Chicago Flyhouse Blog

What Happens in Vegas ...

Posted by Flyhouse on Aug 17, 2020 1:00:00 PM

After several years of planning and construction, and almost $2 billion, Allegiant Stadium is complete. The new home to the Las Vegas Raiders and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) Rebels college football team features 65,000 seats (expandable to 72,000), parking for 25,000, and an 85-foot flaming cauldron.

Flyhouse was brought into the project in 2019 to consult the architects on the initial design. Much like our work with U.S. Bank Stadium in 2019, we were tasked with ambient light control, adding custom motorized curtains and necessary structures around the glass venue. We began work on the project in March of this year, just as the global pandemic was becoming a reality. Fortunately, our crew was able to install onsite this summer, following local COVID-19 safety protocols. 

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While the venue is officially open, spectators will likely need to wait until 2021 to experience it in person. Or they can check it out on TV next month: the first scheduled event at Allegiant Stadium is a Monday Night Football game between the Raiders and New Orleans Saints on September 21.

ALLEGIANT STADIUM BY THE NUMBERS:

• 480 Plates of drawings
• 7.58 Miles of fabric
• 321 Curtains
• 4,840 LNFT of track
• 4,668 Curtain carriers
• 3 Lanai door curtains, to travel at 5 feet per second, from ground to ceiling in 23 seconds.
• 20 53’ Semi trucks of equipment delivery
• 51,684 lbs of steel
• 34,868 Nuts, bolts and washers
• 12,000 lb motor platform 
• 3 months (June-August) - Flyhouse crews on site during the COVID-19 pandemic
• 25,200 flights of stairs climbed by the Flyhouse crew
• 20-25k steps per day, per crew member
• 100-116° High temperatures in Las Vegas, July-August

Topics: News, Flyhouse Projects

Flyhouse Training, Online and On-Demand

Posted by Flyhouse on Jun 18, 2020 2:30:00 PM

So often this year, we have felt like we’re building the plane as we fly. But building and solving challenges—with a focus on safety—is what we do best.

Clayton Center for the Arts approached us last fall about inspection and training on site in Maryville, TN. The 123,038 sq ft Center, which includes a 1,200 seat proscenium theatre and a 250 seat recital hall on the campus of Maryville College, supports college arts programs, community arts organizations, and touring shows.

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As often happens, the venue struggled to find time in their schedule to support such work. But by early 2020, the project was officially scheduled for June.

By mid March, much of the current Flyhouse training work had been postponed. The Clayton Center project, still a few months away, remained tentatively on schedule.

As both the level of risk and the applicable state orders evolved, we moved forward with a careful trip to the Maryville to conduct the inspection. We also used our time onsite to prepare for and design custom online training specifically for the Clayton Center.

While much of our content is theoretical in nature and can be easily adapted for online presentation, one of the real benefits of in-person training is hands-on demonstrations. The Clayton Center has a large stage with 36 line sets, and they hired Flyhouse to demonstrate best practices for loading, unloading and managing weight when installing challenging scenery. 

Flyhouse tapped one of our Associate Trainers to do just that. Having just been onsite at the Center, he was able to set up remote training from his base at Ohio Northern University, and effectively demonstrate the principles of safely using the Center’s counterweight system to the remote audience. With simple modifications and creative problem solving, we were able to meet the needs of the client while still keeping everyone involved safe. 


The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged us to have to think quickly, and has also provided us an opportunity to help the industry—making a fast transition to online training. Within a week of Illinois restrictions in place, we began offering free online training nearly every weekday. So far, we have developed nine free courses on common rigging topics. 

We soon realized that we had more to offer. Our Premium classes explore topics with greater focus and depth, and a wider pool of trainers, at the lowest possible cost. With the popularity and success of the Flyhouse Online Training program, we continue to develop new courses—particularly those not commonly offered around the industry.

While fall protection training is widely available, few sessions discuss how to set up an institutional program to manage fall protection in your venue. We filled the void by creating a course specifically on the topic. Many riggers note how rare good automation training is across the industry, so we have developed a whole track of automation classes. Building a new venue or renovating an old one can be a complex process. Most only go through it once or twice in their careers, with no real understanding of the process as a whole. We have designed a class that walks participants through every stage of process.

We strive to be responsive to which topics offer the most value to out-of-work members of our industry, helping them build skills and improve marketable talents so that when works returns, they will be ready.

ONLINE TRAINING BY THE NUMBERS:

• 65 Sessions
   - 47 Free
   - 18 Premium
• 8,623 Person Hours of Training
   - 7,244 Free
• 4,142 Attendees
• 814 ETCP Credits to 81 Certified Riggers
• 38 countries
• 45 US states
• 6 Canadian provinces
• members of 50 IATSE locals

Our audience covers riggers from every sector of the entertainment industry—from regional theaters to universities, vendors to high schools. We have trained aerialists, engineers, stagehands, carpenters, electricians, audio and video technicians, safety professionals, and students.

We are incredibly proud of what we have offered so far, and we look forward to continuing to support our industry. That’s how we fly.

Topics: News, Training, Flyhouse Projects

Adapting Our Services, On The Fly

Posted by Flyhouse on Apr 24, 2020 1:34:02 PM

Like everyone, The Chicago Flyhouse Inc., has adapted to changes in operations during the COVID-19 pandemic. While construction—including rigging work—continues in many parts of the country, other projects, productions, cruise lines, etc., have been put on hold. We are continuing work that can be done; in particular, closed venues offer a great opportunity for inspections, repairs and maintenance—while following all current recommended safety guidelines.

“A generous and genius idea.”
– Freelance Technician

In an effort to support our industry during this unique time, Flyhouse quickly shifted our existing Training into an entirely new, online program. Over a few short weeks, our trainers have created curriculum for 6 different classes, with more in the works. And most classes are being offered for free. That’s how we fly.

Initially, we started with smaller, limited class sizes. We quickly found that—unlike in-person training—the number of students doesn’t impact the quality of the experience. Given that, we are working hard to serve the overwhelming interest to these sessions. Beginning next week, we are also offering new Premium sessions for a nominal fee.

“These classes really help fill in the gaps between formal education and road experience.”
- Acrobatic Rigger and Freelance Technician

In the past three weeks, we have provided 2,556 person hours of training—across all skill and experience levels. Participants have come from 42 US states, 4 Canadian provinces, and 17 other countries—Czech Republic, Dubai, Finland, Germany, India, Israel, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Oman, Paraguay, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, South Africa and the United Kingdom.

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Participating organizations include 29 IATSE locals and:

Universities
Duke University
Indiana University
Florida State University
University of North Carolina School of the Arts 
Georgetown University
Northwestern University

Producing Theaters

Arena Stage (Washington DC)
American Repertory Theater (Boston)
McCarter Theatre (Princeton, NJ)
The Kennedy Center (Washington DC)
Alberta Ballet (Calgary, Canada)
Indiana Repertory Theatre (Indianapolis)

Presenting Houses
Royal Albert Hall (London, UK)
The Tennessee Performing Arts Center (Nashville)
Mesa Arts Center (Phoenix metro area)
AT&T Performing Arts Center (Dallas)

Vendors
Gallagher Staging
Foy Inventerprises Inc.
Rhino Staging
PSAV
Mountain Productions

Producers
Cirque du Soleil
Disney
NETworks

 

“Massive gratitude to Chicago Flyhouse for giving us all something positive and productive to do in this downtime.”  
- Flyhouse Training Participant

At the same time, we are also adding to our existing Flyhouse Films YouTube channel. We currently offer 37 videos across six playlist topics in our library, and we’re adding more new videos each month.

The focus at Flyhouse is always on safety. And for many in the rigging industry, the safest thing to do right now is to stay home. And train online with Flyhouse.

Topics: News, Video, Training, Flyhouse Projects

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Posted by Flyhouse on Dec 9, 2019 3:08:25 PM

Flyhouse and UW-Madison find their rhythm at the new Hamel Music Center

Often, the work that Flyhouse does is invisible. Intentionally so. We are all about function, specializing in essential behind-the-scenes rigging, design, safety, and maintenance—everything required for a safe, successful production or event, and everything the audience is never supposed to see. Our contributions to the new University of Wisconsin-Madison Hamel Music Center were anything but invisible.

The new building—featuring a Concert Hall, Recital Hall, Rehearsal Hall—is the perfect harmony of function AND form, designed with unadulterated acoustics, state-of-the-art engineering, and stunning architecture. Flyhouse has been part of the ensemble of experts, coordinating with Strang, Holzman Moss Bottino Architecture, JP Cullen, Fisher Dachs Associates, Talaske, and numerous trades, playing together from the first note.


HIGHLIGHTS

One of the most unique aspects of the new Hamel Music Center is the Flyhouse Automation System. Each room has its own custom control system to move all curtains to one of 12 acoustically-tuned preset positions. For each preset, curtains automatically adjust to the perfect acoustics for the specific performance and style of music—at the touch of a button. Music to our ears! 

Mead Witter Foundation Concert Hall

Stacking Curtains and Doors: Twenty-two stacking curtains with doors are built into the copper-leafed shelves that surround the room. The curtains are hidden away and closed up until needed. The curtains extend out from the bottom of the shelf and adjust the reverberation and aesthetics of the hall.   

Wire tension walkway serves as crew access to lighting positions and rig points in the interior of the room. Flyhouse designed and fabricated the walkway using steel wire woven a walkable mesh. The result is light and airy access entirely functional, acoustically transparent, and almost visually invisible.

Collins Recital Hall

Petals: Eight curved steel and wood structures were designed to reflect sound down, away from the ceiling and toward the audience. Flyhouse built the base structure that was covered and finished by Carley Wood Associates. Flyhouse hung each petal from the ceiling, 40 feet above the stage, as fully functional artistic pieces. The largest of the massive petals is 8 feet wide, 15 feet long, and weighs 800 pounds.

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Tiaras: These two rings constructed from woven stainless wire mesh applied to stainless steel framework hang under the petals. They are architectural features that camouflage the exposed lighting battens and, along with the petals, are the featured design elements of the Recital Hall Ceiling. 

To install these key pieces and other equipment, Flyhouse installed a floating platform the full size of the ceiling that carried crew and equipment to the ceiling for installation. 

The University of Wisconsin-Madison Hamel Music Center opened to the public this fall. 


BY THE NUMBERS:

3 performance spaces in the new venue: Mead Witter Foundation Concert Hall, Collins Recital Hall, and Sing Man & Florence Lee/Annette Kaufman Rehearsal Hall

Mead Witter Foundation Concert Hall

4 Flyhouse custom 2,000 lb capacity winches for lifting curtains
1 Flyhouse custom 1,800 lb capacity winch for projection screen
16 2000 lb capacity rigging strong points
22 stacking curtains with 24 stacking curtain doors
5 wire rope access platforms
4 tracking curtains with 4 custom built tracking curtain doors

Collins Recital Hall

24 roller banner curtains
1 Flyhouse custom 3,500 lb capacity winch with full-circle lighting batten
2 Flyhouse custom 1,800 lb capacity winch with half-circle lighting battens
8 Flyhouse custom Petals
2 Flyhouse custom Tiara
8 Flyhouse custom on-stage reflector panels (4 rotating, 4 stationary)
1 Flyhouse custom Piano Barn Door

Sing Man & Florence Lee/Annette Kaufman Rehearsal Hall

4 tracking curtains

90 axes total on 3 independent systems—custom designed and programmed by Flyhouse Automation Systems.

 

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Topics: Hoist, Theatrical Rigging, Flyhouse Projects

Elgin Community College Gets a Lift

Posted by Flyhouse on Sep 11, 2019 3:01:28 PM

Arts Center Updated Ahead of 25th Anniversary

Flyhouse’s Safer Venue service provides customers with comprehensive annual inspections and repairs. Nobody likes major repair work or safety incidents that could have been prevented—yearly maintenance is a must. 

The Elgin Community College Arts Center’s recent Safer Venue Inspection identified several rigging issues that needed to be addressed. Flyhouse is always inventing better ways to make rigging systems operate smoother and safer, and our annual venue visits provide the opportunity for improvements and updates. 

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In addition to regular maintenance, Flyhouse was also awarded a larger renovation project at the Art Center; its scope was designed by theater consultant Bill Connor Associates, LLC. The project included the installation of nine custom ZipLift counterweight assist hoists with a custom head block, which allowed the powered hoist to easily retrofit into their existing system. This newly designed hoist can safely move a lineset up to 1000 pounds out of weight. The orchestra shells that exist at Elgin CC weigh close to 4000 pounds and now with the theater upgrades provided, operators are able to move them by the push of a button instead of hanging on the handline hoping that they move a few inches.

Flyhouse has been moving scenery and performers with our custom designed ZipLift hoists since 1998 and we’re extremely experienced in automating things. Our newest hoist is currently being used at Elgin CC but it’s Elgin's custom control system that makes this project truly unique. In just two weeks, we modified the system to integrate all nine units into one custom cabinet for all of the power and controls. Now all nine hoists are controlled by one pendant while the person is standing anywhere onstage, keeping a line of sight on the hoist-assisted linesets flying these extremely large amounts of weight to programmable trims.

In recent years, the Elgin CC Arts Center has primarily been used for concerts, but now the venue is suited for musical productions and much more. The repairs and updates will be complete in time for the 25th anniversary season which begins this fall. We can’t wait to see how these facility improvements put a little more zip in future Elgin CC productions!

Topics: Hoist, Theatrical Rigging, Flyhouse Projects