When the legendary rock band The Who took the stage at the Sun Life Stadium in Miami, FL for The Bridgestone Super Bowl XLIV Halftime Show, it was the culmination of months of hard work and collaboration. “The Who is an iconic rock band known partly for a very distinctive and recognizable visual style,” commented Lighting Designer Al Gurdon. “There is a pre-existing visual ‘vocabulary’, which can inform and support the design approach.” Production Resource Group (PRG) provided the lighting package and crew for the Halftime show, one of the most intense twelve minutes in live entertainment.
Gurdon, Production Designer Bruce Rodgers and Screens/Graphics Producer Lee Lodge collaborated on the NFL Network Production with Executive Producer Ricky Kirshner and Director Hamish Hamilton, translating that vocabulary into an integrated, cutting-edge design. “I wanted to develop the visual impact of the stage floor itself, and extend that out into the audience in a three-dimensional way,” Gurdon explained. “I wanted to create a background for camera close-ups and have the audience and the stadium itself be part of the spectacle and the set.”
Gurdon’s lighting programmer for the event was industry veteran Michael “Oz” Owen. Due to the severely limited rehearsal time on-site, Gurdon and Owen spent five days at PRG Essential Lighting’s pre-visualization studio in London, programming the show. Owen also worked with Video Content Programmer Jason Rudolph to insure that the lighting and the LEDs in the stage floor were completely synchronized. Owen and Rudolph both used PRG’s Virtuoso® control consoles. “I always prefer using a Virtuoso,” Owen said. “In Miami, I had three; one in the band/stage rehearsal tent, one in the ‘design’ cabin and one front of house. With PRG, I feel really comfortable because there is always plenty of support.”
Rudolph added, “I used the Virtuoso because it made it so easy for Oz and I to sync our cue lists. He could export his cue timings, and I could import them directly into my show and edit them as needed.” PRG also engineered a HTP (Highest Takes Precedence) data merge for the lighting and the video systems. “The merge,” explained Rudolph, “was there so that we could control the Color Blocks either via the media server doing pixel-mapping, or from Oz's Virtuoso console. It gave us more programming options.”
In addition to Gurdon and Owen, the lighting team included Lighting Directors Rich Gorrod, Bob Barnhart and David Grill. Peter Radice provided additional lighting programming. Full Flood Inc. coordinated with PRG on the lighting equipment and crew. The PRG technicians supervised the volunteers who were responsible for setting up the lighting on the field. Several members of the PRG crew have participated in as many as ten Halftime shows.
Gurdon was very pleased with the results. “We had a very good rig, with no reliability problems at all. You need to know you can rely on things working. PRG was great; I work with them all the time and I find they provide great service and great crews. I always know PRG will deliver; I couldn’t ask for more from them.”
For more information on PRG, please visit www.prg.com.
About Production Resource Group — Production Resource Group, L.L.C., (PRG) is the world’s leading supplier of entertainment and event technology to a wide range of markets, including corporate and automotive events, concerts, special events, theatre, television and film, trade shows, and installations, such as theme parks, museums, retail stores and performing arts centers. PRG provides integrated services and equipment, including audio, video, lighting, rigging, staging, and scenery and automation systems, for these markets from more than 31 offices in North America, Europe, Africa and Asia.