The Super Bowl half-time performance has become one of the music industry's highest profile events, with recent acts such as Prince, U2, Greenday, Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty, the Rolling Stones and Paul McCartney taking part. For this year's Super Bowl XLIV halftime show, The Who lit up the skies of Miami Sunday, February 7 at Sun Life Stadium performing a wide array of their classic hits. The legendary London band performed a medley including Baba O'Riley, Pinball Wizard, Who Are You and Won't Get Fooled Again.
Engaged in the massive production, Executive Producer Ricky Kirshner alongside with Director Hamish Hamilton pulled together a production crew of some of the industry's best in staging, lighting, sound and special effects. Kishner & Hamilton introduced one of the most technical stage structures ever seen for a Super Bowl half-time show. Bruce Rodgers (Production Designer) of Tribe Inc worked along with his design team to draft the unique circular LED video stage that consisted of 14 set carts and an additional 26 radials around the main stage. The creation of the stage at its conceptual design was a reflection of the Captain America Shield symbolizing a strong powerful patriotic influence that meshed with a Mercedes-Benz McLaren SLR Sterling Moss with all the built-in options of pyro, lasers and lights. From concept to reality, all departments worked out all the potential obstacles they would face in creating such a monstrous design that would need be assembled within 8 minutes during a commercial and commentary break. Introducing the lasers to the Super Bowl was a new facet.
Rob Paine (Executive in Charge of Production), contacted Laser Design Productions to conjure some of the possibilities of utilizing numerous lasers to create a huge effect for the half-time performance. Incorporating the latest technology in lasers, Designer and President of Laser Design Productions, Doug Adams, coordinated along with Victor
Tomei (Laser Technical Director) to project over 400 watts of power through sixteen laser sources that were located on the field and within the stage to achieve the looks
Hamilton desired. After numerous meetings and site inspections, a number of obstacles and concerns were overcome in order to incorporate the lasers into the show. Preparing for every possible and worst-case scenario, Tomei along with his team designed custom apparatuses including rain protection housings for each laser, anti vibrating platforms mounted to the white light lasers housed within the radial carts. Power requirements and additional generators to keep the lasers and foggers warm before rolling onto the field to go live were also taken into consideration.
Staging Supervisors, Cap Spence and Tony Hauser, assessed all divisions to strategically implement the load-in, setup and load-out with the full production crew plus approximately 600 volunteers. The logistics to coordinate this stage in such a short amount of time was an impressive feat, to say the least. With a determination to advance the concept, the entire production team moved forward to choreograph the show moments into 12 minutes of music that was led by Hamish whose talent was clearly visible. The stage itself was a phenomenal structure with over 3000 five-foot radiating LED MiSTRIPs to project video content of graphic vibes, text and waves of light that crescendoed with blasts of pyro and laser beams to specific beats and cues.
Adams and his crew pre-programmed all 16 lasers at their head office studio. Working with Laser Programmer Jason McEachern, they took a new approach to test pilot a pre-visualization software program, Light Converse. It was a great new approach that allowed Adams and McEachern to program the lasers and make changes on and off- site with a visual reference. Laser Design Productions including a total of 16 lasers with an output of over 400 watts of laser light. The equipment list included:
Four 50-watt Green YAG Lasers
Four 25- watt full color air cooled OPS Lasers
Two 20- watt full color air cooled OPS Lasers
Two 20- watt Full Color DPSS/Diode Lasers
Four 13- watt Full Color DPSS/Diode Lasers
Sixteen LDP 10 Projectors
Sixteen Le Maitre G-Force 2 Foggers “range 110v”
The entire Laser Crew consisted of:
Douglas Adams - Designer
Jason McEachern - Programmer
Vittorio Tomei - Laser Technical Director
Fourteen pangolin laser control cards were all networked at a central control under the main stage. Eight full color lasers were positioned in eight of the radial carts. Eight additional lasers including four 50-watt yags and four of the full-color air cooled lasers
were located upstage of the New Orleans Saints (NFC) bench. Segueing into "Baba O'Riley," Adams designed a classic green laser look that was renowned from past Who performances. Diffraction, machidda and beam chases filled the arena with lasers. Leading into the closing of Baba O'Riley, full color lasers were showcased as they transitioned into colors of purple, red, white, blue and even an amber/brown look choreographed in sequence with the lighting.
After all was said and done, the Super Bowl, and the NFL proved to once again show the world it is more than just a game. The Indianapolis Colts were upset by the New Orleans Saints. A city that was devastated on August 25th 2005 by Hurricane Katrina proudly showed the world that it was making a powerful comeback. According to preliminary results from the Nielsen Company, CBS's broadcast of Super Bowl XLIV attracted an average audience of 106.5 million U.S. viewers, making it the most watched Super Bowl of all times.