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VER Merges With PRG

Whoa.  VER (Video Equipment Rentals, for those who don’t know what a VER is) just started the process of merging with PRG (Production Resource Group).

This is sure to be a huge story!  Here’s the details from the press release launched not that long ago today:

LOS ANGELES, April 5, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — VER today announced that, as part of a comprehensive transaction supported by its second lien lenders, including funds managed by GSO Capital Partners, it has entered into an agreement to merge with an entity controlled by Production Resource Group LLC (“PRG”). To facilitate the implementation of this pre-negotiated transaction, VER today filed voluntary petitions for reorganization under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware. These filings only affect the Company’s North American operations.

By uniting, PRG and VER will meet evolving client needs and offer solutions, resources and expertise in ways neither company could achieve independently. Clients will have access to an extraordinary array of equipment and services, and the most talented team in the industry.

VER will continue operating in the normal course during the Chapter 11 process. Clients who have on-going productions as well as new clients who sign on with the company during the process, can be confident that their project will not be interrupted. All employees will receive their usual wages and benefits, and VER expects to work constructively with its suppliers as usual. Additionally, because VER has already reached agreements with certain key stakeholders on the framework of its restructuring plan, VER expects to emerge from Chapter 11 quickly.

“Entering into this agreement and undertaking the court-supervised restructuring process will greatly reduce VER’s outstanding debt and position the company for the merger with PRG,” said Digby Davies, CEO of VER. “VER remains a strong business with more customers than ever before, and a customer satisfaction rating that is highest in the industry. The actions announced today will provide a stronger capital structure and sufficient cash to fund operations.”

Davies continued, “During the process we will continue to provide our clients with the largest inventory of equipment and unmatched reliability and expertise. Clients will work with their trusted VER representative and their projects will not be interrupted.”

“We are pleased to enter into this agreement with VER and partner with GSO,” said Jere Harris, Chairman and CEO of PRG. “VER’s terrific client base and vast product and service offerings are a natural complement to our business. Upon completion of the transaction, we look forward to working closely with the talented VER team to strengthen our business and deliver even greater value and service to our clients.”

In conjunction with the proposed transaction, VER has received commitments from existing lenders, including funds managed by GSO Capital Partners, for up to $364.7 million in debtor-in-possession (DIP) financing to support its continued operations during the Chapter 11 process. VER has filed a number of customary first day motions with the Bankruptcy Court seeking authorization to continue to support its business operations during the transaction process, including authority to continue to pay wages and provide health and other employee benefits without interruption and to continue programs which support VER’s service to its customers.

VER intends to pay suppliers in full under normal terms for goods and services provided after the filing date of April 5, 2018. Additional information is available on VER’s website at VER.com/restructure. Court documents and additional information can be found at a dedicated website administrated by VER’s claims agent, KCC, at www.kccllc.net/VER, or by calling KCC at 877-634-7163 (toll free) or 424-236-7219 (if outside of the United States or Canada).

Kirkland & Ellis LLP and Klehr Harrison Harvey Branzburg LLP are serving as VER’s legal counsel, AlixPartners LLP is serving as its restructuring advisor and PJT Partners is serving as its financial advisor. Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, and Perella Weinberg Partners are serving as advisors to Bank of America Merrill Lynch. FTI Consulting and Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP are serving as advisors to GSO Capital Partners.

About VER

VER is a leading, global provider of production equipment and engineering support. With the world’s largest inventory of rental equipment, VER supplies the most advanced technology to a broad array of clients in the TV, cinema, live events, broadcast and corporate markets. Clients rely on VER’s depth of experience in Broadcast, Audio, Video, Lighting, LED, Cameras, Rigging, Media Servers, Fiber and more. With 35 offices across North America and Europe, 24/7 support, and unparalleled expertise, VER can support any live or taped production anywhere in the world.

About Production Resource Group

PRG is the world’s leading provider of entertainment and event technology solutions. PRG provides comprehensive and discreet services to an array of clients in the live music, TV/Film, Broadway, sports, gaming, corporate experiential and live events markets. Clients and partners depend on PRG’s innovation, experience and depth of experience in audio, video, lighting, rigging, staging, and scenery and automation systems to bring their stories to life. With 44 offices across North America, South America, Europe, Middle East, Asia, and Australia, PRG has capabilities to provide services worldwide. PRG is owned by The Jordan Company and Management. For more information, please visit www.prg.com

https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/ver-announces-agreement-to-merge-with-production-resource-group-llc-300625134.html

Rhinos are NOT Fat Unicorns: Superbowl 52 LX System Plot

I’m glad to post a really cool system diagram PDF — PRG‘s lighting network from Superbowl 52!  Uh, I mean Superbowl LII.

The Conti and the JimOnLight

Chris Conti, PRG’s Product Manager (for all kinds of badass entertainment lighting equipment like Bad Boy, Best Boy, Ground Control, et al) and Drawer of All Things Amazing shared this with me this morning — it is oh so important as lighting designers to not only MAKE a Notes Box, but to READ the Notes Box.  It is where we have our most fun.  A lot of times, as is evident in the famous Van Halen tour rider about the brown M&Ms, the Notes field is a place where you can NOT read it and really, really terribly screw up a show.  That’s why I always highly recommend reading that Notes Box, future and current lighting folk!

Here’s the Superbowl LII Notes Box:

Lighting NOTES Box for Superbowl LII

And perhaps just as importantly, it is CRITICAL to have some FUN with your plots.  Hence, I give you Pete’s Previz of Pleasure:

Pete's Previz of Pleasure!

Please feel free to download the PDF, it’s located here and below:

Superbowl 52 PRG Lighting Systems Network Diagram — right click and save as, check it out and learn something new!

Also, a TIME LAPSE of the whole Halftime Show, in under a minute!

Also, a note on Superbowl LII’s Halftime Show itself…

Superbowl LII Halftime Show Lighting System Diagram

I learned through the grapevine that there was to be a whole monster mess of pyro at this year’s Superbowl Halftime Show.  Installed, rehearsed, reinstalled, re-rehearsed, and one thing was discovered with all of the pyro and all of the smoke that was generated by the pyro…  US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis does not have the appropriate air handling facilities to evacuate the massive amounts of smoke generated by all of the pyro planned to be used on the show — and since the venue could not evacuate the smoke, the pyro was cut the day of the show.  The smoke itself caused massive potential issues with massive amounts of variables, and the effects were cut in order to benefit the production as a whole.

People have been very critical of this year’s show — people in our industry — and I don’t have a show that even PALES in comparison to the monster that this was; I commend the paid crew of around 300 or so people, and the VOLUNTEER crew of around 300 people for plugging enough connections and placing lighting carts in their proper places in about 6 minutes, and then striking all of it in another six minutes once it was done.

Remember:  just because you didn’t design it doesn’t mean it’s poop.  Remember also, there is so much that goes on behind the scenes that is so far out of your purview for a reason, and all of those variables — from dock sizes to entrance and exit paths to temperatures and conditions — all participate in their own way to making a show.

My congratulations for a megashow that was loaded in, performed, loaded out, and pulled off in literally no time.

PRG’s BEST BOY 4000 – A JimOnLight.com Exclusive

You know all of this press that’s been going out about PRG’s new fixture, Best Boy 4000?

All of this talk of Swiss Army knives has got me sleepy.  JimOnLight.com has exclusive video of BEST BOY 4000 before anybody else.  Check it out:

Stay tuned.  More BEST BOY 4000 footage coming soon!

PRG at LDI 2010

I had a chance to get up-close and personal with the Bad Boy CMY at LDI 2010 this year, having the demo from Chris Conti with PRG.  I’m a big fan of the Bad Boy fixture, and I have been for quite some time – I posted about it from the last LDI, in Orlando in 2009.  They’ve added the element of CMY mixing to the Bad Boy – I’m a fan of the quantum color mixing, but CMY is also very important to have available for a moving head for the obvious reasons.

Check out some images, I’ve got video coming soon!

The actual PRG booth – a replica of the 438 grid panels they installed into the National Convention Center in Qatar.

Big beautiful beams from the Bad Boy luminaire.

One of my favorite gobos, InLight Gobos‘ “Rubber Band Ball,” that comes standard with the Bad Boy!

Check out a gallery of PRG/Bad Boy images – click on one image and a viewer will open up for your convenience!

Super Bowl Halftime Show – Starring The Who, and THE LIGHTING!

I just heard on NPR last night that 106.5 million plus people watched the Super Bowl on Sunday – more people than any other event on TV in the history of the world.  The last thing that had that kind of viewers was the final episode of M*A*S*H*, back in 1983 – 105.97 million.

(for those of you kids who have no idea what M*A*S*H* is, it was a show about surgeons in a war zone)

One of the things that is still getting some major press is the big spectacle half time show, starring The Who:

For those of you who are like me, I paid more attention to the lighting design for the Super Bowl half time show than I did The Who – I mean, don’t get me wrong, I think they rock.  They did at least when they were younger.  Who did rock this time was the lighting design team and suppliers for one of the biggest shows of the year – and the rumor is that the entire rig had a total of six minutes to get on the field and working.

Oh – and pre-viz/lighting design for the Super Bowl Half Time Show?  It was done in Cast Software’s wysiwyg Suite!  OH YEAH!  (That’s right, I love it, you love it, and it is the epic awesome.)

The Super Bowl XLIV Lighting Team – definitely not an exhaustive list, and my apologies for the hundreds of people who got left off the list:

Lighting Designers:  Al Gurdon
Designer:  Bruce Rodgers of Tribe
Lighting Directors:  Bob Barnhart and David Grill of Full Flood
Programmers:  Mike “Oz” Owen, rocking the Vari*Lite Virtuoso, and Pete Radice
Rental Company:  PRG USA and PRG Europe
Lighting Crew Chief/Gaffer:  Richie Gorrod
Media Programmer:  Jason Rudolph

An update from Jason Rudolph himself – thanks a lot, Jason!

Lee Lodge was the creative producer handling content, which was made by Loyal Kaspar out of NYC.
XL video was the video vendor. The stage was made of 3000+ MiStrips, driven by 2 HD hippos provided by VER, Matt Waters was the server tech.

From XL Video, Ken Gay and Bob McGee were the project managers. Mike Spencer was the system engineer. Luke Pilato was the head system tech. Led techs were Rodrigo Azuriz, Trace Deroy, Douglas Eldredge, David Imlau, Fernando Gutierrez Llama, Curtis Luxton, Stephen Otten, Eric Petty, Rod Silhanek and Don Stevens.

An update from Margaret, who sends the URL of Loyal Kaspar, the company who did the video content – http://www.loyalkaspar.com

Update Jason Rudolph writes back (Feb 11, 2010) [Thanks, Jason!]

I can tell you this, the LED fixtures in the rig were Color Blocks, most of the fixtures were VL3500 wash units with the clear lens installed, on the stage were Color Blasts, and Iwhite color blasts.  Atomic strobes all over, and a few lightning strikes for good measure.  There were also a few Alpha Beam 1500s in the rig, but I’m not sure where they were.

Oz programmed on a Virtuoso VX, I was on a DX2.

We had 2 HD hippos, and one HippoCritter for pixelmapping the Color blocks, which we only used for one song, its output was merged with the console output so that we had both as an option.

If you know any people who worked the crew, give them a shout out in the comments – what a terrific job they did!

I am expecting an equipment list soon – I will update this post as soon as I get it from my source.  But for those of you who didn’t get to see this amazing lighting feat, below are two videos, part one and part two, of the half time show.  Enjoy!

(Thanks, Times Online, for the image of The Who!)

Bad Boy, Chris Conti, and PRG at LDI 2009

I had the pleasure of meeting and getting a Bad Boy demo from Chris Conti, product manager at PRG this year at LDI 2009.  Chris gave us the rundown on all of the features of Bad Boy – from optics and color to servos and touchscreens.  I am working on another interview with Chris for some more in-depth information on the fixture.

Have I mentioned I really like this hoss of a moving light?  That thing is designed all the way down to the smell!

I broke the demo video up into three parts, and I have embedded them below.  You can also check out the JimOnLight.com Youtube Channel, where all three are listed.

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

Thanks to Justin from iSquint for the second camera view!  I added this earlier, but it needed adding again.

bad-boy-jimonlight-5

bad-boy-jimonlight-2

bad-boy-jimonlight-3

bad-boy-jimonlight-1

bad-boy-jimonlight-4

PRG’s Having A Sale on High End Systems Gear!

Hey kids – Production Resource Group is having a sale on some used High End Systems Studio Color 575’s, CMY Studio Spot 575s, and my favorite, the Studio Beam!  The Beams are going for $1,100, the CMY Spots are going for $2,000, and the Studio Color 575’s are going for $1,300.  It’s like a lighting garage sale!  Except I’ve never seen moving lighting at a garage sale, usually things like Narraganset Beer light-up signs and lava lamps.

They’re also selling some truss – varieties of box truss, various lengths and sizes.

Here’s some video of the fixtures:

For information on this lighting garage sale, get a hold of Gabriel Rodrigues – grodrigues@prg.com or 702-942-4803.

PRG’s Bad Boy Is Hitting the Road with U2

u2 bad boy prg

Willie Williams is going to be rocking a hundred and ninety six of PRG’s Bad Boy fixture!  I just got a press release from Anne over at PRG – check it out!

Media Contact:
Anne Johnston
845-567-5871
ajohnston@prg.com
PRG’s Bad Boy surrounds U2

New Windsor, NY–July 10, 2009–Immediately upon entering the venue, audiences attending U2’s 360° Tour will realize that they are about to experience a truly unique event. “The goal always for me is when the fans come into the stadium they see something the like of which they have never seen before,” explained Willie Williams, Show Designer & Director. Working closely with Architect Mark Fisher and Production Director Jake Berry, Williams has realized that goal and created a structure that is the largest ever designed for a concert tour. The sheer size of the set created a challenge, in that the fixture positions were a significant distance from the stage. So, Williams turned to the PRG Bad Boyâ„¢.

“The throw distances that we are dealing with are much longer then you would normally ever deal with for all the lighting positions, never mind the lights around the stadium,” said Williams. “Even the closest lights to the stage are an 80-foot throw and the ones on the legs are nearer a 100-foot throw. There is no way you could use old school moving lights, plus I needed a light that would not just reach and wash but would be able to have texture.”

In December, PRG arranged a fixture demonstration at Wembley Stadium so that Williams could evaluate the Bad Boy and other lights in a real world environment. “What I found interesting about the light is that PRG started with the application in their fixture design, which was to create a light for large scale shows, arenas, stadiums,” said Williams. “That has been their master stroke, to start with what the light is intended to do and really work towards that particular goal. When you are at the back of Wembley Stadium, you need a light with the gas to get to the stage.”

Williams decided to use the Bad Boy as his only automated light for illumination, with his final design calling for 196 fixtures. The Bad Boy easily handles distances from 80-feet to 400-feet. It was a bold choice to base an entire design around only the Bad Boy and Williams had to wait until the lighting system was powered up for the first time at the Barcelona rehearsal venue to know for certain that his idea would work. “Even when I got here, we still had a few days before the system was turned on where I was biding my time. I was a little antsy waiting to see what these things would do under show conditions. I think it is fair to say they are absolutely remarkable.”

Lighting Director Ethan Weber understood Williams’ initial concern. “There is nothing else–spot, wash lights–everything you do is with the Bad Boy and coming into rehearsals it was a light none of us had ever used before,” said Weber. “When we turned them on it was pretty obvious it was the right way to go. We have all been very impressed. Many of the fixtures are a few hundred feet from the stage and not only are they very bright but their zoom allow us to go from pinspotting the band to lighting a stadium audience with relatively few fixtures. I don’t know of any other light that can do this. So far they’ve been very reliable–impressive, considering we’ve had them on for long hours in the Barcelona sun.”

Williams’ lighting design is fairly straightforward, considering the complexity of the overall production design. While Weber handles all the automated fixtures, lighting associate Alex Murphy calls all the followspot cues for the 25 spots, and controls the LEDs in the set with the PRG Mboxâ„¢ Extreme Media Server. PRG’s Concert Touring group supplied the entire lighting package for the tour, which also included the PRG Series 400â„¢ Power and Data Distribution System. The S400 combines power, DMX and Ethernet data through a single custom-designed trunk cable. The data system includes Ethernet switches with the ability to route any DMX universe to any DMX output connector in the system, along with complete electrical isolation. As a result, lighting systems can better accommodate the growing need for data and use less cable and technicians can re-route signals from the user menus without making physical changes to the system.

The power and data system for the U2 Tour was designed by System Crew Chief Craig Hancock, who worked closely with Jeremy Lloyd and Nick Evans of Fisher’s Stufish studio integrating the lighting system into the actual structural system. Chris Conti, PRG product manager, also worked closely with Hancock on the layout. Conti explained, “All together we have a total of 24 universes of DMX. We have S400 racks at the bottom of each leg of the structure, which are in custom dimmer carts that Craig designed. They also contain S400 main breaker racks, dimmer and relay racks, strobe distribution racks, communications, etc. There are two carts of S400 and two dimmer carts up on catwalks in the roof structure that handle the power and data for the pylon.”

That balance between complexity and simplicity is the key to Williams’ sophisticated designs success. To maintain that balance, everyone needed to be on the same page, working towards the same result. Tim Murch, PRG account executive, noted, “They really have brought together wonderfully qualified people, starting with the incredible Jake Berry and of course Willie and Mark. It is incredibly well organized; thanks in large part to them. It is a very heads up situation with coordination between every single department.”

Williams is very pleased with PRGs efforts on behalf of the tour. “At the end of the day it is about people and if you don’t have the right people it is just not going to happen,” he stated. “I am absolutely delighted. They have been really good. Both Tim Murch and Robin Wain (PRG account executive) have been fantastic. You can’t do this by second guessing; I just have to have complete faith that people are doing what they are supposed to be doing. You really have to trust.”

For more information on PRG, please visit www.prg.com.

u2 bad boy prg

BAD BOY Goes Out With CMT Music Awards

I just got a press release from Anne over at PRG about the Country Music Television Music Awards show, and Allen Branton’s lighting design for the show – using my current favorite fixture, the BAD BOY from PRG.  Check out the press release:

bad boy prg

PRG’s Bad Boy goes country on the CMT Music Awards

New Windsor, NY-June 29, 2009-When viewers tuned into this year’s CMT Music Awards, televised live on June 16th from the Sommet Center in Nashville, they were treated to more than thank you speeches and some of the hottest acts in country music. Production Designer Anne Brahic and Lighting Designer Allen Branton, whose team also handled the video content, provided a video and lighting driven alternative to traditional scenery while embracing the idea of negative space. Branton turned to the PRG Bad BoyTM luminaire for strong beam effects and to delineate the performers in this unique visual environment.

Branton had previously used the Bad Boys in his design for the MTV Movie Awards. There they played the role of Hollywood searchlights on the glamorous film-inspired set. “The Bad Boys worked really nicely on the MTV awards because of their smaller size but great intensity,” said Branton. “We used five of them on the floor to emulate movie premiere searchlights. They needed to be in scale with the set and there aren’t many smaller lights that have enough intensity to do that job.”

For the CMT Music Awards, Branton worked closely with Brahic on the ‘no set’ design consisting of video tile ribbons and a visual forest of Versa® Tubes floating in dark space. “We really tried to place the lights in a very surgical, restrained manner so as not to have the lighting and the video elements in competition with each other,” noted Branton. “The Bad Boys were a great tool because they had enough brightness to compete with the video even in vivid colors. We only needed three fixtures as backlight to define the performers against the video background.”

Felix Peralta, Lighting Director/Programmer for the CMT awards, agreed, saying, “They provided a big, hard-edge light that could cut through the video. Allen and I really like the 8″ aperture of the Bad Boy, it is a nice fat beam that comes out of the light; the output is tremendous. It really provides what Allen likes to call the ‘shock and awe’.”

PRG also provided the large quantity of VersaTubes, a primary feature of the design, along with five Mbox ExtremeTM media servers, which were programmed by Jason Rudolph. Rudolph used two servers for the Versa Tubes and three for the XL Video F-LED video tiles. “I have used the Mbox many times in the past and there are a lot of things I like about it,” said Rudolph. “The new version 3 hardware is a vast improvement. It is a good server with a lot of nice functions and it is pretty damn reliable.”

Branton, who worked closely with PRG well in advance of the event commented, “Everything came in and was ready to go, which was great because our time was limited. Everything was handled beautifully. It is really one of the most important things to me, getting people in the boat with you that you can trust and I trust PRG.”

Bad Boy Debuts with Oasis

YEAH!  I wrote about PRG’s Bad Boy a few weeks before I saw it at LDI, but when I laid hands on it, I was hooked.  Bad Boy is bad ass.  I normally keep lowball swearing out of my blog, but I thought that was appropriate.

badboy1

Oasis Debuts Bad Boy to the World

New Windsor, New York-April 23, 2009- Production Resource Group, LLC, (PRG) celebrated the debut of its Bad BoyTM luminaire on the recently completed first leg of the Oasis Dig Out Your Soul tour. Of his fixture choice, lighting designer Rob Gawler said, “The Bad Boy was just what I had been looking for-a big bright large-format luminaire, that could be used as a narrow washlight with a couple of gobos as a bonus.”

From a Roman amphitheatre in Vienne near Lyon, France to stadiums in South America, with sold-out dates throughout Asia, Mexico, Western Europe, the US and the UK, Oasis has been literally touring the world with production support from PRG’s Concert Touring group. Oasis’ Dig Out Your Soul tour marks the largest tour the band has ever embarked on with stops in several countries for the first time, including dates in Lima, Peru and Taipei City, Taiwan. Gawler turned to PRG’s Concert Touring group knowing it could effectively handle the global aspect of the support as well as the wide range of venue types.

Providing 48,000 lumens with precision speed and control over color and gobo changing as well as spot to flood zoom and full-field dimming, the PRG Bad Boy was exactly the unit Gawler wanted. “The units worked great ‘out of the case’ and I was pleasantly surprised at how many different beam looks I could really get out of the unit. I was initially a bit unsure about the fixed color mixing but it is working out fine, in fact it is nice to see all eight lamps the same color rather than the three or four hues that you get with some of the ‘true’ color mixers.”

In addition to the accurately matched colors, several of the Bad Boy’s other features, including optical clarity and smooth fluid control of focus, zoom, dimming and imaging-thanks to high quality lenses and high-speed servo motors-have been ideal for Gawler’s Oasis design. “I wanted a design that would fit into a number of different venue formats and scale between them well, without compromising the overall look. I knew I wanted to use a selection of contemporary fixtures but to create a look that is reminiscent of a more progressive, psychedelic period.”

Gawler also points out, “I like that it’s relatively simple to hang and once it’s up there it is going to work. I especially like being able to zoom it down to an almost parallel intense spot beam, or when I drop a gobo in and zoom it out, it just keeps going, until you have a sharp image covering a surprisingly large area of stage, cyc, or even the back of the house. It may seem a bit big in the road case but the power consumption is reasonable.  And the status display on the fixture is intuitive to use, as well as informative. While the units we have out on Oasis have proven very reliable, it is clear that maintenance has been carefully considered.”

Gawler is enjoying the tour and working on the next leg. “The challenge is to put on a consistently good show, without being dependent on rigging capacity, load-in time and specific production elements. It has been an exciting design challenge and PRG’s Concert Touring group has been fantastic to work with-they have provided good kit, fantastic crew and great support.”

For more information on PRG, please visit www.prg.com.

badboy2