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nfl draft returns with bandit lites

May 25, 2021 | Category: Print

CLEVELAND, OHIO – It was a gathering on a scale that some people had not experienced in well over a year as 50,000 fans made their way to the Draft Experience, an interactive theme park, free and open to the public during all three days of the NFL draft. C3 Presents once again called on Chris Lisle and Bandit Lites to illuminate scenes and spaces around FirstEnergy Stadium, including the stadium itself, Cleveland’s iconic Rock & Roll Hall of Fame building, and The Great Lakes Science Center.

C3 Presents Director of Production Brandon Sossamon shared that each year’s iteration is a new blank canvas, where he and lighting designer Chris Lisle go over the site and key elements. 

“From there we start forming ‘the look’ and consider spaces that change color with the teams vs. those that are just lit,” said Sossamon. “A lot of the consideration is in available inventory. Not only in fixtures but cable is very important.  Most of our deployment is over long runs so knowing Bandit has the inventory of fixtures to light all of the key points and the cable to get there is reassuring.”

Bandit provided a lighting system comprised of Sixpar 100 fixtures and a grandMA2 Ultra lite for a mock draft space where could select a team and pose on stage for photos with the team’s colors and logo.  The NFL autograph tent featured Cuepix WW2’s for a stage wash on ground supported trusses as well as some IP rated Sixpar 100 fixtures for front light. Chauvet COLORdash Accents illuminated showcases with the Lombardi Trophy and Super Bowl rings and Bandit also supplied truss for interactive game areas like the Castrol 40-Yard Dash and Play 60, where kids can test their football skills.

With the event taking place across 2.5 million square feet in and around FirstEnergy Stadium, the lighting team had to carefully consider the placement of truss towers that contained fixtures as well as getting signal cable to them.

“The lighting treatment completely transforms the site,” said Sossamon. “When you have a giant, concrete stadium, a stark white Science Center, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, these are all recognizable landmarks in Cleveland, but outside of their shape and mark on the skyline, there’s nothing bringing them into the event.  When we light them with Bandit’s high-power arsenal, change colors with the teams on the clock, these landmarks become part of the show. When you are on the ground in the NFL Draft Experience and all of the buildings are changing colors around you, you’re IN the show, you’re immersed, (and) the energy is at extremes.”

To paint those buildings with the teams’ colors, Lisle utilized Elation Paladins as his workhorse. He also opted to used Robe BMFL WashBeams in groups to create “fingers of lighting” into the sky as well as to make aerial beams for the wide helicopter shots during the broadcast, which averaged 6.1 million views over the three days.

Returning safely to live events on a scale such as the NFL Draft meant no detail was too small to be considered ahead of time, which leads to a smooth load in. Bandit Lites Project Manager Jimmy Hatten and Production Manager Dizzy Gosnell worked diligently with Spike Falana to get all the truss structures approved, permitted and ballasted.

“It was an arduous process and they kept at it till the end,” said C3 Presents Tyler Crain. “It is always great to work with professionals and the guys on site were amazing, working as a team, utilizing labor well and being very quick on the load out.”

“Jimmy Hatten did a fantastic job of dissecting the lighting plots and really digging into the “nuts and bolts” of everything to make sure it was being handled in the most efficient manner,” said Lisle, praising the resulting smooth load in. “The on-site crew, led by Mark Scherer, were top notch as well and worked hard to get the entire system up and functional ahead of schedule - helping us to avoid working in some wet, cold weather. They worked their tails off, and it was very appreciated!”

“An event of this scale requires a lot of experienced professionals at the top of their game and the staff at C3 in conjunction with Chris Lisle absolutely nailed this project,” said Bandit Lites Vice President Mike Golden. “Under the leadership of Brandon Sossamon, combined with the diligence of Tyler Crain, Spike Falana and the entire staff at C3, all aspects of this job were handled with ease. Chris Lisle was also quite instrumental in planning and organizing the site lighting and, as always, did so with a smile and positive attitude. I cannot thank all parties enough for making this such a smooth project and allowing us to knock off the rust called 2020 with such a flawless event.”

“Honestly the most awesome things about this gig were to see a (very safe and well done) gathering of fans, and also to see so many colleagues just thrilled to be back to work again,” Lisle finished. “There was an overall air of gratitude to be back doing what we love. I am thankful for Brandon Sossamon and Tyler Crain from C3 Presents, along with the NFL Creative team for allowing me the chance to be a part of this amazing event. I am also thankful to Mike Golden, Dizzy, Jimmy Hatten, and all of the on-site Bandit techs for their hard work!”

Chris Lisle - Site Lighting Designers
Brandon Sossamon - Director of Production
Tyler Crain- NFL Draft Experience Production Manager

Bandit Crew:
Client Representative: Mike Golden
Project Manager: Jimmy Hatten
Terese Fensler
Darryl Newcombe
Carter Fulghum
Mark Scherer
Patrick Cowden
Justin Wilk
Scot Sepe
Ty Veneziano
Jeff Archibeque
Wayne Lotoza

About Bandit Lites, Inc.
Bandit Lites is a full service design, management and producer of live events, theatrical productions, and live shows. More information available at



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