Datacentric: Designing The CES 2018 Keynote Presentation

CES 2018 Keynote Presentation
(Brian Ach)

The CES 2018 opening night keynote presentation was all about data, from its importance in our lives to its power to transform the world. Held at the Park Theatre at Monte Carlo in Las Vegas on January 8, the keynote immersed attendees in the future of data-driven technology, with help from live event experts, including executive technical producer John Halloran of John Halloran and Associates, executive producer and creative director Bill Welter of Clarity Creative, production designer Todd Ivins, and executive art director Gregg Stokes of Clarity Creative.

Read about the presentation's amazing stuntsvisual content, lighting design, and staging stats.


“The set needed to provide a plastic, ever-changing, fluid space,” adds Ivins. “Elements needed to engage the audience and consume the event space, and then either withdraw or disappear from the audience focus.”

Tait Towers provided the automation and staging for the ambitious presentation. During the concept stages, Tait created a 360° virtual reality experience of the Park Theatre, with all of the Tait elements desired, for the client to experience the production as an audience member in real time. “The previsualizations made the final show a complete expression of our vision,” says Stokes. “We did not have to wonder how it looked. It looked the way we programmed it.” Mystic Scenic Studios provided the scenery.

“We wanted to treat the show like the idea of peeling back an onion, but in this case, a really delicious onion where you were constantly revealing stuff throughout the show,” adds Welter. While attendees settled into their seats, a giant silk cloth hid the whole stage and was illuminated from behind until a kabuki drop began the show. “First, you see one screen, and then that screen can be pulled up to reveal more depth, and so on and so on, to change the look of the show over the course of the 75 minutes or so of the keynote.”

While the show never settled on one particular look, the primary one featured a main LED screen, comprising 287 600x1200mm Roe Visual CB5 tiles and 82 600x600mm CB5 tiles, and an LED floor of 1,288 i5 tiles, with video equipment and systems supplied by WorldStage.

The staging included an extra-large rolling stage, hexagon-shaped wall columns, and an overhead rigging system, which was fastened with a grid full of Tait Nano Winches, Tait Nav Hoists, and Tait Rollios. Six hundred feet of gray and RGBA LED tape lined the set to allow the scenery to be self-lighting. “This way, the set could chameleon to any color that the lighting designer chose at any time,” says Ivins.


  • 341 stock decks
  • Over 100 custom decks
  • 96' long automated deck trap for the LED screen to bury into the deck
  • 4,268 sq/ft curved VR projection screen
  • 13,440 sq/ft kabuki silk for the pre-show
  • 600' of LED tape light for the proscenium walls
  • 2,200 sq/ft of polycarb for the Volocopter safety wall
  • Two 40' tall self-climbing truss towers for the proscenium walls
  • 1,500 sq/ft of grating for the prop wash mitigation platform
  • 120 triple swivel casters for all the moving set pieces


  • Executive Technical Producer: John Halloran (John Halloran and Associates)
  • Executive Art Director: Gregg Stokes (Clarity Creative)
  • Executive Producer / Creative Director: Bill Welter (Clarity Creative)
  • Production Designer: Todd Ivins (Ivinsart Design, Inc.)
  • Technical Media Advisor: Gary Jaeger (Core Studio Creative Director)
  • Lighting Designer: Jim Tetlow (Nautilus Entertainment Design)
  • Lighting Director / Programmer: Kurt Doemelt (Nautilus Entertainment Design)
  • Audio Designer, FOH Engineer: Rich Halvorson
  • Laser Design and Integration: Kelly Sticksel (Fireplay Executive Director R&D)

Worldstage: Video Equipment and Systems

  • Senior Project Manager: James Sarro
  • Integration Project Manager: TJ Donoghue
  • Project Manager: Dennis Menard
  • Project Manager: John Denion
  • Senior disguise Media Server Programmer: Alex Bright
  • Video Director: Ken Stanford

Kish Rigging: Production Rigging

  • Production Rigger: Mike Cassidy

Mystic Scenic Studios: Scenery

  • Project Manager: Mark Marenghi

TAIT Towers: Staging and Automation

  • Project Managers: Ben Gasper and Brian Levine

4Wall: Lighting Equipment

  • Account Executive: Craig Teague

OSA Integrated Solutions: Audio Equipment

  • Account Executive: Paul Driggs
  • Project Manager: Peter Wiejaczka

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