BLACK GIRLS ROCK!

Pete’s Big TVs (PBTV) was proud to once again support BET’s broadcast of BLACK GIRLS ROCK!, having been involved since the inaugural broadcast 6 years ago. An industry leading turnkey video production company serving clients worldwide, PBTV’s team, led by Vice President Guy Benjamin, worked closely with Production Designer Anne Brahic, principal of Lucki Designs, Inc. and Screens Producer Laura Frank, principal of Luminous FX, to supply the ideal gear for the video driven production design.

Taped at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark, the inspiring celebratory event honors and highlights the accomplishments of exceptional women of color who have made outstanding contributions in their careers and are positive role models for young women. This year’s BLACK GIRLS ROCK! event, hosted by Tracie Ellis Ross, included appearances by Lauryn Hill, Gladys Knight, Rihanna, Brandy, Monica, Corrine Bailey Rae, Shonda Rhimes, Danai Gurira, and a special appearance by Hillary Clinton. To accommodate the range of performances, Brahic created a sculptural scenic design using LED video products and projection screens that worked hand in hand with the content provided by Frank and her video team. Their creative collaboration resulted in a performance environment with visual depth and perspective that morphed throughout the evening into a diverse range of looks.

“The set is mostly video because we need to be able to change out the looks from act to act; make it look different and drive different atmospheres,” explains Brahic. “I like to build shapes and layer video, not just put up big video walls. A lot of times people get stuck using video in large solid surfaces, but really breaking the video up and using it as a scenic skin is more interesting to me as a designer.”

“I always love working with Pete’s Big TVs, they are great and they always find ways to give us great products that make everything look better and let us do things that up the ante,” says the designer. “They always come in with products that allow us to be creative. I like to find out what new technology is out there and what can be achieved, what curves can be wrapped, what angles can be turned, how you can hang it from various truss or custom-made structures.”

Wanting to be able to, at times, lose the edges of the video scenery Brahic spoke with Frank about how the video content could address that challenge. “Laura did a great job,” notes Brahic. “She used the content to create a look of something very curvy; where you lose all the corners and the hard edges of the video. You just see curves and she let all the hard corners disappear into negative space.”

As screens producer, Frank is responsible for both creative details and technical details, including collaborating with PBTV’s video engineering team on the technical signal flow. “It was really fantastic working with Pete’s Big TVs,” says Frank. “Though they are newer to d3 they have really stepped up to it. They've been really engaged in making the right gear available and supporting the workflow process.”

In addition to the video engineering production package and crew, Pete’s Big TVs provided 522 digiLED MC15 LED video tiles for the scenic portals and frames; 236 digiLED MK7 LED video tiles for the presenter screens and entrance screens, and a projection screen at the top of the set. PBTV also provided the d3 Technologies’ d34x2 pro media server. “We make it a priority at Pete’s Big TVs to provide our clients with not only the gear they want but also the opportunity to see and work with the latest video and LED technologies,” says PBTV’s Benjamin. “Our clients’ creativity is what drives us to continue to find innovative display solutions and stay ahead in playback and control technologies. It is rewarding when that all comes together, especially for such a worthwhile cause as BLACK GIRLS ROCK!