Current Issue - April 2014
Editor's Note

Finding Time to Work

Written by: Justin Lang

PLSN Editor Justin LangThe headline sounds nutty, right? “Finding Time to Work?” Don’t we already put in enough hours in the day to make our bosses happy? If you are on tour, in sales or a traveling man, a good part of your business is spent being outside of the office, being on site and, often, working out-of-pocket. Your typical “eight hour day” is spent nowhere near a computer and, most likely, away from paperwork. You know, those pesky pieces of paper or digital files that actually get us paid.

On the Road

LD Kevin Cauley and Soundgarden

Written by: Debi Moen

Kevin Cauley selfie from a previous trek. Tour Dates: The current leg includes the two broadcast shows at SXSW and a Lollapalooza run through South America at the end of March.

Design: It supports and emphasizes a mood where shadows delicately outweigh highlights. Vertical ladders left and right get the pretty light angles, and the video content supports a surreal theme. The show is based on a lighting design by Kille Knobel with production design by Justin Collie. It’s an eclectic mix right now, as these are a series of festival style shows, and luxuries you enjoy on a standard tour are not always available. Soundgarden music is a primal, distorted, haunting version of their own psychedelia. The task is to support and convey that mood no matter what rig I have to use.


Show Report: Prolight + Sound 2014

Written by: Justin Lang

PLSN Show Report: Prolight + Sound 2014 The 2014 edition of Prolight + Sound finished strong after four days on March 15, with 897 exhibitors from 42 countries on par with stats from the 2013 event (901 from 41 countries) despite the 2014 event’s month-earlier time frame. Combined with Musikmesse, there were a total 2,242 exhibitors from 57 countries, with a total 110,000 visitors from 142 countries. PL+S/Musikmesse once again featured a wide array of conferences, presentations and workshops and informal networking opportunities for the live events industry. But for me, the main focus — not just for this show report, but also for the online postings and videos at,, and — was to check out all the new and upgraded product developments for our industry. There’s a lot to cover, so let’s get started!

Inside Theatre

A Bridge of Imagination

Written by: Bryan Reesman

Bridges of Madison County photo by Joan MarcusWhen you are doing a musical based on the bestselling book and hit film The Bridges of Madison County and cannot actually build a bridge onstage, that conundrum creates a seemingly insurmountable obstacle. But scenic designer Michael Yeargan tackled the problem with ingenuity, knowing that sometimes one can show someplace or something without fully representing it. He needed to figure out “how to depict a covered bridge on the stage when this action happens in it, through it, and behind it,” he says. “There was no way we could really build a covered bridge, so we designed it to indicate it with those arches that fly in.” It was a balancing act of scope and intimacy for a story centered on two people in love in an extramarital affair.

Production Profile

Sting & Paul Simon: On Stage Together Tour

Written by: Kevin M. Mitchell

Sting & Paul Simon tour photo by Steve JenningsIt was conveyed to us that Sting and Paul did not want two [separate] shows — they wanted one,” states Richard Locklin, LD for Paul Simon. “We needed the show to be seamless, moving nicely from one song to another without stopping the show to move set pieces.”

Mission accomplished.


Into the Night with Imagine Dragons

Written by: Debi Moen

Imagine Dragons tour photo by Debi MoenIt started with a scanned drawing of trees with eyes. “We want trees onstage,” said the band members of Las Vegas-based Imagine Dragons. Production designer/LD Richard “Nook” Schoenfeld of Visual Ventures Design was one of three designers approached to turn the scan into an imaginative set for the last portion of their Night Visions tour, dubbed Into the Night.

Designer Insights

Miley Cyrus 2014 Bangerz Tour

Written by: Steve Jennings (Photos and Text)

Miley Cyrus tour photo by Steve JenningsMiley Cyrus’ Bangerz tour, in support of her fourth album of the same name, is riding the momentum of the artist’s swing back from acting to music. The tour is not only showcasing Cyrus’ ability to belt out a tune, it’s completing the wrecking-ball-like annihilation of her previous child-idol Hannah Montana persona. (The artist’s twerking spectacle at the MTV VMAs in August, 2013, where Cyrus sang the Bangerz single, “We Can’t Stop,” generated 306,100 tweets per minute.) The album, featuring pop songs with country and Hip Hop influences, was released Oct. 4, and after the completion of a 39-date North American tour (Feb. 14-April 25), the tour has a 22-date run through Europe (May 2-June 15).


GrooveBoston Vitality Tour

Written by: PLSN Staff

GrooveBoston combines large-scale production with world-class resident DJs to deliver custom-designed concert events on college campuses. This year's Vitality College Tour features a range of unique and innovative production designs, reaching 30-40 schools across the East Coast from August through May. Photo by Andrew Klokow/Pixel Perfection Nightlife.Lighting Co
East Coast Lighting & Production Services (ECLPS)

Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts
University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT


Jeremy’s Bar Mitzvah/Wiz Khalifa

Written by: PLSN Staff

Jeremy's Bar Mitzvah with Wiz KhalifaLighting Co
Complete Production Resources

Studio 255 Parking Lot
Miami, FL


Third Eye Blind Fall Tour

Written by: Steve Jennings (Photos and Text)

Third Eye Blind Fall 2013 tour photo by Steve JenningsLighting Co
4Wall Lighting

Various (tour)


The Pixies 2014 Tour

Written by: Steve Jennings (Photos and Text)

Pixies tour photo by Steve JenningsLighting Co
See Factor

Various (tour)


San Luis Salute 2014

Written by: PLSN Staff

San Luis Salute 2014, with lighting from Toucan Productions. The event celebrates Mardi GrasLighting Co
Toucan Productions

Galveston Island Convention Center
Galveston, TX


Draco and Friends

Written by: PLSN Staff

Draco and FriendsLighting Co
Musique Xpress Lights Inc.

Coliseo de Puerto Rico José Miguel Agrelot
San Juan, Puerto Rico

Buyer's Guide

White Light LED Fixtures for TV and Film

Written by: Justin Lang

White Light LED Fixtures for TV and FilmLighting for the camera and for the eye are two different things.  Naturally, the eye is a bit more forgiving as it has less sensitivity and automatically makes things somewhat balanced. The camera acts similarly to the eye, but since it’s not directly connected to a brain, it requires much more attention to certain levels of light and other details to create a clean and balanced image on screen.

To download a PDF of the April 2014 Buyers Guide, CLICK HERE

Road Tests

Roland VR-50HD Multi-Format AV Mixer

Written by: Jeff Gooch

Roland VR-50HD Multi-Format AV MixerI was at FOH mix position the other day and had a look at the mixing desk and on the back was a DMX interface. What? Why on earth would anyone want to use DMX out of a sound console? Surely they don’t expect the sound guy to control lights too? What’s next — the video guy controlling sound? But then I thought, what if I were all alone in a ballroom at a corporate gig? What if I operated the switcher at my church? What if I operated a webcast in a studio that had to change equipment all the time?


Chauvet Professional Nexus 4x4

Written by: Brandon Creel

Chauvet Professional Nexus 4x4The Nexus product line from Chauvet Professional contains the latest in LED technology. There are three versions within the line: 4x1 linear strip, 2x2 block, and the award winning larger block version, the Nexus 4x4. Is it a blinder, wash light, low resolution video wall, or eye candy? The answer is YES! Yes, it is a LED audience blinder. Yes, it is a super bright soft edge wash light. Yes, it is a low resolution video wall. Yes, it is flashy eye candy. And yes, it can be used in many other creative applications.

Company 411

Matrix Visual Solutions

Written by: Tim Bradley

For Guess?, Matrix provided ten 20K projectors and a 20-by-50-foot LED display. Photo by Paul MotalLife is eventful for Paul Motal. In fact, he and Matrix Visual Solutions, the company he founded, are involved in nearly 800 events per year, either as the producer or as the full-service provider of audio-visual gear and expertise through rentals and sales. Ranging from massive to modest, they include conventions, trade shows, gala parties, product launches, stadium concerts, film premieres, fundraisers, music festivals, television and movie production, sports and educational, religious and corporate events. Where else would you find a client list so diverse it contains such luminaries as Katy Perry, Bruno Mars, Pitbull, Ford Motor Company, Samsung, Guess? Inc., the Latin Grammys, Safeway and the Barack Obama presidential campaign?

Video World

An Ultra HD Update, One Year Later

Written by: Paul Berliner

An Ultra HD Update, One Year LaterBy now, you’ve probably heard the hype about Ultra HD (also known as 4K), since the major manufacturers of 4K televisions are promoting it to the max. This new video format has four times the resolution of high definition video (1920x1080). Much has happened since the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show (CES), which was 4K’s global coming-out party. In the biz, hopes remain very high for this new breed of video (clearly, since the coming out party for 3D in 2012 proved to be a flash in the pan).

Feeding the Machines

My First Time Programming

Written by: Matthew Schiller (Brad's Son)

Hello, my name is Matthew Schiller, Brad’s son, and I have taken over my dad’s column to tell you about my first programming experience.  Although I have played with automated lights and consoles all my life, I only recently programmed a full production.  My high school in Austin, Texas put on a production of Miss Saigon, and I was assigned the position of automated lighting programmer for the show.

Designer Watch

Demi Lovato's Neon Lights; TV/Film/Video Talk

Written by: Debi Moen

Demi Lovato tour photo by Cory FitzGeraldCory FitzGerald is the production designer for Demi Lovato’s Neon Lights tour. “The set is based on a neon-like concept full of Video Blades in smoke colored covers — which are essentially tubes of single pixel video elements diffused by the plastic covers. We also used a phone app developed by Wham City Lights to let the audience participate in that song. It was very cool!”

LD at Large

Lights that Battle Video

Written by: Nook Schoenfeld

Illustration by Andy AuFor years, lighting designers have been matching lumens between the lighting and video elements. The video was always brighter. For most of my life, I have had to design live concerts by placing the lighting fixtures, and aiming their focal points, wherever the video wasn’t. It became a science to be able to design lighting that wasn’t washed out by the big TV upstage center. In the last couple years, much of that has suddenly changed. That’s because we lighting guys now have some powerful weapons in our fight against video dominance.