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C3 Presents and Bandit Illuminate NFL Draft Town
USA – The 81st NFL Draft returned to the Second City’s Grant Park to create Draft Town, a 900,000 square foot mini metropolis. C3 Presents commissioned Bandit Lites to provide lighting, crew and logistics for more than a dozen areas of Draft Town, including the NFL Autograph Stage, NFL Photo Op Stage, The Ferris Wheel, The NFL Lombardi Trophy, The NFL Museum, The NFL Draft Tavern, site lighting, two SL-100 stages, The Draft Town Entrance, The Buckingham Fountain and the outside of the Selection Square structure.
With the draft headed outdoors, the NFL wanted the grounds of Draft Town to be aglow in whatever team colours were next to announce their pick, including Buckingham Fountain. Short of that direction, C3’s production manager Brandon Sossamon said he had a ‘blank slate’ for everything else.
“I called [Bandit client rep] Shawn Lear to Chicago for a meeting with the NFL. We walked the grounds with one of the NFL’s Events Associates, Daphne Wood, and discussed possibilities of creative lighting, what would read well with colour and what wouldn’t, and how to blanket the site with team colours. A few days later, Shawn generated a CAD reflecting the plans Bandit assembled and it was off to the races. During the build, we took Daphne around the site to verify the plans and she was thrilled with the coverage Bandit was able to provide.”
“Brandon’s experience and expertise in large scale production is of the highest quality and professional, and I’ve noticed he expects the same from vendors and crew,” said Lear. “Bandit was given well defined areas of direction related to the NFL Draft program that required precise execution during the live event. After that it was all creativity to convert the parks landscape into bright vivid LED colour.”
Equipment for the football themed festivities included 40 S4 Lekos, ten Clay Paky Sharpys, 51 Mac 2kW (16 with Beam Kits), 53 GRN Moving Wash, nine Chauvet Color Dash Accent, 26 Elation Cuepix Bliner WW2, 42 GRN LED Battens, 465 GRN LED Pars, 26 GRN LED Wash, ten Pixel Line 1044 4FT, 676 Feet of Festoons, 16 Syncrolite SXL Skylights, three grandMA1s, four Road Hog 3s and a wealth of dimming and pars.
Considering the sheer size of the park, and the fact that there were very few structures or convenient cable paths, Bandit’s team had to configure how to get data across the site efficiently and securely.
“Bandit utilised wireless DMX as well as hard line in order to tie it all together,” explained Sossamon. “Additionally, we created two control points to control the lighting throughout the park: one control was based deep in the Draft Town grounds and the other was located at the Selection Square FoH. The Bandit crew ensured the data was safely ran and out of public paths.”
Another crucial aspect to the lighting for Draft Town was the NFL’s explicit desire to have the lighting in the park be in sync to the lighting during the NFL Draft in Selection Square. With the lighting director calling cues from the NFL broadcast truck to Bandit board operators Teresa Porterfield-Fensler and Chaz Martin (who created coordinating colour palettes that matched both the primary and secondary colours of each team), an intercom failure would have been disastrous, but Bandit planned ahead and had radio backup for seamless changes.
And while the weekend might have been a rainy one, Bandit arrived prepared for the elements with a phenomenal crew.
“We sent three trucks to Chicago and had such a brilliant team on site, everything worked as it should,” said Bandit project manager Jimmy Hatten.
“We had a lot of areas to cover, so trying to make consistent looks that matched our teams all over the grounds was tricky,” said Porterfield-Fensler. “All areas had to look the same and change at the same time with whomever was ‘on the clock.’ Chaz Martin and I were able to bounce around and make sure everything was the same.”
“Working with Brandon, everything is very organised, and with details changing sometime by the hour, it is fantastic to receive real time updates for vendors and crew with a multitude of detail for download via the C3 Web Share site,” finished Lear.
“Shawn Warlow and (crew chief) Jim ‘Rosie’ Greenawalt kept everything at pace and on schedule; they had the plan once they hit the ground and overcame build delays and weather,” said Sossamon adding: “My experience with the Bandit crew was great. Shawn Lear was on top of it at the office. Another component to this event is the sponsorship element. While Shawn had to deal with C3 and our needs for the park, there were a number of sponsors booking production elements as well and Shawn was able to navigate well and keep everything organised.”
12th May 2016
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