Scharff Weisberg Works Magic With Criss Angel

Scharff Weisberg supported GMR Marketing LLC with an array of display, audio, lighting, and control equipment for the live webcast and future telecast of Criss Angel’s cement block demonstration in Times Square.

The illusionist and escape artist performed his latest feat in constant and full view of spectators. Angel was encased in a 4x4x4-foot glass box with steel bars, which was hoisted into the air and filled with cement. The block was suspended 40 feet above the crowd for 24 hours as Angel attempted to escape before the block was released and crashed to the ground. The event was streamed live in a webcast and taped for a future episode of the series Criss Angel Mindfreak now showing new episodes on cable’s A&E. Needless to say, when the cement block was dropped after 24 hours Angel magically appeared atop the Times Square set’s LED wall.

“We were asked to provide a turnkey solution to maximize the limited space available for the event and make the performance exciting for everyone onsite and on the web,” says Scott Troxel, director of entertainment, GMR Marketing. The company was tasked with furnishing theatrical lighting, sound reinforcement and high-resolution video to satisfy the needs of the event’s advertising partners as well as spectators in Times Square and viewers on the web and, soon, TV.

Troxel recognized Scharff Weisberg as a one-stop solution for the demo. “I needed to have lights and video all interact in a cohesive manner without being able to rehearse the event as I would have needed to do if I used separate suppliers,” he explains. “I have worked with Scharff Weisberg in the past, and they have shown their ability to come through with solutions to the evolving needs of live event marketing.”

Challenged by heavy rains, Scharff Weisberg provided a multi-camera TV production/satellite truck for uplinking the demo and set up a large LED wall consisting of a 32x11 configuration of Barco OLite 510. The wall rolled IMAG of the event plus pre-produced content from A&E, stats, commercials, and text messages wishing Angel well.

“We used two Barco Folsom Encores in series which allowed us to treat the LED wall as one image area, a third Encore was used to send a camera feed to the web and a 4th one was used to build the control room monitor wall” notes Scharff Weisberg project manager John Ackerman. “We had four channels of effects playback, four channels of disk playback and six cameras. We recorded all the cameras, then built highlight packages with an Avid A&E brought in and played them back during the event.”

Scharff Weisberg also supplied six Barco Folsom Image Pro HD scalers, a 42-inch NEC plasma monitor and a 24-inch Dell LCD monitor.

The large lighting package from Scharff Weisberg included Vari*Lite VL3000 spots, Vari*Lite VL3500 framing spots, Martin Atomic strobes, six-foot MR16 striplights, Martin Littlebig 3Ks, ARRI 2.5K/4K HMI Fresnels, Coemar LED PARs plus a grandMA and grandMA Light for control, four DF-50 hazers for atmosphere and a considerable amount of truss.

“With the use of technology to reinforce what was being seen, heard and demonstrated,” notes Troxel. “the LED screen allowed images to be displayed to thousands of people on site and tens of thousands of people on the web.”

In addition, Scharff Weisberg’s lighting “added to the dramatic element as well as enhanced the branding,” he says. And the “audio allowed the event to have an emcee describing what was happening at any given time and interacting with the crowd.”

Troxel reports that “working with Sharff Weisberg is always a pleasure. They make my event run flawlessly and make me, and more importantly, my clients extremely happy. I’m looking forward to the next project we can do together.”

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