Stars including Madonna, Bono, Sting, Jay-Z, and Haiti's own Wyclef Jean performed on the telethon Hope for Haiti Now, organized in response to the earthquake in Haiti and aired Friday, January 22 on an unprecedented number of networks from three locations—New York, Los Angeles, and London. Viewed by an estimated 89 million people in the US and more than 160 million worldwide, the event was produced by Emmy-winning producer Joel Galen and MTV networks, and spearheaded and hosted by George Clooney, with dozens of celebrity appearances. It also featured the work of designers Tom Kenny in the New York location, Allen Branton in Los Angeles, and Tim Routledge in London.
"I designed the lighting for New York City on a Virgin American flight from LA to New York," says Kenny. "The airline has Wi-Fi, and in four-and-a-half hours, I had it all in place with John Healy at Scharff Weisberg and ready to go with gaffer Mike Grimes and the guys by end of the flight. Gary Mass and Inner Circle Distribution also really helped me on this one." Satr Kahn was the production designer, with Lisa Merick and Dave Rossi onsite in New York.
Scharff Weisberg and K/A/S Lighting donated the lighting gear in New York. Among the hanging light bulbs that dotted the set as scenic elements were a mix of Vari-Lite VL3000 Spots, VL3500 Spot and Wash units, VL2500 Wash units, VL1000TS units, Coemar Infinity XL Wash units, Coemar LED PARs, Martin MAC 700 Profiles, Impression XLs, ETC Source Four PARs, and Palas Cyc Lights. Robert Juliat and Lycian followspots rounded out the rig. Mike Appel and Kathy Beer programmed lighting on two MA Lighting grandMAs with NSPs. Lighting crew included gaffer Mike Grimes, Joel Tischoff, John Ellar, Ronnie Skopac, and Jason Livingston, among many others.
Cameron Yeary, assisted by Cory FitzGerald, was also in New York to whip up visual media programming via an MA Lighting grandMA, four Green Hippo Hippotizers (three HD and one SD), and Barco ImagePRO-HD units. The visuals relied heavily on images coming from Los Angeles and displayed on Lighthouse R16 and R6 panels to illustrate the devastation and hope in Haiti since the catastrophic earthquake. Pete's Big TVs provided video equipment. Video technicians in New York included Matt Ellar and Brent Jones.
Branton's lighting in Los Angeles built on the production design by John Calkins, with art directors Richard Schreiber and David Edwards. Continuing the light bulb theme, Branton also used Vari-Lite VL5B Wash units, VL6C+ Spots, VL1000TS units, Martin MAC 2000 Wash units, Philips Color Kinetics ColorBlasts, Strong Super Trouper Short Throws, and Lycian Starklite Truss Spots. Lighting for the phone bank call-in area included Mole Richardson Baby 5kW and 2kW units, as well as PAR 64s and various ellipsoidals. Consoles used were a PRG Virtuoso, an MA Lighting grandMA, and an ETC Expression. Lighting services were donated by TriCity Photon Research, while PRG, ArcLight Efx, and CBS Set Lighting donated lighting equipment.
Crew here included lighting directors Darren Langer and Tom Beck; gaffer Samuel Barker; programmers Joshua Hutchings, Daniel Boland, and Phillip Gene Webber; best boys Ronald Wirsgalla and James Barker; and operations by Liberty Bock.
Video imagery—the team led by Robb Wagner of Stimulated, Inc.—consisted primarily of donated images, from which artists worked in Adobe After Effects to design and edit animations for all locations. In Los Angeles, a 16-layer Vista Systems Spyder processor, provided by Stimulated, fed each of the Barco ILite 10 LED display's specific content. Other content was sent to New York and London, Wagner says, "and we could watch their rehearsals live via satellite, make adjustments as necessary, and send each city revised imagery up to the last minute." Video and scenic elements were donated by American Hi Def, Accurate Staging, Global Staging, and CBS Set.
In London, Routledge designed the lighting and set, as well as programmed lighting and video, noting, "I wanted to fit in with the look in the States but also make slight differences to show that we were in different parts of the world." He used 40 oversized light bulbs mixed in with 200 standard sized bulbs and uplit the studio walls with Martin Stagebar 54s, using MAC 300s and 500s for backlight. Clay Paky Alpha Beam 700s created strong beams and columns of light, while the studio's conventionals were a mix of ETC Source Four ellipsoidals,1kW and 2kW Fresnels, and short-nose floor PAR cans. Richard Bowles was the conventional lighting operator.
For video content, XL Video supplied the 5x4 FLED 11mm high-resolution screens fed by an MA Lighting MA Video Processing Unit (VPU) and controlled from a grandMA Lite, with a second networked grandMA on the studio floor.
PRG Europe provided Routledge's crew, including crew chief Gordon Torrington. Gear was also donated by Stage Electrics, Panalux, and MA Lighting.
Since airing, the Hope For Haiti Now soundtrack has become the first digital album to debut at #1 on Billboard, with downloads raising close to $3 million so far. Organizers report that, on its air-date alone, the telethon raised more than $58 million, and the funds are still amassing.