This year’s tree lighting ceremony at New York's Rockefeller Center saw Production Resource Group (PRG) debut its al-4 Subcompact Line Array System from VUE Audiotechnik. While line arrays have long been PRG's system of choice for events such as this, Dave Chessman, who served as PRG's project manager at the ceremony, admits that the al-4's compact size and versatility prompted a switch from previous systems.
"Sight lines are always a big concern when setting up a broadcast events," Chessman 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." PRG set up the VUE systems directly adjacent the 76-foot Spruce that headlined the evening's festivities. 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 supplemental under-tree fill. A trio of Yamaha PM5-Ds handled FOH and monitor duties throughout the event. While auditioning new products is a sure way to excite a dedicated group of pro-audio enthusiasts like the team from PRG, 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 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 honor 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. www.vueaudio.com