WorldStage, the new brand for Scharff Weisberg and Video Applications, Inc., provided video and lighting support for the upfront at New York City's famed Beacon Theater. The event was produced by Good Sense & Co.
Good Sense helped YouTube structure the show, which needed "a look to match their brand: very neat and clean and forward-looking," says Good Sense co-founder Jared Siegel. To achieve that the company also had to "help bring the Beacon into the 21st century by packing in as many video screens as we could. We heard it was one of the largest shows ever at the theater."
With Good Sense overseeing the full production, WorldStage provided video switching, cameras, LED walls, lighting and rigging. "The event had a very ambitious design, especially in the small space of the Beacon," notes WorldStage event manager Josh Perlman.
The upfront used a custom Musion screen to provide a 3D, Holographic effect. ,The screen, which is typically teamed with projectors, was paired with a 6mm LED wall instead. "In order for this to work, we had to use a high-res wall and lay it flat on the floor - something a high-res wall is not really meant to do. So we worked closely with the Good Sense team, which included Hudson Scenic, to design a frame to support the LED tiles. This massive frame, which was fabricated by Hudson, lifted the tiles off the ground to provide space for our crew to wire and perform maintenance."
The LED walls provided included a 45' x 10' Barco 16bk wall, a 50' x 13' Barco NX-4 wall, and 42' x 16' 7mm Everbrighten 7 wall. Each LED wall was fed by two channels of Encore, requiring a total of six Encore video processors.
WorldStage also furnished some 20 LCD monitors scattered around the venue and utilized as remote viewing and confidence monitors. "Each was an output on a large HD-SDI router so we could route any signal anywhere," Perlman explains. Show content was created by Ant Farm and played back on servers provided by Obscura Digital. The show was recorded in HD via a three-camera HD package provided by WorldStage.
WorldStage also supplied all the lighting for lighting designer Chris Dallos, including VARI*LITE VL1000s and VL3500s, as well as conventional fixtures; and a handful of LEDs. Lighting was programmed on a grandMA2 console. Rigging provided consisted of 12-, 16- and 20-foot box truss and motors from one-half to 2 tons.
"The biggest challenge was the space," reports Josh Perlman. "Everyone we talked to about what we wanted to do said 'it won't fit.' So I spent countless hours in front of CAD drawings - every inch had to be accounted for and planned out or it wouldn't work. When we arrived on site we followed the plan perfectly and ended up making the show fit. But it got very cozy backstage."
The time factor also worked against the production, he says. "This type of install really wanted two full days of install and a day of rehearsals. But we had just over a day of install before rehearsals. It was a very tight schedule."
Jared Siegel had worked with WorldStage before and found that their companies were highly compatible. "WorldStage was great, very supportive," he says. "It was very challenging working at the Beacon, and they did really well. WorldStage provided so much auxiliary equipment in addition to the main monitors."
WorldStage's EIC on the upfront was Mike Alboher. Armando Acevedo was the lead utility on site and, leading a union crew, handled the building of control, cable management and monitor placement. Erik Perry was in charge of the lighting and rigging gear packages.
WorldStage Inc., the company created by the merger of Scharff Weisberg Inc and Video Applications Inc., continues a thirty-year legacy of providing clients the widest variety of entertainment technology coupled with conscientious and imaginative engineering services. WorldStage provides audio, video and lighting equipment and services to the event, theatrical, broadcast and brand experience markets nationally and internationally. The Owners and Employees of WorldStage believe that all clients deserve the WorldStage Experience