Scharff Weisberg Lights The NFL Draft For The Third Year

Scharff Weisberg provided lighting for the NFL Draft for the third year in a row. The Draft, held at Radio City Music hall in New York, was telecast live on ESPN and the NFL Network.

“It was a very intense week,” said lighting designer Michael Franks of Michael Franks Enterprises, who has served as the lighting designer for the event for the past 10 years. “I’m 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 worked with John Trowbridge and with Scharff Weisberg to light the main stage set and all onstage areas plus the backstage green room, the wings from the green room to the stage, three ESPN interview areas, the entire audience, all three balconies, and the orchestra. Additionally, Franks provided lighting for downstairs press areas, a tunnel where players did press stand ups, and a second press area.

“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 array of lighting. 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. Conventional fixtures included 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,” Franks commented. “It offers a tremendous amount of flexibility and control unavailable in any other console. It’s 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.”