In celebration of the 23rd Winter Olympic games in PyeongChang, Lake Placid’s Regional Organization Of Sustainable Tourism (ROOST) recently held its own winter sports competition, the Empire State Games. Featuring 27 competitive events, the games attracted athletes from across the US and Canada. Just like the Olympics, New York State’s own winter games was well supported by spectators and kicked off with an impressive Opening Ceremony. This took place in Lake Placid’s historic ice hockey stadium and featured a lighting rig comprised solely of ADJ fixtures.

Lake Placid has a rich history of winter sports. It has hosted the Olympic Games twice – in 1932 the third games were held in the city and they then returned in 1980 for the 13th edition. It was at these games that the USA ice hockey team – at the time made up of mostly collegiate athletes and not predicted to advance beyond group play – defied all odds to beat a veteran USSR team and go on to win the gold medal. Known as the ‘Miracle on Ice’, this momentous moment in sporting history took place in the very same arena that hosted the opening ceremony of the 38th Empire State Winter Games. Now known as the ‘Herb Brooks Arena’, the venue was named after the man who led Team USA to that legendary victory.

Good Guy Productions, headed up by Eric Wilson, were contracted to provide the lighting production for the Opening Ceremony and Eric too has a long-standing connection to winter sports in the area. He competed in the games himself on numerous occasions, taking part in the bodsled, skeleton bob and snowshoe racing competitions. “We live and breathe the Olympics here”, he enthuses, “we really love having athletes come to compete and we have a lot of history. The speed skaters compete on the oval where Eric Heiden won five Olympic golds and the alpine racers are on the hill where Phil Mahre won one of Team USA’s first ever medals in alpine skiing!” 

Eric is also a long-standing ADJ customer, who has built up his company from a mobile DJ business to a full-service production company capable of taking on large-scale events. One of the first professional-caliber fixtures that he invested in was ADJ’s Vizi Spot LED Pro, around six years ago, and we were pleased to hear that these units are still going strong and were used for this Opening Ceremony. “They were a lot more punchy than I was expecting in such a large space,” Eric comments, “they are really great fixtures – with pro features like motorized focus and replaceable GOBOs – that can be used for all sizes of event.”

As the business grew, Eric’s next significant investment was in ADJ’s Vizi Beam RXONE. Twelve of these fixtures were used for the Opening Ceremony to create mid-air beam effects within the 8000-capacity arena’s cavernous space. A combination of its tight beam angle and strobing feature were used to create flashing ‘fingers’ of light that filled the arena to dazzling effect.

Having secured the Empire State Winter Games contract back in October of last year, Eric decided it was time to invest once again. He visited the LDI tradeshow specifically looking for a powerful and flexible fixture that could be used for this ambitious production and decided that ADJ’s new Vizi BSW 300 was the perfect choice. Twelve of the units were deployed around the arena and used at different points throughout the Opening Ceremony to wash the ice with vibrant colors and to fill the arena with sharp mid-air beam effects. In addition, the fixtures were also used to project custom GOBOs of the Empire State Games logo, as well as its sponsor’s logos, on to the ice.

“I was really impressed with the BSW 300 units when I first saw them at LDI and was equally impressed when I had the chance to use them for this event”, states Eric. “Since one fixture can be used interchangeably as a beam, spot or wash, I was able to invest in less fixtures to achieve the same effect. All of these were used for the opening ceremony: broad washes filling the ice with color, GOBO projections of the event logos and mid-air aerial beam effects. The fixtures really held their own in this arena setting and the venue staff told me that they were just as effective as bigger (and more expensive) fixtures that had previously been brought in for other productions.”

ADJ’s own Edgar Gonzalez was brought in to program the show, which spanned two universes of DMX and was connected together using Accu Cable DMX cables. In order to allow Edgar to create immersive beam effects, two ADJ Entourage professional-grade faze machines were deployed – one at either side of the arena – which created a hazy atmosphere throughout the venue.

In addition to lighting the ice and creating aerial effects throughout the whole space, Eric’s team also provided lighting production for a stage at one end of the arena which was used for a live band performance. Sixteen of ADJ’s unique 3D Vision Plus panels units were arranged across the front of the stage to create eye candy effects, interspersed with two ADJ Dotz Matrix fixtures that served as stage blinders. The stage setup was completed by four ADJ Inno Pocket Z4 movers, and a pair of ADJ Fog Fury Jett LED-infused vertical foggers which were positioned on either side of band.

All of the hard work put in by Eric and his team paid off; the show went without a hitch and served as a fitting start to the games and warm welcome to the competing athletes. We’re also pleased to report that all the ADJ equipment used for the production more than lived up to expectations. “I had absolutely no problems with any of the ADJ gear on the show,” confirms Eric, “and I was very impressed by how the moving heads filled such a huge space with sharp aerials and rich color washes. The guys at the arena also told me that the lighting was more impressive than other bigger budget shows that have come through the venue, which is a real compliment to Edgar’s programming and all of the effect the whole team put in for the Opening Ceremony.”


Empire State Winter Games

Production Manager:
Eric Wilson


Herb Brooks Arena, Lake Placid, New York

Main Production Company:
Good Guy Productions

Additional Production:
Canal Sound & Light

Lighting Designer:

Edgar Gonzalez

ROOST: Regional Organization of Sustainable Tourism

Gear List:
12 x ADJ Vizi BSW 300

12 x ADJ Vizi Beam RXONE

8 x ADJ Vizi Spot LED Pro

2 x ADJ Entourage

16 x ADJ 3D Vision Plus

4x ADJ Inno Pocket Z4

2 x ADJ Dotz Matrix

2 x ADJ Fog Fury Jett

1x Elation Professional Compu Show