News Blog

This section contains news stories, organisational announcements, case studies, reports from trade shows, and other news about our company and our work.

We also post selected articles, news updates, and share videos on our social media channels including Facebook, Twitter and more.

Autosport International 2016 - Live Action Arena. Photo: Matt Rakowski
15/03/2016

Autosport Live Action Arena with High Brightness Projection from PRG XL Video

Continuing a long-running relationship with Waltham Services, producer for Autosport International’s Live Action Arena, PRG XL Video has supplied a state-of-the-art high brightness projection solution for the 2016 show, held at Birmingham’s National Exhibition Centre.

Autosport International is a globally renowned trade show, exhibition and performance car show created and managed by Haymarket Exhibitions at the NEC every January.

Alongside appearances by current and former drivers and teams from a variety of motor racing series, one hall of the NEC holds the Live Action Arena, where members of the public can see an array of current and classic racing cars put through their paces by a team of expert drivers.

For more than five years, PRG XL Video has worked with Malcolm Forbes of Waltham Services to provide projection in the Live Action Arena. For the 2016 show, the screen configuration was changed to place the projection screens in the centre of the arena. The central screen was 8 metres high and 40 metres wide, and flanked on each side by two 15 metre-wide screens.

Bringing the screens to the centre of the hall ensured the crowd had the best possible view, and to give the combination of playback content and IMAG footage the maximum impact, PRG XL Video Account Manager, Toby Evans, specified Barco’s highest brightness HDQ-2K40 projectors for the event, along with PRG XL’s Catalyst media server packages to serve playback content to the screens.

Toby comments: “We’re happy to continue our working relationship with Malcolm and Waltham Services. This year our brief was to increase the visibility of the projection in the Live Action Arena, so the Barco 40k units were the obvious choice. With their massive 40,000 lumens output, they ensured that the audience had a really clear view of the high octane action and content on display.”

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The Corrs - London, January 2016. Lighting and video by PRG XL Video. Photo: Scott Davies
07/03/2016

The Corrs First UK Tour in Ten Years Supported by PRG XL Video

Following a long break from the live scene, The Corrs returned to touring in the UK with arena dates in January 2016. The tour supported the release of their latest album, White Light.

For the tour, Henry McGroggan and Ian Calder contacted PRG XL Video to supply lighting and video, having worked with both teams separately in the past. Both worked with the band’s new lighting and video designer, Steven Douglas, to satisfy his design brief.

Steven’s design was a multi layer design which featured a shimmering semi-opaque metallic drape forming the backdrop to an array of Orbis-Fly LED spheres. These were used to great effect throughout the show – starting from a flown position above the stage, and then lowering to create a variety of multi-coloured effects including wave patterns.

“The brief from management was very simple, ‘clean and theatrical’,” said Steven Douglas. “The main objective was to enhance the performance rather than distract from it. I had looked at the Orbis Fly system before and was really interested in using it, and this seemed to be the perfect show to implement it. The Orbs were mainly used to shape the stage for different looks during the show.”

Steven continues: “Video was always going to be a big element but I wanted to be able to hide it when not needed, so I contacted Perry Scenic with an idea to find a fabric that would look solid when lit from the front but would be transparent when the video came from on behind. The metallic drape was the result.”

Supplementing the Orbis-Fly spheres, PRG XL Video Account Director, Yvonne Donnelly Smith supplied a variety of lighting fixtures including the company’s proprietary Bad Boy followspots, and Best Boy HP spots flown from the rig and in two columns on either side of the stage. The flown rig also included a mixture of Clay Paky Sharpy and A-leda K20 washes.

Steven explains: “Lighting-wise, I went for a simple rig of three straight trusses along with four theatrical forms with a large amount of profile fixtures. Once PRG XL was confirmed as the tour vendor, I was happy to try out their Best Boy and was very pleased with their output and gobo selection. The zoom in particular was quite impressive.

“Having the Bad Boy followspots was a great help, allowing me to take over control of certain attributes of the fixture, and leave some things to the operator. Control wise I chose my preferred console the GrandMA2. I’ve used it for every tour I’ve done for the last five years and it does everything I need it to do”

For crowd highlights a row of high brightness Sceptron LED strips were arranged to the front of the main rig, throwing light across the arena audiences.

Crew chief for lighting was Marc Callaghan, ably supported by experienced lighting technicians Russell Cobden, Martin Goulding, and Jack Gambino.

On the video side, PRG XL Video Senior Account Manager Paul ‘Macca’ McCauley put together a package that included LED screen, IMAG projection and camera system.

The large ROE MC 18mm LED screen was situated behind the metallic drape, shining through at various points during the show and giving an extra level of depth to the visual design.

“Content-wise we didn’t want to use stock content,” said Steven, “but Jim Corr had discovered a photographer, Conor McEneaney from the band’s home town of Dundalk, and we used quite a few of his images during the show along with some of my own photography. This was mixed with IMAG and some custom content created by myself and PRG XL’s Stuart Merser.”

Amongst the onstage risers a variety of Sceptron LED batons were rigged vertically. Steven Douglas selected these as they resembled fluorescent tubes – a reference to the band’s album title ‘White Light’. Both the screen and batons were mapped and fed content via two of PRG XL’s Catalyst media servers that Steven Douglas controlled via the lighting desk.

For the IMAG, all the action was captured via three Sony HXC-100s in the pit, and two of PRG XL’s proprietary HDiye minicams on stage for close-ups. Video Director, Stuart Merser, expertly cut the footage live using a Panasonic-based PPU, and the images were output to two large projection screens each fed by a pair of Barco HD20 projectors. In addition to Merser, the video crew for the tour included Ant Barrett and Tom Prew.

For a slideshow of more photos, click here.

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PRG XL Video wins TIPI Award 2016 for Favourite Video Rental Company
25/02/2016

PRG XL Video Wins Favourite Video Rental Company for the 12th Time

PRG XL Video, the UK operation of Production Resource Group (PRG), is today celebrating winning Favourite Video Rental Company at the 2016 TPi Awards.

The event, which took place on Monday 22nd February at Battersea Evolution in London, is attended by a wide variety of companies from the entertainment and events industry both from the UK and worldwide.

The Favourite Video Rental Company award was presented to the PRG XL Video team by Sarah Cox, from category sponsor, d3 Technologies.

This win is the 12th time in the TPi Awards history that the UK video team have won this category, and brings the total number of TPi Award wins to eighteen for Production Resource Group companies.

“Winning this award yet again only goes to confirm that the coming together of PRG and XL Video is a winning combination!” said Lee Spencer, PRG XL Video Commercial Director. “I would also like to thank our teams at all the UK locations whose hard work won us this year’s award.”

PRG XL Video UK CEO Lucas Covers comments: “We are delighted with the recognition for our video services, and particularly honoured as this award is voted for by our colleagues and peers in the industry. We will continue to strive to supply the best possible video service in the market.”

Other winners on the night included some important PRG XL Video clients. Oli Metcalfe won two awards for Best Set Designer, and the Des Fallon Video Visionary category, for his work with Muse; and the Best Lighting Designer was Ed Warren for his work with Mumford & Sons.

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PRG & Vectorworks Logos - Press Release Partnership
23/02/2016

Vectorworks and PRG Partner to Add Content and Capabilities to Vectorworks Spotlight Software

New PRG Lighting Library features growing repository of content that will enhance the user experience 

As a part of their shared commitment to empower today's entertainment designers, Vectorworks, Inc. and Production Resource Group (PRG) announce that they will collaboratively develop and implement new features for Vectorworks® Spotlight software. More specifically, PRG will work with Vectorworks' research and development team to develop new tools and object libraries for Spotlight, the standard for CAD software in entertainment design, as well as drive efficient workflows that are crucial to the industry.

"Our goal is to provide state-of-the-art technology and tools that enable designers to explore their ideas so they can ultimately develop, document and communicate designs that create memorable entertainment experiences," said Dr. Biplab Sarkar, CTO of Vectorworks. "We gravitate toward strategic industry partners such as PRG because they are uniquely qualified to provide the resources and services required for our customers."

Vectorworks is a global leader in developing 3D design technologies for the AEC, landscape and entertainment industries, including Spotlight software, which helps professionals in the lighting, scenery, set, event, theatre and exhibit design space balance the need for individual creativity with the requirement for synchronized, accurate design information.

Contributing more than 25 years of experience to the partnership, PRG is the world's leading supplier of entertainment and event technology solutions, providing integrated services and equipment, including audio, video, lighting, rigging, staging and scenery for clients all over the world. With more than 40 offices worldwide, the company has relied on Spotlight software for many years.

"In conjunction with the announcement of this partnership comes our initial efforts with creating a large catalog of PRG gear as library content for Spotlight users," said PRG's Special Operations Director Götz Bauer. "The increased content resources will be a tremendous efficiency gain, making the design development and documentation process even faster for lighting, production and scenic designers."

Initial content that will be shared through this partnership includes PRG’s own line of production equipment including lighting instruments, consoles, LED panels, trusses, motors and media servers. PRG is also adding other content from vendors that it represents and supplies, such as Prolyte Truss and Vari-Lite.

The growing content library is available initially as a first-access benefit for Vectorworks Service Select members and can be downloaded here. To learn more about the growing content library, Vectorworks Service Select members can visit this link

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Chvrches UK tour. Photo: Scott Davies
10/02/2016

Chvrches UK tour with Support from PRG XL Video

Working with acclaimed production designers, Louis Oliver and James Scott of Okulus Design, PRG XL Video supplied lighting, rigging, and video for Chvrches most recent UK tour.

The package combined specially adapted trussing, a variety of lighting types, plus custom-built LED video towers.

Oliver’s multi-layer design centred around three monoliths of LED video screen. This was built from PRG XL Video’s MC-7T LED, supplied by Senior Account Manager, Paul McCauley, and housed in custom units built specially for the tour. The 7mm LED was selected because of its visual clarity.

Senior Account Manager, Roy Hunt worked closely with Okulus on the lighting and rigging specifications to ensure a smooth and perfectly executed tour.

The lighting package included 33 Martin Mac Auras. Okulus specified nine in a mid stage truss and 24 on the floor. Eight of these were used to surround the central monolith.

Between the towers and to the sides of the stage four large and two small floor towers, specially adapted from PRG’s Bat Truss, housed a combination of Clay Paky Mythos beams interspersed between trios of Philips Nitro Strobes arranged in horizontal lines. The taller towers included three rows of lighting with two each on the smaller side towers.

The combination of lighting and video gave the set a multi-depth look.

Above the stage, the flown rig included Clay Paky Mythos combined with eleven sets of high brightness Clay Paky Stormys to extend the look of stark lines from the floor to the roof (from Nitro 510Cs). For the tour Michael Cristino and Oliver looked after the lighting and video production. When it came to the Alexandra Palace show, the lighting team was led on site by Crew Chief Luke Jackson. Rich Menday was technician for both lighting and video.

Hunt commented: “This was an interesting and challenging design to fulfil. Our team did a great job in bringing the design to life and the Alexandra Palace show was a fitting culmination for this leg of the tour.”

For the tour’s final UK show at Alexandra Palace the production, led by Tour Manager, Cara McDaniel, and Production Manager Anders Karlsson, requested the addition of IMAG screens to give the audience a clearer view at the rear of the large London venue.

Okulus specified two IMAG screens, in portrait orientation, which were flown and angled slightly to front of house, giving the production a further level of depth. The two 15’ wide x 20’ high screens were each fed by PRG XL Video’s Panasonic PT-DZ21K high brightness projectors.

IMAG footage was supplied via four Sony HXC-100 HD cameras – two at front of house and two handheld in the pit – directed by Moose and engineered by Ray Gwilliams. Bradley Stokes joined the production as a supplementary technician for the Alexandra Palace show.

More photos from the Chvrches tour

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Rob Brown - Senior Account Manager
03/02/2016

Rob Brown Joins Corporate Team at PRG XL Video

PRG XL Video, the leading supplier of lighting, video and rigging technology for events and entertainment, is pleased to announce Rob Brown has joined their Corporate team, as a Senior Account Manager, based at the company’s Hemel Hempstead location.

Rob has more than 14 years experience in the AV and technical industries, working with 360˚ production companies, mostly in the financial sector. He now brings his expertise to PRG XL Video, to help the Corporate team better serve multi-discipline event production agencies and their end clients.

He comments: “I’m delighted to join the team at PRG XL Video at such an exciting time in their history. With PRG and XL Video coming together, now is the ideal time for someone with my expertise to join them. I look forward to helping the team expand their technical knowledge into more 360˚ events.”

On a day to day basis, Rob will report to Guy Vellacott, Head of PRG XL Video’s Corporate Events business.

Rich Rowley, PRG XL’s Sales Director comments: “We’re looking forward to working with Rob. He brings a vast wealth of both technical and business experience to the team.”

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Aloud at 5 anniversary show. Photo: Rodney George.
20/01/2016

Only Boys Aloud at 5 with Support from PRG XL Video

To celebrate five years since the formation of The Aloud Charity - www.thealoudcharity.com - which comprises Only Men Aloud, Only Boys Aloud, and Only Kids Aloud, a one-off concert - Aloud @ 5 - was staged at the Wales Millennium Centre in late 2015.

The charity offers free choral tuition and membership for young people from deprived backgrounds, and the chance to perform in some of the world’s largest productions. These have included Britain's Got Talent, The X Factor, and the Queen's Jubilee Concert.

With a total cast of around 350 singers, the sold-out show was recorded by Orchard Entertainment for broadcast on Welsh language channel S4C on Christmas Day.

Founder of the Aloud choirs is Artistic and Musical Director Tim Rhys Evans, and together with Broadway and West End Creative Director, Jonathan Butteral, and Production Designer, David Marson, he created the concept for the anniversary show.

Lighting Designer, Steffan Jones, was brought in to fulfil the lighting portion of the production design. He explains: “We initially received a written treatment from Tim Rhys Evans, which was then followed by discussions in a number of production meetings. The brief for this particular production was simply to look and feel ‘warm and beautiful’.

“The Wales Millennium Centre is a very large theatrical space with a large roof to fill. I knew that this was going to be a very diverse show, with over 30 big musical numbers, and I needed to find a way to achieve versatility and an array of different looks through lighting, with a minimal and static set.

“The production design was quite simple, due to the amount of artists which needed to fit on the stage at one time. It featured a half circle rostrum in an array of heights, a large downstage circular gloss black floor and a large 22m x 9m rear projected screen.”

To achieve the desired look for the show, Jones opted for tungsten wash lamps across the whole rig: “I chose the VL5 Tungsten lamp as the main fixture as I believe there is no other product on the marketplace like them which can deliver the diverse range of colours, warmth, and that ‘trademark VL5 lens look’ which is always pretty to look at on camera. PRG XL Video provided 40 of their VL5 fixtures, 10 of which were chrome - for head height eye candy.”

Jones continues: “All the fixtures in the air were rigged on the theatre’s own fly bars. For each number I staggered and arranged the fly bars in various configurations and heights - which was a very quick and easy way to achieve different looks. For example for some of the Only Men Aloud numbers, I flew in a couple of VL5 bars to just above head height to create some interest behind the 8 men.”

Key lighting was done using two Robert Juliat HMI follow-spots, six VL1000 Ark’s placed at front of house, and an array of Source Four fixtures including 10 degrees, 19 degrees, and zooms.

The VL5 rig was supplemented by fifteen High End 1500 LED Spots, which were used for both backlights and colour/gobo effects. An additional eight High End LED CMY spots were deployed on the floor to create interest and a textured background behind the rostra, and new High End Shapeshifters were flown and on the floor creating eye candy and colour effects. Finally, ten MAC 101 fixtures also provided some additional colour from the roof, rigged in two fingers.

Steffan’s console operator was Nick Hansen, who programmed both moving lights and generics on a GrandMA. As there was only one full day of rehearsals at the Wales Millennium Centre, Hansen using WYSIWYG visualisation offsite prior to the show for pre-programming.

Lighting crew boss was Nick Sprud, who led a team of 4, during the rigging and de-rig process at the venue.

Jones has the final word: “PRG XL Video are a relatively new supplier to me. They are a dream to work with as a lighting supplier. Jon Cadbury and his team had a very helpful approach, were easy to work with, and pulled out all the stops to deliver whatever was required on time and on budget!”

L-R Steffan Jones, Nick Hansen, Andy Cottey. Photo: Rodney George.

Link to photo slideshow of Aloud At 5

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Visit of Indian Prime Minister Modi to UK. Celebration at Wembley Stadium. Photo: ©Wembley Stadium
12/01/2016

PRG XL Video Supplies Visual Spectacle at Wembley Stadium for Visit of Indian Prime Minister

When India’s Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, visited the UK in late 2015, PRG XL Video were asked to supply lighting, video and rigging for a special celebration event at London’s Wembley Stadium.

The show combined the best of British and Indian culture and included dancing displays, musical performances, and speeches from both Modi and our own PM David Cameron.

To compliment the festivities, a team from PRG XL Video, working with Production Stage Manager, Trish McGlenaghan, Lighting & Production Designer, Mark Cunniffe, and Production Manager, Tim Hudson, specified all the lighting, rigging and video technology and expertise to ensure the production was a success.

Rigging for the event incorporated many different elements both on stage, and around the stadium, and included a Kinesys system on stage for the automation. The rigging team were led by Q Willis, with Yose Lawson and Jay Call leading the team. Call also performed the role of Kinesys operator on show day.

Luke Jackson was the lighting crew chief tasked with delivering Mark Cunniffe’s design, which used over 500 fixtures around the pitch and stage, including PRG’s own Bad Boy and Best Boy HP units, more than 100 Clay Paky Sharpys, 80 Clay Paky Mythos, and over 240 SGM P-5 LED lights which formed a brightly coloured border around the stage.

To create a multi-layer lighting effect, lighting was situated around the famous Wembley pitch, as well as on Level 3 all around the iconic venue. Spotlights were also situated on level 3, and for this PRG XL Video employed ten 4K Gladiators, and two 2K Troupers. Alongside Jackson, Alex Passmore and Dan Young were key operators on the lighting crew. The company also worked with Chris Ewington to supply 26 of his innovative IPIX DB1 light sources, which were used to great effect below and alongside the main video screen onstage. These lighting units are LED based, enabling them to create colour-changing effects. The DB1s were controlled via Avolites Ai media servers supplied by PRG XL Video, who worked alongside Ewington to install the fixtures at the venue.

The Account Director for Lighting and Rigging was Yvonne Donnelly-Smith, with Project Management support from Bill Martin.

Donnelly-Smith commented: “The event was interesting and creatively challenging. Whilst the lead time was short, we were fortunate to work with an amazing production team headed up by Tim Hudson and Trish McClenaghan. As we supplied lighting, video and rigging together, it meant that we were able to deliver solutions on budget and in a timely and efficient manner.”

Production Manager, Tim Hudson said: “With such a short pre-production period, and the many challenges that came with this event, the combined package provided by PRG XL Video, not least the HODs, was essential in ensuring that nothing was overlooked. The attention to detail and high standards of professionalism, combined with a proactive and imaginative approach, and a commitment to finding practical solutions, was a very welcome contribution to both Mark Cunniffe and myself.”

On stage, a large 16m wide x 7 m high LED screen formed from ROE MC-18 displayed playback graphics and content fed from PRG XL Video’s Catalyst media servers. Either side of the main stage, two IMAG screens in portrait format made from ROE MC-7 took live footage from PRG XL’s Large Karrera PPU system which was directed by Jerry Rosenfield. The PPU was engineered by broadcast specialists Malcolm Whittall and Richard Burford.

Three Sony HXC-100 HD cameras and three Bradley robocams captured the footage, which was streamed live on YouTube for four hours, as well as live broadcast to audiences around the world. The video can be viewed in its entirety here:

The LED screens were built and managed by crew boss Jolyon Oliver and Steven Grinceri.

Special Events Account Director, Steve Greetham looked after the video setup for the event. He comments: “This was an interesting project in that it was a large scale international event with a very short lead time, and as such relied heavily on effective communication between all elements of the production.

“The client, Wembley Stadium, the production team, creatives and suppliers all collaborated to pull together a once in a lifetime event of the highest standards, and this enabled the combined abilities of PRG XL Video to be shown off to great advantage. The integration of the video, lighting and rigging elements was smooth, efficient, and very enjoyable to be involved in.”

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PRG Alliance Announces new member in Marocco
21/12/2015

PRG Alliance announces new member in Morocco

There is one more pin in the map of PRG Alliance’s global reach – they are now present in Morocco with the addition of its new member Touareg Prod’. 

Founded in 2001, Touareg Prod’ offers a range of sound, lighting, rigging, and backline solutions to entertainment industry customers as concerts, TV shows, sports, corporate and private events. The company has now about 70 technicians working full time, a head office in downtown Casablanca and a 2,000 square meter warehouse in the industrial zone of Casablanca. “I am certain that being part of the PRG Alliance will help Touareg Prod’ to do even more amazing things,” says Squalli Farid, Partner/Owner of Touareg Prod’. “We have been in close collaboration with some of the PRG Alliance members already for a few years but now that we are officially in the group we can’t wait to partner with all the members and welcome international events in Morocco, as well as getting the support for our clients abroad.”

Touareg Prod’ is very eager to fully participate in all PRG Alliance activities and to bring as much technical knowledge and business opportunities as possible to Morocco. “We are very busy with several projects recently. It gives us confidence that now is a good time to invest in our business expansion and join PRG Alliance,” continues Farid.

“Morocco was a natural extension to our presence since it is an important destination for corporate events and concert touring in North Africa,” says Tom Van Hemelryck, Director of the PRG Alliance. “We are happy to welcome such a proficient player as Touareg Prod’ to our global team.”

With this new addition to its member’s pool, the PRG Alliance is present today in 25 countries in all continents. The complete list of participant companies and news are available on the PRG Alliance website: www.prgalliance.com.

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Major Lazer at Alexandra Palace, London, October 2015. Photo by Scott Davies.
27/11/2015

Major Lazer Tour With Flexible Video Package from PRG XL Video

Following on from their successful run of festival shows across the summer, when Major Lazer confirmed their Autumn UK tour, they contacted PRG XL Video to supply a flexible video package of LED pods, DJ booth and screens across a variety of venue sizes. Phil Mercer, PRG XL’s Music Group Director, worked with Major Lazer’s Production Manager, Joel Stanley, and Lighting and Visual Designer, Kyle Kegan, to create a custom-built video setup which could be varied in size according to the venue.

Using Pixled F-12 LED, the video team worked closely with All Access, who constructed the staging for the tour, to create four pods and a DJ booth. Everything was prepped together to ensure the construction precisely fit the LED tiles. Joel Stanley explains: “We wanted a more scalable design for this tour, and having video and staging prepped together made everything much easier to work with.”

Kegan explained the thinking behind the video design: “The use of four pods across the front of the stage created portals through which the dancers could enter. The DJ booth and pods create a backlight for the dancers, which gave the show a more theatrical look, and the content used a lot of monotone or single colours, which meant the screens were used more as a light source.”

The content for the screens ties-in with the Major Lazer animated TV series, which is broadcast by FXX, and with the artwork for the group’s latest album, Peace Is The Mission, both of which were created by Artistic Director, Ferry Guow. The touring content was put together by Content Director, Mike Burakoff. The video pods and DJ booth were backed with a rear LED screen, also constructed from PRG XL’s 12mm LED. The size of the screen varied across the tour venues, depending on the size of the lighting rig for each show. The shows at Manchester and Alexandra Palace had the largest set-ups on the tour, with a total of 200 tiles of LED used for the back screen alone.

To control the video and lighting, Kegan used a combination of MBox media servers, which supplied the playback content for the screens, controlled via a grandMA2 desk. The MBox servers were supplied by his company Voyage Productions Inc. He explains: “The MBox media servers work really well with the grandMA2, enabling me to trigger both the lighting and video cues all together from one desk.”

Phil Mercer was supported by Project Manager, Nilkanth Patel, who took care of the technical production for PRG XL Video throughout the tour. Mercer sums up: “We really enjoyed working with Joel and Kyle to help bring their creative design to life, and the collaboration with All Access during the tour preparation ensured the video was quick and easy to setup out on the road.”

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American Idiot. Arts Theatre London. September 2015.
23/11/2015

PRG XL Video Support Tim Deiling’s Lighting Design for American Idiot

“If you could power a production by the passion of the cast, musicians and crew, then this show should be unstoppable,” was how Naomi Symeou described the enthusiasm of the creatives and technicians responsible for bringing Green Day’s musical American Idiot to the stage of the Arts Theatre West End in Leicester Square. Naomi is the General Manager of Sell a Door Theatre Company and supports owners and show producers David Hutchinson and Phillip Rowntree. “Everyone involved in the show lives and breathes the music and it created a real buzz of excitement in-house, simply at the privilege of being able to work on such a passion project. I often think we should have a competition to discover who is the biggest fan, there would be a lot of contenders!”

The original and inspiring lighting design is by established theatre lighting designer Tim Deiling, himself a massive Green Day enthusiast who happily confessed to becoming quite emotional when director Racky Plews approached him with the intention of bringing the show to a London stage. “I grew up listening to this band and these songs, I memorised the lyrics from the cd insert and knew that it would make the most amazing musical. I’d seen the show on Braodway which was amazing, I doubt I could ever get bored of this music,” Tim said. Naomi added, “Racky and Tim are both avid Green Day fans, there is no story from their teenage years that doesn’t have a Green Day soundtrack attached. Their passion is contagious and we quickly realised we wanted to find a team full of superfans.”

As well as proving a hit with fans of the band and theatre enthusiasts, American Idiot also met the approval of the critics. The Telegraph said “from one hit to another, the audience is fed 90 minutes of uninterrupted chaos, as the show crashes through the barriers of the traditional musical set-up.” Rocksound noted “Aesthetically, it’s on point—all the action takes place in one set with minimal props, pinned to a backdrop of graffiti and flickering television screens, neatly summing up the impatient, attention-deficit generation we’ve become.” Whilst the London Theatre Guide commented on the venue being that “overheated hell-hole that is the Arts Theatre—a perfectly grungy environment for a grungy show.”

Although telling the same story as the Broadway production, London’s American Idiot has no ties to its North American cousin, which means Tim has had complete creative control over how the show is lit. He explained: “It’s a whole new production with entirely different staging and creative direction. Ours is a more gritty, rock n roll show than what they did on Broadway, but we couldn’t reproduce what they did there even if we wanted to because our stage is three times smaller than the St James’. However, in defence of the Arts Theatre, the limited space and rough aesthetics do the show no harm, giving it the air of a typical dirty, rock n roll venue.

Due to the limited number of seats in the theatre, a restricted budget was another challenge for Tim to work around. He explained: “Because we didn’t have a never-ending budget to spend, I learnt about some great products PRG XL Video have which I never knew existed before; like the BB4s, which sit at the back of the set and work as light curtains but do so much more as well. They have a real retro look about them and are more Green Day than I could ever have imagined.” Speaking of his relationship with PRG XL Video, Tim said: “John Pauls is amazing, he completely warmed my heart when he could see how much this show means to me and I thank him so much for that because this show could never be what it is today without the flexibility and support of PRG: Live.” Another restriction compromising the technical preparations of American Idiot was a limited period of time in the venue to set up before the show opened. Tim explained: “I did all the time-coding on an Ion in my bedroom between working on other shows, the music department were great and gave me all the click tracks weeks ahead of time and promised not to change the tempo. Without that, there’s no way I could have programmed almost 800 time-coded events during the short time we had in the theatre before opening. We only had six tech sessions before the opening night, we switched the rig on literally 45 minutes before the first tech rehearsal. I programmed everything myself because it was quicker than communicating what I wanted to a programmer.”

Tim’s refusal to let any obstacle hinder his pursuit of perfection for the show is well illustrated by learning how he lit the bullet holes in the set: “I was inspired by an effect they used in the music video for 21 Guns, where lots of bullet holes appeared in the walls of the room they were in. I looked at so many lighting products that almost did the job but didn’t quite work, I was describing the kind of product I was looking for as similar to an LED torch, when I thought, why don’t we just use LED torches? So, we bought 120 of them, chopped of the battery connections, wired them back to 4 24 way driver boxes and pixel mapped them into the console. The effect looks amazing, I use them as an effect when the world feels like it’s shattering apart, like in 21 Guns and when they rip the suburban landscape apart after 9/11. Whenever there’s a scene involving violence and rage, I use the bullet holes.”

Another creative use of LED Tim employs is through the use of 48 3 unit LED modules attached to various sections of the set which are used as egg strobes during songs when the music goes pattery and wild. Tim added, “we also use them as city lights when the characters are walking through the city trying to work out what to do with their lives, and they look all pretty and twinkly.”

Tim chose to use Gantom 1 LED pin spots and located 48 of them at various points around the set. “I use them to do lots of fun, rock n roll beam effects, the great thing about them is that they’re so small we’ve been able to hide them on the floor or behind bits of set.” He stressed the importance of his close working relationship with set designer Sara Perks; during a walk around the set, you realise how many tiny lighting solutions are wired into the framework of the set, as well as 6 Martin Professional Atomic strobes, cleverly hidden behind mesh panels. With the absence of any followspots, Tim uses 2 Clay Paky Alpha 700s out front, he explained, “they do lots of things during the show, one of which is lots of spotty, spotty stuff.”

Naomi expressed her elation at bringing the show to the stage and commented: “It’s probably a cliché to say, but when you work on a show for so many months before it opening it really becomes your baby and so I feel like a proud mum to a new-born—terrified, exhausted and ecstatic in equal measure! I have to confess I wasn’t a huge Green Day fan growing up (I wasn’t cool enough…) but now I’m an avid fan—the music is so impulsive and angry and beautiful—it’s tough not to get hooked.” When asked about the choice of venue, Naomi explained: “The Arts Theatre comes with limitations due to capacity and space, but the production is created with that in mind so it’s the perfect venue to house the show. Being in Leicester Square puts us in direct competition with the big boys, but we’re enjoying being their ‘noisy neighbour’. The design, direction, choreography, lighting, sound and performances by our hugely talented cast, crew and musicians are exceptional and certainly rival the nearby West End shows. It’s fantastic to be counted among them and we have received great support from the industry around us.”

Account Manager John Pauls handled the show from PRG XL Video’s perspective and was immediately struck by the energy driving it. “I met Tim in our Covent Garden office when we first discussed American Idiot and was blown away by his vision for the show. There were the usual budgetary barriers to overcome, but he was open to all the suggestions to help realise his design. The solid commitment of the cast and crew shines through in the show, which has been a thorough success at the Arts Theatre and will be heading out on a UK tour next year.”

Tim’s enthusiasm for the show is unfaltering, when asked to sum it up, he said: “It’s basically the American Idiot album with 7 minutes of dialogue. Think musical theatre meets rock n roll. There are so many changes to the lighting that are purely related to the music, I mean you can’t do Jesus of Suburbia without using 200 lighting cues. There’s lots of side-light and typical musical theatre lighting, with a ton of par cans, cues, moving lights and non-standard fixtures chosen because of the effect they produce. This production’s different from others because we all have such a strong affinity to the music that everybody involved with the show gives it their absolute all.” American Idiot ran until 22nd November at Arts Theatre London and will tour the UK from March-June 2016.

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Neasden Temple 20th Anniversary, London, August 2015. Photo by BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha
18/11/2015

Projection Mapping the Neasden Temple 20th Anniversary by PRG XL Video

In 1995, construction work was completed on the world’s largest Hindu temple outside of India. The BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir – or ‘Neasden Temple’ as it is popularly known – has since become one of London’s most iconic buildings. To celebrate the temple’s 20th anniversary, the socio-spiritual Hindu organisation, BAPS, decided to mark the occasion with a major event. PRG XL Video Project Manager, Nilkanth Patel, a regular attendee and volunteer at the temple, led the team producing the video for the event, which included former and current freelancers for PRG XL, Viral, Yagnesh and Hamanshu.

The celebration event spanned a full weekend in August, and included presentations and celebrations inside the temple, as well as a night-time projection mapping on to the exterior steps of the marble and limestone building.

Inside the temple, the brief called for a widescreen projection in the main hall, along with a 5-channel camera system to capture IMAG footage of the speakers and celebrants. This 90ft-wide projection on to an intricately carved polystyrene wall was created using six of PRG XL’s Panasonic 20k projectors. The wall and carvings were mapped using d3 4x4 Pro media servers, and these also supplied the playback content. Live IMAG camera footage was mixed in to the content using the temple’s own PPU, as well as being displayed on two additional IMAG screens.

A secondary hall, for additional worshippers, used an LED screen to display the footage from the main hall. PRG XL Video used their vibrant high resolution MC-7T Blackface LED to ensure the viewers in the second hall got the full impact of the colourful celebrations.

A joyful display of dancing formed the grand finale of the festival, and for the culmination of this the video team created a projection of the inspirer of the temple, His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj, on to a thick screen of fog which appeared and disappeared within a few seconds. Using clever placement of four Panasonic 20k projectors, and exacting calculations for the fog, the 6m-wide projection was visible to four separate areas of the audience in the hall.

In order to create a record of the celebrations, PRG XL Video also supplied five KiPro digital recorders which captured all of the footage for later editing into a highlights video, which can be viewed here:



Each evening, outside the temple, the grand steps leading to the main entrance were decorated with colourful animations. Using a combination of Barco HDF-W26 and Panasonic PT-DZ21KE projectors, the rise of the steps became a canvas for a special 20th anniversary animation that included candles, fountains, and a fluttering banner depicting the Guru, Pramukh Swami Maharaj.

PRG XL Video Project Manager, Nilkanth Patel, shared: “The temple’s project team had a busy few months working with new equipment and updating our skills. But with the help of PRG XL, we were able to deliver a superb production with some truly magical moments – all thanks to the creative video projection and a mesmerising fog screen that simply wouldn’t have been possible without PRG XL Video’s equipment. Everyone in the audience was overwhelmed by the effects and display, and some are still talking about it today! We look forward to working with the Temple on many more successful events including Diwali 2015!”

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Reisende auf einem Bein (Travelling on one leg) 800x200px
14/11/2015 Theatre projects

PRG XL Video Supplies Theatre Video Solution for Travelling On One Leg at Hamburg Schauspielhaus

Working with Video Designer, Ingi Bekk, PRG XL Video supplied a video technology solution for a Hamburg theatre production of Reisende auf einem Bein (Travelling On One Leg), based on the novel by Nobel-prize winning author, Herta Müller.

Adapted for the stage by British theatre director Katie Mitchell OBE, and dramaturge Rita Thiele, and directed by Mitchell, the production incorporates a multimedia approach to theatre by the use of live cameras on the actors, the feeds from which are then cut live and projected on to screens above, creating the effect that a movie is being made live on stage.

Many of Katie Mitchell’s productions use multimedia, and this is used to explore the theme of detachment which is present in many of the plays she stages. In Reisende auf einem Bein the main character Irene, played by Julia Wieninger, begins life in Romania, but then takes a decision to move to Germany. The feeling of detachment is most prominent in Germany as she settles in an unfamiliar country. With the subject of refugees and migrants in Europe at the forefront, this makes the themes covered in Reisende auf einem Bein very topical.

Ingi Bekk has worked with Katie Mitchell on three occasions, with this his first as lead Video Designer. His design for the show technology was done in close collaboration with Director of Photography, Grant Gee, who then led the process of capturing the action on five cameras on stage.

To supply the cameras, media servers and projection technology, Bekk worked with PRG XL Video’s Senior Account Manager, Ed Cooper to satisfy the complex technology requirements.

Bekk explains: “To pick up the detail of the performances, the period accurate props, and the performers facial expressions, it was important to place the cameras correctly. For example, throughout the play Irene builds up a collage of newspaper clippings and her own photographs, so it was important for the cameras to be able to pick-up the close-up detail of this key element, as well as the incredibly detailed props and scenery used in the show.

“We used a combination of professional camera people, and for some scenes also required the actors to handle the HD cameras. We utilised a mini jib, slider unit, and adapted grip equipment to achieve the right angles during the performance.”

Bekk continues: “Around the set twenty monitors were set up which displayed the shot number, the current live camera, and other show-crucial information - this enabled the performers to know exactly which camera was live and which shots were being shown on screen at any time.

“From the camera feeds, we edited the footage live, via the Catalyst media servers equipped with HDSDI capture cards. The shots were all processed with some pre-programmed colour-grading, to give the projected images a stark and cinematic appearance.”

In addition, one of PRG XL Video’s QLab media servers was used to provide synchronised triggering of audio, video and lighting throughout the show. Programming for the media servers was handled by Ellie Thompson, Associate Video Designer, and Iain Syme, a student from Royal Central School of Speech & Drama, provided assistance to both Bekk and Thompson throughout the production. The cinematic element of the production was achieved with the use of three different projection screens. One, fed by one of PRG XL Video’s Panasonic 10k projectors, showed the images of Irene’s life in Romania, with a second, also fed by a Panasonic 10k unit used on stage for backgrounds for some of the scenes. A third Barco 20k unit, supplied by the theatre, was used for the segment in Germany. Ingi Bekk sums up: “This was a challenging, but exciting production to work on. The video set-up was central to the whole look and feel of the play. I was very happy to work with Ed Cooper and PRG XL Video to get the technology we needed to achieve the desired outcome.” Reisende auf einem Bein returns to the Schauspielhaus, Hamburg from 13-19 November 2015.


 


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Rudimental, London, 2015. Photo by Louise Stickland.
10/11/2015

Rudimental Play Festivals and Tour with Video from PRG XL Video

PRG XL Video supplied video elements for the larger shows on popular drum ‘n’ bass massive Rudimental's 2015 tour, which started in March and culminated in a characteristically energetic performance at London’s Alexandra Palace, complete with a vibrant visual design by Jonny Gaskell.

For this show, the company supplied LED screens and Catalyst media server control, a side projection system plus IMAG cameras and PPU. The fundamental concept of Rudimental’s full design was to make the stage an interactive and theatrical environment with several contrasting visual layers which peeled back as the all-action set developed, revealing more depth and new eye-candy every few songs. The space was defined by several impressive scenic pieces including a large replica of the Hackney Central (London, E8) railway bridge, and a tabbed double-sided back cloth which was in for the first few numbers depicting a Hackney – the band’s home territory – skyline. A few numbers in to the set, the tabs opened to reveal a 10 metre wide by 4.5 metre deep upstage video screen built from ROE MC-7 LED which was masked in the Catalyst to appear as three circular outputs, each filled into the centres of three circular lighting trusses – a 4 metre diameter in the middle with two 3-metre ones either side. Jonny wanted circular trusses and video screens to make the shapes more interesting and the whole effect had huge impact.

IMAG was also added – two operated Sony HXC-100 HD broadcast cameras and four of PRG XL’s proprietary HDiye mini-cams – for the Ally Pally gig. A combination of this and the tour’s playback video, created by Ben Sheppee of lightrhythm visuals, and stored on the Catalyst, was played out to the three circles and also to two 21 x 11 ft projected side screens also installed for the London show. Each of the side screens was fed by a doubled up pair of rear-projecting Barco HDW-W14 projectors. PRG XL Video asked Phil Woodhead on-board to direct the IMAG for Alexandra Palace, for which he used one of the company’s large Kayak PPUs. One of the leading UK live video directors, it was his first time working with the band and he created an edgy, vibey camera mix to match the lively collage of urban, street, electro and international sounds. The four HDiye cameras – each with a 2.1 megapixel DSP chip producing full HDI 1920 x 1080p resolution at 60 FPS and 3G HD / SDI output - were positioned along the front of the stage with one behind the drummer, running into the Catalyst and output to screen by programmer / operator Jack Banks.

A feed of this mix – running via an ImagePRO scaler - was also sent to Phil’s Kayak for outputting to the side screens. The two operated cameras were positioned at FOH (with HD86X lens) and hand-held in the pit (with HDI 4 lens) and output directly from Phil’s PPU to the side screens. Jack received a sub-mix of this via the Kayak system for blending onto the LED screens.

This is the first tour on which Rudimental have properly embraced video. This video system including screens and IMAG also appeared on the band’s festival appearances through the summer including their headline performances on Glastonbury’s Other Stage, at Wildlife and Parklife, Love Box and Boardmasters festivals. Jonny has used PRG XL Video on many previous projects including Richard Ashcroft, Fatboy Slim, Groove Armada, Kasabian, and Orbital.

“The service is always impeccable” he comments. Joining Phil and Jack on the video crew were Mike Dorrie (projection & cameras), Steve Grinceri (LED & cameras) and system engineer Dhanuka Karunanayake, and the show was also recorded via three AJA HD machines.

Phil Mercer, PRG XL’s Director Music Group, and Project Manager Nilkanth Patel looked after the video package for all the festival shows as well as the tour. Mercer comments: “It was great working with David Sheppard, Matthew Roberts and Jonny Gaskell on this tour. We’re very happy to work with bands when they start to use video for the first time. Their ideas are often highly creative, and we enjoy helping them to bring those ideas to life.”

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