Jim Thweatt has been at the helm of some big productions, including the 125th Anniversary celebration of Coca-Cola in Atlanta, presidential inaugural balls, and the tours of Elton John, James Taylor and Journey.
He’s even done large, elaborate outdoor productions.
But his current project as PRG’s director of video for the shows at the 2013 National Jamboree, including this morning’s opening show, has a special circumstance not found in those other productions.
“We do big outdoor shows, but it’s the volunteers that make this one different,” says Thweatt, seen on the right in the photo above. “Everybody has been really helpful.”
PRG, which the BSA hired to put on all of those shows here at the Summit, has a crew of 48 on its own team here, but Thweatt says he’s equally impressed with the BSA volunteers.
He’s accustomed to working with paid workers at venues, but these Scouters have given up their time and money to help put on shows to really wow these Scouts and Venturers.
True, many of these BSA volunteers don’t work in the entertainment industry back home, but Thweatt hasn’t noticed a quality dropoff.
“We would’ve though they’d been doing this their whole lives,” he says.
Thweatt took me into his production trailer yesterday, a techie’s dream stuffed with high-definition screens, important-looking switches and colorful buttons. Full disclosure: It took every ounce of my self-control not to push those buttons.
PRG’s video feed during the show, which you can watch live here, will seamlessly switch between six live cameras, the BSA’s security cameras, and two robotic cameras — one mounted above the stage and another behind the crowd. Then there’s the audio side, where crew members will be mixing each microphone and musical instrument for the best possible sound.
With that much going on, you’d expect Thweatt to be running around like crazy on show day, right?
“Let’s hope not,” he says. “I don’t plan to leave my office unless something goes wrong.”
More behind-the-scenes photos: