Production Resource Group (PRG) was charged with deploying multiple sound reinforcement systems during the annual tree lighting ceremony at New York's Rockefeller Center in early December. Making its debut in PRG's audio arsenal for 2013 was an al-4 Subcompact Line Array System from VUE Audiotechnik.
"Sight lines are always a big concern when setting up a broadcast events," Dave Chessman, who served as PRG's project manager, explained. "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.
"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."
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 under-tree fill. A trio of Yamaha PM5-Ds handled FOH and monitor duties throughout the event.
The tone of this year’s event was more somber due to the tragic loss of PRG's audio technician Jim Lovell. Lovell, who was among the victims of the Metro-North train derailment in the Bronx on 1 December, 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," said PRG's vice president Bob 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 honour 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.