News

As the leading global production services solution provider PRG is continually working on some of the most creatively challenging projects; developing the next generation of technology and redefining the industry as well as our company. Keep track of it all in our news updates and case studies. We will also be posting articles and videos featuring some of our industry's compelling creative thinkers; designers and luminaries.

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11/8/2019

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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10/23/2019

Newburgh Free Library hosts Operation Warm for Head Start Families

NEW YORK – Oct. 18, 2019

The Newburgh Free Library will be hosting “A Warm Welcome to the Library” on Saturday, Nov. 2, 2019, from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. at 124 Grand Street, Newburgh, NY. In partnership with PRG (Production Resource Group) in association with the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, Local 311, and Operation Warm, this program will distribute new winter coats and books to children enrolled at Newburgh Head Start of Eastern Orange County.

Operation Warm, a national nonprofit, partnered with the Library last year and reached out to continue to support the distribution of coats to youth in the community again this year. The Library approached Head Start to become this year’s recipient agency in hopes of reaching new families who may not be familiar with the resources and programs available for free at their local public library. “This is a wonderful opportunity to provide a new coat and free books to youth in our community along with welcoming families to visit the Library,” said Lisa Kochik, Head of Youth Services.

Volunteers from PRG and IATSE Local 311 will be on hand at the event to assist with distributing the coats that were funded by their members and Operation Warm.

To donate or discover more about bringing coats to children in need in your community, visit www.operationwarm.org.

Contact:
Lisa Kochik
Tel: (845)563-3616
124 Grand St., Newburgh, NY 12550 
www.newburghlibrary.org

For information, please call 845-563-3616

The Newburgh Free Library is open from 9 a.m. – 9 p.m., Mon. - Thurs.; 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., Friday and Saturday; and 1 p.m. – 5 p.m. on Sunday. The Town Branch is open from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., Mon., Thurs., Fri., and Sat.; 12 p.m. – 8 p.m., Tuesday and Wednesday; closed Sundays.

For information about Library programs, visit www.newburghlibrary.org or call 845-563-3600.


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10/4/2019

PRG and MBS Equipment Company to Form Strategic Alliance

MBSE to acquire PRG Paskal Lighting’s equipment and PRG to become MBSE’s preferred supplier of production services and technology

NEW YORK - Oct. 7, 2019 - Production Resource Group, LLC (PRG), the leading global provider of entertainment and event technology solutions, and MBS Equipment Company (MBSE), the world’s largest studio-based equipment company, announced today that they will form a strategic alliance that provides MBSE premium access to PRG’s vast technology-driven product lines to service MBSE’s global studio platform.

Under the agreement, PRG will become MBSE’s preferred supplier of a wide range of products and services in support of MBSE’s studio-equipment business. MBSE will have access to the entirety of PRG’s inventory, including automated luminaires, dimming, LED, audio, video, projectors, rigging, motors, proprietary technology, such as PRG SpaceFrame™ and GroundControl™ Followspot System, and customized solutions such as visual effects and Enhanced Environments.

Further, MBSE will purchase all of the assets of PRG’s Paskal Lighting division, which includes a vast inventory of lighting and grip equipment and expendables.

The deal is expected to close within the next few weeks.

Jere Harris, Chairman & CEO of PRG said, “This partnership with MBSE advances our position as the leading supplier of technologically advanced services and solutions in media, entertainment and live events. We look forward to working with the MBSE team as a preferred resource to its customers.”

“PRG’s strong market presence and experience in moving and theatrical lighting provides a perfect fit for our stage-based equipment rental operations,” added Richard Nelson, President and CEO of The MBS Group. Nelson added, “This is a great opportunity for us to maximize our relationship with PRG to better service our clients.”

###

About MBS Equipment Co.
MBS Equipment Company maintains one of the industry’s most extensive inventories of LED and other lighting and grip equipment for film and TV production. MBSE is the world’s largest studio-based production services provider, servicing over 35 studios and nearly 270 sound stages worldwide. As part of The MBS Group, MBS Equipment Company, along with MBS3 and Pinewood MBS Lighting, provide all the resources and equipment necessary for studio development, studio management, studio operations, and lighting and grip rental services.



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10/1/2019

Metallica & the San Francisco Symphony Reunite for S&M2 Beneath Bespoke LED Rings

Twenty years later, Metallica and the San Francisco Symphony were reunited for their legendary S&M concert, this time as the opening night programming for the Chase Center in San Francisco. Show Director Dan Braun designed the set, which included four flown LED rings that hovered above the symphony and the band in an in-the-round stage setup.



PRG provided LED, rigging, motors, sound and the camera system for this historical event. This included an LED system with a total pixel count of 16,418,688, a POV camera slider system, and 254 Meyer Sound speaker enclosures.

“Absolutely beautiful, cutting-edge design and vision by Dan Braun,” says PRG Senior Vice President John Wiseman. “When we saw the drawings, we realized we were looking at something we hadn’t seen before, which is really saying something considering the volume of shows our team has been lucky enough to be involved in over our careers.”

While the pairing of the band and the symphony had been done before, from a production standpoint this show was entirely different from the first S&M concert, which was held at the 3,500 capacity Berkeley Community Theater.

“This classically San Francisco band was a natural choice for the new venue,” explained Braun. “We used those parameters for the design.”

Metallica and Braun’s over-arching goal for the design was to facilitate the energy exchange between the band and audience as directly as possible.



“The only way you can take the last row of the audience and move it halfway closer to the stage is to move the stage to the middle of the arena,” explains Braun. “I haven’t ever forgotten what it’s like to be a young person going to a concert, so I find the in-the-round design very attractive.”

Metallica and PRG have a long history working together, and when the drawings for this one-off came in, Director of PRG Projects Jeroen Hallaert realized it would be quite complicated. The four flown LED rings required that 60, 45, 30 and 16-foot circular truss be respectively stacked and clad with ROE CB5 tiles on both the inside and outside. Braun was committed to a very clean look, which meant that the LED would have to be custom designed with fabricated hanging hardware.

“When I drew the thing, I of course I thought it might be really special,” explains Braun. “In pre-vis, we had a dream team from PRG along with lighting director Rob Koenig and programmer Joe Cabrera. When I walked into the room where we had the rings set up for the first time with the stage and the video surfaces activated with test patterns, I beamed. That’s a breathtaking moment when you see it and realize it is going to work, and this time it was magical.”

The entire LED system was a full tile to tile redundancy in addition to processor redundancy. The bespoke hardware was designed for a very fast load in, as only 20 hours were available for everything including stage, sound, video and lighting.



“The rings took us two days to assemble and hang during rehearsal, but our team came up with solutions to cut that time in half for the show load in,” explains PRG Project Manager Valdis Dauksts. These solutions included smart gear packs and keeping the entire crew consistent throughout rehearsals and the show.

In the end, it was all worth it as the show was a major success and received glowing reviews from publications and audiences on social media.

“What we heard and saw in the arena was exactly what we intended to do,” said Braun. “Lug managed to take 99% of the cabling from the ceiling. It created a magnificent environment. When you look at the photos, the cable drops were not photoshopped out, they were really not visible.”

Because Production Manager John “Lug” Zajonc has worked with Braun for years now, he says it was easy to understand his vision.



“I have always believed in the fit and finish as the fans deserve the best show we can provide, so immediately I thought that all the cables needed to be routed to the ceiling,” explains Zajonc. “We were able to work with the building to find additional power in the catwalks so we could achieve the clean look and were fortunate that they were able to accommodate all of our equipment.”

It might seem like a whole lot of work for a one-off show, but it is undoubtedly one that people will remember for years to come.

“Of course building this for a one-off was a steep hill to climb but with partners like Kish Rigging, the leadership of Lug and Dan, and our PRG team of Val Dauksts, Gene McAuliffe, Eric Geiger and Wolfgang Schram onboard, we had the expertise and all the tools to be successful,” says Wiseman.

Using PRG and VER for multiple disciplines had some notable benefits for production.

“Jeff Priepot did a great job getting our audio package sorted and John Wiseman came in on the video side to really help us out,” says Zajonc. “The motors being consistent throughout the entire project made it easier so we could plug in from anywhere to get things going.”

“Having a relationship with someone who can support you and do problem-solving is vital because doing a huge one-off like this is even harder than preparing for a tour in a lot of ways,” says Braun. “It takes an amazing group of people to look at a drawing and make it real and efficient. A partner like PRG who will embrace your values and pursue a common goal of a magnificent show is an amazing experience to be part of.”

Written by: Erin Bates
Photos by: Ralph Larmann

Show Director: Dan Braun
Production Manager: John “Lug” Zajonc
Lighting Designer: Rob Koenig
Video Director: Gene McAuliffe
Sound Design: Bob McCarthy

PRG Account Executive Video: John Wiseman
PRG Account Executive Audio: Jeff Priepot
Project Manager: Valdis Dauksts

LED Crew
LED Mounting System: Jeroen Hallaert
LED Engineer: Wolfgang Schram
Crew Chief: Eric Geiger
Lead LED: Evan Cervantes
LED Tech: Casey Bowen
LED Tech: Christopher Shaffer
LED Tech: Humberto Murillo
LED Tech: Kenny Patterson
LED Tech: Noel Galan
LED Tech: Neil Welch Jr.
LED / Camera Op: Benjamin Welch
LED / Camera Op: Corey Lang
LED / Camera Op: Jason Fisher


Camera Crew
EIC: Scott Widder
Engineer: Matt Vassaloo
Engineer: Graham Howill
Media Server: Cameron Pigou
Camera Lead: John Moore
Camera Op: Andrew Long
Camera Op: John Heathcott
Camera Op: Omar Regalado
Camera Op: Matthew Ortiz

Audio Crew
Sound Engineer: Chris Nichols
Crew Chief: Kevin Valind
PA: Connor Murray
PA: Bobby Brickman
PA: Shawn Mahler
PA: Kas Solomon
PA: Dana Danial
PA: Rick Soukup

 


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9/25/2019

Chris Corrini Joins PRG as Chief Financial Officer

NEW YORK – Sept 23, 2019 -- Production Resource Group LLC (PRG), the world's leading provider of entertainment and event technology solutions, announced today it has hired Chris Corrini as Chief Financial Officer, who will head a newly reorganized financial leadership team. Corrini will lead the combined PRG/VER financial efforts including raising capital, directing investor relations, managing financial performance, developing long-term strategy and providing financial planning and analysis.

"A little more than a year ago, we combined PRG and VER and became a billion-dollar global business. With that, the demands placed on our financial department have increased enormously in both complexity and sheer volume," said Jere Harris, Chairman and CEO of PRG. "I believe Chris' credentials at leading global companies and his tested business acumen will strengthen PRG and help position us for future growth."

Corrini brings deep experience with multi-national companies that have extensive networks of locations, which is a major asset to PRG. His corporate resume includes a 10-year tenure as Chief Financial Officer at Brink's as well as the publicly traded Brink's Group, which included Brink's and Brink's Home Security. Following that, he was CFO at Edison Learning, where he was vital to a successful turnaround. Other experience includes senior financial roles at ITT Corporation, Akzo Nobel, Chiquita Brands and Ernst & Young. Corrini graduated from the University of Notre Dame, magna cum laude, and received an MBA from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He is a Certified Public Accountant.

Corrini added, "PRG is outstanding at what it does and is uniquely positioned for growth as the technology leader in the rapidly expanding entertainment and experiential markets. I look forward to working with PRG's first-rate team and the investment community to realize the many opportunities ahead."

Within PRG's new financial leadership team, Joe Cirillo is taking on a central role of Senior Vice President, Finance, reporting to Corrini. Since Cirillo joined PRG in August 2016, he has worked with PRG's leadership team on the company's financial operations, as well as the VER acquisition, which was completed in August 2018.

Additionally, Dan Mollicone will round out the team as Vice President of Financial Planning and Analysis with global responsibility. Mollicone will play an essential role in providing information that will guide decision-making and strategy for both corporate leadership and market groups. Mollicone has been with PRG for 10 years, most recently as Director of Finance, EMEA. A search is underway to fill his current role.

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9/23/2019

PRG Taps GameStop’s Former Head of Partnerships for Esports Business

LOS ANGELES – Sept 9, 2019 - Production Resource Group LLC (PRG), the world’s leading provider of entertainment and event technology solutions, has hired esports thought leader and former Head of GameStop Partnerships, John Davidson, as Director of Business Development, Esports. At PRG, Davidson will develop strategic partnerships and production opportunities that leverage PRG’s expertise for this quickly growing segment.
“We are excited to have John join PRG and guide the company’s efforts within esports,” said Jens Zimmerman, Global Sales Officer of PRG. “The esports phenomena has fully arrived on the global stage and, with our technical expertise, we are ready to help ensure the success of one-off events or world tours.”
Davidson was previously head of partnerships at GameStop where he initiated collaborations with global esports powerhouses Team Envy, OpTic Gaming and managed naming rights for Complexity Gaming’s world-class headquarters - The GameStop Performance Center. Davidson has presented at TEDx and is an active speaker on youth marketing and gaming. He sits on the advisory board for Dallas Influencers in Sports and Entertainment (DISE) and serves as Board President for the Esports Trade Association.

“I’m excited to join PRG, a clear industry leader with professional expertise, and most importantly, respect for the space, understanding of our passion and a desire to benefit the community. The company’s capabilities and proprietary technology will give brands and fans unforgettable activations and experiences at esports events around the globe,” said Davidson.

PRG’s experience in esports includes some of the world’s largest events, including ESL One New York, League of Legends Worlds Final Tour and most recently, the Fortnite World Cup. PRG provides the most comprehensive and advanced suite of production services available for major events, and, with a network of over 70 offices on five continents, can execute anywhere in the world.

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9/23/2019

PRG Support for Bon Jovi's "This House Is Not for Sale" Tour

PRG has worked with Bon Jovi for almost 20 years. The band and the technical production solutions company are a great match, as they share a commitment to cutting edge technology. “Jon Bon Jovi always wants to push the envelope for what is the best,” says Tour Director Paul Korzilius.

Bon Jovi is currently out on their This House is Not For Sale Tour, where they’ve implemented a fully 4K camera and LED system, along with a PRG Ingest system to streamline storage of the large files of footage they capture every night of the tour.

“The 4K system definitely stands out, from the file sizes to the pictures that are up on the screen, everything about it is big. That’s the way we like it here at Bon Jovi - big,” says video director and brother of JBJ, Anthony Bongiovi. To achieve that look, ROE CB8 LED tiles are housed in PRG SpaceFrames™.

Watch the video to hear more from the incredible crew and see footage from their Dublin stop on the tour.

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9/6/2019

PRG to Open New Facility in Chicago, Adjacent to CineSpace Studios

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS—September 6, 2019 – Production is booming in Chicago, and PRG, the global leader in entertainment and event production solutions, is about to expand with a new camera prep facility conveniently situated in the Douglas Park area, adjacent to the CineSpace Chicago Film Studios lot, where PRG supplies several of network television’s highest rated episodic series.

PRG acquired VER in August 2018, including its VER Camera division, known for industry-leading expertise and inventory in digital cinema and broadcast cameras, lenses and accessories. The combined service offering of the two brands is the most comprehensive and technologically advanced in the film, television and broadcast markets today.

Located on the west side of downtown Chicago, the new location is poised to become the major Midwest production hub. “It’s a great match for PRG’s experienced support of film, scripted and unscripted television, sports, music, special events and live broadcast production, says Andrea Berry, SVP and General Manager of Broadcast & Television at PRG. “Building this new facility in such a prime area shows our whole-hearted commitment to the growth of the Chicago cine/broadcast media market.”

Slated to open in the Fall of 2019, the new 10,000 plus square foot facility, located at 1414 South Western Avenue, will offer 6 fully equipped camera prep bays and production offices. The contemporary wood and brick interior will feature an industrial warehouse-chic design.

PRG clients will have access to the world’s largest inventory of professional digital cinema, large format, and television broadcast cameras, lenses, and support gear. Most importantly PRG’s skilled technicians know the ins and outs of coordinating cine and broadcast style production packages, LED walls for Enhanced Environments, and 35Live! production packs to solve common and unique shooting challenges.

A convenient ground floor loading dock will provide drive-up pickup. Or visitors can use the ample on-premises parking.

“It is great to be so close to a major studio lot”, says Carl Cook, VP, Television & Film at PRG. “Beyond that we hope that our easy accessibility will help us serve the diverse requirements of the Chicago production landscape.”

The new Chicago facility opens this fall at: 1414 Western Avenue, Suite 3E, Chicago IL, www.prg.com. To see what PRG and VER Camera bring to Chicago, contact Caroline Doubek at Caroline.Doubek@prg.com.

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9/3/2019

Looking Back at Coachella as Summer Comes to An End

Music festivals are happening year-round, worldwide. There are now more than 800 every year in the United States alone. While fall and winter months see a steady sprinkle of fests, April through August are still the prime months for Americans to experience a different, large-scale event every weekend. 

As peak festival season winds down, we took a look back at the iconic, annual kickoff event for the west coast – Coachella. PRG provided lighting and video for Coachella’s massive main stage, lighting for the nonstop party in the Yuma tent, and various disciplines for 15 different artists for both weekends of the famed music festival in Indio, CA this April.



MAINSTAGE VIDEO & LIGHTING 

The impressive Coachella main stage video walls were made of 590 LED tiles and could be seen in beautiful clarity from all the way across the Empire Polo Fields. PRG’s proprietary SpaceFrame was used to save truck space and reduce the need for additional wind bracing. 

With desert winds reaching 30 mph during the festival, the SpaceFrame advantages were definitely felt. Carbon fiber fabrication and built-in wind bracing reduced the overall weight of the walls, increasing safety. The compact, lightweight design of the frame offers an estimated 30 percent reduction of installation and dismantle time.  

Inside the PRG video truck that sat behind the Coachella stage, multiple stations for pre-vis were set up for programming. This area also housed the powerful D3 media servers and served as a haven from the harsh desert conditions and a temporary home base for the video crew. 

“The 3D interface helped us to preprogram the screens for Coachella content, while D3 made it possible for artists to preprogram their shows, come with it on a hard drive and use PRG systems to playback without needing to make large changes or reprogram,” explains Anthony Vasquez, who handled PRG Screens Control & Media Servers for Coachella. “Our systems allowed for artists to be located at FOH, on-stage, or use the house system for seamless playback across all screens.” 

PRG has a long-standing relationship providing Coachella main stage lighting by way of Vice President of Global Accounts Bobby Allen.  

This year, PRG’s proprietary Best Boy HP Spot Luminaire fixture provided everything from spots to washes for headlining sets, alongside Clay Paky Mythos IIs, B-Eye K-20s, Solaris Flare Strobes, and Chauvet Strike 4 LED lamps. A total of 254 fixtures served as the baseline setup for the main stage, all provided by PRG. 

YUMA TENT 

For the first time, PRG provided the lighting for Coachella’s techno escape from the desert heat, the Yuma tent. The Yuma tent was added to the festival in 2013 and has gained popularity and production value ever since. This year, lighting designer Steve Lieberman significantly upped the counts of Robe Pointe’s and Spiiders, adding about twice as many rows of beamy lights into the symmetrical grid of the tent’s ceiling, which lends itself well to chase patterns, AB patterns and room shifts. Another addition to 2019’s Yuma tent were 25 Sceptron squares that lined the ceiling, creating a grid of light that was triggered on a MA Lighting grandMA2 console. Forty Elation Protron 3Ks created washes of color, while also offering strobes, macros and pixel functions for added variety. 



The center divider of the triangular tent featured a line of four 3’ mirror balls with the iconic Yuma symbol, the disco shark, serving as the room’s centerpiece. LA locals and international clubbers may recognize the disco ball shark from Hollywood’s Sound Nightclub - and that’s because Sound’s owner, Kobi Danan, is also behind the curation of the Yuma tent.  

ARIANA GRANDE 

PRG provided projection, rigging, and video services for Ariana Grande’s closing set on the Coachella stage. As the video provider for her current Sweetener World Tour, PRG helped replicate LeRoy Bennett’s touring design for the festival, which featured a 28’ diameter inflatable sphere and six 30K projectors at front of house. The superstar’s set was at its most stunning during ‘NASA’, in which the stage seemed to zoom into hyperspace with galactic content and the sphere transformed into a giant moon, mimicking the full moon that hung above in the sky on Weekend 2. This account is handled by PRG Account Executives Nick Jackson and John Wiseman. 

GESAFFELSTEIN 

The brooding French producer’s team came to PRG with their concept for his tour and festival appearance. This resulted in a 40-foot-high scenic build of an automated monolith structure. Coated in the darkest substance known to man, Vantablack, on the concave side to create the illusion of infinite depth and blackness, it essentially simulated a black hole on stage. 

The structure opened to reveal an automated LED wall, which in turn revealed a blinder light wall hiding a solid column of hybrid strobes. In a unique multi-depot collaboration PRG provided scenic, rigging, automation, lights and LED for the Outdoor Stage set by way of Jeroen Hallaert, Director of PRG Projects North America. 

BILLIE EILISH 

Seventeen-year-old sensation Billie Eilish had one of the most anticipated sets of the weekend. PRG and VER provided lighting, video and rigging services for her Outdoor Stage set by way of Account Executive Anthony “Looch” Ciampa. With conceptual and vocal maturity far beyond her years, Eilish flitted in between her dreams and nightmares. A bedframe hung in midair at one point, which she performed from. Fitting, as her album was recorded mostly from her guitarist, producer, and brother, Finneas’s tiny bedroom studio. 

BAD BUNNY 

Puerto Rican rapper and reggaetón star Bad Bunny brought upbeat energy to the Coachella stage for his daytime Sunday set. PRG provided additional LED, lighting and rigging through project manager Josh Huffman. 

OTHER ARTISTS 

PRG also provided: 
Blood Orange – audio 
Childish Gambino – rigging 
DJ Snake – lighting and rigging 
Khalid - lighting 
Lizzo – lighting 
Maggie Rogers – lighting 
Project Yellow – lighting 
RÜFÜS DU SOL – video 
Sofi Tukker - lighting and video 
Tame Impala – rigging 
Weezer – lighting and rigging 

PRG PRODUCTION MANAGEMENT: 

Bobby Allen – Vice President Global Accounts  
Brooke Hershey – PRG Production Coordinator
Bryan Barry – PRG Logistics Manager 
Kevin Maloof – PRG Runner 

PRG MAINSTAGE RIGGING:  
 
Ken Flagg – PRG Mainstage Head Rigger 
Paul Armellino – PRG Mainstage Second Rigger 
Brendan Yeager – Headliner Rigger  
James Costa – Headliner Rigger  

PRG MAINSTAGE LIGHTING:  

Stephen "Dak" Harris – PRG Mainstage Lighting Crew Chief 
Chad Smith – Lighting FOH Tech 
Todd A Turner – Lighting Tech 
Randy Thomas Foote – Lighting Tech 
Madison E Gray – Lighting Tech 
Marjorie Arner – Lighting Tech 
Kurt R. Thormodsen – Lighting Tech 
Chris "Axl" Wiegel – PRG Mainstage Dimmer 
Giovanny Carvajal – Mainstage FOH Tech 
Jason Winfree – Ground Control Tech 
Michael "Zach" Matthews – Lighting Tech 

PRG MAINSTAGE VIDEO:  

Jeff Gainer – PRG Video Project Manager 
Eric Geiger – Chief LED Engineer 
Anthony Vasquez – PRG Main Stage Screens Control Media Server Manager 
Charles F. Dabezies – PRG D3 Operator 
Abril Gamez – E2 Operator / Programmer 
Sean Filstrup – E2 Operator / Programmer 
Duane Wright – E2 Operator / Programmer  
Tim Nauss – FOH Video Engineer 
Evan Cervantes – LED Crew Chief 
Maarten Deschacht – LED Engineer 
Sam Foumberg – Video Engineer 
Mauricio Villalobos Schlotterhausen – LED Tech 
Justin Welch – LED Tech 
Kenny Patterson – LED Tech 
Joseph Arreola – LED Tech 
Arturo Alonso – LED Tech  
Casey Bowen – LED Tech 
Neil Welch – LED Tech 

PRG YUMA TENT LIGHTING:  

Daniel Moore – Yuma Crew Chief 
Emin Hagopian – Yuma Dimmer Tech 
Daniel Vargas – Yuma Lighting Tech 
Stephen Jim Mecsery – Yuma Blaze Tech

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8/29/2019

PRG Corporate Events Makes Strategic Hires to Support Association Business

NEW YORK – AUGUST 26, 2019 - Production Resource Group LLC (PRG), the world’s leading provider of entertainment and event technology solutions, announces it has hired Danton (Danny) Hardman and Murray Ryan as Directors of Business Development within its Corporate Events group. PRG’s Corporate Events provides production solutions and services for the full spectrum of live experiences for industry associations and corporations. Hardman, based in Washington D.C., and Ryan, based in the Chicago metropolitan area, will both focus on the association market.

“Associations represent one of our most important customer segments, and we continue to invest in resources and top talent to support them. That includes adding well-respected professionals such as Danny and Murray to our team,” said Manus McHugh, Senior VP of Corporate Events, Staging and Hotels.

Hardman has extensive experience in business development and sales. For the last four years, he was at Freeman, servicing large national clients including National Beer Wholesalers, National Rifle Association, National Retail Federation and American Bankers Association. Prior to that, he was at Hargrove in business development for tradeshows, exhibits and events, working on global political events, auto shows and association events. Hardman is active in the PCMA D.C. Chapter.
Ryan brings 30 years’ experience in hospitality sales and marketing to the role. Before joining PRG, he was Director of National Accounts - Midwest for Hilton. Prior to that, he was Director of Sales – U.S. Association team for Tourism Toronto, based in D.C. Previously, he held various sales and marketing roles with Hyatt Hotels and Starwood Hotels. Ryan is actively involved with PCMA and is the Immediate Past President of PCMA’s Greater Midwest Chapter.

PRG occupies a unique position in the events space, bringing the same technology and solutions it creates to engage audiences in concert touring and theatre to corporate, association and tradeshow customers. It can provide a full suite of services or specialized support in production disciplines such as audio, video projection and mapping, lighting design, LED, computer networking and scenic solutions.

PRG’s association clients include American Library Association (ALA), American College Health Association (ACHA), American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA), International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) and Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging (SNMMI).


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8/19/2019

PRG Adds New Absen Aries Series to Rental Inventory

PRG the first rental provider of AX 1.5 LED product in North America

NEW YORK – AUG. 19, 2019 – Production Resource Group LLC (PRG), the world’s leading provider of entertainment and event technology solutions, has added 100 square meters of the recently launched Absen Aries Series - AX 1.5 - to its global rental inventory. Absen AX 1.5 is a narrow pixel pitch (NPP) display designed to meet the growing demand for sub-2mm fine pitch LED in rental staging.

“We are delighted to be the first to offer our rental clients around the world the Absen 1.5 LED,” said Scott Hansen, PRG’s Chief Asset Officer. “We’ve seen an increase in the demand from our corporate clients for a reliable, high-resolution LED screen and with its superior definition and color purity, the Absen will be a valuable addition to our LED product offering.”

The AX 1.5 supports HDR10 (high-dynamic-range) standard allowing for a much broader range of colors. It also features the latest in Integrated Matrix Device (IMD) and Common Cathode (CC) technologies. IMD offers four-in-one-pixel installation and a panel that is 2.5 times stronger and more robust than conventional LEDs. CC improves brightness and contrast with better heat dissipation, consuming 20% less power. The panels are provided with corner edge protection, increasing reliability and reducing maintenance on-site. And the 16:9 aspect ratio (384 x 216 pixels per panel) that means that clients can use 4K and 8K resolutions at a standard size without customizing their video source. The Aries AX 1.5 is ideal for high-end corporate events, auto shows, e-gaming competitions and the broadcast industry with its reduced pixel pitch, high resolution and good off-axis viewing angle.

“We are thrilled that PRG will be amongst the first companies in the world to be able to offer customers the new Aries 1.5mm. With PRG’s breadth of clients from broadcast to corporate meetings, it will be exciting to see all the possibilities that PRG has in store for the AX 1.5,” said Larry Lipsie, Senior Sales Manager of Rental and Staging for Absen North America.

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8/15/2019

Backstreet Boys BTS Video Series

Join us for an inside look at the Backstreet Boys DNA World Tour in this exclusive 6-part series. PRG goes behind the scenes with the producers, designers, choreographers and the boys themselves as they have their first look at the stage design and dance their way through rehearsals. Producers walk us through design concepts, share what it took to visually represent 25 years of Backstreet Boys songs, and explain how PRG has become a part of this tour’s DNA.

Interviews include Lighting Designer Graham Anderson, Production Designer Dan Mercer, Brian Littrell of the Backstreet Boys, and PRG’s own Randy Hutson and Michael Drew.

 

View the full series here.

Production Designer / Production Manager: Dan Mercer 
Lighting Designer: Graham Anderson 
Creative Directors: Rich+Tone Talauega
Videographer: Edward Platero, Platero Visual

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8/13/2019

Fortnite World Cup

Fortnite World Cup's Executive Producer Steve Kidd and Show Designer Guy Pavelo wanted to make every one of its 13 million live viewers feel like they were inside the game. They take us through the numbers: 240,000 pounds, 240 hanging points, 1,300 fixtures, and 38 trucks to bring this rapidly growing gaming phenomenon to live audiences.

Check out how they accomplished their mission with PRG's support.

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8/5/2019

PRG Opens VER Camera Prep Facility in Brooklyn

BROOKLYN, NEW YORK—July 22, 2019 – PRG, the global leader in entertainment and event production solutions, and its division, VER Camera, known for industry-leading expertise and inventory in cine and broadcast camera, lenses and accessories, announce the opening of a new camera prep facility in Brooklyn, New York. With an eye to the burgeoning Brooklyn and surrounding media community, the new 25,000 square foot facility is designed to meet the unique needs of film, scripted and unscripted television, sports, music, special events and live broadcast production professionals working in the New York area.

Located on the third floor at 147 41st Street, in the Industry City complex, the well-equipped facilityincludes camera check-out bays, an oversized freight elevator, and a convenient ground floor loading dock. The easily accessible location also provides clients with savvy, factory-trained camera prep staff, experienced lens technicians and camera engineers, as well as 24/7 tech support. 

Clients have access to one of the world’s largest inventories of professional motion picture and television cameras, lenses, and support gear. Whether the need is for ARRI, RED, Sony, Panasonic or other specialty cameras for a feature film or episodic, a dozen camcorders for reality programming, an array of LED walls for an Enhanced Environment, a 35Live! 4K cine-style package, or other production challenges, the Brooklyn facility and expert team is at the ready.

 “We love Brooklyn and the creative vibe that’s all around”, says Carl Cook, VP of Television & Film.“We understand that this is not a one size fits all business. That’s why we offer such a diverse array of the finest motion picture equipment and support it with our experienced staff who really get what it takes to meet our clients’ specialty requirements. From small productions to major features that benefit from our global network, we plan to become a valuable asset of the Brooklyn production community.” 

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7/29/2019

PRG and 3D Live Bring Holographic 3D to Live Events

LOS ANGELES – JULY 29, 2019 – Production Resource Group LLC (PRG), the world’s leading provider of entertainment and event technology solutions, and 3D Live, Inc. announce an exclusive partnership to provide 3D LED technology to live event clients. Via this partnership, PRG will offer Los Angeles-based 3D Live’s patented “holographic” 3D LED display technology to concert, corporate events and e-sports clients and 3D Live will exclusively use PRG’s LED walls on its productions.

“PRG is known for providing clients with the most innovative technology so we are excited that PRG is the only production company in North America that can offer 3D Live’s 3D LED display technology,” said Nick Jackson, senior vice president at PRG. “Most people have never experienced augmented reality such as this in any setting. Our clients will certainly want to incorporate this holographic technology for an entertainment experience like no other.”

3D Live’s systems deliver an immersive visual experience with far superior brightness, color, contrast, and extreme 3D depth relative to projection-based displays. 3D imagery leaps off the screen, enveloping performers and immersing audiences in a way not possible with any other visual technology. The experience can be compared to augmented reality without the expensive headsets, easily scaling to thousands of audience members simultaneously with low-cost, customizable 3D glasses.

“We are incredibly excited to partner with PRG, a renowned leader in the live events market, to deliver a whole new kind of experience for audiences,” said Nathan Huber CEO of 3D Live. “The type of holographic realism our technology offers creates a level of immersion that is truly unrivaled and we can’t wait to start sharing it with PRG’s clients. “

Incorporating 3D LED display technology is relatively simple, cost effective and provides a huge impact on audiences. It has a flexible, easy-to-use design, is based on modular LED tile technology and can be built to any configuration on a display that has dual 2D and 3D functionality.

3D Live was recognized with the Pollstar award for Tech Enhancement of the Year (2018) for its work with the musical artist, Flying Lotus, and the company’s technology has been featured in concerts and tours with Big Gigantic, 2 Chainz and other musical acts.

PRG and 3D Live’s partnership will support upcoming Flying Lotus dates in Chicago, New York San Francisco, Toronto and other cities this Aug. and Sept. as well as Big Gigantic in New York in Aug.

For more on the partnership and technology visit us here!


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7/24/2019

Wild ‘n Out Designers and Producers Talk Mbox® Workflow, Lighting and the Benefits of Shooting in Atlanta

MTV’s hip hop cypher meets comedy club show, Wild ‘n Out, premiered it’s 13th season on July 7. Creator Nick Cannon hosts a team competition with celebrity guests including Wiz Khalifa, Monica, and Marlon Wayans this season, with each episode also featuring a musical performance. PRG provides lighting, rigging, LED, and media servers for the long-running show, which has made Atlanta its home for the past four seasons.

Screens Producer Eli McKinney

Screens Producer Eli McKinney was brought on the Wild ‘n Out team the first year they decided to upgrade to a bigger video set.

“I brought in the PRG Mbox®, at that time it was the 3.5 machines, and PRG consoles for control. It was a completely new workflow for them. Being able to have unlimited resources where you could just change the graphics and be in a completely different location or environment was amazing for the gaming and comedy elements,” McKinney explains. “We worked with the executives to really set the look for them.”


Screens Producer Eli McKinney working on content that is ingested into the Mbox system

Three seasons ago, the executive producers requested to put a video behind the entryway with the contestants. McKinney came to PRG Account Executive Lauren Paul and told her that he’d love to see something bright that would still allow them the ability to do the video.

“Lauren suggested hybrid walls, brought them in and everyone loved them. We still have them in today. It’s a really cool collaborative client-vendor-client relationship working together to create new stuff.”


Mbox programmer Darren Barrows actively programming video cues on V676®

The benefits of the Mbox workflow is something McKinney returns to in conversation.

“I could have an animator in Germany working on something, render it directly to the Mbox, and have an image up for approval in minutes,” he explains. “This is a beautiful part of the Mbox workflow: it gives us flexibility so we are never in a place where we feel we cannot do anything due to technological limitations. Six or seven years we switched over and have not looked back.”

The screens are a vital part of the set, as they are used for game clues, music performances, and creating environments.

“The screens have almost become a part of the cast! PRG was able to offer cool options with the new Mbox with more layers and more responsiveness. This has worked out great because Nick Cannon and the executive producers are really forward-thinking, open-minded people. When we pitch things to them, they are open to it. And when they pitch us ideas, 99% of the time we are able to do it because of the technology. It’s been a really cool progression with them.”

McKinney says PRG’s worldwide presence and knowledgeable, dedicated sales team keep the relationship between vendor and client strong.

“It’s been really great having PRG in the back pocket when we want to try new things. Last year, we did the video floor which was something John Gilles studios was very interested in. Lauren jumped in and showed us different product options and it became a reality. It looked great and added a lot to the show. Having a vendor who is willing to be part of the collaboration and conversation and is able to suggest ideas and technology allowed us to see a potential we would not have otherwise known.”



Lighting Designer Matt Ford

Matt Ford started as the Lighting Designer for the show in 2016 and has been with Wild ‘n Out for four seasons. The rig has grown substantially to currently have close to 300 moving lights.

“When you see this set, the scale is more like a large arena rock concert than what you’d imagine for a sketch comedy show,” Ford says. “We shoot the stage as if it is an arena and line it with vertical sections of Sunstrips. We have 230 of those, which give a lot of the visual backbone to it.”

Wild ‘n Out episodes usually feature four games per show, with three of them changing from show to show, so an important part of the creative process is giving every game a different look. At the end of every show there is always a musical performance, so there is a need to be able to seamlessly transition from an improv environment with game play to a performance environment. Ford designed the rig to be able to accommodate all of this.

“The challenge always from show to show is budget,” he says “It’s always a challenge of trying to accomplish your lighting goals with the amount of money you’ve been given. PRG is always great at finding creative ways to achieve those goals. Jeff Javier helps us look at substitutions that achieved both our aesthetic and monetary goals.”

Javier has similarly positive things to say about the Wild ‘n Out crew.

“What we do in our industry is very challenging but Matt, his gaffer Tommy Carey, best boy Juan Romero and the rest of the crew make it a pleasure,” Javier says. “They are all so talented, flexible and fun to work with.”

The need for flexibility is also imperative in the rig itself, because each act can be different, and the performers tend to run all over the place.



“In this particular show, it’s important that literally everything in break is automated so we do not have any conventional fixtures. Key lighting and everything are automated,” Ford says. “The meat of the key lighting is done with VL3500s as spots. The PRG Best Boy® GroundControl™ Spots are the other very important fixture we have.”

Ford described a particular moment this season where one of the performers went out into the audience during a musical performance.

“Because we had an automated fixture that could flip around and light the guy, we were able to follow him. Had it been a traditional Follow Spot, the operator would have been restricted by the basket. So, the PRG GroundControl has really been a life saver on this particular thing.”

Ford estimates that this is one of the largest lighting rigs on any MTV series.

“The support that we get from PRG is fantastic and having one vendor that supports both the lighting and rigging is very helpful. I love using them,” he says.


Lighting Programmer Paul Lennon programming on PRG’s proprietary V676 lighting console.

PRG’s Atlanta Presence

“Having a large footprint in Atlanta has been really beneficial in allowing us to respond quickly to any last-minute needs and requests for the Wild ‘n Out Team,” explains PRG Account Executive Lauren Paul. “We also have a deeply cultivated network of local technical talent that allowed us to support the LED video portion with 100% local talent – saving production thousands in travel costs.”

“When the show moved to Atlanta, we were able to roll out there with the same gear and level of support that our team had come to expect,” McKinney agrees.

Now in season 13, the show keeps getting bigger every year.

“With the help of PRG and Lauren, we have really helped the team evolve and grow the show into something amazing.”

LED Crew:
Luke Lewis – Project Manager
Eric Petty
Pablo Moreira
Curtis Luxton
Tyler Korsak
Nic Roc

Lauren Paul – PRG Account Executive, Video

Lighting Crew:
Matt Ford – Lighting Designer
Paul Lennon – Programmer
Tommy Carey – Gaffer
Juan Romero – Best Boy
Marco Padilla – Lead Tech

Jeff Javier – PRG Account Executive, Lighting

Written by: Erin Bates
Photos by: Peter 
Van


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7/19/2019

Q&A With Steve Lieberman: From Underground King to One of the Most Respected Lighting Designers in Electronic Music

Steve Lieberman designs the lighting rigs for multiple stages at Insomniac’s installments of Electric Daisy Carnival all over the world, from Las Vegas to Tokyo. The lighting designer has been there to illuminate the rise of electronic music in the mainstream. He got his start producing and lighting underground dance parties in the 90s. Today, his designs for tens of thousands of festival attendees still manage to capture the industrial grittiness of the raves his career started with. 

We sat down with Steve to talk about his recent design for the Circuit Grounds at EDC Las Vegas which featured 1,100 active fixtures, his inspirations as a designer, and what he’s got coming up this year.


Alive Coverage for Insomniac

PRG: Hey Steve! Thanks for sitting down and chatting with us. EDC Las Vegas looked awesome this year and we were so excited to work on it with you. Can you tell me about this year’s Circuit Grounds design and what you drew your inspiration from?

Steve: Circuit Grounds is Insomniac and EDC’s main production stage, so it needs to be large format, very edgy, electronic and digital. As the name suggests, it’s a very in-your-face, aggressive style of environment. This doesn’t necessarily reflect the style of music that is played there, but the show is meant to be very avant-garde and production-based. Philosophically, we always start knowing that it is going to be metal work, LED video, special effects, lasers and will have zero scenic elements.


Photo credit: Alive Coverage for Insomniac

PRG: I’d say that it has a more industrial feel than some of the stages that incorporate elements of fantasy. You say this doesn’t necessarily reflect the lineup, but what artists played there this year?

Steve: Industrial is definitely the perfect descriptive word for the stage design. Sonically, it’s heavy dance music, not techno, but more popular EDM-style music, people like Martin Garrix who played this year is the style of artist performing there because we can support 40,000 to 50,000 people in front of the stage. We can accommodate at least as many people as EDC's Kinetic Field.

PRG: How long have you been working with Insomniac and how did that relationship start?

Steve: I’ve been with Insomniac for 18 years or so, maybe a little longer. I’ve worked in the rave scene and the dance music scene since the early 90’s. When I moved to California, I had a lot of connections in common with the people at Insomniac and there weren’t a lot of people from my side of the industry who worked in this field. Lighting design is a small industry, so when I came out here it was a natural progression of the relationship for business.

PRG: How has it been seeing the growth of electronic music over the past couple of decades?

Steve: It’s been absolutely exponential, like a rocket ship.


Photo credit:Graham John Bellfor Insomniac

PRG: That must be exciting for you since that’s where you got your start.

Steve: Well, you know, when you make decisions based on passion and your own drive and interests as opposed to just purely financial ones - and then they still turn into success - it feels a lot better.

PRG: I bet that’s very rewarding. Speaking of financial decisions, do you have a favorite lighting fixture you’re using right now or anything you’re excited about in terms of gear?

Steve: It’s tools of the trade, not the individual pieces of equipment I get excited about. It’s the application and execution of a design. If I were to pick equipment for large shows, I like the Robe MegaPointe, Robe BMFL, Mac Viper, VL10s, Clay Paky Mythos. I really like the Color Force II LED Strip from Chroma-Q. I also like the Chauvet Strike Saber, it’s a pretty slick little fixture. Those are cool tools and we like those, but as a designer I totally accept substitutions. We don’t put a design and say we have to have this exact fixture; we will get something else from the vendor and save some money as long as it’s comparable, reliable and will do the job.

PRG: As a vendor, we appreciate that because it saves everyone money and resources. In your experience, what keeps vendor-client relationships strong in this industry?

Steve: Everything in this industry, and I think probably most industries, are relationship-based. So, while company A and B may have the same equipment, I’d rather do business with my friends if there isn’t a difference in the quality of the product. When you have someone like Burton Tenenbein involved, who is one of the nicest, kindest human being you will ever come across and also gets things done no matter what, that is a winning situation all around. He’s also a great team leader. He comes in, he’s got his hard hat on and gets a lot of respect from the guys. If he needs to get in there and help facilitate, he has no problem doing that. He’s got tons of experience and understands what it takes to get the job done. From a leadership perspective, he leads by example and is with us until the end. With myself as a part of the client team, and him as part of the vendor team, it’s a great relationship with a lot of connection there.

PRG: He’s a great guy, we are lucky to have him. What is next for you?


Photo credit: Graham John Bell for Insomniac

Steve: With Insomniac, we have EDC China, EDC Korea, and EDC Orlando. We are also doing Beyond Wonderland in Bogota, Columbia. SJ Lighting is building clubs – we just designed a place in Dubai, and another in Shenzhen, China. We are updating Prism Nightclub in Chicago. We are designing Wall Nightclub in Miami, and doing updates for XS in Las Vegas, the Hard Rock in Florida. I could go on! We are busy.

PRG: You sure are! I’m glad you could make time to connect with us.


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7/19/2019

PRG Hires Jennifer Loef Forlano as Marketing Director, Entertainment

LOS ANGELES – July 19, 2019 - Production Resource Group LLC (PRG), the world’s leading provider of entertainment and event technology solutions, is pleased to announce that Jennifer Loef Forlano has joined the organization in the newly created role of Marketing Director, Entertainment. In her role, Forlano will lead PRG’s marketing and communications efforts for the TV, film, broadcast and music markets.

Forlano joins PRG from NBCUniveral where she spent 15 years in various marketing roles. For the last four years, she was Director, Franchise and Marketing, Universal Brand Development. In that role, Forlano led development of global franchise plans and marketing initiatives for priority film, TV and subscription video on demand brands including Fast & Furious, America Ninja Warrior and DreamWorks TV Spirit Riding Free, overseeing strategy and creative development for 360° campaigns to amplify content and brand extensions across traditional, digital, and experiential product categories. She also managed creative expression, brand strategy, and consumer and retail marketing activations to engage audiences and drive sales. Prior to that, Forlano served as Manager, Marketing Strategy, NBC Entertainment where she developed brand campaigns for NBC network primetime scripted and reality shows, including The Voice and Chicago Fire. She also executed marketing and communication strategies including multicultural, cross-company, digital, grassroots promotions, and event campaigns.

In her role, Jennifer reports to Jens Zimmerman, Global Sales Officer, who said, “We are delighted to have an accomplished marketing talent like Jennifer on our entertainment team. Her experience in TV and film marketing will be instrumental to PRG as we deepen our expertise in providing production technology for designers, technicians and artists across entertainment sectors to ensure their vision brought to life.”

Forlano earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from UCLA and a Master of Business Administration from Woodbury University.


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7/11/2019

How Billie Eilish’s Design Team Turned Her Dreams (and Nightmares) Into Realities

"Part of what makes Billie so interesting, sonically and aesthetically, is her duality: the velvety voice that envelops you juxtaposed with these pounding beats. Both the moments of loudness and the subtleties of the production are paramount during lighting programming."

 


Photo credit: Jonathan Kingsbury 

Billie Eilish is having quite the year, to such an extent, that introductions feel unnecessary. Her rise to fame has been chronicled extensively. The countless think pieces on her androgynous style, and how it makes her a very different kind of pop star - human and unpolished - but still impossibly cool. All the details of her extremely Los Angeles upbringing, how she was groomed for this - the homeschooling, the working actors for parents, the singing and dance lessons - have been detailed and shared. You know her brother’s name is Finneas, and that he’s in her band. You’ve probably heard that they recorded her entire debut album in his bedroom, how the songs sample broken glass and Easy-Bake Ovens. You know that she’s 17 years-old. You’ve been impressed by the subtlety in her vaporous voice, and either appalled or enamored with the candid self-deprecation in her lyrics.

What you probably haven’t heard about is the technical production and set design on her tour.

PRG and VER are providing lighting, rigging, LED, automation and cameras on Billie Eilish’s When We All Fall Asleep World Tour. We sat down to talk with the team that designed the sets, stage and lighting for her live performance. They delve into the creative process, gear and iterations it took to bring her visions, the stuff of dreams and nightmares, all around the world.


Photo credit: Melissa Madison Fuller 

Early Creative Direction

Erik Anderson and Gordon Droitcour of Cour Design started working with Billie Eilish in late 2017, before anyone could write presumptuous introductory paragraphs about her like the one you just read.

The design duo has always been more solutions-focused. Their company started when they worked together to develop a way to trigger lighting using Ableton, which gave them early entry to the market of people doing automated lighting systems, and in turn, up and coming artists.

“The first tour we sent Billie on was with one of our automated systems and her dad was setting up the lighting because there was no LD to operate anything. Now she’s doing seven trucks. That’s happened in a 12-month period,” says Anderson, co-founder of Cour Design.

That 12-month period was the year 2018. That was the year Billie sold out her North American tour in under a minute. It was also the year her songs were streamed more than one billion times.

“If we are all being honest, she’s exceeded expectations. I’ve never seen it happen this quickly or organically. She built that momentum and it took off because she’s identifying with a fan base,” Anderson says.

From the logistics and design side, her rapid rise created a lot of challenges.

“You’re dealing with very short turnaround time and Billie is an artist who likes to be involved as much as she can,” Anderson continues. “She has a very particular idea of how she wants things to look and she knows her brand better than anyone else. It’s been exciting but also challenging from that perspective.”


Photo credit: Melissa Madison Fuller 

Worldwide 360 Solutions 

“VER was with Billie from the beginning and we always push as much as we can to keep the artist working with that original team when they blow up,” Anderson says. “Account Executive Anthony “Looch” Ciampa worked hard to hit the numbers we needed to. It was obvious early on who was willing to invest and wanted to make this work.”
PRG and VER knew that Billie’s team had a lot on their plates tackling both Coachella and the tour, which had a hectic schedule jumping back and forth between Coachella, Australia, the United States and Europe.

“Having a single account representative we could go to and talk everything through with has been a huge time-saver for us,” explains Anderson. “It’s also been beneficial to have a company that has the ability to work with the numbers on lighting side so they can make the video side work and vice versa.”


Photo credit: Jonathan Kingsbury

Cour Design partnered with Fireplay when it came time to debut Billie’s new, more involved touring design at Coachella. Led by Lighting Designer Nick Whitehouse, Fireplay is collaborative design and production studio that has worked with some of the biggest pop acts including Justin Timberlake and Kylie Minogue.
“We’ve been friends with Cour for a while and looking for a reason to work together,” says Whitehouse. “When they started work on the Billie project and it was growing so fast it was a good opportunity to do that.”

“The design side of it was a real collaboration,” Whitehouse says. “They had a concept they’d worked through with Billie, so we took it and put our Fireplay spin on it and added some elements that were unique.”

These Fireplay elements included taking the original concept, a flat wall with a riser in front of it and figuring out how to practically turn it 45 degrees into an opened cube with a video floor that surrounded Billie.

“Fireplay came and gave us some helpful tips on how to achieve the forced perspective with the raised floor,” explains Anderson. “We presented it to Billie the second week of February, knowing rehearsals started the second week of March. She was really happy with it from the beginning. We scrambled in every possible way to get it together and it’s been wild. We were able to pull together a really good team for content with us handling the creative direction for the show.”

LED, Scenic and Rigging

Lyrically and thematically, Billie and Finneas have created characters in many of her songs, including “Bad Guy” and “You Should See Me in a Crown.” They are playing with the identity mirrored in other aspects of her brand. Her vocals are often compared to Lana Del Rey, and her personal style to Tyler, the Creator. She contains multitudes.


Photo credit: Jonathan Kingsbury

“We wanted to create this immersive video environment because every song is a different persona and a different feel,” says Whitehouse. “Content is created to reflect the mood of the music and to frame Billie in a different way for each single track, so we were able to do complete shifts for how the show looked and felt simply by changing the video content.”
Billie depicts herself as the monster under her bed for the debut album art and has an ongoing theme of nightmares and horror. A rigged bed that moved around the stage and took Billie midair became the ultimate, standout scenic element on the tour.

“She has a lot of ideas that came through in both the content and set pieces, the bed is definitely one of those. She was really involved in driving this forward and we were very happy with how that worked out,” says Whitehouse. “When she’s up there performing on it, that’s iconic. When you look at her trajectory and process as an artist, the way her production and album went down, those features are the ones that most associate her brand with what we’ve done, and to me, it’s the perfect design that fits with her story and everything she’s trying to do.”


Photo credit: Melissa Madison Fuller 

Lighting Design and Programming

Lighting Director Tony Caporale teamed up with Dominic Smith of Fireplay to program the show.

“Dominic has a very elegant touch and it was great to tandem with him because we both come from different styles,” says Caporale. “I am the ramrod that comes in and stirs it up, while he balances me. I’m a little bit country and rock n’roll, while he’s worked with a tasty bunch of pop artists, people like Pharrell. Once we figured each other out, we really began to get into a good programming process. Understanding Billie’s music takes a moment, in the best way. Once we got cruising, he built the song cores while I built the beats.”

Caporale runs the show on a GrandMA 2 and uses a lot of timecode. If only he had more hands, he says he would do it all live.

“With how the beats are commanded for us in the programming, we definitely have to timecode it heavily. Billie loves all the beats to hit hard,” Caporale says. “When Finneas is producing the music, he has really intricate stuff in there and we really push it louder in the live show to give the fans that detail from the album. All the eerie sounds you hear -whether it’s a dental drill or a staple gun sampled in the song – he and Billie both like to have that accented in the lighting and it’s so fun to program and timecode that in.”

Part of what makes Billie so interesting, sonically and aesthetically, is her duality: the velvety voice that envelops you juxtaposed with these pounding beats. Both the moments of loudness and the subtleties of the production are paramount during lighting programming.

“I really learned how to accent things like that from Lighting Designer Roy Bennet. He taught me how to listen for the intricacies in songs,” says Caporale. “I’ve realized that it is part of the bonding process you develop with the artists over time. As the show has gone on, I’ve listened to the music more and added new stuff in. Billie and Finn love when you find those little things in the music and create a way to visualize them.”


Photo credit: Melissa Madison Fuller 

Timing, heavy strobing and the use of color are the three lighting elements for which Billie has a very clear vision, given she has synesthesia.

“She is quite specific in her color palette and we have to work to get the shading just right,” explains Caporale. “When she writes a song, she actually sees a color which is so crazy to think about from a lighting perspective. At the time, she’s not thinking about lights; she’s expressing a feeling.”

Billie’s music sounds different because it is, and that’s because the way she sees the world is different. She’s posted videos, explaining how she’s gone into a production session wanting to make something that “sounds like corduroy feels.” Eilish has used her synesthesia as a tool to make music that incites a physical response. She’s allowing her audience to perceive the world more like she does, by stimulating the senses in ways that blur the lines between cognitive pathways.

“On tour, we added the song ‘Bitches Broken Hearts’ and when we were programming the show, I turned the lights to red for this one, and she immediately told me it should be more of a maroon. So, on the MA2 console I just jogged my finger on the color picker and moved the shading around until she felt right, then locked in the color preset and knew we had our base hue to work with for the song.”

Caporale has learned that sometimes less is more, and that the best reward for all those hours of programming, tweaking and rehearsing is a visceral crowd reaction.

“It’s crazy how something so little can make the crowd go wild. There’s this part in that same song during the show, where Billie sings the second verse and there’s just this little “Uh” and the backlight turns to white to accent her and every single time there are girls in the front row who scream and lose their minds. It’s really cool and crazy to watch.”


Photo credit: Melissa Madison Fuller

World Tour

“The show is insane; the fans are insane. It’s been really fun to see the phenomenon grow around her as an artist. I don’t even know how to describe it because I’ve never seen anything like it before. It’s a new teen pop idol, but a different type of pop idol,” says Caporale.

 “She feels like a once in a generation artist,” agrees Anderson.

Thanks to that, the tour has been extended and will continue through November.

“This tour, because of its success, has gone to multiple continents already, and the fact that PRG has been able to support this throughout the world has been integral to our ability to extend it,” says Whitehouse. “They’ve been a really great partner to Billie and to this team.”

Production Crew:

Production & Lighting Design - Cour Design / Fireplay

Creative Director - Erik Anderson (Cour Design)

Lighting Director & Programmer - Tony Caporale

Lead Programmer - Dominic Smith

Lighting Crew Chief - Jim Keegan

Lighting Techs - William "Flash" Roger’s, Lindsey Norman,

Nate Plotsky

Tour Manager - Brian Marquis

Production Manager - Bill Leabody / Nicole Massey (Leabody Inc.)

Set/Stage Designer - Cour Design / Fireplay

Stage Manager - Jayy Jutting

Video Designer - Cour Design / Fireplay

Video Content - Comix

Video Director & Disguise Programmer - Lewis Benfield

Notch Designer - Lewis Benfield

Video Techs - Tyler Thorton, Michael Boggs, Gerald "G" McDougal II

Rigger - Rai Rathor

Carpenter - Patrick O’Connell, Nate Poort

Automation - Ryan Mast

Production Companies:

Lighting & Video - PRG (Acc Rep. Anthony “Looch” Ciampa)

Staging - Gallagher Staging (Acc Rep. James Miller, Tye Trussel)

Video Content / Creator - Comix (Tom Brightman, Harry Bird, Sam Hodgkiss, Josh Gallagher, Lewis Benfield)

Trucking - Upstaging


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