Billed as “the most intense 12 minutes in live entertainment,” the Bridgestone Super Bowl XLIV Halftime Show at Sun Life Stadium in Miami, Florida showcased the amazing brilliance and versatility of Barco’s LED MiSTRIPs. The MiSTRIPs served as the literal foundation of an innovative “Captain America” shield, a video-infused stage for The Who’s musical performance. Essentially a 40-piece jigsaw puzzle comprising 26 radial sections and surrounding a 14-piece mainstage, the floor required 600 volunteers and crew to assemble on the field in less than eight minutes. They did it in seven and a half minutes.
This herculean team effort was led by XL Video, an international supplier of video equipment and services for concert touring, theatre, and the arts, indoor/outdoor events and television performances, in collaboration with NFL Network producers. The producers wanted a design that felt “epic,” capturing the energy and excitement of a live stadium performance, as well as a televised concert. The result: a visually spectacular show featuring a perfect blend of LED video technology, creative lighting, pyrotechnics, and lasers.
An Idea Is Born
“I thought we could make the surface of the shield all video, divided into segments like pizza slices, then shoot the segments into the stadium like darts,” says Bruce Rodgers, production designer. “The surface wouldn’t be solid, but the video would trick the eye.” The producer, director, and creative team loved the idea, and Rodgers worked with them to fit the lighting, lasers, foggers, and other gear into the 26 “radials,” or slices of the stage. Providing the dynamic, automated lighting element were 3,055 5’-long Barco MiSTRIPs, a flexible, yet rugged creative lighting solution from Barco.
Rising To The Challenge
The MiSTRIPs were an ideal choice, since it was critical that the technology be extremely bright, easily controllable, and absolutely weatherproof. The MiSTRIPs were tested thoroughly to ensure the most effective approach to mounting on the stage carts as well as suitability to the processing requirements of a sectional, mobile stage. The MiSTRIPs were designed on 9” centers radiating from the outside toward the middle of the stage.
The biggest challenge was how to keep many of the most critical components powered up on a stage that broke apart into 40 pieces. Uninterruptible power supplies with 110V power drops in the staging locations were connected to UPS units to keep the batteries charged, totalling 109 connections for the video components alone. The MiSTRIPs performed beautifully and precisely according to plan.
“This is an example of when our industry goes for it in an almost impossible way and succeeds,” adds Rodgers. “We wanted to push the boundaries and take it out of the comfort zone. You have to take a risk for these high-visibility projects, and be willing to survive extreme acts of bravery.” Touchdown!
Ricky Kirshner, Executive Producer
Bruce Rodgers, Production Designer
Hamish Hamilton, Director
Lee Lodge, Screens/Graphics Producer
Al Gurdon, Lighting Designer
Bob Magee, XL Video Account Executive
Mike Spencer, XL Video Technical Director
3,055 5’-long Barco LED MiSTRIPs