UVLD (Unlimited Visibility Lighting Design) continued its long tradition of designing the lighting for the General Motors Master Dealer meeting. This year, the show, which targets the top dealers of GM’s Saab, Hummer and Cadillac models, met at the Ritz Carlton at Lake Las Vegas, Nevada. The event was produced by BI of Minneapolis, Minnesota.
“The mission was to take a blank canvas and make each show unique to the brand,” explains UVLD lighting designer Paul Sharwell. This required a particularly close collaboration with BI’s creative staff, lead by executive producer Dawn Martin. The team wanted to base the set around a series of Element Labs’ VersaTube LED tubes; UVLD assured the producers that they could provide the most flexibility onsite by using a media server rather than driving the screens with a traditional graphics source or switched video feed. Sharwell chose to use High End Systems Catalysts for the servers.
Sharwell spent about 10 days onsite at the resort to prep the shows, refine the VersaTube content and execute each two-day event. The set was almost entirely comprised of VersaTubes running from floor to ceiling with supplementary projection and plasma screens. Content for the VersaTubes included logo graphics, video clips supplied by BI, as well as some content from the UVLD repertoire.
“We encouraged the graphic artists to produce elements for the Catalyst, as we knew certain logos and brand images were critical,” Sharwell notes. “However, it’s always a fine line—you don’t want the whole show pre-produced, because we can do so much on site by dynamically creating content from what we’ve got from them client and in the sever. As a firm, UVLD has invested in a library of media which we merge with the client’s material on each project.”
By way of example, Sharwell, working with programmer Jeff Nellis, was able “to take a still of the Saab logo, which features military jets, and manipulate it in Catalyst so it appears that the jets are flying through the VersaTubes,” he reports. “We essentially made a movie out of a still and added swooshing jet sound effects.”
Sharwell integrated the bold Hummer logo into the VersaTubes behind the presenters and then wrapped it into the brand’s graphics for a subtler look. Cadillac’s multicolor shield logo was given a similar treatment. Each brand’s show also featured top GM executives who gave presentations and answered dealers’ questions. Their appearances were marked by strong GM corporate branding across the entire scenic picture.
With the VersaTubes and their content playing such a dominant role in the shows Sharwell really had no need to light scenery. He opted to use Vari*Lite spot and wash moving lights to provide atmosphere. “The VersaTubes were such a strong focus that they became the bulk of my onsite design,” says Sharwell. “I worked hand-in-hand with Nellis on what we wanted the VersaTubes to do, then I laid lighting in over the VersaTube content to support the set piece.”
The UVLD team included Angus Sinex as production electrician. Tony Siekman of The Wit Company was the technical director on the project.