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COVID-19 Update: Proactive Production Company Turns Warehouse into Live Video Studio

Photo: Samantha Krietemeyer

Quick to adapt its business model to the current situation, Premier Entertainment Group (PEG) in Dothan, Alabama has transformed its warehouse into a full service video production studio. Kitted out with lighting from ADJ and sister company Elation Professional, the facility is being used by DJs, bands, and church worship groups to professionally record sets that can then be broadcast through online streaming.

The effect of the worldwide Coronavirus pandemic on the entertainment industry has been truly profound, with every kind of event -- from arena tours to wedding receptions -- postponed for the foreseeable future. However, many entertainment professionals are utilizing modern technology to broadcast live performances and DJ sets directly to the comfort and safety of their fans' homes. Which is the route that Premier Entertainment Group's president and owner, Dave Guiler, has quickly steered his business.

"When it first happened, a few weeks ago, that announcements were made about the need for social distancing and other protocols," explains Guiler, "we immediately started getting calls from clients postponing or canceling events. We went from 70-80 events booked in March, to having absolutely nothing. I took about a day to recover from the shock, but then gathered together the guys and said: "The last thing we want to do is furlough anyone, or lay anyone off, so let's do anything we can to keep everyone working and do the best we can to keep a full staff. And, so far, we've been fortunate enough to be able to do that."

PEG's plan for diversifying during these difficult times involved clearing the space the team usually use for prepping gear ready to go out to events and shows. They then installed extra trusses either side of the one that is permanently installed and usually used for hanging fixtures for testing and service. Finally, they installed pipe and drape to cover the warehouse walls, giving them a 'black box' ready to use for filming whatever clients want to stream to the world.

"I'll be honest, video recording is not our strongest area of expertise," admits Guiler. "But I said to the guys, 'We've got all this gear sitting here, we might as well use it!' So initially we were just planning to have some DJs come in and film their sets for them to post later. But once we started doing it, I was like 'man, I think this has a lot of potential.' So, we started reaching out to churches in the area that didn't have live streaming capability and offered them the opportunity to pre-record services here at the shop. Essentially, we've put together a turnkey video production package; where we offer the performance area, the lighting, the cameras, and the recording."

To create aerial effects and surface gobo projections in the space, the PEG team rigged four of their ADJ Vizi BSW 300 moving head fixtures to each side truss and then deployed a further four units as a ground package. These are hybrid luminaires, which can function interchangeably as beam, spot, or wash fixtures. However, in this instance, the units rigged to the trusses are primarily projecting textured effects down on to the floor of the space, while the fixtures on the floor are used to shoot punchy mid-air effects up from behind the performers.

"We chose the Vizi BSW 300 for this purpose because it has the widest beam angle of all the lights we have and the trim height in the studio is pretty low, at around 14.5', explains Guiler. "It's actually a fixture we use a lot for all kinds of applications; it's been a real work horse for us. We've sent it out on everything from DJs playing weddings to big production gigs with national artists, and we've had incredible success with it. The 300W LED source is killer, it absolutely crushes almost any other light we put it next to. It's a great fixture and really is versatile; anything you need from it -- a tight beam, a nice profile or even a broad wash -- it delivers. It's a flexible fixture, and that's the truth!"

To complement the moving beams and gobo projections, Guiler and his team also deployed fourteen of ADJ's 7P HEX IP fixtures on the ground throughout the space. This robust and versatile LED par fixture offers heavy duty all-metal construction and an IP65-rated enclosure, while packing in seven 12W six-in-one HEX LEDs to generate a powerful wash with huge color mixing potential.

"The 7P HEX IP is another versatile fixture, that we use for all kinds of events," enthuses Guiler. "The color mixing is great and the brightness is fantastic. Being an IP65-rated unit, it's become our 'go-to' choice for front light when we're doing smaller outdoor stages. Being a compact, lightweight fixture, we usually mount them on T-bars and throw them up on top of tripods. It doesn't matter where we're at, they have plenty of brightness, and they're super reliable. We don't have to worry about them, just plug them in and they work every time!"

In addition to the ADJ fixtures, the PEG team have selected two products from sister company Elation Professional to complete their studio's lighting package. Nine FUZE WASH Z350 single source LED par moving head luminaires, three on each truss, provide overhead color washing and illumination of the performers. Meanwhile, eight CUEPIX Blinder WW2 fixtures, mounted on vertical pipes spread around the space, provide warm white fill washes and blinder effects.

Since opening up the space to their clients late last month, PEG has already welcomed a variety of DJs, worship groups, and bands into their new studio. This included a live stream last Friday evening that offered the people of Dothan a "virtual concert" experience in lieu of the Foster Fest street festival that usually takes place on the first Friday of each month in the city's downtown area. PEG usually provide the production for this multi-stage community event, so Guiler and the team were pleased to be able to still make the event happen, albeit it in virtual form. The broadcast featured a performance from a full live band together with a number of DJ sets, and attracted a sizeable audience both from the local area and across the country.

Established for over 10 years, Premier Entertainment Group usually specialize in providing audio, lighting, and video services for events of all shapes and sizes. The company has built a reputation as a leader in the field within their city and works with a wide variety of clients hosting everything from small corporate events through to large-scale outdoor festivals. Having a longstanding relationship with the ADJ Group of Companies, the PEG team has built up a substantial inventory of ADJ and Elation Professional fixtures.

"We are 100% exclusive to ADJ and Elation when it comes to lighting," states Guiler. "The products work great and have always been very reliable, so I don't see that changing any time soon. We have amazing relationships with our reps, and with the company as a whole, which is also very important in this business. We couldn't hope for better support!"

Premier Entertainment Group will be offering video recording and live streaming services to their clients from their warehouse for as long as the Coronavirus crisis continues and it is safe to do so. After that, the team is looking forward to getting back out to do what they do best: support their clients' events with the best production possible!

WWWwww.adj.com

WWWwww.pegproduction.com


(6 April 2020)

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