Current Issue - December 2014
Editor's Note

A Look Ahead

Written by: Justin Lang

Justin Lang welcomes Nook Schoenfeld as the new editor of PLSN magazine.As we close out 2014 and I reach the end of my tenure as editor of I want offer some insight going forward in our industry. As you can gather from the past four years of my time at I am a technology junkie, always looking for new and exciting things that can make our work and personal lives that much better. Part of my daily routine is to read through press releases from around the industry. If that wasn’t enough, I’ve been making a habit of checking in on information from more than 300 news sites, technology blogs and websites. Sounds like a busy morning, right? It normally takes two to three cups of coffee to get through it all.

On the Road

LD Louis Oliver and Chvrches

Written by: Debi Moen

LD Louis Oliver and ChvrchesTour Dates: January 2013-December 2014

Your lighting approach:

"I draw up everything in Vectorworks. My lighting approach looks at the larger picture; I treat each project as installation art. I was given the band’s artwork as a starting piece; this we turned into some fantastic looking set pieces which have been the foundation of this album’s campaign from early on. Using lighting, lasers and video we managed to produce an ever-changing, ever-improving show."


Industry Leaders Tip Fedoras in Tribute to Patrick Stansfield

Written by: Kevin M. Mitchell

PLSN and FOH publisher Terry Lowe spoke at the memorialNearly 300 friends and members of the live event industry gathered at PRG’s facility in San Fernando, CA on Dec. 7 to send off one our own, Patrick Stansfield. Stansfield was a tour manager who worked with such acts as Santana, the Rolling Stones, and most notably, Neil Diamond for 25 years (Diamond and many from his organization attended the event).


2014 Parnelli Awards Gala Filled with Emotion, Surprises

Written by: Kevin M. Mitchell

2014 Parnelli Awards Gala Filled with Emotion, Surprises. Fee Waybill served as emcee for the gala.LAS VEGAS – It was Vegas, after all, so the bet was on. "We were all voting when Benny [Collins] would start crying, and I said he wouldn't make it through the introduction, and I won," laughs production professional and friend Steve Thomas. Thomas, with Michael Ahern, presented the Parnelli Lifetime Achievement Award to Collins, the live event industry's highest honor. Collins took the stage choked up and shed some tears in giving his appreciation to all he's worked with and made friends with over the years. It was a fitting end to an evening filled with emotions, laughs and tears.


2014 LDI Post-Show Report

Written by: Nook Schoenfeld

Elation Professional debuted its Sniper and won plaudits for its booth design.I have attended perhaps five LDI conventions over the years. Usually I see a lot of rehashed products mixed in with a few new ideas. 2014 seemed to bring a big reversal in this trend; I viewed so many new products that I felt like a kid in Disneyland. With more than 300 exhibitors and 8,000 people in attendance, it was certainly a packed house. There was never a dull moment as I ventured from booth to booth.

Inside Theatre

The Country House: Peter Kaczorowski Lights with Rustic Radiance

Written by: Bryan Reesman

Production photos by Joan MarcusLighting designer Peter Kaczorowski enjoys working with naturalistic sets, as evidenced in productions like No Man’s Land, That Championship Season and Born Yesterday. Even in a more surreal show like Waiting For Godot or a big musical like Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, he prefers some restraint. In Donald Margulies’ new play The Country House, about a group of actors retreating to a Berkshires home to ponder their place in the world and with each other, Kaczorowski gets to play with light in a radiant way.

Production Profile

Ricky Martin 2014 Tour

Written by: Kevin M. Mitchell

Ricky Martin performed in the Palacio de los Deportes in Mexico City in early OctoberThe Ricky Martin creative team came prepared for whatever happens, for wherever they play. They delivered a consistent show night after night — no excuses, no “loco.”Martin, who has amassed six Grammy Awards among numerous other honors and 85 million albums in his career, has demanding fans around the world that expect and receive a show better than the last. So the creative team has to always top themselves, no matter where they go. Martin’s manager/creative producer Veikko Fuhrmann agrees with the conventional wisdom that touring south of the border can be more challenging, but he overcomes it, starting with the design. He’s learned from others who build tours for the U.S. for the relatively cookie-cutter arenas with success only to see it buckle under the weight of its gear when playing the varied landscape of Latin American countries. “I saw one that was not able to travel into Mexico, and as was suddenly too expensive and too heavy, and the tour lost out on a major market.”

Designer Insights

Eric Cathcart, Michael Grant and The Black Keys' "Turn Blue" Tour

Written by: Steve Jennings

THE BLACK KEYS, c. Steve JenningsEric Cathcart says that, in terms of a career, he really hasn’t done anything but lighting. In high school, he was involved in the theatre tech departments, then was a technical theatre major in college when he picked up a gig with a local production company. From there, he worked in the San Francisco Bay Area with Morpheus Lights and a few other California lighting companies. He move on to Midnight Lighting in Austin, TX as an LD and tech and did his first tour for Asleep at the Wheel. From there, it was on to Nashville, working for Bandit Lites (Def Leppard, Brooks & Dunn, Reba McEntire and many others). In 1995, he was given the opportunity to be the designer for Olivia Newton-John. From there, the design/director gigs started trickling in. He’s also working as LD under Dan Hadley on tours. Prior to The Black Keys he’s designed Michael Bolton, Thievery Corporation, LCD Soundsystem and The Darkness. The last couple of years he’s been doing CAD drawings for Premier Global Production, including designs for some sizeable festivals.


The Gaslight Anthem 2014 Tour

Written by: PLSN Staff

The Gaslight Anthem 2014 tour photo by Andrew KlokowLighting Co
East Coast Lighting & Production Services (ECLPS)

Various (Tour)


Crowder 2014 Tour

Written by: PLSN Staff

Crowder 2014 TourVenue
Various (Tour)

Lighting Co
Morris Light and Sound


Colbie Caillat 2014 Tour

Written by: Steve Jennings (Photos and Text)

Colbie Caillat 2014 Tour photo by Steve JenningsLighting Co
Pulse Lighting

Various (Tour)


Rob Zombie 2014 Tour

Written by: Steve Jennings (Photos and Text)

Rob Zombie 2014 tour photo by Steve JenningsLighting Co
Gemini Stage Lighting

Various (Tour)



Written by: PLSN Staff

Bring a Friend to Bren 2014Lighting Co
Majestic Productions

Bren Center
Irvine, CA


Luke Bryan

Written by: PLSN Staff

Luke Bryan Tour 2014Lighting Co
Elite Multimedia Productions

Various (Tour)

Safety Factor

Perfect Storm Helps Live Event Productions Prepare for Destructive Weather

Written by: Rachel Pfennig Hales

LightningAnyone who has ever worked an outdoor show seems to have a story to share about how the weather almost defeated them. My go-to tale happened at a casino just outside of Omaha, NE. It was one of those sticky, late-July days when humidity hung heavy in the air. Doors were set for 4 pm, but by 3:30, anxious audience members had already abandoned the comfortable temperature of the casino to gather at the entrance of the large general admissions field we called our office that day.

PLSN Interview

Chaos Visual Productions' John Wiseman

Written by: Tim Bradley

John WisemanJohn Wiseman, CEO and president of Chaos Visual Productions, began his career in live event production in 1979 as the concert chairman at California State University, Sacramento. He managed local bands in the area and owned a small production company. He was managing the band Steel Breeze when they were signed to RCA Records and became the executive producer of the group’s eponymous debut album, which yielded two Top 10 singles.

Behind the Lens

Create Cinematic Experiences for Live Events with a New 4K Workflow

Written by: Thomas S. Friedman

4K technology will have an impact on how video is captured onstage, allowing zoomed-out shots to show more detailThe live event industry is taking the first steps into the next generation of staging. 4K Ultra HD products are available for consumer use, and this new workflow for event production is positioned to change how producers think about set design and staging for meetings and events. LMG Show Technology, a video production company with offices in Orlando, Tampa, Dallas and Las Vegas, has been working to provide clients with more information on how to establish a 4K workflow in a staging environment and create a new industry standard. Toward that end, the company has also designed and built a new truck-in-a-box 4K Ultra HD system for live events.


Vanderbilt Planetarium: Stately Museum Equipped with State-of-the-Art Projection System

Written by: Will Romano

Vanderbilt PlanetariumWe’re on our way to the Suffolk County Vanderbilt Museum’s recently renovated planetarium in Centerport, NY, which is on the north shore of Long Island. After undergoing 18 months and four-million-dollars worth of remodeling and technical upgrades, the facility reopened in March 2013 and was renamed the Charles and Helen Reichert Planetarium.

Buyer's Guide

LED Pixel Mapping & Zone Controllable Moving Heads

Written by: Justin Lang

PLSN Dec 2014 Buyers GuideA wash light is a wash light right?  Not since LEDs made their way into our world.  When manufacturers started to incorporate LEDs into wash fixtures, it was just that, a wash fixture. They had the added benefit of energy savings and almost every single color available from the rainbow.

To download a PDF of the Dec. 2014 PLSN Buyers Guide, CLICK HERE.

Product Spotlight

ETC Nomad Puck

Written by: Justin Lang

Nomad PuckYears ago, I was afraid of controlling my lights on a PC Based lighting controller. Recently, like in the past six months, I have come to fall in love with them. Looking back on why I was so nervous about using them was the fact that almost everything had to be done with a mouse, or by remembering those awkward keyboard shortcuts. There is something about having a console’s control surface in front of you.

Road Tests

Vari-Lite VL4000 Spot

Written by: Brandon Creel

VL4000 LuminairePhilips Vari-Lite, an American company based in Dallas, TX, has brought us the well-known VL3000 series, LED VLX Wash and now offers the VL4000 Spot. Combining Profile (spot) and Performance (spot with framing shutters) fixtures into one, Vari-Lite’s VL4000 Spot is positioned to serve as a multi-purpose and feature-packed luminaire. 

Video Digerati

Busking with a Media Server

Written by: Vickie Claiborne

The author notes that this screen shot is an example of how she typically structures a free form show. The playback faders for effects ands chases are set up to be easily overlaid on top of a main cue stack that consists of basic positions, colors and patterns.As lighting programmers, we are frequently put into situations where we have little to no time to program for a show that’s happening the same day, so we’ve learned to improvise. Whether you call this “busking,” “punting,” or maybe even just “operating on the fly,” we all have a few techniques that help us get through the “no time to program” one-off. But what about one-off shows with a media server? What things do programmers need to be ready for a show when they have little to no idea what’s coming up next? Luckily, many of the same steps for working with automated lighting can also be applied to punting with media servers. Here are some suggestions so you can be ready to roll with the punches.

Feeding the Machines

Obscure Fixture Features

Written by: Brad Schiller

Automated lighting fixtures are very complex robotic devices filled with mechanical and electrical features commanded by comprehensive software. The manufacturers of these fixtures fill them with many useful features, some of which are lesser known or understood. A good automated lighting programmer will take the time to learn the capabilities of his/her luminaires by reading the user manuals and DMX protocols/maps. Furthermore, some features are simple menu settings or DMX values that may not be included in the console’s fixture library. The following obscure fixture features can be found in many common lighting fixtures and are useful tools for creating original and dynamic lighting programming.

Designer Watch

Holiday Tours in Full Swing; Black Jacket Symphony's Thriller; Quick Cues and More

Written by: Debi Moen

Trans Siberian Orchestra's latest tour, The Christmas AtticHoliday tours are spreading multimedia magic across the country. Production designer Bryan Hartley has reimagined a new look for the annual Trans-Siberian Orchestra tour, which again runs an identical East and West Coast leg Nov. 13-Jan 4, 2015. Hartley could hardly contain his excitement, telling PLSN, “My new design and concept for this year show and story is probably the best thing I’ve done. It really is a masterpiece! It is my favorite design.”

LD at Large

Back to Front

Written by: Nook Schoenfeld

LD at LargeEver since grade school, I’ve been one of those people who preferred to ride in the back of the bus. Even when I was on tour, I always seemed to get my sanctuary hanging in the back of the bus, working or reading. Of course spending hours on the road, solving the problems of the world over a couple of beers with the rest of the road crew often required time in the back lounge. Likewise, I spent the last eight years feeling quite at home occupying the back page of PLSN. You had to look all the way in the rear to find me.