"It was really quite an adventure," says production designer Bruce Rodgers of Tribe, about his fourth appearance at the Super Bowl Halftime Show, which aired on Sunday, February 7, 2010. The "wow" factor went off the charts with 3055 Barco MiSTRIPs creating the stage for a 12-minute show featuring The Who. "It was really risky," adds Rodgers, who reports that all went surprising well and all concerned are pleased with the results.
The Super Bowl Halftime Show has some of the most stringent requirement in the business. Millions of viewers are watching, in addition to the crowd in the stadium, and the set-up time is limited to a mere 7.5 minutes. Yet the expectations are for the look of the show to be on a par with a concert tour that requires a load in of up to two days. "We started working on the designs last October, once they knew who the band was," says Rodgers, who worked closely with executive producer Ricky Kirshner, director Hamish Hamilton, lighting designer Al Gurdon, visual producer Lee Lodge, and the rest of the creative team (see list below).
As a Super Bowl veteran, Rodgers knew the limitations and challenges of the job: "I knew there was just one tunnel for access in the Miami Dolphins stadium, where we designed the halftime show starring Prince a few years ago. That defines how big a show we can do," he explains. "We wanted to give The Who a magical platform on which to perform, and not have an extra audience around the stage. Their music is so tied into a visual vernacular."
Rodgers had the inspiration to create a stage in the shape of Captain America’s shield—a round disk that curves up then flattens in the middle. "I thought we could make the surface of the shield all video, divided into segments like pizza slices, then shoot the segments into the stadium like darts," he notes. "The surface wouldn’t be solid but the video would trick the eye." The producer, director, and creative team loved the idea, and Rodgers worked with them to fit the lighting, lasers, foggers, and other gear into the 26 "radials," or slices of the stage.
Under the center platform where the band performed was an area the crew referred to as the "hamster run." This housed the 60 stagehands on the show (with 600 volunteers working on other aspects of the production ), who had just a few minutes to make the 390 connections to fire up the lighting, pyro, and video elements. "The grid of MiSTRIPS created movement on the stage," says Rodgers, who knew that XL Video was the only company that could provide the 3500 units needed (via Ken Gay in XL’s Nashville office).
"This is an example of when our industry goes for it in an almost impossible way and succeeds," adds Rodgers. "We wanted to push the boundaries and take it out of the comfort zone. You have to take a risk for these high-visibility projects, and be willing to survive extreme acts of bravery." Touchdown!
Credits, Equipment and Vendor Lists:
Super Bowl XLIV Credits
Executive Producer – Ricky Kirshner
Directed by Hamish Hamilton
Executive in Charge of Production – Rob Paine
Production Designer – Bruce Rodgers
Lighting Designer – Al Gurdon
Screens and Graphics Producer – Lee Lodge
Lighting Directors – Rich Gorrod, Bob Barnhart, Dave Grill
Lighting Programmers – Michael "Oz" Owen, Peter Radice
Video Content Programmer – Jason Rudolph
Staging Supervisors- Tony Hauser; Cap Spence
Creative consultant for The Who: Tom Kenny
Manager, The Who: Bill Curbishley
Sean Dougall, Mai Sakai, and Jake Kavanagh, Tribe inc. art directors
The BRIDGESTONE SUPER BOWL XLIV HALFTIME SHOW is an NFL NETWORK PRODUCTION and is executive produced by Ricky Kirshner and directed by Hamish Hamilton.
Lighting Equipment List
2 – PRG Virtuoso VX Consoles
1 – PRG Virtuoso DX2 Console
1 – PRG Virtuoso Tech Console
12 – PRG Virtuoso Node 1 and Node 2
7 – PRG Virtuoso Node Plus
10 – PRG Series 400 Ethernet Switches
2 – Green Hippo Hippotizer HD media servers
120 – Philips Vari-Lite VL3500 Wash
14 – A&O Technology Falcon 7kW Searchlights
12 – A&O Technology Falcon 6kW Searchlights
78 – Atomic Strobes w/Color Changer
62 – Atomic Strobes
4 – Lightning Strikes 250K
4 – Lightning Strikes 70K
290 – ChromaQ Color Block
45 – Philips ColorBlast TR
45 – Philips ColorBlast iW
11 – Molefay 8-LightsDWE
12 – 4-Light Moles ACL
14 – Strong Gladiator III 3kW Xenon Followspots
16 – ReelEFX DF-50 Diffusion Hazers
8 – ReelEFX RE II Fans
8 – Jem ZR33 Foggers
4 – 20" x 20" x 8’ Box Truss
12 – 20" x 20" x 10’ Box Truss
1 – Lot Power and Data Distribution Equipment
1 – Lot Power and Data Cables
LED FLOOR Equipment List
3055 Barco MiSTRIPs
1- Lot Uninterruptible power supplies
1- Lot Processors
Lighting Equipment Vendors
Production Resource Group
Attitude Specialty Lighting
B&R Scenery / Brian Sullivan Mecca Productions
Inc. National Flag & Banner
Stage Rigging, Inc.