleagues gave me the tools to ultimately succeed.

How are you creating positive changes or opportunities in the workplace? I love teamwork and try to always show gratitude and appreciation for others' contributions. I enjoy mentoring younger and new employees, especially young women just getting into the business. I've also recently updated our workspace to make it more pleasant and creative!

Do you have a role model? Kristen Stabile is an Executive Producer, a friend, and one of my best clients. She has shown great loyalty for decades to her crew, staff, and vendors. Her loyalty, along with her ability to manage and lead is inspiring.

What still needs to change, in terms of progress for gender equality? We need to see an increase of women in tech across the board. There's absolutely no reason why women can’t learn technical trades, work behind the camera or become successful in any STEM field. We need to support our girls at a young age and encourage them to pursue their passions while giving them opportunities to do so.

 

Eileen Valois, Senior Vice President of Sports & Fan Engagement
Boston, MA – PRG


How did you get your start in the industry? 
I started in the hospitality industry a very long time ago. I have formal culinary training as well as a hospitality education and I started in the kitchen as a chef garde manger and station chef. It was very difficult for women in culinary at that time, as there were really no celebrity chefs or even the Food Network. I put up with a lot, so I didn’t get to enjoy the actual art of cooking. Because of this, I switched to the front of house when I had the opportunity. I worked in nearly every department across hotels and event venues in operations from front office to food and beverage and even housekeeping – which was my least favorite – until I became a GM. Ultimately, live events are what I am most passionate about and where I really found my niche. 


What advice do you have for women beginning their careers? Work outside your job description. Soak up everything that’s going on around you and don’t feel like any job is too small or too big. Be agile and let your experiences take you in different directions - it’s all part of your development. Find a mentor and then be a mentor to those coming behind you.

What still needs to change, in terms of progress for gender equality? For the record, I don’t feel like I’ve been held back in my career because of my gender. I’ve always worked in a field dominated by men regardless of the sector I’ve served in - this is certainly true in my current role in sports as well - but I’ve been able to have a “seat at the table” throughout my career and advance to a senior level of leadership. Having said that, I still do feel that I have to be more mindful of what I say and how I say it at times and that I have to overcome perceptions that people may initially have of me. Overall, so much progress has been made since I first started in the industry and even more will be made for the next generation. In the meantime, I don’t really give it too much thought and instead I let my work speak for itself.

 

April Lanci, Regional Account Executive
Philadelphia, PA – VER


How did you get your start in the industry? I got my start in the industry working as a PA in Los Angeles working on a show called “Just Shoot Me” – and I was a terrible PA. They had me driving a box truck, and when I took the top off the truck because I didn’t understand height restrictions, they put me with the camera team. That decision changed my life.


What advice do you have for women beginning their careers? Be honest, know your worth, learn everything you can about your field, work harder & smarter than your competition. Fight like a woman and make no apologies for it.

What is the most defining moment or trend in gender equality that you’ve witnessed during your career? Watching women blow the glass ceiling off the foundation! When I first started in this industry, I was one of the very first women to join the Local 600 International Cinematographers Union. Now I’m watching women win awards for their craft: best director, producer, pioneers, inventors, educators. There is an entire generation of young women growing up without restrictions. It gives me hope for my daughter.

What still needs to change, in terms of progress for gender equality? The change I’d like to see in my career lifetime is more women in charge. I’d like to see more women in the board room. More women in leadership roles. More women making decisions. More women who’s paychecks mirror that of their male counterparts. More women in politics, especially the White House. I want my daughter to grow up without limitations. I want her to never doubt herself because of her gender. My hope is to live in a world where she is truly equal and afforded every opportunity she deserves.


Christine Selig, SHRM-CP, HR Business Partner
Chicago, IL – PRG


What advice do you have for women beginning their careers? Embrace the challenges and engage in all areas of the production world, don’t just stick to one aspect, knowledge is power! This industry is always changing and growing, and it never gets dull.

What has your greatest achievement been to date? Embracing the challenges of this crazy world of production and growing as a person during the past 12 years.

How are you creating positive changes or opportunities in the workplace? I strive to uplift and support other women in this industry as often as I can.

Debby Hudanish, Rental Agent
Las Vegas, NV – VER


What advice do you have for women beginning their careers? My advice is you can do and be anything you set your mind to. I started in a male dominated field and believe me; I had my struggles, but I kept going and made it.

What is the biggest obstacle you’ve overcome in your professional or personal life? Working in an industry that was predominately male and being able to gain the respect and position I now have.

Do you have a role model? My role model is my mother, she was a single mother at a very young age and worked her way to a very respectable position. Later in life, she completely changed fields and owned her own business until retiring 5 years ago in her late 70s. Now that she’s retired, you need to make an appointment to see her because she keeps so busy!

 

Brandie Walters, Regional Account Executive
Orlando, FL – VER


How did you get your start in the industry? I started out in an administrative position with little experience in the industry. Hard work and determination has helped me to understand the ins and outs of this business and I am proud to represent this company 7 years later.

What advice do you have for women beginning their careers?
Challenges will inevitably come your way but, never discredit the value of a positive attitude. “Nothing worth having comes easy” Theodore Roosevelt

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2/12/2020

Lighting Up the Night at Vanity Fair's Oscar Party

Immediately after the 92nd Academy Awards wrapped, A-list celebrity guests began to arrive at the Vanity Fair Oscar Party. As the night's winners, nominees and Hollywood elite walked the red carpet, enjoyed the festivities, and finally exited through the gardens to their drop off, PRG lights illuminated almost every step of their evening. This included more than 800 lighting fixtures, cabling and rigging.

PRG has proudly worked as Vanity Fair's production partner on the award season's most exclusive party for years, and we look forward to many more years of collaboration.

VF EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: Radhika Jones, Vanity Fair
PRODUCER: Sara Marks, Vanity Fair
EVENT DESIGNER: Basil Walter, BW Architects
PRODUCTION DIRECTOR: Pete Barford, Vanity Fair
LIGHTING DESIGNER: Adam Bassett,Woodroffe Bassett Design LLP
LIGHTING DESIGNER: Terry Cook,Woodroffe Bassett Design LLP
HEAD OF LIGHTING: John Coman,Woodroffe Bassett Design LLP
LIGHTING PROGRAMMER: Stu Dingly,Woodroffe Bassett Design LLP
LIGHTING VENDOR: Tim Murch, PRG
LIGHTING VENDOR CHIEF TECHNICIAN: Jason Trowbridge, PRG

Equipment:
Lighting, includes all cabling and power distribution
117x Moving Light Fixtures
PRG Best Boy Spots
PRG Best Bow Wash
Clay Paky Mythos
Aryton Diablo (actually subrented from Kinetic Lighting)
GLP Sharpy Beam
GLP Sharpy Wash
GLP Impression X4
GLP Impression X4s
293x LED Lighting Fixtures
Color Kinetics Philips ColorBlaze 72
Color Kinetics Philips ColorForce 48
Cineo TruColor HS
ETC Source 4 Lustr
Chauvet ColorDash Accent
GLP Impression X4 Atom
Martin Rush Par 2
468x Conventional Lighting Fixtures
Generic Par 20, 38, 56
ETC Source 4 Lekos and Pars

Rigging (Partnership with Icarus Rigging), includes all cabling and power distribution
52x Columbus McKinnon Prostar 1/4Ton Hoist

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2/10/2020

Full Flood and PRG Light Up the 92nd Academy Awards

For the 92nd Academy Awards, PRG once again furnished a complete lighting system with more than 1,000 fixtures. To help actualize the strikingly elegant lighting design from Bob Dickinson and Noah Mitz of Full Flood Inc., much of the lighting system was controlled from a PRG V676 Console system by Programmer/ LD Andy O’Reilly, with the power and data system backbone provided by PRG Virtuoso Super Nodes and the PRG Series 400 system of racks, cable, and intelligent break out boxes.

 

Before the Oscars Awards Main show, we were also honored to provided support for designer Madigan Stehly—also with Full Flood Inc.—and his fantastic work on the Red Carpet Pre Show and Arrivals.

Show gear included:

  • Vari-Lite VL2600 Profiles
  • PRG Best Boy Ground Control Remote Follow Spots
  • VL3500 Washes and Spots
  • Solaris Flare LED Washes
  • PRG Classic VL5 and VL6C+ fixtures
  • Chroma-Q Color Force II 48 & 72 units
  • GLP X4 LED Washes and Atoms
  • Martin Sceptron VDO 10 strips
 

 

 

 

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1/31/2020

Catch Our New Video Series: Tech Connect Episode One

Discover our technology and uncover our solutions with PRG’s new video series, Tech Connect. In episode one, PRG’s Chief Innovation Officer Chris Conti dives into our proprietary family of Mbox media servers. Explore the product line’s most popular features and learn how the innovators at PRG create technology that allow our customers to execute their creativity.

Follow the series at youtube.com/prgnorthamerica


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1/22/2020

PRG Helps Sher Keep Joker Subway Scene – Real

“There’s nothing like feeling the sensations of a real subway ride,” says cinematographer Lawrence Sher ASC. It was the reason he wanted to make every moment as real as possible while shooting this year’s runaway hit Joker. With a range of film styles from the broadly comedic Hangover to the recent fantasy Godzilla: King of the Monsters, Sher has employed just about every cinematic technique available today. But – he’s still a bit ‘old school real,’ believing that giving the actors something tangible to work from enriches performance and allows the creatives something solid to work off of – not to mention enhances believability – and audience engagement.

Sher’s approach to a film – whether comedy, fantasy or a bit of both – is all about serving the story visually. “You dissect the scene emotionally. What is the intent of the scene? What is the intent of the characters? And, from there, you start to derive a plan to execute and to tell the story visually to help drive those emotions.”

With Joker, he needed to create a way where the audience would really connect with one man’s descent into chaos and madness, “but also give the actors the most freedom and keep the set moving as quickly as possible to maintain the momentum of the day. We needed to keep the energy of the setup and the actors close while everyone is in the right state of mind." For Sher and the production team, that meant shooting as practically as possible.

“Yes, there are times when blue screen or putting characters in an environment that isn’t there is the way to go,” he adds. “But director Todd Phillips and I realized the way to make Joker really come alive was to keep it live when we were shooting it. That’s where enhanced environments and the way that LED technology allows you to make these environments live and on set come in. You realize what effect it has on the actors and what effect it has, even on a cinematographer. Suddenly, you're not guessing where the background is. You aren't coordinating that background later, but you are able to photograph it in real-time and make lighting decisions as you photograph, that you can’t do when you’re shooting blue or green screen.”

A perfect example in Joker – the super important subway scene where Joker kills the Wall Street Three. “It’s a critical watershed moment for the character’s arc,” explains Sher. “Todd Phillips wanted the scene to feel like a ‘fever dream.’ And because the movie starts and ends always in a place of reality, we were like, ‘well lets at the very least, see if we could shoot this live.’ Could we go out on a subway train and drive up and down the tracks – shooting for real?” It was possible, but even if they arranged to close down the tracks at some weird time of day that wasn’t necessarily good for the scene, other limitations mounted.

The two explored various options. One possibility, blue screen, and put the background in later. “Then you lose any of the interactivity of the lighting,” he countered. “And for me, what's cool about riding subways in New York is the way the lighting interacts with the environment, and the fact that when you drive by a subway station or another train car passes by – or the lights flicker off inside the car – all that interactive lighting is playing inside. If you use blue screen, you have some lights just out of frame, but they're only hitting the bottom of the frame or the floor. They aren't interacting in a way the actual real environment does.”

The solution. Connect with PRG. “We wanted to talk about the technology they used on Murder on the Orient Express and other projects,” Sher explains. “We didn’t want to replicate the reality – we wanted to enhance it – to get to the ‘fever dream’ feeling.

“With enhanced environments, I could make decisions as to when another train car passes by. When we pass by a subway station. When we go into a dark tunnel. When a light or a section of fluorescent lights goes by, I needed full control of all of those environments.”

He used the technology and media server to provide five or six layers of content, of timelines of information. "So, one timeline would be a passing subway car — one—a passing bunch of fluorescent lights. One would be a white subway station. Another, a sodium beige vapor lit subway station," he explains. "Suddenly, now we could be inside the subway car, which for the actors and our director and operator was a living, breathing, moving vehicle.

“When you got on that subway car and started moving the screens, it felt like we were moving,” he adds enthusiastically. “There was even a little bit of motion sickness that happened. You literally felt like, can we just stop the screen? When we got to a stop, and the screens were moving, and the doors opened, you almost didn’t want to go outside because it felt like you would fall off. That was the effect for the audience – and for the actors,” he explains.

“While we were lighting, I could be at the media server, and I could watch the scene in real-time and turn the lights inside the train on, the way I wanted, as a subway station passed by,” he adds. “The fact that the airbags were moving a little bit and the world outside was going by, and when the lights flickered off, you can actually see a subway car or station passing by, as opposed to just blue screen, made it seem so real. I’ve talked to people who thought we went out on a subway and just drove a train up and down the tracks.

“Keeping those environments real and visually right in front of you, as opposed to something that would be imagined later—made a huge difference,” Sher concludes. “The technology was essential to making that scene successful, and I don't know any other way we could have done it. One of the best things about working with a company like PRG is that they love to solve problems just as much as we do. At the end of the day, yes, of course, it's a business, and we all need to make money to keep the lights on, but we are still really enthusiastic about making movies and making something that really helps tell the story. I'm excited to work with people that are excited to solve those problems too.”

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1/7/2020

Fred Strickland Joins PRG Scenic Technologies

NEW YORK – Jan. 7, 2020 - PRG, the world’s leading provider of entertainment and event technology solutions, has hired Fred Strickland as Vice President of Scenic Technologies in the company’s Corporate Events unit. In this newly created role, Strickland will serve as commercial market lead for scenic - working closely with PRG shops in Las Vegas and New Windsor to optimize production and market offerings, provide direction to sales, and support the teams in project pricing and configurations.

“Fred is one of the most respected executives on the scenic solutions side of the live experience industry,” said Manus McHugh, Senior Vice President, Corporate Events and Staging at PRG. “PRG has a strong history of scenic innovation and creativity, evident from Broadway to concert stages. Under Fred’s leadership, our already extensive scenic offering in corporate events will gain even more value and traction.”

Strickland comes to PRG after nearly 30 years at Hargrove, one of the largest providers of experiential environments. Over the course of his career, Strickland has overseen fabrication and production, and for the last seven years, he was executive director procurement and product development.

“I made the decision to join PRG because of its leading position in the industry and my desire to work with advancements in cutting edge technology that only they can provide,” said Strickland. “I look forward to working with the team and company leadership to make PRG’s scenic capabilities number one in the world.”

Creating impactful experiences for corporate customers is not new to PRG, which provides a full suite of production services for exhibits, corporate events, conferences, trade shows and branded experiences. Recent scenic work includes projects for Porsche, MAC Cosmetics, Dell, Toyota, Samsung, Bleacher Report and Westfield.

“We see a trend for increasingly immersive and interactive experiences. PRG is providing that by integrating dynamic scenic with our robust offerings in audio, video and lighting,” said McHugh.


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12/18/2019

Sooner Routhier on Designing for Alessia Cara

Designer, producer and director Sooner Routhier collaborated with rising sensation, singer-songwriter Alessia Cara, to develop a new performance experience for her 2019 Fall Tour with lighting, audio and video services supported by PRG.

Cara has been a major contender across streaming platforms since her single “Here” was released in 2015. Currently signed to Def Jam, she spent much of 2019 opening for Shawn Mendes on more than 70 of his concert dates. Cara’s knack for crafting catchy pop songs paired with Routhier’s award-winning lighting design has made for an unforgettable live concert experience.

We sat down with Routhier to chat about the design on the “Pains of Growing” tour.

PRG: Hi Sooner, thanks for chatting with us! What inspired the design for this tour?

Sooner Routhier: Alessia requested a dollhouse style set up for her stage in support of the “Pains of Growing” album and tour. The house is meant to symbolize Alessia’s growth from her suburban Toronto bedroom to her life as a global top 10 touring artist. The house morphs throughout the night, changing with the moods of the songs. Sometimes it disappears entirely and becomes a surface for home movies and animated content. Other times, the wallpaper changes, we see storms outside the windows, or it’s simply a static set up.

PRG: What was the overarching goal from a design perspective?

SR: We wanted to make sure that Alessia had the proper performance palette to move and interact with the space. She can sit or lie on the bed in the bedroom, interact with the band members as they play in the living room on credenzas and dressers, and turn table lamps on and off.

PRG: What is your process for identifying the needs of a project like this?

SR: Once we established the overall goal of creating a house on stage, we needed to turn it into an electrified event. It needed to also function as a typical concert; allowing the lighting and video to make the music look like it sounds.

PRG: How did you work with the PRG team to bring this vision to life?

SR: PRG worked diligently to ensure that our projection and server needs were met to perfection. We had very little time in rehearsals to set up and program the show. They also made sure that everything was prepped and functional before we entered the rehearsal space and provided us with an extremely knowledgeable server programmer to ensure that we were getting the most out of the Mbox. It was necessary to have as many tricks up our sleeves as possible with the Mbox as we needed creative masking and effects to achieve the shifts in the house. Anthony Headley was indispensable in this regard.

PRG: What was the biggest challenge in pulling off this tour?

SR: Time was our main challenge with this project. We had only a couple days to get the show programmed, the content budget was low, and our production was reliant on projection. We had to make the best out of clever server programming to make the show look as bespoke as possible. It took a lot of time to dial everything in.

PRG: Well, the team did an amazing job working within those confines. I am glad we could contribute to making the shows a success!

Written by Erin Bates
Photos by: Brian Freedman

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12/5/2019

Getting Lit on Lizzo’s ‘Cuz I Love You Too’ Tour

With eight Grammy nods, Lizzo is the most nominated artist for the 2020 awards, and with great recognition comes an extremely busy schedule. PRG was proud to support the artist and her creative team with lighting services for the ‘Cuz I Love You Too’ tour.

 

Going to a Lizzo show is above all, empowering. The frontwoman delivers her lyrics and interludes like a sexy, hilarious self-help session. With skills that include belting out ballads, rapping, twerking and playing the flute, Lizzo has mastered many modes of expression. Behind the scenes, her creative team and crew work on the best ways to highlight the artist’s diverse skill set.

 

 

During the opening number of the tour, Lizzo entered the stage in a metallic pulpit robe. The lighting and set elements transported the audience to a cabaret church environment, and Lizzo’s lyrics lifted the audience up with a message of body positivity. Self-love became a religious experience.

 

“Everything we worked for during the day comes together in the intro of the show,” says Lighting Director Danielle Edwards. “The way the music builds and the anticipation make it worthwhile right off the bat.” Edwards joined the tight-knit Lizzo team in May of this year, and has enjoyed working alongside the artist, and her largely female-led production team, as she’s risen to superstar status.

 

Compared to other tours I've been involved in there is certainly a higher number of women involved on Lizzo spanning across all departments,” notes programmer Megan Dougherty. This includes both Dougherty and Edwards, Creative Director Quinn Wilson, Tour Manager Carlina Gugliotta, Tour Manager Assistant Molly Gordon, Monitor Engineer Loreen Bohannon, and Wardrobe Assistant Ruby Anton. 

 

Fitting that Lizzo, who embodies femme empowerment, would have a team of talented women working behind the scenes also. And according to the creative team, Lizzo herself was closely involved in the overall design of the show.

 

 

Quinn works with her on a daily basis. It was extremely helpful to the team to have immediate feedback about what was working and what needed revision,” explains Lighting Designer Drew Gnagey.

 

One of the most challenging aspects of the tour for Gnagey was working with the rapidly growing artist because she was so busy. But with the help of collaborators Eric Marchwinski and Kirk Miller at Earlybird Visual, the team was able to turn around drafting and rendering revisions to keep the process rolling.

 

“It’s an honor to be working with such a rising star who cares so deeply for her audience and fans. I have had the distinct privilege of being able to watch her grow in such a short time frame,” he says. Gnagey also credits Dougherty for creating a smooth rehearsal environment with her precise programming. “She had the unique ability to see the design and the creative vision and turn that into extremely meaningful programming for the show. Megan worked hand-in-hand with Danielle to craft a show that reciprocates the love that Lizzo has for her fans,” says Gnagey.

 

 

PRG Vice President of Concert Touring Curry Grant was also a huge asset to the process. During the design phase of the project, Gnagey says that Grant was always available to discuss the mechanics of getting the project off the ground. “It was extremely refreshing to be able to work out the details at a quick pace and in an orderly manner,” says Gnagey. “PRG delivered an outstanding lighting package for the ‘Cuz I Love You Too’ Tour that was built to be flexible on a daily basis.”

 

A great production manager supports the creative through their guidance of gear, labor and logistics to deliver a successful show, and this tour found that in Rob Bright. “Rob was a pleasure to work with,” says Grant. “His experience allowed us to smoothly navigate the inevitable challenges that come with a new artist going out on the road.”

 

Written by: Erin Bates
Photos by: Adam Kargenian


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11/8/2019

PRG Opens in Albuquerque

World Class Motion Picture Cameras, Enhanced Environments and more

Albuquerque, New Mexico—November 5, 2019 – New Mexico continues to flourish as a premiere production hub, and PRG, the global leader in entertainment and event production solutions, brings the world’s largest inventory of cameras, lenses, accessories and LED technology to town, along with the expertise to back it up. The new camera prep facility is centrally situated in Albuquerque, between I-25 Studios and Albuquerque Studios, with convenient access to Santa Fe Studios and Downtown.

In addition to camera-prep, the facility provides an extensive array of specialty production technology including LED Enhanced Environments, NCam realtime tracking for previz onset, 35Live! production packs, and the Emmy-winning GroundControlTM Followspot lighting system.

“We feel the timing is right to support the New Mexico production community with our industry-leading expertise in film, scripted and unscripted television, sports, music, special events and live broadcast production,” said Andrea Berry, Senior Vice President of TV, Film & Broadcast. “We envision this as a destination not only for camera-related services, but for thought leadership, technology previews and educational events.”

Now open, the new 5,400 square foot facility is located at 5821 Midway Park NE, Suite F. It offers 6 fully equipped camera prep bays and a generous flex space. Located on the ground floor, the facility has two loading docks and plenty of parking.

PRG offers the world’s most extensive inventory of professional digital cinema, large format, and television broadcast cameras, lenses, and support gear, backed by skilled engineers experienced in coordinating cine and broadcast style production packages, LED walls for Enhanced Environments, and solving production challenges of every type.

For more information visit: prg.com or contact Andrea.Vestrand@prg.com or
505.404.6027.

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10/24/2019

We Talk Lighting, Lizzo and Gender Equality With Designer Megan Dougherty

Megan Dougherty is a talented lighting designer and programmer on the rise. Some of her recent work includes Anderson .Paak, Christine and the Queens, METZ, Twin Shadow, The Drums, Puscifer, Jennifer Hudson, Summer Walker and Lizzo’s current tour.

Megan always knew she wanted to tour and moved from Michigan to Chicago as soon as she graduated high school to figure out exactly where she fit into the music industry. She interned and worked in various capacities including live sound and a booking agency, but nothing felt right until she started doing lights at a 500-capacity venue called Lincoln Hall. Once she got behind the lighting desk, she’d found exactly where she wanted to be.

We sat down with Megan for a chat about her career trajectory, advice for women coming up in the music industry and her creative process.


Lizzo’s “Cuz I Love You Too” Tour Lighting Design: Drew Gnagey, Programmer: Megan Dougherty, Creative Direction: Quinn Wilson

PRG: Hi Megan! So glad I had the chance to catch up with you at the Lizzo show and see your work. That was a blast.

Megan Dougherty: Thanks! It was nice to meet in person.

PRG: Can we kick this off by you telling us a bit about your career trajectory?


MD: While I was interning at Lincoln Hall, I would run lights for the openers on an Avolites Pearl 2000 (the one that looks like a Fisher Price toy with the big spinning wheel in the center). Eventually the venue formally hired me to be the house LD which was my first gig being paid to do lights. After that, things started happening really quickly. Bands I did lights for at Lincoln Hall would in turn hire me to tour with them and I worked my way up from there. I met Sarah Landau at Lincoln Hall while she was on tour as the lighting designer for M83 maybe about six to eight years ago. She was kind enough to trust me to tour with a few of her designs when I was just starting out.

PRG: Taking the time to try different things instead of diving right into a committed career path is something that isn’t encouraged enough in young people. Other than Sarah, have you had any mentors on your way?


MD: Phil Trusky, one of the other house LDs at Lincoln Hall at the time, was a big help. He taught me to actually enjoy climbing, even on the venue's very wobbly scaffolding. More importantly, he was the first to show me that good timing makes a huge difference.

Rob Sinclair has also taught me so much over the years. I really admire his extreme attention to detail and unyielding dedication to visual arts and design. Any advice he is kind enough to share with me I hold in very high regard.


Lighting Design by Megan Dougherty for Christine and the Queens showcases in Los Angeles, NYC and Jimmy Fallon.

PRG: Is there a certain type of artist you prefer to work with in terms of genre, vision, or creative?


MD: Creatively, I prefer working with artists who err on the side of subtly and simplicity, whose music begs for lighting looks that rely heavily on the negative space rather than the light itself. Music with strong dynamics, mood, drama and tension.

PRG: What do you draw inspiration from with your designs?

MD: Obviously, the first thing is the actual music and artist I’m designing for. After that, I pay attention to the lyrics. Understanding the story the artist is telling drives the entire direction of the show and how I approach each song individually.

PRG: Can you tell me a bit about how the creative process played out on the current Lizzo tour?

MD: My involvement with Lizzo started right before production rehearsals began. Drew Gnagey, their lighting designer, put the design together with the support of Earlybird, who then asked me to program the show.

Drew sent me his plots and the deck from Lizzo’s creative director Quinn Wilson. In the deck, Quinn specified a few lighting looks and a loose guide for color usage in the set. Quinn is a treat to work with because she knows what she wants but also left a lot of the creative interpretation to me.

Since we are both very color-centric, that encompassed the majority of our conversations when going over the show looks. We both agreed the show warranted a predominantly warm color palette throughout the set.

The overall aesthetic was gospel / church, which I thought created an interesting juxtaposition at times, considering Lizzo’s strong message of sex positivity. My interpretation was that the church aesthetic represented finding faith and strength within yourself, so I created the necessary bold looks that Lizzo’s music and stage presence demands.


Lizzo’s “Cuz I Love You Too” Tour

PRG: Any advice for young women coming up in the world of technical production?

MD: Ooof... that's hard. I used to kind of gloss over the gender bias issue in the few interviews I’ve done just for the sake of staying positive, but it needs to be addressed and acknowledged. Society's attitude towards women in general has a long way to go, and that is definitely reflected in the sometimes-archaic minded music industry. Personally, I found strength by educating myself on gender biases in the workplace. I recently read "The Feminist Fight Club: A Survival Manual for a Sexist Workplace" it sites so many eye-opening statistics. Studies show that when a woman makes a mistake it’s remembered longer than if a male had made the same mistake. The bottom line and unfortunate truth is that we are still held to a higher standard and we do have to work much harder to prove ourselves.

I've learned not to waste my time on the bad eggs out there. I choose to focus my energy working with teams where all women are treated with respect.

PRG: You seem to have found that in your career. I’ve heard that there are many women working on Lizzo’s current tour.

MD: Compared to other tours I've been involved in there is certainly a higher number of women spanning across all departments. Creative director Quinn Wilson, tour manager Carlina Gugliotta, TM assistant Molly Gordon, lighting director Danielle Edwards, monitor engineer Loreen Bohannon and wardrobe assistant Ruby Anton are all very intelligent and accomplished individuals. I can definitely understand why they're involved with such a talented artist who is doing so well in her career.

PRG: Moving on to the nuts and bolts, what details are often overlooked from a gear perspective?

MD: Selecting the right gear for the design is obviously very important. If chosen incorrectly it can be a huge hindrance to the overall vision. The physical elements of the fixture itself are also a necessary detail to address, like having all the same fixture types color calibrated so you don’t have to go through the hassle of updating the color preset of each fixture individually. They’re easy and boring details to miss by the vendor and techs, but when done right, it’s a big help.


Production Design by Megan Dougherty for Anderson .Paak & the Free Nationals

PRG: You’ve worked with PRG and VER on many of your shows including Anderson .Paak, Christine and the Queens, METZ, Twin Shadow, The Drums, Puscifer, Lizzo and Jennifer Hudson. What has kept that relationship strong?

MD: Joe Cassanova is really great and attentive even to the smaller, last minute gear requests so that is a big help. He has a great attitude and a reassuring quality about him. It's nice to know that even the smaller shows I do are still being well looked after.

Joe Beenan has also been very supportive over the years and has a very down to earth quality that I enjoy.

PRG: Great to hear that our people and attention to detail keep you coming back. Thanks for taking the time, Megan. Before we wrap this up, can you tell us what’s next for you?

MD: I am continuing to grow beyond just lighting design, working on more overall show designs, continuing to work with artists I love and respect and hopefully inspire the younger female generation to get involved in production and kick some ass.

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