Unlimited Visibility Lighting Design (UVLD) teamed with production company PineRock to deliver a dynamic onstage look for the annual FedEx national sales meeting held recently at the Venetian Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. UVLD drove the media content and designed the extensive lighting for the three-day event, which featured executive speakers, panel presentations, celebrity talent, and performances by extreme athletes.

Both UVLD and PineRock have been in the forefront of the application of media server technology in corporate design. “The synergy between PineRock’s producers and creative directors and the UVLD team enabled us to maximize the capabilities of 20 multimedia LED panels, which formed the background to the meeting’s set,” says UVLD lighting designer Gregory Cohen. “Driven by us through the High End Systems’ Catalyst media server, the LED panels carried the low-resolution video content for every speaker, all the talent and the athletes.”

The PineRock team was lead by Mac McNally and creative director Jeff Davis. Set designer Tom Cariello designed the panels’ configuration. A large, horizontal, LED panel, with 768x144 resolution, was flanked by clusters of nine smaller, 192x192 outboard panels raised above the large panel and notching its upper corners. A giant FedEx logo capped the horizontal panel. IMAG screens book-ended the low-res screens.

“Working with the creative team, I could use my experience creating dramatic visual transitions and apply that palette to the more traditional graphic elements,” Cohen explains. “I think what made the show successful is that everyone was open to the power the technology allows. From animated backgrounds, to still wallpaper, to full motion clips, we were able to put the media servers through their paces in a way that was appropriate and ultimately effective for the project.”

Cohen created backgrounds from images in UVLD’s repertoire of images to support executive presentations and demonstrations of the extreme athletes’ feats. He also tapped a nighttime Vegas panorama for comic Kevin Nealon’s turn on stage, a blur of city streets for a display of martial-arts skills, and New York Yankees’ imagery for a motivational speech by an executive making visual use of an inevitable Yankee metaphor. Some backgrounds featured bold type treatments of words, for example, “EXceptional, The EX Factor” was layered over abstract colors and graphics.

The wide array of backgrounds required multiple days of onsite Catalyst programming by Cameron Yeary in advance of the meeting. “The decision to let us drive the background ultimately afforded us a lot of flexibility,” Yeary notes. “We were always live to the screen. This provided both adaptability and responsibility, and everything was programmed to run flawlessly and consistently through rehearsal and during the shows.”

UVLD’s Paul Sharwell, serving as the moving light programmer, crafted a dramatic lighting environment for the meeting by employing 100 automated lights: 40 VARI*LITE 2500 spots, 40 MAC 2000 washes and 20 MAC 2000 performances, plus 130 conventional fixtures for traditional area lighting.

“This was not a small show by any measure,” concludes Cohen. “We had a well-equipped moving light package as well as the responsibility for all the background visuals. That is why I am so proud of our team and their work; I was able to concentrate on the overall picture and developing a collaborative relationship with the outstanding PineRock staff. I knew the UVLD team seated next to me would carry the vision to reality.”

Marty Goldenberg of Marlyn Production was the technical director on the event. Angus Sinex served as production electrician with Chris Nye acting as his assistant.