Production Resource Group (PRG) provided multiple sound reinforcement systems for the annual tree lighting ceremony at New York’s Rockefeller Center in early December, and making its debut in PRG’s package for 2013 were al-4 subcompact line arrays from VUE Audiotechnik.
PRG has supported the event for 20 years, and while line arrays have long been the company’s “system of choice” for events such as this, Dave Chessman, who served as PRG’s project manager at the ceremony, notes that the al-4’s compact size and versatility prompted a switch from previous systems.
“Sight lines are always a big concern when setting up a broadcast events,” he explains.“In addition, Rockefeller Center has very strict noise guidelines, so getting ample volume for the gathered crowd, while preventing the sound from spilling outside the desired listening areas is absolutely critical.”
He continues, “The VUE al-4 is extremely compact and delivers a tremendous amount of output for its size. Most importantly, the VUE line array has excellent pattern control. We were able to quickly assemble the al-4 system and easily dial-in exactly the perfect coverage. I was extremely impressed.”
PRG set up the VUE systems directly adjacent the 76-foot spruce tree that headlined the evening’s festivities. Dual al-4 arrays included eight elements each, while a pair of VUE V4 Systems Engines provided all power and processing for the line arrays. An additional pair of VUE a-8 two-way point source systems delivered supplemental under-tree fill. A trio of Yamaha PM5-Ds handled FOH and monitor duties throughout the event.
“We started using VUE systems late last year and have been consistently impressed with the company’s products and commitment to service,” notes PRG vice president Bob Rendon. “The al-4 performed exceptionally well in New York, but I was also pleased that VUE executive vice president Jim Sides flew out personally to support our team. That’s a rare and welcome level of commitment.”
The tone of this year’s event was more somber due to the passing of PRG audio technician Jim Lovell. Lovell, who was among the victims of the Metro-North train derailment in the Bronx on December 1, lost his life while traveling into the city to assist the setup team.
“Jim Lovell was a part of this festival for nearly 20 years, and we were deeply saddened by the news of his passing,” says Rendon. “I believe that he would be pleased that our team pulled together and the show ultimately ‘went on.’ I cannot think of a better way to honor his memory than NBC choosing to dedicate the show to him.”
A community fund has been established in Jim Lovell’s memory with proceeds going to his wife and four children. Contributions can be made here.
Production Resource Group (PRG)