Current Issue - February 2015
Editor's Note

Learning to Love Video

Written by: Nook Schoenfeld

Nook SchoenfeldI saw two shows last month that had absolutely no video components. It was odd, having to focus on the performers themselves with nothing other than a lovely set to distract you. Okay, one was The Grinch, a play performed quite professionally at the Children’s Theater of Minneapolis. And the other was a punk rock band I saw thrashing in a club. They were good shows… but then I saw Fleetwood Mac last night, and it was a spectacle to behold. It all came back to me — why I love my pixels. I like them small, big, spread out or even on curved surfaces. They just make me happy.

Publishers Note

There is Some History Worth Repeating

Written by: Terry Lowe

15 Years of PLSNI like history. In fact, I even minored in it in college. I guess I am a firm believer in the old adage, “Those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it.” Actually, there is some history that is worth repeating. For instance, I’d be happy to take another 15 years like the first 15 years of PLSN. Yes, with this issue of PLSN we are now officially 15 years old — smack dab in the middle of adolescence!

On the Road

Justin Kitchenman, LD for Luke Bryan

Written by: Debi Moen

Justin KitchenmanTour: Luke Bryan

Dates: “My Kind of Night Tour” runs Jan. 2014-March 2015. A new production starts May 2015.


Cirque du Soleil Varekai: Riggers Fly Performers, Not Just Motors

Written by: Nook Schoenfeld

Cirque du Soleil Varekai: Riggers Fly Performers, Not Just MotorsI recently visited behind the scenes at Cirque du Soleil’s traveling arena show, Varekai. As with all of this company’s performances, safety is the key factor. Performers fly through the air, climb 20 feet up on set pieces and do all kinds of circus style stunts, without a net. Production manager Mike Naumann walked me through the setup and how Varekai rolls.


PLSN Celebrates 15 Years

Written by: Kevin M. Mitchell

PLSN in 2000 and in 2015For a 15th Anniversary, apparently it’s appropriate to give crystal. We’ll demur, but it’s crystal clear that it has been a grand and successful adventure — one that promises to continue many years to come. Of course, we got here with a lot of help and support from our advertisers, some of whom were with us from the very beginning.


LabeLive & Lecrae: A Production Company Unites with an Artist to Step Up His Tour

Written by: Will Romano

Lecrae (c) Daniel Routh, Daniel Routh PhotographyNashville and the phrase professional songwriting are practically synonymous. The city’s importance to contemporary and traditional American country music is undeniable and self-evident. But in recent years, Nashville has experienced an influx of recording artists of all stripes, positioning the capital of the Volunteer State as an emerging force in the live-event industry.


CMT's Ultimate Kickoff Party: LD Mike Swinford Gives New Fixture its Debut in a TV Special

Written by: Nook Shoenfeld

CMT Kickoff (c) Michael Appel

The very first College Football Playoff National Championship Game took place at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX on Jan. 12, replacing the BCS National Championship Game of seasons past, and with it came a whole weekend of festivities, none of which were brighter than CMT’s Ultimate Kickoff Party.


Lighting the Los Angeles Auto Show: No-Nonsense Moving Light Gets the Job Done

Written by: Thomas S. Friedman

Lighting designers have substantially cut labor costs and focus time requirements while adding improve light ante precision with the console-controlled fixturesHeld Nov. 21-30 at the L.A. Convention Center, the Los Angeles Auto Show (LAAS) is one of the most influential auto shows in the world. Production companies TLS Productions, Inc. and Christie Lites client Creative Technology played a major role at the event, using nearly 2,000 Elation Design PARs to light cars and scenic elements for some of the world’s top car brands.

Inside Theatre

Ted Sydor: Projecting His Own Path at the Met

Written by: Bryan Reesman

Sydor, an animator, helped the Met make the leap to digital imageryEdmund “Ted” Sydor is an old-school analog man working in a digital world. Originally a stop-motion animator, he is now the projections supervisor for the Metropolitan Opera, and he is applying his offline, old school know-how to a brave new digital realm for both himself and his employers. “It’s the new fancy tool in the toolbox,” he acknowledges. “Half of our new productions this season have a major video component in them.” Over the years, he has played a major role in shaping the Met’s video imperative, learning and growing on the job.

Production Profile

Usher "UR Experience Tour"

Written by: Kevin M. Mitchell

Usher 2014 UR Experience tour photo by Steve JenningsA dynamic genre-bending artist. Hydraulics, custom trussing, split 7mm video screen, and a whole lot of spankin’ brand new gear. Usher is in the house.

Designer Insights

Katy Perry Prismatic World Tour 2014-2015

Written by: Steve Jennings (Photos and Text)

Katy Perry Prismatic World Tour (c) Steve JenningsFor her 2014-15 Prismatic world tour, Katy Perry treats her loyal fans to an extravaganza of visual and musical delights. In support of her fourth studio album Prism, the show has it all — a prism LED wall along with a huge pyramid shaped extended B-stage, pyro, lasers, Katy flying through the air, and it wouldn’t be a show without cats, a Perry staple. Along the way, there are some neon scenes, an Egyptian horse and lots more to delight the eyes.


Trace Adkins

Written by: PLSN Staff

Trace AdkinsLighting Co
Odyssey Lighting

Various (Tour)



Written by: PLSN Staff

Slipknot tour photo by Todd KaplanLighting Co
Christie Lites

Various (Tour)


Ed Sheeran

Written by: Steve Jennings (Photos and Text)

Ed Sheeran Tour Photo and Text by Steve JenningsLighting Co
Neg Earth

Various (Tour)



Written by: PLSN Staff

CalibashLighting/Video Co
Visions Lighting

Staples Center
Los Angeles, CA


Widespread Panic

Written by: PLSN Staff

Widespread Panic photo by Andy Tennile courtesy Bandit LitesLighting Co
Bandit Lites

Times Warner Cable Arena
Charlotte, NC


The Mighty Mighty Bosstones

Written by: PLSN Staff

Mighty Mighty Bosstones Christmas show photo courtesy of ECLPSLighting Co
East Coast Lighting & Production Services (ECLPS)

House of Blues
Boston MA

Buyer's Guide

LED Displays

Written by: Nook Schoenfeld

PLSN February 2015 Buyer's Guide - Truss ProductsI like the vast array of different LED displays that have sprung up in the last two years. Flexible screens, various sized LED tiles and pixel pitches. New hard strips of LED to replace the LED tape we all have been trying to use the last few years. There are models for outdoor use as well as indoor applications, and there are some that can stand a little rain in between. This year I have seen video tiles designed for stadium scoreboards as well as affordable tiles for DJ platforms and LED video products ranging from 2mm pixel pitch to single LEDs measuring 12 inches in diameter. Whatever you are looking for, one of these manufacturers is sure to have it, and what better place to look for LED display manufacturers then right here in the PLSN Buyers Guide.

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

Product Spotlight

PixelFlex FLEXCurve

Written by: Nook Shoenfeld

PixelFlex FLEXCurve (c) J ZoccoThe idea of curving video walls is nothing new. I have watched as video crews spend countless hours trying to rig straight pieces of video tiles at angles, usually in a vain attempt to get a seamless, curved video wall. Techs spent the day messing around with this game of millimeters by using rulers, changing rigging, nudging pieces a hair, adding clamps, and eventually they would kind of achieve what they were looking for. Now I’m not saying this was bad, but I always wondered why there wasn’t an easy way to do this. Couldn’t someone physically engineer a product to do this without the rigmarole? Well, apparently so.

Road Tests

Upstaging Saber LED

Written by: Nook Shoenfeld

The Saber 500 with diffuserToday, I’m playing with a brand new video strip just released by Upstaging Inc., based in Sycamore, IL out of the Chicago area. This stealthy, thin slice of LED packs a punch and is perfect for almost any application. They can easily be mounted to anything on display, from temporary stage sets and truss to permanent installations including museums and storefronts.


Chauvet Professional Rogue RH1 Hybrid

Written by: Craig Rutherford

Rogue RH1 Hybrid from CHAUVET ProfessionalThe Rogue RH1 Hybrid is one of Chauvet Professional’s latest offerings in the fast-growing area of hybrid fixtures — fixtures that fulfill more than one “traditional” role in a lighting rig, be that wash, hard-edge projector, or beam fixture. I spent a few afternoons playing with this new beam / spot hybrid light to see what this new fixture from Chauvet Professional can do.

Company 411

GLP Marks Two Decades of Growth

Written by: Tim Bradley

GLP is celebrating 20 years One of the great joys of writing features about the professional lighting industry is getting to talk to people who, even after decades in the business, are still very enthusiastic and excited about their work. Mark Ravenhill is one of those. At 44 he is the president of the U.S. operations of German Light Products, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary. He speaks with the fervor of someone three weeks into a dream job, though he began his career in the light brigade at age 16, fresh out of the British equivalent of high school. “It’s all I’ve ever done,” the Southampton, England native explained.

Video Digerati

What's On Your Desktop

Written by: Vickie Claiborne

Figure 1: The author used Layout View to peek at her clips, by layer and server.Samuel L. Jackson wants to know. Okay, maybe not. But I just finished a media server-heavy show and want to share with you what was on my desktop.

Feeding the Machines

Change the Page

Written by: Brad Schiller

Nearly every automated lighting console has a concept that allows for multiple banks or pages of playbacks. These pages (as they are usually called) allow the user to immediately change the purpose and function of playback buttons on the desk. Pages are very important in many different genres of entertainment, and it is important for lighting programmers to understand the possibilities and features associated with them. 

Designer Watch

Wayward Sons Carry On; LDs Plot Course for 2015

Written by: Debi Moen

LD David Manion went from the console to the keyboards for Kansas' shows...Moving up from lighting director to lighting designer can be an organic process. Or there could be an unusual story involved, as there is for Scott Pearson.

LD at Large

How Many Shows?

Written by: John Featherstone

Illustration by Andy AuPlease welcome this Month’s LD at Large, John Featherstone. He has been illuminating just about everything since he was a mere lad. He is a principal in the worldwide Lighting and Visual design firm known as Lightswitch. –ed.