Current Issue - July 2015
Editor's Note

Not Just a Flash in the Pan

Written by: Nook Schoenfeld

PLSN editor Nook SchoenfeldI have always had an affinity for strobes. Ever since I got into this biz, I have been fond of all kinds of these fixtures and watched them grow in wattage from small Xenon gas discharged units to Lightning Strikes to LED models that are just blinding. Strobe lights originated in 1931 using flashtubes with energy supplied from a capacitor, similar to a battery, but capable of charging and releasing energy much faster.

On the Road

Jason Rothberg, Lighting Director for Sufjan Stevens

Written by: Debi Moen

Jason Rothberg, Lighting Director for Sufjan Stevens. Photo: Debi MoenTOUR: “Carrie & Lowell” U.S. tour (April-June 2015); U.K./Europe (Aug.-Oct. 2015)

DESIGN: “I am operating the show that Marc Janowitz designed. The show has a simple and sexy look. Most songs are just one or two cues. I find it harder to do the simple looks — it can be difficult to make sure the lighting is stimulating and engaging enough for the audience while trying to not duplicate looks. However, during the last song of the show, ‘Blue Bucket of Gold,’ things get a little crazy.

Publishers Note

Are You Looking for a Miracle In Your Life?

Written by: Terry Lowe

Miracle FlightsThere are a lot of great things about running a magazine publishing company. For one thing, it gives you a medium to engage in discussions with others when you have an important topic on your mind that you feel is beneficial to share with others. Through the years, when I have penned a publisher’s note, it has always been about something in our industry. However, this time I am going off-script. I want to chat with you about an organization I have become aware of that is doing very good work for sick children around the country that you might want to know about.

Inside Theatre

Scott Pask's Scenic Design for "Something Rotten" on Broadway

Written by: Bryan Reesman

 'Something Rotten' on Broadway, photo by Joan MarcusTony Award winner Scott Pask has tackled set design for large theatrical productions many times before, not to mention juggling multiple projects. He had five shows open this spring on Broadway, including the highly acclaimed Something Rotten!, the hilarious musical comedy about the birth of the musical genre in the Puritanical world of South England in 1595. The show was nominated for ten Tony Awards and won one for Best Featured Actor for the exuberant Christian Borle, and it is a true crowd pleaser that lovingly sends up the beginnings of musical theater through a satirical Shakespearean lens.

Production Profile

The Rolling Stones Zip Code Tour

Written by: Steve Jennings (Photos and Text)

The Rolling Stones Zip Code Tour photo by Steve Jennings“Since I started working with The Rolling Stones back in 1982,” says longtime lighting designer and show director, Patrick Woodroffe, “the background to the planning for a tour would always be the same. The band would get together and ask a question. ‘Should we go on tour?’ If the answer was ‘Yes,’ they would then commit to a year and a half on the road, and we’d be off. Mark Fisher and I would design a production, spending millions and millions of dollars on the grounds that this would be amortized over 160 performances or whatever. But they don’t work like that now.”


The Deconstruction of Rush

Written by: Nook Schoenfeld

As these photos by Steve Jennings illustrate, the idea for the 2015 R40 tour was to go backwards in time...Rush hit the road last month for what they are calling the continuation of R40 — celebrating 40 years as a band. Parnelli award winning production designer Howard Ungerleider actually explains that he is entering his 41st year with the band, having been brought into the fray back in 1974 as he says, “to teach a new band how to tour.” But what is separating this tour from any other Rush show is they are touring behind a theme this time. They are “Deconstructing” their career live — as each song they play takes you back one more step in their long, storied career.

Wide Angle

Bette Midler "Divine Intervention" 2015 Tour

Written by: Steve Jennings (Photos and Text)

Bette Midler tour photo by Steve JenningsLighting designer Peter Morse has had a long history with the Divine Miss M, Bette Midler, supporting tours since the Experience The Divine world tour (1993-1994). Subsequent tours and shows have included the Return of the Divine world tour (1996-1997), the Emmy Award-winning Diva Las Vegas HBO Special (1997), the Kiss My Brass tour (2004-2005), The Showgirl Must Go On (at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, 2008-2010, which was also taped for a special that debuted on HBO on NYE 2011). The current Divine Intervention tour kicked off May 8, 2015 in Hollywood, FL and toured North America through the end of June. The production has since shifted to the U.K. for five more shows this month.


Todd Rundgren Tour

Written by: PLSN Staff

Todd Rundgren 2015 tour photo by Todd KaplanLighting Co
Production Design International (PDI)

Various (Tour)


Datsik Tour

Written by: PLSN Staff

Datsik tourLighting Co

Various (Tour)


Diana Ross

Written by: PLSN Staff

Diana Ross crew and gear for Hawaii showsLighting Co
Eggshell Lighting

Neal S. Blaisdell Arena
Honolulu, HI


Boston 2015 Tour

Written by: PLSN Staff

Boston 2015 Tour photo by Alan PoulinLighting Co
Morpheus Lights

Various (Tour)


One Night of Queen

Written by: PLSN Staff

One Night of Queen photo by Eric GlovonLighting Co
Clearwing Productions

Rosemont Theatre
Rosemont, IL



Written by: PLSN Staff

Halestorm photo by Rob FennLighting Co
Bandit Lites

Various (Tour)

Festival Spotlight

Staging Companies Support NYC-Area Electric Daisy Carnival at MetLife Stadium

Written by: Will Romano

The main Stageco stage was adorned with inflatable owls from Netherlands-based Airworks. Photo by Todd KaplanGirls in kabuki-style makeup donning butterfly wings, dancers in floppy panda suits, faux hippie chicks in rose-colored sunglasses and a halo of flowers around their heads, giant daisies like something straight out of a Lewis Carroll opium delusion. Welcome to the Electric Daisy Carnival (EDC), often dubbed North America’s largest electronic music festival, where the phrase “making a scene” has never been more apt.

Buyer's Guide


Written by: Nook Schoenfeld

PLSN Magazine July 2015 Buyers Guide on StrobesStroboscopic lamps are defined as a fixture that emits flashes of light. Since being invented back in the 1930s, they were predominantly made of xenon flash tubes that emitted discharges of light that were about 5600° Kelvin and lasting only milliseconds. Strobes have really come to life lately in the advent of LED technology. These advances are happening rapidly and there are now a ton of options in a market that was quite limited just a few years ago.

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

Company 411

Harting USA: A Family Business with Global Connections

Written by: Nook Schoenfeld

From left, Philip Harting, Maresa Harting-Hertz, Dietmar Harting and Margrit Harting“Part of our vision which was developed in the mid 1990s was to become a global company. In order for us to achieve that, we needed to be near to our customers, understand their requirements and grow with them.” So says Jon DeSouza, president and CEO of Harting USA. This explains the reasoning behind Harting opening up a branch in the USA back in 1986, and their continuous growth all over the planet for that matter.


Catching Up with Parasol’s Latest Moves

Written by: Kevin M. Mitchell

Parasol Advanced Systems inventor/co-founder Hermann Fruhm with the system used for American Idol. Like a few others, Hermann Fruhm imagined lights moving. Unlike others, he took a wholly unique approach to the proposition, and after nearly three decades of gestation, his vision of a truss rig that moves lights is coming to fruition.

Event Design

The Rio in Las Vegas Goes All-In for 2015 World Series of Poker

Written by: Mike Wharton

Innovative Show Design (ISD) worked with CYM Lighting and Rio Casino’s in-house AV arm, Encore Event Technologies, on the visual design. Photo by Stephanie MooreThe 46th annual World Series of Poker will have 23,000 players this year according to executive producer Mori Eskandani. The event returns to the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, NV May 27-July 14, 2015, a 2,522-room property owned by Caesars Entertainment. An enormous undertaking, the WSOP occupies the Pavilion, Miranda and Brasilia Ballrooms, with the main event and set in the Amazon Ballroom.

Product Spotlight

Mountain Productions Safety and Rigging Products

Written by: Thomas S. Friedman

Python safety holster from Mountain ProductionsGravity and its related safety hazards never sleep, so crews working at height need to be vigilant about protecting themselves and others. Mountain Productions is helping with an expanded array of fall protection offerings including harnesses, lanyards, fall arrest systems, helmets and more. Their inventory from DBI-SALA includes some of the most trusted fall protection equipment in the industry. Along with DBI-SALA’s extensive product line, they are also now offering Python Safety’s drop prevention products and KASK’s Super Plasma helmets to keep crew members safe on site.

Road Tests

Ayrton MagicDot-R and CosmoPix-R

Written by: Nook Schoenfeld

Ayrton MagicDot-R and CosmoPix-RI walk into the Morpheus Lights shop in Las Vegas, and the first thing I see are these black balls. Row upon row of little rolling balls emitting light in synchronous harmony. That alone was a pretty big “wow” factor upon first sight. But then I round the corner, and there are bigger balls with multiple light beams emitted in every angle. Rotating continuously in every angle. I am experiencing flashbacks to the 1970’s and the days of disco. I instantly realize that Ayrton, the leading innovator in new LED product manufacturing, has once again come up with some revolutionary products.


PRG Nocturne Karrera S-series SD/HD/3G Capable Video Flypack

Written by: Michael S. Eddy

PRG Nocturne video flypack on display at Prolight+SoundPRG Nocturne recently announced that they were building ten new HD Video Flypacks to better serve their touring music clients. I recently got a walk through a typical flypack arrangement, which have already been out on some of the biggest current tours including U2, The Rolling Stones, The Who, Paul McCartney, The Eagles, Maroon 5, and others. The PRG Nocturne Karrera S-Series SD/HD/3G capable Video Flypacks really are next generation solutions. These HD flypacks employ equipment from Grass Valley, Ross Video and Fujinon; all long-time partners with PRG Nocturne.


PR Lighting XR 1000 Spot

Written by: Nook Schoenfeld

PR Lighting XR 1000 SpotThis week, I’ve got my hands on a hard-edge moving light discharge fixture from PR Lighting. This company is by far the market leader in China for professional lighting solutions for architectural, entertainment and promotional uses for 30 years. Mega Systems out of San Antonio, TX distributes their line of fixtures in the U.S.

Video World

A Word about BYOD

Written by: Paul Berliner

Bring Your Own DeviceHas anyone out there been in a meeting lately, say, for business or pre-production or whatever? Show of hands, please. And in that meeting, has anyone had to display an application or presentation from his or her laptop on the big screen in the conference room? If you’re a business professional, regardless of the industry, the answer is probably yes — and more likely than not, you’ve used one of multiple methods to push your video up to the screen and collaborate with the meeting’s participants.

Focus on Fundamentals

Tour School’s STEADI Program

Written by: Craig Rutherford

Tour School’s STEADI ProgramA few years ago, when Tour School co-founders Ed Wannebo and Dr. Susan Ullrich looked out on the state of staffing the production industry, what they saw concerned them. On-the-job training continues to be one of the primary methods of training new recruits, but the founders wondered what improvements could be made to the process.

In the Trenches

Russ Felton on Festival Prep Work

Written by: Nook Schoenfeld

Russ Felton, in the trenches, doing festival prep work.I was recently able to catch up with Russ Felton during a break in his schedule, which is one that barely allows for sleep. I’m chatting with him during lunch to see how he handles all the pressures of dealing with the lighting at these massive festival shows he works on. Russ is one of the top lighting crew chiefs in the world. He is employed by BML Blackbird, one of the top lighting companies on the East Coast, located in Secaucus, NJ, right outside NYC. Russ deals with everything from touring acts to trade shows to stadium-sized festivals.

Corporate AV

Immersive Projection at SAP’s Sapphire Now 2015 Event

Written by: Robyn Baker

The event production team designed a massive video octagon that encompassed close to 225 diagonal feet and flown 14 feet above the open concept interactive area, better known as the SAP Experience Zone.SAP, the world’s leading provider of business software, is known for helping companies run more efficiently through enterprise application tools. SAP’s annual Sapphire Now brings together more than 20,000 customers, partners, and prospects from across the world to showcase new ideas and solutions from across SAP’s extensive product line.

Feeding the Machines

It's Time to GO!

Written by: Brad Schiller

Automated lighting consoles are very complex machines that provide amazing abilities to transition data values utilizing various timing controls. From a simple crossfade between two cues to advanced multi-part timing and auto-follows there are a multitude of timing tools available. Although each console may use slightly different terminology, the abilities are generally the same. For the purpose of simplicity I will refer to one set of terms in this article, so be sure to reference your console’s user manual to determine the exact terms you may encounter.

Designer Watch

Designing Brian; Butch’s Plot; Future LD for Future Islands; Quick Cues

Written by: Debi Moen

From left, Brian Wilson’s production manager Clint Boire and LD Chris Stuba at Bass Concert Hall in Austin, TX on the tour’s opening night. Photo by Debi Moen“He said music has color, and the color of music is blue,” said LD Chris Stuba. The design inspiration for Brian Wilson’s summer tour starts with that thought from the Beach Boys legend. Wilson, who is performing with fellow band mates Al Jardine and Blondie Chaplain, presents a welcoming design and programming challenge for Stuba on the lighting console. “Sometimes the bridge of the song starts at the beginning, or the song changes through many time signatures throughout,” Stuba said. “I had to approach programming and running this show differently because of those variances.”

LD at Large

Livin' on the Edge

Written by: Wayne Lambert

PLSN illustration by Andy AuI’m lighting a Truck Press Event... That’s right. Trucks. Those things that people like me can’t even fit in my garage. Even if I had a garage, I would have to move my clothes rack/treadmill and my complete collection of plastic wrapped Mad Magazines.