Current Issue - August 2015
Editor's Note

Shining in the Rain

Written by: Nook Schoenfeld

Nook SchoenfeldIt’s summertime in Mississippi. And to steal a quote, “it’s Africa hot.” So hot that rain is welcomed at this festival gig I’m lighting tonight. Except that my front lighting truss is exposed to the elements, and the rear truss is rigged off of the upstage roof edge, ensuring it will catch every drop of water that hits that canvas.

On the Road

LD Gabe Hodge and ZZ Top

Written by: Debi Moen

LD Gabe Hodge and ZZ TopTour: ZZ Top tour of North America, U.K. and Europe (May 30-Oct. 4, 2015)

Design Process: “ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons pays attention to all the production: I-Mag, video, lighting, sound. That’s awesome; it takes some of the guesswork out of it."

Inside Theatre

Michael Yeargan, Scenic Designer for 'The King and I'

Written by: Bryan Reesman

The set features Buddhist simplicity rather then royal opulance. Photo by Paul KolnikWhen he designed the set for last year’s The Bridges Of Madison County, Tony Award winner Michael Yeargan fashioned a bridge out of pieces rolled on stage. With the current Tony Award-winning production of The King and I at Lincoln Center’s Vivian Beaumont Theatre, he has assembled four pairs of moving pillars to help create different room configurations for the King of Siam’s palace. The production co-stars Tony winner Kelli O’Hara as the English schoolteacher brought to teach the children of the proud King of Siam, and Ken Watanabe as the King, who learns life lessons from the schoolteacher as well.

Production Profile

Luke Bryan's 2015 'Kick the Dust Up' Tour

Written by: Nook Schoenfeld

Luke Bryan 2015 tour photo by David VenusCountry star Luke Bryan’s meteoric rise to the top has solidified his tour as one of the must-see shows of the summer. The singer has been selling out every show this year from arenas to sheds, special club gigs to humongous stadiums as evidenced by this weekend’s sold out gig at Nashville’s Vanderbilt stadium. Production designers Justin Kitchenman (touring LD) and Pete Healey (touring production manager) co-designed a large-scale system that can fit into any type venue. Through reconfigurations of where to rig the truss and video elements, these transitions between different sized venues are seamless, due to the design team doing their homework ahead of the tour.

Designer Insights

Train's 'Picasso at the Wheel' Tour

Written by: Steve Jennings (Photos and Text)

Train 2015 Picasso at the Wheel Tour photo by Steve JenningsAt the age of 11 Brock Hogan attended his first concert, Def Leppard’s Hysteria tour. Ever since that moment, he knew he wanted to be involved in lighting. He began in the industry as a stagehand for a local production company in Boise ID. After several years of working every gig he possibly could and always asking questions, Hogan worked his way up from a pusher to lead rigger. In 2001 he began working at a local venue called The Big Easy Concert House (now The Knitting Factory). Within a year, he convinced them to let him learn lighting.


Tim McGraw “Shotgun Rider” Tour 2015

Written by: PLSN Staff

Tim McGraw Shotgun Rider tourLighting Co
Premier Global Production

Various (Tour)



Written by: PLSN Staff

Seether photo by Cory WilsonLighting Co
Christie Lites

Various (Tour)


Launch Showcase

Written by: PLSN Staff

Launch Showcase is a national association of industry pros whose goal is to nurture and promote aspiring talent. At the three-day event Launch Showcase event, which took place June 26-28, professionals and industry leaders came together to see new models, actors, singers and dancers.Lighting Co
Visionary Sound Productions LLC

Hyatt Regency O’Hare
Chicago, IL


They Might Be Giants

Written by: PLSN Staff

They Might Be Giants photo by Steve jenningsLighting Co
Squeek Lights

The Fillmore Auditorium
San Francisco, CA


Sasquatch Music Festival

Written by: PLSN Staff

Sasquatch Music FestivalLighting Companies
Stageworks Productions, Christie Lites*

The Gorge Amphitheatre,
George, WA


Eaux Claires Musical Festival 2015

Written by: PLSN Staff

Eaux Claires Musical Festival 2015Lighting Co
Clearwing Productions

Foster Farm, Eau Claire, WI

Wide Angle

Van Halen 2015 Tour

Written by: Steve Jennings (Photos and Text)

Van Halen 2015 tour photo by Steve JenningsEric Cathcart is out directing the 2015 Van Halen tour designed by Paul “Arlo” Guthrie. Back on stage are the Van Halen brothers, Alex on drums, Eddie on guitar with his son Wolfgang on bass and original lead singer David Lee Roth on vocals. The outdoor shed tour will head back to the West Coast where it started, ending the tour in the band’s hometown of Los Angeles in October with two nights at the Hollywood Bowl. Guthrie and Cathcart were in Los Angeles’ Sony Pictures Studios for about 10 days for rehearsals and programming, then moved everything to the first venue outside of Seattle for four days.

Buyer's Guide

LED Lekos

Written by: Nook Schoenfeld

PLSN Buyers Guide - LED LekosLED Lekos came on the scene 10 years ago. They weren’t bright enough, especially the ones that mixed color. But that was just a matter of time. Nowadays if you are still stuffing FEL lamps into Leko caps, your days are numbered. I could explain, but why bother. The options for change are all there for you now, and the fixtures are brighter than their ancestors. The PRG Renew allows the user to keep his old ellipsoidal body and just switch the old head for one with an LED source. Chauvet makes a fixture that allows the buyer to still use their old cable and dimmers, just replace the fixture. One can adjust the white color temperature now so they work great for film use. Whatever your need, LED Lekos of all types, sizes and abilities are displayed this month so choose wisely.

To download a PDF of the PLSN July 2015 Buyers Guide, CLICK HERE.

Company 411

DPS Inc. - Multi-faceted Production Company Rides Explosive Growth

Written by: Kevin M. Mitchell

Members of the DPS team hanging out in their Burbank warehouse. From left: Alan Sherin, Rob Kurtz, Jon Tunstall, R.J. Lynn, Anthony Dever, John Lee and Andrew ‘Hamish’ Mills.I’m in an Audi riding over to the DPS warehouse from their HQ in Burbank along with GM Robert “R.J.” Lynn and the director of marketing, Alan Sherin. At a stop light, CEO/Creative Director Anthony Dever pulls up in his Tesla, rolls down his window and jokes, “Wanna race?” Lynn laughs and points out that maybe that’s not prudent, cop-wise. The light turns green and Dever hits the pedal, if only for a short spurt.

Product Spotlight

The Stageline SAM575

Written by: Craig Rutherford

The Stageline SAM575If you’re in the touring industry, chances are that at some point you’ve done (or will soon do) a show on a Stageline mobile stage. For over 25 years, they’ve been providing mobile staging for not only outdoor concerts, but also marketing events, mobile theatres, and custom projects of every sort. With an eye for detail and a team with years of experience, their stages are used on the biggest festivals and events around the world, with their popular SAM555 model providing staging and protection from the elements for hundreds of shows since its inception.

Road Tests

Vari-Lite VL4000 BeamWash

Written by: Craig Rutherford

Vari-Lite VL4000 BeamWashEver since the creative minds behind Philips Vari-Lite fired up the VL*1 in 1981, the company has been at the forefront of automated lighting design and creation. Coming on the heels of the VL4000 Spot, the VL4000 BeamWash enters the market as a very high-output wash and beam effect, with a few tricks up its proverbial sleeve. Physically, the unit bears a resemblance to the VL3500 Wash, with a very large clear lens. The lamp source is a 1200-watt Philips FastFit lamp overdriven to 1,400 watts by default, and outputs a native color temperature of 6000 Kelvin. Changing the lamp is very easy, just two screws on the back, and all parts remain captive during installation.

Projection Solutions

Turning a Projector Positioning Nightmare Into a Fairytaile for Phish

Written by: Scott Chmielewski

DMD S7udios used eight 40K Barco projectors to create two 4K images on the north and south sides of the building. The projection, a first for the exterior of the arena, promoted Phish’s NYE concerts.Have you ever worried about losing your job to a robot or a software program? Sometimes in our industry, the same products that are designed to help us be more creative, achieve greater technical results or show a client in advance what they are going to get for all the money they just dished out can be the bane of our existence. Software bugs, technical limitations or just simply being unknowledgeable of a particular product or feature can be a showstopper. This is exactly what we were faced with when we were asked to projection map imagery on the American Airlines arena in Miami for Phish’s run of shows over New Year’s Eve.

Houses of Worship

Installations: Bonita Valley Community Church

Written by: Mike Wharton

Bonita Valley Community ChurchWorship Facility Opens with Versatile Lighting, Video System

After 10 years of fundraising, design, and construction, Bonita Valley Community Church (BVCC) opened the doors to its new home of worship July 2014. Building dedication ceremonies took place just last month, on the one-year anniversary of the opening.


Installations - Destiny Christian Church

Written by: Mike Wharton

Illuminate Production Services (IPS) owner Rick Franke and his son, Caleb, helped the church modernize its visual presentation to churchgoers.Destiny Christian Church is a well-established parish with a number of ministries, classes and outreach programs providing for a congregation of over 3,000. A growing ministry located in Rocklin, CA, they sought to change their style of worship and their approach to the worship experience, with lighting as a key component. Rick Franke, owner of Illuminate Production Services (IPS) has been instrumental in this goal. Hailing from a family steeped in ministry, he himself served as a youth minister for 15 years. He tells a bit of his back-story.


A Talk with LD Greg Persinger

Written by: Debi Moen

Greg Persinger and Vivid Illumination helped transform Indian Hills Community Church in Lincoln, NE.Greg Persinger found his calling as a church lighting designer by asking a simple question: Could he augment his touring rig with the church’s in-house moving lights? When the tech director he had posed that question to admitted that only one of his 40 fixtures worked, Persinger dug deeper into the reasons why. You could call it inspired intervention.


LED Technologies - A New Dawn for Church Visuals

Written by: Michael Graham

LED video opens the door to entirely new forms of visual expression. Pictured here, Chauvet Professional’s PVP S7 LED panels from at the City Church of New Orleans.Advances in LED Technology Create New Opportunities to Engage Worshippers

Churches have long recognized that lighting can help engage their congregations in a number of different ways, from reflecting the varying moods of services to creating a more visually appealing presentation on stage. Adding new dynamic visual elements to their services will also help churches attract and keep the attention of younger people.

In the Trenches

Preparing FOH for a Festival

Written by: Vickie Claiborne

Vickie Claiborne at FOH during the inaugural Rock in Rio USA festival, which took place in Las Vegas May 9-10, 2015.Earlier this year I had the opportunity to head up a talented team of programmers for a major music festival making its USA debut, Rock in Rio.  Having worked in concert touring throughout my career, I am no stranger to music festivals; however, I had never been the “go to” person for a main stage at a festival, so I eagerly took on the challenge and began preparing myself.

Video Guru

Video Technician Summer Camp!

Written by: Jeff Gooch

Leatherman Surge multi-toolThe following is a list that we have compiled to help you, the budding video technician know what to pack for camp this year.  It is by no means a complete list, but it’s a good start for the young camper.  We’re excited that you chose this path and can’t wait to meet all the campers and have them learn this fun, exciting craft!  We’ll do most of our work indoors, but sometimes we’ll be outside so don’t forget the rain gear.  Also, as much as we want you campers to be comfortable and have the right stuff, the bus is a little limited on space- so try not to pack too much.  Even though we have a strong returning group of people, many of you are new to this camp and are pretty nervous.  That’s okay!  We’ll help you out and make sure you have a fun, safe trip!

Lighting for the Camera

Lighting 'American Ninja Warrior' Aboard the USS Iowa Battleship

Written by: Lee Irving

Lighting 'American Ninja Warrior' Aboard the USS Iowa BattleshipCalled the “hardest obstacle course in the world,” American Ninja Warrior runs its athletes through such grinding physical trials — i.e. dangling in mid-air while swinging from one set of sharp spiked grips to the next — that no contestant has ever been able to complete them all and emerge a winner. The big winner has been the top-rated NBC reality show itself. Now in its seventh season and drawing over 5 million weekly viewers, ANW has tackled its own challenge of maintaining edge and excitement by continually affecting new themes as it takes its famed truss course to different locations across the U.S.

Feeding the Machines

The Perfect Programmer Recipe

Written by: Brad Schiller

Making the perfect programmer requires a host of carefully selected ingredients mixed together. When this recipe is followed, the result is a highly talented and creative individual capable of orchestrating his/her fingers over a lighting console to direct lighting and video elements into a carefully crafted piece of art. A perfect programmer requires much more than just knowledge of console commands, so it is essential to follow this recipe completely. Mixing the elements together to form a programmer necessitates careful selection of the correct quality ingredients. Let’s take a look at what it takes to make a perfect programmer: 

Designer Watch

'Deadicated' Designers Discuss 'Fare Thee Well' Tour

Written by: Debi Moen

Photo of Candace Brightman and Paul Hoffman by Joshua TimmermansCall her “Deadicated.” Forty-seven years ago, in 1968, Candace Brightman lit The Grateful Dead for her first time at the Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, NY. Her first tour with them was in 1972, she recalls. She’s held the key as the overall production designer and lighting guru since then — keeping alive the psychedelic ballroom vibe no matter what the venue.

LD at Large

High Horse Hazards: The Importance of Knowing Who's Who

Written by: Joel Reiff

Illustration by Andy AuWe’ve all had those moments. A familiar face catches your eye and you think, “That guy looks just like fill in famous name. The thing about being backstage after a show is there is a pretty good chance that the person you’re seeing is actually who they look like. About 20 years ago, I met Sarah McLachlan after a show in Toronto. A pleasant conversation ensued between the two of us and a fellow crew member, who was lamenting on the length of our tour. When Ms. McLachlan commiserated, it got interesting.