Cache Creek Casino Resort, (CCCR), located in Brooks, CA, recently completed upgrading the lighting system in its popular entertainment hub, Club 88. Along with extensive audio and video production upgrades, the 700-seat multipurpose venue is now a premiere state-of-the-art performance space equally able to showcase entertainment acts as well as sporting events booked at the Northern California casino.
Club 88’s technical team wanted to move beyond the limitations of the original, more conventional lighting equipment. They were looking to more effectively address the audiences’ expectations and the technical requirements of the full range of events hosted, including the numerous national and international musical acts, top-bill comedians, and live boxing. It was important to the CCCR team that the production systems be more than capable of supporting the first class entertainment that the venue brings in regularly.
It was also important that any upgrades still work within the building’s structural and electrical allowances. “We decided that the Philips Vari-Lite VL440, VL770, and VLX3 automated lights were best suited for our needs,” says Bob Brigham, CCCR Entertainment Production Specialist. “These fixtures provide the needed output while still having the feature sets of their much larger companions. They give our house and touring LDs a greater palette with which to paint.”
Brigham and James Taylor, CCCR’s Entertainment Technical Manager, worked closely with Scott Sawyer, an Account Executive with Production Resource Group, LLC (PRG), on the purchase of the new lighting products. “The original Cache Creek installation in 2004 was one of my first projects at PRG,” notes Sawyer. “Since then we’ve been working with them over the years and collaborating with the technical team to arrange product demonstrations for them. I was glad we could again work with them to find the right equipment solution that would best fulfill their needs as well as maintain their budget.”
The new lighting package of eight VL770s, 12 VL440s, and six VLX3s were added to Club 88’s existing lighting rig, which included Wybron Cygnus LED wash fixtures and VL1000s. Taylor explains, “Having toured with Vari-Lites for many years, I was very happy that we were able to incorporate these fixtures into our inventory. Cache Creek Casino Resort prides itself on being a premiere entertainment destination that provides not only a superior gaming experience, but also the best live entertainment experience possible.”
The lighting control for the space was upgraded to a High End Systems Full Boar 4 console. “We went from a Wholehog 3 to the Full Boar 4,” Brigham explains. “Our house LDs are well versed in the Hog 3, so the transition to the Full Boar 4 was seamless, even allowing us to load in previous show files.” Additional faders are provided by the HES Playback MiniWings and processing is done from a HES DMX Processor 8000, all originally used on the Wholehog 3, thereby extending the useful life of the existing inventory.
A High End Systems Axon HD Pro media server was added to the Club 88 arsenal, replacing their HES Catalyst 3.3 media server. “The integration of the Axon with the Full Boar 4 saves us valuable programming time,” comments CCCR LD Darcie Neill. In addition to Darcie Neill, Club 88’s house LDs include Adam Maggard and Crystal Brandon.
PRG’s Sawyer knows that it’s all about listening to the client’s needs and requirements that let him bring the best range of solutions to the discussion. “We hear what the customer wants; we don’t tell them what they need, we listen,” he explains. “At PRG we work to fulfill the client’s production needs all while understanding their budget. The Cache Creek Casino project is a really good example of that; balancing what the client had to spend and what they were trying to achieve. It all came together with a great mix of gear; both from a moving light standpoint and a media server standpoint.”
CCCR’s Brigham was very pleased with the efforts of PRG and Sawyer on the system upgrade. “We’ve had a great relationship with Scott and PRG since we originally opened the facility in 2004. He always gives us advice and good options.”
The reaction from touring groups and their LDs has been overwhelmingly positive. “Everybody that I’ve talked to, loves what we have,” says Taylor. “There might be one or two old-school guys who are a little intimidated by what we have; but I’m one of the old school guys and I absolutely love what we’ve got.”
Along with the lighting revamp, the audio system updates included the front of house and monitor audio consoles changed out to Yamaha CL5s, Rio I/O interfaces, and full Dante network integration. Video production has been enhanced with a new Panasonic AV-HS410 HD switcher, Blackmagic Design recorders, and all-digital signal paths.
Brigham points out, “Since we are much better equipped than other facilities in our area it’s often an unexpected surprise to a lot of the acts that come through our venue. We really want people to know what we have and the high level of technical support we offer here at Club 88. It’s great when they walk in and realize that we have state-of-the-art everything.”