Our job objectives were to provide the lights that would illuminate the 105 foot wide by 16 foot tall Snapdragon Banner on top of the Eastern Scoreboard at Qualcomm Stadium, and to provide four all color gobo’s with the Snapdragon Design, to shine on the four elevator shafts throughout the stadium.
The Lighting would be in place for the last Charger game, the Poinsettia Bowl and Holiday Bowl which were all nationally televised.
These are some of the challenges we encountered, and the solutions we came up with to make this project work.
• Time was very important since we didn’t have much of it. The whole project came together for us within 3 weeks. The clock started ticking for us immediately after the quote was approved and the contract was signed. Immediately the Lighting Fixtures were ordered.
• Help design a structure that would be able to support the lights and banner in a safe fashion. The structure design had to be approved by the engineers before production, since it was going to be 115 feet up on the roof of the scoreboard.
• Hang lights very high up (115 feet). Only way to get up and down with equipment was with a boom lift. Everyone going up had to wear a safety harness.
• Get power to the lights, which proved to be a challenge since there were no power receptacles on the top level where the scoreboard was affixed, and the power on the lower levels was questionable.
• Make sure all the fixtures, power cables and receptacles were water proof.
• Make sure the fixtures were powerful enough to light up such a large banner since it was the Snapdragon Stadium Centerpiece.
• Steer clear of the large resident owl especially if climbing up the narrow tunnel. It was known to bomb a few people with owl poo-poo.
It was determined that Chris Griffin from Kleege Industries would help design and build a structure which the banner would be attached to, and I advised that four foot long arms be attached to the structure and the lights be attached to the end of the arms. The four foot length would allow the lights enough throw so that the lights would have a wider beam of light shining on the banner.
The plan was presented to the engineers and they determined that the arms couldn’t be longer than three feet, anything longer would cause to much strain on the structure and it would turn into a safety issue. Chris Griffin and I had a meeting and determined that 1 foot long arms would work if the arms were elevated by a foot and out by a foot, and if the fixture was down lighting instead of spotlighting. So we went with the 1 foot length arms.
The structure was put together by Chris and his team. They brought in their welders and built the structure while it rained off and on. They built the structure onto a hundred and five foot long by ten foot wide roof. There were no railings, or anything else to hold on to just a roof, boy those welders were a brave bunch.
Next Joe Flannery and team from Triple AAA Flag and Banner came in and Put up the Snapdragon Banner. They were done by 12/15/11, we then came in and put up our lighting fixtures with the 1 foot extensions.
The lights had to be powerful enough to light up the whole banner without hot spots or cold spots. This proved to be challenging because of the banner’s size of 105’ wide by 16’ tall, and the material of the banner which had a slight shine to it that didn’t work well with the lights.
We installed the IP65 rated Toughpars, adjusted them, and Pat from Gravitate Sports and Cynthia Ray from Qualcomm showed up to do a viewing of the lights. They were not pleased with how the lights were shining on the banner. The lights had hot spots (too bright) and cold spots (too dark), and the shine of the material also wasn’t helping. We adjusted them in every way possible, but no matter how we adjusted them they just weren’t doing an acceptable job. It was decided that those fixtures were not acceptable and that a solution was necessary by the next day. That evening I got a hold of my electrician Jack Jensen from Jensen Electric and he put me in touch with his contact Kreston Pons of Walters Wholesale Electric. Pat had specified a fixture he knew worked well with signs. Kreston happened to have a great working relationship with the folks at the factory that makes those fixtures. They’re a local company located in Vista. He contacted them and they were able to put a rush on the order, they sent a courier to Los Angeles for parts needed. They took our order at 11:00 am, and had 5 fixtures delivered to us from Vista to Qualcomm Stadium by 2:00 pm. The remaining 7 fixtures came in at 5:00 pm the same day. We installed the new fixtures with the foot length arms and Pat and Cynthia came back for a second viewing. The replacement fixtures worked much better but it was determined that we still needed to replace the one foot extenders with the three foot extenders the next day.
12/17/12 Went back the next day and installed the longer 3 foot extensions for the arms. Pat and Cynthia returned after it got dark and Chris, and my team replaced all the extenders. Once they were on Chris brought me down so that I could direct him from down below via walkie talkie as to the placement of the lights on the banner. They stayed up while I gave instruction via walkie talkie on how to shine each light perfectly on the banner so as not to get any hot or cold spots. The lights worked great with the three foot extenders. The hot and cold spots were virtually gone, and Pat and Cynthia were happy.
Challenges for the Elevator shaft Gobos
• The gobo orders were put in at the last minute, the artwork was received from Qualcomm on Friday 12/9/11, the order was put in on the following Monday morning, 12/12/11. The factory rushed to make them and next day aired them to me. I received them on 12/17/11 as they were needed for the Charger game on 12/18/11. Things came down to the wire, and we didn’t have the week needed to test them on the actual surface for any problems that might arise.
• The surface the gobos would be shining on was round which was a concern since we didn’t want the image to distort or bleed off the sides of the round elevator shafts.
• The Gobo Fixtures and operators needed to be in an area where fans wouldn’t bump them, or the Gobo Fixtures.
• Power had to be provided to the roof of each food kiosk since the gobo fixtures would be placed there.
12/18/12 The gobos were beautifully designed by Qualcomn, and perfectly manufactured by Rosco Gobo. They were all color very high resolution glass gobos. Qualcomm purchased four of them to go on each of the four elevator shafts at Qualcomm stadium. The placement of the gobos on the elevator shafts had already been determined by Qualcomm, one of the first questions asked was if the gobos would work on a rounded surface such as the elevator shafts. Each elevator shaft measured about eighteen feet from side to side. I recommended a 10’ diameter gobo to shine directly onto the center of the shaft, the ideal size of the gobo was that it be large enough, but not so large that it fell off the sides of the rounded surface.
The best place to put the Gobo fixture was on top of the food kiosks that were directly in front of each elevator shaft. It was a safe place in the sense that the fixture and operator would be on top of a kiosk roof, and not in the way of the fans below. One of the concerns being that fans might walk into or knock over the Gobo fixture if it was floor level.
The stadium provided the electricity for the gobos. The electrical was already there, it just needed to be accessible to the lighting tech. There was a power source installed on top of each kiosk.
12/18/11 All four gobos were setup on top of the kiosks and adjusted. The gobos had come in the day before so there was no way to test them, usually we will have the gobos come in a week early so that if any issues arise they can be addressed in time for the event. In this case since the timeline was so tight we didn’t have that cushion. There was a dark cutout going down the center of the elevator shaft that affected the look and design of the gobo image. Unfortunately the Charger game had already started, the gobos were already setup and adjusted, I got the call from Pat Connors that Cynthia Ray, and Dan Novak were not happy.
12/19/11 A meeting was scheduled at 5pm to meet with Pat and Cynthia, and determine a place other than the elevator shafts to shine the gobos on. My team and I arrived at 4pm to scout out the area and find some prime places to shine the gobos on. Preferably a place with high traffic and high visibility. We’d have to place the projector on a roof since again we had to be out of the fans reach. We found a few areas that would work and actually setup the projector on the roof above one of the entrances and placed the gobo image on the ground. When Pat arrived the gobo was already setup and in place.
He was pretty pleased with the placement, and how it clear it was. Cynthia also seemed pleased. We then drove one of the carts around the stadium and proceeded to select 3 more areas that would work. One of the concerns was to make sure that there were electrical outlets in the area from where to draw power. We determined that the electrical was also a go and went home for the day.
12/21/11 The Poinsettia Bowl. The four gobos look great, the banner lights look great. I’m taking a walk down on the field during the 4th quarter and I look up at the scoreboard banner and the lights are completely out. Wow! I immediately put a call in to Pat and let him know. What could have made the lights go out? I’m thinking that maybe a circuit blew. I know that the power cords I use are top quality, and rated for long runs. I purposely didn’t use power strips since they could be a potential problem. Every light had an outdoor rated heavy duty extension cord it was plugged into. I took great care to make sure that the connections were weather protected since rain was a possibility. I had 2 dedicated 20 amp circuits for lights that were using minimal wattage, so I knew that the power draw from the lights hadn’t caused the problem. The Problem was 120 feet up and I had no lift to get up to scope out the problem. I was going to have to get my electrician, and go up the tight tunnel to go do some troubleshooting. I prayed that the owl wouldn’t attack me as I came out of the tunnel.
While up there my electrician isolated the problem. He found that the relay that allowed power to the lights wasn’t firing properly. This was coming from the breaker box on the wall two stories below. The stadium electrician replaced the relay and relay board that same day and the problem was fixed. That next day I went back and we tested the lights just to make sure that they would work properly for the Holiday Bowl.
This project was challenging at times, and we did put out quite a few fires, but all in all the Companies that worked together to make this project happen did a stellar job.
Many thanks go the Triple AAA Flag and Banners team: Ron Grant, Joe Flannery and crew. Pat Connors from Gravitate Sports,Cynthia Ray from Qualcomm, Chris Griffin from Kleege Industries, Jack Jensen from Jensen Electric, Kreston Pons from Walters Wholesale Lighting, and last but not least the crew at San Diego Events Lighting.