# PRG Ground Control Product Demo Video

#### gafftaper

##### Senior Team
Senior Team
Fight Leukemia
Alright everyone who wants to see the future?

Here's the link to the PRG product sheet.

Sorry: It was really noisy on the show floor near PRG and we had to process the audio pretty hard to get this.

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#### gafftaper

##### Senior Team
Senior Team
Fight Leukemia
"Ground Control" was given the award for best new product at LDI in rigging and staging.

Some people initially heard it costs about $35k to buy or$800 per week to rent. However on day two of the demos they stopped giving out pricing information as part of the demos. So I'm not sure what that means.

They have four of them out on tour with Madonna right now and that removed 12,000 pounds from up in the air, no rescue plan, no safety gear, nobody in danger. Four guys in a room back stage. They just added two to the U2 tour, pulling down two guys who were positioned in front of the main array and going deaf.

EVERY feature of this device is DMX controllable. On a tour where you don't know who will be your spot op the next night, you can set it so the board does everything but aim it. You can feed the video to a central monitor area. The LD can watch what the follow spot operator sees and direct follow spots like a TV studio directs camera shots.

Control of the Bad Boy can jump back and forth between the programmed routine in the board or the manual spot.

...and yes, as long as it's less than 2000' from the Bad Boyit could be operated from the bar next door.

#### dvsDave

##### Benevolent Dictator
Senior Team
CB Mods
Fight Leukemia
I have to say, having gotten my hands on it and spent some time just following random people, it's super easy to use and really well balanced. They managed to give it just the right amount of heft that it's really stable and easy to track smoothly. The fact that cues can be written into the show that are triggered by the board op is pretty awesome. When they want all the spots on simultaneously, they can get it precisely simultaneously and each at the correct amount of output. Or if there's a programmed blackout, you can program the camera to automatically switch to infrared/night mode and back when the blackout is over. As we talked with the PRG folks, we talked to a number of touring guys who came by as well and some of the ideas and the excitement over the flexibility that the unit gave was rather infectious. I'll be keeping an eye out at touring shows from now on to see how many of these I can spot.

#### Michael K

##### Active Member
Wow! They really loaded it up with features.

Since it just uses a Bad/Best-Boy, can you get the camera system to add to an existing fixture or do you have to buy a new integrated fixture?

#### gafftaper

##### Senior Team
Senior Team
Fight Leukemia
Since it just uses a Bad/Best-Boy, can you get the camera system to add to an existing fixture or do you have to buy a new integrated fixture?
From what we were told it's Bad/Best Boy only. However this is very new product. One can certainly see the long term possibility of other variations of the product line.

#### Les

##### Well-Known Member
My first thought was "well, you'd might as well just use a real followspot", but where this product really shines (pun intended?) is the fact that it eliminates the need for spot ops on trusses, which increases safety. Obviously, there are also some creative possibilities as mentioned in the video, but it doesn't appear to be the solution for spaces that want to "eliminate spot ops and have everything controlled by the lighting guy", which I'm personally against when it's solely for the sake of using cool toys at the expense of education/employment.

I could see this being big in touring -- keeping spot ops off trusses and scissor lifts.

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Dionysus

#### DuckJordan

##### Well-Known Member
Les all those "creative" possibilities have been done with a regular mover by eliminating pan and tilt. The only purpose this serves is getting guys off the truss.

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#### gafftaper

##### Senior Team
Senior Team
Fight Leukemia
Les all those "creative" possibilities have been done with a regular mover by eliminating pan and tilt. The only purpose this serves is getting guys off the truss.
You have missed the point Duck. How many products out there can spin and dance, blaze through color changes, rotate gobos and then instantly stop to track the lead singer walking around? How many follow spots can use rotating gobos, strobe, rapid color changes, all while being hung over the stage in the confined corners of a smaller theater? Imagine what someone like Cirque can do with these to uplight acrobatic work from the deck? Do you want to see a follow spot operator at center stage on the deck? No of course not. But with these you can have one there virtually. What about the fact that the LD can see the camera feed from every spot op at the same time and select the spot they prefer like a director on a TV show selecting cameras. Plus the spot ops could all be in the same room with the LD... you don't even need headsets anymore. There are so many new creative possibilities this opens up for the first time by merging the worlds of a programmed mover and direct human control.

Yes safety and less weight in the air is a big reason for having these. But these allow you to put follow spots in locations where they never would have fit before, give follow spots new effect abilities, and give an LD a greater ability to communicate with the spot ops.

Dionysus

#### DuckJordan

##### Well-Known Member
That's the only bonus this thing has over a truss spot with movers. Not worth the price if you ask me

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#### DuckJordan

##### Well-Known Member
Are opinions not allowed here? I gave my opinion of this product. I don't see much use outside of removing a spot op from the air which I'm all for. I just don't see the hype behind the other features as we already had those.

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#### Amiers

##### Renting to Corporate One Fixture at a Time.
I envision some Star Trek looking video to appear soon with these making a cool music video.

In all reality having everything all in one room would make things run so much smoother. I feel it would allow more dynamic lighting.

This could benefit for cold or hot outside events too. No longer do you have to worry about you FS Op crying of dehydration or lack of clothing durning the winter.

Wondering if the price comes with the fiber run as well. Can only hope. :/

#### Les

##### Well-Known Member
Les all those "creative" possibilities have been done with a regular mover by eliminating pan and tilt. The only purpose this serves is getting guys off the truss.
No, that's not what I was talking about. A good example was used in the video - a performer in a flying rig being followed by floor-mounted moving head(s). You can do that as you mention, but it requires a person being there. That's kind of a niche situation, but I'm sure you could think of others.

#### gafftaper

##### Senior Team
Senior Team
Fight Leukemia
I just don't see the hype behind the other features as we already had those.
So you have a follow spot with dual gobo rotators, strobe, CMY mixing, the ability to be controlled by the light board or not, and small enough it can be located on just about any batten in any theater?

Everyone I talked to at LDI wanted to talk about this product and how it BOTH increases safety and opens up a new world of creative options. No one was shocked when it won a best new product award, in fact there was a huge cheer when this one won.

You are definitely entitled to an opinion, but you are way out there on your own with this one.

#### DuckJordan

##### Well-Known Member
And that's fine I've worked shows as a spot op where it was a mover that was all board controlled except pan and tilt which is why I don't see a use for it. Other than the obvious difficult placements. Touring shows with things such as gobos or fast color swaps or quick iris or simultaneous black outs, where this would be useful wouldn't need separate control by the operator. That's all I'm saying is to me the price tag is way over the top for a very niche product.

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#### gafftaper

##### Senior Team
Senior Team
Fight Leukemia
That's all I'm saying is to me the price tag is way over the top for a very niche product.
Well it's PRG. They are more in the giant show rental business than the retail business anyway, plus it's a REALLY new product. Give it a few years and we'll see variations from the mainstream retail manufacturers come along scaled down to something more affordable.

People like @Ford are laying awake at night right now trying to figure out how to make one he can sell for like \$7k including the Rogue. It'll take a few years, but there will be much more affordable variations for the masses coming eventually.

#### Amiers

##### Renting to Corporate One Fixture at a Time.
Follow spot controls in the palm of you hand. Johnny Nmemeric style when he's in the back room of the computer shop with those gloves on.

#### MNicolai

##### Well-Known Member
Fight Leukemia
Version 2,

Being able to remote operate a followspot rig from anywhere in the world so followspot services can be contracted out to kids in the Philippines.

I wouldn't worry about that happening though. The speed of light isn't fast enough to transmit the video around the world and the motions of the operator back. Round trip would be like 14ms of latency across fiber not including bandwidth limitations, encoding/decoding signals, and ping ponging through all the network switches along the way. Fun to think about though.

#### Dionysus

##### Well-Known Member
I think that is a really awesome implementation of a good idea. Is it worth it for anyone other than the huge touring shows and a few select others? Not really. Do I think it will replace the follow spot? no. But is it a brilliant idea that can lead to some wonderful possibilities (and as mentioned before bring huge safety, and save on having truss spots)? YES.

There are many times where Id love to have a followspot however just can't get one in due to the venue design etc and something like this would be amazing.
Of course as mentioned in those situations it would be WAY over budget as it stands, but in principle.

I think PRG seems to of really designed this well, however as stated it IS PRG.... We know how their business model works.

I would love to have access to a couple of those (for a much more reasonable rental fee).

And as stated before getting away from some of the truss spots is great.
I still want someone behind the followspot pointing it where it's wanted, its far superior to a moving head programmed in. And I love the fact that if the console crashes you would still have your spots working.
This makes for an EXTREMELY flexible looking product.

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