For the third consecutive year, Scharff Weisberg provided lighting support for the suspenseful NFL Draft held once again at Radio City Music Hall. The high-profile event, telecast live on ESPN and the NFL Network, was packed with people eager to discover the professional fate of the nation's top college football players.
"It was a very intense week," says lighting designer Michael
Franks of Michael Franks Enterprises who has served as the lighting designer for the event for the past 10 years "I'm always surprised at how large an event it is. Aside from the design challenge of lighting the room in a beautiful way was the added challenge of having three different clients--the NFL, ESPN, and the newly added NFL Network--in a timeline. We are charged with giving the show the high-caliber look of an awards show at a fraction of that type of budget. We have to make a little go a long way."
Franks, who worked on his first NFL Draft a decade ago, teamed with John Trowbridge and with Scharff Weisberg to work more efficiently and utilize resources in a more effective way this year. "Scharff Weisberg had all the gear I needed," Franks notes. "They're not just a theatrical lighting house with some film and TV gear; they really have a foundation in the film and television worlds, too."
In addition, Scharff Weisberg's equipment "always comes with a very high standard of maintenance," he reports. "We have so little time to set up that we can't deal with a lot of bad gear and gear that doesn't work. With Scharff Weisberg gear, it's a given that everything will work. There's very little room for trial and error: We barely have time to get everything done in the time allotted, and we have high expectations of what we want to accomplish."
Franks was tasked with lighting the main stage set and all onstage areas plus the backstage green room (with light flattering to announcers), the wings from the green room to the stage, three ESPN interview areas (a main desk, second desk and balcony area), the entire audience, all three balconies, and the orchestra (covering the audience and fans). "Everything had to be balanced at a level that wasn't uncomfortable while people watch the show over 12 hours," he points out.
Additionally, Franks provided lighting for downstairs press areas, a tunnel where players did press stand ups, and a second press area.