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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8/28/2018

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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5/3/2018

PRG Case Study: LG at CES 2018

LG's award winning CES exhibit was more than a trade show booth, it was a high-end shopping mall.
Several glass-doored shops with hard ceilings utilized both architectural and theatrical lighting & audio to showcase LG’s latest products.
PRG partnered with Czarnowski and RGB Studio to develop the design solution in a very short window that began only 3 weeks before rigging installation.
LG’s exhibit space was eye-catching and told the story of the company’s connected approach so no product will ever stand alone in its exciting new ecosystem.
Right from the start, the LG CES booth is a visual feast with an OLED canyon directing visitors inside the stand. The walls of the canyon are made from curved OLED panels which demonstrates the versatility of the format. PRG worked with Dolby to provide over 40 channels of surround sound.
The company won over 90 awards, including an Official CES Best TV Product Award and numerous best-of-show honors.

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5/3/2018

PRG Production Tips #5

Every Console is Unique, So Double Check Your Profiles!
By Chris Conti

Let’s talk about profiles and how they can be the source of problems on the site of a show. And no, I’m not talking about your Facebook or Tinder profiles. Profiles (the ones that lighting consoles use to control complex multi parameter lighting equipment) are the secret sauce of lighting consoles. They dictate which functions on a piece of lighting equipment gets controlled by what knobs or buttons on the console. How and where profiles get made vary as much as how many different types of consoles there are. Some console manufacturers require that they must build the profile for you, some let you create a simple text file that acts as the profile, some have a special app that lets you build the profile, and others enable you to build and/or edit the profile right on the console itself. The point being is that every console is unique which, sadly, makes them proprietary to specific consoles. That means you can’t take a profile for a new lighting fixture from a Hog 4 and use it on V676. However, what is universal is the DMX Map. Every piece of lighting equipment that can be controlled by DMX512 has one or more DMX Maps associated with it. The Map outlines which DMX channel controls what function on a piece of lighting equipment.


Here’s an example: above is a portion of the DMX Map for a Best Boy. On the Map you can see that Channel 1 drives the dimmer on the fixture. Also listed is a description for each channel, what their ranges are, and their home values. So, in the case of the dimmer on the Best Boy, a DMX value of 0 is out and 255 is the dimmer at full, with the range being 0 to 255. It also states that the home value is 0, meaning when I release or tell the fixture from my lighting console to go to home, it will snap out. Probably one of the most critical things to understand is that this information is taken from the DMX Map and then used to create the console profile. Once created, the profile is then loaded onto the console along with the show patch so as to enable control of fixtures.

So, now that we understand what a profile is and how it works, how can they be a problem on show site? The simple answer is bad profiles. A bad profile is one that was made incorrectly and or is missing items. A great example of this is when I had a customer call me up and tell me how much they loved the Best Boy fixture. Their only complaint was that it didn’t have frost, when in fact, the fixture does actually have it. What ensued was a back and forth of, yes it does have frost, no it doesn’t, yes it does, well there is no dial or button to control it on the desk! The long and short of it was that the console profile was bad. Whom ever had created it had failed to include the frost in the profile, which by the way is DMX channel 21 in case you were wondering. Another example was the time I received a call from a lighting director who was concerned about how “brown’ the lights were and that he wanted to immediately receive 100 new lamps for the fixtures. As luck would have it, I had been in the shop the day that those particular fixtures where being prepped. So, I had actually seen them before they shipped and knew for a fact that they were NOT brown. I also thought it was very odd that ALL 100 fixtures where the same shade of brown. Something was clearly not right, and it wasn’t bad lamps. After going through some basic trouble shooting steps we were able to quickly identify that the source of the lights being brown was in fact a bad profile. These fixtures had an additional CTO wheel and the home value in the console profile was set incorrectly. The result was instead of defaulting to 0, open white, the CTO was defaulting to 10% and making all the fixtures look brown instead of crisp white. Fortunately, as soon as we got a fixed profile loaded into the desk the entire rig was up and running in the proper open white. A simple fix of the profile saved a lot of aggravation.

Profiles enable us to control complex lighting equipment easily from a lighting console, but they can also cause serious problems too. A bad profile can make equipment perform poorly, if at all. So always double check and verify that the profiles are built correctly to prevent problems from occurring.


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4/20/2018

Deep South Studios, PRG Announce Strategic Film and Entertainment Industry Offerings

Louisiana's First Qualified Entertainment Company, Deep South Studios, Open for Business

NEW ORLEANS – April 10, 2018 - Deep South Studios, the largest purpose-built film, television and digital media production facility in the Southeast welcomes Production Resource Group (PRG), a global entertainment and live event production services company, as the first strategic tenant to its New Orleans campus. Together, Deep South Studios and PRG's Paskal Grip and Lighting Division will offer comprehensive production services to entertainment, live events and film and television industry clients.

Deep South Studios, the first comprehensive entertainment production complex in Louisiana, recently completed construction on three of the 11 buildings planned for its main campus in New Orleans. PRG will occupy one of these new structures from which they will provide immediate access to its full inventory of leading-edge technologies and equipment to support television, motion picture and digital media production in Louisiana.

“This strategic alliance with PRG allows us to offer entertainment clients and companies one-stop shopping when it comes to production services,” said Deep South Studios founder and CEO Scott Niemeyer.

“PRG exists to deliver world-class production solutions for live entertainment, film and scripted television,” said Randy Hutson, PRG’s senior vice president and general manager, Entertainment West. “We are excited about this new partnership with Deep South Studios that will introduce PRG’s vast capabilities to a new set of directors, producers and designers.”

Louisiana Economic Development announced in December 2017 that Deep South Studios is Louisiana’s first Qualified Entertainment Company under a new state program enacted last year to cultivate sustainable jobs and permanent investment for Louisiana’s motion picture, digital, music and theatrical industries. The performance-based program is designed to encourage investment in permanent quality jobs for Louisiana residents in those entertainment fields.

“As I said at our inaugural Louisiana Entertainment Summit last month, we are making a concerted effort to attract companies that will invest in physical facilities here, create good-paying permanent jobs, and become a permanent part of Louisiana’s entertainment landscape,” Govenor John Bel Edwards said. “Deep South Studios and companies like it will broaden the foundation of the entertainment industry in Louisiana to produce a greater economic impact for our state. We are happy to see PRG join Deep South Studios in this endeavor.”

As Deep South Studios’ new tenant, PRG will be able to provide immediate access to its full inventory of leading-edge technologies and equipment to support television, motion picture and digital media production in Louisiana.

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4/5/2018

A PRG Chat with David “Fuji” Convertino: Lighting Designer, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds

The Best Boy has been the only light we’ve had on tour with us since 2012. The features of it are great: the prism wheel, extruder wheel, moire gobos, even down to the fan blade spin effects on the shutter, they all help to enhance his music.” – David “Fuji” Convertino

Noel Gallagher has been a polarizing name in pop since 1994, when he debuted onto the scene with Oasis’s Definitely Maybe, an album that marked both the rise of Britpop and the band’s tabloid-ridden, era-defining climb to the top of music charts. He’s been a consistent force in the entertainment industry since then, releasing two more record breaking albums with Oasis, and then in 2011 going on to form his own band, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds.

Gallagher seems to have rekindled the magic of his freshman effort, 23 years later. Critics have hailed the band’s third album, Who Built The Moon? (2017) as the The High Flying Birds’ greatest record. The idealism and absurdist metaphor that first solidified Noel as a great songwriter has grown to encompass a sound that is entirely recognizable, but somehow brighter and more joyous.

We had the pleasure of sitting down with the man who is responsible for translating these sounds into visuals for the tour: David “Fuji” Convertino. Fuji has been doing stage and lighting design for Noel Gallagher for the past 7 years, and PRG has been there to support him every step of the way.

PRG: Tell us a little bit about how you first got into lighting design.

CONVERTINO: I’ve played drums since I was 5 or 6 years old. When I was 13, one of my teachers played for the Central New York Circuit, so I went out as his drum tech. The band had just purchased 30 PAR cans, and asked if I wanted to do their lighting. I gave an enthusiastic yes, even though I had no idea what I was doing. There was a guy who did sound for them and he had toured on a national market, so he taught me how to wire my first PAR can and patch a leprechaun rack that you could just plug into the wall.



PRG: What inspired the lighting and stage design for the Who Built the Moon tour?

CONVERTINO: The stage and lighting design for this tour all came from a film Noel showed me while we were the support act for U2’s Joshua Tree Tour. It’s an Alejandro Jordowsky film that John Lennon and Yoko Ono financed, called The Holy Mountain, which is also the name of a single from the album. I’d never seen it – but it was a really trippy movie. There was one image from it that looked like Radio City and the Hollywood Bowl merged together. Noel asked if we could do something like that as a stage design and that became the inspiration for the semi-circle screen masks. I didn’t want anything to impede the semi-circle – even though right now we have straight trusses, if you block those it ruins the imagery. Instead of downstage truss, we have an open look and just side-light the band so everything is shadowed. I think it’s pretty cool that this was all based off just watching that movie!



PRG: What was the overarching goal to achieve with this event?

CONVERTINO: Visually, in the past Noel’s tours have just gone with a floor package with supplemental local supplied downstage truss and upstage truss. On this one, I wanted to try something different. Now that he’s got so many band members on stage, we kind of run out of room for a large floor package. Trying to put side-trusses in theaters just seems natural. It was more about getting shadows and angles that look great for the cameras. I wanted to hit his face with a left side light while he’s being shot from the right. We played up the dimension of being side-lit.



PRG: How does the creative process transfer into type of gear and people you use?

CONVERTINO: I will have to start from the beginning of our partnership to answer this! Chris Conti, myself and Michael O’Connor, our production manager, took a train to Secaucus to see the Best Boys in 2011. Robin Wain from PRG has been our salesman since the old Oasis days for global tours.

Robin arranged for us to see the new light coming from PRG, and I absolutely fell in love with it. The Best Boy has been the only light we’ve had on tour with us since 2012. The features of it are great: the prism wheel, extruder wheel, moire gobos, even down to the fan blade spin effects on the shutter, they all help to enhance his music. Per song, there’s an effect in that light I can use that will look perfect. You don’t have to go to some mystical land to find an effect because it’s all in the Best Boy. It just makes lighting his music easy. Plus, the color effects are unbeatable, the zoom, brightness and crispness of it – it edges beautifully. It’s the only light we want.

PRG: Were there any challenges to this event? If so, how were they solved?

CONVERTINO: Like every tour, budget, budget, budget! The amount of lights on it gave us more looks. The upstage truss comes from a high-angle so you don’t see it bleeding into the mask of the screen. Not to mention, if you put too much gear in one spot, it becomes mud, so your options are to do really tight beams, which to me, gets boring after two or three songs, or layer light on top of light. For me, lights are like oxygen: they need room and space to breathe. If they are on top of each other, they suffocate.

Because the North American leg was all theaters, trying to make it look like a massive production with 28 Best Boys total was a challenge. We wanted to make it look like a Radio City-sized venue at every show, even if we were in a smaller space.

I did this by making focus angles that I knew I could achieve in every venue, and by trying to do things that weren’t out of the realm of the lights or the size that we would have. For example, if we went into a venue where they have a low ceiling, I had to be sure in pre-vis that things would work in every constraint.



PRG: When did PRG get involved in the design process?

CONVERTINO: I always design with the Best Boys in mind. This tour is no bid. We know we will work with PRG as soon as Noel decides to go out.



PRG Lighting Crew Chief - Craig Hancock
PRG Video Crew Chief - Simon Schofield
Associate Lighting Designer - Casey Gill




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3/27/2018

PRG Case Study: Denso at CES 2018

EEI Global wanted their client DENSO, a global supplier of advanced automotive technology, to stand out at CES 2018. To do that, EEI partnered with PRG to bring its immersive environment concept to reality. PRG created an innovative solution using six different LED surfaces (three horizontal and three vertical) tied into a 3D projector to draw guests into an interactive and immersive experience. As guests entered the booth, LEDs overhead and in front of them activated and drew them into a full 3D Theatre experience where they were introduced to Denso's "Crafting the Core" theme. At the same time, content on exterior LED walls changed to engage guests outside. PRG proved to be a full-service and collaborative partner for EEI. PRG conducted a 3D study of the space prior to planning and working with EEI’s sales, design, engineering, manufacturing departments and setup supervisors on testing and collaborating at every phase. PRG provided creative technology that allowed Denso to showcase its innovations with the global megatrends of connected living, connectivity and automated driving.

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3/20/2018

A PRG Chat with Dan Mercer: Freelance Production Manager, Technical Director Backstreet Boys “Larger Than Life” Las Vegas Residency and “So You Think You Can Dance” Tour

“I’m here for a good time, not a long time. I love what I do, I’m a hands-on guy. I like to be involved and make stuff happen.”

 You’ve probably seen the Sydney Harbour Bridge in Australia illuminated for New Year’s Eve on television. If you’ve attended the Backstreet Boys show “Larger Than Life” in Las Vegas (the highest-grossing residency stage show ever in sin-city), or the touring show of the winners of “So You Think You Can Dance,” then you’ve seen the work of Dan Mercer. During the past twelve years Dan has provided his strategic and creative thinking, his operational genius, and his professional integrity and tenacity to a wide range of highly visible, highly engaging events in the U.S. and around the world. We had a chance to catch-up with Dan while he was on location in New York to find out what makes this Aussie tick.

PRG: Tell us a little bit about you and how you got into the entertainment production business.

MERCER: In the beginning I was an on-stage guy. I was really involved in the music department of my high school. They had an excellent arts department and the teachers and the students were very enthusiastic. In addition to spending time on stage, we got to see a lot of stage shows and performances together and that energy and comradery had a big impact on me. At one point I got into doing the audio-visual stuff and the school actually paid me for being the tech guy for some of the shows. Later, when I went to university, I studied business, but I stayed involved in production and had a job working a few of the local theaters in Sydney.

PRG: After university, you started a production company. Can you tell us about that?

MERCER: Yeah, it was great. In 2006 I started a lighting company in Sydney with one of my collegues. We called the company Mandylights and were fortunate to work on a bunch of amazing projects all over the world. It was an incredible time but as the company grew I had to spend an increasing amount of time managing the administration work that comes with a large company and less and less time on stage or in a loading dock. In 2016 I sold the company so I could focus more on actually delivering the projects, you know, hands-on. I had done a bit of work for the Backstreet Boys before and when the Residency was announced I was really excited to be a part of it.

PRG: Working with the Boys had to be awesome, right?

MERCER: Absolutely! I’ve worked on all sorts of productions all over the world. For sure lighting the Sydney Harbour Bridge is an incredible accomplishment, but the Backstreet Boys residency in Las Vegas so far has been my favorite. The whole crew and I have invested a lot of time in this show and I’m very proud of the results and the people who’ve been a part of making it the success that it is.



PRG: This gig couldn’t have been an easy one to win.

MERCER: Not at all. I fought hard for this gig. I had heard that the show was being talked about for a couple of years before it started so I was excited about getting into it.



PRG: There had to be a few challenges with the show, especially with the quick turn around and the Vegas environment in general. How did that come together?

MERCER: Once I started work in December of 2016, I worked around the clock on practically every aspect of the show. When I say we worked around the clock, we really did. We only had about 6 weeks to put the show together. I worked closely with Show Director/Production Designer, Raj Kapoor and the entire team from PRG to get it done. Then came opening night, which honestly I thought might be a bit more glamorous. We had been running so hard to get the show up; it really was a blur. The Britney Spears show, which was in the same theater, closed just three days before we had to open. Britney closed on Saturday night, and we opened on Wednesday. It was a feeling of relief that even with the tight turn around we actually did make this multi-million dollar show happen on time. PRG was absolutely amazing and did a great job with everything they had to do. I didn’t have to worry about anything on their plate.



PRG: There has been some news published that this show had the highest grossing box office of any residency show in Las Vegas. That must have been a proud moment to hear that.

MERCER: Yeah, to say the least. This show is a fantastic collaboration between The Boys, Raj and the creative team, the crew and all our amazing vendors. It’s to everyones credit that this show is such a success. There was a huge buzz when the show first opened and we have done four more runs since and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down. After the 25th show, the Boys did a big champagne toast back stage to celebrate our achievement - everyone was really excited. There are almost 70 people involved in the show, but it felt like a much tighter-knit group than that. It was a really proud moment for all of us.

I remember that night when the Lighting Director, Graham Anderson, who has been one of my best friends since I first got into this business, and I looked at each other and said “who are we” and laughed about how a couple of guys from Australia got this done. It was an awesome moment.



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

MERCER: As the production manager, it’s really all about the people, the culture, the ethos. There are probably 100 companies around the U.S. who could compile the equipment to do the show, but for me, and for this show, it’s the team at PRG that are the difference. From our account managers, Curry and Rusty to our Head onsite Ryan and all the guys in the shop, it is an incredible company. Curry knew what we needed every step of the way and he did an amazing job managing our account. The local PRG crew in Las Vegas had great vision and amazing capabilities. And, you just can’t beat the availability and access to the lighting equipment and technology of PRG.

PRG: Let’s depart from Backstreet Boys. You’ve also worked with PRG on the winner’s tour of “So You Think You Can Dance”. Can you tell us about that?

MERCER: It’s a great show. We took the top 10 winners after they finish the TV show, and we did a 50-city U.S. tour. Raj, Graham and I all worked together and produced the tour. Raj was creative director and came up with the show format, chose the best acts from the tv show, decided which dancers would do each act and how each part of the show should look and flow. My role was production designer so I was responsible for the look of the show from a production point of view: stage, lighting, video design, technical feasibility, venues, and negotiating supplier agreements. Graham designed and programmed all the lighting and worked closely with both Raj and I on the creative look and feel of the show. Naturally, PRG was an obvious choice with their long history of concert touring. They have the ability to understand what we needed, to make logistical, technical and production recommendations, then get the gear, pack as few trucks as possible, set-up and take-down in record speed and accuracy. PRG is just great.



PRG: Were there any big wins on that tour?

MERCER: Our big win was designing custom lighting pods for the tour. We had a couple of pretty big technical challenges on the show. The producer had a limitation on trucks, so we worked with PRG to create custom lighting pods, a massive back wall, an incredible array of space-efficient fixtures, and much, much more. PRG in Las Vegas built the sets for us so they were also space-efficient.



PRG: If you could give your 20-year-old self advice what would you say?

MERCER: I guess I’d tell me that life and work are all about excellent experiences. Life has to be enjoyable. If you’re doing what you love you’ll be happy, but stay focused. Some of the hardest gigs I’ve ever done have also been some of the most rewarding and they’re definitely all my best stories.

Our industry is growing and changing all the time, it’s exciting to see where it will go and I know I want to be a part of it as much now as when I was just getting started 15 years ago.


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3/13/2018

PRG Introduces GCeX™ Followspot System and SpotRay™ Followspot Luminaire

New ground control and luminaire demonstrations at USITT Conference & Stage Expo

DALLAS - MARCH 12, 2018 - Production Resource Group (PRG), the global partner of choice for the world's leading entertainment and event producers, designers, and creative talents, introduced today the GCeX™ Followspot System. The GCeX Followspot System is based on PRG's award-winning GroundControl™ Followspot System.

The GCeX Followspot enables users to place a compact followspot in a variety of locations (including balcony rails, box booms, black box rails, ground supported from a lift, system pipe in a counterweight rigging system, on deck, in audience or low ceiling venues) up to 300 feet away from an operator allowing them to safely and comfortably operate a GCeX controller. All these options can be accomplished with GroundControl without the extra safety equipment, personnel access gear, and rigging typically associated with truss or floor mounted followspots. The fixture can be operated as a followspot as well as utilized as a standard moving light, giving designers even more creative freedom.

Key GCeX Followspot features are:

  • Intuitive operator controls
  • High Definition camera and monitor for viewing the stage
  • Dynamic local control for Intensity, Iris, Zoom, and Edge
  • On-board touchscreen for easy configuration, addressing, fixture controls, and logged diagnostics.
  • Multiple luminaire options available to tailor to a designer's specific needs
  • Comfortable grip handles for manual control of pan and tilt
  • Integration into cues with a DMX lighting console

"PRG excels at combining market expertise, state-of-the-art equipment, and in-house engineering and manufacturing to provide creative solutions for our clients and the GCeX Followspot System in another example of our innovation," said Michael Dodge, product specialist. "GCeX is an exciting addition to the GroundControl family which will expand access of the revolutionary GroundControl technology to additional markets and productions."

 



Additionally, PRG is introducing a new luminaire for the GCeX Followspot System - the GroundControl SpotRay™ Luminaire.

SpotRay
The GC SpotRay Luminaire is a highly compact precision-engineered automated luminaire specifically optimized for followspot work. SpotRay features all the core functions required in a high-performance followspot - CMYC Color mixing, Zoom, Edge, Frost and Iris control - and is designed from the ground up to work together with the GCeX System. SpotRay also includes a High Definition (HD) camera mounted on the fixture that outputs HD-SDI at 1080p, enabling the spot operator on the ground to see the stage as if he was sitting next to the fixture. The on-board camera has an optical zoom, targeting reticle, and a night vision mode that enables operators to pick up a performer on a virtually black stage.



PRG is demonstrating this new technology at the USITT (United States Institute for Theatre Technology) Conference and Stage Expo, March 14-17 in Ft. Lauderdale. Live demonstrations and product information are available at PRG's booth #2117.


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3/9/2018

The 90th Academy Awards Dazzle with Lighting Provided by PRG

The 90th Oscars dazzled with lighting design by Bob Dickinson and Travis Hagenbuch. The Academy Awards were broadcasted from The Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles on Sunday, March 4. To celebrate the 90th Anniversary of The Oscars, set design by Tony Award-winning Derek McLane featured 45 million Swarovski crystals that delighted the audience.

PRG was proud to provide an array of 350 assorted Philips Vari-Lite fixtures, over 225 Philips Color Kinetics LED fixtures, TMB Solaris Flares, and PRG Icon Edges (see full gear list below).

Lighting plots provided by Full Flood show what it takes to light the presenters, the winners, the stage, and the audience at this star-studded gala.



Lighting Team
Lighting Design Firm: Full Flood, Inc.
Lighting Designers: Bob Dickinson and Travis Hagenbuch
LD/Programmers: Andy O'Reilly and Patrick Boozer
Lighting Directors: Mike Berger, Ben Green, Madigan Stehly
Movie Theater LD: Dave Thibodeau
Movie Theater Remote Programmer: Patrick Brazil
Gaffer: Alen Sisul
Best Boy: Chris Lopez
PRG Techs: James Beaghan, Danny Villa, Janos Bode, Andrew Gonzales
Head Electric: Jason Seagrove
Head Electric/Panel Light: Chris Latsch
Floor Crew Assistants: Dennis Sisul, Chris Roseli, Orlando Gonzalez, Brian Marshall, Walter Elizalde, Brian Hoch
Floor Crew (non-assistants): Jeff Mcleod, Rick Thibideau, Kelly Kippen, Ted Way, Dean Kessler
Spotlights: Adam Hagin, Steve Leach, Scott Thorngate, Pamela Monroe, Kim Busse, Darrel Aranda, Joe Dominguez
PRG Account Manager: Tony Ward
PRG Production Coordinator: Jeff Javier

Lighting Gear List
200 Philips Vari-lite VL3500 Spot
150 Philips Vari-lite VL3500 Wash
70 Philips Vari-lite VL5
8 Philips Vari-lite VL6C
20 Philips Vari-lite VL2402
12 Philips Vari-lite VL6000 Beam
12 PRG Icon Edge
210 Philips Color Kinetics Color Blast TRX
12 Chroma-Q Color Block 2
12 TMB Solaris Flare
350 ETC Source Four
80 ETC Source Four PAR
20 MR11 20"
2 ARRI Skypanel
16 ARRI 650W Fresnel
100 ARRI 300W Fresnel
7 SuperTrouper Spot
Lots of RGBW LED Tape
Lots of LiteGear hybrid white LED tape

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