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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Hugo Boss


For the Fall fashion season Jason Wu, artistic director of HUGO BOSS Womenswear, commissioned video artist Marco Brambilla to create a second installment of the art film series thisisboss. Merging nature, fashion and an architectural sleekness of Hugo Boss’ spring/summer 2015 collection, the film debuted at New York Fashion Week in September 2014.

PRG worked with Brambilla and the film crew to find the ideal lighting solution. First working on lighting mock-ups in the PRG demo room, the crew then rigged the lighting package and truss into the trees of the forest in the Canadian Dundas Valley.

The final results of this creative concept was an otherworldly transformation.

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FOX Sports

FOX Sports Super Bowl Boulevard Broadcast Center

FOX Sports commissioned PRG to build a three-story broadcast center at the top of Super Bowl Boulevard for coverage of Super Bowl XLVIII – the largest non-permanent structure ever erected in Times Square. PRG was able to turn the building over two days early, having worked seven days around the clock in the chilly Crossroads of the World. The three-story structure was in fact certified by the Times Square Alliance as the largest non-permanent structure ever erected in Times Square. The 65’ tall, 40’ by 40’ building was a fully functional broadcast facility, completely climate-controlled, that served as the New York City broadcast base for FOX Sports and other FOX Networks’ Super Bowl coverage as well as hosting several FOX news programs throughout game-week. The week culminated on game day when a viewership of more than 150 million tuned in for the FOX Super Bowl Sunday broadcast live from Times Square.

For this monumental undertaking, FOX Sports trusted PRG, the world’s leading supplier of entertainment and event technology, to deliver the complete solution. PRG’s scope of work included all of the coordination of the onsite construction and project management; providing engineering services; onsite systems integration; scenic fabrication; as well as providing the lighting, video, and audio infrastructure and integration packages. PRG worked closely with FOX Sports’ Jerry Steinberg, Senior Vice President of Field Operations for FOX Sports Media Group and Rod Conti, Executive Director, Field Operations for FOX Sports Network. PRG also helped work through the myriad of permitting, city utilities, and transit department requirements when building on top of a major subway hub below ground.

A much talked about feature of Super Bowl Boulevard, this impressive facility was 8,100 square feet of usable space, boasting a high-definition broadcast studio with south and north facing 10’ by 20’ windows for iconic views of up and down the Boulevard. There was a mini-football field on the roof deck complete with stadium-style lighting and Astroturf. On the outside of the building were two 12’ x 22’ PRG Nocturne V-9 Lite LED video screens and the west wall was covered with a 30’ by 20’ PRG Nocturne V-9 Lite LED screen located right next to Cleatus, the FOX Sports animated robot that stands 16’ tall and weighs 1,500lbs.

Upon receiving the rendering of this incredible facility, PRG worked in partnership with designer Jeff Hall and his production design team from the renowned JHD Group to engineer the components needed to realize this project. PRG took into consideration all the variable challenges of constructing a structure of this magnitude in the busy city center, including working in NY’s frigid temperatures, anticipating snow and staying on schedule. PRG’s meticulous pre-planning and onsite supervision meant they were able to supply the solutions needed to complete this never done before large-scale project in Times Square.

PRG had 15 site supervisors and five project managers working to oversee the 60-man strong team that built the broadcast facility at Duffy Square—46th Street and Broadway—in Times Square. They worked around the clock in shifts beginning at 12:01am on Friday 1/17/14. Construction even continued during the snowstorm that dropped 12” of snow on the city. Balancing snow removal and continuing construction allowed the PRG team to remain on schedule. After 27 semi-truck deliveries and seven days the broadcast studio was turned over to FOX Sports, though PRG remained onsite throughout the broadcast cycle, and began load-out even as the Super Bowl Champions celebrated.

The entire structure was test-built in the PRG New Windsor, NY facility to ensure the smooth onsite construction with every step planned and all contingences accounted for ahead of time. In fact, PRG brought in several members of the production and set-up crews early on to work with their engineers and project managers. They were able to come up with the best methods to put together this structure in extreme conditions. Knowing that the crews onsite would have to work in heavy clothing and gloves that would reduce their ability to use small hand tools, they designed the structure to be easily inter-lockable without the need for many of the smaller tools typically used in construction.

To keep the project green, PRG chose to use heat pumps to provide the heating for the broadcast facility without the need for any combustion exhaust. By using four five-ton heat pumps with an electric back-up, the studio is comfortably heated for the hosts, guests, and broadcast crews to work in sub-zero temperatures during Super Bowl week. This level of precision coordination and meticulous planning is a hallmark of the service that PRG’s industry leading reputation is built upon globally.

The PRG team was led by Bobby Allen, PRG Account Executive, Concert Touring, and Jim Lehner, PRG Senior Vice President, Special Projects. The FOX Sports team was headed by Jerry Steinberg, Senior Vice President of Field Operations for FOX Sports Media Group and Rod Conti, Executive Director, Field Operations for FOX Sports Network. Jeff Hall, Founder & Principal Designer JHD Group was the production designer and Chuck Noble, Noble Design, was the lighting designer for the facility and for the broadcast studio.

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World Equestrian Games

The 2014 World Equestrian Games By The Numbers…

The World Equestrian Games are undoubtedly the biggest equestrian event in the world, taking place every four years and alternating with the Olympic Games. During 2 weeks, almost 1,000 athletes compete against each other in the 8 official disciplines (jumping, dressage, eventing, driving, reining, vaulting, endurance and para-dressage).

At the start of this year’s games, a magical show opened the World Equestrian Games in the city of Caen, Normandy (France). A parade of athletes from the 74 participating nations, an incredible musical and hi-tech video show with over 100 horses and 300 artists entertained the crowd at the Michel d’Ornano Stadium. The show has been produced by Paris-based agency Skertzo and technically supported by PRG France who supplied the rigging, lighting and video equipment.

Technical Stats Specifically, PRG installed 1 ring structure in truss of 400m long suspended from the roof of the stadium. Our lighting kit was composed of 150 moving lights including PRG Bad Boys and Best Boys, 150 traditional fixtures, Sunstrips, ACL & blinders. We also took care of the fiber (more than 2,5km) and the power cables (more than 1,5km).

The video show with the 3D mapping technology was the eye-catcher of the show. For the projection on the ground, we’ve used 16 Panasonic PTDS20 positioned each side of the arena, 6km of fiber, a 33×33 DVI matrix. For the mapping on the different elements, we’ve installed 4 Panasonic PTDZ 21K positioned at the four corners of the field. As media server, we used a Modulo Player.

Last but not least, this project was also supported by a dedicated crew that was 28 technicians strong with several specialties (rigging, lighting and video), led by Laurent Boillot, Technical Director. It took four days of loading plus four days of rehearsal (technical and artistic) to produce this eye-catching show. This left one night and one day to execute the load out. Finally the crew was split into a day and night shift to ensure continuous support to the production.

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National Rural Electric Cooperative Association Annual Meeting

For the 2014 National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) Annual Meeting, PRG worked closely with the association, who welcomed 8,000 attendees to the event. Taking place in Nashville, TN at the city’s brand new Music City Convention Center, PRG fully supported the General Session for 6,000 people with lighting, audio, video, scenic, and staging as well as the labor and creative support for the session. We provided content capture and live streaming services for all of the general session meetings as well as full translation services.

The stage in the general session was 60’ wide x 24’ deep x 4’ high and was outfitted with a 100’ wide projection screen as well as audio line arrays, and video image magnification screens for the large audience area.

For the last night, the PRG team transformed the general session space to handle a Martina McBride concert for all of the attendees. The creative team designed a full concert lighting and audio package to meet the artist’s technical rider and was incorporated into the general session system for a quick and easy transition between the two very different events in the one space.

In addition to the main general session space, PRG fully equipped and supported an overflow room for 500 attendees for the general session, 12 breakout rooms, five forum session rooms, two ballroom luncheons, and a large board of directors meeting.

The larger meeting consisted of three concurrent conventions over eight days – NRECA, National Rural Utilities Cooperative Finance Corporation, and Touchstone Energy. PRG provided full support for all aspects of the larger meeting—educational and technical session support, including presentation management services—multiple presenter support, digital signage, and mobile app.

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Filament Storm

Filament Storm part of Vivid Sydney 2014

Sketch Evolution and its partners, including PRG, used integrated lasers and theatrical illumination technology to transform Sydney’s Skyline into the abstract world of Filament Storm for Vivid Sydney 2014.

Sketch Evolution, a creative and producing company based in Australia led by Charles Coy and William Jensen, worked closely with PRG for the illumination of the buildings and programming of the integrated Filament Storm installation. PRG used their Bad Boy and Best Boy luminaires to saturate the buildings in a colorscape and movement using gobo treatments.

The lighting was all programmed on the PRG V676 Lighting Control Console. For the run of the Vivid 2014 event, the lighting was operated via PRG V476 and V276 Lighting Control Consoles, all networked together with the PRG Virtuoso Nodes. Since this was the rainy season, all of the control, power cabling, and luminaires were weatherproofed for this outdoor event.

In addition to providing the lights and control equipment for Filament Storm, PRG also provided system design, logistics, crew, and support. For the installation, PRG provided 12 technicians to handle the installation over two days; four technicians were onsite for the four nights of programming and testing; and two technicians provided support for the duration of the show.

Filament Storm could be viewed from a variety of vantage points, providing contrasting experiences and interpretations of the show. The storm covered the “dress circle” of buildings in the Circular Quay area of Sydney to become the stage for the installation and the backdrop for Vivid Sydney 2014. The buildings that were lit included the AMP Building, the Circular Quay Ferry Terminals, the Gateway Building, the Marriott Hotel, and the Gold Fields House.

Vivid Sydney, the largest festival of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere, drew more than 1.43 million people during this year’s 18-day festival of light, music, and ideas.

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PRG Gamescom 2014 League of Legends Panorama Booth by the Numbers ...

Following their motto “Bigger, Brighter & Better,” the booth was pretty hard to miss at this year’s Gamescon, considered the world’s largest exhibition of video games worldwide. PRG EML Productions was on task for video, lighting and sound, helping to create an immersive environment with 3 story high walls covered in giant digital screens projecting videos. Playing off of the theme, 3 lit up continuous tread tank tracks were used to create an impressive sculptural pathway that guided visitors to the center of the stage or one of the five spacious gaming lounges. 

Technical Stats

PRG installed 304M2 of PRG 30 in special building simulation crawler tracks, 650 Tiles of Barco C5 for three video walls (7m x 3,5m each), another C5 led screen of 6,8m x 3,6m on the stage and 4 control cameras. 

Our lighting set included 72 moving light Impression, 12 Robin 800, 45 motors, 260m of trusses and the whole electrical distribution.

To ensure a good sound coverage, we’ve provided 2 Adamson Subs, 12 JF, 12 Melodie Line array and 10 Microphones.

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PRG LEDs für BMW invisible - City

Mercedes Benz – invisible drive

Together with Markenfilm Crossing​, some time ago we tackled the task of making the visible invisible. The idea was to illustrate the lack of emissions produced by the Mercedes B Class F-CELL in a promotional film.

In this connection, Jung von Matt/Alster developed the “Invisible Drive” project, which essentially centered on making the B Class F-CELL invisible.

After intensive research and several test installations we had found the right LED product. We used flexible magnetic LED tiles with a resolution of 10mm (SMD). The flexibility allowed us to follow the contours of the vehicle. Still, a lot of sensitivity and patience was required to for the installation. Powerful USV systems in the interior of the car supplied the power. The B Class F-CELL was loaded with half a ton of hi-tech and several hundred yards of cable were laid in the car.

Along with the film crew, we set off to make the Mercedes “invisible” against the backdrop of Hamburg and the surrounding countryside.


Using LEDs to achieve creative effects, why not make walls disappear at the next event in a special location, or the new product at a product launch?


Customer: Markenfilm Crossing/Daimler AG

Title: The Invisible Drive

Agency: Jung von Matt/Alster

Account manager: Christian Unger

Project manager: Philip Hagen

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PRG Announces New Executive for EMEA Region

Serge Plasch becomes Chief Commercial Officer for EMEA —Production Resource Group LLC, (PRG) the world’s leading provider of entertainment and event technology solutions, today announced the appointment of Serge Plasch as Chief Commercial Officer for Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA). Plasch will also become Chief Executive Officer for PRG’s operations in France and Belgium. In these roles, Plasch will be responsible for leading the continued growth of PRG’s European and Middle East operations and will report to PRG’s President and Chief Operating Officer, Stephan Paridaen.

“I am delighted to have Serge in this critical leadership position,” says Paridaen. “He has a proven ability to identify growth opportunities and align the commercial resources required to successfully pursue them. What I most appreciate about Serge is that he is focused on customer success, investing in our people, and further extending the capabilities of our high-performance culture.”

“It is a rare opportunity to step into a market leading global organization such as PRG,” Plasch comments. “The people of PRG are known for technical innovation, excellent service, and flawless execution. I am excited to be a part of this outstanding team.”

Prior to joining PRG, Plasch served as CEO of the dcinex group, the European leader in digital cinema services – where he led the company as it grew to over 8,000 cinema screens under management. Prior to dcinex, Plasch was the managing director of Screenvision in Belgium and The Netherlands. Plasch lives in Liège with his wife and family and will be based out of PRG’s Brussels office.

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PRG Nocturne New Team

PRG Nocturne Kicks Off UK Venture with Dynamic New Team

Commitment to Customer Support Behind Investment in New Equipment and Experienced Team

PRG Nocturne has a global reputation for unmatched LED video and projection support to the concert touring, festival, and corporate event markets. Understanding and anticipating the needs of their clients is at the core of PRG Nocturne’s success and the decision to greatly expand its operations in the United Kingdom.

“We are now heading into our fourth year with PRG,” says Bob Brigham, President of PRG Nocturne. “One of the deciding factors in joining the PRG team was our dream to expand into the UK/European markets. The expansion of our UK operation allows us to fully support the rapidly growing demand with an experienced team of people and quality gear that our customers expect of PRG Nocturne US and UK.”

In 2014, the UK operation has supported numerous tours and festival appearances including The Eagles, Katy Perry, Metallica, Skrillex, Franz Ferdinand, Bastille, Linkin Park, and The Rolling Stones. They have also worked with a roster of corporate clients which included 3D projection mapping for the launch of Vodafone Firsts ‘Pitch your #First’ campaign for the Wasserman Media Group.

Irving Azoff of Azoff MSG Entertainment says “We’ve always loved working with PRG Nocturne. With the addition of PRG Nocturne in the UK, they just got better.”

Bob O’Brien, Production Manager for The Script and Franz Ferdinand comments, “I cannot emphasise the importance of having PRG Nocturne on our side every step of the way. Now that PRG Nocturne is fully established in the UK, I can rest assured every detail is well in-hand.”

PRG Nocturne’s well-respected and experienced UK team includes Chief Sales Officer Rich Rowley, Account Director Stefaan Michels, and Head of Video Services Mark O’Herlihy.

With 25 years of experience, Rowley looks forward to the opportunities that having a fully stocked and staffed PRG Nocturne operation in the UK will offer customers. “With the warehouse in Longbridge and the core account management team in our Covent Garden office, we will be able to optimise the way we do business with designers and production. PRG Nocturne is completely committed to ensuring that we offer all our customers the innovative products, solid solutions, and convenient, timely response they need. We will expand our client base across markets as we apply our knowledge from years of touring to elevate the video experience for other markets.”

Michels and O’Herlihy are the ideal choices to help develop the UK operation’s expansion having both originated from PRG Nocturnes US operation. Michels comments, “What’s great about PRG Nocturne is they invest in people,” he says. “We plan to keep working as a team to drive the industry and PRG Nocturne in the UK forward with new gear, new markets, and new people.”

O’Herlihy agrees wholeheartedly and adds, “PRG Nocturne will continue to innovate; create custom solutions; and offer a full range of LED products on a much larger scale than we’ve ever done before. We have always been known for a core team of really talented people and that’s what expanding the UK operation of PRG Nocturne is building upon.”

To learn more about PRG Nocturne’s services in the UK, please contact us at:

The Cofton Centre, Grovely Lane, Longbridge, Birmingham, B31 4PT +44 845 470 6400

Sussex House, 143 Long Acre, Covent Garden, London, WC2E 9AD +44 845 470 6400

Rich Rowley –, +44 121 477 1176

Stefaan Michels –, +44 208 335 6048

Mark O’Herlihy –, +44 121 477 1232

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Book of New Zealand

The Book of New Zealand

PRG helped realize The Book of New Zealand bringing sweeping landscapes, magnificent and magical locations and movie magic all together for the U.S. premiere of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, the New Line Cinema/Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures feature film. Tourism New Zealand created a unique five-day immersive event space in the parking lot of the Beverly Hilton Hotel, relying on Production Resource Group, LLC (PRG) to help realize this massive undertaking. The Book of New Zealand’s innovative walk-through, multi-media installation environment featured actual set elements of the film. Used for the press junket of the filmmakers, parties, and fan events, the unprecedented, built from scratch environment transported all who entered into the world of the film and the beauty of New Zealand.

PRG worked closely with Tourism New Zealand and the filmmakers from 3 Foot 7 Ltd., the film’s production company, to present a truly unique Middle-earth experience. PRG provided all of the lighting, video, and audio as well as all of the production personnel and ancillary elements. The Book of New Zealand’s VIP opening night began with a 90-second film featuring director Peter Jackson paging through a pop-up book of the country’s diverse and striking locations from The Hobbit trilogy. Projected on a 50’Wx35’H roll drop screen, the tourism video concluded with a shot of the dragon Smaug breathing fire at the audience. On cue, large CO2 blasts covered the screen and dramatic lighting emulated flames. The screen quickly rolled up masked in the smoke and the reveal opened up the immersive, walk-through pop-up book event space. Filled with locations created to reflect New Zealand, which including actual film sets and props, guests could then walk into the book and through the landscape, all located on the 65’Wx100’Dx55’H roofed stage.

Helming the design of this immersive event experience was The Hobbit’s production designer Dan Hennah, joined by the film’s supervising art director Simon Bright, and set decorator Ra Vincent. The lighting was designed by the film’s key rigging gaffer Dave Brown working in conjunction with lighting designer Jason DeBoers from PRG. Bill Daly, system engineer, PRG Audio oversaw the audio and PRG’s Phil Galler handled projection. PRG also dealt with all of the permitting and site coordination working with Patrick Stansfield & Associates.

Initially contacted by the film’s rigging gaffer, Dave Brown, about getting some lighting equipment for the event, PRG was then contacted by the Hennah’s design team about broadening their scope of work on the LA event. “PRG came on board, really as our team that would put together everything,” explains Hennah, “especially the really demanding aspects of how to do this thing in the hotel’s car park. We also needed a screen that was 35’ tall and 50’ wide; and a solution to ‘how do you move the screen quickly after the film clip so that we could invite people to go through the environment that we had created. PRG sourced that for us and they came up with using a couple of rock stages back to back so we had enough depth to fit our set pieces in as well as have a large VIP area to host the function.” PRG was happy to provide whatever the film and tourism teams needed to make this project a reality. Sourcing the stage and fast retracting screen, as well as providing two brand new Barco 40K projectors for the opening film projection was just a part of the wide scope of coordination and implementation of the final design that PRG provided on the project.

Set Up Scenery Day Hobbit Book of NZ IMG_6973PRG also brought in a production management team from Patrick Stansfield & Associates, including project director Patrick Stansfield, production manager Kent Black, and production coordinator Arturo Cisneros to oversee the project work onsite and handle the logistics involved with this trans-Pacific project. While Stansfield, a legend in the production management field was the overall production supervisor, Black was production manager on the site, and Cisneros dealt with the city and the hotel, coordinating permits and security.

Traffic management on the tiny 50-car parking lot was one of the biggest challenges on this project. The team had to work in the confined lot right off a busy Santa Monica Boulevard—with a very tight ingress and egress. In fact, they had to trim back some of the hotel’s palm trees as well as temporarily removing some of the trees. The biggest technical challenge was getting the equipment in and out of the site. They couldn’t keep empties on site; they had to go back to PRG and the footprint of the double-sized concert stage that took up well over half of the lot.

A lot of the project came down to logistics, but working in such a tight, land-locked site had its issues. It took them four days to build the Total Structures’ roof structure, which normally would have taken two days. The roof and stage structure required a lot of engineering because it was right up against the hotel building on one side. The production team had to come up with a system where they extended kickers off on the opposite side to give some stability to the roof. Plus they were dealing with the four-foot grade change of the parking lot.

The production team also had to deal the fire department mandated open entrance and 20’ fire lane as a part of the safety requirements. They had to keep one of the gates open and create an opening wide enough to let fire trucks pass underneath, so they built a four-poster truss bridge, which is where the projectors were mounted on top.

The set design from the scenic team included pools and rocks that would be in and around the film’s set pieces. On the stage two ponds were built, so the decking in those areas were mounted two feet lower with a heavy-duty liner. The two ponds, each about a foot deep, were created onstage. Then they poured concrete in three of the areas and sculpted them out to look like rocks and stones. In total, there were four film sets on the stage; they brought six sea containers from New Zealand with the real sets and props used in the movies. The original pieces of the actual movie sets and props were matched with photos of the real landscapes so the environment successfully highlighted how the film’s Middle-earth fantasy is firmly attached to the real life landscapes of New Zealand.

In the middle of the set pieces, they created a VIP party area that was approximately 20’x60’. There were three rectangular truss pods hung from the roof for the lighting. On the fourth day of the roof build is when all the lighting truss went in, because they had to get it all in before they could load-in the scenery on the fifth day. Site preparation and load-in began at the Beverly Hilton on November 13th and the cleared site was handed back to the hotel on December 9th.

Production Designer Dan Hennah enjoyed his time working with the LA-based production team. “It was a very pleasant experience,” he says. “The whole thing worked flawlessly and everyone’s been great. It was a marriage of film and rock ‘n’ roll. The discipline of running a large rock show—we don’t have the knowledge—but we do have the discipline being ready on the day, so it was a really cool team that they put together to bring our world into a new discipline. I made a lot of friends and learned a lot on how things work in LA. It’s been really good to meet the people at PRG, they have been a great resource.”

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Media Servers for Lighting Programmers
6/26/2014 Projects

Summer Reading for Lighting Programmers

Starting to pull together your summer reading selections? Be sure to include Media Servers for Lighting Programmers, A Comprehensive Guide to Working with Digital Lighting. Written by Las Vegas-based PRG Product Specialist Vickie Claiborne, long known for her insightful Video Digerati column for PLSN magazine, has now published her first book. With the Focal Press publication of Media Servers for Lighting Programmers, Claiborne offers a depth of technical support and expertise in all areas of lighting, video, and digital media products in an informative and instructive manner.

She has created a ‘go to’ resource reference guide for lighting programmers who are starting to work with media servers for control of video, audio, lighting, and projection content. As lighting and video have converged in recent years in all forms of production—concerts, television, theatre, corporate events, etc—and lighting designers and programmers are often called upon to control portions, if not all of the video found in most production designs today, her book could not be more timely. She offers background, a little history, and then delves deeply into the area between lighting and video.

Grounded in Claiborne’s extensive knowledge and experience, the book is written in an easy to read style without over simplification. The book contains a wealth of information on working effectively with media servers. It includes useful related terminology, descriptions, and more advanced topics like setting up a console for use with a media server, patching a media server on a lighting console, and accessing the features of the media server via a lighting console or remote control software.

Having started as a lighting designer and programmer in the early 90s, Claiborne understands the relationship and nuances between lighting and video control. That extensive knowledge in both areas make her well suited to helping bridge them. At PRG, she daily offers technical support and expertise in all areas of lighting and video design and programming. Well respected in the entertainment technology industry, she often speaks at LDI and provides training for a wide variety of groups including the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE).

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PRG Nocturne Supports Katy Perry Prismatic Tour

LED Video Screens shape Katy Perry’s Prismatic World Tour using solutions from PRG Nocturne

Having completed the first European leg of her Prismatic World Tour and now starting dates throughout North America, Katy Perry invites her audiences into a visually stunning concert experience. “Everything with Katy is larger than life so the design needed to reflect that. The stage itself is a statement,” points out Show Director and Designer Baz Halpin. Helping Halpin and Perry make that strong visual statement is PRG Nocturne.

Supporting her album, Prism and calling the tour the Prismatic World Tour, Perry had a vision of where to start in the look of the show’s design. “She wanted a large triangular LED Video screen on a triangular stage,” explains Halpin. “That was the basis of the design—the shape. Everything else plays into that.” Halpin conceived the enormous 70’ wide by 34’ tall automated tracking triangular LED video screen that is, as he says, “the backbone of the show; it’s used in everything but the unplugged section of the performance. The main challenge was to make sure that the screen wasn’t too overbearing. We spent a lot of time making sure that it wasn’t going to overpower the action onstage.”

The first leg of Perry’s tour took Europe by storm garnering successful reviews throughout the UK. PRG Nocturne’s UK team, who handled the Prismatic World Tour, also supported Katy Perry’s iTunes performance last year at the Roundhouse in London.

To realize Halpin’s dynamic creative design and offer a reliable, globally tourable solution to the challenging element, he turned to PRG Nocturne. “We needed a very experienced crew and an experienced vendor, which obviously PRG Nocturne have that pedigree. They have the experience of dealing with huge shows like this that have to be transported on a daily basis and work every time. It is very important to have their experienced crew and their support to carry that out, which PRG Nocturne does.”

The LED prism-shaped video backdrop, used as both a scenic and dynamic lighting solution throughout the evening as well as for cutting in I-MAG camera shots at times, is actually three separate pyramid-shaped screens comprised of over 700 PRG Nocturne V-9 Lite LED Video Modules. The hi-resolution V-9 Lite product offers a lighter weight LED screen option without compromising image quality. Cutting weight was important, not only to better address touring needs but because of the scale of the LED screen Halpin wanted on the stage. Even with the V-9 Lite it weighs in at 40,000lbs.

“Because the V-9 Lite is so lightweight it’s an ideal solution for touring, certainly it was the right solution for this production,” explains Mark O’Herlihy, PRG Nocturne’s UK Head of Video Services. “Beyond the weight considerations it also still delivers an equally high quality, high-definition picture, which is always important when you have such a strong visual element with such rich content.”

PRG Nocturne is also supplying the Prismatic World Tour with several other LED video elements including their V-9 LED Modules for a rising pyramid Perry enters through at the top of the show, and flexible digiLED LED product that wraps around a huge multi-layered birthday cake set piece. For playback control and to allow truly creative flexibility the tour’s Video Director Omar Montes-Rangel, from PRG Nocturne, is using two PRG Mbox media servers. PRG Nocturne crew on the tour also includes video engineer Eugene McAuliffe, the video crew chief John Moore as well as the LED screen technicians, the camera operators and projectionist.

The PRG Nocturne UK is going to have a busy summer supporting artists including The Rolling Stones, Linkin Park, and Metallica for their European tours. Katy Perry’s Prismatic World Tour will continue to play North American dates through October. She heads to Australia and New Zealand for November and December before returning for a second European leg, ending the tour in late March, 2015.

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6/20/2014 Projects

PRG Expands Leadership Team with Seasoned Marketing Executive

Production Resource Group LLC (PRG), the world’s leading provider of entertainment and event technology solutions, announced today that Stephen Lambright has joined its executive leadership team as vice president of marketing.

With over 20 years of international marketing and brand development experience, Lambright will be responsible for the company’s global marketing strategies, implementation of marketing programs that enhance and expand PRG’s industry leadership, and promotion of PRG innovations to partners and clients. As a member of the company’s executive leadership team, Lambright will report to PRG’s CEO, Jeremiah Harris.

“Steve is a welcome addition to our team,” said Harris. “He has demonstrated thoughtful and creative leadership as an executive throughout his career and is a talented marketer who delivers results. Steve joins us at a perfect time to build a global marketing organization within PRG that will support and engage both new and existing partners and clients, while amplifying our presence worldwide. I am looking forward to working with him.”

“It is an honor to join the exceptional team of people at PRG,” stated Lambright. “The talent and passion at this company is remarkable. I look forward to helping continue to shape and fortify the PRG brand in the global marketplace to ensure our continued growth and success.”

Lambright is a proven marketing executive who brings deep integrated marketing and branding experience to PRG. Lambright previously held executive positions in marketing, strategy, and business development at some of the world’s most innovative companies including XOJET, Apprion, Savi, NetObjects, Narus, and Informix. He received his MBA from the University of California, Berkeley, and his undergraduate degree from Northwestern University.

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Miss USA, 2014

3.9MM is the Crown Jewel at Miss USA

XL Video brings the LED punch to the Miss USA show again this year in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  Using over 1,655 square feet of Unilumen 3.9mm product, the three sizeable LED walls blended with the traditional scenic pieces to produce a New Orleans-style scenic design as homage to the host state.

By using four HD signal feeds the 3.9mm showed its true potential displaying 4K resolution, which allowed the dynamic content to truly pop off the screen.  The flower covered Mardi Gras floats, twinkling chandeliers, and spinning the Miss Universe content all appeared nearly 3D and could almost be mistaken for actual scenic design pieces when looking at the stage.   “The set was fantastic, due in large part to the incredible state-of-the-art technology XL made available for the show,” shares Donald Trump from the Miss Universe Organization.  

The three LED screens were rigged to hang from truss using the Unilumen hanging brackets specially designed for the 3.9mm product. 

In addition to the 615 tiles, XL also provided four Barco HD-20K projectors and four Barco 4.1 – 6.9:1 high brightness lenses for the front projection house screens that were hung to the right and left of the stage. 

The crew, lead by XL Video veteran John Byrd, provided the superior service that the Miss Universe organization and other clients have come to expect from XL Video.  “Our crew, as always, displayed exemplary service, professionalism, and played part to a much larger production team to help bring to life another beautiful set designed by the Schaffner Stewart group,” praises Bob Magee of his team.  “We are very proud to be considered the go to video vendor for the Miss Universe Organization, and strive to continue this relationship for years to come.”

See more photos of Miss USA Show (Slideshow)

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Billboard Latin Music Awards, 2014

XL Video Creates a Visual Spectacle for Telemundo at the Billboard Latin Music Awards

Continuing a long-running working relationship, XL Video has once again worked with Telemundo to bring their highly creative video staging to life for the 2014 Billboard Latin Music Awards.

The event, which was broadcast live by Telemundo, took place on 24th April at Bank United Center in Miami, Florida and featured performances from Ricky Martin, Marc Anthony, Chayanne, Andrea Bocelli & Laura Pausini, and Enrique Iglesias.

Working closely with Telemundo’s production team, XL Video’s Senior Account Executive, Hans Beijer, specified a range of XL’s creative LED products to realize the producer’s design.

The design, based around a theme of curves and circles, featured screens upstage left and right formed from 287 tiles of Pixled F-30 semi transparent LED. On the left performance area, the center of the screen was a custom curve built from Pixled F-15.

Each of these performance areas featured a flown ‘reveal’ which covered the artist changeovers and raised up to the roof for their performances. The reveals were both curved with center panels formed from XL’s flexible Pixled F-9 LED.

Across the top of the stage a curve and 3 circular tickers were formed from 300 tiles of Pixled F-11 LED all 1 tile high. A center portrait screen upstage was also built from F-11, and was positioned behind two columns.

All the onstage columns, swoops, stage edges and several sets of stairs were created using FLX-24 pixels, with over 16,000 used in total across the entire set!

On either side of the stage, XL also supplied two Barco R-12 units rear-projecting on to two 20’ x 13’ screens, which provided IMAG of the presenters and performers for the benefit of the audience in the house.

XL’s Hans Beijer commented: “We were very happy to collaborate with Telemundo to help them make their creative design reality. With multiple types of LED to rig, and the requirement to ensure all cabling was completely hidden, our Project Manager Franck VanDeCayzeele and technicians Freddie, Kyle, Dennis, Curtis and Tom, did a great job to ensure a smooth build.”

See more photos from the Billboard Latin Music Awards Show (Slideshow)

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PRG Supports Global Creatures KING KONG

Eighty years after King Kong first appeared on movie screens, audiences are once again being captivated as the legendary creature is being brought to life, only this time he is live onstage. For the groundbreaking musical, presented by the world-renowned animatronics technology leader Global Creatures, PRG was named the general contractor handling the majority of production services. PRG provided the theater’s structural preparation and the lighting, audio, scenic automation and scenery packages.

When Producer Carmen Pavlovic, CEO of Global Creatures, was looking for a story that fit the capabilities of the company’s animatronics technology but also offered strong narrative and musical possibilities she landed on the to the idea of developing King Kong as a live theatre piece. KING KONG took five years to develop prior opening during the summer of 2013 at the Regent Theatre in Melbourne, Australia. To tell this epic story onstage, Pavlovic brought in director Daniel Kramer; production/scenic designer Peter England; costume designer Roger Kirk; lighting designer Peter Mumford; sound designer Peter Hylenski and projection designer Frieder Weiss.

PRG worked closely with the design team as well as the technical director Richard Martin throughout the production process. They started first with ensuring that the theater was structurally prepared and capable of handling the show. With a leading man that is a 19½’ tall, 1.2-ton puppet it was important to address the size and weight of the large amount of machinery required to move Kong but also for the numerous scenic elements. 

Copyright Jeff Busby

Martin explains the massive structural work that PRG helped coordinate, “It was a major project, especially for theatre in Australia; it is unheard of here. The first thing that we did was the venue engineering impact. There were five structural engineers involved to get this into the theatre, and we did a significant amount of work with the PRG engineers. We completely removed the existing orchestra pit lifts; excavated some of the orchestra pit structure in the base to get a bit more depth; put in new supports; and installed three new pit lifts. We removed the theatre stage and all its support; put in new structural support to bear the increased loads, and installed a huge hydraulic lift element covering the majority of the new stage floor. We added in nearly 20-tons of structural steel to the grid; and completely removed 80 fly lines. We also upgraded the power because we needed 2,000 amps in the building. It was a major overhaul and upgrade to the theatre.”

Everything is built to fit within a 63’ grid height; from stage floor to grid surface. They installed a full sub-grid, known as the gantry work platform, at a working height of 32.8’. It covers the entire stage, wall-to-wall; back wall all the way down to the within three-feet of the smoke pocket. This is the operational platform for the crew and flying performers as well as housing scenic elements, automation rigs, winches, lights, sound, Venetian curtains, and connections to the LED wall underneath it. The platform itself weighs 12.5-ton plus houses another 3.5-ton of video processor racks, automation racks, winches, and performers.

King Kong hangs from the main re-enforced grid and moves via a gantry crane-style automation rig, known as the Kong apparatus. Sub-contracted by PRG, Stage Technologies supplied the King Kong apparatus automation system, which specifically controls the Kong’s broad movement on stage, operating in a large “keyhole” cutout that allows him to move around the majority of the stage.

PRG engineered and installed the separate scenic automation system that controls all the flying scenery, the hydraulic lifts, Venetian curtains, and the winches for the flying performers. The scenic/flying automation system uses the PRG Commander automation console. With both automation systems operating in the same area PRG knew it was important to avoid conflicts between the two systems. “We did a lot of studies on impact and potential issues between the two systems,” notes Martin. “Everything was done with safety as the most important consideration.”

Setting the Stage
Peter England’s scenic design for KING KONG includes scenes in New York, Skull Island and on board a ship in the ocean. The first NYC scenes evoke the feel of the iconic black and white photos of NYC in the 1930s and England had PRG construct three scenic walls with I-beam platforms, known as the Times Square walls that concertina to the work platform. There is also a 19 ½’ long I-beam that flies in recalling images of men hovering on the I-beams in the air as they built the city to great heights. In the second act return to NYC England wanted to convey the idea that some of the electrical energy from Skull Island was brought back with Kong so he had the 1,500 rivet heads on the I-beam set electrified with LEDs in them. “It is our version of the Great White Way,” describes England. “We are creating this world of light; bringing the cold hard steel to life.” 

For the penultimate scene of Kong climbing up the Empire State Building, England is especially pleased with the vertical rolling scenic device that gives the effect of Kong climbing up. “That is a beautiful piece of machinery built by PRG. It is three rollers on a single axle, a continuous roll, like a treadmill. It is the façade; a snapshot of the windows on the building that goes around and around; an opaque cloth with cut translucent windows in it that is backlit, to create the illusion of rising. People think it is projection—there is some projection on it—but we would never get the depth of visual effect if it was just projection.” 

England wanted to infer the boat rather than build a boat for the scenes during the ocean journey. “I wanted to do something that was suggestive,” states England, “something new but quite simple in its form. We have a boat shape that comes out of the floor but it is the movement that sells the boat and also gives it some musicality. The simplicity to it totally belies the technology that PRG put in behind it.” Martin agrees, “It is very complicated technology that makes me smile every time I see it. PRG excelled themselves on this; it’s a wonderful bit of engineering. It seems quite straightforward, but it is really not. It is a very heavy piece that travels up, down, and gimbals at a good speed. It rocks ‘n’ rolls around absolutely dead silent, then it drops within a millimeter of where it starts each night; dead accurate.” 

The boat is a motion platform lift, which is cut as a 30’ equilateral triangle that raises out of the stage floor. Using three large hydraulic cylinders that are programmed on the Commander console, the platform moves in all three axes at the same time, mimicking the look of a boat’s bow being lifted and dropped as the ocean buffets it. There are two hydraulic power units 9.2’ below that power the boatlift for a combined 140hp and it moves at 2’ per second. The boatlift weighs 17,000lbs but with people and scenery the weight is 25,000 lbs. The PRG system also provides encoder feedbacks to the video operator so they can sync their video waves on the LED screen with the boat’s movement. 

How though do you work with an automation and scenic shop half a world away? “Today’s technology with e-mail, Skype, etc. it wasn’t that hard,” points out Martin. “PRG were so organized and on top of all the details. As soon as their team had drawings they would send them for review, if we made changes it was immediately passed to all the different PRG departments to make sure that conflicts in systems were handled long before we got into the theater. I can’t say enough about working with PRG. The distance made no difference to the attention and quality of work, it was top of the line.” 

Light the Lights
Space in the automation heavy production of KING KONG meant the lighting designer Peter Mumford had to be creative and economical in his selection of fixtures and hanging positions. “Poor Mr. Mumford and his lights; he couldn’t put in any overhead lighting bars; all of his lights had to be fit around the keyway,” comments Martin. “They had to be out of the way so Kong wouldn’t hit them. Still Peter did a wonderful job, most people don’t realize how complicated it was for him to light this show.”

Mumford’s found that working with the challenges was actually the solution. He explains, “It was not really a question of working around the gantry it was a about working with it. We didn’t have the conventional overhead anything, because all that space was taking up by the Kong machinery. Having designed the rig into the gantry it was a structure, which could contain a very large number of moving lights. I was also able to build some bars into the false proscenium at the front so that was a more conventional position. I also add things like the lightlocks with VL3500; they were at the back of the gantry so we could fly movers right into the floor up against the LED screen. Then big banks of Sharpys left and right. You look for positions, it is like a set with a ceiling, you work with the reality of the way it is. That becomes your canvas and you find how you are going to light it and how you are going to approach it.” 

Along with the VL3500s, his design includes Clay Paky 700s, Sharpys and over eighty ETC Source Four LED Lustr+ profiles. His rig could not include any tungsten sources. “I am using a totally non-tungsten rig, I had to because any tungsten sources would interfere with the infrared projection work,” notes Mumford. “I am a big supported of maintaining tungsten as an available theatrical source but this isn’t the show that reflects that.” Programmer and Associate Lighting Designer Victoria Brennan used an ETC EOS control console, which is linked to the show control backbone for triggering some cues and positions. 

Mumford was pleased with the support from PRG, even from across the globe. “PRG were great, they are always great,” he says. “I work with them a lot in England. I also had an absolutely brilliant crew in Australia.” He also worked closely on this production with the scenic team from PRG, as there was a large amount of set electrification. He put ETC Selador Desire D60 Vivid Luminaires within the Empire State building solely for the effect when Kong falls off said building. They also created pop-up footlights that come out of a floor grill at the front of the stage where Mumford placed Clay Paky Sharpys into the floor that shoot into a white reflective on the footlights. He can then also turn the Sharpys around to be shafts of light into the space. There is LED tape used throughout the set to and glow and resonance to some of the scenic elements as well. 

The Sound of Kong
Sound Designer Peter Hylenski and Associate Sound Designer/Production Engineer Simon Matthews worked with Shelly Lee the Australian Associate Sound Designer to give a voice to King Kong. Matthews explains, “The biggest challenge was the voice of King Kong. Nobody knew what that would be at first. It ended up being performed live. A guy named Harley Durst, every night, vocally performs him. He’s got a microphone; the microphone feeds into proprietary software. King Kong is alive.” 

‘Kong’s entrance is one of the coolest theatrical moments that I’ve seen, or certainly have been a part of,” continues Matthews. “It takes all the departments and when he lands for the first time it’s magnificently loud. He roars and you still don’t see him. You start to see his eyes and his teeth. He’s landed behind this web of lights and a fog curtain. You just see his teeth and just his eyes; then he roars and it’s amazingly loud. People around me in the house gasped. It was a guttural reaction gasp. It was incredible. Then there’s another moment in the show, where King Kong is holding Ann in that iconic, loving gesture. King Kong turns and roars; it’s palpably different. That moment, making the roar live makes it work; you couldn’t replicate that moment with a recording. You do truly forget, as a watcher, as a listener, that he’s not alive. That’s the highest testament to the guys who perform him. In the end, what the technical side has given is the tools.” 

Mostly a Meyer rig with a d&b surround system of M’elodie arrays. “One of the notable things about the system is that we have arrays of subwoofers that are 20’ tall on proscenium left and right,” describes Matthews. “We have 700HPs. We have four of the new 1100LS across the floor in front. There’s a total of 14 dual 18s or 28 subwoofer drivers. When King Kong puts his fist on the ground, you feel it. We have a sound effects operator to take visual cues—‘boom, boom’ that’s 50% of the sound. Without that you’re watching Kong and you think that while he’s really amazing; but he’s not alive unless he makes some sort of sounds. Those sounds need to interact with his environment and with his voice.” 

Matthews feels it is a fairly straightforward sound system. “It is mixed on a Studer Vista 5. It goes through the D-Mitri system. The heart of the system is this mix engine I/O. The Studer goes through that. We also have the sound effects operator that’s using a QLab setup. It’s actually being triggered over Show Control by D-Mitri. The D-Mitri is the master cue list. We run five separate cue lists during the show. The Studer has a range of channels on its own cue list that it exists inside of. Sound Effects has its own cue trigger list; we’ve got the King Kong turbocharge list; and then we have the voice modulation key list. D-Mitri sends the MIDI Show Control out to the lighting and video departments. There’s really nothing else that’s still suited to be that level of show control unless you go to a dedicated show control platform. Even then the flexibility is already in the D-Mitri; you don’t have to build modules or timelines. You just operate it. There are two outputs that come from our audio matrix that go to the video system so they can use whatever sound effect or Kong’s voice to modulate the video that’s being played. That’s another realtime experience.” 

The audio package was provided by PRG out of the United States and shipped to Australia. The system was put together as a normal Broadway show would and then put into sea containers for a high seas journey of about 45 days. “PRG was very supportive. If somebody says ‘hey we want you to go do a show in Australia and the shop is in New York,’ which by the way is 10,400 miles away, I would choose PRG.’ We went in anticipating that there would be problems but we really didn’t have any.” 

The award-winning design work has thrilled audiences and the entire creative team feels that they have achieved a good balance of technology and narrative. England concludes, “I think at the very heart of what this production is, is a true marriage of traditional and ambitious technology; it reflects the story in a way. It is certainly something that no one has seen before. The goal in everyone’s heart has been to create something that has heart, emotion and humanity. It is not spectacle but it is spectacular.”

Further Links:
Designing KING KONG: The Creature, The Sets and the Costumes
Fit for a King – Stage Directions
King Kong Live On Stage – Video

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Robbie Williams Take the Crown Tour

Robbie Williams Take The Crown Tour

When English pop sensation Robbie Williams took over Europe’s stadiums for his Take The Crown tour, Creative Director Willie Williams wanted to make sure that the lighting not only illuminated but also reflected the artist’s energetic performance style. Williams collaborated on the stunning production design with Scene Designer/Architect Mark Fisher and Ric Lipson of Stufish, creating an unforgettable visual kaleidoscope of lighting, scenic automation and video.

The successful 26-date summer tour included a 41’ sculptural head coming out of a massive back video wall along with seven additional three-dimensional heads that moved around the stage. With so much automation, video, and larger than life scenery the lighting needed to be carefully positioned to allow maximum impact with minimal presence. Williams’ had much of the lighting rig built into the set, cleverly masking what was actually a considerable amount of gear.

The Lighting Plot

Production Resource Group (PRG) provided the lighting system and crew. The plot included 130 PRG Bad Boy spots, 138 Martin MAC Auras, 69 Martin Atomic Strobes with Atomic Color scrollers, 12 Zap Big Lites and 12 Novalight Nova-Flowers, PRG Best Boy4000 Spots and additional lighting fixtures. The Bad Boys were selected by Williams to be the primary source because of their output. Noted Williams, “In a stadium—never mind in daylight—it’s all about intensity. None of the subtle features of a fixture count for anything at all if you can’t see them so in many ways the brightest fixture wins. The Bad Boy is still the brightest fixture in its price range. Even though we have a lot of fixtures, due to the scale, we have very few different types; it was a very simple rig, really.” Lighting Associate Alex Murphy agreed with Williams’ assessment of the Bad Boy luminaires. “Once again we were spoiled with the Bad Boys. The light output and zoom range is just great.”

“The biggest issue was knowing that we would be playing in Northern Europe during mid-summer,” explained Williams. “This is death for lighting and the worst thing a designer can do is carry on in denial of the fact that it’s not going to get dark until 2/3 of the way into the show. In the spirit of turning a weakness into strength, I set about conceiving a show that would actually benefit from opening in daylight. I thought about outdoor entertainments that are invariably day lit—carnivals, parades, etc. From this I took the cue as to what kind of show we needed to design.”

He approached the overall production by breaking it down into acts. “Act I is in daylight so we’ve created a sort of Rio Carnival environment. As dusk falls, we move into a focused, centralized acoustic Act II before the video-based home run of Act III. Finally the more contemplative encore section uses the darkness to close out the show with pyro and other effects.”

Pre-rigged Solutions

Production Manager Wob Roberts worked closely with PRG to develop solutions to streamline the load-in/load-out of the lighting. This was an important factor in a production travelling with so much automation and video scenery. The pre-rigging of the lighting in some portions of the plot proved to be very efficient. This was particularly true for the band area roofette. PRG’s team worked with Brilliant Stages so that 65 of the MAC Auras could be permanently mounted onto U-beam. They made sure that all the cabling was hidden inside the U-beam, which was then attached to the main structural beams of the roofette. It took the crew only 30 minutes at load-in to attach the U-beams and plug it all together.

The selection of PRG BAT Truss for much of the rig also proved extremely efficient. Roberts liked BAT Truss for both the space and labor savings it brought to the production. “The time it saved me was really impressive. My lighting crew moved so fast they ended up having to wait for the next staging, scenic, or video sections to be built so they could move on. The lighting pieces were so well pre-rigged that they went in extremely quickly. Everything just rolls into place on the BAT Truss. It was a very slick operation.”

A key use of the BAT Truss was the inverted sections used on the floor rigs. Two 8’ sections with three Bad Boys sitting upright in each were joined with custom brackets, then a seventh Bad Boy unit sat on top of the bracket. The BAT Truss pieces with the lights were easily wheeled into place and bolted together. A Four-light PAR36 fixture and an Atomic with a color changer on one pipe were then clamped onto it. The solution was compact, easily setup, and something that wouldn’t get kicked or moved. This was done on both sides of the stage below the IMAG screens, mimicking in reverse the lighting above the screens.

“I knew that PRG could provide the gear,” stated Roberts. “They have supported Robbie’s shows for a long time and are great to work with. I knew PRG could deliver a tour of this size. They also really came through with a great crewing solution for us.” Roberts continued by noting, “There was no question that I had a top flight crew. 90% of the success of any production is the people and I had the best team out there.”

List of the production team

Show Producer – Lee Lodge
Creative Director – Willie Williams
Stage Architect – Mark Fisher and Ric Lipson, Stufish
Video Director – Stefaan “Smasher” Desmedt
Production Manager – Wob Roberts

Lighting Crew
Lighting Director – Mark “Sparky” Risk
Lighting Associate – Alex Murphy
Lighting Crew Chief – Nick Barton
Systems Chief/FOH Technician – Craig Hancock
Lead Dimmer Technician – Gareth Morgan
Header/Moving Light Technician – Blaine Dracup
Pods/Big Lite Technician – Andrew Beller
Moving Light Technician/Pods – Jason Dixon
High Platforms/FOH/Followspots – Mark Pritchard
Moving Light Technician/Dimmers – Urko Arruza Urrutia
Header/Roofette Moving Light Technician – Chris Sabelleck
High Platforms/FOH/Moving Light Technician – Matthew Bright

Scottie Sanderson – PRG Account Executive

Read more about other PRG Projects

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Bon Jovi Because We Can Tour

PRG Products Drive the Bon Jovi Because We Can Tour

PRG is the lighting supplier for the Bon Jovi Because We Can tour, which is working its way around the world in two distinctly different legs—an arena design version and a stadium design. For both designs Performance Environment Designer Doug “Spike” Brant of Performance Environment Design Group (PEDG) has relied heavily on PRG proprietary products. Since one of the driving principals of PEDG is sustainability, the selection of PRG’s Best Boy 4000® luminaire as the primary light used for the dynamic arena design is no surprise. “Sustainability is something that we’ve always pursued; everything from how we work to the choices that we make in our designs,” commented Brant. “I love the Best Boy; it’s my favorite light. They’re so bright, they don’t draw much power, and they do things that no other light does. It’s amazing how much of a Swiss Army knife of lights that it really is; they were very important to this design. They’ve been great. The Best Boys on the lifts are a very successful element, which supports the kinetic nature of the design. Everyone’s commented on how killer the lighting is.”

Arena Tour - Lighting 

Brant employs 80 of the Best Boys as the key luminaire in his kinetic arena design, which at the core are 32 Best Boys mounted on RSC Lightlock stabilizers controlled via high-speed winches. The lights can move at a rate of five-feet per second, creating an extraordinary amount of creative flexibility. The visually complex design boasts huge power savings. Drawing a mere five-amps per luminaire, the Best Boys allowed Brant to significantly reduce the power consumption for the arena versions of the tour. Altogether, the arena lighting package tours at well under 400-amps in total and is completely run off house power at each arena with no need for additional generator power for the lighting system. “Less than 400-amps for the whole thing; that’s it. That is probably the least amount of power that Bon Jovi has ever had for any show since the band was playing in a bar,” noted Brant.

Chris Shaffer, Dimmer Tech for the arena leg of the tour commented, “We were on a 400-amp service but in theory we could have been on a 200-amp service with additional rebalancing, but for safety we went with 400-amps. We used house power the whole time we toured throughout the US; no generators needed. It was the first time that I’ve toured with essentially just Best Boys in the rig and their really low power draw makes a big difference.” In comparison, Bon Jovi’s The Circle tour in 2010 had fewer lights but almost twice the power draw.

Arena Tour - Power & Distribution 

The arena version of the tour also uses the PRG Series 400® Power and Data Distribution System, which Shaffer described as “one of my go-to products. The timesavings are big when compared to traditional distribution systems. When I loaded the PRG sled rack with four S400 racks and S400 power disconnects, all pre-cabled, the dimmer beach set-up time including all power and data distribution was only four minutes; it’s exceptionally fast. It’s one of the reasons that I prefer that system. If I had to set this up with traditional power and data distribution systems it would take around 45 minutes, that is a big difference when setting up and a really big difference when breaking things down. It’s the only system in the world that I want to use. It is fast and it is absolutely reliable.”

The built-in redundancy of the Series 400 system is another benefit that Shaffer relies upon to make his life easier on the road. “Because everything virtually patches, when it comes to troubleshooting, if for some reason we lose a box or something like that up on the truss, I can setup a virtual patch so we’re not running additional data lines up to the truss. There’s a massive level of redundancy without the need to pull the extra cable; that’s one of the things that makes my job easier and makes us look good. Once you have real confidence in your system like I do with the S400, you can easily and quickly troubleshoot any problems.”

Another plus of the Series 400 system is the neat and contained system it lays out at dimmer beach compared to traditional systems. “Initially we had planned that I would setup 65’ away from the cable picks,” Shaffer explained. “That was because traditionally dimmer beaches are so messy because of all the multiple racks, the data racks, and the patches, but with the S400 being so clean, especially with the sled it has allowed me to move up to 15’ of the cable pick without any complaint about clutter or mess in the SR area from the artist. That’s another advantage of the S400, the huge lack of clutter.”

Stadium Tour Brant also designed the completely different stadium design version of the Bon Jovi Because We Can tour for the summer leg. For lighting he again relies on the PRG luminaire family for his primary fixtures. He has 68 PRG Bad Boy® Spot Luminaires at the heart of his design with 29 Best Boys in the rig as well. PRG Nocturne also supplied the stadium leg with the camera package, PRG Nocturne V-18 LED 18mm LED modules, and the PRG Nocturne V-9 Lite 9mm LED modules.

For the stadium leg of the tour Dirk Sanders, Technical Designer for Control Freak Systems (CFS), who put together the complex video control systems for both designs, selected the PRG Mbox® Extreme media server. There are four Mboxes used and Sanders refers to them as “the workhorse server for this show.” He explains, “The Mbox is our de facto media server tool. At CFS, we are very much about the right tool for the right artistic idea. There are times were the Mboxes are being used to spread the content, and there is a high level of connectivity between all the tools because we use the Mbox’s MultiScreen Gobo feature to map the wall. It was about the right tool for the right job, but also Mbox gives us the right paintbrushes to route video effectively. Mbox really helped solve quite a few challenges.”

Arena Photos Copyright 2013, Andy Babin / Meteor Tower 

Stadium Photos Copyright 2013, Ryan Mast / Meteor Tower

Additional Coverage 

The Role of Director of Programming For Bon Jovi’s Because We Can Tour (Live Design article)
In Control For Bon Jovi’s Because We Can: The Tour, Part 1 (Live Design article)
Bon Jovi Because We Can Stadium Tour Video Equipment and Personnel (Live Design article)
PLSN Production Profile: Bon Jovi Because We Can World Tour (PLSN article)

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PRG Surrounds Oblivions Sky Tower

For Universal’s new sci-fi movie Oblivion, starring Tom Cruise, Cinematographer Claudio Miranda, ASC, and Director Joseph Kosinski filmed many of the visual effects live in-camera rather than using blue screens. For the scenes in the “Sky Tower”, a set built almost entirely of floor to ceiling windows and highly reflective surfaces, Miranda wanted a 270° sky surrounding the set so that he could shoot in almost any direction. Using on-set projection and capturing the sky and clouds in-camera allowed Kosinski, Miranda, and the actors to truly inhabit Production Designer Darren Gilford’s stunning futuristic set.

The projection solution provided by PRG included 11 Mbox Extreme media servers and 21 Barco FLM-HD20 20K projectors to cover the 494’ wide by 42’ tall projection screen. The final resolution was 18,288 x 1,920 pixels and consisted of 62 synched layers of 1080p video. PRG Project Manager Zach Alexander, the Media Operator on the film, created a seamlessly blended image using the Mbox media servers to control cloudscape footage shot with three cameras over two–three weeks on top of a volcano in Hawaii. Alexander used the PRG V676 control console to call up the sunrise, full day, sunset, or night sky options. During filming Kosinski and Miranda selected the sky looks by viewing and selecting the video clips on the V676’s Media Window, prior to shooting. The front projected sky also provided almost 95% of the lighting used for many of the Sky Tower scenes. Alexander operated a separate system for the smaller “Cloud Tower” set with a PRG V476 control console, two Mbox media servers, and six Barco 20K projectors.

PRG Lighting Programmer Philip Galler controlled a wide variety of LED lights that were installed in Cruise’s bubble ship and in the Sky and Cloud Tower sets, along with banks of Kino Flo fluorescent fixtures. PRG Bad Boy Spot luminaires were used to simulate shafts of sunlight for the bubble ship cockpit sequences.

Project Contact: Brian Edwards

Additional Information: 

Tom Cruise Discusses Oblivion on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart

Film And Digital Times Magazine feature on Oblivion

Oblivion: Universal ©2013 / Bill Dobbs
Universal ©2013 / Bill Dobbs

Photo Credit: Universal ©2013 / Bill Dobbs, Universal ©2013 / David James

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