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Scharff Weisberg Lighting Is First Choice For 2007 NFL Draft

Company provided lighting support for the suspenseful NFL Draft held once again at Radio City Music Hall (June 04, 2007)

DMN Newswire--2007-6-4--For the third consecutive year, Scharff Weisberg provided lighting support for the suspenseful NFL Draft held once again at Radio City Music Hall.  The high-profile event, telecast live on ESPN and the NFL Network, was packed with people eager to discover the professional fate of the nations top college football players.  

?It was a very intense week, says lighting designer Michael Franks of Michael Franks Enterprises who has served as the lighting designer for the event for the past 10 years  ?Im always surprised at how large an event it is.  Aside from the design challenge of lighting the room in a beautiful way was the added challenge of having three different clients -- the NFL, ESPN and the newly-added NFL Network -- in a timeline.  We are charged with giving the show the high-caliber look of an awards show at a fraction of that type of budget.  We have to make a little go a long way.

Franks, who worked on his first NFL Draft a decade ago, teamed with John Trowbridge and with Scharff Weisberg to work more efficiently and utilize resources in a more effective way this year.  ?Scharff Weisberg had all the gear I needed, Franks notes.  ?Theyre not just a theatrical lighting house with some film and TV gear; they really have a foundation in the film and television worlds, too.


In addition, Scharff Weisbergs equipment ?always comes with a very high standard of maintenance, he reports.  ?We have so little time to set up that we cant deal with a lot of bad gear and gear that doesnt work.  With Scharff Weisberg gear its a given that everything will work.  Theres very little room for trial and error: We barely have time to get everything done in the time allotted, and we have high expectations of what we want to accomplish.

Franks was tasked with lighting the main stage set and all onstage areas plus the backstage green room (with light flattering to announcers), the wings from the green room to the stage, three ESPN interview areas (a main desk, second desk and balcony area), the entire audience, all three balconies, and the orchestra (covering the audience and fans).  ?Everything had to be balanced at a level that wasnt uncomfortable while people watch the show over 12 hours, he points out.  

Additionally, Franks provided lighting for downstairs press areas, a tunnel where players did press stand ups, and a second press area.

For this years draft Franks specified additional moving lights.  ?ESPN changed their location and lighting with conventional lights was not an option, says Franks.  ?So we used VARI*LITE VL1000s and 3500s from Scharff Weisberg to focus keys and backlights.  We also used arc 1000s and really liked them.

Scharff Weisberg Lighting furnished Franks with an extensive lighting complement.  Moving-light fixtures included Mac 700 Profiles; VARI*LITE 500 TD washes; VARI*LITE 1000 AS and TS; VARI*LITE 3000 washes and spots; and VARI*LITE 3500 framing spots. Among conventional fixtures Scharff Weisberg provided were numerous Source spots; Source 4 PARs; Selecon ellipsoidal MSRs; MR16 Striplights; and Altman focusing cycs.

Scharff Weisberg also supplied ARRI 300, 650, 1K and 2K fresnels, ARRI 650 fresnels, ARRI 750w and 2K Softlites, and Chimera Video Pro banks speed rings for the ARRILITE 650 and 1000.  Effects lights included Martin Atomic Strobes AF 1000 Strobes. Scharff Weisberg furnished ETC Express 250 and Reflection consoles and a pair of grandMA consoles for lighting control plus truss, rigging and motors.

?We love the grandMA, notes Franks.  ?It offers a tremendous amount of flexibility and control unavailable in any other console.  Its able to control not only moving lights but also conventional lights and organize them for live TV so channels can be accessed quickly and adjusted on the fly.  It lets us access and adjust individual levels and create groups.

Corey Fitzgerald was the lighting programmer/operator. Kieran Illes who served as lighting director for the NFL Network under Michael Franks,, used an Express console.

?I always feel that the NFL Draft is not just another project for Scharff Weisberg, says Franks.  ?Unlike other companies, Scharff Weisberg doesnt regard it as just a job but as a question of addressing my specific needs.  How we get things done is important, and Scharff Weisberg understands that.  In addition, no matter how big a project gets, I still have a one-on-one relationship with Chris McMeen.  Thats why I continue using them.

Scharff Weisberg Lighting provides state-of-the-art lighting equipment for rental or as part of a complete package of AV equipment and support.  For more information, call 718-482-1208.

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