Design Team

lighting designer: Robert Dickinson
production/set designer: Bruce Rogers
staging supervisor: Tony Hauser
staging supervisor: Cap Spence
choreographer: Kristen Perry
pyrotechnics: Ron Smith
lighting director: Robert Barnhart
lighting director: David Grill
moving light director: Matt Firestone
moving light director: Mark Butts
art director (Tribe Inc.): Sean Dougall
art director (Tribe Inc.): Matt Steinbrenner
art director (Tribe Inc.): Mai Sakai
set fabrication (B&R Scenery): Brian Sullivan
executive producer: Don Mischer
executive producer: Ricky Kirshner
executive producer: Glenn Weiss
line producer: Rob Paine

Creating a Super Bowl Halftime set that is visually alluring, able to withstand the elements, and have extremely short set up/break down times (6 minutes/5 minutes) was no simple task. The Super Bowl XLI Halftime show in February at Dolphin Stadium in Miami, Florida featuring Prince was able to do just that during a constant downpour. With more than 93 million television viewers watching worldwide, the stage was a unique in the round formation.

Scenic designer Bruce Rodgers created a modular set in the exact shape of the symbol that Prince formerly used as his name. Lighting designer Robert Dickinson had to design around an open environment—big structures and rigging were not allowed because the producers wanted to keep the field as open as possible, so he chose to emphasize Rodgers’ shape of the Prince symbol as a major visual element. As a result, almost all of the lighting positions were around the perimeter of the field, with the light thrown from rather long distances.

Many of the rehearsals were in the parking lot, and the special sod put down for the Super Bowl was as much of a challenge to the design process as the incredibly short time in which it all had to happen. The 250-member Florida A&M Marching Band marched in time to Prince’s music as their pants, jackets, and hats were sharply outlined in a brilliant aqua color with light tape, creating a surrealistic animated stick-figure effect in the dark rain.

Marc and Marcy Rosenthal of LA-based Personal Creations created the illuminated effect by using battery-powered electroluminescent (EL) light tape from Electro-LuminX Lighting Corporation that had been to make it brighter than normal, ensuring that it could be read on camera and across the stadium in the steady downpour.

Each band costume was temporarily modified with a color-coordinated fanny pack, drivers for the EL light tape, integrated switch, custom wiring harnesses, and battery packs. A total of 6,000’ of ½” light tape, more than 600 drivers, and almost 10,000 batteries were used, with some of the wiring provided by Cool Neon.

Also included in the show was pyro, including a 40’-diameter fireball created by Ron Smith of Rialto, CA-based Pyro Spectacular.

The rain threatened to ruin the show with the initial breakdown of the Versa Tubes and nonfunctional Atomic Strobes and Falcons. (Although the Falcons did begin functioning by the second song.) Despite the initial setbacks, dramatic theatrical lighting and design elements were evident, especially during a number where Prince played his guitar solo in silhouette against a billowing white silk cloth. Blown straight up from one end of the stage by powerful electric fans, the shadow was created by a 20kW incandescent Fresnel that had been stripped.

Equipment

18”-wide light box that sat below the stage
12” Color Kinetics LED ColorBlast® fixtures covered by frosted Plexiglas®
Element Labs Versa® Tube units
High End Systems Catalyst v3 media server
Martin MAC 2000 wash units
Vari-Lite VL5 arc fixtures
Martin Atomic Strobes that did not survive the rain
7kW Strong Britelights with automated heads
7kW Xenon Alpha One Falcon™ Beam searchlights (distributed by TMB)
ProCan PAR64s
ETC Source Four ellipsoidals
Strand Orion one-cell cyc lights
Mole-Richardson 24” 10kW Fresnels
High End Systems F100s
Strong Gladiator followspots
20kW incandescent Fresnel
PRG Virtuoso console