It isn’t listed in the credits, but the beautiful city of Los Angeles skyline with the San Gabriel Mountains in the background played a key supporting role in the widely acclaimed HBO Original Series Insecure.
Many of the most memorable scenes in the multiple Primetime Emmy Award winning show, took place against this iconic backdrop. Given the skyline’s association with Insecure, it was only fitting that Los Angeles’ Kenneth Hahn State Park, which affords 360-degree views of the city, was chosen as the site for the red carpet event celebrating the groundbreaking comedy’s final season premiere.
“This incredibly beautiful and expansive park was perfect for our event,” said Barrett Hall of Invoke Entertainment, which oversaw all creative and technical aspects of the premiere screening and after party. “The site is in close proximity to the neighborhoods where much of the series took place. Also, the final season’s key art with creator and star Issa Rae was actually shot in the same location where we built our theatre.”
The appropriateness of the park notwithstanding, it also represented a considerable logistical challenge for Hall and his team – one that they met very successfully with help from 4Wall Entertainment, which supplied 382-feet of box truss and some 300 lighting fixtures, more than half of them from CHAUVET Professional.
“We had to build everything from the ground up on leveled decking,” said Hall. “This included a 190-foot ‘blue carpet’ step and repeat with a 120-foot press wall, a 100 by 100 foot pre-reception and after party tent area, as well as a fully tiered seat-theatre with a 40-foot wide projection screen to accommodate 400 guests. The project covered 85,000 square feet”
The various areas that made up the event space were connected by over 500-feet of raised deck pathways. Every audio, projection and lighting position in the space had to be on truss towers or scaffolding with G-block ballasts.
“Given some spatial constraints and heavy equipment logistics, we essentially had to build things a bit backwards starting with the screen at the end of the theatre and working outward to avoid painting ourselves into a corner, all while ensuring that we protected trees and the park itself,” said Hall. “We pretty much lived on-site for about eight solid days to get it done! I can’t emphasize enough how important team work was in this effort. Our LD Ben Green deserves a lot of credit as do Drew DeCorleto and J Wiese of 4Wall.”
While managing the logistics of this massive setup, Hall and his team also had to keep their attention focused on aesthetics. “For this event, as is true at virtually all such screenings, the content must look and sound perfect,” he said. “Arguably equal to that is the red carpet/step and repeat moment since those photos and videos will go out to millions of viewers worldwide. Everything else starts to fall into place after that when it comes to the overall guest journey and experience.”
Lighting played a key role in creating this experience. With hang positions throughout the event space somewhat limited, Hall and the team had to be meticulous about fixture selection. This led them to specify 90 Rogue R2X Wash fixtures to be positioned throughout the space.
Also included in the lighting rig were 72 WELL Fit uplights, which were relied on to light oversized production stills from each of the five season of the series. Arranged in “galleries” that lined each side of the connecting pathways, these images set an immersive tone for guests as they moved from one area of the event to another.
“We wanted to create the effect that the large photos were floating in space as guests traveled through the galleries,” said Hall. “To accomplish this, we needed a low profile, aesthetically pleasing fixture to highlight each photo print. As this was covering a lot of ground, we also needed an option that was battery powered and wirelessly controlled. In addition, there were dozens of trees and low brush that the WELL Fits were used to highlight, which contributed to the mood we were after.”
To enhance the immersive mood inside the tent, the team illuminated its clear top with 21 COLORado 1 Solo washes. Relying on the fixture’s color mixing capabilities, they created a variety of mood setting hues, contributing to a picture perfect setting for a landmark program.