Current Issue - July 2014
Editor's Note

The Roller Coaster of Life

Written by: Justin Lang

PLSN editor Justin LangDuring the course of our lives, we have ups and downs, twists and turns and moments of sheer terror and excitement — fairly similar to that of a roller coaster, only spread out over years, not minutes. The best thing to do is hold on tight and enjoy this ride we call life. We spend our entire lives planning, organizing, and preparing for the future, both in our personal and professional lives.  We map out a carefully laid out plan of things that we want to do and accomplish. Then of course there is the day-to-day operation of business and life.

On the Road

Brett Lorins and The Glitch Mob

Written by: Debi Moen

The Glitch Mob tour photo by Steve Gray/linearlive.comTour: North America/Europe
Tour Dates: Through end of 2014
Tour Lighting Director

The Design: “Martin Phillips’ set, lighting and video design was inspired by the band’s overall aesthetic, and designed with their custom performance MIDI interface called ‘The Blade’ in mind. While there are no ‘traditional’ instruments on stage, the band is playing their music live. Music goes from powerful anthemic sounds to beautiful string sounds and dark, moody melodies. The lighting and video complement both extremes."

Inside Theatre

If/Then: People Making the Places

Written by: Bryan Reesman

If/Then production photo by Joan MarcusThe vibrant new musical If/Then, created by the Next to Normal team of composer Tom Kitt and lyricist/book writer Brian Yorkey, is an ambitious production that follows two parallel storylines. They are the two different paths that newly divorced urban planner named Elizabeth (Idina Menzel) could take in her life depending upon a key choice she makes. One storyline involves her dating a politically conscious college friend named Lucas (Anthony Rapp) and the other with a newly discharged Army doctor named Josh (James Snyder). As scenes unfold in different locales, they generally shift from one storyline to the next, exploring many of the same themes in different contexts.

Production Profile

Katy Perry Roars on "Prismatic" World Tour

Written by: Kevin M. Mitchell

Katy Perry 2014 tour photo courtesy of Quantum Special EffectsIn Katy Perry’s world, more is more. Warriors wearing neon clothes holding dimmer-controlled LED infused spears, LED jump ropes, a hanging diamond-shaped structure that lifts her into the arena, a mechanical horse … the audience needs the 3D glasses they receive.


OneRepublic 2014 Tour Rig Design: Diamonds Are Forever

Written by: Will Romano

One Republic 2014 tour photo by Breezy BaldwinYou couldn’t have written this Cinderella story with a happier ending. After being dropped by Columbia Records, pop rock band OneRepublic, formed in 2003, watched their Internet presence grow exponentially, attracting the attention and winning the support of producer Timbaland, who signed them to his Mosley Music Group and remixed their song “Apologize,” turning it into an international hit.

Designer Insights

Switchfoot "Fading West" Tour

Written by: Steve Jennings (Photos and Text)

Switchfoot Fading West tour photo by Steve JenningsSwitchfoot’s ninth studio album, Fading West, shares its title with a documentary film that combines behind-the-scenes band member footage with their surfing exploits in exotic locales. Although brothers Jon and Tim Foreman along with drummer Chad Butler have been performing as Switchfoot since their first album release in 1997 (Jerome Fontamillas and Drew Shirley officially became band members in 2003 and 2005, respectively), Switchfoot has deftly switched between different musical genres and eluded the Christian Rock pigeon-hole.


Third Day

Written by: PLSN Staff

Third Day, lit by Majestic ProductionsLighting Co
Majestic Productions, Inc.

Arena at Gwinnett Center
Duluth, GA (near Atlanta)


Unite National Day of Prayer with Hillsong United

Written by: PLSN Staff

Unite National Day of Prayer with Hillsong UnitedLighting Co
Reach Communications

Mariucci Arena, University of Minnesota
Minneapolis, MN


Lindsey Stirling "Shatter Me" Tour 2014

Written by: Steve Jennings (Photos and Text)

Lindsey Stirling photo by Steve JenningsLighting Co

Various (Tour)


Empire of the Sun Tour

Written by: Steve Jennings (Photos and Text)

Empire of the Sun 2014 tour photo by Steve JenningsLighting Co

Various (Tour)


SpaceX Dragon 2 Reception

Written by: PLSN Staff

SpaceX Dragon 2 Reception at the Newseum in Washington, DCLighting Co

Washington, DC


Sasquatch Festival

Written by: PLSN Staff

Foster the People performed on the main stage with a lighting design by LD Kevin RoyanLighting Co
Stageworks Productions

The Gorge Amphitheater
Quincy, WA


Abundant Living Faith Center Upgrades from Projectors to LED Video

Written by: Kevin M. Mitchell

Abundant Living Faith Center Upgrades from Projectors to LED VideoThe LED-versus-projection video debate seems long resolved — in terms of luminous firepower, LED clearly won that smack down. Yet that discussion still continues to those extremely budget minded … like a house of worship.

Buyer's Guide

Lighting Apps

Written by: Justin Lang

PLSN July 2014 Buyers Gude: Lighting AppsI recently made a bet with a tech-savvy friend of mine to see who can go the longest without touching their iPhone or other mobile device. The goal: 24 hours. The reward: bragging rights.  I must be weak — I lost in just 10 minutes.  It doesn’t help that the iPhone is constantly dinging for my attention thanks to emails, text, calls — and app alerts from Clash of Clans saying my shield is about to run out. Let’s face it, these tiny little devices are our life sometimes.  Pulling out the mobile is second nature to us, if only just to check the time.  Apps for our mobile devices have been around for a few years now, and most of us are addicted to them.  With more than a million apps on the iTunes app store alone, there is something for everyone. In our industry alone, there are a slew of apps to help us do our jobs and to help take out some of the guesswork.

To download a PDF of PLSN’s July 2014 Buyers Guide, CLICK HERE

Product Spotlight

Stageline SAM750 Mobile Stage

Written by: Brandon Creel

The Stageline SAM750 Mobile Stage made its US debut at EDC New York. Photo by Adam Kaplan/ASK Media ProductionsEach year, mobile stages made by Stageline, a staging manufacturer based in L’Assomption, Quebec, get used at 15,000 events in 45 countries around the world. That number is likely to increase this year as Stageline rolls out its SAM750 — the largest hydraulic mobile stage in the world. First used at the 2013 Osheaga festival in Montreal last August, the SAM750 made its U.S. debut at Electric Daisy Carnival (EDC) New York over Memorial Day weekend.

Road Tests

Altman Lighting Phoenix LED Profile Spot

Written by: Justin Lang

Altman Lighting Phoenix LED Profile SpotLED ellipsoidal fixtures are the hottest and most debated product type on the market right now. But can you really call them ellipsoidal? Since LED profile fixtures don’t have an ellipsoidal reflector, the name doesn’t seem a perfect fit. They do have the same characteristics that we know and love from our old reliable tungsten-based fixtures, however. Maybe they should be called Lekos? That is just another angle of the debate going forward with these types of fixtures.

Company 411

Brown Note Productions

Written by: Tim Bradley

String Cheese Incident lit by Brown Note Productions at the Fox Theater in Oakland, CA. Photo by Brian SpadyCatapulted? Ignited? Skyrocketed? Erupted? What is the best word to describe a company that, in a scant ten years, went from a two-car garage to a three-car garage to a 5,000-square-foot warehouse to a 12,000-square-foot facility and is now occupies 27,000 square feet with more than 25 employees? Begun in May 2004 by Sara B. Knutson and Ryan Knutson, Brown Note Productions of Thornton, Colorado, is a supermarket of services, support and sales for live event audio, video and lighting. Like most successes, the enterprise began with a simple idea.

Video Digerati

Working with a Media Server on a Corporate Event

Written by: Vickie Claiborne

Working with a Media Server on a Corporate EventWhen lighting programmers are tasked to program a media server on a corporate event using a lighting console, they may think, “Oh, that will be easy. I’ll just have to play a few videos for the CEO, a few guest speakers, etc., etc.” Well, that’s partially true; the server may be used to play back these types of videos. However, what may not be so evident are the different ways video can be woven into a corporate show. Let’s take a closer look at how video can be used in this type of show.

Feeding the Machines

What NOT to Do

Written by: Brad Schiller

A career as an automated lighting programming can be both fun and rewarding. It is important to always improve your craft and keep up to date with consoles and fixtures. You also need to remain professional in all circumstances to ensure a long and successful career. I have heard about programmers who have ruined their careers through thoughtless actions, bad attitudes and other improper acts. Several of them were once considered the cream of the crop, but now, sadly, they barely even make the “where are they now” list. By studying the actions of others, you can learn how to avoid wrecking your career and ensure a long and profitable programming profession.

Designer Watch

Sarah McLachlan Shines On; Strait’s Last Ride; “Lonely Airport Guy” Update

Written by: Debi Moen

Sarah McLachlan’s Shine On tour set. Photo by Brent ClarkCanadian singer/songwriter Sarah McLachlan set out on her Shine On tour to promote her new album — her first in four years — of the same name. After preproduction at the CBC in Vancouver, the U.S. summer leg started June 20 in Seattle and covers 29 cities in 19 states, ending Aug. 3 in Dallas. The Canadian leg kicks off in October.

LD at Large

I Got Somebody for That

Written by: Nook Schoenfeld

Illustration by Andy AuI’m one of those guys who likes to do everything himself. I like to draw my own plots. I like to make my own artistic renderings. I like to load in my own shows. I like to paint my own house too, but I don’t always have time to do any of these things myself. So for just about everything there is in life, I got somebody for it.