UVLD Lights Up Drury Design’s Ideas

New York-based business communications company Drury Design Dynamics called upon Unlimited Visibility Lighting Design (UVLD) to provide illumination for an 8,000-attendee, four-day users’ conference for a large technology company. The event took place at the Mandalay Bay Events Center and called for video and lighting design and implementation of the general sessions in the arena.

“What made this event unique,” reflects UVLD’s Gregory Cohen, “was that unlike a lot of large-scale corporate experiences, which are internal, this was an external event with a paying audience.” In additional to all the education, networking, and solution showcases, it was important to provide some great entertainment. That meant that acrobatic circus acts, celebrity Dana Carvey and other comedic acts, laser modules, gymnasts, aerial elements, and a house band were all part of the meeting’s mix

According to Cohen, Drury really wanted to push the envelope. There were 200 moving lights, 300 conventional lights, and large video centerpiece. “We were charged with driving HD video projectors to generate eye-candy graphics and deliver client-created content to the video screens. At times,” he says, "we had to light the 120’-wide image area with video." The team projected content onto three center screens comprising a wide stationary screen flanked by a series of moving scenic elements (triangles, ovals, etc.) that could travel on and off the set.

The complexity of the task required both custom masks and nontraditional raster geometrics. PRG’s MBox extreme was selected as the media server, and it was up to the task. Notes associate lighting designer and MBox programmer Cameron Yeary, “The image raster was blended in the servers, and we created the ultra-wide image to cover the three-screen area.” The content came from the clients as well as from the UVLD image library. “Once the raster was established and perfected,” Yeary continues, “it was a breeze to manipulate the media to match the preplanned creative as well as react to onsite notes.”

Drury Design Dynamics is at the cutting edge of using a variety of software sources on their shows. That has allowed them to create shows that use media servers nimbly and creatively. Media becomes the center of the creative effort, rather than remaining in a parenthetical role. Explains Cohen, “It was a big show and a large package that we enjoyed designing. Drury has a workflow that is perfect for media-centric shows. They story board many of the moments and looks of the show, but the boards aren’t always predictive of what happens on site—they are open to new ideas and often come up with changes that turn out to be appropriately brilliant.”

On the lighting side, the show was designed with over 200 moving lights, adroitly programmed by UVLD Partner Paul Sharwell. “It’s a blast programming a big show with a lot of media,” Sharwell notes. “On some level, there will always be something to react to, as the lighting can either compliment the media or contribute to its visual footprint.” Both Yeary and Sharwell programmed grandMA consoles.

The show was produced by Philip Manin at Drury, with principal Chris Drury serving as creative director. The production electrician was Angus Sinex, assisted by Chris Nye. The gear was provided by Sun Valley-based Entertainment Lighting Services. Video equipment was supplied by LMG.

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