Super Bowl LV show pre-visualized with Depence

Super Bowl LV show pre-visualized with Depence

US based design support firm Earlybird again relied on Depence, this time for the programming and pre-visualization of the 2021 Super Bowl LV halftime show back in February.

Earlybird kicked off their year by supporting a fully virtual performance (read about it here

). Their next kick off, so to speak, was for the 2021 Super Bowl LV halftime show. The US based design support firm was brought onboard by lighting designer Al Gurdon, and were responsible for the programming and visualization of the widely televised broadcast production. Again, Earlybird relied on the performance and design capabilities of our multimedia show design and visualization system Depence, which led to a stunning halftime show, featuring the musical talents of ‘The Weeknd’:

“Depence was necessary for this show due to the scope and scale of the project. There were many moving pieces, custom scenery, areas of high detail, and a visual fidelity that was required in order to present previz to other parties in the production. Depence let us work remotely, and informed important design changes and choices prior to arrival onsite.” – Earlybird, 2021

Earlybird was responsible for managing the coordination of control and circuiting of hundreds of scenic electrics. The set was fabricated by 3 separate vendors: TAIT Towers, Atomic Design and All Access, which created different parts of the stage scenery as well as custom built scenic elements. To bring their ideas to life, the teams have made extensive use of the Depence Asset builder, which was used to design over 50 custom fixtures such as LED neon tape, custom tungsten bulb arrays, light boxes, buildings, and more. All of these elements together helped to comprise a most professional and detailed working model, and subsequent pre-visualization of the final show.

“The ability to capture DMX, and export the programming before arriving onsite was a huge tool in helping the design team communicate their intentions visually. In addition to Depence’s ability to have a project of this size and still perform as well as it does, the most invaluable part of the program for this particular project was the Asset Builder.” – Earlybird, 2021

At first, the fixtures were prepared in Vectorworks, while models and texturing were prepared in Cinema4D. The easy-to-use import functions of Depence alongside the Asset Builder feature allowed the team to ultimately implement their files into the Depence 3D world. The lighting system as well as the RGB controllable stadium lighting system – which is already built in in house – were also added to the Depence project file. The previz programming was done at the Earlybird office in Burbank and onsite in Tampa using GrandMA2 consoles and 9 NPUs. With the help of Depence, preprogramming was comfortable, as changes could be made in real time according to decision making for the ongoing production phase. The team was able to test the impact and placement of additional fixtures even before dispatching changes to the onsite team, which was a huge help. The Depence project file was kept up to date throughout the preproduction phase as physical and patch changes came in through load in, and leading up to the first rehearsal.

Following the previz period in LA, presentation material in video form was rendered via Depence to send it to producers and the director to give them an idea of how the lighting programming would look at scale. This video then was incorporated into a larger creative previz video and was used to show the artist team the visual story of the show even before first rehearsals. Earlybird also imported the video content from screens producers Drew Findley and Dan Efros of DFP into the Depence model to play along on the timeline with the lighting programming. This was a huge help in understanding the relationship between lighting and video elements, which totaled 28 screens from 6 separate video sources (in Depence) in total.


Lighting Personnel

Designer: Al Gurdon

Lighting Directors: Jeff Nellis, Ben Green

Lighting Directors/Programmers: Eric Marchwinski, Mark Humphrey

Gaffer: Alen Sisul

Best Boys: John Cox, Dennis Sisul, Alejandro Flores

Best Boys: John Cox, Dennis Sisul, Alejandro Flores Best Boys / Lead Followspots: Jason Uchita, Adam Hagin, Mikey Smallman, Daisy Toledo

Chief Tech: Robb Minnotte

PRG Lead Techs: Meg Flanagan, Chris Nye

Previz Tech: Nick Coauette

Stadium Lighting Tech: Michael Dodge

The Weeknd Lighting Designer: Jason Baeri


Lighting Equipment

4x grandMA2 Fullsize

118x Robe Robin 1200 Wash

1x grandMA2 Light

50x GLP X4

9x grandMA2 NPU

18x Clay Paky Xytlos

8x PRG Bad Boy GC LT

112x Elation Proteus Maximus

2x PRG Best Boy HP GC

210x Martin RushPar2

64x PRG Best Boy HP

180x Martin Dotron

22x PRG Bad Boy HP Framing

200x Solaris Flare

152x PRG Icon Edge

704x ChromaBeams 900

55x Chauvet Nexus AW 7x7

420x Scenic RGB

6x VL600 Beam

369x Scenic Dimmers

64x Robe Spikie