International News



PRG Ideas Exchange January 2019: Theo Gentilli and Robin Shaw, Warm Street

The PRG Ideas Exchange is a series of monthly invite only events, which has been designed to delve deeper into the minds of some of the most creative people in the events industry, for an exchange of inspiring ideas.

In January our guest speakers were Theo Gentilli and Robin Shaw, the founders of Warm Street, a highly specialised culture marketing agency that connects brands with the youth and music market.

Warm Street’s ethos is simple: They believe a generous and sustainable value exchange between brands and music culture is key to cultural relevance. They advocate using culture in a long term way to enrich and enhance consumer's lives, this can drive real, tangible results that are 300% more likely to drive market share improvement and 60% more likely to drive profit improvement. (IPA 20 year study 2018)


The Story of Warm Street:

The story of Warm Street can be condensed into three key, rather wonderful moments:

Just Jack was all about building an institution for the love. It wasn’t about money, but somehow did well, and did make money. It became massive. So much so, that it was able to sell tickets all its 10th birthday with no talent announced. A great example of how we build cultural capital over the long term and the party is still going today (14 years strong) as a key part of the UK’s cultural landscape.

In the early days, Red Bull headhunted Warm Street to help concept and curate some events. They were invited back to support Red Bull nationally the following year this was the beginning of a four-year ongoing relationship with the brand, and the beginning of the agency as we know it.



Hubrick is a tech app that launched in the UK last year. Warm Street was challenged with producing its UK strategy, and as part of this, created some interesting examples of cultural IP. Warm Street listened carefully to the environment and the need states of talent and consumers, and created a bespoke football tournament that played to young people’s desire to play with artists and artists’ desire to engage with their fans.



Young people are losing faith in social media

We’re seeing the implosion of social media right now in a big way. Users feel over-targeted by ads, tricked by marketing ploys and anxious about their presence there. They feel like they’re feeding a social media beast and have no choice but to comply.

Today’s youth are going through a period of self-realisation that the world they live in was not created by them, nor for them (Protein Youth Report 2017).



So, how can brands fit into this picture?

Against this context, we’ve seen many brands step in to position themselves as a positive force for good for young people. Whilst this can be applauded in principle, many don’t fulfil their bold claims and little is done in practice. What occurs, then, is a feedback loop of distrust. Young people don’t believe brands and think brands are appropriating their causes to sell them more product. It’s an ever increasing feedback loop where distrust breeds purpose which breeds more distrust. Against this backdrop, cultural capital is a way for brands to actually play a positive role and cut through.



Patagonia recently, and quite quietly, donated its $10M tax subsidy from Donald Trump’s reform to climate change initiatives.


Stormzy has always articulated having a purpose but this year used his platform to create a Cambridge scholarship and an imprint with penguin books, to provide a platform for a new generation of underrepresented authors to publish their work.


Consider culture and capital together

The key idea is to consider culture and capital together. The two are not traditionally united, but the metaphor works well as a template for how brands can and should engage with culture. It takes a long time to build this up. That doesn’t mean the brand doesn’t benefit from short term benefits in the lead up, but it won't get the benefit of a longer term commitment to culture immediately. Once you have cultural capital it doesn’t disappear immediately. Longer term strategies engender longer term results and ROI. Red Bull have been building their cultural capital for years. Red Bull book an artist and that artist will play for cheaper, they are excited to tell their fans they are playing for Red Bull, their fans are excited to attend and share it to their friends. The entire brand ROI is heightened. Alongside this, hidden influencers, who don't have thousands of followers on instagram but have massive influence, like club owners want to stock Red Bull so this closes the feedback loop where the product is seen & trialled online, at a heightened brand experience and then in real life at a cultural event (for example its the only brand present at Fabric which welcomes half a million cultural consumers through their doors a year).


Theo and Robin presented a toolkit to help really understand a project's cultural and capital fit. For a copy of this toolkit please email


The PRG Ideas Exchange is a monthly, invite only event. If you want to find out more about this and what PRG could do for your next event, whatever its size, talk to John Montague or Andy Johnston.

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PRG Shifts Motion To The Highest Gear On Jeff Wayne’s War Of The Worlds

When the 40th anniversary arena tour of Jeff Wayne’s musical version War of the Worlds was announced, the shows production manager, Steve Nolan, called on PRG once again to provide automation. This proved the perfect opportunity to showcase the state of the art Movecat automation system which PRG has recently invested in.


The show elements operated by the VMK S 500 and VMK S 1250 motion hoists consisted of the iconic 3-tonne, 35-foot tall Martian Fighting Machine which was manoeuvred on the stage and a huge arched bridge running through the centre of the arena which was lowered over the audience during the show. This is where the hoists SIL3 safety factor, currently the highest on the market, really came into its own.

The Movecat control desk is optimised visually, which makes programming easier and the touchscreen allows to easily select individual motors, for ease of programming and running. Its 3D graphics enable our team to easily generate and program complicated shapes, such as raking multiple motor trusses, and it can even trigger cues from DMX and time coding.   

A much smoother set of cues can be programmed and run, thanks to Movecat’s motor zero speed capability. Not only can the Movecat V-Motions be placed on the truss, they can also be suspended from a head cable length of 70 meters in a rack backstage. Both vertical and horizontal motion are possible with Movecat. Built-in load cells in the hoists also enable the team to safely move large items over the audience's heads which is where the SIL3 automation system really comes into its own.  

All Movecat components have been optimised for particularly quiet operation, which is essential when being used in shows such as War of the Worlds.

Movecat connects all operators, enabling our teams to easily integrate motion signals and synchronise them with video and lighting cues. Cooperation between the motion operator, the light operator and the video operator has never been better. 

PRG is a leading international full-service provider of technical expertise and equipment for corporate and special events, music touring and festivals, theatre and the arts, exhibitions, brand activations, and film and television productions. To find out more about what we could do for your next event, get in touch.

Photo Credit: Roy Smiljanic

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Simon Harrop, Founding Director of The Aroma Company

PRG Ideas Exchange December 2018: 
Simon Harrop, The Aroma Company

The PRG Ideas Exchange is a series of monthly invite only events, which has been designed to delve deeper into the minds of some of the most creative people in the events industry, for an exchange of inspiring ideas.

In December, our guest speaker was Simon Harrop, Founding Director of The Aroma Company. Simon is an expert in multi-sensory brand marketing. His business provides strategic brand development and promotion through the sense of smell to brands.




Simon spoke about the ways in which multiple senses combine to make even more compelling branded experiences. The Aroma Company is a leading innovator of scent marketing technology, and Simon and his team have been globally recognised as industry experts.

Established in 1993, this small, unique and close knit team has built close relationships with agencies, retailers and the world’s global consumer goods companies. Anyone looking to improve their brand identity and presence in marketing campaigns using the sense of smell are their kind of customer!



Research has shown that of the five senses smell is the sense most linked to our emotional recollection. So, when linked to a product, it can reap dividends. Studies have shown that 75% of emotions are triggered by smell which is linked to pleasure, well-being and memory.

The Aroma Company enables brands to put this information to great use in terms of their own promotion and marketing campaigns. Incorporating scent into communications can enhance the connection with the brand, influence the buying process
 and get consumers talking about and interacting with the brand and campaign.



Five Fascinating Facts About Our Sense of Smell:

At the breakfast meeting, Simon Harrop shared some intriguing facts about our sense of smell.

1. Powerful emotions and memories are triggered by smell which is handy when you want people to buy your products. One of the most evocative smells from childhood is the smell of wax crayons. A survey found that 85% of all people remember their childhood when they smell Crayola crayons. When Crayola recently tried producing these products without their distinctive scent there was uproar!

2. The sense of smell is the first of all our senses to develop. Even before we are born, our sense of smell is fully formed and functioning.

3. The human brain can process roughly 10,000 smells in an area the size of a postage stamp, each triggering a neural response.

4. The smell of a new leather jacket or pair of shoes makes most people happy. But to some people a new car smells best of all. An artificial “new car smell” is sprayed inside new cars that lasts for six weeks. And while not everyone can own a Rolls-Royce, at least you could get the smell. The car manufacturer has reproduced the scent of the 1965 Silver Cloud and sprays it under the seats to recreate the smell of a classic Roller.



5. All over the world, top hotel chains have devised their own signature aromas. ‘Sheratons’ smell like fig, clove and jasmine; Westin lobbies go for white tea while the Four Points venues smell of cinnamon. Montcalm in the UK have used Simon’s expertise to create their own ‘scent butler’ where guests can choose what smell they want their room to smell of!


And Did You Know...

Our mood will increase by up to 46% if exposed to a positive picture
Our mood will increase by up to 23% if exposed to a positive taste
Our mood will increase by up to 29% if exposed to a positive touch
Our mood will increase by up to 65% if exposed to a positive sound
Our mood will increase by up to 75% if exposed to a positive smell



Harrop gave guests a sneak peek behind the scenes at the Aroma Company, with examples of recent projects the team have worked on:


Tiffany & Co’s Immersive Christmas Installation

A Christmas campaign for Tiffany last year saw the Aroma Company work on an immersive Christmas installation to go into St Pancras station in London. Tiffany needed the Aroma Company’s expertise in diffusing the fragrance, making sure it was safe and ticked all the boxes and paperwork to make it satisfactory for TFL.

Simon’s team worked with Tiffany’s fragrance oil and created cartridges to put into scent diffusers, programmed to release fragrance at a beautiful ambient level at specific intervals for commuters and shoppers to enjoy. The diffusion kit was built into the ‘presents’ and base of the tree, so the tree not only smelt beautiful, but looked incredible. A multi-sensory, immersive Christmas extravaganza!



Visit York’s Scented Guidebook

Under the guidance of the Aroma Company’s sensory experts, Cow PR and their client Visit York were able to create the UK’s first scented travel guidebook to replicate the aromatic experience of twelve popular York destinations and events.

The events and destinations were matched to smells ranging from lavender fields, manure, Wensleydale cheese, to the peculiar smell of ghost (which was surprisingly realistic!) As well as the scents, the Aroma Company also produced the final guidebook, which utilised Touch to Smell technology. Gently rubbing or touching the scented pages released a generous amount of fragrance to sample.



Coca Cola’s Out-of-Home (OOH) Campaign

The Aroma Company worked with Exterion and VGL on London's Underground, this time, with Coca Cola and their limited edition Cinnamon Coke. The campaign took place over Christmas 2018, and was designed to take customers on a sensory brand experience as they left the station.

The activation included cinnamon-scented exit corridors and a vinyl wrapped escalator with LEPs (escalator panels) with the cinnamon scent having been designed and supplied by the Aroma Company.



The PRG Ideas Exchange is a monthly, invite only event. If you want to find out more about this and what PRG could do for your next event, whatever its size, talk to John Montague or Andy Johnston.

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The London Evening Standard Theatre Awards

PRG worked in partnership with Shorty Productions on the 64th annual London Evening Standard Theatre Awards in November.

The project began back in the summer, when our team first started talking to Tom Shaw of Shorty Productions. Tom chose us for the project as we already had a strong working relationship with the Theatre Royal Drury Lane, which would be hosting the event. We’ve also been involved in some of the production for this event in the past.

The brief was to work with Tom and Owen Pritchard-Smith of Spirit Design, to elevate the production of the event and provide options which would enhance the look and feel of the lighting, video and scenic layout at the theatre.



This presented two main challenges. Firstly, we needed to raise and refine the presence of the red carpet and building frontage for event attendees. We also required upgrades to the internal staging with scenic LED and lighting, to allow for more flexibility and greater potential to transform the space during the event.

PRG’s video and lighting services provided the solution. For the gala dinner, the entire stalls area and first half of the stage had been transformed into table seating, with the performance area for the event moved far upstage. We provided a Martin Viper Performance rig to replicate the over stage theatre house rig out into the auditorium, and create a consistent lighting cover for the dining area.



For the new stage position, a combination of PRG Icon beams together with GLP X4 Bars worked to provide both a soft theatrical wash to the stage drapery for the awards and dinner, whilst allowing a transformation of the stage with sharp dynamic lighting beams for the awards stings, performances and party.



Our video offering was designed to fulfil two main roles. It served as a communication tool for playing back event stings, and videos on the central Lighthouse X3 3.9mm LED screen, and with the ROE MC18mm Hybrid to create video banners to brand and transform the scenic layout of the stage.

Playback was provided by both a Catalyst Media server for the structured awards ceremony and an MBox Media server linked to the lighting console for the performances and party, to ensure the video content linked seamlessly with the lighting. Using the ROE MC18mm Hybrid also gave us an opportunity to transform the stage area into a dance floor, using the blinder pixels to change the banners into a unique glimmer effect for the after party.

For the red carpet, P5's were used to lift the building frontage with a generic 2K Fresnel lighting rig within the red carpet structure, providing both heat and lighting for the attendees. PRG Icon beams were then used to help lift the front of the red carpet and create a sense of event in the outdoor space.



Cameron Bannister was the Account Manager on this project, whilst Dana Read and Ben Hornshaw provided on-site project consistency over the 36 hour install, show and de-rig in their roles as the onsite managers. Sam Healey headed up the lighting team and Nathan Avery took charge of the video team.

Leon Dickens worked as the Catalyst programmer, liaising with the end client and content maker during pre-production, and on-site for the rehearsal and show. Stephen Price and Dhyaan Parikh provided fantastic asset and logistical support throughout the project, from pre-production and demo builds right up to the final event install and reconciliation.

Bannister told us that this project stood out for its collaborative approach to pre production and prep, which was key to making the awards ceremony a success. He said, “it was imperative that a clear, open communication chain was created with the theatre and the client from the outset. A thorough approach to pre-production and scheduling meant that the whole team were pulling in the same direction, in a controlled and properly resourced environment. This positive culture cascaded throughout the team, making the event a pleasure to work on.”

Bannister added, “working with Tom and his team at Shorty productions has been an absolute pleasure. His energy and passion to push design and creativity and raise the event in a collaborative and well communicated environment with his suppliers filtered throughout the team. It’s been a pleasure to play a part in the events success. I look forward to working with Tom and his team again soon in the near future.”

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Gary Numan’s Savage Tour

Gary Numan’s Savage Tour

Since last October, PRG has been working with Gary Numan, in partnership with Production Designer and Production Manager, Luke Edwards of Cue Design. PRG supplied lighting, video and rigging for the Savage Tour, which takes audiences on a journey through a post-apocalyptic world.

Numan’s shows are known for spectacular visual displays and impressive creativity, with most of the elements of the production being based on lighting or video technology. Cue Design has been working alongside Gary for the past four years, designing collaborative lighting, video and laser packages for the iconic shows.

The Savage tour itself combined Numan’s renowned industrial synth sound with powerful, emotional performances from The Skaparis Orchestra and the huge talents of the Kantos Chamber Choir, creating a high impact, spectacular rock show.

Creative Director Luke Edwards began the design process by conversing with Numan on what the look and feel of the show would be. He then developed renders based on these conversations. Numan went on to tweak the renders and add his own personal touches, ready for the designs to be brought to life at venues across the UK.

The end result was something Edwards was incredibly proud of. He said, “we were the world premiere of Avolites Synergy which in itself was great. I also took a risk by putting no spots or washes in the overhead rig but just using X4 bar 20's which worked out incredibly well!”

Edwards told us he gets his inspiration everywhere, from nature and art galleries to the sights and sounds you experience just walking around in cities. This year, he’s been most impressed by the lighting creative for Bruno Mars, telling us it’s the “best show [he has] ever seen.”

For the Savage tour, PRG supplied GLP products which helped to make Edwards’ vision a reality, such as the Xbar 20, X4, JDC Strobes, PRG Icon Edge & PRG BAT pre rig truss. Our Lighting Project Manager was Leigh Yeomans, with Daniel Briggs working on lasers, and video was managed by Nilkanth Patel. Bradley Stokes was Crew Chief, supported by crew members Dan Everitt and Tom Prew. The Tour itself was managed by Dave Dupuis.

Luke Edwards of Cue Design said, “Our Account Handler, Rob Watson, really looks after me and understands the importance with building relationships with people. PRG is wholly people-based and it’s lovely. They have supported us endlessly to make this production happen. For me, that relationship and level of trust is invaluable.”

“I see Rob as part of my crew as I do my crew chief or any other member of crew. He is instrumental in getting these shows to work.”

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prg invests in movecat motion hoists

PRG invests in Movecat Motion Hoists

PRG invests in Movecat motion hoists — VMK S 500 and VMK S 1250 — innovative and notable for their unusual flexible handling, whilst satisfying the highest safety level on the market.


With their remarkable features, VMK-S hoists represent the elite class on the world market and are recommended for all state-of-the-art applications in locations such as in TV studios, theatres and event venues demanding maximum performance and safety combined with the widest possible bandwidth of uses.

VMK-S hoists have the possibility to move both horizontally and vertically and can move live artists; they can be controlled at variable speeds for way- and time-synchronous runs. These high-speed hoists (from 10 m/min) in combination with a V-Motion Powerpack are capable of speeds ranging from 0 to 40 m / min. In addition, its control desks are optimized visually, which significantly facilitates programming.

Gary Boyd, Executive Vice President & COO PRG EMEA comments: “Working with Movecat over the last six months we have established a great partnership in variable speed and safety technology. We have been able to create new products at a PRG specific working with Movecat here in Stuttgart and these new products and developments will lead to a great partnership across both companies!”

Movecat fulfilled PRG’s needs going forward and proved that it was a future proof product and the safest most compliant product in all markets at this time.
They are currently the only kinetic solutions on the market to have received the Safety Integration Level (SIL3), meeting the highest safety standards.
Oliver Nachbauer, CFO Movecat stipulates “Both PRG and Movecat are looking for solutions for their clients and their requirements, working together on our products and their specifications to service these unique requirements clients have. I am very much looking forward to the partnership with PRG and the challenges we might get.”

By adding these products to the portfolio, PRG can offer an even wider range of fully integrated solutions, serving clients more creatively given the wide range of possibilities as well as the most recent and safest solutions on the market!
Motion signals can now be synchronized with video and lighting cues, which will positively reflect on the cooperation between the motion operator, the lighting operator and the video operator.

A first batch is available as from November 2018 and will further be supplemented during the month of March and June 2019. The Movecats will be featured for the first time during Jeff Wayne’s Musical Version of ‘The War of the Worlds’ in the UK, operated by our trained PRG crew.

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Tech Futurist Tom Webb Speaks at the PRG Ideas Exchange

Tom Webb, who describes himself as an artist, tech futurist and hacker, joined us for the latest in our series of PRG Ideas Exchange events.

Tom was inducted into the Magic Circle at the age of 18. Since then he has gone on to establish himself as a huge name, by creating shows which combine technology and magic. Tom’s stage shows featured classic tricks such as the ‘three-card Monte’, updated using drones to perform the sleight-of-hand magic. “People aren’t thinking, ‘How did he put it up his sleeve?’” he says. “They’re thinking, ‘How the hell did that drone switch cards without fingers?’”

More recently, Tom’s focus is on harnessing new technologies and showcasing innovative applications. His online performances have amassed over 40 million views and he has performed keynote addresses on behalf of brands including Wired Magazine, Microsoft and Instagram. Earlier this year, Tom was invited to speak at TEDxBerlin.



One of the highlights of Tom’s career to date was his performance on America’s Got Talent. Tom has even taken to one of the world’s biggest talent shows, to demonstrate how he could ‘hack’ the phones of the audience.

Talking at the PRG Ideas Exchange, Tom let us in on how the incredible trick was done. He showed how, by clever use of the iPhone’s camera and coding, he was able to control phones, making them flash in different colours.

He explained how was able to display messages via the phones, such as asking for an email address to enter a competition and could even open applications like Instagram for people to follow and Twitter with populated tweets ready for posting.

No doubt Tom’s trickery was spooky, but it also demonstrated something hugely valuable, which he went on to discuss at our breakfast meeting. The crucial point here is that the idea itself is entirely scalable. It’s perfect for concerts and gigs, but it could also work brilliantly for millions of people watching a TV show. In the words of Arthur C Clarke, "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."

Tom’s work has shown just how true the words of this late author, inventor and futurist still are, and he shows no sign of slowing down. Tom is now dedicating more time to creating art using technology. He’s particularly interested in how emotion can be translated through technology. Take Twitter, for example.

Tom has built a series of art pieces which combine an LED screen displaying live tweets with a two way mirror. Each of the art pieces reflected a different emotion. Tom says: “Art is about real time emotions. You have to look at yourself and see your reflection the feeling and thoughts of a stranger. Whether they are talking about depression happiness or fear.”

STRANGERS from Thomas Webb on Vimeo.

Tom takes real time statistics and finds bold ways to show that data. For example, he showed a mirror artwork he created which shows two counters side by side. One showed how many people have died in the world today and the other showed how much money has been spent today in the USA on weight loss products. Another mirror showed pills dropping down the screen showing, in real time, Xanax being prescribed in the US.

At the PRG Ideas Exchange, Tom went on to show examples of pixel art holograms, created for Valentino, and futuristic Total Recall style advertising holograms, which he designed as part of an incredible art installation.

In Tom’s words, “Anything is possible if you can code.” We look forward to seeing what he comes up with next.

The PRG Ideas Exchange is a series of monthly invite only events, which has been designed to delve deeper into the minds of some of the most creative people in the events industry, for an exchange of inspiring ideas. If you want to find out more about this and what PRG could do for your next event, whatever its size, talk to John Montague or Andy Johnston.

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PRG Ideas Exchange

The PRG Ideas Exchange is a series of monthly invite only events, which has been designed to delve deeper into the minds of some of the most creative people in the events industry, for an exchange of inspiring ideas.

So far, we’ve heard from inspiring lighting artist Frankie Boyle of Febo Designs, and pioneering founder of the creative visual production company Observatory London, Ben Sheppee. On the bill for December we have artist, tech futurist and hacker Tom Webb and Simon Harrop, Founding Director of The Aroma Company.


September 2018: Frankie Boyle, Febo Designs

In September guests were invited to the first ever PRG Ideas Exchange, with guest speaker Frankie Boyle of Febo Designs. Frankie is an immersive lighting artist who is known for her interesting work with colour, texture, form and light, creating unique and unforgettable multi-sensory experiences.

Frankie Boyle

At the breakfast meeting, Frankie talked passionately about how light has a bigger part to play in the immersive and entertainment sector, not just as an accompaniment to the storytelling. Find out more about Frankie Boyle’s Ideas Exchange here.


October 2018: Ben Sheppee, Observatory London

Ben Sheppee of Observatory London was invited to speak at the second PRG Ideas Exchange. Observatory London is pushing boundaries with visual content by working across visual technologies, to deliver innovative and memorable events. Sheppee spoke about his career so far, going into details about what inspires him, what makes him proud and what he thinks the world of event tech has in store for the near future.

Ben Sheppee

Sheppee told guests, “we pride ourselves on being informed creative architects in this ever evolving technical world. We develop concepts, aesthetics and sometimes combine technologies to deliver new experiences.” Learn more about our Ideas Exchange with Ben Sheppee here.


November 2018: Tom Webb, Artist, Tech Futurist and Hacker

In November, we were joined by Tom Webb, who describes himself as an artist, tech futurist and hacker with a focus on harnessing new technologies and showcasing innovative applications. Online performances have amassed over 40 million views (watch the live hack on season 12 of America’s Got Talent) and he has performed keynote addresses on behalf of brands including, Wired Magazine, Microsoft and Instagram. Earlier this year Tom spoke at TEDxBerlin. He says anything is possible when you can code.

Tom Webb


December 2018: Simon Harrop, The Aroma Company

In December our guest speaker was Simon Harrop, Founding Director of The Aroma Company. Simon is an expert in multi-sensory brand marketing. His business provides strategic brand development and promotion through the sense of smell to brands. Simon spoke  about the ways in which multiple senses combine to make even more compelling branded experiences.

Simon Harrop


Still to come…

Our team is hard at work putting the finishing touches on our upcoming Ideas Exchange breakfast meetings. If you’re joining us for one of our 2019 Ideas Exchange events, you’re definitely in for a treat!

In January our guest speakers will be Theo Gentilli and Robin Shaw the founders of Warm Street, a highly specialised agency that connects brands with the youth market. Warm Street does this authentically via a unique agency structure that creates powerful cut through for brands who are looking to sincerely connect with consumers through music. The Warm Street boys will be talking about how to gain purposeful cultural capital in today’s cynical world.


The PRG Ideas Exchange is a monthly, invite only event. If you want to find out more about this and what PRG could do for your next event, whatever its size, talk to John Montague or Andy Johnston.

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PRG Hosts Breakfast Ideas Exchange with Speaker Ben Sheppee

Ben Sheppee of Observatory London was invited to speak at the second PRG Ideas Exchange. This series of events has been designed to delve deeper into the minds of some of the most inspiring people in the events industry, by bringing the best creative minds together for an exchange of inspiring ideas.


Motion Graphics for Andy C

Observatory London is pushing boundaries with visual content by working across visual technologies, to deliver innovative and memorable events. Sheppee explained, “We pride ourselves on being informed creative architects in this ever evolving technical world. We develop concepts, aesthetics and sometimes combine technologies to deliver new experiences.”



Where it all began

Ben Sheppee’s career started with slide projections in nightclubs, whilst he was at Art School in London. He was tasked with blending seven to eight projectors to create collages as backdrops for bands.

It was then that he fell in love, moved to San Francisco and started publishing his work and the works of other artists on DVD. After falling out of love he moved to Japan to break the DVD market there and sign artists. Finding Tokyo inspiring, Ben learnt his business there. Eventually he had published around 240 films by 70 + artists, curating and gaining the skills in art direction.

When DVDs became a dead media, Ben started licensing the art from the DVDs to bands needing video contents for LED setups on stage. The LED setups became more elaborate as the technology became cheaper and more versatile, and this allowed Ben to begin creating custom contents for LED contents. From there his work has grown and diversified from bands to brands and broadcast work.

Motion graphics for X Factor


Ben’s current inspiration

When asked what was inspiring him right now, Ben told us that he recently bought a number of prisms from a science lab that was closing down in Bulgaria. He’s “really enjoying arranging them in different configurations so the light coming through the office window spreads colour across the workstations.”

"The Box" by Bot and Dolly, is a stand out piece that two of Ben’s favourite designers were involved in. There are tricks and techniques in there that he tells us he could watch for days. Check out this video clip for a sneak preview.

There are great examples of inspiring uses of AR and VR right now, too. For example, the “VOID” experience that was recently in Westfields showed how VR can be social, enabling several people to enjoy a VR experience together. For inspiring AR, Ben recommends Fragments as a standout piece.


What does the future hold?

Technology never stops evolving, so we asked Ben what changes we can expect to see over the next 10 years. He said, “10 years is a long time - when I started we were printing to VHS tapes, and now it's about how quickly you can stream your VR experience… but ultimately I think the future is going to be bendy!”

“I was looking at a lot of futuristic designs for a project recently, and I think what attracted me to most images was the long flowing elegant curves in futuristic design. LED is gradually becoming more flexible and seamlessly integrating into surfaces - so that’s my thoughts here. I’ve seen a few applications of LED into clothes and fashion. In terms of larger productions I think we will see a lot more curves and screen shapes that break out of rectangular forms.”

The next breakthrough in the field is likely to be about “technology moving more and becoming transparent, or at least more seamlessly integrated into objects and set design.” Sheppee gives the example of Miley Cyrus, who did a moving projection mapping piece with Black Trax which is still fairly new territory. It’s likely that this style of projection mapping will gain a lot of ground over the next few years. Transparent screen technologies are also one to watch; Sheppee hopes that these kind of things will breakthrough to the mainstream market in the near future.


Ben’s proudest moment

We asked Ben about his proudest moment in his career to date. He told us that his work with Intel through the Agency Enterstice in Paris was right at the top. Whilst Observatory London isn’t just a projection mapping company, these projects just seem to resonate with him and hold some of his fondest memories.

Another proud moment was the animated dress for Franck Sorbier - work which was completed during quite early days in projection mapping. It was one of those breakthrough projects that still pops up. Sometimes clients send us this work as a reference not knowing we created it!  

Ben was also behind the original tennis court mapping, which was revolutionary at the time. Since then it’s been used by a wide number of other companies, but Ben says “you know you’re doing something right when people copy your ideas!”


The PRG Ideas Exchange is a monthly, invite only event. If you want to find out more about this and what PRG could do for your next event, whatever its size, talk to John Montague or Andy Johnston.

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PRG’s Military Precision Lights up Tattoo

This summer, more than 220,000 people watched a dazzling display of military pageantry, music and dance within the shadow of Edinburgh Castle.

The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo chose to mark the 100-year anniversary of The Royal Air Force (RAF) with a 100-minute showcase that featured over 1,200 performers.

PRG, the technical production specialist, was contracted by The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo to provide lighting to the show, which carried the theme, The Sky’s the Limit – a nod to the RAF’s centenary.

Peter Marshall, sales director (theatre) at PRG, and his team worked alongside Doug Cook, head of operations, Stevie Small and Clara Wheelan, production managers, Brigadier David Allfrey, the show’s creative director, Gerry Mott, lighting designer and lighting crew chief, Keith Duncan, to deliver a spectacle with global appeal and reach.



Mott’s lighting designs are so special that he won the 2018 Knight of Illumination Award for Events for his work on The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo 2017; the judges commented that Mott had helped transform the event into something “quite spectacular” – Mott’s “impressively ambitious design” was achieved on a tight timescale, which impressed the judges even more, as they believed his work added to the evolution of the event.


Award winning lighting designer Gerry Mott at the 2018 Knight of Illumination Awards


Truly unique

“The uniqueness of The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo is that it’s not just about marching bands,” explained Marshall. “The event features acts from all over the globe from a mounted military band from Oman to dancers, singers and musicians from Mexico. It’s a truly international event and features different acts each year.”

As a result, the show’s creative must compliment the diverse nature of the entertainment. Attention to detail was everything. Marshall continued: “The lighting design was created by Gerry. Keith Duncan was the crew chief and production electrician; he led a team of lighting technicians to install and maintain the system. Keith also acted as a consultant to The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo and both him and Gerry advised the Tattoo’s planners on all of the technical aspects of the lighting system and special effects.”  

Mott and Duncan were assisted on site by four lighting technicians and 12 local stage crew for the load in and derig. Marshall has been personally involved in the event since 2008. Yet PRG’s involvement stretches back to the 1980s.

“It’s changed a lot since the late 80s when all of the equipment was conventional fixed focus lights,” Marshall added. “In the early 90s, we introduced automated lights for the first time with 16 x High End Intella beams. We upgraded again to 80 x Vari-Lite VL5 Arcs around the turn of the century and about six years ago, we modernised the system once more with 70 x PRG Best Boys. The lighting on the castle has also evolved over the years from static Studio Due CityColor fixtures to Vari-Lite VL3500 Wash automated lights.

“This year, we upgraded from the Vari-Lite VL5’s to GLP X4 LED moving wash lights and added SGM Q7 and P5 LED wash lights and there are further enhancements in the pipeline for next year’s rig,” he concluded.  


To learn more about what PRG could do for your next event contact us.

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PRG is full of pride for Pride in London

In April, Pride in London, organiser of the UK’s largest Pride celebration, appointed Innovision as production partner for the 2018 event. The live event production specialist was selected by the not-for-profit organisation as a production partner and was chosen by Pride in London to move the event forward – it was a task that would require skill, precision and planning; three things that filtered through to the contractors that had been chosen to supply considerable amounts of infrastructure in what were at times, restricted sites and short load in windows.


Technical support

Innovision, which has experience of large-scale events such as the London 2012 Athletes Parade, turned to PRG for its specific requirements. Lucy Gibson, technical production manager, at Innovision liaised with Cameron Bannister, senior account manager at PRG and PRG’s project manager, Thomas Walsh, who was supported by Stephen Price on lighting and rigging and Leroy Murray on video. Together, they specified a number of lighting, rigging and video packages that would meet the demands of the event.



Perfect packages

On July 7, PRG delivered a range of kit to several events and stages that comprised Pride. The full-service technical specialist provided lighting to the Cabaret Stage in Dean Street and to the Women's Stage in Leicester Square. In addition, PRG supplied a full rigging and lighting package to the event’s main stage, situated in Trafalgar Square, as well as camera package to record the event, which was displayed on two 25 square metre IMAG screens. Furthermore, Innovision called on PRG to supply content relay to the sponsorship and accessibility areas in Trafalgar Square and for disabled audience members, the team was also tasked with facilitating the provision of subtitles for all recorded and live content, as well as to provide magnification and relay of the British Sign Language (BSL) signer.


Cameron Bannister, senior account manager at PRG and PRG’s project manager, Thomas Walsh


Increased efficiencies

“The IMAG screens were our ROE 7.5mm Exterior LED screen suspended from an eight metre Smart Mast 3 ground support system,” commented Cameron Bannister, senior account manager at PRG, as he explained more about the project. “The rigging system allowed us to get the extra screen trim height to give an improved viewing experience for audience members with restricted views due to the obstacles in Trafalgar Square. The system allows for quick assessment and calculation of solutions without the necessity to engage external structural engineers to access a custom trussing structure and the ROE 7.5mm LED screens allow for a quick to install touring frame system to enable increased efficiencies on labour and time with their installation.  “We also specified a Barco E2 presentation switching system, which provided a seamless and flexible method to integrate a six camera recording system, PlaybackPro and PowerPoint client content sources and accessibility sources from our BSL signer and live subtitling. This enabled us to modify multiple destinations requirements live, providing clean feeds to records and accessible feeds to relay screens and IMAG's simultaneously.” He continued: “For the stages, the main requirement was for a lighting rig to provide daylight effect, as much of the event was in bright sunlight. For the main stage, the B-Eye K10's provided dynamic eye candy across the front of the stage, with the Miltec Battens and Sunstrips giving depth and shape to the stage arch. The GLP X4S provided a flexible wash and beam cover to the stage without impeding on the rest of the rig due to their small form factor. Lastly, the Solaris Flares gave us the punch for lifting the rig for those build moments.”


Proud of Pride

With such a large range of kit and a number of sites to work on, it was essential that PRG pre-planned the project meticulously. Tight sites and short load ins were the order of the day. Bannister continued: “For Trafalgar Square, we had a 12-hour staggered shift the day before the event to load in. The site was very busy and small and managing truck loading was complex with the limited space, particularly as we were working alongside other subcontractors. Yet, providing multiple services enabled us to keep truck requirements more efficient for the client and ease the pressure on site. “For Dean Street and Leicester Square, the load in was just four hours. The lighting systems and labour schedule and prep were designed with speed in mind to ensure the stage would be ready as soon as possible to maximise acts rehearsal times.  “It’s these elements that stand out,” Bannister added. “Space and time provide massive constraints for how we are able to work the site. Our labour and delivery schedule had to be managed very carefully to ensure provision of services was as things were ready, yet flexible to the changing environment and customer requests. All of the crew across the site worked tirelessly and positively despite some logistical issues and exceptional working temperatures. 
“There was certainly a fantastic energy in the team,” he concluded. “It was great to be a part of such a positive event. All of the people – client side and supplier side – had masses of enthusiasm that resonated though every aspect of the delivery. It’s always an absolute joy to work with the team and Innovision on fantastic events, such as Pride, and I look forward to the next project.”

To learn more about what PRG could do for your next event contact us

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Secret Cinema Creates Shakespearean Magic

Secret Cinema is known for taking the essence of the film and build a living, breathing world that the audience can be a part of. With meticulous attention to detail, Secret Cinema crafts extraordinary events, blurring the line between fiction and reality on an unprecedented scale.

In August, Secret Cinema did it again, creating an incredible series of events inspired by a Shakespearean blockbuster.

Secret Cinema presents William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet. © 1996 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All rights reserved. Photography by: Luke Dyson


Audiences got into character in the midst of this year’s epic heatwave, at an amazing 5,000 capacity open-air festival where the film screening was the star of the show.

Secret Cinema presents William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet. © 1996 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All rights reserved. Photography by: Luke Dyson


This incredible retelling of one of the world’s most famous love stories saw ticket holders taken right into the world of Baz Luhrmann’s 90’s classic, with 90’s dance moves, Shakespearean witticisms, and event design inspired by California’s Verona Beach.

Secret Cinema presents William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet. © 1996 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All rights reserved. Photography by: Luke Dyson

There were fierce feuds, high octane cars, immersive theatrical performances and glorious music galore. Delicious food, bespoke cocktails and craft beer were served by carefully curated street food vendors.

Secret Cinema presents William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet. © 1996 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All rights reserved. Photography by: Luke Dyson

Behind the scenes, the PRG team helped to create this magical event, working with Production Manager Andy Barnes, alongside Justin Litten and Matt Dee. Their Lighting Crew was headed up by Chief Adam Povey, working for Secret Cinema directly to which we worked closely alongside to enable Simon Spencer’s design rigging wise. We also worked closely with Star Events’ Gavin Scott, who led the way in building the event’s structures.

Secret Cinema presents William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet. © 1996 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All rights reserved. Photography by: Luke Dyson

PRG supplied all rigging across the site, as well as the video systems and projection. Rigging wise, our brief was to bring the event designers’ ideas to life, facilitating anything which they wanted to happen across the site. So, that included multiple self-climbing cable bridges, self-climbing lighting towers and 54 concrete bases for all the festoon lighting across the site.

Secret Cinema presents William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet. © 1996 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All rights reserved. Photography by: Luke Dyson

We managed the rigging in all of the event’s venues, including on the main stage for lighting, video and scenery. We also provided our smart mast systems, huge amounts of truss and lots of motors to bring it all together.

Secret Cinema presents William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet. © 1996 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All rights reserved. Photography by: Camilla Greenwell

In terms of the video, we were briefed to work alongside Video Designer Salvador Bettencourt Avila, to ensure his designed system worked to spec. This included supplying five Panasonic Laser Projectors plus all the required infrastructure.

Secret Cinema presents William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet. © 1996 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All rights reserved. Photography by: Camilla Greenwell

Sound is key at Secret Cinema, and to ensure it all ran seamlessly we worked in conjunction with Luke Swaffield and Ben Lloyd of Autograph, ensuing all speakers were hung around the site where needed.

Secret Cinema presents William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet. © 1996 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All rights reserved. Photography by: Camilla Greenwell

Lighting Design was by Simon Spencer and Scenic Design by Tim Blazdell. PRG’s Project Managers were Robert Watson, Ade Stead and Paul McCauley who was supported by in-house Project Manager Dan Rowe and Video Project Manager Nilkanth Patel. Onsite rigging was led by Jay Call, and assisted by Luke Jackson. Onsite video was led by Ben Hornshaw and Richie Jewell.

Secret Cinema presents William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet. © 1996 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All rights reserved. Photography by: Camilla Greenwell

Secret Cinema presents William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet. © 1996 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All rights reserved. Photography by: Camilla Greenwell

To learn more about what PRG could do for your next event contact us.

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PURE10 makes its debut during U2’s ‘eXPERIENCE + iNNOCENCE tour’

10 times lighter than a regular screen and with an unprecedented 70% transparency, the PURE10 is the eye catcher on U2’s stage.

Other tech innovations are the PRG SPACEFRAME™ and Domino for the round video floor.

PRG Projects was visiting some highly innovative companies in China only 1.5 years ago, when they met NEXNOVO – specializing in ultra-thin advertising solutions. Frederic Opsomer stipulated to have been especially impressed by the high level of focus of NEXNOVO”. Barton Lin, COO of NEXNOVO was immediately intrigued by the challenges: “Our product was initially designed for fixed installations, PRG Projects brought the professionalism and knowhow to use the advantages of the technology and adapt it for a concert-touring reality”.

From there, it all went very fast: the design phase started in November and was ready in January. The production started immediately in China, where the electronic components were built. Everything was shipped to Belgium mid March for the assembly and the mechanical part: a full carbon fibre structure.

Jake Berry, Production Director U2, states that without the PURE10, this setting for U2’s eXPERIENCE + iNNOCENCE Tour would not have been possible: “After the Joshua Tree Tour, we wanted to raise the bar even higher. We wanted a wider screen, in combination with a flying catwalk. At that moment, it simply seemed impossible. The weight limits of the tour’s stadiums would have been exceeded”.
The P10 was constructed especially to minimize weight, at an uttermost high resolution and transparency. Weighing only 10 kg/m2, the design dream became reality.

Carbon fiber 

Frederic Opsomer adds “We think in solutions, for the PURE10, we pushed the technology to the limits of its abilities, doubled the regular width to limit the amount of pieces, and at the same time guaranteeing the highest possible transparency.”

It is fair to say that the PURE10, with its carbon fiber structure, reduced the suspension load of the screen by half in comparison to the technology that had been provided on the previous tour. This change of screen allowed to introduce more features on the catwalk, whilst even reducing the overall weight of the rigg. 

Carbon Fiber had proven to be an excellent choice for the PRG SPACEFRAME™, and its strong, reliable and very light characteristics made it perfect for PURE10 as well. In the future, the structural advantages of carbon fibre compared to aluminum or steel will further be explored. By investing and following up the continuous development, PRG will be able to create custom solutions in a much faster way.


The revolutionary low weight of PURE10, combined with the smart stacking in custom designed dollies, saves space. That leads to an optimization in transport and reduction of the green imprint.

“In every development we do, we try to solve a green issue. It is actually one of our top 3 questions, together with: ‘are we making a creative solution? ‘and ‘are we allowing designers to propose an innovation to their customers?” explains Opsomer.

Not only it has a positive impact on transport, but we’re also facing limited storage space in most venues.

Stuart Heaney, PRG Crew Chief, is particularly happy about the set-up of PURE10: “The time to set-up the screen, including the interdependencies with other teams involved is 8-9 hours. If we would be solely constructing the screen, everything would be built up even faster, in under 3 hours. Tearing down takes 2.5 hours, and that again is with all integrations being removed.”

Ric Lipson – partner at Stufish – has been in charge of design and architecture for multiple U2 shows. He reflects on the collaboration with PRG: “in this long-standing relationship with PRG, we love how they are always innovative. They come with weird and wonderful ideas and make them happen”.

The PRG SPACEFRAME™ allowed the enormous screens of last year’s tour Joshua Tree Tour to resist wind loads. For Beyoncé’s and Jay Z’s tour there was even a moving element added, allowing the screens to open and close, despite weather conditions. PRG SPACEFRAME™ is also used in this year’s design and PRG Projects is already looking at the future: With PRG SPACEFRAME™ we incorporated structural elements into the video screens. We are now experimenting to do the same with lighting, automation and other combinations. The PRG SPACEFRAME™ technology definitely has a lot of yet unveiled opportunities.

Live Design Magazine has named PRG Projects’ PURE10 as the best LED Screen for this year's 2018 Video and Projection Product awards!

It was chosen by a panel of prestigious video/projection designers and programmers, from amongst a field of our esteemed peers. PRG is so proud of the talented team that made this innovative technology a reality.

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Photo Credit Patrick Murphy

Walking With Dinosaurs – The Arena Spectacular

Dinosaurs are once again roaming international soil, as the globally-acclaimed production, Walking With Dinosaurs – The Arena Spectacular, returned this year.

Watched by over 9 million people in more than 250 cities around the world, Walking With Dinosaurs – The Arena Spectacular, opened its World Tour in the UK in July before embarking on an international tour, taking over arenas across Europe, including Hungary.


Photo Credit: Patrick Murphy

The $20 million production features updated, state of the art technology, underlining its position as the biggest and best dinosaur show in the world.

The one-hour, 40 minute show depicts the dinosaurs’ evolution with almost cinematic realism. Walking With Dinosaurs – The Arena Spectacular has scenes of the interactions between dinosaurs, how carnivorous dinosaurs evolved to walk on two legs, and how the herbivores fended off their more agile predators.


Photo Credit: Patrick Murphy

Nine species are represented from the entire 200 million year reign of the dinosaurs. The show includes the Tyrannosaurus Rex, the terror of the ancient terrain, as well as the Plateosaurus and Liliensternus from the Triassic period, the Stegosaurus and Allosaurus from the Jurassic period and Torosaurus and Utahraptor from the Cretaceous period.


Photo Credit: Patrick Murphy

The largest of them, the Brachiosaurus, is 11 meters tall and 17 meters from nose to tail. It took a team of 50 – including engineers, fabricators, skin makers, artists, painters, and animatronic experts - a year to build the production.

The final tour differs from its predecessors in that the upstage is now comprised of LED lights, rather than the projection which had been used previously. That means the audience enjoys a far brighter, more vivid set of images. Not only that, the setup time for each show is much shorter.

The Walking with Dinosaurs Live screen is driven from a main/redundant pair of Catalyst media servers. There are also side projection I-Mag screens (Barco), fed from a small PPU (with Sony system and Panasonic PTZs).


Photo Credit: Patrick Murphy

A team of two PRG crew members, Noel Wyatt (Cameras and Projection) and Cedric Vandepitte (LED and Servers) are working on the production, together with Robin Haddow, who programmed the Catalyst media servers.

The biggest challenge on this project has been fitting everything into the arena spaces. So, in order to facilitate the tour, we’ve had to remain incredibly flexible, assessing each show on a venue by venue basis.

James Morden, PRG Video Systems Designer said: “To facilitate this tour, we have to be very flexible… Other challenges are getting the camera shots we need, without the technology being too visible in front of the audience, so as not to remind them of the technology delivering their experience.”


Photo Credit: Patrick Murphy

So, our team has ensured that all tech used remains hidden to the audience, to create the most realistic special effects possible. Our camera equipment has been in hiding; we wouldn’t want to steal any attention away from those incredible dinosaurs on the stage!

The all-important dinosaurs are operated by three people, with each one weighing in at 1.6 tons! These impressive creatures are supported by the forces of the sound, lighting, audio and production teams, which all combine to make this a show that audiences will never forget.


Photo Credit: Patrick Murphy

The Walking with Dinosaurs Live tour has proved a phenomenal success. Its popularity stems largely from the 1999 BBC series which inspired it. And now, thanks to the brilliant event tech available, the brilliant TV show has been brought to life before audiences’ very eyes. The show appeals to children and big kids of all ages, from three to 103.

James Morden explained: “The technical success is very much on the creatures themselves, with the other departments adding to the setting to make the dinosaurs ‘more real’. Ultimately, this show is about suspending your disbelief, so that you do believe that the dinosaurs are real and stood in front of you.”

We’re looking forward to continuing the magic into 2019, working with WWD and Nick Grace Management. Walking With Dinosaurs The Arena Spectacular takes over Budapest Arena, from April 19-21, 2019.

To learn more about what PRG could do for your next event contact us

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